National Trans Am Series title contender, Lochie Dalton, has embraced the power of racing simulators to maintain his competitive edge between rounds.
In the fast-paced world of motorsport, where precision and split-second decisions can make the difference between victory and defeat, drivers are turning to the ever-growing world of simulation to stay sharp between Shannons SpeedSeries race meetings.
In a recent Instagram story courtesy of Focus Driver Performance, Dalton was captured conquering the demanding Mount Panorama Circuit, a crucial part of his preparation for his dual roles in Super2 and the National Trans Am Series at the renowned track.
With limited opportunities to privately get behind the wheel of his respective vehicles, the Tasmanian believed the training has given him a competitive edge.
“I do a lot of work with Oli Myers at Focus Training, he has an awesome setup out there with all the same data you would use on a race weekend,” Dalton said.
“My team can actually send me data from a race weekend, and I can take it there, get the pedals set up the same, and get a bit more of a feel.
“I am there as much as I can be. They never really feel the same as a real race car but if you are learning a track, it gives you a decent idea and an understanding of how the track drives before you get there.
“It really keeps you sharp being behind the wheel, whether it’s a sim or not, you are using that same sort of thinking, using your reflexes, so there are definitely good traits.”
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While these training programs are designed to be as realistic as possible, home setups are also allowing drivers like Dalton to spend time behind the wheel in a more relaxed setting, with some taking a more relaxed approach amongst friends on platforms like iRacing with the bonus of keeping your reflexes and reaction time up to scratch.
While household simulators are great on a budget, and have their merits in elite driver training, the lessons learnt behind the wheel of a professional simulator certainly have longer-lasting benefits.
“I always do it for fun. I have a decent sim setup at home, and I just jump on there with mates, my team, and have a good laugh,” Dalton explained.
“I use my housemate, Cameron Crick’s setup. He has an awesome setup with triple monitors, a direct-drive wheel, hydraulic brake system, all of it.
“You can go out on the sim and blast a second quicker, cut the corners and go crazy, or you can do it properly and take those skills into race meetings.”
Oli Myers, Director and Performance Coach of Focus Driver Performance echoed Dalton’s comments on professional simulator practice and was full of praise for the young, up-and-coming driver.
“I always say using a professional simulator gets you 80-85% of where you need to be ahead of a race weekend,” Myers said.
“Little things like knowing where your brake markers are can really help you drive the car confidently right from the get-go.
“With track time becoming more and more expensive, this gives you the advantage to be able to do laps and get into the zone.
“Someone like Lochie, who does two categories this year, it allows him to adapt to the car a little quicker, adapt to completely different driving styles and really get on top of his game.
“People from the grassroots level all the way up to my oldest client, who is over 70 years old, it benefits everyone, and people continue to turn to it to stay sharp.
“We use the same telemetry settings they use at the track. We see the same tendencies and traits they work on in the same cars, and we can spend hours on end ironing stuff out, and improving strengths and eliminating weaknesses.
“Lochie is a very hard-working young driver. His talent only gets him so far, but he puts the extra hours in behind closed doors to be able to make himself the absolute best he can be.”
Lochie Dalton will next feature in National Trans Am Series at Race Sydney on 3-4 November.