NASA Arizona Introduction video
NASA Arizona Time Trial & Time Attack video
That is the most common asked question when someone new learns about our organization. The answer is, “it is easy”. In fact it is far easier than most people realize. Here are the high level requirements:
If you didn’t notice, you don’t need a “race car” and you don’t have to know anything about car classing. You also don’t need a major sponsor or *deep* pockets. In fact, you don’t even need to be a *dare devil* or thrill seeker. Our beginner program focuses on safety, driver education and fun! Students are encouraged by our certified and professional instructors to only drive as fast as they feel comfortable going. If that means they simply want to experience driving on a race track at typical freeway speeds, that’s okay. On the flip side, if someone has dreamed about driving triple digits speeds around a turn as well as down the main straight, that’s okay too! As long as discipline and car control is displayed, there are no speed limits as a beginner.
There is no doubt that driving fast can be dangerous. NASA understands that there is always risk with driving on track, but here are some considerations:
When you first start out, there are no classes. We have found over the years that is works out much better to separate the *drivers* by experience level instead of the different types of *cars*. Drivers naturally become faster as they become more confident. This confidence only comes with experience and seat time at the track. All beginners will start out in High Performance Driver Education level 1 (i.e. HPDE1).
NOTE: Drivers who have had previous on track driving experience with a similar organization might be eligible to skip NASA’s HPDE1 program. This will be decided on a case by case basis and is at the discretion of the “Chief Driving Instructor” or the “Regional Director”.
Social Media / “How do I stay connected?”
Make sure your vehicle is in tip top shape. If there is a mechanical problem with your vehicle, you don’t want to wait until the day of the event to address it. If there is any general maintenance items you’ve been putting off, take care of them now. Here’s some examples your or your mechanic can check:
NOTE: The official HPDE tech form can be downloaded here
Have you ever wanted to drive your car beyond the legal limits? Have you ever dreamed of driving your car on a *real* race track? Did you realize that you can do both in a safe, controlled and affordable environment? NASA makes it easy for anyone wanting to make this dream become a reality. No cops, no oncoming traffic, no pedestrians (or animals) and no tickets! The best part is you don’t even need a “race car”, you can do it in your own (street) car. Our HPDE program regularly sees vehicles ranging from a basic commuter cars to some of the most exotic cars on the planet and of course everything in between.
Beginner students are hand matched with our certified professional instructors who provide 1×1 attention to each and every student. Maximum attention towards safety is the focus of the HPDE program. However, there are no speed limits or car modification limitations in any of the groups. Speed is only limited by the personal comfort level of the student.
This is where everyone starts. Personal 1×1 guidance is provided as part of the program from experienced racers. As your car control skills and confidence increases thoughout the day the instructor will allow you to drive closer to your personal limits. Basics of the class will address general track safety, the proper “line”, braking, turning, accelerating and having FUN! Passing is very limited in this group.
Your HPDE1 instructor has determined you have progressed enough that you can drive safely on track with less supervision. You apply what you learned in the HPDE1 sessions to get more practice. Instructors will continue to be available if requested. Sometimes this group is combined with HPDE1 if participants do not warrant a separate group.
You have progressed past HPDE2. In this group, passing rules are more relaxed but still restricted in some areas of the track.
Congratulations! You have graduated to the world of high performance driving and have learned to share the track at high speeds with others. There are no passing restrictions as long as good judgment and proper track etiquette is utilized. You and your peers now have a safe, controlled environment to simply have fun with your car. These drivers may also request to move into the “Time Trial” group and/or apply for a competition license (i.e. Race Group) if they are looking for even more competition.
There are no “classes” in the HPDE program. Any car that will pass the HPDE tech inspection may participate. HPDE vehicles are only separated by the *drivers* experience level. The purpose of the HPDE program is simply to provide car enthusiasts an opportunity to have a great time with their car in a (relatively) safe and controlled environment.
Absolutely not! The HPDE program will be fun no matter what car you bring. You’ll also find that cars have far more performance than an inexperienced driver is able to extract of out it. No matter what car you bring or what modifications it has (or does not have), by the end of the program, you’ll be *driving* much faster than inexperienced drivers in higher performing vehicles.
You would be surprised at the number of woman at the track, in the HPDE program and even racing wheel to wheel with the guys. This is not strictly a “mans” sport. HPDE1 typically sees a handful of woman every event and the numbers keep growing. By the way ladies, the instructor feedback is fairly consistent that women make better students than men! So what are you waiting for? Sign up today and start out-driving your man tomorrow. 😉
We were all teenagers at some point so we should all understand the urge that most teenagers have to drive fast to see what it’s like. Over the years we have found that many parents put their teenage or young adult through the program to teach them to be safe drivers and let them “get it out of their system”. The result is actually a safer driver with less urges to drive fast on the street. A win/win situation for ALL!
NOTE TO PARENTS: You’ll bag some major brownie points with your kid if you let them run with us. Score you!
With the strong focus on safety and driving within personal limits, we limit passengers. No passengers are allowed at all in HPDE1 (just the instructor). Passengers are only allowed with group leader authorization in HPDE2. Passengers are approved in HPDE3 but it’s always good to check with your group leader first.
Note: Additional information about passengers can be found in section 4.6 of the Club Codes and Regulations.
Body damage in HPDE groups rarely occurs, however you are encouraged to check with your insurance company regarding coverage as anything is possible. Some insurance companies cover damages to cars participating in the HPDE program. There are also specialized insurance policies such as Lockton Affinity (locktonaffinity.com) designed to specifically cover vehicles participating in HPDE events.