The old saying "practice makes perfect" doesn't count in race driving unless you're taking data. Simply going out and driving as hard as you can will not necessarily make you faster.
Even if you practice the race techniques from the previous section, how will you know if a certain line, or braking zone is actually making you faster? How will you know if certain shock settings or tire pressures gave your car more grip? Each time you take to the track, you need to go out with a specific goal, and measure your performance.
Even without a professional engineering crew on hand, there are a few very simple things you can do by yourself to accelerate your learning curve. With an organized approach, collecting some key information and taking proper notes, you can improve your lap times quickly.
Aside from the technical aspect of driving technique, and the engineering aspect of your car's performance, having the right information and learning how to interpret that information can be the competitive difference that makes you faster.
Consider a team like Ganassi/Target in CART which won four championships back to back. They did that with three different drivers, so you can't say they had a genius driver better than the rest of the field. They had the same chassis/engine/tire package as other teams, so it's not that had a vastly superior car. They had great drivers, and they had a great car, but the difference was the data. Their engineers collected the right data, and interpreted it better that the other teams. It was enough of a difference to always put their drivers at the front of the field.
This section will introduce you to some good habits for practice sessions, and how to organize your goals and data taking to help you improve your lap times as quickly as possible. There are many more things that can be done than we list, and we encourage you to seek help from other sources. For the purpose of this site though, we know you're likely out there by yourself, maybe with a interested spectator friend or two. Our goal is to introduce the basics with the minimum of cost and difficulty. Remember, practice (with good data) makes perfect.
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