Rank #1: 053 – Peter Carroll: 14 Ways to Improve Your Performance Driving
Peter Carroll joins me to talk about his recent article in Speed Secrets Weekly, “14 Ways to Improve Your Driving.” Specifically, we talk about braking too hard, not enough trail braking, getting on the throttle too early, coasting, not using all the track, downshifting too much, shortening the distance by altering your line, and how to experiment with new driving techniques.
Peter Carroll is a BMW and Porsche club racer, track day driver, and instructor. Living in the Toronto area, his home track is Canadian Tire Motorsport Park at Mosport, but he’s driven and instructed at tracks all over North America. He gets a thrill out of helping other drivers learn and improve.
Dec 21 2017
Rank #2: 045 – Michael Silver: Learn to Drive Fast in Less Than a Year
Michael Silver and I talk about how he got to be so good a driver in a short period of time – less than a year. And it’s not just seat time, but how he applied the seat time that made the difference, as he shares here. Oh, and we also talk about astronauts and how Michael communicated with them in space, as well as his incredibly varied background.
Michael started track driving less than a year ago, and to say he’s become addicted to it is an understatement - he’s had about 40 days on track since he began! With a background – education and experience – in computer science, human factors, linguistics, genetics, music, molecular biology, color science, photography, business, and teaching, he brings an interesting perspective to learning how to be an even better driver.
Michael has worked for Apple (where he developed the technology for astronauts to email from space); wrote and directed music for Shakespeare Santa Cruz; was made an honorary Air Force Captain; hung out with Carlos Santana and Keith Richards (after helping set up their studios); been a disc jockey for a large classical music station; and he and his wife, Claire, founded Audio High to help raise money for a number of charities and eventually went on to found a separate non-profit organization (Silver Linings). Pretty boring stuff, right?
Oct 26 2017
Rank #3: 071 – Marshall Pruett: A Unique Perspective of What The Best Are Made Of
Marshall Pruettjoins me to talk about what the best drivers do, and don’t do, that make them the best. His insights on Scott Dixon, Alexander Rossi, Simon Pagenaud, Sebastian Bourdais, Robert Wickens, Josef Newgarden, and others are fascinating – and educational. And the stories he uses to illustrate these insights are hugely fun!
Marshall is best known these days for his Marshall Pruett Podcast and his writing for Racer magazine and Racer.com, Road & Track, and elsewhere. But what makes his perspective so interesting is that he spent many years as a mechanic in all levels of racing, he’s engineered cars, been team manager, driven, and coached drivers. Marshall has seen drivers and what they do from more angles than most!
Listen to the Marshall Pruett Podcast on any of the podcast platforms, or by going to MarshallPruett.com.
Follow Marshall on social media:
Or email him at email@example.com
Apr 26 2018
Rank #4: 046 – Kevin Fandozzi: How to Treat a Tire!
Kevin Fandozzi joins me to talk about tires – how to break them in, warm them up, and pressure them. We also talk about how tires are developed, what Kevin did to his tires to podium at the recent SCCA Runoffs, and where Continental Tire is going in the sport. Be sure to listen to his advice in the last 10 minutes or so of the show – it’s super valuable stuff.
Kevin is the Product Manager for Continental Tire Motorsport. As an engineer and club racer (finished second at the SCCA Runoffs at Indy this year), he knows what goes into tires both technically and from behind the wheel.
For more info:
Nov 02 2017
Rank #5: 134 - Preston Lerner: Learning From the Best, Ford GT & Driver Ratings
Preston Lerner joins me to talk about what he’s noticed that the best drivers – such as Colin Braun – do that make them so great. As a journalist, that’s what he does – observe things that most people miss. We also talk about his own racing in a Spec Miata (and what you can learn from his strengths and weaknesses), the Ford GTs at Le Mans, and the dreaded Driver Ratings system that is used sports car racing.
Preston writes for Road & Track magazine, amongst others, and has written a number of books, including Ford GT, Winning: Paul Newman, Speed Read Ferrari, Scarab, and History’s Greatest Automotive Mysteries, Myths, and Rumors Revealed. When he’s not writing, Preston is driving – often racing a Spec Miata in California.
Jul 25 2019
Rank #6: 094 – Colin Braun: How to Drive Fast Corners Fast (Travels with Colin)
Colin Braun joins me once again - while we’re traveling in Europe – and we talk about how to be fast in fast corners. There aren’t many – if any – faster drivers in sports cars these days, so Colin’s advice on how to work your way up to the limit in very fast corners is great information. Also, we talk about how to sense the limits of the tires when in these fast corners (hint: it’s not wiggling the steering wheel back and forth).
Colin has raced and won in everything from NASCAR to IMSA. He currently drives an Oreca LMP2 car for CORE Autosports in the Weather Tech IMSA series, CrowdStrike Racing in the Pirelli World Challenge, and United Autosports in the Michelin Le Mans Series.
Oct 04 2018
Rank #7: 136 – Ryan Staub: Managing Risk on the Track
Ryan Staub is back, and we’re talking about the stuff many drivers don’t want to talk about. You know, the stuff about risk, responsibility, waivers, liability, insurance and so on – for both drivers and instructors. But since Ryan is a racer and chief instructor for his BMW CCA chapter, we also talk about driving.
Ryan is serious car/driving geek first, but also an insurance expert, as he runs the Lockton Motorsports insurance program. So, he understands the risks and legal issues associated with what we do, but then goes out on the track and drives fast! As the chief instructor for the Kansas City BMW CCA club, he also knows how to help other drivers go fast, safely. Ryan was my guest on episode #31 on July 20, 2017.
Ryan’s Speed Secret: Know your limits, but expand them – get outside your limits.
Aug 08 2019
Rank #8: 066 – Colin Braun: Learning Tracks & The Secrets to His Speed
Colin Braun joins me again (he was on episode #7 over a year ago) to talk about his approach to learning a track he’s never been to before, what it takes to get to throttle sooner, how to use the brakes, being smooth with the steering, and what “rotating” a car really means. Basically, he shares with you what he does to be so bloody fast! We recorded this episode while driving from the Lisbon airport to Portimao in Portugal, so we also share a couple of funny travel stories (since Colin’s luggage had gotten lost on his flight and would be in the same clothes for the next 4 days…)!
Colin has won races and championships in sports cars, NASCAR and open-wheel cars. He’s the youngest driver to have ever stood on the podium at Le Mans, won the IMSA Prototype Challenge championship five times, and won NASCAR Trucks series races.
I mentioned being able to download my past webinars – go to SpeedSecrets.com/Webinars to do so.
Mar 22 2018
Rank #9: 116 – Spencer Pumpelly: How to Brake, Pass & Not Use Fluff
Spencer Pumpelly and I talk about what karting doesn’t teach, how to brake with ABS and release them to rotate the car, why an early apex is better than a late one, when a pass really begins, corner entry speed, and the importance of eliminating the fluff (that part throttle stuff that does more harm than good). Oh, and we also touch on the similarities between flying helicopter and performance driving (just in case you’ve always wanted to know!).
Spencer currently races for Magnus Racing and TRG, and has won in almost every level of racing he’s competed in. In this podcast, he talks about Le Mans and racing in ARCA. He’s also a great coach, as illustrated by his comment that, “The line is not the cause, it’s the result.” Great stuff!
Spencer’s Speed Secret: Eliminate the fluff!
Follow Spencer at:
Mar 21 2019
Rank #10: 077 – Jordan Taylor: The Best Driving Style
Jordan Taylor joins me to talk about the driving styles of the best drivers, but before we do we also talk about nature vs. nurture. In other words, did he inherit his driving abilities from his dad, Wayne, or was it something he learned. And then… we have a surprise cameo appearance from Rodney Sandstorm!
Jordan’s Speed Secret is: “Keep your eyes and ears open – keep learning.” And no, we didn’t plan him saying that, even though I’ve been preaching that for years!
Jordan Taylor has done a lot in his young racing career: won the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Sebring 12-hour, Le Mans, and the Grand-Am, IMSA and Pirelli World Challenge Championships. His perspective on driving style is interesting, since he’s co-driven with his dad Wayne Taylor, brother Ricky Taylor, Max Angelelli, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Renger van der Zande, and the Corvette Racing team with Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, Jan Magnussen, and Antonio Garcia. Oh, and even Jeff Gordon.
Jun 07 2018
Rank #11: 070 – Dave Pratte: Learning From Our Mistakes
Dave Pratte joins me to talk about, well… mistakes. Okay, and some things that are not mistakes, too, but Dave and I talk about how valuable mistakes are from a learning perspective. We have fun discussing the judgment one needs when passing, and how ego can make a difference; the most common mistakes drivers make with their cars; the differences between autocross and time attack, and road racing; and what one learns from testing tons of different cars.
Dave and his business partner Peter Tarach run Speed Academy, a performance tuning and car-building shop in Hamilton, Ontario – but they do business online, too. And they have some very cool and helpful videos on their YouTube channel – be sure to check them out. Dave has also been an automotive journalist for AutoGuide.com and Modified magazine, where he’s had the opportunity to trash… err, test hundreds of cars.
Learn more about Dave and Speed Academy at www.Speed.Academy, and follow them at:
Apr 19 2018
Rank #12: 123 – Jim Mero: Corvette Handling Engineer & Test Driver
Jim Mero joins me to talk about the Corvette, his contributions to its development over the past decade-plus, life as a development test driver, lapping the Nurburgring as part of one’s job, and what’s ahead for Corvette. Two things that came out of our conversation that I found especially fascinating was his explanation of “linear versus non-linear driving,” and how test drivers rely on their subconscious to drive the car while the conscious mind is focused on developing the car.
Jim spent 34 years at General Motors, with the last 15 as a Ride & Handling Engineer focused on the Corvette. No doubt, today’s Vette is a direct result of Jim’s engineering and test driving. He retired from GM in September of 2018, and now has his own consulting business, Jim Mero Vehicle Dynamics LLC.
Jim’s Speed Secret(s): “Get a go-kart. Driving is a process. Your best friend is your instructor and the laps you drive. Data will set you free.”
For more info about Jim…
- Web: http://jimmero.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jimmerovehicledynamics/
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I also mentioned the online Chalktalk I’m doing on May 14, 2019. Yes, it’s free, but to reserve your spot or join in, go to TrackAttack.io/SSChalktalk.
May 09 2019
Rank #13: 106 – Randy Beikmann: The Ideal Cornering Line
Randy Beikmann joins me to talk about the ideal line – the one that results in the fastest lap times – something that he’s been modeling from a mathematical perspective, and then relating to real track driving. What he shares will give you a deeper understanding of why you drive the line you – or should drive the line you’re currently not!
Randy is a former engineer for General Motors, and currently teaches engineering at Kettering University. He’s written the super-important book, Physics for Gearheads – a must-have for anyone interested in understanding vehicle dynamics and driving at a deeper level. As important is the fact that he’s also a track rat who drives a Porsche Cayman in PCA events.
Randy’s Speed Secret: Power is not the end-all. Traction is more important.
You can purchase Randy’s Physics for Gearheads at Barnes & Noble, or on Amazon.
Jan 10 2019
Rank #14: 135 – Garth Stein: The Art of Racing in the Rain
Garth Stein joins me to talk about his wildly successful bestselling book, The Art of Racing in the Rain – and how it’s now a major motion picture (premiers August 9th). You’ll love Garth’s stories, and the behind-the-scene look at why the book has become so popular, as well as how he was able to describe so accurately what racing is really like (hint: Garth raced Spec Miata).
In addition to The Art of Racing in the Rain, Garth has authored three other novels—A Sudden Light, How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets, and Raven Stole the Moon—as well as a full-length play, Brother Jones, which had its premiere in Los Angeles and was described as “brimming with intensity” by The Los Angeles Weekly.
In case you missed it (where have you been?!), The Art of Racing in the Rain is the story of a beloved philosopher dog named Enzo who teaches us everything we need to know about being human. A major motion picture starring Kevin Costner, Milo Ventimiglia, and Amanda Seyfried was filmed during real IMSA race events at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, as well as Pacific Raceway in Seattle (where the story began). The Art of Racing in the Rain book has sold more than 6 million copies world-wide, been translated into 36 languages, and spent more than three years on the New York Times bestseller list. The novel inspired a Young Reader edition as well as four children’s picture books, and a stage adaptation by Book-It Repertory Theatre in Seattle.
Garth’s Speed Secret: visualize where you want to be.
Aug 01 2019
Rank #15: 083 – Mike Smith, Josh Herbert & Chris Graham: HPDE to Time Trials to Spec Miata
Mike Smith, Josh Herbert & Chris Graham join me to talk about their experience moving from HPDE to Time Trials and now to wheel-to-wheel racing in NASA Spec Miata. They share thoughts on the highs and lows, costs, and what they’ve learned. Mike talks about how he’s striving to improve his vision skills, they tell us about how they’re finding and working with sponsors, and Josh shares a great Speed Secret: Just go to a track day and drive!
Mike Smith, Josh Herbert & Chris Graham started and run Spec13 Motorsports, and have fun learning and helping others. You can follow them and their team through their website at www.spec13.com, and on social media at www.facebook.com/spec13motorsports and @spec13motorsports.
To register for the Self-Coaching for Drivers webinar, go to SpeedSecrets.com/Self-Coaching.
Jul 19 2018
Rank #16: 082 – Loren Elmer: Stay Alive – Secrets of a Race Driver
Loren Elmer joins me to talk about his book, Stay Alive While Driving, The Secrets of a Race Car Driver. Obviously, there are many skills & techniques that we learn driving on the track that lead to us being better drivers on the street – Loren shares a few of his secrets. We also talk about how you can help others be better drivers on the street.
Loren has instructed drivers from teens to race drivers, and everyone in between, having taught at the major racing schools and teen driving programs. His book, Stay Alive While Driving, The Secrets of a Race Car Driver, is a fun, easy read combining common sense (to us, maybe!) advice and fun stories. Pick up a copy of the book… and then share it with a teen driver or fellow everyday motorist. You’ll be doing the driving world a favor!
Loren’s “speed secret” is: “Take your eyes out of the job that the seat of your pants should be doing.”
Jul 12 2018
Rank #17: 133 – Dr. Barry Seiller & Ryan Warkins: How to Improve Your Driving Vision
Dr. Barry Seiller and Ryan Warkins join me to talk all about a huge topic - vision. We all know that how we use our eyes is critical in performance and race driving, and yet, we mostly take it for granted – we either have it or not. But it can be trained – it can be improved. I’ve been testing and using the Vizual Edge app that Doc Barry developed, and he, Ryan, and I talk about what “vision” is, and how best to train your vision skills.
If you’re interested in using the Vizual Edge training app, go to https://vizualedge.com/speedsecrets/
Jul 18 2019
Rank #18: 063 – Heyward Wagner: Where the Heck is the SCCA Going?
Heyward Wagner joins me to talk about what the Sports Car Club of America is up to, and why. We talk about how the club’s focus is on converting car and driving enthusiasts into participants (I love this!), and they’re all about having fun with cars. Specifically, we dive into SCCA road racing, autocross, Track Night In America, and the new focus on Time Trials.
Heyward is the Director of Marketing and Experiential Programs for the SCCA. The son of parents involved in the SCCA, he’s lived and breathed autocross, corner marshaling, rally and rallycross, and club road racing his entire life. But it’s what he learned being a summer camp counselor that has had the biggest impact on how he contributes to the many positive changes the SCCA has seen in the past few years.
Mar 01 2018
Rank #19: 060 – Steve Stepanian: What the Best Performance Drivers Do
Steve Stepanian joins me to talk about what the best drivers do, what they don’t do, what his Aha! moments were, and how you can be an even better driver.
Steve has an amazing passion for the sport of performance and race driving, which is why he jokes that he doesn’t need a therapist! His enthusiasm comes through in this podcast, as well as his experience and advice that you can use. When he’s not racing Spec E30 or instructing, Steve is the Chairman of the Driving Events Committee of the BMW CCA, the Pacific Region DEC Rep, and license director for the Southwest region of NASA.
Check out the links to:
BMW CCA: https://www.bmwcca.org
BMW Club Racing: http://www.bmwccaclubracing.com
NASA Pro Racing: https://nasaproracing.com
Feb 08 2018
Rank #20: 074 – Chris Wehrheim: Using Karting to Improve Your Car Driving
Chris Wehrheimjoins me to talk about karting, and how you can use it to improve your driving, no matter what you drive. We also talk about why some young drivers make it, and some don’t, but mostly discuss ways you can use a kart to make you a better driver.
Chris has won a lot in racing (see below), but it’s what he’s done outside of the car/kart that I think is most impressive. From coaching and managing drivers, to creating driving gloves, the same drive that made him win on the track is helping him be successful off the track (a common trait amongst other drivers, as we discuss in this episode).
- 1999 Formula Jr. North American Karting Champion
- 2000 WKA Yamaha Jr. Super Can Grand National Champion
- 2005 Skip Barber Scholarship Winner
- 2006 Skip Barber National Race Winner VIR
- 2006 WKA Yamaha Lite Grand National Champion
- 2007 WKA TaG Sr. Grand National Champion
- 2007 Stars of Karting ICA Race Winner
- 2010 SKUSA SuperNationals 5th Place TaG Sr.
And for information about my upcoming 5 Ways to Drive Faster webinar, go to SpeedSecrets.com/5-Ways-Drive-Faster
May 17 2018