National Motorsport Academy

Student Experiences: Noah Monette

Student Experiences: Noah Monette

Meet BSc (Hons) Motorsport Engineering Student Noah Monette. Noah is based in Ontario, Canada and decided to join the National Motorsport Academy due to his passion for motorsport. A keen Sim-Racer, Noah recently raced with another National Motorsport Academy Student in the iRacing Sebring 12Hr event – running a beautiful NMA livery on their Porsche 963 LMDh.

Read on to discover his motorsport story, how he ended up at the National Motorsport Academy and how he got on in the iRacing Sebring 12Hrs Event! 

Hello! Tell us a bit about yourself!

Hi, I am Noah Monette, I am 20 years old, and I’m studying the BSc (Hons) Motorsport Engineering Degree. I am currently on Module 04: Fundamentals of Motorsport Technology. 

As a kid growing up, I occasionally watched motorsport on TV, mainly NASCAR. As I got older, I began to explore other areas of motorsports. In 2016, I started following Formula 1, and I became a full-time viewer in 2020. In 2021, I expanded my interests to include more endurance racing and GT racing, primarily WEC, IMSA, and the Nurburgring 24h race. In 2017, I delved into F1 sim racing for fun, and from 2020 to 2022, I participated in some leagues. However, currently, I mainly reside on iRacing, where I race GT3 cars and GTP prototypes. 

How did you find out about NMA? What made you choose us?

I found the NMA when I started online searches for schools that offered motorsport programs, or anything related to the field to help get my foot in the door. I found that the more I watched F1 and Endurance racing, the more of an interest I took in the cars, specifically the sheer engineering and complexity that was involved in making these cars as fast as they were.

To any normal person, an F1 car looks like alien technology, especially when you see how fast these cars corner. From that point on, my passion to learn about the engineering and capabilities of both F1 cars and Endurance prototypes grew. I decided I wanted to pursue a career within motorsport. This course aligned perfectly with my interests, as I would have the opportunity to learn about racing from an engineering standpoint and utilise software to design and test components for race cars. 

How has your time with the NMA been so far?

So far, the NMA has been fantastic and is everything I wanted. Learning motorsport engineering when you have the passion makes the content within the course all extremely fun and easy to digest. The tutors also carry that same passion and motivation which makes it easy to connect with them and have conversations with. They are very knowledgeable within their fields and have always been extremely helpful whenever I need clarification or help with the content and software. Participating in the sim racing championship against other students has been a blast as well and allows us students to connect a bit more over a shared passion and a bit of friendly competition.  

What's been your favourite module so far? Are there any you are looking forward to completing?

So far, it’s been Module 03: R&D Simulation & Analysis, and that’s mainly from F1. Since I started watching F1, I have always been interested and amazed by the aerodynamics of the cars and how each aerodynamic component works. Learning the basics of aerodynamics and designing a front wing component myself to see how the air flows around it was fun. I think it goes without saying that I’m looking forward to Module 09, where I’m going to choose aerodynamics. I look forward to really digging into it and learning even more.

You recently competed in an iRacing event at Sebring. Can you tell us about this?

It was a very big test for me, personally, as the Sebring 12h was my first multiclass endurance race and the first time I properly raced the Porsche 963 LMDH car in sim. On top of this, it was the first endurance race for iRacing to include the new rain system! So, there were a lot of adjustments to make, in terms of racing lines, and a lot of mistakes were made. 

The race itself didn’t go particularly well, as Charles and I had some pretty big crashes when the wet weather rolled around. But it was a good chance to experience proper multiclass endurance racing, especially in the wet weather. Overall, we finished last of the cars that were still running in the GTP class, but we were still ahead of a few other cars in our class that DNF’d over the course of the race. I’m not too fussed about the result, as this race taught me a lot about the car and how it reacted to these conditions, as well as how I adapted and reacted to the conditions. Even though we were effectively last, I learned a lot and still had fun.

You also competed with a fellow student. How did you guys meet?

Charles and I met through the sim racing competition that the NMA started up a few months ago. We all have contact with fellow students who partake in this championship to discuss setups, telemetry and general tips or advice for upcoming races. Through this Charles and I compete, but we also have now done 2 endurance events together (Bathurst 12h and Sebring 12h). Charles had already been doing endurance racing events on iRacing before this, and I always wanted to take part in some but never had a team, so it was perfect timing. 

Do you have any takeaways from this iRacing event that you can bring forward to future races?

There were a few takeaways from the event that I have used in shorter races and will continue to use: Mainly adaptability, and overcoming adversity, especially in endurance races. Overall, I’m a lot more comfortable driving in the wet weather now. I am better able to adapt to weather and track conditions, and I am quicker to react to what’s happening on track around me in comparison to the Sebring race. As for overcoming adversity, that primarily applies to shorter races with mistakes, or lapped traffic that may lose you some time, but it especially is needed in endurance racing. When you have a crash or make a major mistake, you need that will to overcome the challenge and clear your head to get back into a rhythm once you’re back out on track, as these races are 6, 12, or 24 hours long. Anything can happen still to the other cars you’re racing.

When an average stint for a driver in endurance is 2-4 hours, you need to be able to accept a mistake was made and keep pushing because when you drive upset or angry that something happened, it only leads to more mistakes and crashes. 

Are there skills you have used in the event that you developed while studying with the NMA?

I’d say I used some skills from Module 02: Race Car Design & Preparation, leading up to, and during the race. There is a lot to change on these cars in iRacing and it is important to know what changes will do to the car so you can make sound decisions during set up. While we used a premade setup for the 12h, we still did some experimenting in practice sessions and made some changes to see if we felt more comfortable or faster with modifications. During the race, its unique since the GTP class of cars can adjust their Anti Roll Bars on the fly. So, if you felt you had too much oversteer or understeer, you can try and tune some of it out through those. Its nice to know in a pinch what the car is doing and what changes you can do to it to solve that problem.

Do you have any advice for people looking to compete in iRacing events?

Practice, practice, practice. Get comfortable with the car and the track in different track conditions (if it is going to be wet during the endurance race). The rain is so well done in this sim that if you’re not ready, it will bite you! Make sure you’re up to speed in both the wet and dry conditions. If it’s a day to night race, maybe do some laps around in the night to make sure you can see where the braking points and the apexes are in the dark. If it’s going to be raining during the night, make sure you’re comfortable in the night on a wet track. If there’s a series that hosts the race there before the event (like IMSA did for Sebring), do some proper races there to get the feel for racing other people around the track and where the viable overtaking spots are.

Finally, if you’re in a faster class, like LMP2 or the GTP class, learn how to manage traffic effectively. Traffic can be the biggest decider in a race win or even a race ending crash if you don’t know where and when to pass. It’s important to learn where the viable spots are to pass, and when its best to hang back and wait for a straight. As the famous saying goes for endurance racing, “traffic giveth, traffic taketh away”.

A massive thank you to Noah for speaking to us! You can keep up to date with his career over on |Instagram- Noah Monette

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