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Racer's Rituals


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#1 WGD706

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Posted 08 February 2003 - 23:40

Even in my very short (5 year) Formula Ford racing career, I did things in a certain way before entering the car and once I got in it. Like only entering from the left side, wiping the soles of my shoes off as I entered, putting the right glove on first,etc....if only to calm my mind down.
David Kane wrote that "Before Cevert would get in the car, he would go through this very long
and very dramatic entry into the car. It was almost a ceremony in which each step was exactly the same, the mechanics stood in the exact same position each time, the attached his belts exactly the same each time.
So he did everything possible to prepare himself for the highest possible mental and physical effort."
James Hunt wore driving shoes with the toe cut off the right boot; some drivers wear 2 different colored shoes.
Anyone have their own pre-start rituals or remember some of the more famous ones ?
Warren

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#2 Tim Murray

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Posted 09 February 2003 - 00:12

Stefano Modena always put on one of his driving gloves inside out. David Coulthard used to have a pair of lucky underpants, which he wore every time he raced until they completely disintegrated.

#3 Simpson RX1

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Posted 09 February 2003 - 00:21

Senna, I believe, always wore his gloves inside out, after accidentally putting them on this way, and then winning the race.

Slightly OT, Barry Sheene always wore his lucky blue underpants, and a Gary Nixon T-shirt (an ex-racer, and also his brother-in-law), although, on at least two occasions, it didn't do him much good!

For myself, I always kick the tyres before I get in the car (or touch them if I'm karting), and do an inordinate amount of shifting around in the seat and tightening of belts. The last thing is to make sure my gloves are pulled up tight - I wouldn't be much good at a Le Mans start!!

#4 Gary C

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Posted 09 February 2003 - 00:23

didn't Senna wear his gloves inside out too??

#5 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 09 February 2003 - 02:14

Not a damn thing. Its like planning what you're going to do at the start, its completely out of your control.


And of course there's the famous Carl Haas blessing of the car.

#6 eldougo

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Posted 09 February 2003 - 03:15

:

My ritual has been as follows ____ 1 Enter from left side only
____ 2 Seatbelts
____ 3 Helmet @ Gloves
____ 4 Sit there no talking to anybody
____ 5 Check mirrors.

__________________________________________


I know a driver who always walked around the car before he get in (L.Pavise. f2 )

also ( A. Jones) wore red undies always for luck. :up: :up:

#7 Frank S

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Posted 09 February 2003 - 05:31

1974, I think. F-5000 at Riverside International Raceway, California. I was some kind of Steward or other, and the Chief asked me to inform the drivers of a schedule change, addition of a few minutes to an imminent practice/qualifying session, or some such. Drivers were in their cars in the pit lane, waiting for a signal to fire up and head for the track.

I dutifully started at the head of the line, inserting myself among the crowd of attendants to the warriors and their cars, telling each driver the good news, receiving a nod or a "Thanks" all down through the ranks, from A. Unser, B. Unser, B. Redman, J. Hunt, M. Andretti, G. McRae, D.Hobbs, L. Lombardi, W. Brown, J. Cannon . . .

When I got to S. Posey, in his white with red stripes car (or vice versa) he was alone, crew members standing well back as he did his ritual, which apparently amounted to putting himself into a trance. The crew chief intercepted me and wanted to take a message. I gave it to him in a loud voice, and Sam eventually peeled an eye and gave me as much glower as could be expected to escape from inside a full-face helmet.

I don't think I can be held responsible for his engine failure during the race.


Sam and I did have a little in common, pre-track-ritual-wise: mine was breath control. In through the left nostril, out through the right. Helped in ignoring the butterflies.


Reminds me of reports of some electronic monitoring during an Indy 500 race, early 80s, if I recall correctly. All drivers had extremely elevated heart rates during and just after the start; nearly all of them leveled out at resting plus ten per cent or so during uneventful green flag laps; elevated moderately during passing/racing periods. Then there was the guy who spun without hitting the wall. His heart rate dropped to a level below his normal resting rate. Where does that come from?

Frank S

#8 rdrcr

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Posted 09 February 2003 - 17:05

Not a damn thing...

...Oh somebody already said that... ;)

I used to have a pair of wild colored socks that were on when I won my first kart race, though sometime later, I had left them home and won anyway... didn't matter obviously. I still prep my stuff thoroughly, don't know if it's a ritual or not, but something about a sanitary and shiny mount always makes me feel better about its performance... maybe it's just something to keep busy before I put the gloves on.

A friend of mine, Jocko Cunningham, always, or very nearly always, took a nap before he drove. He said it killed time in a most convenient manner.

#9 TODave2

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Posted 09 February 2003 - 17:09

I think it's Alex Wurz who has different coloured boots...?

(wasn't the James Hunt cut off toe thing because he didn't like his boot rubbing against the steering column, or is that another driver entirely?)

#10 UAtkins

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Posted 09 February 2003 - 17:36

Originally posted by rdrcr
A friend of mine, Jocko Cunningham, always, or very nearly always, took a nap before he drove. He said it killed time in a most convenient manner.


When I visited Harry Pearce last year, he had a great picture of Bruce McLaren sleeping like a baby on the grass with one of the other mechanics also sleeping nearby, when I asked about it he said that Bruce often slept before a race. It certainly made me wonder if anyone else could be that calm..apparently so. Amazing.

Ursula

#11 JacnGille

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Posted 09 February 2003 - 18:53

I seem to remember several stories of drivers having to be awoken, both in and out of the cockpit.

#12 petefenelon

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Posted 09 February 2003 - 22:23

Originally posted by Tim Murray
Stefano Modena always put on one of his driving gloves inside out. David Coulthard used to have a pair of lucky underpants, which he wore every time he raced until they completely disintegrated.


I have a vague memory that Olivier Panis also had a pair of lucky grundies which he lost when Sid cut his suit off at Montreal?
I may of course be wrong here. We certainly got a probably unintentional shot of Olivier in some (A) pain and (B) rather skimpy black pants...


pete

#13 Ray Bell

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Posted 10 February 2003 - 07:06

Superstitious lot... how could the be like that?

The only 'ritual' that made sense was Chapman's one of tossing the hat in the air... and didn't John Cooper have a 'victory roll' or something?

#14 maxie

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Posted 10 February 2003 - 07:23

A bit OT I think, but didn't Denny Hulme sometimes drive his car barefooted?

#15 2F-001

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Posted 10 February 2003 - 07:36

I believe Senna, and many other less famous drivers before him, wore their gloves inside out as a matter of comfort - so that the seams don't press into the fingers quite so much. I don't think superstition comes into it - although that doesn't account for Stefano Modena...
Most of the racewear brands now do gloves made this way (stitching on the outside) as an option.

#16 eldougo

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Posted 10 February 2003 - 10:27

TODave2 -------- quote

(wasn't the James Hunt cut off toe thing because he didn't like his boot rubbing against the steering column, or is that another driver entirely?)


That,s right so he could heel & toe an not touch the steering shaft.It used to look funny
when walked around the pits . nothing worried HUNT THE SHUNT.

#17 petefenelon

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Posted 10 February 2003 - 10:42

Originally posted by Ray Bell
Superstitious lot... how could the be like that?

The only 'ritual' that made sense was Chapman's one of tossing the hat in the air... and didn't John Cooper have a 'victory roll' or something?


Colin Chapman had his "lucky shirt" too when he was driving - a green check thing that Hazel had to wash in some sort of allegedly fireproof compound....

pete

#18 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 10 February 2003 - 18:08

Not really ritual but when I was younger, like 17/18 I used to get really nervous and anxious. I had to get in the car a good 15 minutes before we went out, at the back of the line and just sit there with my gloves over my visor trying to settle down.

Now that im 22 and have had several years of doing short notice one offs I dont care. Im the guy sitting under the tree and when someone shouts "hey wanna drive?" i run down the pitlane putting my helmet on and hop in the first availible seat and go roaring out of the pits.

In the best race I ever ran eveyone was suited up and strapped in their cars in the pitlane and I was sitting under an awning next to the chief steward. He was wondering what the delay was... :p

#19 TODave2

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Posted 10 February 2003 - 19:22

Not really a ritual, but Michele Alboreto used to soak his gloves in water to make them more supple. I don't know if he did this before each race though.

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#20 David M. Kane

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Posted 11 February 2003 - 17:12

John Cooper was first with his cartwheel followed by the hat toss by Chapman. Those were the days, here in America it got way out of hand in
the NFL every player inventing his own little dance or shuffle...now you
can't celebrate at all...except in the privacy of your own bedroom.

#21 Uwe

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Posted 11 February 2003 - 18:39

Michael Schumacher jumping over the fence for having a pee. Must be a superstitious thingy as well... :lol:

Ok, that doesn't belong here...;)