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Quit while you’re ahead

Two weeks ago, a very close friend of mine invited me to one of North America’s largest racetrack for a lapping session. If you have gone on lapping days, you know how easy it goes from just driving fast beating time to chasing and passing the car in front of you.

I have been hitting the track for many years. I ran my first solo autocross at 17 years old and I caught the bug like celebrities catching lyme disease (It’s a thing. Google it.). I built a small track team with my friends for several years. It was a hobby that instilled a lot of confidence in me.

Back to two weeks ago, I arrived ready in my 550 horsepower 2018 Jaguar F-Type with ceramic brakes. A vehicle once owned by the President of Jaguar Land Rover Canada. This car now has status. I couldn’t let it down.
On the warm up lap runs, I hit 136 mph on the straight. The instructor even said said, “that’s pretty quick!”
My confidence was validated.

My technique was consistent and I found my edge easily the minute I laid eyes on the track. I was up against some very seasoned drivers with race ready cars more powerful than mine. I remained confident. I knew I wouldn’t be the fastest but I was confident I could hold my own amongst the top.

The result… I was second last in lap times.

What went wrong?

I went in with the wrong mindset. I forgot I no longer had: the same conviction and “nothing to lose” mentality. But I did. Driving on a track is something I always knew I was good at even when I stopped attending regularly. Over the years, I became good at other things that added to my confidence. Driving on the track was something I had in the back of my mind and while driving that day; the poor times comparatively put doubt that I may lose this dated confidence. I went home with a pretty bruised ego. My takeaway is unless it’s your livelihood, just have fun and don’t put your confidence on the line.

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