Beginner – HPDE/Open Track
You have always wanted to know what “she could do”, but you know the streets and highways are not the place. NASA gives you and your car an easy, safe, and affordable way to get on the track! No speed limits, no pedestrians, no stoplights, no soccer moms piloting SUV’s with a smartphone in one hand and a coffee in the other… but best of all – no tickets. The NASA High Performance Driving Event (HPDE) provides you with an experienced instructor to help guide you through the event, one on one, as you learn how to handle your car at the limit. You set your own goals and only go as fast as you feel comfortable going. Progress as far as you wish in your own car at your own pace, become a safer driver on the street, and have a blast along the way! NASA HPDE is “the best money you will ever spend on your car.”
All you need is a safe car and a helmet. The car can be bone stock and does not have to be fancy or fast and if you don’t have a helmet we have plenty of free loaners as well. Students bring everything from Hyundais to Ferraris. As a general rule, most late model closed top vehicles in good condition will pass technical inspection. Even convertibles with factory rollover protection (or aftermarket roll bars) are allowed!.
NOTE: If a vehicle has been substantially modified, specifically any of the safety items (Ex: seats, belts, fuel tank/cell, etc.) they will need to conform to NASA race preparation rules.
Anyone with a drivers license and NASA membership may participate (16 or 17 w/parental consent). Many different types of people enter our events. The number of women who are taking our courses has steadily increased and most are very eager to enhance their driving skills. A lot of husbands and wives also team up and use only one car which makes things more convenient. There are many teenagers and young adults who receive a school entry compliments of their parents who want to teach their kids to be safer drivers. Note- All passengers must be at least 18 years old. Please read the full rules referred to as our CCRs for further details.
We have four HPDE groups, which means we separate drivers based on their experience and skill level. All HPDE groups get 3-4 sessions with each session lasting ~20 mins each throughout the day with classroom/briefing sessions in between.
Group 1: “Beginner” drivers that have never been “signed off” by an instructor for solo track driving. We automatically provide a certified in-car instructor as well as informative classroom discussions for each HPDE1 driver at no extra cost. Passing other cars in Group 1 is limited to the designated straights for the ultimate in safety.
Group 2: “Novice Solo” drivers are those who have some track driving experience and have been “signed off” to drive solo by a qualified instructor. Signing up for Group 2 may require a check ride. Passing other cars in Group 2 is only allowed on straights after the driver of the lead car signals.
Group 3: “Intermediate” drivers are those who have participated in a variety of HPDEs on more than one track and have been “signed off” by an instructor for each track driven. Passing other cars in Group 3 has some restrictions but usually allowed anywhere on the track after the driver of the lead car signals it is safe to do so.
Group 4: “Advanced” are those who have significant experience. Passing other cars in Group 4 is typically unrestricted as long as it is done with courtesy..
Climbing the HPDE Ladder:
Demonstration of acceptable awareness, judgment and car control skills will allow a student to “move up”. How quickly this can happen is purely dependent upon the progress made by the individual driver. Moving up typically requires a “check ride” with an instructor or designated member of the NASA staff. After exhibiting sufficient skill and experience in HPDE4 drivers may attend a NASA Competition Licensing school to go racing or apply for a NASA Time Trial License or even apply to become a certified HPDE instructor and help us teach the next generation of drivers how to go fast safely and responsibly.
Instructors are provided and required for all drivers in Group 1 because they are very effective at relaying all levels of information while showing drivers both the fastest and safest way to get around the track. NASA instructors must attend clinics and follow guidelines to get and keep their certification, and must follow a standardized curriculum. This standardization is the key to keeping NASA events the safest because it assures that all students are following the same rules on the track. All instructors are on hand primarily for love of sport, to help you be safe, go faster and have more fun!
Read what NASA members have said about the HPDE experience…