Taming Those Wild Horses

By: Frank Carlone

Learning to tame, keeping in check, controlling those horses is the name of the game. Of course the word "game" is used loosely here. Perhaps at this early stage of the learning process it is very likely misused. One must keep in mind that the initial learning phases are indeed critical to the overall learning process; better known as Car Control. Once the Car Control phase has been fully accomplished, then perhaps calling high-speed driving a game and describing it as fun may be more appropriate; but not before.

Learning to control one's emotions, especially after your helmet has been strapped on, is probably the most difficult task, and one which requires a lot of personal discipline. The next priority is to fully understand one's own driving abilities (limitations). And here, I would like to mention that, a not-so-honest person at a decent driving school will be embarrassed! Since he/she may be asked to negotiate a chicane at a minimum speed over slick paint or soapy water; neither very easy to do. Also the vehicle and its tire's potential must be fully understood and appreciated in that order. Mastering the whole system is similar to working on solving a very complex puzzle without a time limit. Some people are able to complete the puzzle a lot faster and with less effort than others. However, one needs to understand that once the puzzle has been completed it looks pretty much the same regardless of how much time and effort was used. There are no penalties for extra time and effort spent. It should be very obvious that it does not pay to rush! The best way to progress is placing one piece at a time properly. You cannot simply throw a bunch of pieces together and hope that they fall in their respective places, neither will your driving skills improve better, nor faster should you try to rush yourself. As a matter of fact, more often than not, this approach will prove to be counterproductive.

At first, you should convince yourself that you are not at a track or anywhere near a racing facility at all! But instead are just cruising on your favorite, get-away-from-it-all, road. Secondly, you are not at a race track to race, but merely to become more proficient and more comfortable with your driving skills, and with your equipment. You, above all, must become very comfortable and relaxed with your present level of driving before you can advance to a higher, and more skillful level. Most fears, and we all have them, must be conquered and subdued, prior to moving on. Remember...

The puzzle can only be solved correctly by placing one piece of it at a time. Your real progress can only be accomplished by making certain that you are giving yourself the necessary time for a gradual improvement. It would be very unwise to seek short cuts, because, there aren't any!

Following a similar argument... it is not simply enough to get track time or seat time, as some choose to call it, but rather quality track time and quality seat time, and (make no mistake) one needs to clearly understand the difference!

It is very unlikely for a college graduate to try and solve an elementary puzzle. A well known author, Carroll Smith, once wrote, "it is senseless and wasteful to just drive around a race track without a real plan or purpose".....Until next time!

About the author: Frank Carlone is the Southwest Region?s Competition Chairman and an experienced driver. If you know Frank, you know he is adamant that Ferrari owners should be proficient drivers. The Ferrari driving experience is incomplete without ever "dancing on the edge." Frank reminds us that it's a social responsibility to learn how to drive safely and maintain control, especially with our growing new membership and many upcoming track and closed-road events.