A Word From Will - 03.04.23
My second year as a professional driver coach has started strongly and my career appears to have real momentum.
In 2022, I began working as an Instructor at Silverstone, teaching driving experience customers and private individuals in an array of exotic high performance cars, and I have had a blast meeting people from all walks of life, showing them the ropes and sharing in their excitement.
Since the New Year, I’ve also instructed at Brands Hatch and been assessed for a role at Thruxton, and I’m looking at a very busy season as the opportunities keep rolling in and I reach the end of the Motorsport UK Certificate in Coaching Motorsport course.
In fact, I’ve had my head buried in coursework between training days and online classes, which have opened my eyes to different on and off-track coaching techniques related to data analysis and relay, and communication, which I’ve already implemented.
So, for the first time in five years I haven’t chased race wins and podium finishes for myself, but I have been a positive influence on others, coaching young aspiring professionals and amateur ‘gentleman drivers’ who want to up their game.
On that note, I returned to my Radical family to once again coach Darren and George Knutton.
I was raring to pick up from where we left off at the end of their rookie seasons and I was delighted to see them both take huge strides in official testing at Silverstone in March.
More focus and a greatly improved abilities to decipher data and dissect on-board videos unlocked more confidence and pace, and I was hopeful that would translate into improved results in the Donington Park curtain-raiser (1-2 April).
For 2023, Radical UK has changed the format of its race weekends by combining the SR1 and SR3 fields in three multi-class sprints over two days and, predictably, drama ensued.
The gaps in qualifying were miniscule and, disappointed to have gone only fifth and seventh fastest with 30 cars sharing a greasy track, George and Darren were determined to move forward from their grid positions in the races.
Happily, George made up three places to scale the second step of the podium and Darren achieved a creditable sixth-place finish in Saturday’s (1 April) Safety Car and red flag-affected race, which culminated in a five-minute dash to the chequered flag that featured a tense four-way fight for the SR1 class victory.
A few more laps and I believe George would have snatched the lead, but it was nevertheless a superb start to the 2023 Radical Cup for him and there were still two more opportunities to challenge for that maiden win on Sunday (2 April).
A mechanical issue prevented George from participating in the second clash, although Darren found chunks of pace and drove his most attacking but intelligent race to date, securing a career-best P4 finish, which we were all absolutely thrilled with.
Damage sustained in contact with a spinning SR3 during a chaotic start to the third and final race of the weekend threatened to sideline Darren, but a red flag enabled Donington Park’s marshals to retrieve his stricken SR1 from the Redgate gravel and return it to Track Focused.
It was all hands on deck as the team’s GT3 mechanics conducted stunningly quick repairs so he could take up his original grid position and battle to another fourth place, while son George recovered brilliantly from the very back of the field to second in the SR1 classification, to earn yet another trophy.
I couldn’t be happier with both drivers’ pace, racecraft and attitudes, which has improved greatly since last year.
It gives me a lot to build on over the course of the 2023 Radical Cup season and, taking nothing away from them, it suggests all I’ve learned in my own career as a racing driver and coach is having a measurable impact on my clients’ on and off-track performances.