Skip Barber Racing Goes ‘Offshore’

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

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Question: What do formula race cars and offshore powerboats have in common, besides impressive power-to-weight ratios? The answer: Much more than you think…

A few weeks ago, offshore powerboat world champions Marc Granet and Scott Begovich attended the three-day Skip Barber Formula and MAZDASPEED Racing schools, respectively, at Sebring International Raceway in Florida.

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Miss GEICO pilots Marc Granet (above) and Scott Begovich (below) say they learned skills on the tarmac at the Racing School that make them faster on the water. Photo by Stacey Killmaier

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Scott Begovich did the Mazda MX-5 version of the three day. Photo by Stacey Killmaier

According to Granet, ‘‘We went to Skip Barber to drive fast and have fun, but also to see if the program could help us keep our racing focus intact during the power boating off-season. In our sport, drivers at the championship level need to constantly maintain their ability to concentrate under extreme circumstances. It’s really a use-it-or-lose-it skill.’’

When Granet and Begovich got to Sebring for their respective schools, it was quickly confirmed that the intensity of piloting the Formula Skip Barber and Mazda MX-5 racecars around Sebring’s challenging road course provided the type of mental focus exercise they were looking for. But they also found something else.

‘‘The actual driving skills our Skip Barber instructors taught us were directly applicable to power boating,’’ says Granet. ‘‘For example, the instructors were always telling us, ‘keep your eyes up.’ We found when we got back in the boat that by keeping our eye focus higher on the racecourse and visualizing a stronger line through the corners, we were able to shave a couple of seconds off our course times — exactly what the Skip Barber instructors had been preaching.”

Heading into the 2008 power boat racing season (OSS, OPA, APBA), Granet and Begovich are convinced their Skip Barber training has given them a competitive edge. ‘‘As much as the Miss GEICO Team wants to keep what we learned at Skip Barber to ourselves, we’re going to spread the gospel among our fellow race teams,’’ says Begovich. ‘‘And who knows? There are probably a few racecar drivers out there who want to try powerboat racing!’’

Click here to go to the Miss GEICO website

The OPA Racing Organization website is here

Skip Barber Staff

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