Joey Hand vacates the online driving instructor seat to Kanaan after fielding two dozen questions from neophytes the past two weeks. Among the topics discussed were the high- and low-speed cornering characteristics of his DTM car compared to his ALMS ride; the role the driver’s personal sensors – fingers, back, butt – play in the constant risk/reward evaluation; comparing ways a driver “gets into the zone” before a race – different routines work for different drivers; comparing the left-foot and right-foot braking techniques with specific comments on fuel economy; discusses the many aspects of driver development and preparation with emphasis on staying motivated to achieve progress.
In evaluating options on the ladder, Hand advises taking the best opportunity available at a given time – every experience is beneficial in some way; about simulators – evaluate what sims can do for you and what they can’t do and use them accordingly; evaluating what’s your spotter/crew chief/engineer is telling you on the radio; starting in karts it’s best to go with a clutch drive and low power so you learn the art of maintaining momentum – tackling more powerful shifter karts too soon can lead to bad habits; learning a new track as a novice can involve sims or YouTube videos or simply studying a track map, whatever is available; getting a ride at an advanced age, like 50+; if you’re starting from scratch, then try indoor karting, then outdoor karting then a karting school – to advance you must be quick and win at every level.
Hand describes open-wheel cars as stiffer with more downforce while sportscars slide and lean more; to be a BMW Performance Center instructor requires not only advanced driving skills but also an ability to teach; be yourself when talking to a potential sponsor; discussion of reeling in an out-of-control racecar; gave impressions of the Nordschleife at the Nurburgring – as a passenger; discusses understanding the relationship of the tire to the surface; for late bloomers, it’s all about making connections and mastering your craft – two aspects you’re behind in; and finally teaching advanced students “feel” for braking can be done with dramatic variations in tire pressure or the installation of a very stiff front bar – quite succinct explanation here.
On a personal level, Hand‘s switch from open-wheel to sports cars was simply a matter of opportunity as were most of his upward movements as a race driver – capitalizing on opportunity. Hand first year in DTM was an intense learning situation where everything from the race tracks and cars to the food and environs were new to him. On the street, Hand is on high alert and quite reserved and he drives what M-class BMW gives him.