What’s it like to be a driver coach?

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kieran vernon

Hi Kieran, can you give us your career summary so far?

I started racing after I instantly realised I loved driving when I was on a family holiday in France when I was ten years old. From then on we went on and got our own kart and began racing as a hobby. We did well and through life you meet people and ended up in the Super 1 National championships really by accident as I was competing against these guys, beating them and thought if they are racing in the British Champs, we should! As a Junior and Senior in 2007 we won the championship and I was then lucky enough to get into car racing in the Ginetta Junior championship where we took a number of race wins and ended up as runner up in the championship. From then on it was always difficult to raise the money to race in full championships, however we managed to win races in Formulas such as Formula Renault, Formula Palmer Audi, Formula Ford and even won the Porsche Scholarship in 2011. Since then I have gone on to compete in BRDC Formula 4 and MSV F3 Cup taking more race wins, before I decided to turn my attentions in performance coaching for racing drivers. In total I stood on the top step 23 times and of the races entered, 47% of those I finished on the podium, so all in all we did a good job!

What is your day to day job as a Driver coach?

In this day and age we are spoilt with data analysis and on-board video footage. With the drivers I work with we spend time looking at the video and data to look at lines, brake pedal usage and throttle techniques. More importantly with the young drivers I work with them to help them learn to communicate effectively with their engineers, in terms of terminology and how to accurately give feedback of what they experience in terms of car balance and setup. Based on their feedback myself and the engineer look at causes or reasons for issues that drivers describe and determine what we need to change whether it be car setup or driving technique to enable the driver to improve their lap time. Aside from this, many miles in the road car and more nights spent in hotels than at home gives you an insight of the busy life of a man working in the Motorsport industry!

Stuart Wiltshire – Chris Dittmann Racing

Who do you work with currently?

My longest project has been the BRDC F3 chamapionship (formerly F4) where I have been looking after Chris Dittmann Racing’s drivers since 2014. I also look after Luke Browning in the Ginetta Junior championship, drivers in the Caterham 420R Superlight championship and the MSV F3 Cup championship. It is a good spread and with a vast experience of single seater’s and sports cars behind me I thoroughly enjoy working in all championships of all levels and credentials.

What do you think is the most important aspect of Motorsport for a young driver?

All aspects of driver performance are as important as each other. However, my best advice I can give anyone is to enjoy the racing they are competing in. Yes we all want to win, but if you are lucky enough to be racing in the first place, then at least give us a smile!

Stuart Wiltshire – Chris Dittmann Racing Dallara F308 Mercedes HWA

How highly do you rate Racing Simulators and does it replace track time?

Simulator time is incredibly important most importantly from a financial point of view. Motorsport is expensive and time in simulators enables us coaches to prepare the driver for any upcoming test or race weekend prior to arriving at the circuit. This ultimately means that on the day at the track we have a head start and the driver is in the correct frame of mind to begin their race weekend or test. Every lap costs money and by spending a day at the sim we can start the first flying lap well prepared of how to attack the circuit. Of course there is no substitute for driving on the track for real, but it effectively gives us a days head start, for a fraction of the cost.

Author: Clerk of the Course

The Clerk of Junior Torque. Administrator, Editor and Dictator!

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