Newly crowned 2010 NARRA Viper Racing League Competition Coupe Champion Steve Loudin has attributed most of his championship winning success to his coach, Australian sportscar star Tom Drewer.
Upon receiving his Championship trophy Loudin called Drewer up to the podium to share the award. “I couldn’t have done it without my coach Tom Drewer, who has pushed me and my driving to a new level throughout the season”, said Loudin. “I have the utmost respect for Tom, and he is wise beyond his years. He is an amazing instructor, and anyone who is lucky enough to utilize him will see great results. I look forward to next year. I just hope he isn’t snatched up by one of the big guys!”
The Tricel Honeycomb Racing driver clinched the championship in a climatic and drama-filled final round of the Viper Racing League at Nevada’s Spring Mountain circuit, in which he had to endure downpours and desert heat.
Set to the backdrop of Nevada’s Death Valley and the Spring Mountain Range, from which the circuit takes its name, the VRL race coincided with the final round of the Dodge Viper Cup and NARRA’s Viper Days Performance Driving School...
Drewer, who has won sports car championships both in America and Australia was equally thrilled with Loudin’s win. “It’s almost as good as winning from the drivers’ seat! I’m extremely proud of Steve. He’s had a fantastic season and he thoroughly deserves this Championship. And he did it in real style this weekend, gaining class pole position and race win.”
The championship had come down to the wire, with only a few points separating Steve, his arch rival Tom Antonelli and Cathy Stout leading into the final round. With all the competitors feeling the pressure, Drewer put an equal amount of effort into managing Loudin’s mental focus as well as extracting the speed and performance required to win.
“I had set out a stringent program to maximize the five sessions leading up to qualifying, to keep Steve’s mind on his own progression and not that of his competitors.”
However that strategy changed with the onset of heavy rain.
“It was then about managing risk versus reward, but I felt it was very important for Steve to go out and continue to explore the circuit, which was new to him, in the changing conditions– especially as rain looked a possibility all weekend. We were not leaving anything to chance and to preserve our allocated rain tires for the more important sessions, we grooved slicks to give us extra track time.”
Unfortunately the difficult conditions caught fellow championship contender Tom Antonelli by surprise when he ventured out on to drying circuit. His championship hopes came to an abrupt end when he came unstuck navigating standing water leading onto the pit straight. Antonelli’s Competition Coupe hit the inside wall and the damage sustained was severe enough to end his weekend.
“The rivalry between Tom and Steve is only matched by their camaraderie. Steve was so devastated the Championship had in-effect been decided by a cruel blow, rather than a straight fight, that he was actually in tears for Tom. The respect and friendship these two guys have is amazing considering how hard they battle it out on the track. It’s what NARRA’s Viper Racing League is all about.
The pressure on both of them was immense and when it comes down to the wire its about who remains calm and collected. Continuing to head out in the wet had its element of risk but I thought we may also gain a mental edge over Tom, who sat most of the sessions out. It was a shame as I was looking forward to a ‘battle royal’ on the racetrack, just as it’s been all year. But hat’s off to Steve who has produced the results all year.
I have coached Steve at numerous events this year and each time we’ve won the majority of the races and the weekend, all at circuits I’d never driven around which is certainly makes it more of a challenge from a coaching stand-point, but something I thrive at.
It’s been particularly rewarding to extract the most out of him. For me his drive at Pocono, earlier in the year, was the standout of the season. I was pushing him so hard from the sidelines and he responded, keeping his focus and delivering lap after lap within a tenth or two. And let’s not forget that amazing reverse grid start, coming off the back to pass all but one of the entire field into the first corner. But it’s just one of the many examples of why he deserves this championship so much.
It’s been fantastic to see Steve become a stronger driver throughout the year and I’m very proud to have been involved in his personal development and his Championship win.”