Thread: School Question
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Old 04-23-2018, 01:47 AM
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Re: School Question

Originally Posted by jsphyang View Post
Side-track question..

I'm wondering how the instructors are assigned to different students.
I'd assume that all instructors are experienced and well rounded but I'm sure some have more experience in a certain drive type (FWD/RWD/AWD).
Ideally I'd like to be paired with an instructor who has extended amount of seat time on the track in FWD cars.
It's a good question. I'm not as skilled with pairing as our current chief instructor, but I've done the job in the past. We have X number of students and Y number of instructors with U in FWD, V in RWD, and W in AWD. How do we pair them up?

There is no one formula that works, but here's a few thoughts.

What is the student looking for and what do they need most? If they're already on the class podiums at CSCS and OTA, we're down to fine-tuning and we need an instructor tuned into details like minute tire lock-ups, the butt sense for tire slip angles front and rear, how much curb the driver and vehicle can handle, what seems to be compensation for setup rather than just poor inputs, etc. Maybe they'll be able to detect and recommend some setup changes or highlight speed limitations in the setup? And several dozen other little things all while watching the driver's inputs for perhaps a slightly quick turn in that's causing a fractional loss of front tire grip on entry, or leaving some weight transfer potential on the table? The student's level is usually step one in finding an instructor.

Next, there's a safety issue. The instructor has to be comfortable delivering instruction at the pace of the student and their car's potential. Knowing what to do at enhanced speed, with advanced aero, anticipating the student's thoughts, and being able to communicate cautionary instructions for a car/driver potential of sub 1:35 laps at GP track is different than doing so at T3 class laptimes. There are many brilliant and capable champions who instinctively execute the right inputs to the controls but can they anticipate, and verbally communicate a correction in the time a skilled student in a Viper ACR needs?

How are the personalities going to match up? All of our instructors have the experience to read a student and try to adapt to how the student processes. Landmarks, other visual clues, auditory, soft-spoken/loud, natural or learned talent, do they need the details of the "why" before they trust you or even comprehend what you're asking for, have they had a recent incident, have they had multiple incidents, do they have another field of reference like karting or rally, etc. Is the instructor bold and boisterous and the student pensive and soft spoken? Is the student harsh in inputs and in need of someone who is super smooth to correct them?
Although instructors can adapt based on a questionnaire and pre-track briefing, it's often best to look for people of similar mindsets and sometimes intentionally different styles.

Somewhere thereafter comes drivetrain experience. Many of our instructors already have a variety of vehicle ownership history and are comfortable jumping into anything and providing guidance. Certainly, we have specialists, but there are other factors that are more critical.

Feel free to Email the Chief Instructor (Scott) what you feel has worked best for you in past schools and what hasn't worked well for you with us or other organizations.

Stephen, SPDA VP, OTA Director, CCC Member
OTA: SGT1 ! -=- CSCS: SSA #842
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