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Cheap_Thrills

Why split rungroups?

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Cheap_Thrills

My next event at Infineon is the first time I've seen the HPDE rungroups split, 1A & 2A run together, 1B & 2B run together.

 

Why not just run each level in it's own sessions and not split into A & B? I assume it's due to an HPDE group thats too large for it's own session?

 

Just curious. Usually HPDE 1 & 2 share a session, so it would be nice to have just HPDE2 drivers and maybe fewer trains.

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jason

Instructor availability

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Trevor57

Yep. I don't envy them one bit. Many TT'ers instruct in my region, and are seen running back to their cars while we are on the grid.

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Cheap_Thrills

OK..I get it now. They must have double booked the HPDE 1 group and therefore need instructors to pull double duty, thus 1A and 1B.

It's weekend with no HPDE 4, so I was hoping to get more track time for the other groups. Oh well.

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Lucid Moments

They did that for a little while last year in the Southeast region and I have to say it stunk. Its a horrible compromise from the customers point of view. They quit doing it, but boy did it make me glad to move up into HPDE3

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Cheap_Thrills

I have to agree, it kind of stunk yesterday too. No HPDE 4 and still less track time and more congestion? That didn't work in my opinion.

 

Sorry NASA, but if this is the deal from now on I think my family and I will be doing our HPDE 1/2 at other clubs. Compared to the other guys, NASA HPDE 1/2 has just gotten way more chaotic. More traffic trains, more bumper bullies and any delays seem to get absorbed by HPDE 1/2 folks. Yesterday my son got a 3 lap session because the racegroup before him had an extended yellow. At other clubs I can get at least five 25+ min sessions for the same price or cheaper. If there's a yellow flag in a race, shorten the race, end it under yellow, whatever. We pay to be there too, why does HPDE get short changed?

 

I'm sure they're trying hard to balance everything, and I admit I know nothing about what it takes to organize these events. The weekends are a blast for the most part with lots of good racing and cool cars. I'll definitly come back to NASA in a higher rungroup, and I for sure plan to race with them. They seem mostly geared toward racing, although I suspect the racing wouldn't be possible without HPDE dollars.

 

I hate to criticise NASA in thier own forum, but I was told a long time ago, "Customers don't usually say why they go away, they just go away" so maybe they'll appreciate the input.

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soundguydave

I'm not NASA brass by any means, but are you sure about why the run was cut short? In the Midwest and Great Lakes regions, it's a vanishingly rare occurrence to have the day NOT run according to schedule, and generally speaking, the race groups get shortened sessions if it's required to make up the time for the HPDE program. Is it possible that it wasn't a yellow, but a red that was out? The sprint race format is not "lap count" dependent, but "elapsed time" dependent. Based on that, if it was a scheduled 40-minute race, at minute 38 or 39, the white flag flies, and then the checker, and it's done. If the red was out, though, that's a safety concern, and everybody is parked until the issue is resolved. If that happened late in the day, there may not have been enough time to make up the session(s) that got cut short, bit if that was the case, a little understanding would be in order.

 

As for the split run-groups, it actually does make sense if you take a bit of time to think about it. First, consider the difference between an HPDE-1 and an HPDE-2 driver... HPDE-2 is defined as an HPDE-1 driver that has a firm grasp of the skills needed, but requires more practice time to solidify the skill set before moving onto a more aggressive, faster run group. Those drivers do NOT need instructors in the car with them, but will still benefit from the slower pace and lower pressure environment with the most restrictive passing rules to allow them to concentrate on skill development rather than just raw speed. HPDE-3 drivers are those that have mastered the skills required in HPDE-1 and -2, and are working on more advanced techniques. HPDE-4 drivers are those that have mastered those techniques and are completely comfortable on track in virtually any situation or circumstance. HPDE-4 drivers can cohabitate comfortably with the HPDE-3 crew, but neither -3 or -4 should be on track (at full speed) with the HPDE-1/2 group.

 

Now that we know what is expected of the players, let's look at the track. I don't know what the formula is, but there is one that determines the MAXIMUM size of a given run group, and it's expressed in terms of number of cars per mile. For sake of example, let's take 42 cars as the maximum that NASA will grid for the HPDE run groups. There have been times where 70+ cars will sign up for HPDE-1 and -2, and only 30 or so for HPDE-3 AND HPDE-4. The 70+ cars will need to be split into two run groups, but there may not be enough instructors to be able to cover the HPDE-1 student count, and as a result, they split the -1 and -2 fields into "A" and "B" run groups, and each instructor draws two students. They will also combine the -3 and -4 drivers together, with some form of "compromise" passing rule in place for those two groups. This is the only way that the car count can be supported properly and safely. Yes, there is a gap in ability between the HPDE-1 and HPDE-2 level drivers, but some patience is required when you mix students that may be ready for HPDE-3 with those that are on track for the first time. If you're stuck in a train, it's most likely behind an HPDE-1 student, who will have an instructor with them, and you should get the point-by at the next passing zone. If you don't, or if the train is that long, just dive into the pits and ask the grid marshal for some space. At most, you'll lose ONE MINUTE of track time rolling through the grid, but you'll have clear track ahead of you when you exit. Also, if you're that fast, and getting that frustrated, maybe you should ask for a check-ride to move to HPDE-3. Trust me, you WON'T be the fast car any more when you get there...

 

I would encourage you to think hard about abandoning NASA for your 1/2 progression. I instruct for NASA as well as two other organizations, and neither of the other two stress education nearly as much as NASA does. The NASA HPDE program is one of the most solid, well conceived, organized, linear programs that I have ever seen for driver development. The classroom portion alone is worth it's weight in gold, as is having a cadre of instructors on hand to help. Generally speaking, you will NOT find that with many other lapping organizations, and most of them have no analog to HPDE-4, with true open passing.

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rbrumm

Dave,

 

Great reply,

 

I currently have my provisional Comp license but I still run in HPDE 4 all the time. the more seat time you have the better you drive. I do admit that HPDE 1 & 2 can get a little slow at times but what better time to practice your line, learn your car, watch other drivers , understand passing and obtain a better understanding of your car tires & break limits, etc. etc. as you said. just pull into pit lane , let the train go by and head back out. if your up to it , get a check ride or lead follow to get signed off for HPDE 3 Trust me, you WON'T be the fast car any more when you get there..(sorry , stole your line) . after a day in HPDE 3 or 4 with all the cars buzzing around passing on the leff & the right like you just broke open a hornet nest .... you may want to pull back into pit lane and cry for your Mama

 

I have gone to driving & race schools and earned my Comp license through them, but I am glad that I went through the NASA HPDE program, I feel I have learned much much more.

 

One last comment: Once your addiicted "Track" theres no going back.

you will be saying to your self. mortgage payment or new tires hummmmm.

 

Rick

 

#91

GTS 3

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Cheap_Thrills

All I know is,from personal experience, the other clubs aren't nearly as chaotic. Same car counts, less trains, less anxiety. Don't know why, except maybe the split of group 1 & 2.

NASA has basically 3 DE groups - HPDE1/2, HPDE3, HPDE4. Other clubs that don't do as much racing schedule can have 4 groups - School(instructor), Solo, Point-by, Open. I've run in Solo and Point-by. I get that with NASA's format, there's really no other way they can do it. When I go to NASA I expect the blended drivers, that's fine. But when they had a chance to split the rungroup, for whatever reason they opted to do group the HPDE1/2A & HPDE1/2B instead. OK, maybe there were more HPDE1 sign ups than HPDE2, so they made two groups so they could accomodate everyone and get the most registrations possible.

 

When I say fewer trains, I don't mean I'm too fast for everyone else by any means in my 150hp car. And I totally get that many drivers should be going slower, that's what this level is about. When there's a slower car in front of me, I have to build up momentum through the turn to be able to pass, but try not to ride the car's rear and be intimidating. I also try to be a courteous driver if I've got a higher performance car behind me, I'll usually stay put and give the point by. So that means waiting for the next zone to make my pass, but by then there's more traffic, repeat procedure. Often I will hit the pit lane to get out of the cycle.

 

And I have had sessions cut short many times, a couple of times after only 3 or 4 green flag laps. In fact I've never gotten all four 20 min sessions with NASA. I always assumed it was because of races running long, but I don't know.

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rbrumm

I do agree that HPDE groups get the short stick when it comes to session time With the exception of an accident, I dont remember any race groups ever cut short. that being said I'm still glad that NASA has put together the HPDE program and always wish them sucess

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kbrew8991

a race is typically the last session for that race group, so what future session should get cut short?

 

- KB, who doesn't like it either because it also affects TT at times

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nasaregistrar

In the Mid Atlantic region, we always have HPDE1, 2, 3 and the Instructor group in addition to the competition groups.

 

Each group has their own sessions and if there is an issue in a group's session that causes lost time, that group's sessions will be shortened to get back on the schedule. Group 1 and 2 both have instructors all weekend. The only combining of any groups is when we have the TT cars warm up and that is split between the HPDE3 and Instructor sessions. TT timed sessions are TT cars only.

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rbrumm

a race is typically the last session for that race group, so what future session should get cut short?

 

- KB, who doesn't like it either because it also affects TT at times

 

_________________

If times are running a little short, maybe cutting back on race warm-up sessions. 2-3 warm-up sessions adds up to a fair amount time. I know warm-up is car tweeking time but you should know if your having any issues in the first 10 minutes to 15 minutes, more so than the last 10 or 15

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kbrew8991

You can't predict which race group (if any) will have issues until they happen.

 

If the problem happens in the race, which is that group's last session, then there aren't any sessions left to cut of that group's... you have to cut other groups instead.

 

being a Race or Event Director ain't easy

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nasaregistrar

being a Race or Event Director ain't easy

This.

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Lucid Moments

I understand being a race director or event director isn't easy and they have my sympathy. But combining HPDE 1 and 2 is not the right decision.

 

Not pointing fingers, but I notice that the people that are defending that decision aren't stuck running in those groups. I realize a couple of you do run in those groups as instructors, but you aren't stuck actually driving in those groups.

 

You can say what you want to say about about learning the line, but I'm out to have fun first and foremost. If I don't have fun then there isn't much point to it.

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soundguydave
I understand being a race director or event director isn't easy and they have my sympathy. But combining HPDE 1 and 2 is not the right decision.

 

Not pointing fingers, but I notice that the people that are defending that decision aren't stuck running in those groups. I realize a couple of you do run in those groups as instructors, but you aren't stuck actually driving in those groups.

 

You can say what you want to say about about learning the line, but I'm out to have fun first and foremost. If I don't have fun then there isn't much point to it.

 

Taking your points in reverse order:

 

Having fun: I agree wholeheartedly!! That's the reason that we're ALL out there; it's certainly not for the $2.99 trophies, or the "Winner" sticker, or the lucrative sponsorship deals...

 

As for the other matter, well, I hate to do it, but I have to go Socratic on you!

 

Are you confident in your car control skills, your basic techniques (touch-press braking, smooth throttle and wheel actuation), and are you a "heads-up" driver, able to self-critique, always aware of what's happening on-track around you and what's happening at every flag station you pass, comfortable working in traffic, and are you able to develop a working line at a new track by yourself? If your answer is "yes," (be honest!) do not pass go, do not collect $200, but immediately ask for a check-ride to go to HPDE-3, because that is where you belong. If, on the other hand, you answered "no," then you are worried about the wrong thing. HPDE-2 is litterally, figuratively, and effectively the same thing as HPDE-1, but without an instructor. Once "coach" has given you the info that you need, signed you off to run solo, and climbed out of the car, you STILL need to practice those skills you were working on, in a controlled environment. That's the whole purpose for HPDE-2, simply to refine the basic skill set and get some "seasoning." In Great Lakes and Midwest regions, at least, the -2 drivers attend the same download sessions and group discussions that the -1 drivers do, and it's for a reason. BOTH are "novice" class run groups. The HPDE-2 driver is supposed to be working on skills, trying different variations on the line, and amassing experience on track. Almost by definition, they will NOT be "fast." Once you start to get "fast," it's time to move up the ladder, into the deeper end of the pool. HPDE-3 is the "intermediate-to-advanced" group, and they are on the whole MUCH faster than the HPDE-2 group. If you have your -1/-2 game together, then it's time to go to -3. They will push you to up your level of ability, without question.

 

Honestly, it sounds to me like you have a "big fish, little pond" thing going right now, and I think you may be happier swimming with the sharks in HPDE-3.

 

Combining HPDE1 and HPDE2 is just the right move on so many different levels. Fiscally, instructors have a cost associated with them, and ALL HPDE-1 drivers need to have an instructor in the car at all times. Either that means that a LOT more instructors will be required for a given event, which would push the entry fee upwards, or you start a new HPDE class, like HPDE 1-1/2, where they're okay to solo, but not fast yet, and run with the HPDE-1 drivers. Wait... isn't that HPDE-2 now? (Kidding!) The other major factor, at least in my mind, is that the HPDE-2 driver is still a novice, and having the instructors out in the same run group lets us "keep an eye" on them. I have gone out in my car with the HPDE-1/2 group before just to see how people are doing, after I solo'd my student for the weekend. Occasionally, I'll wave for a -2 driver to get behind me and follow my lead if I see they're having problems with something, and I've also tracked some down after the session to talk about technique. And yes, I have to abide by the same passing rules as everybody else when I'm out with them. In those cases, however, my personal development as a driver is subordinated to my role as an instructor, so I get your point, but at the same time, I DO go out and run with them. You just have to accept that the pace will be slower.

 

As far as "bumper bullies" go, I have just a little bit of advice for anybody that gets annoyed by them:

1. You have set passing zones, and he can't get by until you get to one. Ignore him until then.

2. He's obviously faster than you are. Let him pass, tuck in, and see what he's doing differently than you are. You might just learn something!

3. Car intervals on-track generally shrink as the speeds increase. The "one second per 10 MPH" rule from driver's ed DOES NOT WORK on a track. 2-4 car lengths is spacious once you get to HPDE-3 and HPDE-4, and it never seems to be an issue there.

4. If he's really being aggressive, note his number, and bring it up to your group leader. Chances are if he's a genuine bumper bully, you're not the only one annoyed by him...

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Lucid Moments

I get what you are saying, and I have moved up into HPDE 3 and am looking into TT. The issue though is that in HPDE1 you have people that are on the track for the absolute first time. They are overwhelmed by the experience. I think we all remember how that is. To add to the issue is the instructor. While they are listening to the instructor they don't pay attention to what is going on around them, and while the instructor is focusing on instructing they may be paying less attention to the traffic around them than would be ideal.

 

It happens, we all know it happens and honestly its not a big deal except for the HPDE 2 student behind them. This is a person that may not be ready for HPDE 3, but is significantly beyond HPDE1.

 

Add to that the difference in cars and their potential speeds and it combines to be a frustrating difference.

 

I'm not saying that there can't be a resolution, just that I don't believe the resolution needed is combining HPDE 1 and HPDE 2.

Edited by Guest

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kbrew8991

I was speaking strictly to the "HPDE always gets screwed on time" issue

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Cheap_Thrills

apparently I wasn't the only one frustrated with traffic...found this on youtube from the same track, previous day. Dig the comments.

 

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rbrumm

that video was kinda interesting to say the least. it seemed that everyone didnt want to pass that 944 and that M3 needs to work on there line it must have been a long day I am always sad to see the checkered flag...... it always seems that your just starting to get in the grove and its time to go

 

R.

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Trevor57

Do they not let you pull into the hot pit in DE1?

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rbrumm

All the tracks that I have been on, you can pull into the hot pit at any time. during any session

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nasaregistrar
apparently I wasn't the only one frustrated with traffic...found this on youtube from the same track, previous day. Dig the comments.

 

If the cars are bunched up, come int the pits for room

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Lucid Moments
If the cars are bunched up, come int the pits for room

 

It doesn't solve the problem if there are two or three bunches on the track. You come in and then 30 seconds later you are right back in a train. That has happened to me.

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