Gil de Ferran at Auto Club Speedway - Anne Proffit photoEnlarge Photo
Every racing driver needs a mentor to help make it to the top. Preparing for a career in racing requires more than exceptional skills behind the wheel - talent is the simply the beginning step towards making it in this highly competitive field.
Now aspiring drivers have the opportunity to get the kind of information through a website that has never really been available before now. The SAFEisFAST.com website is supported by a grant from the FIA Institute for Motor Sport Safety and Sustainability, a not-for-profit organization that develops and improves motorsport safety worldwide.
Created by the Road Racing Drivers Club (RRDC), a US-based organization made up on many of the world's most successful drivers - elected by their peers - the website allows aspiring drivers to get coaching from RRDC members. Now in its 60th year, the RRDC is a proactive group that aims to educate in motorsport safety and young driver development.
Some of the most respected names in the racing world have offered their support to help drivers worldwide through SAFEisFAST.com - which is a free online resource - offering video tutorials on safety, fitness, mental skills, race craft, career development, sponsorship and marketing. The site also offers one-on-one advice from accomplished drivers and mentors in the sport to assist the careers of drivers in all facets of facing.
Since the site's recent 2012 launch, it's had visitors from 115 different countries.
Thus far in its short tenure, drivers have received SAFEisFAST.com advice and counsel from INDYCAR drivers Josef Newgarden and Dario Franchitti. Currently, Andy Lally is answering questions posed during this week. The top three questions posed to Grand-Am Rolex Series and Continental Tire Series standout Lally receive a free, three-month subscription to iRacing.com, the world's foremost online motorsports simulation service.
On May 14, Gil de Ferran takes over the reins for Lally on the website. Called "The Professor" for his technical ability and engineering background, de Ferran has titles in open wheel racing, is an Indianapolis 500 winner and a winning sports car team owner/driver. He was sporting director for the former BAR-Honda Formula One team and recently served as a member of the ICONIC advisory committee to help determine the current IZOD IndyCar Series Dallara DW12. De Ferran holds the closed-course speed world record for his 2000 qualifying lap of 241.426 mph on the Auto Club Speedway (Fontana, CA) two-mile oval.
Two weeks later on May 28, the SAFEisFAST.com website switches gears when PitFit Training founder and president Jim Leo becomes the online instructor. Leo, a certified strength and conditioning specialist has grown his firm into the industry leader in the development and implementation of motorsports-specific human performance. His clientele will be hugely represented at this year's Indianapolis 500. Jim Leo has spoken at each SAFEisFAST workshop before the program moved online; his current video on driver fitness is one of the most viewed on the website.
The July lineup for SAFEisFAST.com includes Mexican ace Adrian Fernandez, who currently competes in the FIA World Endurance Championship and select American Le Mans Series races as a works driver for Aston Martin Racing. With more than three decades of racing experience, Fernandez is the only professional Mexican athlete whose career spans over 20 consecutive years, at top levels, outside of his homeland. He's been successful both as a driver and an owner/driver and has victories in ALMS, INDYCAR, Champ Car and Grand-Am.
“I couldn’t be more excited about our lineup of Online Instructors,” said Bobby Rahal, president of the Road Racing Drivers Club. “When you see names like de Ferran, Fernandez, Lally and Leo, you know you are offering a tremendous and unparalleled resource of the best of the best for drivers around the world. Coupled with our new selection of video tutorials, I am extremely proud of what we are accomplishing.”
Upcoming online driving Instructors also include previously announced drivers JR Hildebrand, James Hinchcliffe, Johnny O’Connell and Scott Pruett. Upcoming video features will include Working with the Media Part II, Basic Driver Workout, Nutrition: Fueling the Driver, Recovering from Injuries, Marketing Yourself and Maximizing Physical Preparation.