Episode 003: Part 1 of 2 – In-car coaching session with hot-shoe driver Bill Brundige, and the FRS vs. BRZ debate.

coachingI get some valuable in-car coaching from regional hot-shoe Bill Brundige, along with his expert insight into the BRZ vs. FRS debate.

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • Why you should be seeking guidance from drivers who are better than you
  • Why networking with other drivers is so important
  • The differences between the BRZ and FRS, and their individual potential as racecars
  • Why you should have less faith in performance parts


YouTube video – raw footage from coaching session

Driver Support Program

Eibach’s factory spring rate tests for the BRZ vs. FRS 

Tire temperature instructional video


Speaker 1: Welcome to howtobecomearacecardriver.com’s podcast where it’s not about being a racing driver but learning to become a racing driver. Here’s your host, Matt Covert.

Matt: Hey, what’s up everybody. Matt Covert here again. howtobecomearacecardriver.com. Thank you so much for joining me for the third episode of the podcast. I have no idea where the time is going. I can’t believe that I’m already publishing the third episode that crazy.

This is going to be a really fun episode because it is not just going to be me yammering on about things. We are actually going to have some really cool audio clips from informal coaching that I had over the past weekend. I think I mentioned it on the last episode that I was going to do this and I was able to connect with a really cool awesome guy named Bill Brundige One of the fastest guys here on the northeast. I’m just sure of it his amazing as his results just speak for themselves. 

We’ll come back on that in a little bit. We are going to be talk about not only the audio clips themselves. We are going to talking about coaching and why you should be looking for people to look up to and learn from and that kind of thing.

I think what I’m going to do is because what happened was I was inside the car. We we’re actually coaching in car. I was racing. He was coaching.

I took a everything on GoPro video from inside the car. The audio was okay and what I’m going to do is I’m just taking the audio off, of those video clips that I have and we’re just going to insert them into this podcast and I’ll play through some of them and I’ll give you my notes afterwards and we’ll just go over them like that.

I thought of this just now. I think I’m just going to compile all the video clips, the raw video clips and I’m just going to post a video of that on the YouTube channel, which I will link to in the show notes on howtobecomearacecardriver.com/podcast3 for episode three.

If you are in YouTube channel, follower, awesome, you’ll find it there, if you’re listening to the podcast, you’ll get it here as well.

I got one more thing I’d want to say before we jump in, actually I have two more things to say.

First and foremost, if you have been listening to this podcast, thank you so much for playing a small part of my brand. It means so much to me. It’s really cool going on my podcast hosting website and seeing that people are downloading this podcast and then listening it.

That is just blowing my mind that people are using their free time to listen to me just go on and on about things that I’m talking about. That’s very cool. Thank you for doing that for me. It’s extremely encouraging. It makes me want to do all kinds of more free stuff for the website, so that’s good.

The other thing that I want to touch on briefly is the sponsorship program. If you don’t know, I’m a huge advocate of grassroots driver racing and driver’s support. My little website has a driver support program, you can check that out at howtobecomearacecardriver.com/driversupport.

The program was open for applications about two or three months last year. It was a huge deal. I had so many people visited and apply for the sponsorships. Unfortunately, I couldn’t help all of them but I did narrow down my applicants to two.

This year I’m currently sponsoring … from the Saint Louis Region SCCA and I’m sponsoring Daniel Vang from the Indianapolis Region. I’m paying them each money to drive money on the team based on their experience and how well we interacted with each other and how well I thought that they fit in to what my brand is trying to accomplish. 

That sponsorship program is going to be open for new applicants and new applications august 1st. I’m absolutely committing to it this time. That’s when the program will be open. That’s all I have to say about that.

If you want to get what is essentially free money for doing what you love, which is going out and racing your auto cross car. Please you have to go to the website and apply for the sponsorship. There are a very few strings attached. It’s not hard to get the money should you be selected.

I’m the only person that I know of, the only company that I know of who is offering people real money for driving on their race team. All things considered to be completely transparent that is my marketing program.

I’m targeting a very specific niche, which are autocross drivers and rather than just blasting Facebook. I do use Facebook ads sometimes, once in a while, depending on the situation.

Rather than just dropping a ton of money on advertising some words and trying to get people to go to the site. I love sponsoring Grassroots drivers and having my logo on their car in exchange for the money that I’m paying them is really awesome because it is targeting all the autocross drivers who were at the event.

Everyone who sees my stuff is my target market. I’m not wasting my advertising dollars and I love helping Grassroots drivers achieve their goals. That’s what my program is all about. Again, if you’re interested, you can find more information at howtobecomearacecardriver.com/driversupport.

Alright, let’s see what we are getting into now. Before we get into the coaching aspect of this and how the weekend went and the audio clips and all that kind of stuff, I really want to talk briefly about the Subaru BRZ versus the Scion F-RS. They are two fantastic racecars in autocross, it’s very obvious. There are a lot similarities but there are some differences.

I want to go over those briefly because the guy who was coaching me this past weekend, he drives the FR-S and I drive the BRZ. If you know anything about the 86 cars in autocross, you know that FRS is allowed to do a few more modifications than the BRZ.

The rules are written so that if something was available during the point of purchase from the company your buying the car from as an additional option. You can go back and retrofit that car that those options to your car and still raising street class. They don’t count as modifications against  you.

For example, in street class you are not allowed to change your factory springs. It’s not just something that allows you to do but if you have the Scion FR-S, which is one— which was at the time, Scion is dead now. But at the time, when you bought the car from Scion. It is actually a company who is run by Toyota. You could actually buy the Toyota racing development Springs or the sway bars or whatever it was, you get a little bit a drop through lowering and slightly different spring rays and you don’t get that on the BRZ.

We are going to talk about that later. Bill, oh my gosh, I’m totally forgetting his name right now. Bill Brundige, the guy I was driving with, the guy who was helping me. He had a little bit to say about that and will get into that a little bit in the episode and that’s cool.

Let’s talk about the BRZ and the FR-S just briefly. The only functional difference out of the factor between those cars  are the spring rates. Everything else is the same except for some minor aesthetic things that make really no difference at all.

The spring rates and I’ll have to double check this and I will include the thread or a forum that I found where Eibach, they are a spring and suspension company. They actually tested the springs on both the cars independently and posted the spring rates, they diagnosed the springs so we would know exactly. They did it on multiple cars so we assume this is pretty accurate. I’ll post a link to that in the show notes.  Again, howtobecomearacecardriver.com/podcast3, is where  you can get a link to that.

But the way the spring rates are the BRZ, like most Subarus, has a natural tendency to understeer out of the factory that’s just the way how Subarus have always been.

Scion had a little bit differently. They wanted a car to be a little bit more fun and interesting to drive so at low speeds the car is easy to oversteer and it makes  a really awesome driver experience.

Those things in mind. I’m going to talk about how I went through the modifications on a BRZ and then will jump back into the coaching act.

Let me just tell you  a story about getting the BRZ. When I first raised the car, it was extremely apparent that the car was understeering. That’s just the way it is out of the factory. I experienced it myself.

To counteract the understeer and were talking in generalities here. In general, it doesn’t always apply but in general, If you really put a big sway bar in the car, it helps to kill understeer and do some more oversteer.

At that time and I still do this once in  a while when I’m making changes to the car. I monitor tire temperatures pretty religiously when I’m racing.

After I take a run, I bring the car back to the grid or whatever. I take tire temperatures and there’s all that kind of stuff on the website about that. I linked to a couple of those videos too, so you see what I’m talking about that.

It really helps to balance the car, especially if you’re new and you don’t have as good of a feel for what’s going on. You either have a new car or a new to racing or whatever.

What I was seeing, rather what I was feeling the car was understeering before I made any changes and the temperatures confirmed that. The front tires of the car were always hotter than the rear.  That means that the front is doing more work. It’s understeering, there’s more grip on the front. It’s overloading.

They should be equal and that’s why the rear sway bar helped to do. It really helped even out the temperature. I ended up with a rear Whiteline 18mm adjustable sway bar and that seem to work really well.

By the end of the season, we maxed out and we thought that there might be some more in there. We jumped up to a 22mm Perrin bar and that was very tight. It made the car pretty loose. We messed with some pressures to see what we could get with that.

At that time, in this was— If  you were not doing this by the way,  you need to be doing this to you. If you are out at an event and you want to get better and there are some amazing drivers around. If you’re not on a points event so if you’re racing on a secondary club, where points don’t matter. You want to reach out to someone who is way faster than you and preferably if you can find someone driving the same car or similar car.

That’s what I did with a guy named Mike Picher rom the Cumberland Motor Club. He drives an F-RS. He’s got a wicked fast car. He’s always, always the fastest guy.

I offered to and this is the part you should be thinking about if you’re not doing. I said, “Hey, let me give up my afternoon runs so that you can drive my car.” I know giving up seat time really sucks but especially if you have a data acquisition system. You are going to be able to collect data off someone who’s faster than you in your own car. You are going to be able to see on what your car is capable of doing with a better driver.

If the only thing you change in the driver and you see faster times, then you know you can stop complaining about not having all those fast cars. You know it’s all just driver skill. 

This guy hopped in my car and immediately he knew he said, “Hey, this car is way too lose,” so I took it back to the grid and gave up a little more time loosening the bar almost as much as it could go and that helped the car.

We have gone passed the point where the car was most efficient. He gave us some tire pressure advice and that was that the car became really stable, it was great, it was winning. I even managed like a second place finish at a regional race, which was really awesome.

I decided it was time to take a jump into performance shocks I spent the money and got a really brilliant set of Bilstein B6 Performance Shock, which are amazing. I love them. I love Bilstein. They got an awesome reputation. They’ll just last forever.

But as soon as I put the shocks on that car, it ruined everything the car was undriveable. It was funny because I was lined up on grid just before the first run I’ve ever taken with the shocks. The only thing I changed was the shocks and I want to see what would happen.

The guy, I think his name is Will Kocielny, I’m probably getting his name wrong. He is another hyper fast driver. He just happened to be nearby and he wanted to what the course is like at speed. I don’t know if he did a walk or not.

He opted with me. I took off and the car was awful. It was terrible.  It was really embarrassing.

We’re going back to the grid now. I was getting ready to explain this, this is the first run of the car, then I wasn’t really this incompetent in tuning the car or whatever. He jumped out almost immediately because he saw that one of the other cars ahead of us that actually blown some cooler line  He went right into them and got them to shut their car. I didn’t get a chance to explain myself, which was too bad.

He emailed me later to offer stop tips, which was really nice of him. We talked it out and I’ll come back on  that in a minute too.

I was connecting with him and I was connecting with Bill Brundige who had reached out to me from previous weekend about having the— seeing my website on the side of the car and the driver support program, his inquiring about that.

We got talking and he said, “Yes, what your definitely needs is…” He haven’t driven a car at this point. He said, “Yes you need to a big front sway,” which is the opposite of what I was doing for the shocks.

Coincidentally, that was Will was saying as well. I didn’t do a whole lot of thinking. I just jump into it. I said, “Okay, if you guys think.. “

These guys are amazing drivers. They are way faster than we. I take their opinions very seriously. If they are going out of their way and give me advice. Then I definitely need to listen to what they are saying. I went right out and bought an adjustable front sway bar, the one that bill has suggested and took it to the track. That was the first time I had driven it with him riding shotgun this past weekend.

I guess that is a good segue in to why you really should be thinking about getting some coaching. I know coaching, some people think that coaching is a bummer, which I think is too bad because I mean— when people think of coaching they tend to think that coaching is expensive and you’re just paying someone to tell you about all the things that you’re doing wrong. A lot of coaches actually don’t know what they’re doing and the whole thing, If you can’t do, you teach kind of stuff like that.

I really wish people would get out that mindset. People don’t realize that quite honestly in this particular game we play, in this sport, in the autocross world. We are extremely lucky like because more times than not, we can get all we want just by asking. There’s no money on the line and people love to help each other.

That’s all I did. Will actually offered to coach out with me a little later in the year. He’s just book solid in helping people now. I was smart enough to ask, I said, “Let’s book that. I want to get you in the car and get coaching for you for sure but is there anyone I can reach out to in the mean time who might be able to help me a little bit sooner and stuff.”

He actually suggested I talk to Bill. Now it’s pretty awesome because I was already e-mailing back and forth with Bill about the sponsorship program. I already had a pretty good in there. That worked out really, really well.

I reached out to Mike Picher at the other club to helped me start moving in the right direction with the tuning aspect. That was really awesome.

Here’s the thing about getting some coaching. Like I said, giving up seat time sucks but there are guys out there who are way faster than you.

For example, Bill has spent ten times learning what I want to know. Mike has spent over 20 years learning what I want to know. If I can get these guys, to help me and all I did was ask. They are all very gracious and very helpful and quick to add huge amounts of value to my racing world for nothing, which is just so humbling and amazing. If you are not using those guys to help you get faster, I mean shoot, you are getting them to teach you what took them a decade to learn, two decades to learn.

And here Bill was teaching me all this stuff in the weekend. Did I master it? Probably not but I’m definitely on the right track. I know I’m not going to spend ten years learning all the stuff that he did because he is giving me the cliff notes of all that experience. It’s really awesome.

If you are not reaching out to people who are better than you, if you are not reaching out to people who are playing the game at a higher level than you, you got a lot of things to think about. You really need to be doing this and like I said, more times than not, all you need to do is ask.

I’m not the only one in the industry doing that. I have a couple of friends who have similar goals, who were doing the same things as I am and it’s working well for them, us too.

Sometimes, reaching out to people and asking them for something, reaching out to them cold and saying, “Hey, I’m this person. Your results are amazing blah, blah. Is there a way you’d mind co-driving with me stuff like that. Sometimes that stuff is a little intimidating and scary. Especially coming from my position because I have these awesome pictures all over the car, they basically say, that I should be the authority figure.

Sometimes I have a lot of pride to swallow but it’s just what you have to do, if you want to get better. Bill for crying out loud is 2-seconds faster than me on 71-second course. That is out of this world. There’s no way I can argue with him. His faster than me and I need to just go over it and I want to learn from him.

Now, that we got that out of the way. That’s why we want coaching and it is extremely important if you’re not doing it. I just have to reiterate that it’s extremely important.

Let’s talk about the rule book for just a second. I mentioned earlier that the F-RS is allowed the TRD spring change, which is actually the biggest difference between the Subaru and driving the Scion but I had a really interesting conversation with Bill this weekend.

Let me back up for a second. Many people are complaining about that one difference that the F-RS can have the TRD springs that the SCCA HAS tentatively decided to make the change for next year to move— Let me see if I get this right. They want to move all the Subaru BRZ models and the F-RS models with no TRD kit on them to D Street.

I like the sound of that that’s sounds often. It could give me a huge pax advantage. It would just make me more competitive overall.

It’s hard to argue with that. We all know, we are all racing the rule book as hard we can too. When we get a break for a re-class or something like that, you want to take it and run with it. Even though if maybe you don’t agree with it for whatever reason. You just have to take it. You take any advantage as you can get as racing as long it is legal in my opinion.

I don’t like cheating. I don’t want to do any cheating. I think that’s ridiculous.

But here’s the thing, personally, I don’t think this re-class is necessary. I do want it to happen but it would be a great advantage to me but I don’t think it’s necessary. Here’s why, there’s two examples that I want to give you.

Steve Barroden, I think I mentioned him either on the last episode or the one before. Steve Barroden drives a 2013 Subaru BRZ just like I do. He recently won the Pro solo DC stop of the Pro Solo National tour, which is a huge accomplishment. Congratulations to him.

He wiped the floor in that class. He was racing against all the F-RS guys who had the springs. There’s proof point one that you don’t need the springs to win if you are a good enough driver.

The other thing I want to talk about, Bill and I briefly talked about his too. He thinks that the re-classes, I think the word he used was asinine which means the same thing for petty and unnecessary. I have an audio clip I want to share with you of him giving him his opinion about and me giving mine as well.

Like I said, it’s go pro audio it’s not perfect but I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to understand what was going on. I’m going to play the clip and the will talk about it in just a second.

Bill: People ask me, “Why did you buy the BRZ over the F-RS. I’d say the FRS was cheaper lighter and the dealership was color. I’d say the F-RS was cheaper lighter and the dealership was closer.”

Matt: lucky you right.

Bill: It was five miles Subaru, two mile to Scion.

Matt: That’s the best answer I’ve ever heard of that question. If I could change it and go back I would. I would buy the F-RS. I guess it doesn’t really matter now, when they thought about re-classing the BRZ.

Bill: I think that’s asinine.

Matt: you think so?

Bill: Yes. I don’t think it’s not much of a difference.

Matt: You’re probably right because Steve Barroden just won the DC pro-solo in a BRZ. That’s proof I think. Yes, it’s helpful to me to get re-class I’m not sure if it’s necessary.

The only difference functional between the BRZ and the F-RS are the spring rates. You really don’t think that makes a difference. You have the TRD springs right?

Speaker 2: They give you a drop but my honest opinion. We had a testing tune here. It was a 40-second course and people we’re bitching about the TRD set up in my car. I hopped in the guy’s BRZ. He has the same shocks as me. He has the same tires, the same foot sway bar. I was point two floors.

Matt: Wow.

Bill: That’s noise. They give you a drop but my honest opinion. We had test and tune here. It was 40-second course. People were bitching about the TRD set-up on my car.

I hopped in the guys’ BRZ, he has the same shocks as me, the same tire, the same front sway bar just not the TRD stuff. I was 2. Floor.

Matt: That’s something.

Bill: That’s noise.

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