Andretti team benefits from driving coach
Andretti Autosport has won both Izod IndyCar Series races this season, and the only person apparently not surprised is team owner Michael Andretti.
The former CART champion was pro-active in the offseason when he sent his drivers to London to work with renowned driving coach Rob Wilson, who has sharpened the skills of several Formula One drivers.
Andretti is so pleased by what his son, Marco, St. Petersburg race winner James Hinchcliffe and Barber Motorsports Park race winner Ryan Hunter-Reay learned from Wilson that he’s irritated about word getting out. Those November sessions were supposed to be a secret, he said.
“Now everybody (on other teams) is going to go and do it,” he said.
Wilson was a cash-strapped Kiwi in his driving days, finishing 12th in the 1994 CART Indy Lights season that included Greg Moore, Andre Ribeiro, Eddie Lawson and Buzz Calkins. The instruction he gives at the Bruntingthorpe, a former U.S. airfield in World War II, is about as straightforward as it gets.
Wilson arranges a handful of cones that define medium and fast corners, a hairpin, a chicane and heavy braking zones. He aims to get drivers working with the car rather than against it.
Wilson’s biggest impact appears to be with Marco, who has finished third and seventh this season at tracks that haven’t been his favorites in the past.
“He was driving too hard, pushing too hard, trying to make up something that wasn’t there,” Michael said of his son. “That made him lose his technique.”
Hunter-Reay called Wilson’s teaching “good to hear a different perspective.”
Andretti Autosport drivers are third (Hunter-Reay), fourth (Andretti), fifth (Hinchcliffe) and 10th (EJ Viso) in IndyCar’s standings heading into next week’s race in Long Beach, Calif., where the team has won twice since 2010 (Hunter-Reay and Mike Conway). indystar.com