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Now writing for Coanda Simsport

After my BadgerGP article on simracing, here, Coanda Simsport approached me with the question if I wanted to blog for them. I’ve written a lot about ‘offline’ racing, so now it’s a really nice opportunity to write about some online racing as well!

Here’s the first article of many, on Coanda’s new livery.

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On iRacing’s website, here.
On Coanda’s website, here.

Racing the McLaren MP4-30 Around Suzuka Against a World Class Driver, From Home

I raced against one of the best simracers in the world.
I was trashed.
Then I wrote about it.

 

Read about my experience of driving a full-fledged racingsimulator, comparing my telemetry against Martin Krönke, here.

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State of being

Last October, Above Average uploaded a video titled ‘First Person To Run A Marathon Without Talking About It’, in which a guy says: “The whole point of running a marathon is to tell people you’re going to run a marathon. Otherwise, who’s going for a long run?”

It’s a parody on today’s society, about the goals we set and the way we use social media. Yet, the deeper meaning of the video is about what drives us.

I don’t believe goals do.
Goals are good to have, but not a means to get there.

In his book, ‘Hey Whipple, Squeeze This’, Luke Sullivan writes to advertising students that it’s pretty lame if you’re in the business for winning awards, since even the most successful creatives spend only 0.00002% of their time collecting awards. If that’s what drives you, you’re going to be discouraged very soon. ‘Let the fun be in the chase’, Luke adds.

Charles Bukowski wrote a similar thing in ‘So you want to be a writer?’, by saying ‘If it doesn’t come bursting out of you in spite of everything, don’t do it’.

Derek Sivers sheds another light on this, in his three-minute TED talk, ‘Keep your goals to yourself’, by explaining that telling someone your goal makes it less likely to happen, since you’re already taking an advance on its gratification.

Set goals and bragging rights aside, and develop a system for yourself in which you become your best you.

If your goal is running a marathon, your system could be a diet or a training regime. If your goal is writing a book, your system is about scheduling time for writing and a structure of building your story.

Unlike goals, systems aren’t about ‘having been’ or ‘will become’. They’re about what you can maintain, what you can do right now, not at the end of the year.

Additionally, while you need to discipline yourself to reach goals, systems are kept in alive by intrinsic motivation: If you’re not doing it for the sake of doing it, you’ll never write that book, start your own company, or run that marathon.

It’s worth mentioning that while goals are good for planning progress, a state of being actually helps you make that progress.

Happy new year.

When teammates collide

New article on BadgerGP, on the F1-equivelant of scoring an own goal: colliding with your teammate, in ‘When teammates collide

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Jean Behra

Another driver spotlight, now on BadgerGP.com. This time it’s about Jean Behra.

Read it here.

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Is ‘saving the world’ really a good argument?

Last summer, in the French town of Le Mans, the famous twenty-four hour race started. In the front of the field, the hybrids from Porsche, Audi and Toyota shot away into a big lead. After twenty minutes, the backmarkers, Ferrari’s and Chevrolet’s, were lapped, which means a disadvantage of 14 kilometers. Porsche went on to win, while Audi’s broke the 44 year-old lap record, from in 1971.

We have a world to save, otherwise, we would have honestly said that hybrid cars (or 100% electric) are simply better than their fossil counterparts. We would have said that sustainability isn’t a harsh necessity, but a logical improvement.

It is the necessity of saving the world that makes sustainability look like a ‘the end justifies the means’ approach, which makes the discussion very black-and-white. Either any price for sustainability is either justified, or too high.

But Porsche won the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a hybrid car, not because it wants to save the world, but because it wanted to win a race. The sustainable alternative is now simply better than the fossil-based, and that trend is visible everywhere: homeowners are filling their roofs with solar panels, because it is financially profitable, and because it makes more sense to produce energy at the location where you use it. A well-insulated house is pleasant to live in, and some people buy an induction stove, because it’s easier to clean than a stove.

For the first time, ever, sustainability seems to be synonymous with logic, efficiency, economy and fun. And the point is: that might just as well save our world.

What do you see as the future for F1 Grand Prix?

Originally an answer on Quora to the question: What do you see as the future for F1 Grand Prix?

I’m pretty sure that — despite the public disliking the new V6 engines and their sound — Formula 1 will go all-electric within the decade. Maybe at first there will be only an electric final drive, with a combustion engine on board that generates the electricity (like the Opel Ampera), but there’s just no stopping electric engines. That’s where the world is going and manufacturers will not want to develop their petrol engines, just for the sake of Formula 1.

I for one think it’s an exciting development. Formula 1 has always been at the forefront of technology and can’t afford to stay stuck in a foregone era of fossil fuels.

Trying harder vs. trying smarter

On a Saturday in July 1891, in Paris, France, the American Luther Cary ran and won the 100 meter sprint final, setting the first documented record at 10.8 seconds.

Fifteen years later, in 1906, Knut Lindberg from Sweden ran the distance in 10.6 seconds, and come 1956, Willie Williams from the United States, knocked off another 0.5 seconds, running it in 10.1 seconds.

The first man to break the magical 10 second barrier was Jim Hines from the United States in 1968, with a time of 9.9 seconds. And 41 years — and many improvements — later, Usain Bolt from Jamaica put the record on a once unthinkable 9.58 seconds.

People often tell themselves (or others) that they’ve done their best. “That’s an easy way to let ourselves off the hook”, says Seth Godin: “But in reality, trying our best requires unreasonable amount of preparation, a silly amount of focus. It’s much more honest to say ‘it’s not worth doing my best’.”

But still, if the argument ‘trying your best’ makes any sense, how do we explain the dwindling of the 100 meter sprint record? Wasn’t Luther Cary trying hard enough? Or was Usain Bolt trying a massive 1.22 seconds harder?

Understanding better equipment isn't very difficult. Above: the shoe worn by gold medal winner Jesse Owens, at the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin. Beneath: a research lab, mapping motions to analyse the forces at play during a sprint.

Understanding better equipment isn’t very difficult. Above: the shoe worn by gold medal winner Jesse Owens, at the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin. Beneath: a research lab, mapping motions to analyse the forces at play during a sprint.

This question answers itself. We understand why records are broken: there’s better understanding of the human body now, as there was in 1891, resulting in better training regimes and better diets. Also, there’s better equipment.

We — you and me — will probably never do a single task that requires a Usain-Bolt-esque effort, but there’s still lessons to take from the 100 meter sprint record progression.

If we look at trainings in a broad view, we might understand why so many habits don’t stick. People begin playing a new instrument, they start a new language course or they start blogging, but after one month of frantically trying and having lost enthusiasm by seeing little progress, they quit.

The best training regimes, like diets, are the ones you can maintain. Or, not — as Seth Godin said: ‘some things aren’t worth trying your best’.

Atze Kerkhof, a former olympic speedracer and now a top-tier simracer, has a very interesting take on this. In an interview with Sean Cole from The Simpit, he says: “Instead of doing countless laps, learning like robot, I prefer a short trainings, with maximum efficiency.”

Atze points out that the benefit of trying smarter (versus trying harder) is that actually analysing data and see where you can improve, probably gains you more than merely spending time (and doing so, in less time). But the main thing efficiency in training covers, is that you don’t get frustrated when at first you don’t succeed, or improve.

Trying smarter has brought the sprint record down, and it may just improve whatever you do, too. In fact: if we continue the trend of the past 100 years — including diminishing returns — the 9 second barrier will be broken somewhere near the year 2070. By people trying just as hard as Usain Bolt.

 

Further reading: Advertising as a sport

Driver Spotlight: Stefan Bellof

The timid Stefan Bellof played tennis, squash, sailed and skied. Yet most of all, he excelled at racing. Images of him in the nimble black Tyrrell remain of his F1 legacy, along with the thought of what could have been.

Now, here, on BadgerGP.com

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Driver spotlight: Alfonso de Portago

Fifth driver spotlight now on Badger GP, this time on the bigamist, jockey, bobsleigher and F1 driver Alfonso de Portago, who makes a great story. Read it here.

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