IndyCar driver Jay Howard has become a fixture in the F1600 Formula F Championship Series paddock with his Motorsports Driver Development (MDD) firm. Partnering with Chastain Motorsports, Howard believes in helping young drivers move up the ladder, and that F1600 is a key first step.
“I have been coaching young drivers for many years now, from one on one coaching, to owning teams, I got experience at a variety of levels,” said Howard, who will race in the 2015 Indy 500. “Back in 2012 I decided to start a company focused purely on the young drivers of tomorrow.”
MDD helps drivers in a variety of ways, from coaching to fitness, team placement, engineering and more.
“I have had an up and down career, I also wanted to help shield the younger drivers from some of the things I had been exposed to and help them have a long successful career in racing,” Howard continued. “I am here for the drivers, and I get the very best out of all my drivers, helping them perform to their maximum ability.”
Howard said his clients range from younger drivers in karting, to F1600, and all the way to Indy Lights.
“I believe F1600 is arguably the most critical part of building a foundation to a long and successful career,” added Howard.
What is his advice for karters?
“All young drivers coming out of karting should race F1600,” answered Howard. “They need to learn the basics in cars. F1600 cars have no downforce, which means the drivers learn a lot about mechanical grip, how pitch and roll effects the car, spring and damper adjustments and more.”
With Chastain Motorsports on race weekends, he plays the role of driver coach, data guy and even engineer, while overseeing team operations.
“Young people get one shot at this as a career, so they need to be smart,” Howard stated. “A lot of things make a good driver, but passion, determination and drive go a long way. You need to eat, sleep, breath racing everyday if you want to have a shot, it is not easy.”