Young Women Take to the Track in Indianapolis
Glass Hammer Racing (also known as www.beatbyagirl.org) hosts a program called the Glass Hammer Racing Experience. As a sponsored GHR driver I was asked to go out to Indy this past November and instruct the girls participating. I love this program because it’s focused on individual development and setting goals. While some girls may have the interest and talent to progress to a professional auto racing career, GHR Experience focus is on providing each girl with the opportunity to develop her individual skills at a pace which will be both challenging and rewarding.
As females in the industry we already have obstacles to overcome. Well let me tell you, and I’ve got my girlfriends to back me up – given the opportunity – women could help advance the sport of racing, the industry and open doors from young women around the world. GHR sole purpose is to give guidance and help elevate young women early on in their careers to help them reach their fullest potential.
So, you could only image how honored and humbling it was to be asked to instruct four fast young ladies ages 10-13 November 13th at Fastimes Indoor Karting www.fastimesindoorkarting.com track. GHR has three comprehensive Stages to fit the needs of each girl and further help grow the knowledge and race craft.
Sunday I was instructing the intermediate students, Stage 2: Taking the Green class. These young women learned specifically advanced car control, refining their lines, and going for new personal best lap times.
What does it take to be a graduate of Stage 2: Taking the Green? Well, in Stage 1 the girls learn the basics like: seat/ hand positioning, safety, proper acceleration, straight line braking, turn in points/apexes, and the driving line. Stage 2 we took an in-depth approach to why our cars react the way they do, and what to do when you lose grip which could result in a spin and how to set up a pass. Passing is one of the hardest parts of competitive racing. It could take laps to learn your opponent’s weak spots and where you are strongest on track. We also discussed how to make a clean pass without getting yourself or the other car in trouble. Kind of like when you’re in bumper to bumper traffic and you see that opening to get in the fast lane!
Two very important fundamentals of Stage 2 are what we call “feeling loose or feeling a push.” Loose is what we call oversteer, when the backend of the car steps out on you. To correct this, reduce throttle input and counter react. And the opposite, understeer, which happens when the front wheels are carving a larger arc than the rear feeling like a push. To correct this slightly reduce the throttle to transfer weight to the front wheels. This can also be due to entering a corner with too much speed. I was extremely impressed with the girls on this.
The girls were excelling so fast, we decided to bring in a special technique called trail braking. If properly used, you will come out of a corner faster. They learned how to trail the brakes off while turning in the apex of the corner. Trail braking helps you rotate the car into a corner by controlling the transfer of weight onto the front tires, giving them more stick, and thus compensating for any understeering tendency the car would otherwise have.
With the help of these techniques all four girls were at least 3 seconds faster than the last time! All young ladies successful finished Stage 2 and I look forward to watching them grow through Stage 3.
This experience wasn’t just about learning the beginning skills of how to race. This experience instills confidence, determination, a sense of competitiveness within themselves striving for personal bests. I had a great time with these young ladies and look forward to many more GHR Experiences.
Oh, did I mention getting their drivers license will be a lot easier now!
Until next time, see you later.