There's a saying in racing: 'when you crash, get back into a race car as soon as possible, because the longer you wait, the harder it is to get over.' Racers have to have a short memory. In order to push to the very edge of grip, and to find speed that no one else has, a driver can't be worried about the consequences of going over that limit.
I'm weeks away from getting back into a race car for the first time in 18 months. Even now that's a scary thing to think about, because the last time I was in a race car, I crashed.
"If you Google My Name,
You'll Find the Crash"
My last time competing was a year and a half ago in Monaco (Monte Carlo), and it resulted in one of the most spectacular crashes in Renault 2.0 history. If you Google my name, you'll find the crash. The rain was torrential, and just laps after my crash the race was cancelled being deemed "unsafe to race." Even half the Formula 1 field crashed out of their race just hours later. Crashes were nearly unavoidable. Regardless, I performed terribly and in racing, "You're only as good as your last race."
Racing is a risky business, a fact that should be accepted by all members of the industry before entering it. Things don't work out 100% of the time. Even Quadruple world champion Lewis Hamilton encounters events on and off track, entirely out of his control. What makes a champion is the ability to face adversity with consistency and confidence. The ability to keep momentum, bounce back and get everything back in place as soon as possible because there's always another race around the corner. As an aspiring champion, I have to be prepared for anything that comes my way, and I wasn't.
After Monaco 2016, I was not prepared to pick up and fix the broken pieces and come back stronger than before. It would be my last race in Europe, and I did not have enough funding to get back into the car immediately. This is what's different about how I am preparing for my 2018 race season.
The maiden F3 America's season is around the corner, and it is imperative that I get into the car as much as possible before the start of, and during the season. Strangely enough, as each potential test day approaches, it still feels too soon. After working late-night delivery for a year, I still only have enough funding for a few days of driving, and there are still too many variables that need to be solidified before I can take full advantage of my time in a race car.
Getting in the car and performing is not my only job. Challenging as it is, there are many other components of my career that I need to balance--and it's in these components that most of the variables exist. Sure I need to be physically and mentally prepared for my time in the car. I also have to be financially prepared. I have to have my sponsors, website, social media, and business prepared.
I keep open communication with my existing partners and, after the 2017 Professional Racing Industry trade show, I have a collection of new potential partners to keep updated. I just finalized my merchandising and event proposals along with my financial matrix detailing my expenses and funding for the year, and one goes out to each of my sponsors.
After I sort the responses and I establish that I will be getting back into the car, I will need decals and logos for the car and suit along with a potential full livery/ paint job. I am preparing press releases announcing my new and existing partners before the test so that I can use any video footage, photos and other media to our advantage.
I also maintain my fitness and driving skill through physical and simulation training.
I fund my career by finding new potential clients for each of my sponsors and collect a commission on any business that is created. The best way to find new clients is to form new relationships and every relationship starts with a conversation.
What better way to break the ice than with my racing career? With discussions of new and recent testing and results, videos of me on track, blogs and social posts about my racing and merchandise with my sponsors logos?
Sure, I am itching to get back in the car but, I must have all these off track pieces in place before I turn my attention to my on track performance. It's difficult to break the ice with the discussion of racing if I'm not prepared to share the experience with recent and exciting material. After all a driver cannot prove his abilities without the funding to get onto a race track.
The way I will be able to afford the season is by taking full advantage of every opportunity I have. The way I will be able to win the championship is to have the luxury of focusing purely on my development as a driver during the
season. To do this, I must be sufficiently prepared in every area of my career. Once I am, I can turn my focus to my driving and you will see me in the car.