Over the past few months I’ve been bombarded with marketing e-mails from the Skip Barber Racing School… Enjoy the $3k-$5k intro to performance driving/racing… Mom will enjoy the Mother’s day specials of similar pricing… Celebrate 4th of July with some seat time behind the wheel, etc. But today’s e-mail got me wondering: Why doesn’t the Skip Barber Racing School offer professional Marshal training?
They advertise the following in today’s e-mail:
“Skip Barber Racing School is excited to participate in the third annual FIA Sport Conference taking place July 8-10, 2015 in Mexico City, Mexico… blah blah blah…. [the conference] ,,,enabled more than 74 ASNs and 250 delegates from all over the world to exchange ideas and to work together on common topics and issues, to meet the main protagonists in motor sport as well as FIA senior management and staff members.”
Well ain’t that just grand!?!
Wouldn’t it make sense that an organization, the only one of it’s kind in the US, that cranks out professional young drivers, on par or accredited by the FIA… why wouldn’t they also not want to produce some professional marshals for the very competitive American market?
Who’s going to pay for this? That’s a valid bottleneck in such an endeavor. Let the FIA Institute for Motorsport Safety and Sustainability pay for whatever the minuscule charge would be. Or bill the SCCA. Why not? I mean how much would it freaking cost? They’re already putting on a show for all the drivers that paid a few grand to be there. So what’s the cost of training marshals on scene to work the turns where the new prospective drivers also train. It makes sense to me. Skip Barber wouldn’t need more than one qualified marshal trainer to add to their driver training program, two at most. The cost of operations would be covered under the driver training, although they might have to spring for maybe a dozen more lunches, but come on, food is cheap in America. What else would it cost? Insurance? Maybe some Skip Barber Racing School “Marshal” t-shirts, those are cheap too. Maybe some marshaling equipment? Flags? Whistles?
“In 2014, Skip Barber Racing School and Mexico’s OMDAI were awarded the highest level of accreditation in the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) Institute’s Young Driver Safety Programme which qualified the two organizations to become Regional Training Providers (RTPs) for young drivers. Skip Barber Racing School is the only motorsports education company in the United States to earn this accreditation.”
I’m going to speculate here and say that the reason Skip Barber Racing School is the only U.S. company to become a Regional Training Provider for the FIA is because no other American club or Motorsport organization really gives a fuck about the FIA… most of the other American racing is either geared for SCCA club racing or NASCAR pro racing, and neither one of those organizations really give a shit about the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile… the only common link between them and the FIA is through a loosely formed ACCUS organization that liaisons international matters. Although to be fair there are plenty of American drivers that make it big and leave these here shores for greener pastures in Europe to race directly under FIA supervision.
But Skip Barber Racing School is so proud of their program with the FIA Institute Regional Training Provider status and their fancy FIA Sport Conference in Mexico attendance that they feel the need to share that news through their marketing e-mails… I’d be thrilled to discover that Skip Barber extends the training program to train marshals as well. Imagine that? Both young drivers and young marshals trained together at the same facility(ies) around the country. Both learn to work together following the same procedural criteria like consistency in flagging, consistency in communicating, and consistency in response to incidents. Same rules reinforced over and over again so both marshals and drivers are on the same page. Teaching both young marshals and young drivers the same professionalism that FIA dictates in their rules.
Skip Barber Racing School probably brags about their alums making it big:
“Skip Barber Racing School launched the auto racing careers of Juan Pablo Montoya, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti, Sergio Perez, Scott Speed, A.J. Allmendinger, Raphael Matos, John Edwards, Conor Daly, Josef Newgarden, Spencer Pigot and many more.”
They could do the same for their marshals… or at least contribute to it in a meaningful way. I’d be very proud to wear a Skip Barber Racing School Trained Marshal patch while volunteering at the Nurburgring, or Le Mans, or Bathurst, or Singapore, or Circuit of the Americas or Laguna Seca!
Think about it Skip Barber Racing School… it’s a win win idea, and you’re free to use it. I’d be the first person signing up to take advantage of such a prestigious opportunity.