Driver coaching techniques for your high performance car on track

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What Makes a Driver?

I learned to drive when I was eight years old. Many decades later, I never considered I’d be working on race tracks explaining driver coaching techniques. My first driving experience was on a faded blue Ford tractor on my uncle’s farm in Yorkshire. With a hand throttle beside the steering wheel, no power assistance to either the steering or the pedals, I had to brace myself by pulling on the steering wheel to depress the clutch. Once in gear using the selector between my legs, there was no time for the niceties of finding a biting point, as by then my thigh muscle was burning with the effort of holding the pedal down and I was happy just to set off, exhaling with the effort as the huge diesel flywheel prevented me from stalling. Then I was away, a seven tonne corn trailer bouncing behind me, heading across the corn stubble to take formation alongside a combine harvester as my uncle tipped the contents of the hopper into the trailer, me driving with my head swiveling first out over that faded blue nose making sure I wasn’t about to drive straight through the hedge at the end of the field, then rearwards at the corn trailer, making sure that the corn was indeed reaching the trailer. Spitting the constant dust from my face, I gained the basics of throttle control, how to park a trailer, how to stack straw bales and a great suntan. I was a driver! What could possibly go wrong?

driver coaching techniques in Ferrari 458 Italia

Fast forward more decades that I care to admit, through experience in the specialist car industry, motorsport teams, car manufacturer launches and a ten year career driving and writing about cars and Track Technique is born. It’s been created in response to the requests that I frequently have, both on track working with driving experience companies, car manufacturers or corporate clients and also while on location creating features in my regular business of photography and feature writing. People who are enthusiastic about cars and driving often want to know more, much more. Their own driving skills have probably been gathered together through a process of trial and error, a mechanism often fraught with risk and inevitable expense. Nearly always in the resulting conversation, people have little or no desire to compete on track in their cars and indeed can find track days intimidating. They are simply aware that their knowledge is inadequate and they wish to do something about it and enjoy their own car on track at higher limits than they currently are able. This often results in an informal chat, an exchange of diary dates and we gather together at a convenient test track.

While this is a very useful approach, the idea behind Track Technique is to offer a degree of formality to the process and perhaps reach out beyond my immediate contacts and offer this process to others. By setting down in words and web pages, anyone considering contacting me to discuss driver coaching will have a far fuller idea of what I’m about, my Ethos and what you would hope to learn.

Neill Watson. Portrait shot in Mercedes by his good friend Tim Andrew, many years after a Ford tractor

Whether you are a newly qualified driver wanting to learn beyond the basics required to legally drive, or you’re the owner of a high performance car, you will find that I can help with finding a venue that you will enjoy, a day on track that you will find both educational and immense fun, plus you will leave with a set of skills that you can take to any car, at any venue and employ to get the same result.

You will inevitably have questions, so feel free to email using the contact page or simply call me directly on +44(0)7812 766760.

This part of my blog will be expanding with more thought, industry news and progress throughout the year, so please check back regularly, or sign up for the mailing list and have the updates delivered directly by email.

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