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Teaching Moment - Part 2 (The Art of Instructing)

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Looks like there was a 3-day PCA event at Thunderhill this weekend.  Saw this on another site.  The driver, who won his SCCA Region in ITA last year, who obviously has a track day or two, made an admitted MAJOR mistake, missing a Red Flag.  He says he missed one, the Instructor says three.  Haven't seen the follow up video for clarification.

Anyways, the driver of the 2019 GT3 RS was told he had to have a re-check ride with the Lead Instructor after such a big mistake.  The driver goes out there and runs what he thought was an Advanced Class pace.  Watch the video and judge was he hammering on it too much for such a ride along, not enough, etc.  You can also pass judgement on the deamenor before, during, and after of the Instructor.

For those of use not schooled in Psychology, I had to look up the Dunning Kruger Effect.  Heck, I thought it was the name of the BMW driver that missed a billion flags the other day!  Thought he was contagious (probably is).  Now, I can explain why my kids think I think I am smarter than they are at all times because I think I am.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning–Kruger_effect

Let the opinion games begin!  I think another T-Shirt (or two) may be forthcoming from the minds of the Junkies!

 

 

 

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Obviously I was not in the car, but... it didn't seem that bad of a ride?

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The actual video of blowing the flag was pretty bad. Very easy flag station to see and flag was extremely visible/being waved. He then blew by a car in front of him that saw the flag and had droppped anchor. Big difference between this scenario and HOMESLICE is that he picked up on the context clues, slowed down, and started looking around. As soon as he got to the next station he saw the flag and parked it. 

Can't comment with any authority just watching a video, but looked like some good clean n' casual 8/10ths lapping in a fast car to me. Didn't spot any counter steer and for everyone in this lot that knows how to hammer a car around a track I think it's pretty clear he wasn't hammering it 10/10ths.

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I agree with the above.  I get a stern warning or so from PCA from missing the Red Flag (haven't seen that video), but, basically being told to go home, your not welcome driving with PCA ever again, etc. seemed over the top.

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29 minutes ago, AdamEvo said:

Anyone else find it interesting the instructor is wearing a HANs with a three point seat belt?

Yeah... not sure if that's just because it is connected to the helmet and he is lazy or what. I suspect it's not a good idea, though.

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7 minutes ago, AdamEvo said:

Anyone else find it interesting the instructor is wearing a HANs with a three point seat belt?

He might have jumped in too quickly to remove or store his HANs, I'd give him a pass on that. However, the video didn't look to show any dangerous driving (the short red flag video shows him blowing one flag and immediately passing the car who stopped for it, but stopping at the next manned station with a red flag). He missed a red flag, seemed to own it (if he didn't they shouldn't have let him out on track at all, even with an instructor).

Maybe the traction control was coming on constantly but the video didn't seem to warrant the response. If Joe, the driver, needed to be demoted a group and given an instructor then do that. If you just wanted to get rid of him because he blew a red flag (totally acceptable), don't take him out to 'evaluate' his driving just tell him in grid/paddock that he blew the flag and has to leave. The instructor acted like the driver was dropping wheels every corner and driving like a turd, which wasn't what it looked like on video.

I know the local PCA (Maverick Region up here in DFW) is much more professional and the instructors there all have my complete confidence and respect. 

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15 minutes ago, BRZ4Science said:

He might have jumped in too quickly to remove or store his HANs, I'd give him a pass on that. However, the video didn't look to show any dangerous driving (the short red flag video shows him blowing one flag and immediately passing the car who stopped for it, but stopping at the next manned station with a red flag). He missed a red flag, seemed to own it (if he didn't they shouldn't have let him out on track at all, even with an instructor).

Maybe the traction control was coming on constantly but the video didn't seem to warrant the response. If Joe, the driver, needed to be demoted a group and given an instructor then do that. If you just wanted to get rid of him because he blew a red flag (totally acceptable), don't take him out to 'evaluate' his driving just tell him in grid/paddock that he blew the flag and has to leave. The instructor acted like the driver was dropping wheels every corner and driving like a turd, which wasn't what it looked like on video.

I know the local PCA (Maverick Region up here in DFW) is much more professional and the instructors there all have my complete confidence and respect. 

I would not disagree with a policy that if you have a bad miss of a flag, like a Red Flag, you are done for the day or, like you said, another check ride down a run group, etc.  However, the "Instructor", Brad Williams, said that their PCA Region did not need a guy like Joe, though, he could still socialize with them in the future if he chose.  Really?  I thought the HPDE environment was about learning, especially given the fact that the driver seemed to own up to his mistake.

I would think their PCA group might need to do a bit of instructing the Instructor...

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I say it was a little of both..  driver was overdriving a touch  (if I'm in a PCA check ride, I would intentionally be trying to NOT engage the traction control..  stay smooth and hit every gas/brake/turn/apex point per the textbook PCA line.)

The instructor himself was a fight looking for a place to happen.  30 seconds into the "conversation"  I'd have asked him to get out of my car and I would see myself out.  I made it to about 50 seconds before turning it off because I get mad watching people with shitty people skills.  (I are one..)

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Uhm.  The solution to bad DE driving isn't racing...

 

I think this instructor was inventing issues, unless TC was going bananas or something.  His feedback was really general, and more importantly there weren't specific actionable solutoins stated... just really poor people management.

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Wow.

 

Talk totally didn't match what I saw. Seemed like he had already made up his mind to boot him regardless of what he saw (or didn't see) in this ride.

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21 hours ago, AdamEvo said:

Anyone else find it interesting the instructor is wearing a HANs with a three point seat belt?

Not the right tool for the job with 3-point (Hybrid is right choice) but actually has some positive effect even with 3-pt. With the stig suit on, he might have just come out of a race car. Dunno

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So I’ve actually watched the video now. I feel like the instructor might need some credit. He was likely told this guy blew 3 red flags, and I myself would have already have formed an opinion of the guy given that info, and the type of car wouldn’t have helped either.

Now, while his driving wasn’t bad, it was hacky, always in the wrong gear, and when supposedly not driving at 10-10ths, he was sawing at the wheel like he had no idea where he was going. His lines look decent, and he was probably turning pretty quick lines, but I can imagine how the instructor might have felt. I’ve instructed students with some silly fast cars. Sometimes I feel I can trust them, they know their car, their limitations, and I feel comfortable. Other times, something, or a combination of things, just scare the crap out of me. Sometimes I can’t tell you exactly why, it’s just a general feeling, and I think that somewhat applies here. For the reasons above, and for the ones that I can’t describe, I think I would feel uncomfortable in the passenger seat of this car.

Perhaps it’s because I’ve instructed people that have found their way into the advanced group because they have a fast car, and have no business being there. I had a student who turned up to his first day in a 850hp gtr - a friend of a friend that requested me. I pulled him in after the second session and had a talk about how if didn’t listen to me I’m out - we passed another car through TWS turn 7 with me screaming at him ‘no’. The rest of the weekend was okay, but told Rick, never again with that guy. He was a really nice guy, but thought he was literally a pro driver. He worked his way through to red (somehow). I’ve heard he recently bought an M4, and had it down at Msrh on a member day. Best he managed was a 2:02. Laughed my ass off. He was an extreme case, but I’ve had plenty others all that same boat.

Long story short, the instructor was given information that would have ticked me off too. He gets in for a check ride, and the guy has cameras going, mics, and lap timer, blah blah, and while he was not slow, his driving was hacky, and kind of crappy for an advanced driver group, and maybe there’s a whole back story. Not how I would have probably handled the situation, but perhaps the instructor needs some credit - just saying

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I think the instructor had his decision ready prior to getting in the car.  He is probably thinking about how he should have the conversation with him during the ride along.  I guarantee you they have drivers in that run group that are about as smooth or 'unsmooth' as this driver, but they're okay with them being out there because they feel they're safe. 

He should have just told him that since he missed 3 red flags he's out for the rest of the event.  That it is a very very very serious issue.  Mistakes happen but that's one of the biggest you can make.  If he wants to come back they will need to arrange an instructor to ride with him to ensure he's observing the flags and is safe on the track...  better than 'hem hawing' about how the car outperforms his abilities...blah blah blah.  Don't state things like 'not trying to be a d**k...' constantly..then try to buddy up about participating in social events etc.  As soon as he stated he had been in the sport since 2009 he comes back with 'why did you miss 3 red flags then'.  It was all about safety, and should have been the core of the discussion.

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Thinking on this more, I think the instructor was pretty much told to "sweep the leg". It didn't matter what the guy did, they were going to kick him. I agree, just kick him. This just makes the group look terrible. I've watched the video many times. I watched it three or four times before reading a single comment in order to draw my own, untainted conclusion. And so far, my conclusion is simply that it was an okay drive.

He didn't miss three flags, from what I've read. One flag came out as he was passing it, so you wouldn't expect him to catch that one -- vision is forward, right? He missed the next one. And he stopped at the third. That's one missed flag. Which is still very bad, but not _as_ bad as three flags.

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8 minutes ago, robertcope said:

He didn't miss three flags, from what I've read. One flag came out as he was passing it, so you wouldn't expect him to catch that one -- vision is forward, right? He missed the next one. And he stopped at the third. That's one missed flag. Which is still very bad, but not _as_ bad as three flags.

 

I remember watching a TT session back with NASA @ TWS that had the majority of cars do this...and then some... 🤣

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1 hour ago, Hollywood said:

I remember watching a TT session back with NASA @ TWS that had the majority of cars do this...and then some... 🤣

I was at MSRH a few years ago with another 4-letter sanctioning body..  they ran Sat one direction, Sunday the other.  turns 2 and 17 had standing orders that if anyone came out "backwards", they were to immediately throw the red flag and get on the radio before someone died.

Sure enough, a Miata came out backwards in the small bore group.  I was just touching the first apex curb at 2 clockwise, so I saw him out of the corner of my eye and saw the corner worker 'explode in a flurry of red-flag-grabbing action'.   I didn't see the flag, but I knew it was coming.  I saw the Miata realize his mistake and do a textbook e-brake J-turn and return to pit lane before he ever left the cones in T1.. so crisis averted on track, but you CANNOT un-pull a Red flag...
Because dude is in pit-in doing about 10mph and probably spinning his tires in his own excrement, I did not go straight to pit but proceeded down front straight....  I kept my eye on start stand, the starter was fumbling trying to un-roll a red stick.  I see the guy at 17 reaching for it, and I figure that's as good a place as any to not get run over.  so I pull off at 17 just in front of the gravel trap.  Then I proceed to watch at least 10 cars go by.   TWO CARS continued driving for multiple laps under a full course red flag.  And these were people that had been racing for over a decade.

They were escorted to black flag and given a stern talking to by stewards, but no further action taken.   (Had I been in charge, those people would have lost their license.)

so ummm yeah..   it seems that many folks have no clue about flag stations.  Frankly, I think race groups should pull random red flags every few races to close out practice and possibly even qualifying sessions, just to keep drivers aware of what it means and what's required...    go red until the field stops, then BFA and bring everyone in.  anyone who doesn't stop correctly loses qualifying time so they start at the back.  As long as you keep the stops short (this should take 15-20 seconds if done right), then you shouldn't overheat cars..

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My daughter tried out for color guard yesterday. She came home with a big red flag.  I was slightly traumatized, and my world came to a momentary stop.

Can't disagree that flags and paying attention to them is critical.  That's why in our novice days you need an instructor with you, because that is the most common time to be hyperfocused on only what is immediately in front of you.

I have to remind myself every time about flags, especially the red since it's different in a car vs mc usually.  MC you come in at a safe speed to pit to allow emergency crew to roll (although that's different per track, some roll immediately, some roll when track is clear, I'd prefer the former for lifesaving).  It's more ingrained for me to come to a safe stop on red thanks to TDE instructors grinding that into my novice head many years ago 😄

Coming back to the track after taking a long time off, I'm glad I didn't try to push myself into higher run group.  I had to repeatedly force myself to look further ahead and see all manned flag stations, several times I caught myself missing one, trying to think back about each one I saw.  Doing it regularly really does make it second nature, and your vision opens up a lot.  I'm not nearly as awesome as I used to think I was 😄

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I may of missed something here but if there were red flags the instructor should have told him to stop and worried about the critique later

 

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11 minutes ago, RCman said:

I may of missed something here but if there were red flags the instructor should have told him to stop and worried about the critique later

He missed red flags while driving solo... different video... they then put this instructor in the car with him.

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I don't know where this assesment of "hacky" and "sawing at the wheel" is coming from. He seriously didn't even countersteer once. If you watch his inputs on an actual hotlap and then go back to the instructor video you'll see his inputs are much slower and relaxed. I've seen the argument that he's treating the throttle like an on/off switch, but that's completely normal for someone that drives Spec Miata (or a similar car). We don't feed throttle, it's seriously you're either in it or you're not. Likely a hard habit to break, but sure, that could have been a good point for the instructor to bring up versus what he did. Making small line adjustments at a relaxed pace isn't sawing imo.

The biggest issue I see here is that the instructor doesn't have a basis for what 10/10ths is, because his 10/10ths is the other guys relaxed 7/10ths based on this video I found of the instructor on the same track. This is straight up slow. He might be a very good instructor from an early DE stand point (teaching flags, safety, keeping a student out of trouble), but based on how pedestrian this lap is, he has no business assessing a competent driver.

 

Meanwhile here's the guy he was berating, who actually seems to know how to hustle a car around a track.

 

 

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Oh, please.  The check ride was totally meaningless.  Obviously, the instructor's mind was made up before he got in, so why did he get in?

An instructor who was not so full of himself would stand by the car, tell the driver what he did wrong, and tell him his weekend was over.  Done.

If his ego really demanded the bravado check ride, a good instructor would require cameras off, lap timer off, nannies off, and temper tantrum off.

Oh, and about the nature of the drive -- on video, the driver did not scare me.  The instructor scared me. 

Get a job, buddy.

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1 hour ago, cabowabo said:

I don't know where this assesment of "hacky" and "sawing at the wheel" is coming from. He seriously didn't even countersteer once. If you watch his inputs on an actual hotlap and then go back to the instructor video you'll see his inputs are much slower and relaxed. I've seen the argument that he's treating the throttle like an on/off switch, but that's completely normal for someone that drives Spec Miata (or a similar car). We don't feed throttle, it's seriously you're either in it or you're not. Likely a hard habit to break, but sure, that could have been a good point for the instructor to bring up versus what he did. Making small line adjustments at a relaxed pace isn't sawing imo.

The biggest issue I see here is that the instructor doesn't have a basis for what 10/10ths is, because his 10/10ths is the other guys relaxed 7/10ths based on this video I found of the instructor on the same track. This is straight up slow. He might be a very good instructor from an early DE stand point (teaching flags, safety, keeping a student out of trouble), but based on how pedestrian this lap is, he has no business assessing a competent driver.

 

I see what everybody else sees. The video in isolation shows the instructor as a dick. However, following my ignorant logic that most people are well intentioned, just misunderstood or portrayed incorrectly, I'm trying to paint a different, broader picture, and understand where he's coming from. The two videos certainly clear things up. The student's driving might seem hacky to slow AF old dude instructor, and the two videos highlight that difference. The student, as you say, clearly knows how to hustle a car. Maybe he just doesn't know how to drive 7/10ths, and that explains the discomfort in his driving? I can get behind that. If you're not driving 10/10ths, then what's the point!? Student should have gone full send, and go out in a blaze of glory!

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