Race Car Coaches launches as service for drivers to find coaches

Photo courtesy of IMSA
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One of the joys in covering Ryan Dalziel throughout first his open-wheel and then sports car career over the last 15 or so years is that he’s found a way to keep himself in the game by way of his tenacity to secure a number of different rides and opportunities, and establish himself on both the domestic and international sports car scenes.

Dalziel, who this year competes full-time in both the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in the No. 2 Tequila Patron ESM Nissan Onroak DPi and in Pirelli World Challenge in the No. 2 CRP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, is now going to work to pay it forward to help drivers such as himself who’ve also carved out a place as a racing coach connect with other coaches, and to help fellow professionals have a singular landing place for drivers of all skill levels to seek them out.

Photo courtesy of IMSA

The result is Race Car Coaches, which Dalziel will launch this month at www.racecarcoaches.com.

It’s designed as a one-stop shop for drivers to find coaches, and is location-based. Coaches will be the site’s members, paying either a monthly ($30/month) or annual ($300/year) fee.

Dalziel explained more about the idea and the process behind it.

“One question I get asked a lot from guys I coach regularly is, ‘Do you know anyone in a certain location?'” Dalziel told NBC Sports. “The reason for that is, coaches want to make sure they’re available, but people may not want to pay for extra travel expenses, and that often doubles the fee of having a coach.

“So say, do I know anyone near Roebling Road Raceway in Savannah, Ga. or Watkins Glen? It got me thinking there wasn’t really an online location website for tracking and finding coaches. It’s in industries like golf, baseball and even the truck hauling business!”

With such a busy schedule himself, competing in both of North America’s top sports car series, he’s had to cut back on his own coaching schedule this year and winds up passing on potential clients to his “go-to guys” of drivers he trusts.

The goal for Race Car Coaches is to work to attract as many coaches to the site as possible in an effort to bring people together and cut out the middle man, so drivers and coaches can interact and negotiate directly for whatever makes the most sense for them.

“It’s only going to be as good as the people involved in it. If I have 1,000 coaches, of course I’m happy, but it makes everyone happy. The more content we have, the easier it is for a client to come on and make sure it looks legit,” he said.

“You don’t necessarily need to be a professional driver, and a lot of people were worried about that originally. A lot of coaches are drivers that were talented but never got the luck or opportunity to reach the pro level.

“So we’ll have a membership-based site. The coaches will be the members on the site. The membership fee gives them the ability to advertise their services on the site. They’ll upload coaching pictures. They will have their own page dedicated to them.”

Additionally, there is a 90 days free special promotion to coaches who sign up for the annual membership within the first week.

Dalziel has sought to make the site as simple to use and navigate as possible, cutting down on uncluttered pages and leaving it to where the first thing you do is type in the location within a certain mileage radius.

“For the clients, that will look to hire the coach, it’ll be simple and user friendly. So you can find the coaches by state. From there you contact them directly, connect the two parties and negotiate from there.”

Funnily, while ratings are a hot-button topic within the sports car world – there are four levels of driver rating in Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze and lineups are often determined by a driver’s rating – ratings will be key to the eventual growth and success of Race Car Coaches.

Morad and Dalziel paired for success in PWC. Photo: PWC

Dalziel plans to introduce a rating system so clients can rate the coaches. Similar to an app like Yelp, where users rate businesses which then helps other users determine whether to visit that business, a ratings system here will help prospective clients find the coach that best works for them.

“One thing we’ll plan to add down the road is a rating system,” Dalziel said. “The online world, whether in the food industry, airlines, or whatever else, everything revolves around ratings. It won’t be live initially because no one has been rated yet. But as we go down the road, Race Car Coaches will send a survey down the line to the client for the coach, give the ability to rank out of 5 stars.”

On another rating-related note, since most gentlemen drivers that get into sports car racing start with track days, Dalziel said part of the reason for creating the site is to build more of those. And those relationships often grow into full-time driver partnerships as these gentlemen drivers look to build their careers.

“Most pro race drivers especially in the sports car world, are very much used to working with teammates and coaching our teammates,” he said. “When you look at where most of the pro/am lineups come from, they generally come from relationships outside of pro racing that were developed in amateur, club racing or track days.”

In speaking with some of his mechanics, Dalziel said a similar type of finding opportunities catalogue was around in the 1990s, and it’s where many of his mechanics got their start in racing.

Dalziel is focused primarily on the sports car world for this project, at least initially, as it’s where the bulk of his career has been spent in North America. The next step after launching beyond the U.S. and Canada is planning to expanding to other countries, with a drop-down menu planned to adjust between countries.

With a desktop and mobile site, Dalziel does not plan to create an app for Race Car Coaches at the outset owing to the investment level. If a coach plans to stay outside their usual location – say in California or Florida for a couple weeks at a time in-between races – they can update their location and the site will update along with it. Previously, Dalziel said drivers’ social media accounts or websites were really the only ways to track location.

An entrepreneurial driver by nature, Dalziel learned well from his father’s successful real estate career and has sought to open as many possible doors as he could within the sport. He’s also an advocate for Rett Syndrome awareness; October is Rett Syndrome awareness month.

Photo courtesy of IMSA

Now 35, Dalziel also is building the site as a way to take that mindset to the next level as the Florida-based Scot begins to think about life after full-time driving. Not that he’s slowing down any; he’s re-signed with Tequila Patron ESM for 2018, his fifth season with Scott Sharp’s team.

“I think it comes from my dad. My dad was a successful businessman in real estate his whole life. One of the best compliments I got my whole life was from Scott Atherton, who called me a ‘go-getter.’ And that’s just the way the business is. You can’t sit back; you have to make it happen,” Dalziel said.

“I’d love to say I’m at my peak – probably – is it gonna get better? Probably not. I’d have to look at, being 35 years old, where’s my career and income 10-15 years from here?

“I love coaching but I do a lot of things for people, advice, for free. I love this industry, cars, track days as much as race cars. It’s a way to help out. If it works great, if it doesn’t, I tried to connect people to help understand the business better.

“It’s a cool idea; it’s never been done before. I’m a little nervous because it’s a little outside my comfort zone and I spend most of my life racing cars. My dad was in real estate. I know the racing and real estate worlds but I’ve never really stepped outside the box too much!

“I think there’s a market for it that no one’s touched yet.”

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Coach example: Ryan Dalziel’s page

 

NEOM McLaren Racing Formula E and Ian James set to race ahead of electric motorsports’ curve

James McLaren Formula E
NEOM McLaren Racing Formula E Team
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As Formula E enters their ninth season and McLaren Racing is set to compete in last year’s championship winning car, Ian James is passionate about pushing electric motorsports forward at a critical stage as race technology begins surpassing that of the street cars.

Midseason, McLaren acquired the assets of the Mercedes-EQ team as they were already on their way to winning a second consecutive championship. With those assets in place and coming off a successful debut in the Extreme E series, James is set to usher in a new era in electric car racing.

Last week’s announcement that Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast behind the wheel of the NEOM McLaren Racing Formula E Team was the last piece of the puzzle.

McLaren’s electric portfolio is building with the Formula E team coming one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour. There were a lot of lessons to learn in that series with growing pains during the first three of five rounds. Rounds 4 and 5 were a completely different matter with the team crossing the finish line first in Chile before being assessed a time penalty.

In the final round in Uruguay, they scored an elusive podium.

“McLaren kicked off the season in Extreme E at the beginning of this year, so our first [electric] race took place Neom, actually out in Saudi,” NEOM McLaren Racing Formula E Team Principal James told NBC Sports. “At the time, we were in very early discussions about opportunities with the Formula E team. I actually went out there to meet with Zak [Brown, CEO McLaren Racing] and that was my first taste of Extreme E.

“Since the transition, I joined them in Chile in Atacama Desert, and then Uruguay last weekend. [The second-place finish was] a lovely way to round out the season. The fact that they got that podium. It was very well deserved. It’s a great team and a great series actually. It’s just so very different from anything else. The team’s done a great job in getting set up, and it’s nice now to, we’re trying to use that momentum that we’ve got from Uruguay to get us into next season when it kicks off next year, which will be great. I think we’re mid-March is looking like the first race, so a little bit of time to get things prepped for that.”

 

James McLaren Formula E
The NEOM Mclaren Racing Formula E Team was created through the acquisition of last year’s championship team from Mercedes-EQ. – NEOM McLaren Racing Formula E Team

Synergies exist between the single seater and rally series. Lessons learned about battery power and sustainability in the electric SUV carry over so long as one is mindful of keeping focus on the individual needs and nuances of each series.

Especially now that electric racing technology has caught up, and is ready to surpass, the existing technology that has gone into building street cars.

When internal combustion engines gained the upper hand soon after automobiles were invented, racing paced alongside. The pressure of competition pushed the development of their commercial equivalents. The same has not necessarily been true of electric cars. Street cars were not designed to undergo the same stress as racecars – and that vulnerability showed up on the racetrack.

“Formula E has come along a long way,” James said. “I think one of the most notable developments is in the battery technology. In Gen 1, you had the drivers jumping from one car to another car midrace because the battery technology and capacity simply wasn’t where it needed to be to do the full distance. That obviously changed in Gen 2 and we saw a power increase as well to the 250 kilowatts.

“Now going to Gen 3, we have 350 kilowatts in a smaller battery. But that means that we’re relying on the regeneration of energy and for that reason, we’ve got also the opportunity to regenerate on the front axle as well as the rear axle now. So, there’s all sorts of things that are developing in the right direction.

“In terms of throttle response, actually, we’re now in a situation with electric racing and the motors that it’s instantaneous. And one of the advantages of electric over combustion engine is that the torque is instantaneous as well, so that gives you a lot more room to play with.”

No matter the power source, racing has always been about resource management. Drivers and teams select tire strategies they believe produce the fastest elapsed time and fuel conservation comes into play.

On one hand, electric racing is the same, but there is a critical difference. With the battery as both the power source and an integral part of the engine, there are multiple reasons to manage it.

In electric racing, the brain of the car is the software – and that is where James sees the greatest room for advancement.

“As we are working with our drivers and engineers – and start to look at functionality to improve our efficiency and our performance, that’s something we’ll continue to push because that development is open throughout the season,” James said. “That’s going to be our focus going forward and provides enough of a challenge for us to get our teeth into.

“What’s going to be fascinating is as Formula E continues, is to really look at which areas of development on the car are going to be the most relevant and ensuring that we can focus on those together with the manufacturers so we continue and use the series as a platform for technical development that can then feed back into the road car side of things as well.

“At the end of the day, that’s what motorsports always been, a very powerful tool for, and I see Formula E as no exception.”

James McLaren Formula E
Jake Hughes and Rene Rast were chosen for their ability to drive fast and execute the necessary strategy for energy management. – NEOM McLaren Racing Formula E Team

Selecting Rast and Hughes as McLaren’s Formula E drivers was not simply because they know how to drive fast. James believes both drivers have the mental aptitude to execute energy management strategies throughout the race and squeeze maximum performance.

“As with many other motorsports, you’ve got a certain amount of energy that you’re able to deploy during the race and the management of that energy is absolutely crucial,” James said. “What we’re seeing typically in electric motorsports now is the hardware side of things. The efficiencies that we’re seeing in the powertrain as a whole, they’re getting up to the sort of 96%, 97%, 98% efficiency, so the gains that you get through that further and further become more marginal.”

With much more room for improvement, software is a different matter. To make the best decisions, the drivers need data, and that is where James believes McLaren Formula E will make their greatest impact.

“And then you really switch that focus to the software and that’s where you’re going to see the most the most improvement and the most gains,” James continued. “It’s then using that software to ensure that you’re deploying the energy in the most efficient manner during race, and thereby giving the driver the most performance. And that’s something which is incredibly complicated, but I find it a fascinating area to work in.

“The benefit of being involved in racing is you can really push the envelope in a way that you can’t do on road cars. And I think that that’s where that value comes in. It means that you accelerate the development a lot quicker. We will get ahead of the curve – and we are getting ahead of the curve now – and that will mean that the electric motorsports remain part of the overall development process.

“The key to that is also making sure that the racing’s exciting and fun for the fans. If we can, we can tick both of those boxes, then it’s got a very bright future ahead of it.”