Hughes Makes a Marvellous return to Mighty Minis.
‘We’ve broken British Motorsport history! Last weekend at Silverstone, my team mate (Sarah Moore) and I were the first females in British Motorsport history to lock out the front row of a mixed gender class. I’m overjoyed to be leaving Silverstone with 2x podiums, 2x fastest laps and 1 pole position’.
For me these two articles sums up working with Alice because they show how in today’s racing world it is not just about having the driving talent behind the wheel, but to be a successful driver you need to consider all aspects of racing.
It is such a pleasure for me to work alongside a person who can see the benefits of the psychological preparation side of things and want to explore how they can use mental preparation techniques to reach their full potential.
Most people may think that the most important area from a psychological perspective to focus on is the actual driving in the race. But this is not strictly true; there is a lot of pre-race and post-race areas to look at and perfect that can impact directly on track performance. For example whilst each car will have the suspension settings, gear ratios and tyres set up for different tracks and weather conditions, it is very rare that I come across a driver who follows a consistent pre-race psychological ‘warm up’.
One of Alice’s strong points is the experience she has of racing both on circuit and off-road. As a National Autograss champion many times, Alice has developed great reactions and decision making processes. In Autograss there is a straight line eight car grids start and 8 lap races, so a poor start or a missed opportunity to overtake will lose you the race. You will see many short oval racer drivers who race on circuits usually have the best starts on the grid (especially in wet conditions).
Alice has a great ability to honestly assess where her strengths are and areas where there is room for improvement. From my perspective that is a fantastic place to work from.
For me the relationship with the driver is central to everything I do. I never criticise, blame or am negative with a driver because my job is to support and build confidence in that person.
Alice is looking now to develop these skills further and take on new challenges by racing in the UK Clio Cup. The Renault UK Clio Cup is a stepping stone to the British Touring Car Championship, where she can fulfil her lifelong ambition of becoming the first female on the BTCC podium and in my opinion has every chance of doing this.
The most important aspect of motorsport is to go out racing but always in a safe as possible way and the most important thing of all….have fun and enjoy it.
Alice and all at Alice Hughes Racing are great people and it really is a privilege and my pleasure to be allowed into their team and work with them.
Max is a top racer in the UK Clio Cup and a consummate professional driver having raced in karts the Ginetta Junior Championship, the Michelin Ginetta GT4 Supercup, the Porsche Carrera Cup of Great Britain and the British Touring Car Championship. In 2016 he raced in the Renault UK Clio Cup, ending as Graduate Champion and 3rd overall.
I started working with Max when he was a competitor in The UK Clio Cup with the Cicely BTCC team. It was great to see Max was so interested in the psychological aspect of racing and how areas of this could help him in his racing. Working with Max highlighted the minute margins associated with winning or losing in most closely fought championships, especially in the UK Clio Cup where thousands of a second could make a difference on grid position for the start.
The measurement of success can be in millimetres and fractions of seconds and these are the margins I work to with drivers and teams using CCF (control, concentration and focus).
Winning a race is a fantastic feeling and a great achievement for a team, and while this is one of the aims I work with drivers to achieve, we also focus on the bigger picture.
A championship is not won by a one-off win; in order to win over a full season consistency is needed. Max has great driving ability and experience so my job was to just fine tune some of the aspects of his racing. The key area we looked at was the starting procedure and after some initial talks Max ended up as consistently as one of the best starters on the grid.
Max is a great all round professional driver who has a strong character and a fantastic reputation both on the track and around the paddock. I have no doubt that Max will become a future champion and have a long and successful racing career.
Like most drivers Max has a great support team of friends and family behind him and they all welcomed me in and made me feel a part of it all.