After 14 years experience within motorsport as a racing driver I have been able to acquire an ARDS (Association of Racing Drivers School) Instructors licence through the Silverstone Racing School as detailed in a previous post. Having now held the licence for a period of 2 and a half years I have been able to share my driving knowledge and experience with a multitude of clients in various vehicles from Silverstone’s racing fleet. With cars available ranging from Renault Clios to V10 Audi R8s, it is important for me to be versatile and to adapt my instruction to suit the various power and grip levels on offer. My ability to lead has also been tested, as any defiance of instruction by a client would endanger both those in my car and the other cars on track at the time.
It has been a very enjoyable and gainful experience so far as an instructor at Silverstone. It had heightened and sharpened my interpersonal skills; because by representing such a prestigious name as Silverstone I have to ensure my approach is as professional and welcoming as possible. Being out on track itself presents a very different challenge to being in the driver’s seat myself. In the little time I have prior to going out on track, I have to assess the individual drivers and their experience/ability, so that I can adapt my instruction to suit. I have learned to keep instructions as clear, calm and concise as possible as not to overload the customer with unnecessary information. After all this is only a driving ‘experience’ for them and they are not a racing driver looking for every tenth of a second out on track!
It is rewarding to see the smiles on people’s faces after they pull into the pits and the adrenalin rush subsides. I don’t think I have ever had a customer who has answered my question of ‘So how was it?’ with anything other than a positive response. It gives you satisfaction when you hear little snippets of praise for your ability and awareness, which lets you know that you must be doing a decent job! My skill set has expended extensively thanks to the opportunity given to me by Silverstone, and I plan to continue in my role at the track in order to improve further as a race instructor.