LOCATION: Grand Prix track at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
FORECAST: Sunny, with chance of t-storms.
MOOD: ECSTATIC 😀 😀
It has been almost one month since I have been in my race car.
One. Never-ending. Month.
That is an eternity during race season.
But this past week I spent some much, much needed quality time with #18.
Have some brilliant news to share with you.
We are back and we are ready.
What do I mean??
First off – I am not going to lie to you – racing is a tough sport. You have to be prepared for it mentally just as much as you are prepared physically.
I’m sure you’ve heard that about almost all competitive sports.
Well – my sport brings you to 230 + km an hour every single lap – even faster depending on what track you’re driving at. This, along with the fast approaching corners – thrilling elevation changes – the focus on precise gear shifts (my car is a manual) – combined with late, late threshold braking – the changes in car load based on elevation in the circuit – over steering – understeering – … all of this requires intense and absolute concentration every second (can you tell?).
In order for me to get real, I’d like to make something totally clear. Race car drivers are a bit different. We seek out the extraordinary. We’re not here for a Sunday drive, we’re here to go fast. We are here to improve, and keep on improving, because this is the main reason we all love this sport.
I fell into a different mindset last year after I hit a concrete wall.
With 2016 being my first ever year racing, I really crammed in my seat time. Test days, practice days, and race days were stuck into my schedule wherever possible. I managed to bring my times down to only 1.7 seconds off one of the top drivers in Canada. This is pretty big for me, after having raced for only a handful of days in my car.
I was in heaven. Finally getting to pursue my sport competitively, finally learning all of the ins and outs of racing, and finally getting myself to a top level in racing and placing myself on podiums. What could go wrong?
Well – I had my first big hit.
Widely known by race car drivers – your first hit is inevitable and is going to suck. They were right.
One of the worst things about the crash was getting out of my car and seeing the damage. How had I not hurt myself? Hitting a concrete wall is big – your car is flying around a corner and comes to a complete stop. You think it won’t be bad – but it always is. Pretty terrifying.
As unlucky as I was that day – I was lucky to have come out of the crash safe and unharmed. Or so I thought.
The crash didn’t hurt my body physically, but more so mentally. It threw me off and brought me into a mindset I wasn’t ready for just yet. I began being cautious, and cautious driving as a race car driver does not allow for improvement. Without aiming to improve in my car, what is this sport all about? Why am I going out there lap over lap, when I am not moving forward (.. not literally 😉 )?
Friends – all of this has changed. And I am SO excited for that.
We are back in business.
I put down some brilliant laps this past week in my 911.
I was throwing my car into turn 2, 3, 4 at my home track Mosport. I was rotating it, allowing the car to slip and and grab the asphalt – pushing the limits of my brakes/tires/my car’s balance – and wow. It felt so unbelievably good to be back. I am back. And I am ready to go chase some rear bumpers down.
My point: I never stopped. Even when I felt beat down and agrivated with my performance, I knew that I could get back to where I was. Get back to the podium, get that lap time, get back to that feeling.
My message: if you love it, keep at it. Always.
Thanks to my team for sticking by me, and plainly laughing when they said that I was ‘going for a Sunday drive’. Thanks to my team for always saying, hey – you are doing just fine – we will get back there. Thanks to my team for not pressuring me, and allowing me to regain my confidence in my car again on my time.
I will forever be grateful for how they stood by my side and subtly helped me to regain my mojo.
This is for them, my team – my family.
Guys – Let’s do this.
See you at the green flag August 4-6 🙂
Until the finish line.