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ok color me stupid - but exactly what happens at a DE event? I'd like to get some pointers and track time in my Cayman, but I am way to new to the car to do any competiton. Is this like the BSR skills building sessions?
 

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Kreggin,


DE typically has you driving on a track with an instructor. It is not a timed event or a competition. Passing is only allowed on a straight, and only when the driver ahead signals you by. Participants normally are grouped by experience, so beginners don't run with advanced. My understanding is that the Potomac region requires a newbie to attend an HPDE class first before you can do a DE. Unfortunately, the HPDE class only seems to be run in the spring.If you look around the Potomac web site you can probably find more info of interest.


hope that helps - Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'll add few of my thoughts to Dave's comments and it is a long one again /fckeditor/editor/images/smiley/MWPX/embaressed_smile.gif...<o:p></o:p>[/quote]


Driving Education (DE, or sometimes referred to as High Performance Driving Education or HPDE) is, as Dave mentioned, a non-competitive education event performed on a closed race course. It is controlled event with mandatory instructors for each student. The purpose is to improve driving ability of the driver by teaching and allowing them to experience different types of situations that you cannot replicate safely during normal conditions on the street.<o:p></o:p>[/quote]


<u>Not every HPDE is the same!<o:p></o:p>[/quote]</u>


There are many organizations/clubs offering DE services throughout the season. It is important to recognize which ones are truly controlled fro the drivers' sake vs. organizations that offer track time with minimal instructions.<o:p></o:p>[/quote]


<st1:place>Potomac[/quote]</st1:place> and Chesapeake Chapters work closely together for all sorts of events in the MD/VA/DC area. [/quote]<st1:place>Potomac[/quote]</st1:place> chapter organizes all of the DE events from what I can tell at this time. They strongly recommend, but I don't think they force you, to first take a the HPDC, high performance driver clinic, if you have not been to a HPDE before. I attended this clinic last spring as I hadn't been to a DE event with the PCA before; even though I have been to several with other clubs. If you really haven't been to a HPDE before at all, this is a useful clinic, there is another one coming during fall.<o:p></o:p>[/quote]


<u>Personal Opinions:<o:p></o:p>[/quote]</u>


We are lucky to be in Zone 2. We have access to several nice track within 5 to 8 hour driving distance or less. Also, the 3 major clubs in our area, PCA, BMW CCA and Audi, have very good instructors and organize good events. They share instructors of course as there are always shortages in the number of instructors vs. students. The interest and participation levels are steadily increasing in HPDE (and also in autocross), so the instructor shortage will, I think, increase while the quality will decrease.<o:p></o:p>[/quote]


Different clubs are attacking the shortage issue differently. [/quote]BMW CCA National Capital Chapter is very stringent about their instructor program; it is 2-year invitation-only program. [/quote]I don’t have to say that they really do have the best in the region. [/quote]Their instructors do not pay to attend the events and get free track time. [/quote]PCA and Audi clubs have good instructors from what experienced, but the ratio of good vs. bad is much lower, meaning there is better chance of getting a bad instructor with PCA and Audi. [/quote]<o:p></o:p>[/quote]


Instructors make the whole difference between learning with fun and disappoint of the time you spend at the track and the value you get out of your money. [/quote]If you come across a bad instructors, which is tough to recognize if you have not been to several HPDEs, you can always request a change and most of the time the chief instructor will rule in your favor. [/quote]Unfortunately, PCA seems to have the loosest standards for instructor training and selection; less so in our Zone.<o:p></o:p>[/quote]


The best past of PCA is that their student categorization gets more precise as they track your history. [/quote]They have more categories, so students’ abilities are better matched to others in the same group. [/quote]This is also important for safety and smooth running of events.<o:p></o:p>[/quote]


<u>Recommendations:<o:p></o:p>[/quote]</u>
<p style="MARGIN-LEFT: 0.5in; TEXT-INDENT: -0.25in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; tab-stops: list .5in">1- [/quote][/quote][/quote]<u>Do attend HPDE events[/quote]</u>. [/quote]At a minimum you will learn what you don’t know about driving. [/quote]Many of us, if not all, think we are great drivers. [/quote]There is a lot to learn. [/quote]Improving your driving by just understand what is it that you don’t know will make you safer driver on the streets. [/quote]For example, many do not know that the hardest and the last thing many drivers come to learn is braking.<o:p></o:p>[/quote]
<p style="MARGIN-LEFT: 0.5in">Additionally, we generally only use about 30% potential of what our cars have to offer. [/quote]The only way to enjoy may be 60-80% of its potential is to do it on the track. [/quote]HPDE gives us this chance in a very social atmosphere.<o:p></o:p>[/quote]
<p style="MARGIN-LEFT: 0.5in; TEXT-INDENT: -0.25in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; tab-stops: list .5in">2- [/quote][/quote][/quote]I would strongly recommend that everyone should at least <u>attend one, two or more autocrosses before going to an HPDE</u>. [/quote]Autocross is the fast way to learn the limits and communication language of your car. [/quote]Understanding what the car is telling you is one of the most important skills you can gain, which is invaluable when it comes to tracking. [/quote]It is generally known that road course racers won’t make good autocrossers, but a good autocrossers would certainly do well on a road course.<o:p></o:p>[/quote]
<p style="MARGIN-LEFT: 0.5in; TEXT-INDENT: -0.25in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; tab-stops: list .5in">3- [/quote][/quote][/quote]HPDEs are safer to drive in that driving on the Interstates or the Beltway, because it is a controlled environment and it is not a competition. [/quote]However, check your insurance policy, most insurances do not cover damages that might occur on any race track; do ask your agent, read your policy. [/quote]Mine does not cover, so I run at risk. [/quote]However, I never run at my 100% ability, at best I try to reach 8/10<sup>th</sup> and that is it. [/quote]As I mentioned, it is not a race, so pushing your limits to their absolute won’t gain much. [/quote]At least, I try to identify sections of the tracks where I will not take any chances and be very conservative, others I’ll take chance because the risk of damaging the car is low even I go off the track in those areas.<o:p></o:p>[/quote]
<p style="MARGIN-LEFT: 0.5in; TEXT-INDENT: -0.25in; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; tab-stops: list .5in">4- [/quote][/quote][/quote]In our area, we have several tracks with varying complexities. [/quote]IMHO, for someone who hasn’t been to a HPDE, I’d recommend the following order of participation:<o:p></o:p>[/quote]
<p style="MARGIN: 3pt 0in 3pt 1in; TEXT-INDENT: -0.25in; mso-list: l0 level2 lfo1; tab-stops: list 1.0in">a. [/quote][/quote][/quote]Summit Point – Jefferson Circuit (W.VA, 1-hr from DC): the best circuit to have your first HPDE. [/quote]Actually both PCA and BMWCCA have their HPDC there. [/quote]It is a short circuit, 1.1 mi., but technical that allows practicing the basic skills repeatedly.<o:p></o:p>[/quote]
<p style="MARGIN: 3pt 0in 3pt 1in; TEXT-INDENT: -0.25in; mso-list: l0 level2 lfo1; tab-stops: list 1.0in">b. [/quote][/quote][/quote]Summit Point – Main Circuit: It is a longer circuit than [/quote]<st1:place>Jefferson[/quote]</st1:place>, front straight allows speeds to about 125-130 depending on the car. [/quote]Not too technical, but quite fun nevertheless. [/quote]Turn 3 can get dicey is try to become a hero; otherwise, it is a safe track.<o:p></o:p>[/quote]
<p style="MARGIN: 3pt 0in 3pt 1in; TEXT-INDENT: -0.25in; mso-list: l0 level2 lfo1; tab-stops: list 1.0in">c. [/quote][/quote][/quote]Summit Point – Shenandoah Circuit: Built last year, technical as I hear, but I consider it unsafe and won’t run on it. [/quote]If you are determined to run on it, do so after running Watkins Glen and at least you move to the Intermediate or Blue groups.<o:p></o:p>[/quote]
<p style="MARGIN: 3pt 0in 3pt 1in; TEXT-INDENT: -0.25in; mso-list: l0 level2 lfo1; tab-stops: list 1.0in">d. [/quote][/quote][/quote]Virginia International Raceway, VIR (Southern border of VA, 4-hr drive from DC): [/quote]It has four different configurations. [/quote]Any and all of them are fun, but nothing touches Full Course (3.2 mi.) and Grand East Course (4.2 mi.). [/quote]My favorite track, which ever club organizes it, I try not to miss it. [/quote]I spend more time on Full and Grand East courses than on any Summit Point tracks.<o:p></o:p>[/quote]
<p style="MARGIN: 3pt 0in 3pt 1in; TEXT-INDENT: -0.25in; mso-list: l0 level2 lfo1; tab-stops: list 1.0in">e. [/quote][/quote][/quote]Watkins Glen (Upstate NY, 5-hr from DC): I cannot say much about it, since I have not been there. [/quote]Everyone says it is a great track, but has couple of dangerous corners. [/quote]I avoided this track until my instructors tell me that I can handled it in my sleep, that has not happened yet.<o:p></o:p>[/quote]
<p style="MARGIN: 3pt 0in 3pt 1in; TEXT-INDENT: -0.25in; mso-list: l0 level2 lfo1; tab-stops: list 1.0in">f. [/quote][/quote][/quote]Beaverun (near [/quote]<st1:city><st1:place>Pittsburg[/quote]</st1:place></st1:city>, 5.5-hr from DC): OK track, inexpensive and not very technical. [/quote]Might want to try once, but probably that would also be the last one.<o:p></o:p>[/quote]
<p style="MARGIN: 3pt 0in 3pt 1in; TEXT-INDENT: -0.25in; mso-list: l0 level2 lfo1; tab-stops: list 1.0in">g. [/quote][/quote][/quote]Mid-Ohio (OH, 8-hr from DC): famous track like Watkins Glen. [/quote]There has been re-surfacing and improvements last year. [/quote]I have not been there yet and I won’t ride on that track until I am in the advance group and have a full roll cage in the car; so, I won’t be on that track from few more years still.<o:p></o:p>[/quote]


I hope some of this is a little helpful to all. [/quote]If you have more questions, I’d be happy to answer if I can.<o:p></o:p>[/quote]


Cheers,[/quote]
 

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Great info, FT. Thanks for posting. A follow up question on tracks. I haven't been to a DE, and one thing that concerns me is the amount of runoff available if a mistake is made. Would you say that Summit Point isalso a goodchoice from that standpoint?


thanks - Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Dave:


That is a very good question and it plays into my personal assesment of levels of risk taking at a given track. The amount of run-off area is very important as well as the type of run-off. For example, Turn 1 at Summit Point Main circuit, there is a nice sand-filled run-off. As you get up to 130 mph and start experimenting your braking points for T1, if you get it really wrong, you should keep the straight and do onto the sand, not sideways while trying to turn. To me that is low risk corner.


However, T3 on the same circuit is decreasing radii, blind,up-hill turn taken at about 75-85 mph (or may be even more). Most new trackers, when they realize that they missed the apex and rapidly approach the track-out point at the wrong angle, the first thing they do is to lift off the throttle. That nearly always results in loosing the backend. Then, the second mistake they make is to try to recover and from that point it is like quick-sand, it keeps getting worse by the millisecond. On top of that the run-off area is no more than 10-12 ft, which end with a tire wall. That kind of mistake, though rarely happens, results in totaling your car.


For this reason, you try to judge how much risk you want to take at each corner at each track and drive safely accordingly. The best people that can and do show those risky sections are the instructors. It really pays to listen to them to the letter.


Jefferson circuit, is relatively low speed, it does not have much run-off area, but corners are not dangerous while being technical. That is why it is a good circuit to have your first event.


So overall starting with Jefferson circuit, then moving to the Main Circuit is a good progression in my opinion and then to VIR.


Cheers,
 

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Thanks for the great info. I've driven my TT at Watkins Glen and had a great time. Would love to take the Cayman there when I am reaquainted with rear drive more than I am now. I think I'll book some time at BSR (Summit school)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Michael Johnson and I will be meeting at the Siilver Diner across from the mall on International/Gallows between 7 and 123 @ 6:45 am to go to the auto-x at Winchester, in case any of you would like to join.


Cheers,
 

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Nice writeup and pics, FT. Thanks for posting. I hope to participate in something soon myself, once the car is broken in. 400 miles so far.


Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks Dave. I am sure you are enjoying the car and we hope to meet you soon /fckeditor/editor/images/smiley/MWPX/drive.gif
 
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