If you’ve been paying attention, you may have noticed that a new driver coach service that’s making some noise in the racing and track enthusiast community. Racers360 an online coaching format started by Dion Von Moltke promises effective remote coaching at an affordable price.
Like many in racing, Von Moltke started in Karts before moving up to open wheel and then sports car racing. He’s raced open wheel cars in Skip Barber series, Prototypes in Grand AM, and sports cars with the American Le Mans Series. He’s won his class at the 12 Hours of Sebring twice as well as the 24 Hours of Daytona. He’s even walloped on the best of the amateurs at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, winning the race 3 times with perennial favorites Flying Lizard. Eventually he found himself the official brand ambassador with Audi in 2016.
Racers360 – Online Coaching
His tenure at Audi saw him spending more time with amateur level racers. It was during those times that he saw a gap in driver education between amateurs and professionals. In order for professional series to grow, amateurs needed to grow as drivers and be able to enter the pros competitively. As his passion for the education aspect of racing grew, Von Moltke saw a big disparity between a pro race driver coach and a track day driver education coach. DE coaches have insight and experience, but perhaps not at the same level as professional coaches who’ve spent years in professional racing and teaching. So the question became how to enable amateurs to access professional coaching without the steep price tag commonly associated with the pros?
Historically, professional coaches spend the day at the track with the students in a one on one manner. They charge typically between 500 to 2000 dollars a day, and additional costs include travel, housing and meals. Some offer in car instruction from the passenger seat while others choose to stay out of the car while instructing using in-car video, telemetry and observational feedback. They will discuss everything from the driver’s line through turns to theory to driver mechanics behind the wheel. This price tag is one that many amateurs simply cannot afford, and Von Moltke promises improvement utilizing today’s technology, and access to coaching online.
We are in this beautiful time with technology to be able to come in and essentially offer pro coaching in a remote manner.
For a relatively small fee, you can send video of one lap of your track day to Racers360, along with data and set up sheets, and they will do a thorough job of going through the video turn by turn, giving you advice and guidance on your performance and areas on which to improve. Von Moltke mentioned on average he’s seen gains of 2 second for most drivers. The list of coaches under their banner is impressive, including drivers with very serious racing pedigree, and the coaching is one on one.
Racers360 has it’s sights not only on the club to professional level racer but also the newly initiated. For the track day enthusiast, Von Moltke has seen that proper coaching early on has a number of benefits.
The earlier we are able to work with drivers in their career, the better we can make sure they don’t develop bad habits.
Instilling proper driving habits from the start, will save the driver energy and time from having to “undo” bad habits later in their career. Additional benefits of starting early is that it helps the driver to keep growing versus reaching a frustrating plateau. He mentions that without education they’ve found two major things that happen. First, the drivers plateau, then go online or read books to get a basic education. If they don’t quickly improve they get frustrated and leave the sport. The other is that they get frustrated and try to make a big jump in lap times, causing them to crash out. Egos and people get hurt, cars get lost and driver retention within the sport falls.
Importantly, Von Motlke feels his service isn’t a replacement for the current crop of on-location driver coaches. In fact he feels it fills in a gap of education that’s existed and complements traditional coaching. “We have a short, simplified, concise way of talking about a specific thing. Our market are the drivers that can’t afford to have one of the elite coaches to show up. We are not cannibalizing the existing market for pro coaches.”
Andy Lee – Personal Driving Coach
As a contrast, Andy Lee https://www.andyleeracing.com/, a professional race car driver and coach offers the traditional approach to coaching. He talked a little bit about his experiences on track with students. Andy’s credits include a long term position as an instructor with the prestigious Bob Bondurant Racing School. His racing resume is impressive as well. Just a few of his accomplishments include earning 8 wins and 12 pole positions and Rookie of the Year honors in 2012, and placing second in the championship in the 2013 season in Pirelli World Challenge. He’s raced in Trans Am, SCCA and NASA and was the test driver for Cadillac’s GT program in PWC. He now works as a driver coach for numerous series including Formula 4, Ferrari Challenge and Porsche Trophy Cup West, many of his drivers winning races and podiums.
Lee has a very hands on approach, using technology to his advantage. He’ll arrive to a track with numerous Go Pros and a live telemetry system that is attached to the car via Velcro and uses GPS tracking to provide real time data to Lee. Typically, he will cover things from fundamentals – Driving Line, Balance, Proper Vision, to overlapping data to find hidden weak spots in advanced drivers. He believes coaching is essential for drivers of all levels, as finding speed requires finding safety as well.
“You’re going to be faster, but you’re also going to be safer. It’s almost like buying an insurance policy with coaching.”
Lee’s preferred style of coaching is a two day method, though he feels even one day can be effective. A full weekend with Lee breaks down as follows:
The first day is spent finding areas to improve on. Go Pros facing the drivers’ eyes and feet give Lee feedback on what the driver is doing in the car, and telemetry and video outward fill in the whole picture. The second day, the trouble areas uncovered in the previous day’s work can be focused on and improvements made. Lee will also hop in the driver’s seat to create benchmarks for data, line and technique comparison.
What Type of Coaching is Right for You?
When asked “What is the best way for a young driver to find a coach that fits their needs?” Lee responds, “There’s no Angie’s List for pro drivers. Find someone who has received coaching from the prospective coach and get feedback. Pro racing experience is a plus and a necessity.”
Von Moltke recommends “Contact a coach and ask them to explain the approach to a turn on a well-known track to see how they go about communicating. Ask 1 or 2 questions such as ‘how does trail braking work?’ and just listen to how they communicate.”
It’s a great time for drivers – from track day enthusiasts to those with aspirations to go pro, there’s a coaching system available to help improve lap times, uncover new techniques, and keep everyone on track safer.