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When we drive around a circuit we are constantly drawing on and using a vast amount of information (data) that is provided both by our memory and by our senses (visual, feel and balance).  This information is then processed automatically by our unconscious (our autopilot) and the output from this dictates how we use the steering wheel, brake and throttle.  From this we can see that our performance level is pretty much dictated by the quality of data that we store in our memory, the quantity and quality of the visual data that we receive through our eyes, the real time feedback we get from our senses, the effect of our self preservation instinct, the quality of our driving software (our technique) and the speed at which we can process all of this information.

The following are the key faculties of the brain that we use when we drive:

1.      Memory – Unless we are at a new circuit everything that we have done before is stored in our memory:  the approximate shape of the corner, the approximate speed of the corner, the kerbs that can be used and those that can’t.  We will also remember what has worked for us and what has not.   

Enhancing the data stored in our memory:  We can improve our memory by writing detailed notes about a circuit every time we drive it.

2.      Visual Data - Unlike our memory which is historical data, visual data is real time information about the specific co-ordinates of the corner and the rate at which they are approaching as we go through the complete cornering process.   

Enhancing our visual data:  We can enhance our visual data by deciding before we drive what are the key vision coordinates of each corner.

3.      Feedback Sensors - Put simply these are the feelings we get from our body when we are approaching / exceeding the limit. They are provided by our muscles and nerves together (touch/feedback) with the balance response we get from our inner ear.  Enhancing the feedback from our senses:  To ensure that our feedback sensors are working at their best you must remain relaxed in the car (arms and hands) so as not to mask the subtle information that our senses provide as you approach the limit.

4.      Self-Preservation Instinct - Our self-preservation instinct is one of our essential senses and its purpose is to stop us from doing anything that may kill or injure ourselves and it can have a huge impact on our personal performance.  Put simply it is the instinct that makes us feel uncomfortable, it controls how much we push… or not as the case may. 

Pacifying your self-preservation instinct:  It is important to understand that the power of your self-preservation instinct varies with your state of mind, your intention and your self-belief.  If you are cautious or scared you enhance its power. When you are prepared, technically competent, you have good vision, you are relaxed and confident you pacify it. 

5.      Software system – Your software system is your technique.  When you first started racing, your software was a very simple programme.  Every time you trained, practiced or raced, your software system evolved and as  you found out what worked and what didn’t, your software system continued to evolve... and continues to evolve each and every time you train or drive. 

Developing your software:  When practicing and learning, whilst you are driving, it is essential that you practice the right things in the right way as incorrect technique will corrupt your software and it is very difficult to overwrite poor programming once it has been practiced over and over again.

6.      Processor Speed – We need to be aware of the fact that our brain operates in two very different modes.  The conscious (thinking) mind and the unconscious, non-thinking or autopilot mind and the two different modes process information at two vastly different rates.  There is no formal agreement on how fast the conscious mind processes but some studies suggest it processes at about 6,000 bits of information per second which is quite impressive but not as impressive as a the unconscious mind which processes at up to 600,000 bps.

Enhancing your processor speed:  Well practiced (through relentless repetition) and well prepared drivers who know their method, have self belief and are able to focus 100% percent on the task in hand, rather than just trying harder and over-driving, are far more likely to engage their high speed unconscious mind.



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