Name: Bob Perona
Team: HVM Racing
Position: Driver Coach
Total years in racing: 18
Years with current team: 4
Previous teams you’ve worked with: Media One Racing (driver), AT&T/Cobb Racing (driver), Roquin Motorsports (driver), Speed Secrets, Aim Autosport, USRacetronics, Cunningham Motorsports, Penske Racing, Brad Keselowski Racing.
Weekday duties: I prepare the driver for the coming race weekends. I am in charge of fitness (both mental and physical). I work with the driver to create a plan for the race weekend that includes technique, mental preparation, and goal setting. I also work with the engineers to bring a driver perspective to the engineering plan.
Race weekend duties: Most often you will find me at a corner or, in the event of an oval race, on the spotters’ stand. I will be on the radio with the driver and crew helping the driver find better ways to drive a particular section of race track. I take video and split times for analysis. In between sessions, I am poring over data and video to find little pieces of speed and then preparing the driver to make those adjustments.
How you got started in racing: I found racing when I was in high school. A friend of mine took me to an SCCA event, and I fell in love. I spent the next two years building a race car, and I was off and running. After my career as a driver, I found that the astronomical amount of mistakes I had made served me well to teach other drivers not to make the same ones, and so I became a driver coach.
Favorite part of job: It is such a privilege to be involved in racing. Every day at the racetrack is great; I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I love that I can still compete at a high level as a driver coach, something I miss from my time as a driver.
Most difficult part of job: I think teaching something can be difficult if you don’t understand that often the student doesn’t know what they don’t know. You have to keep everything in perspective and be smart with your communication. If I am going to tell a driver that a corner should be taken flat out while we are on the race track, I had better be 99% sure at least because the consequences are big. Communication is the most important part of my job.
Career highlight in racing: In 2009, the two drivers I worked with, Simona DeSilvestro and Parker Kligerman, both dominated their respective series, and between them they won 12 times. Both nearly won their championships.
Favorite way to spend an off-weekend: Off-weekend…? In the off-season, I like to get home to Colorado for snowboarding and football.