Serving to British expertise within the face of COVID-19

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That is my third yr as programme director of the British Racing Drivers’ Membership’s SuperStars programme, and I’m actually happy with the drivers we’ve chosen. It’s at all times a pleasure to see new expertise obtain success and to welcome them onto the programme.

Harry King, Jonny Edgar, Ben Tuck, and Zak O’Sullivan all did exceptionally effectively final yr and can profit from the sort of private consideration and steering they’ll obtain as BRDC SuperStars. I’m additionally joyful to proceed working with our 9 returning SuperStars. Ash Sutton, Sandy Mitchell, Phil Hanson and Tom Gamble all gained titles in 2020, and Dan Ticktum and Callum Ilott are each on the cusp of Method 1.

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Jake Hill, Dan Harper and 2020 Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Award winner Johnathan Hoggard are additionally again, and I’m actually eager to see how they get on this season – you by no means cease studying and we hope to proceed their improvement in 2021.

We’re nonetheless below the restrictions of COVID-19, and this has meant we’ve needed to adapt our manner of doing issues to make sure the programme continues to supply the assistance and assist our SuperStars want. Everybody needed to change so much final yr and learn to stay with the pandemic, and it was no totally different for the SuperStars.

We began off effectively with a improbable launch day at Silverstone, the place we unveiled that yr’s drivers, launched them to the media, and acquired them out on monitor giving scorching laps the place they may start to construct relationships with journalists that cowl their actions, which went down very well with everybody concerned.

Johnathan Hoggard drove Red Bull Racing’s RB8 at Silverstone last year after winning the 2019 Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award.

Johnathan Hoggard drove Crimson Bull Racing’s RB8 at Silverstone final yr after successful the 2019 Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Younger Driver of the Yr Award.

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Sadly, just some days after the launch, the true nature of COVID-19 grew to become obvious and we discovered ourselves below lockdown, with all deliberate occasions for the season cancelled. We had been, for instance, planning to go to some centre of excellence coaching services so the drivers might see how athletes in different sports activities put together and practice.

There was no racing by any means for a while and even when it picked again up, I used to be unable to go to circuits to assist our SuperStars, however we used it as a chance for the programme to take a look at how we might adapt and assist the drivers in different methods.

“These elite drivers are the highest 13 within the nation so they’re all clearly good, therefore why they’re on the programme, however what’s attention-grabbing to me is that they will all nonetheless develop and study” Andy Meyrick

The lockdown did give us time, because the drivers who had been usually racing everywhere in the world had been all at dwelling, so we had been in a position to sit down and work on their strengths and weaknesses via bespoke, on-line coaching programmes. Every driver might log in to programs and preserve bettering themselves and I believe that was vital from each health and basic sharpness factors of view.

The SuperStars used the time to study new abilities, so some discovered extra about knowledge, the best way to use a simulator and talk with engineers and enhance their driving. Some went on media coaching and PR programs, some on sponsorship acquisition programs; these types of issues assist enhance their skillsets.

The best way that we’d usually run the programme is that we maintain staff occasions all year long that allow all of the drivers to get collectively. It’s one thing we’ll reintroduce when the time is correct this yr as I believe that’s vital to construct camaraderie between the drivers. We’ve drivers on the programme from very totally different points of the game, from touring vehicles to sportscars and single-seaters, as effectively them being totally different ages, so it’s good for them to get collectively and profit from cross-developmental studying. By working collectively, they will enhance each other and study issues from one another.

Callum Ilott celebrates winning the FIA F2 feature race at Silverstone in 2020.

Callum Ilott celebrates successful the FIA F2 function race at Silverstone in 2020.

Photograph by: Motorsport Images

These elite drivers are the highest 13 within the nation so they’re all clearly good, therefore why they’re on the programme, however what’s attention-grabbing to me is that they will all nonetheless develop and study. Nonetheless, there are particular issues that one driver may want that one other doesn’t, and people particular person wants are very, crucial to think about, so an enormous a part of the programme is that I tackle a mentoring and efficiency administration position the place I’m in fixed communication with drivers. We analyse how they’re getting on, what areas they will enhance in, after which we herald coaches to assist them within the areas that may be improved.

Some drivers will go on Rob Wilson-style programs, a few of them have gone on programs to grasp automobile dynamics, a few of them have gone on media coaching programs, and a few of them are on diet programs. I actually suppose it’s an enormous a part of their training, and it’s vital that it’s accomplished individually and never simply adopting a one-size-fits-all method. I believe it’s acquired to be a combination between staff occasions and that particular person bespoke studying.

We are able to carry ahead so much from how we tailored to final yr’s restrictions into this season. We’ll be certain that drivers proceed to work to remain sharp. The delayed begin to the 2021 season is not any motive to let their foot off the loud pedal. The psychological well being facet of issues has actually come into focus not too long ago, and drivers must preserve themselves motivated to guarantee that they’re mentally and bodily ready for when the season begins.

I’m assured that we can return to regular by the top of the yr, however till then we’ll proceed to search out one of the best methods doable to assist our 13 SuperStars to make sure they obtain most success for the membership, in addition to themselves.

Ash Sutton celebrates after winning the 2020 British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch.

Ash Sutton celebrates after successful the 2020 British Touring Automotive Championship at Manufacturers Hatch.

Photograph by: Jakob Ebrey

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