MMR Blog

Nature Abhors a Vacuum

Posted on February 6, 2014 Comments (0)

Paul Chenard

Halifax Nova Scotia Automotive Artist, Paul Chenard, learned that Denise McCluggage would be in Lawrence MA for The Centered Driver Workshop one week before her scheduled appearance on January 28th. Paul is a huge Denise McCluggage fan and he decided that he must be there and asked if he could come. At that point, Michael Ricciardi owner of European Motorsports was flat out trying to create what is now called The Loft out of what was simply a crowded storage space above his showroom and shop. When Paul learned that the windows had been plastered over he suggested he paint a racing scene on two of the panels. Paul made two sketches which he sent Michael for approval, then loaded his vehicle and left home in a snowstorm to be here in time to complete his work. This is how he did it.

The scene depicts the final few feet of what photographer Jesse Alexander called “Fangio’s Great Race”. Driving for Maserati in the 1957 German GP at the Nurburgring, his team employed a different strategy from the Ferraris of Hawthorne and Collins. The plan would require the Maserati to start with less fuel, build a lead, and then stop on the twelfth lap to refuel. But a bungled 39 second pit stop allowed the two Ferraris to get by. Now you can watch a video of this race narrated by Alain de Cadenet and judge for yourself.


The Centered Driver Workshop

Posted on February 6, 2014 Comments (1)

A Fine Beginning…

Last week, Denise McCluggage came to The Loft at European Motorsports in Lawrence MA to introduce The Centered Driver Workshop. It is based on her 1970s book, The Centered Skier, which successfully introduced elements of the martial arts, to the physics of downhill skiing.

Centered Driver loft

The Centered Driver Workshop, as did its skiing predecessor, deals with the importance of recognizing the changes that skier/driver actions have on the attitude of the skis and the automobile’s contact with the road. With her guidance, participating students demonstrate the effect that combinations of driver accelerating/braking/turning have on the four contact patches (tires) of a car. When demonstrated this way, the physics are easily grasped. The second aspect of this workshop deals with the role the martial arts plays in focusing the mind and body on the task of driving a car. McCluggage, obviously a practitioner of the art for many years, demonstrates the powerful effect of focused energy as a strong young volunteer tries unsuccessfully to bend her arm.

Denise McCluggage

The final third of the workshop is devoted to anecdotally marrying the physical and the mental with the practical aspects of daily driving. McCluggage has thought driving through completely. Whether she is explaining the joy of “celerating” (a word she coined) through a turn carrying adequate speed to maintain balance without either accelerating or decelerating, the difference between seeing and comprehending what you see, or simply why she turns off the radio when she is driving, you come to the realization that by becoming a centered driver you can enjoy driving at a level of awareness which you never even knew existed.

Denise McCluggage driving