After Action Report – Road America

Overview: A successful weekend, won the Triple Trofeo! Took P1 in class for the second sprint race, and the enduro! I came in one day early to work with David Murry, and then during practice the following day worked with Tom O’Gorman.

Goals and objectives: As has been the case this year my goal was to be consistent, and adaptable, and take what the track would give me. Particularly hard at this track in that it is 4..04 miles. The challenge turns 1, and 3 need to be driven perfectly every lap.

Analysis of outcomes: Road America is a big boy flow track, few technical sections, very high speed, it tested my ability to be consistent. David was able to help me find a theme, and technique that could be applied to every turn which netted a huge gain in lap times. I then spent time with Tom working through putting all the rest of the tenths of seconds together, ultimately shaving 7.5 seconds total off my lap time over the Test, and Turn, and practice sessions. The process I have adopted from David Murry, and Tom is to spend time reviewing video, after each session, taking notes, and walk into the next session with 2-3 areas of focus. Once, I am able to get consistent then pull data, and work through fine tuning adjustments, which at Road America was maintaining rolling speed through the corner, or not over braking. Both coaches gave incredibly thoughtful, and actionable feedback.

Analysis of the performance shown on critical tasks: Flew into Milwaukee on Thursday, then drove up to Plymouth, WI where I stayed. On Friday the weather was excellent starting in the 50’s and going up to low 80’s we ran 5 test, and tune sessions, where I netted a 5 second gain over last years lap times. Saturday morning was practice, with qualifying in the afternoon, working with Tom I was able to gain an additional 2.5 seconds over two practice session. The qualifying session was challenging, I tried something and it didn’t work. In qualifying we were going out under the green flag which means you can pass on the out lap. I tried to jump the field by passing all the cars in front of me while straddling the blend line, it was awesome I had the whole track to myself, unfortunately race control didn’t like it, and made me serve a stop, and go. After rolling through the pits, I had to find a gap we tried for one, didn’t work, rolled through the pits again to take out some tire pressure, and tried for another gap, and found one on the last lap, I was able to take P2 in qualifying bu 0.2 seconds.

On Sunday we had a warm-up, and two sprint races one in the morning, and one in the afternoon. In the first race two laps in, I made contact with one of my competitors which knocked me out of the race with a bent wheel. Charles from Gradient Racing heroically went over the entire car, fixed the bumper, and put smart strings on it, and got me back out for my second sprint race. In the second race I was able to pick up 6 positions in 5 laps starting P14, and finishing P8 overall, and P1 in the GTB1 class.

Monday had a warm-up session, and 90-minute Enduro scheduled for the afternoon. The weather continued to be excellent cool, and dry. We bought a new tire for my LF which was damage during the first sprint race, so that I had a decent set of tires for the 90-minute race. The Enduro race was later in the day, so I opted to go back to the hotel, and take a rest, came back to the track to watch the finish vintage group race, and grab lunch. My lap time during the second race qualified me for the pole position during the Enduro. There were a couple incidents during the race, one of them being very significant with a car rolling over outside of turn 8, this caused a black all where they cleared the track for 10 minutes, went back out with 3 laps remaining, and was able to maintain my position, and finished P1 in class.

Summary: I really had an incredible experience working with both David, and Tom. It has been critical for me to build up the language necessary to discuss the technique required to get the most out of the car. Working with two different coaches helped me to develop that language very quickly. Both Tom, and David gave me actionable, and measurable feedback, which I was able to translate into execution. I used iRacing extensively to prepare, running over 500 laps in simulation. I stuck with my process, watching video, taking notes, comparing telemetry after every day, picking small specific, and measurable goals, that supported my outcomes.

Recommendations: I need to take the technique that I learned while working with David of turning in earlier with slower hands on other tracks to see if that will help me carry more rolling speed through the corners. The technique that I worked on with Tom is being more intentional when the platform, and my feet are stable, I can be very decisive with my hands.

Keeping Focused, and Balanced

Family, work, racing, not necessarily always in that order, very hard to keep everything in balance. Over the last few weeks, I have prioritized getting ready for Road America, my race there is coming up over the Labor Day weekend, really looking forward to it. It’s been pretty tough to put it at the top of the list with all of the other responsibilities, and other activities I have going.

I had the opportunity to share some of my thoughts on this topic with Ross Bentley on his incredible speed secrets podcast this week.

Work has become increasingly demanding requiring more frequent travel, the partnership, sponsorship component of preparing for 2020 is a significant time investment, and the startup is gaining real traction with some exciting opportunities on the horizon. The near constant question I get is “when do you sleep?” Everything is a compromise.

I start by taking care of myself first, having a routine is the thing that helps me most, I guess I am a creature of habit, but breakfast, and training is how I start my day, when I am running, cycling, or swimming, I am able to organize my thoughts, and build a game plan for the day, it helps me get prepared, and regulates my mood, and anxiety level.

I have to focus on work through out the day, once I am home in the late afternoon, I make an effort to turn off technology, and spend time with my family, playing with the boys, making dinner, I love that we always sit down to have dinner together, and getting everybody ready for bed. Once the boys are in bed, I am able to have dedicated time for the startup, partnership, and work in the sim. On the weekends, time with my family is the priority, there are few opportunities during the afternoon, and evening to make progress on the startup, or work in on Road America.

Here is my method for working in iRacing, I am a big fan of data, so Virtual Racing School is a huge asset, I have a subscription that allows me to look at all of the data packs, and compare my times, with their excellent analytical tools. Additionally, I work with David Murry, and his webinars, he has a turn by turn breakdown of Road America that is incredibly detailed. I attempt to use the same approach for working in the sim, as I use when actually at the track, I take notes, look at video, and data, and then create a checklist of items to work on. This approach helps me feel prepared, and confident coming into the weekend. In addition to all of this preparation I have made it a goal for the season to work with a coach each weekend. I will be working with David on Friday, and Tom O’Gorman on Saturday.

A quick update on the partnership, and startup front, I was able to spend some time this week with Joe Speed from ADLink Technology, he has graciously offer the use of one of the NVIDIA Jetson Xavier DevKits, and Amit Goel from NVIDIA’s embedded team sent over a carrier, this is really going to accelerate the development of the models that we are running in the car.

#soufiyard

As usual things are pretty busy, was able to take a small break, and get to the track this last Friday night. Edge Addicts runs an awesome event called COTA Under the Lights that starts at 3pm, and runs until 11pm. It got dark around 9pm, and both Danny, and I were able to get a session in the dark, turn 7 is epic. We made some good memories!

My old computer died, need one to get ready for Road America. So I finally decided to upgrade, got some pretty good kit, makes for a nice workstation, and looks rad with blinkenlights too.

I have always been a big fan of AMD, went with a Threadripper 2, and a newer NVIDIA card, I usually try to buy the previous generation, or mid-level spec, and give myself room to upgrade. This machine has 32-core, and 32GB of memory with a 2070RTX. I can expand up to 128GB of memory, and add another 2070 in the future if I decide to do some more development outside of the cloud.

We continue to work on proposals for partnerships, hope to start closing the gap by the end of this month, will hopefully be able to share more soon on that front. Training has been going really well, stepped up to 4-days per week about a month ago, and have already dropped another 10Lbs.

After Action Report – Mid-Ohio

Overview: A clean sweep, took P1 in class all weekend, set the GTB1 track record, and won the worker’s choice award! I continued my approach of working with professional coaches, and was able to work with the exceptionally talented Tom O’Gorman.

Goals and objectives: My goal was to be consistent, and adaptable, and take what the track would give me. I knew I had a couple areas to work on from my time spent in iRacing.

Analysis of outcomes: Mid-Ohio is a fun track, with great flow, and cool technical section. Tom was able to help me find a lot of time through turns 4, and 9. We spent time reviewing video, taking notes, and then by the last practice session pulled data, and started making fine tuned adjustments to my braking, and turn-in. He gave me some incredibly thoughtful, and actionable feedback, that will help me regardless of the track.

Analysis of the performance shown on critical tasks: Flew in on Thursday, got the car, garage, registration, and tech inspection sorted. On Friday we had the practice sessions, and fun race. It rained on Friday afternoon, so we opted to skip the practice starts, as it is a high-risk, zero reward session. Saturday morning was qualifying, I was able to secure the pole position with the fastest lap running at a 1:32.0. I was able to lead race 1 from green to checker, and got really comfortable working my way through lap traffic, and was able to keep consistent lap times throughout. Race 2 I started on the pole again, and led again from start to finish, was able to get more experience working through traffic, and focus on my goals in Turn 4, and Turn 9.

Sunday morning it was dry, and cool, the perfect time to go for a lap record! We stuck with a set of scrubs that around 6-7 heat cycles. Went out with a little extra tire pressure so they would come in fast, and on the third lap, I put down a flyer, coming in at 1:31, nearly half a second faster than the previous lap record. The 75-minute Enduro race was later in the day, so I opted to go back to the hotel, and rest up. We needed to execute a perfect pit-stop, with fueling to maintain our position, with just me, and Brendon from Gradient. It went off flawlessly, the official even said “like a fine-tuned machine” My tires got better throughout, my lap times were consistent, and went down over the course of the race, and I finished in P1 at the checker.

Summary: I really had an incredible experience working with Tom, he went above, and beyond sending me personalized preparation materials. He gave me actionable, and measurable feedback, took the time to get into the data to help me fine tune, and then wrote up a very thoughtful set of notes. I used iRacing extensively to prepare, and attended the David Murry webinar. I stuck with my process, watching video, taking notes, comparing telemetry after the day, picking small specific, and measurable goals, that supported my outcomes. A highlight of the weekend was to work with the amazing Brendon Poulin from Gradient Racing, he is very professional, experienced, and was an immense help both in the car, and out.

Recommendations: I need to get more confident putting the power down, consistently as I track out, particularly in Turn 1, I need to work on faster hands, and being more decisive on turn-in.

What’s the crack

At the end of April when I got back from Road Atlanta, I put the finishing touches on my application for the Department of Transportation Small Business Innovation Research program. I focused on National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Automated Driving Systems (ADS) Test Data Interface. I have not revealed too much about what I have been working on but this may give you an idea. The SBIR program provides a Phase I grant of up to $150,000 to produce research, and a report on the topic, and opens the opportunity to pursue commercialization funding under Phase II of up to $500,000. Since I am attempting to bootstrap this is very attractive

I am continuing work on the development of a Vehicle Dynamic Simulation environment, having a discussion with Doug Milliken, I was able to get tire test data directly from Pirelli, which is an excellent development. I am in talks with IPG for large-scale testing, and was able to join MatLab Startup Program. Everything is moving in the right direction.

In other news, I am getting ready for Mid-Ohio, in a couple weeks this will be the second race for the Pirelli Triple Trofeo. I am planning to work with Tom O’Gorman while there so I can pick up the track quickly. Spending lots of time in iRacing, and going to participate in the David Murry webinar this coming week. Some really exciting news is that I am currently running 3rd in GTB1 nationally, which is pretty awesome!

I am working on putting together a GT4 program with Danny Soufi for 2020 to run in the SRO GT4 America. It will be a lot of work, trying to figure out how to get a bunch of sponsors onboard to help us fund the program, and working out how to get the car, looking at the 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport,

After Action Report – Road Atlanta

Overview: Another successful weekend, two podiums, qualified on the pole with the fastest laps all weekend! I was able to work with the incredible David Murry again, the work in iRacing really helped me pick up the track quickly.

Goals and objectives: My goal was to qualify in the top 5, then take what the track would give me, the weather conditions were going to play a big role in the outcomes for the weekend.

Analysis of outcomes: Road Atlanta is incredible, so much elevation change, a really fun flow track, my fastest, and favorite section was the S’s starting at turn 3. David Murry was able to help me find so much time through minor adjustments, he gave me some incredible advice, and feedback which really helped my confidence.

Analysis of the performance shown on critical tasks: I flew into Atlanta on Wednesday, then drove out to Gainesville, GA which about 20 minutes from Road Atlanta. On Thursday it was open track with lots of short sessions, between each session I would debrief with David Murry, go over video, take notes, and come up with some new goals for the next session. On Friday we had the PCA practice sessions, and fun race. Saturday morning was qualifying, I was able to secure the pole position with the fastest lap running at a 1:33.0. I fell behind in race 1 after about 5-6 laps, but we caught up to the back of the field, which allowed me to take advantage, and get back into second position, unfortunately that is when I had a tire blow out on my left rear. Race 2 I started on the pole again, fell back again, really needed to focus on Turn 7, I dropped into 4th position after a miscue during a local yellow, that quickly turned full course caution.

Sunday morning it rained like crazy, which I love! Was able to get out, and warm-up on slicks in the rain!! After some thunderstorm warnings, race control, and the scrutineers decided to move the race from 90 minutes to 60 minutes. It started to dry out over the course of the race, and I was able to get on the podium in P3.

Summary: I stuck with my process, watching video, taking notes, comparing telemetry after the day, picking small specific, and measurable goals, that supported my outcomes. I learned Road Atlanta very quickly, and was able to compete at the top of my class with very seasoned drivers. A big part of the weekend was to work with the amazing Rick Curtin, Gradient Racing Crew Chief, he has been doing this for a long time, and had tons of advice, and an excellent perspective, and attitude.

Recommendations: We need to look at a different tire size for the rear on my car, which will require some setup changes to the car, will likely do that over the summer, prior to Road America.

If you know, you know – T12