The Greatest Drivers

An article in Motor Sport, published January 2003.

Clark on the Edge

"The greatest motorsport all-rounders, Moss, Andretti, Clark et al share the same basic attributes. Driving talent always shines through," he says. "The top guys have a fascination about driving on the limit, they can jump in any car and go straight there."

And it is for his work with 'on the limit' driving that Palmer has won many fans and aided hundreds of drivers to unlock their potential.

"Driving is a head thing. I simply help people develop appropriate beliefs about their driving," he continues. "It's about getting people to focus - I get them to focus on what really matters. We start wherever they are and go wherever they want to go to." This is one of the keys to the way Palmer works with drivers. Each individual has their own target, whether they are serious racers, weekend fun racers, track day drivers or simply road drivers wanting to learn more. Whatever the need, he can tailor his coaching to satisfy it.

Sir John Whitmore in a GT40

"When coaching on the limit driving you have to take people right to the edge and get them to explore what that’s like," he says. "We spend time understanding how and what the tyres are doing and how this translates to the crucial aspects of steering, brakes, throttle and smoothness - fundamental keys to speed."

Palmer has an interesting background as a Chartered Engineer in engine research. His fascination with aspects of human expertise provided the impetus to become an expert coach, and eventually led to a modelling project unlocking the secrets of expert driving. He worked for Jackie Stewart for two years in the USA, teaching chassis engineers limit handling. For 15 years he has worked on his coaching and psychology skills.

"I am a sports coach specialising in limit handling," he explains.

Even though professional coaches are an accepted and central part of just about every major sport in the world, they are still relatively rare in motorsport.

This is what just two customers said about coaching from Don Palmer.

"I found his method of coaching to be very effective and particularly liked the way he built up my skills one stage at a time. I would highly recommend this course to anyone wishing to hone their skills, even if they already believe themselves to be quite a good driver."

"Take one geriatric to Brands Hatch GP circuit and you get lapped twice and are 20 seconds per lap off the class leader. Add a day with Don Palmer... At Castle Combe you get a fourth overall, second in class and 5.4 seconds off the race winner's lap times. Miracle? Close, but that is what Don can do for you."

In truth, just about any driver could learn from spending time with a master coach.

2013 Don Palmer. All rights reserved.