In case you missed it last week, You SUCK at Racing is taking brief journey into You ROCK at Racing.
Novice racers or even HPDE track drivers can have so much of their attention on controlling their car that they don’t notice anything else around them. Tunnel vision can be pretty dangerous in a sport like auto racing where danger is literally all around you. Having the awareness to notice that there are mechanical problems in your car or someone else’s car is a higher level of driving than simply lapping quickly. I think almost anyone can learn to drive a car within a couple seconds of the class lap record. But doing that in a race setting while managing the traffic around you, monitoring gauges, communicating with the pit, and making mental notes about setup changes is another thing entirely.
In my “First-timers” page (see link at the top), I give some advice for people doing their first race. I just added a new item (#6) inspired by the following video. It’s really important to have enough spare mental capacity to notice that the car you’re following is about to blow up and spread oil all over the track.