Whether you’re a seasoned hot shoe or a green-horned beginner, chances are, at some point in your journey to the track, you’ve considered attending a driving school, tried to glean tips from a veteran racer, employed a driving coach or been assigned an instructor at a track day to help you improve your craft. While many of these tactics are helpful in getting up-to-pace, they have their shortcomings.
A few years back, pro driver Kai Goddard surveyed the driving instruction landscape, and noticed a need for improved high-performance driver education (HPDE). There weren’t many coaching services with a personal touch or individual focus, or if there were, they were difficult to find unless you knew someone who knew someone. Many of the existing offerings required students to visit a distant track for instruction and if you were able to attend a school, you probably had to split instructor time with other students and work in an unfamiliar car. If you were assigned an instructor at a track day, while they were probably a good driver with plenty of experience, the chances are they were doing it to get discounted or free track time and driver instruction was not their profession.
Goddard also observed numerous preventable incidents at open track days. Over time, he found that many of these accidents had a common cause – they were the result of poor driver education as well as a general lack of understanding of vehicle dynamics, especially when it came to the operation of high-performance vehicles. Goddard thought that an accessible, personalized, one-on-one coaching service could be the solution to fill the void. Even better, one that could bring the coaches to the driver, rather than the other way around. So, in 2019, he founded Track Rekord. The high-touch, tailored solution pairs driver and coach at their track of choice.
Factoring in discipline, pedigree, and location, matches are made by Godard and his business partner at Track Rekord, Steve Kimpton, from a growing roster of 26 vetted coaches with experience from numerous pro racing series, including Indy Lights, NASCAR, IMSA, SRO and USAC. “We’re really proud of the team that we’ve assembled.” says Goddard. “ We feel there is a huge difference in the combined level of experience of our coaches and others out there. In 2021 alone, we worked with students at 23 different tracks around the country.”
Additionally, the choice of track plays big into the success of the student. Allowing the driver to select a track or organized event caters to their schedule and comfort level. “You don’t have to get on an airplane to attend a school or meet your coach.” Kimpton adds. “Drivers can work with a Track Rekord coach locally, at the track where they typically spend most of their time in their own car.”.You don’t have to be a member of a private club to use Track Rekord’s services either, their coaches accompany students to track day events all over the country.
“Our ultimate goal is to make our students quicker, keep them safe, and show them a good time at their preferred track wherever that may be” says Kimpton. Track Rekord’s coaches employ a variety of methods to help students achieve their potential, such as reference laps set by the coach in the student’s car, lead-follow on track, in-car instruction, radio communication, video analysis, virtual coaching and simulator work. There is a strong reliance on data acquisition and analysis, something that is facilitated with GPS-based technology that can easily be installed in the student’s car. Driver and coach may spend as much time off-track analyzing video and and data as they do in the car. According to Goddard, the coach’s duties are as just as important away from the track as they are at the track: “Our coaches spend much more than just the time at the track with a driver. The time devoted to preparation ahead of time and debriefing after the instruction the time on track is a big factor in a successful relationship with the student.”
Understanding driver needs and providing appropriate feedback is incredibly important, so Track Rekord doesn’t a rigid curriculum or fixed lesson plan. Instead, each plan is developed by the coach for the individual student, based on their specific needs, experience, and discipline. “There are so many track day coaches who are set in their ways, and don’t listen to the driver,” says Goddard. “Drivers come to us and we often have to undo a lot of bad habits and incorrect technique before they can really start to learn.” Kimpton adds “We focus on the relationship with the client – listening to them and understanding how thy learn is key to a successful partnership”.
In addition to personalized one-on-one coaching, Track Rekord also offers virtual and small group coaching, provides race driver development programs, as well as offering precision and stunt driving services and can also run exclusive track events. Regardless of the discipline or disposition, Track Rekord has the keys you need to improve your driving skills.
For more information, visit, www.trackrekord.com.