Seat Time, Seat Time, Seat Time!
My name is Ryan MacDermid, I am 17 years old and I am from Toronto, Canada. This will be my first ever blog! In it, I will be talking about how my first season in the 2019 Formula 4 United States Championship Powered by Honda has gone so far!
Ever since starting in high level competition karting in 2013, my father and I have gone about my racing with one major rule. “Seat time, Seat time, Seat time.” This rule has helped me in so many ways. Coming into a new form of motorsports, our mentality has never changed. Each race, session and lap that I do have evidently improved my abilities and understanding of my Alliance Racing Sponsored by Gas Monkey Energy No. 16 car. My team has put so much hard work into developing my skills on the track as well as my knowledge off of it.
There are so many factors to focus on to improve in driving cars. It is a whole different ball game than national level karting. First of all, weight transfer. One of the more challenging factors with gaining speed is understanding how weight transfer works. What I have realized, especially in Pittsburgh, is how much weight transfer can be your best friend. For example, when the track gets greasy and the tires start “fading” away. I really realized how much the weight transfer can help with rotating the car and also using the weight transfer to help me turn for a corner if I have an understeer. Once I began to have a better understanding of weight transfer, it was definitely a turning point in the weekend for me.
Understanding the tires, what the car can actually do and how much you can “muscle” the car had been difficult. As someone that is new to the F4 car, it is a little challenging to find the “limit” of the car when it is going through the corners. This is one of the reasons why seat time can be so crucial. The more laps I do, the more I get comfortable with the car, and with that comfort, brings confidence. Having confidence in the car and your ability to drive is so important. And for me it has really shown, especially in Pittsburgh since we got a full two days on the track before race weekend.
My results have been getting better and better. In race two on Sunday at Pittsburgh, I was just hanging onto the lead pack. I had some wheel to wheel action heading into a few corners which was a first for me. I didn’t think I had the speed to make any moves but I knew if I just stayed consistent an opportunity might present its self which actually happened and I was able to come away with a sixth place finish.
Race three on the weekend and round six in the series was probably my best race of the season so far. There wasn’t necessarily much action for me throughout the race but I wasn’t just hanging onto the pack this time. I was slowly catching the fifth-place driver and everything seemed pretty easy. I likely could have made a move on him if the race was just two laps longer but that just wasn’t the case. What made me most happy about this session is how I was using the weight transfer that I mentioned before. It was late in the day, the track was hot and greasy and midway through the race my front tires began to develop a bit of a push, but instead of just trying to deal with it and almost make it worse like I would usually do in the races, I started using the weight transfer so that I could get it to turn better. I am very happy with where I finished in the weekend but what I am most happy with is how I got there and overcame issues confidently and quickly.
I can’t wait for Virginia and really prove that I am getting the hang of the F4 car by fighting for a spot on the podium! See you all there!