By Luis Martinez
from Watkins Glen International Raceway
The world of sports car racers is divided into two camps – those who drive in the rain, and those who won’t. Those who won’t drive in the rain will say that it’s dangerous, it’s crazy, or that they’ve already had an accident in the rain so they won’t try it again.
I’m writing this section as a metaphor for realities in life – because the sun is not always shining; the track is not always dry; the temperature is not always 75 F. As a driver, you can’t always count on using your racing slicks (sticky racing tires without tread) to race in dry, sunny weather. In life we have cloudy days, windy days, fog, sleet, hail, snow, hurricanes, etc. So my approach to sports car racing – and to life – is to try something different, learn new skills, stretch my boundaries, and make informed decisions in areas outside my comfort zone.
Among sports car racers I’m in the minority because I’ve never missed a run group or driving session just because it’s raining. In fact, as a result of my experience in the rain, many of my racing students have come back to me over the years to ask me to jump in their cars, ride with them and give them driving tips. They call me Mr. Smooth Martínez, a reference to my driving style that is silky smooth, not hurried – going stinkin’ fast while making it look easy and comfortable. It’s a driving style that I’ve honed and finessed over 16 years of track time. Where did I develop that driving style? Driving in the rain.