Smooth is Fast!

» Posted by on May 11, 2012 in Current projects and Tech Notes | Comments Off on Smooth is Fast!

Smooth is Fast!

Elliott is showing us all how to do it.

You probably haven’t heard of Elliott Skeer yet, but you will. I was very fortunate to witness his performance in the MX-5 Cup race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. It was a revelation. Elliott has the whole race car driving thing completely sorted, even though is car number is also his age.

We met because he has chosen engineering as his career path, and I’m glad to share my experience as a long time motorsports engineer and driver.

The Friday race began with a standing start. Elliott qualified 2nd in a field of 23, dropped to 3rd at the start, then 4th after a few laps. He just kept doing his thing, he stayed composed, and he had the pace to glue his bumper onto anyone else’s. One by one, each driver in front of him made a small mistake and he breezed right by. He led the last half or so with a small gap. Through the binoculars, I saw that he was clearly smoother and therefore easier on his tires than everyone else in the lead pack of 5. As the race neared its end, there was a threat from behind by a late charging driver, and the front of the field began lapping the back of the field. Either of those could have derailed Elliott’s great drive, but he worked through the lappers easily and the late charger ran out of fuel. This was his first win in the series, and it was very well deserved.

The take-home lesson for me is that when you drive harder, you go slower. Smooth is Fast! Because my natural tendency is to over-drive, it was extremely valuable for me to see that demonstrated so clearly. I hope that this lesson will improve my driving. Thanks Elliott!

I feel the need to type that over and over to drive it into my head. Smooth is Fast! Smooth is Fast! Smooth is Fast! Smooth is Fast! Smooth is Fast! Smooth is Fast! Smooth is Fast! Smooth is Fast! Smooth is Fast! Smooth is Fast! Smooth is Fast! Smooth is Fast!