Everything you need to know before getting started in Formula Vee
This week John Ross Delahunt shares his learnt advice for newcomers in Formula Vee. Delahunt shares his technical tips and tricks that he has learnt in his first year of the sport. What you should know before you start, where you can source a Vee and more. All of this advice is both first hand and learnt from other drivers in the Irish Formula Vee community – if you follow this advice you should have as few issues as possible when joining the class and get an advantage on other rookies that may be starting the 2018 season.
Some advice I would give to someone starting in Vee’s:
Sourcing a good car:
At the start of the season make sure you’ve got a good car, make sure you’ve got a good engine, make sure everything is running perfectly – before you even start.
Sourcing a good car, you can go to the formula vee.ie website and go to the ‘classifieds’ section and see who’s selling a front running Vee. If you can afford to get one, definitely get a good car.
Watch lots of onboards:
Watch a lot of onboards as well, watch loads of onboards! Go to YouTube and type in: “Mondello Park Onboard Footage”, make sure obviously you get a good driver. Watch them on your phone, so when you’re at a test session, in between test sessions watch onboard footage and try to emulate what other drivers are doing.
Get a simulator:
Really have a good knowledge of the track layout. I downloaded a simulator – ‘Rfactor’, you can download it online, there’s a community where you can download different tracks. It actually has Mondello Park, which was rendered from a video game back in the day, but it’s basically the exact same, it is Mondello Park. I had a ‘Logitech’ steering wheel and the set up for simulator racing and definitely spent a lot of time on that.
You can download the Mondello Park track from Rfactor’s website here
What you should know about the wet:
Each test session that I was in the conditions can always change. Probably the most daunting thing for a new driver is the wet. I know at the start of the year in March, it was wet and it was really new to me. I didn’t enjoy the wet that much at the start of the year but then towards the later stages of the year I actually started enjoying it.
So, experiment, improvise, try to look for the grip – which parts of the track are giving you the most grip. You can do that in test sessions, make sure you’re spread out from other drivers. That’s how I started enjoying it, because I knew that when, every time I go out – So, ok, I can take this turn this way, change the line a bit, brake here, brake a bit earlier obviously. Try to improvise as much as you can on test sessions and you’ll definitely find your lap times improving. It gives you a really good gist of the racing lines that you should be taking.
Check out this video for advice on racing in the wet.
A wet lap at Mondello Park’s International Circuit:
Ross Bentley – Speed Secrets:
I had a book by Ross Bentley, it’s called ‘Speed Secrets’. I used to take that to the track with me and it has pointers and notes that you can reference to when you’re driving in test sessions. Just have a look at those, make an analysis of what lines you’re taking, where you can improve.
You can check out Ross Bentley’s YouTube channel for further tips and tricks.
Awareness. Have a very good awareness of what’s going on around you, where other drivers are. Set yourself up that you can avoid an incident if it does happen. There’s maybe one or two people who spin out in front of you in a race, that happens all the time. So, really concentrate on your awareness. I know it’s important to focus on the lines you’re taking and your gear changes and perfect braking and everything like that, but, it’s more important – especially in a race, be ready for people to spin out. Have an awareness of where everyone else is, so that you can act on it, if there is someone to spin out in front of you.
Why it’s important to have awareness:
That’s basically the gist of what you should know before you start the season and that’s the advice I can give.
If you have any further advice or pointers please leave them in the comments!
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