Reddit Interviews Jacques Couture, Racing Instructor

Reddit’s “I Am A” forum is always a fascinating peek into people’s lives. The premise is simple enough, someone pops on and starts a thread with “I am ___, ask me anything”. r/IAmA has hosted a variety of fascinating discussions with a wide variety of diverse and public people such as astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, military whistleblower Justin Watt, and comedian Louis C.K. It’s a wonderful and rare opportunity for people to directly ask questions of someone, without the filter of a more traditional interviewer acting as our proxy. Plus they’re just a good read (I got distracted from writing this post and read all three of those I linked… Focus!).

Recently Jacques Couture, a founder of the Jim Russell Racing School North America and racing instructor to Gilles and Jacques Villeneuve, Al Unser, Jr., and myriad other famous and not so famous racing drivers started a thread.

What a rare and tremendous opportunity for motorsport enthusiasts to interact with such an influential figure in the sport as Couture.

Some of my favorite questions and responses from the discussion:

Q: Motor racing is well known for rewarding those with money over those with talent. Were there any students that you thought were unbelievably talented; maybe even better than Gilles Villenueve; but due to lack of funding ended up never getting anywhere?

A: Absolutely. over the 35 years i ran the school. there have been hundreds of extremely talented individuals that have come through that showed great promise, but just didnt have the money to continue.

Q: We hear a lot about drivers like Gilles, Senna and Prost, but who’s the greatest unsung F1 driver of the last 30/40 years?

A: There are quite a few great drivers who just never got the break they needed. Chris Amon is one. exceptional driver who was always right behind the front runner waiting for that mistake that never came.

Q: What is the biggest difference between teaching Jacques who had probably some aptitude and a beginner without any knowledge (Celebrities)?

A: Someone who has no experience is actually easier to teach because they have no bad habits you have to reverse. Many people with some racing experience, in the beginning, may be more difficult to teach because they may have one or more bad habits you have to deal with first before they can progress.
later on though, once those bad habits are broken, someone with experience, such as Gilles and Jacques, will then progress much more quickly.

Click on through for the full discussion, and thanks to Ral for writing in and pointing me in the right direction.

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