USA: Rob Bunker Mid-Ohio preview

Most drivers maximize speed through track tactics, memorizing apexes, shifts and brake points. Rob Bunker uses kinesthetics. Defined as the ability to feel movements of the limbs and body, kinesthetics provides additional sensory input that gives...

Most drivers maximize speed through track tactics, memorizing apexes, shifts and brake points. Rob Bunker uses kinesthetics. Defined as the ability to feel movements of the limbs and body, kinesthetics provides additional sensory input that gives the Bridgewater, N.J., driver an edge on track.

Bunker employs a host of strategies to get up to speed quickly. He'll use all of them this week as he prepares for two Formula BMW USA races on a track that's new to him -- the 2.25-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. He learned the techniques from his coaches at Speed Secrets Driver Development.

"We have input sessions where we really work on visual references, or we might work on kinesthetic references -- what the car feels like -- and maybe we'll work on auditory senses. It helps a lot with momentum," he explained.

"Especially when you're young and you just get involved with a coach, you think, 'I'm not going to run my fastest when I'm doing that, I'm going to run my fastest when I'm trying.' But for whatever reason, when you're in try mode, you can't get in the zone. I'll do a kinesthetic session and I'll run laps that I didn't even think that I could run. I'm in the zone -- it's a whole new world."

With limited track time, Bunker knows he has to make the most of every practice lap. He has it planned to the second.

"Getting that extra tenth [of a second] or two out of the car for qualifying is where we're going to spend most of our week. Within the first five laps, we really need to get a baseline on the car. No lap can be spent on doing one thing in particular, like just learning the track. I need to establish a baseline, come in, make a change to the car, go out and see how fast I can go with that change."

Bunker has another unique concept in mind -- rather than working up to speed, he'll try to exceed his car's limit, then back down.

"Something we'll be working on this weekend is not so much the idea of getting up to speed quickly, but the idea of almost crossing that edge. We've been working up to the limit, but there's always more in the car. Within the first two laps of going on the track, I'll be trying to push the car further than it will go, starting too fast, then working back from there. I would like for my coaches to say, 'Wow, you went a little too fast, let's back off a bit.'"

Bunker will drive the No. 18 AIM Autosport Formula BMW FB2 car in rounds three and four of the 2005 Formula BMW USA series, scheduled for May 21 and 22 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

-sp-

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Series Formula BMW