COPYRIGHT NOTICE: This material is a core part of our proprietary curriculum and is protected by copyright. You may not sell, alter, reproduce or distribute any part of this material. You may only print it for your own individual study and practice within the AutoInterests HPDE program. Failure to comply with the terms of this warning may expose you to legal action for copyright infringement and banning or other penalties.
The most common question we get is “what run group should I be in”? This is often quickly followed up by “does my "______" driving experience count”? Where "______" is everything from autocross and karting to drag racing or street racing. The simple truth is that no experience outside of road course driving really counts. One of the main reasons that other experience doesn't count is because of mindset: focusing on competing is vastly different than focusing on learning or just having fun.
Proper placement of drivers in run groups is absolutely critical to provide a great experience for all drivers and a successful event. We don’t base run group placement on arbitrary numbers of “track days” (with or without instruction) or subjective sign-offs from instructors. Effective for the 2018 season, we have developed a better approach for this based on skills and competencies.
For any drivers going to a new-to-them track for the first time we recommend stepping down one run group from what you normally drive in.
FIRST-TIME NOVICE drivers need to work on the below competencies, and prove to have mastered them before being approved to move to the Experienced (Solo) Novice group. In this run group, the first two sessions are pace-controlled for acclimation and learning purposes. If you sign up for an event in the FIRST-Time Novice group, these competencies are what you will work on with an instructor:
|Ability to accept criticism constructively/good attitude, coachability||Ability to learn and apply instructor feedback|
|Acknowledging flags||Appropriate grip on steering wheel|
|Consistently seeing and appropriately responding to flags||Driving position - seat position/ability to reach pedals, etc.|
|Following all rules and directions as set by policies and event officials||Good sportsmanship and demeanor with participants and officials|
|Hand position on steering wheel||Knowing corner worker locations|
|Knowing what flags mean||Mental preparedness/focus|
|Mirror position||Not getting competitive|
|Passing on correct side||Quickly and appropriately responding to flags|
|Safely executing a pass||Safely re-entering the track after going off|
|Situational awareness||Vehicle performs adequately and safely prepared|
|"Safety First" attitude|
EXPERIENCED NOVICE drivers should have already mastered the above competencies and then will begin to work on the additional ones listed below. Drivers in this group must be previously approved (by our organization or a compatible one) or have prior successful experience and comfort with driving solo. If you've NEVER had formal instruction for driving on a road course you MUST start in the First-Time Novice or Acclimation group. In Experienced Novice you will get several sessions of instruction throughout the day, but will NOT have an instructor for every session. Drivers in this group should be working on mastering the below competencies:
|Adjusting target/reference points as instructed (turn-in, brake, etc.)||Appropriate brake inputs while cornering|
|Appropriate throttle inputs while cornering||Appropriate timing of point-bys or other communications|
|Basic mechanical knowledge of car||Checking gauges|
|Clarity of point-bys, pit signals or other communications||Commitment to a turn|
|Commitment to throttle||Consistent straight-line braking|
|Determining appropriate passing sides when giving a point-by||Downshifting|
|Engaging in consistent, predicable driving||Finding appropriate braking points|
|Following an appropriate driving line and understanding its importance||Generously giving point-bys as appropriate|
|Handling 2-wheels off||Identifying early apex|
|Identifying late apex||Identifying lift-induced oversteer|
|Identifying when NOT to shift||Identifying when NOT to take a pass|
|Identifying when to shift||Identifying when to take a pass|
|Knowing when car behind is faster and giving point-by promptly and in appropriate zone||Leaving nannies on when appropriate - traction/stability control|
|Looking far enough ahead||Looking where you want the car to go|
|Maintaining appropriate car spacing, enough to get a point-by but still safe||Mirror tap to indicate imminent point-by for car behind|
|Mirrors - watching but not dwelling in||Not being pressured by traffic behind|
|Not braking in corners (excl. trail braking)||Not coasting|
|Not following car ahead, driving own line||Not over-driving or being overly-aggressive|
|Not shuffling on steering wheel||Not target fixating|
|Passing flag drills||Recognizing hazardous conditions and adjusting accordingly|
|Recognizing signs of a mechanical failure and limping in||Self-awareness and communication of learning preference - audibly, visually, example, etc.|
|Successful ability to create achievable goals per session/day/event||Throttle lift after giving point-by, not drag racing|
|Throttle technique - smooth delivery vs. punching||Understanding corner types - decreasing radius, standard, double apex, etc.|
|Upshifting||When to accelerate (give the car gas)|
INTERMEDIATE drivers should have mastered at least 75% of the above Experienced Novice competencies and been approved (by our organization or a compatible one) or have prior demonstrated experience in Intermediate. Intermediate drivers will continue to refine and work on any remaining ones PLUS the below Intermediate competencies. Instruction is generally only provided by request to intermediate drivers and is not always available.
|Appropriate tire pressures/ability to adjust as needed||Handling a slide or spin|
|Handling adverse weather||Heel-toe shifting|
|Identify and manage weight transfer of vehicle||Knowing when to save vs. let the car go off-track|
|Managing going off-track safely||Overall mastering of car control|
|Predicting behaviors of other drivers||Recognizing imminent over/understeer and appropriately correcting|
|Smooth overall transactions - braking-to-steering-to-throttle||Threshold braking|
|Throttle steering||Trail braking|
|Turning nannies off when appropriate - traction/stability control||Understanding on-line vs. off-line and when to use each|
|Using all of the track surface|
ADVANCED drivers must have been approved (by our organization or a compatible one) or have prior demonstrated experience in Advanced and are expected to have mastered at least 80% of all of the previously listed competencies before driving in the advanced group. Advanced drivers should continue to refine their skills from all of the previously listed items and beyond. Any advanced drivers who feel they have mastered the listed competencies and have demonstrated practicing them consistently for at least 2-3 seasons of 7 or more driving days is encouraged to fill out an instructor application if they have any desire to give-back to the sport and enjoy the benefits of our instruction program.
COPYRIGHT NOTICE: This material is a core part of our proprietary curriculum and is protected by copyright. You may not sell, alter, reproduce or distribute any part of this material. You may only print it for your own individual study and practice within the AutoInterests HPDE program. Failure to comply with the terms of this warning may expose you to legal action for copyright infringement and banning or other penalties within our program.