RaceSchool.com Podcast Katherine Legge Interview

photo by Brad Bernstein Katherine Legge enjoys a light moment with Larry Mason during their podcast for raceschool.com.

Katherine Legge (of England) is one of the fastest race car drivers around. She is also female (which is not the novelty that it used to be in the world of auto racing). We caught up with her in the morning before her IMSA WeatherTech GTD race at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach – a place where she earned her first North American win in her Toyota Atlantic Championship debut! She has competed worldwide in an extremely diverse range of racing cars including Indy cars, Formula E, NASCAR, DTM, the Delta Wing and many, many more. She has an extremely pleasant and humble personality outside the car which by no means diminishes her fierce determination to wring every last bit of performance out of any race car she steps into. Enjoy!

By Larry Mason

Copyright © 2021 Larry Mason

Interview and photos by Larry Mason except as noted below:

photo by Brad Bernstein

photo by Brad Bernstein

Katherine Legge enjoys a light moment with Larry Mason during their podcast for raceschool.com.

Katherine Legge shares the driving duties with Hardpoint Team owner/driver Rob Ferriol in their Porsche GT3R IMSA GTD car.

Katherine Legge shares the driving duties with Hardpoint Team owner/driver Rob Ferriol in their Porsche GT3R IMSA GTD car.

Katherine Legge not only has to fight for position within the GTD class, but has to watch her mirrors for DPi prototypes. She’s shown here as the meat in a multi-class sandwich!

Katherine Legge not only has to fight for position within the GTD class, but has to watch her mirrors for DPi prototypes. She’s shown here as the meat in a multi-class sandwich!

This carbon fiber rear diffuser and tail section show off the hi-tech nature of the current IMSA GTD class.

This carbon fiber rear diffuser and tail section show off the hi-tech nature of the current IMSA GTD class.

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RaceSchool.com Podcast Oliver Askew Interview

Oliver-Askew Oliver Askew walks down Shoreline Drive just minutes before the 2021 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Oliver Askew was one of the most successful drivers on the Road To Indy where he won multiple championships (USF2000 and Indy Lights) and earned his way into the NTT IndyCar Series. Unfortunately a shunt at Indy caused a concussion and ultimately a job loss at his previous race team. In 2021, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing picked him up for the final three races and Askew produced with a superb Firestone Fast Six qualifying spot (5th) the weekend before the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. We caught up with him in Long Beach and had a nice chat. In this interview Askew talks about how he prepares to go racing at the drop of a hat and the importance of team building from a driver’s perspective.

By Larry Mason

Copyright © 2021 Larry Mason

Oliver Askew walks down Shoreline Drive just minutes before the 2021 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Oliver Askew walks down Shoreline Drive just minutes before the 2021 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Oliver Askew definitely knows how to hustle a race car around a track as shown here attacking the curbing in Turn 1.

Oliver Askew definitely knows how to hustle a race car around a track as shown here attacking the curbing in Turn 1.

With the advent of wraps for race cars these days, the Rahal Letterman Lanigan team gives Oliver Askew one of the most intricate and colorful sponsor liveries of any car on the grid. Here Askew prepares to muscle his way through the Turn 11 hairpin.

With the advent of wraps for race cars these days, the Rahal Letterman Lanigan team gives Oliver Askew one of the most intricate and colorful sponsor liveries of any car on the grid. Here Askew prepares to muscle his way through the Turn 11 hairpin.

The beautiful natural colors of nature surrounding the aquarium fountain are mimicked on Askew’s color scheme.

The beautiful natural colors of nature surrounding the aquarium fountain are mimicked on Askew’s color scheme.

Here Askew is shown leading eventual winner Colton Herta through the fountain area (T3) during the race. In his short NTT IndyCar Series career, Askew has already earned a podium finish.

Here Askew is shown leading eventual winner Colton Herta through the fountain area (T3) during the race. In his short NTT IndyCar Series career, Askew has already earned a podium finish.

Interview and photos by Larry Mason

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RaceSchool.com Podcast Willy T. Ribbs Interview

Ribbs The wide-open eyes of Willy T Ribbs show the look of intense focus – the precise thing needed to be successful at Indianapolis. photo courtesy of Willy Ribbs  

Willy T. Ribbs has forged his way to success in professional auto racing like no other man in his chosen sport. From being the first African American to race at Indianapolis to testing Formula One cars and winning multiple IMSA GTO races, he’s also driven for or been sponsored/supported by some of the biggest names in and out of the sport - Dan Gurney, Jack Roush (via Ford Motor Company), Bill Cosby and many others. They all believed in Willy enough to help him forge his path of success. He was inducted into the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame just prior to the 2021 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach and spent some time talking with us after he had popped in a quick “Hello” during fellow LBMWoF inductee Will Power’s interview.  I would’ve liked to have spent more time interviewing him, however he was interrupted during our chat and told that he had to get to another commitment. Enjoy! 

By Larry Mason

Copyright © 2021 Larry Mason

Willy T. Ribbs and Jim Michaelian (president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach) remove the checkered flag to uncover the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame plaque for Ribbs.

Willy T. Ribbs and Jim Michaelian (president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach) remove the checkered flag to uncover the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame plaque for Ribbs.

Willy T holds up a number one sign right before he kisses the plaque as if he were kissing the bricks at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Willy T holds up a number one sign right before he kisses the plaque as if he were kissing the bricks at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Anytime you get to be on track at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it’s a reason to celebrate.

Anytime you get to be on track at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it’s a reason to celebrate.

photo courtesy of Willy Ribbs

The wide-open eyes of Willy T Ribbs show the look of intense focus – the precise thing needed to be successful at Indianapolis.

The wide-open eyes of Willy T Ribbs show the look of intense focus – the precise thing needed to be successful at Indianapolis.

photo courtesy of Willy Ribbs

Ribbs receives great service work from his pit crew during at pit stop at the Indy 500.

Ribbs receives great service work from his pit crew during a pit stop at the Indy 500.

photo courtesy of Willy Ribbs

Interview and photos by Larry Mason except as noted

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RaceSchool.com Podcast Judy Kouba Dominic Interview

Judy Kouba Domenick Photo courtesy of Judy Kouba Domenick

Judy Kouba Dominic is Chevrolet Racing’s trackside communications representative. For over a decade Judy has been the go-to person for members of the media to get information about Chevy racing teams and drivers. She brings a fascinating background to her position and is one of the most professional, passionate, hard-working, and caring individuals you’d ever want to meet. We sat down and had a nice chat just outside the media center at the 2021 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

By Larry Mason

Copyright © 2021 Larry Mason

Judy Kouba Domenick

Interview by Larry Mason 

Photo courtesy of Judy Kouba Domenick

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RaceSchool.com Podcast Ricardo Juncos and Brad Hollinger – Juncos Hollinger Racing Interview

Ricardo Juncos came to the United States years ago as a go-kart mechanic. Living the American dream, he’s made it all the way to the NTT IndyCar Series as a team owner. This year Brad Hollinger came over from being a part-owner of the Williams Formula One team to join Juncos creating Juncos Hollinger Racing. Running the last three races of the 2021 season, the team will compete full time in 2022. They both spent some time talking about their partnership and plans for the future and why now is the right time to be in the NTT IndyCar Series. Incidentally, Ferrari F1 test driver Callum Ilott (who finished out the last three races of the 2021 season for JHR) was just announced as their driver for the 2022 season and he will be featured with his own interview in our next installment!

By Larry Mason

Copyright © 2021 Larry Mason

Interview by Larry Mason

Photo credits below

Ricardo Juncos (L) and Brad Hollinger (R) have teamed up to form Juncos Hollinger Racing and will be contesting the entire NTT IndyCar Series season in 2022 with driver Callum Ilott.

PHOTO by Jose Mario Dias

Ricardo Juncos (L) and Brad Hollinger (R) have teamed up to form Juncos Hollinger Racing and will be contesting the entire NTT IndyCar Series season in 2022 with driver Callum Ilott.

It may be cold and snowy outside in Indianapolis in the winter time but the work is heating up inside to prepare for a full season in 2022. It also looks like they’ll have to change their external signage to add in “Hollinger.”

PHOTO courtesy Juncos Hollinger Racing

It may be cold and snowy outside in Indianapolis in the winter time but the work is heating up inside to prepare for a full season in 2022. It also looks like they’ll have to change their external signage to add in “Hollinger.”

A beautiful clean shop space with room for two transporters and plenty of bays to work on Indy Pro 2000, Indy Lights and IndyCar racing cars, Juncos Hollinger Racing has also prepped IMSA DPi cars here too.

PHOTO courtesy Juncos Hollinger Racing

A beautiful clean shop space with room for two transporters and plenty of bays to work on Indy Pro 2000, Indy Lights and IndyCar racing cars, Juncos Hollinger Racing has also prepped IMSA DPi cars here too.

Although there may not be a lot of people or work shown going on in this photo, this shop is about to get real busy for the coming season!

PHOTO courtesy Juncos Hollinger Racing

Although there may not be a lot of people or work shown going on in this photo, this shop is about to get real busy for the coming season!

 

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Why You Should Have a Coach!

raceschool.com Why You Should Have a Coach!

Who are the greatest athletes in the world? Some might argue Olympic athletes. Who are the most coached athletes in the world? Again, Olympic athletes are at or near the top. If these athletes are so great already, why do they need a coach? It’s a simple answer really. Everyone is human and as a human you can enhance your skillset and abilities in multiple ways over time – especially when you have a good coach to observe and help you achieve your goals.

At Fast Lane Racing School, we have a wide variety of skilled coaches that can help you bring your driving to the next level. Some of the greatest drivers in the world have said that they have never driven the perfect lap. That’s because there’s always a fraction of a second more that they’re looking for. With coaching, we can help you bring your driving skills up a notch and with more coaching keep that process continuous. 

There are multiple ways that we can observe and help students to increase their skill level. From simple external observations trackside, to riding and/or driving with the students around the track, to data and video downloads to get the “real” story, these data driven deep dives can uncover a wealth of information. Pair that with effective communication between coach and driver and you have a recipe for success when it comes to getting the most out of the car you’re driving, no matter what it is. 

In general, we can teach the racing line – braking points, turn-in, apex and track-out. However, this line can change depending upon what kind of car you’re driving. The line for a Spec Miata versus a high horsepower tube frame car will be different based upon the amount of power/grip ratio.

Street tires versus racing slick tires also make a massive difference in grip level and therefore, how you might approach a corner. If you have a car with aerodynamic downforce, that can make an incredible difference in how you drive and which line to take on the track.

The bottom line is that if you want to improve, you need to put in the effort. An extra set of eyes is worth its weight in gold. So the next time you’re thinking about which driver’s school to go to, consider Fast Lane. We have an incredible variety of race cars that you can choose from to learn in, and very skilled instructors that can work with you one-on-one to help you maximize your time both on and off the track.

Coaching – it’s not for everyone. Only those who want to get better!

By Larry Mason

Copyright © 2021 Larry Mason

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RaceSchool.com Podcast James Hinchcliffe Interview

JamesHinchcliffe-wave-crop James Hinchcliffe waves to thefans before the start of the 2021 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. Will it be remembered as his last NTT IndyCar Series start?

James Hinchcliffe, aka the “Mayor of Hinchtown” has checked off many of the boxes of being one of the top drivers in the NTT IndyCar Series. He’s a multi-time winner and pole-sitter in addition to big performances like winning the pole for the Indianapolis 500 one year after almost losing his life in a horrific shuntthereand winning the crown jewel of street courses at the Grand Prix of Long Beach. Additionally, he also finished second in the “Dancing With The Stars” TV show. His easy-going personality doesn’t diminish the fire in his belly for success. In this interview, Hinchcliffe opens up about how he prepares for racingboth physically andmentally and also how the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach circuit gets him pumped up.

Note:James Hinchcliffe raced for Andretti Autosport at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. It was announced after the race that he (along with his teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay) wouldn’t be returning to theteamfor 2022.

Copyright © 2021Larry Mason

His Capstone Green Energy car is right at home amongst the fountain and greenery of the circuit near the Aquarium of the Pacific.

His Capstone Green Energy car is right at home amongst the fountain and greenery of the circuit near the Aquarium of the Pacific.

James Hinchcliffe started the2021 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beachin 7thafter turning the 3rdquickest time in practice. Here he leads Alex Palou who would go on to finish 4th while Hinchcliffe would have to settle for 14th.

James Hinchcliffe started the2021 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beachin 7thafter turning the 3rdquickest time in practice. Here he leads Alex Palou who would go on to finish 4th while Hinchcliffe would have to settle for 14th.

Near the end of the Grand Prix, you can see all of the rubber tire marks especially on the front wings. Not the finish or season Hinchcliffe was hoping for, the big question now is where he’ll land for 2022.

Near the end of the Grand Prix, you can see all of the rubber tire marks especially on the front wings. Not the finish or season Hinchcliffe was hoping for, the big question now is where he’ll land for 2022.

In a tribute to his racing idol Greg Moore, Hinchcliffe has #REDGLOVESRULEonhis racing gloves. Here he’s sitting in the pits duringthe Sunday morning warm-up.

In a tribute to his racing idol Greg Moore, Hinchcliffe has #REDGLOVESRULEonhis racing gloves. Here he’s sitting in the pits duringthe Sunday morning warm-up.

Interview and photos by Larry Mason.

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RaceSchool.com Podcast Bryan Herta Interview

levitt-VIR-1021-03911 Bryan Herta

Known during his racing career as “High-Speed Herta,” Bryan has been just as successful off the track as a team owner in the NTT IndyCar Series winning two Indy 500s and multiple championships in sports car racing. Bryan Herta Autosport currently campaigns the factory Hyundai effort in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge. He’s also the race strategist for his son Colton Herta who won both of the last two Indy car races at Laguna Seca.We caught up with Bryan right before his son would go on to win the season finale Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach!

Photos, captions and credits:

Interview by Larry Mason.

Photo by Michael Levitt, LATUSAMedia.com

Copyright © 2021 Larry Mason

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Weight Management for You and Your Car!

Weight-transfer-pic Weight Management for You and Your Car!

Congratulations! You’ve just been promoted to manager. In this case, if you’re driving a race car or road car, you’re now a weight manager. Every single road car and race car have one thing in common – tire contact patches. Cars can sit still, accelerate, corner and brake. Sometimes there will be multiple combinations of the above. The only thing connecting that car to the track are the four little rubber tire contact patches about the size of your hand. 

Some vehicles are designed to have a “perfect” 50/50 weight distribution at rest. Other cars are designed to have more weight on the front and others more weight on the rear. No matter which set-up belongs to your car, all of those weights will vary when the vehicle is in motion. The laws of physics apply to all equally. If you accelerate, you’ll transfer weight to the rear. If you decelerate, you’ll transfer weight to the front. Of course cornering will transfer weight side-to-side. The bottom line with all of this weight transfer is that the tire contact patch will vary depending upon the vehicle dynamics. 

As a driver, it’s up to you to understand and compensate via throttle, brake and steering inputs to maximize how transferring weight affects the contact patch. The more you understand what’s happening beneath you, the better equipped you are to look forward down the track and cut your lap times down. In a road car situation, for example driving a VIP in a limousine, it’s critical to make the weight transfer as smooth as possible. You don’t want your client getting car sick due to unexpected and rough driving.

Picture a bathtub full of water. Your goal is to drive that bathtub without spilling any water. This technique takes lots of practice. Throttle and brakes are not on/off switches if you’re trying to be smooth. Yanking on the steering wheel suddenly will not allow the car to “take a set” before you complete the movement. When this happens, the tires are overloaded and can’t react quick enough to provide you with the grip you want.

ABS and vehicle stability programs are in place because the driver has “overdriven” the amount of grip the tires can provide. Often times it’s because the driver wasn’t smooth and deliberate in managing the weight on the tires. Threshold braking will typically stop a vehicle quicker than ABS. The reason being is that the driver is using the tire contact patches to their maximum capability. As soon as you go past the threshold you’ve now overloaded the contact patches.

So the next time you’re on the street or track, work on being smooth and managing the weight over your tires. Your VIP or stopwatch will thank you for it!

 

By Larry Mason

Copyright © 2021 Larry Mason

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Fitness Focus—Nobody Likes a Pain in the Neck!

image

 

      Are race car drivers athletes? You bet! Anyone who’s spent some time behind the wheel on the racetrack can certainly tell you that you’ll be worn out at the end of a long day. Elevated heart rate, sweat rate, arm pump and more all contribute to fatigue. In this installment, we’ll focus on the neck muscles and the beating they take on the race track.

    In physical terms, the average head and helmet weigh about 15 pounds. If your car can generate 1 G of cornering force that means that you’re experiencing that same amount of weight pushing on the side of your head. There are plenty of street cars sold today that can generate that kind of force. As you move into race cars with racing-slick tires, cornering forces shoot up. Add wing and downforce and now the forces jump even higher. But wait there’s more. Add in some banking to those corners and you have an incredible strain that no driver can withstand over a long time. To make it more challenging, when you do have a car with significant downforce, those cars are also very stiffly sprung. Driving over bumps in the middle of corners jolt the neck and generate peak loads of neck strain. Current Indy cars can exceed 5 Gs sustained at oval tracks. That’s the equivalent of laying on your side and having a 75 pound person standing on your head!

     How do the drivers train for this? Fortunately there are machines in the gym to do this. Forward and backward movements prepare the neck for braking and acceleration forces while side-to-sid training is for the turns. Some machines use weighted plates while others use a shock absorber set up. Additionally, a personal trainer can hold one end of a neck harness and pull in different directions while the driver is working to withstand those forces. Furthermore, the trainer can add in vibrational shock to simulate the bumps in the corners. There are also secondary surroundig muscles that come into play however a well-planned workout routine will address those to help the driver withstand the abuse.

     There’s no substitute for actually driving, however that would cost thousands of dollars per day. Some drivers own go-karts and can pound laps all day for a much lower cost and that can certainly help. If you’re planning on taking up racing, prepare a bit first with some isometric exercises at home.

     After all, nobody likes a pain in the neck!

 

Copyright © 2021 Larry Mason

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