Getting Started

“How do I get started?”

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:

  • 18+ years old (16 w/parental consent)
  • Valid state driver’s license
  • ANY car deemed to be in a safe operating condition
    NOTE: Convertables require factory rollover protection or aftermarket rollbar
  • A helmet with an “SA” (<– Special Application) and “Snell” rating / NOTE:  Snell helmets with an “M” (<– Motorcycle) rating is also acceptable for HPDE
  • Good attitude, Patience, willingness to listen, learn and have fun
  • NASA membership

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.

 

Nice *sales pitch*! This sounds fun and all but it might be too dangerous for my liking.

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:

  • There is no oncoming traffic or intersections
  • All drivers are alert/aware
  • All cars on track have been inspected and have been signed off to be in excellent mechanical condition
  • No drivers are “under the influence” or falling asleep at the wheel
  • No drivers are using their cell phones, smoking or multitasking in other regards
  • The chances of animals, kids, or general pedestrians jumping out on track in front of you have been severely reduced
  • The chances of coming around a turn and finding a piece of household furniture in the middle of the track is highly unlikely, however should debris or a slippy liquid ever make it’s way on track, the corner workers will do everything possible to provide advance notice before you even get there!
  • Classroom instruction is provided to everyone that will be on the track with you at the same time
  • Certified/professional 1×1 instructor will be assigned to you at all times to help guide the way and ensure your experience is a safe, controlled and FUN!

 

“Okay great! I meet the requirements and it seems safe enough to give it a try, what class will I be in?”

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”.

 

“How do I sign up to give this a try?”

  • Register online for the upcoming event you want – View the schedule here and click on the “Register” button/link to take you to the online NASA National registration website
  • Membership: When you register for your first event it will automatically add a 1 year membership to your order. A NASA membership is only $45 and it includes a subscription to “NASA SpeedNews Magazine” and several other benefits!

 

Social Media / “How do I stay connected?”

  • Forum: Sign up as user and introduce yourself! We’re just a bunch of regular guys/gals that have a passion for cars and high performance driving and love to help out new people just getting into the sport.  NOTE:  Due to the amount of spammers we get, everyone has to request a login and then someone has to manually approve that request which could take upwards of 24-48 hours depending on volume and if we’re at the track!  Additionally, if your username or email looks suspect of being “spam” please don’t get offended if you get rejected on your first request.  Most legit requests go through right away though.  Thanks in advance for your understanding.
  • Mailing ListForum: Click here to sign up for our mailing list so you’ll always get the latest updates about the club and upcoming events.  NOTE: We also receive a large number of failed email sent messages to the (e)mailing list due to spam blockage. If you sign up for the mailing list, please make sure to add Tage@nasaaz.com to your address book or trusted list so it does not get spam/junk blocked.
  • Official NASA AZ page on Facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/NASAAZ
  • Official NASA AZ group on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/groups/NASAAZ/
  • Official NASA AZ on Twitter @ https://twitter.com/NASA_AZ
  • Official NASA AZ on Instagram @ https://www.instagram.com/nasa_az/

Once I get signed up, what do I need to do before the event?

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:

  • Tires: Make sure they have plenty of tread and fill them up with the max recommended air pressure (you can always bleed some air out at the track if needed) – rotate if needed
  • Lug nuts/studs: Make sure all lug nuts/studs are present and are torqued to factory spec
  • Wheel bearings/bushings:  Lift your vehicle off the ground and firmly move each wheel/tire checking for any “play”.  If there is replace worn parts as needed
  • Brakes: Make sure your brake pads and rotors have plenty of life, pedal is firm and fluid is fresh/clean
  • Brake lights: Make sure all brake lights are working as designed – NOTE: You will not pass tech if they are not working
  • Seat belts: Good working order (if non-stock belts are used it must be at least a 5 point harness and properly installed per our CCRs (@ https://nasaproracing.com/rules/ccr.pdf).  When in doubt, ask on one of our social media outlets.
  • Fluids: Make sure all vital fluids are topped off and/or changed (if needed) – There also should be no leaks.
  • Battery: This MUST be anchored down securely with solid materials such as a metal bracket and J-bolts. No bungee cords, straps or rope will be accepted. The battery must be enclosed in a proper battery case/box if it is located inside the cockpit area.
  • Windshield: Minor chips and cracks are okay as long as they do not impair driving visibility and the tech inspector does not deem it as a safety hazard (<– this is 100% subjective to the Tech Officials. If in doubt, have the windshield replaced)

NOTE: The official HPDE tech form can be downloaded here

 

What do I need to bring on the day of the event?

  • Helmet: The club does has several loaner helmets but to ensure a proper fit, it is always best to own your own
  • Print out the online map and/or instructions on where to park, where to register, where to tech, etc.
  • Something to write with and take notes.
  • Sunglasses / Sunblock
  • Water / Drinks / Snacks
  • Patience, Respect and willingness to learn – You don’t know what you don’t know yet, but we will teach you!

What do I need to do on the day of the event?

  • Dress appropriately – we always recommend pants and long sleeves but it is equally as important to be comfortable so you can more easily remain focused when on track
  • Show up EARLY! – It is recommended to show up between 60-90 mins before the “Mandatory Drivers Meeting” to allow enough time to complete registration, tech and answer any questions you might have without feeling rushed.
  • Find a paddock space and empty everything out of the car (floormats, spare tire, loose items, etc.)
  • Check in with registration
  • Take your vehicle through tech Inspection
  • Attend the *Mandatory* Drivers Meeting
  • Ask questions and have FUN!

Time Trial

When HPDE4 drivers are ready for competition they can choose either wheel to wheel racing or “Time Trial” (or both!). Time Trial is ran similar to an HPDE group where multiple cars are on track at the same time in an open passing environment but with a few distinct differences in that vehicles are assigned a grid spot based on their lap time (fastest in pole position with the slowest in the back), all cars are properly classed and lap times are provided for each session.  The fastest lap from any session that day (assuming you don’t spin or go off track) is your official competition time for the event.
Unlike most other organizations that severely limit competitors or classing modifications, NASA’s Time Trial (TT) series allows competitors to choose how they build their car and what modifications to perform. Each modification is assessed a set number of points and the more mods the higher the class. It’s that simple!
NASA Arizona’s Time Trial competition season lasts from Jan-Dec each year locally as well as the opportunity to compete Nationally at the NASA National Championships each year where they can go up against the best of the best in the country across 15 NASA regions!  NASA TT competitors are eligible for the coveted NASA Arizona Champion jacket as well as many contingency awards such as free tires, brake pads, gift certs, discounts and more!
In total, there are nine Time Trial classes, evenly separated by the vehicles power to weight ratio and/or the points associated with each vehicle modification .  Awards are provided to our top 3 finishers at each of the regional events.  To compete in NASA TT, a driver must obtain a NASA National TT License, which requires the driver to be an advanced level driver or racer before they may apply for a Time Trial License.

 

What is the process to get my Time Trial License?

  1. Demonstrate proficiency in the NASA HPDE program (or equivalent) and have a fair amount of experience in HPDE4 (i.e. Advanced group with open passing)
  2. Fully read and understand all Time Trial rules and properly class your car (https://nasaproracing.com/rules)
  3. Ensure you have selected a unique car number @ http://forums.nasaaz.com/showthread.php?t=3171
  4. Obtain a recommendation from the HPDE4 Group Leader to apply for a NASA Time Trial License (https://nasaproracing.com/http:/www.nasaproracing.com/images/rules-forms/Time-Trial-License.pdf)
  5. Submit your application to the local NASA AZ office.  NOTE:  Applications will be approved by the local office pending steps 1-4 were properly followed

If you are an HPDE4 driver but have not received sign off from the Group Leader (i.e.  “Step 3”) but you feel you are ready for Time Trial, you may be allowed to sign up for HPDE4 but be allowed to run in the Time Trial group as your “evaluation weekend”.  At the end of the weekend, the Time Trial Co-Director(s) will either accept your application or require more seat time in HPDE4 before applying again.

 

 

 

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