Rod Canare (rtypec on rctech) has been doing a bunch of posts on his trip to Japan as North American Tamiya Series champ. It's a great group of posts, and while he was there for sedan racing, he makes a great point:
"When my number was called I took off from the and as soon as I hit the
first corner, followed by the chicane and left hand sweeper leading into
the infield, I knew I was in trouble. Over steer everywhere! The
track definately had grip and I felt that the tires worked fine, but the
body just affected handling so much that whatever mechanical traction
the chassis had became a moot point. As I struggled with the car for
the first half of the qualifier, the theme song from the Benny Hill show
started to play in my head. Additionally, thoughts of how frustrated
my performance so far has been, and how embarrasing this must be for not
only myself, but for those who wished me the best of luck, started to
cross my mind. Fortunately, or unfortunately, driving the car required
my undivided attention and I was able stop thinking about it and just
hustle it. A big part of racing is your frame of mind. Once the car is
on the track, you've got what you've got and nothing will change that
fact your stuck out there until your run is completed. You can't stop
to fix what's wrong and you can't over analyze things. Just do the best
you can and get the most out of what the car will give you. My car
was bad, my driving not much better, and I wrung it out for all that
it's worth. Afterwards, I was asked if my back was sore because I
carried that car lol. Unfortunately, lap times suffered tremendously.
Despite going faster with a time of 14.566, the top qualifier pulled
off a 14.170."
Very good insight on the mental end of racing, and also how to strategize when you are limited on time...
"For the second qualifier, I made no changes to the car but opted to use
the Audi R8 instead of the Ferrari that it would provide a little more
steering. My justification for this decision was that if it worked,
great. If it didn't, atleast I'll be going slow in style. In
hindsight, this may have screwed me over since quality track time was
paramount and every opportunity to get a good run in mattered. There
was no room to take one step forward and two steps back, which happened
to be the case with my setups and choice of bodies."
"I used the final practice session as an installation run with the
freshly rebuilt car and a new setup. I focused on getting a feel for
the car and work on getting more of a feel for the track, all in three
minutes. With the new parts and settings, my car did something that it
hasn't done all weekend so far, it was squeeling tires! I've got
traction and the car was predicatable. I wished our practice sessions
were longer, I really needed the track time to figure out how to drive.
After three minutes, I was a bit off pace. That was understandable
since I wasn't really driving that hard because I just wanted to get a
feel for things and save the car, without having to do a post-wreck
trash'n dash repair job on a "freshy"."