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Ayrton

Criteria to get to HPDE 3?

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Ayrton

I am currently participating as HPDE2 in events. Have former racing experience (but quite a while ago) and would like to follow progression towards racing again. I don't want to skip any steps and run before I can walk, but want to get a sense of what NASA looks for to progress from HPDE 2 to HPDE 3, so I have guidance on what I should be focusing and working on. Any thoughts from the instructors and 3 and 4s in the forum?

 

On a related note back in my racing years I relied a lot on timing data analysis (split times to really decompose the track and figure out where there was opportunity for improvement) to improve my driving. Have heard use of data logging equipment in HPDE categories might be restricted and have heard varying points of view on its utility/benefit and appropriateness at this level. Forum thoughts?

 

Appreciate the forum's feedback.

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obzezzed350

When I went through HPDE, they wanted to see good lines, good track vision, and overall comfort at a fast pace. HPDE3 is a pretty quick group but as long as you know what you are doing, you should be fine. Cant hurt to take a check ride if you feel you are ready.

Edited by Guest

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mcmmotorsports
perfect heal and toe downshifting

I guess I'd better go back to HPDE 3

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jimbow
perfect heal and toe downshifting

I guess I'd better go back to HPDE 3

 

Shoot I'd have to go back as well.

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obzezzed350

Perhaps perfect isnt the right word...lets go with decent

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Sleepy_Steve

Isn't there some sort of log book to give you some ideas on this topic?

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subaru927

I would talk to the head instructor with your region, since he tells the other instructors what to look for when they go out on checkout rides.

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Calif_Kid
When I went through HPDE, they wanted to see perfect lines, perfect heal and toe downshifting, and overall comfort at a fast pace. HPDE3 is a pretty quick group but as long as you know what you are doing, you should be fine. Cant hurt to take a check ride if you feel you are ready.

 

In NorCal, for the checkout ride from HPDE-2 to HPDE-3, they definitely wanted to make sure that you're hitting the apexes plus tracking out all of the way. When I took my initial checkout ride, I was driving pretty fast as I was driving an Audi S4 with 400+ HP and Tq (at the engine), but I wasn't tracking out completely for a few of the turns, so I got held back for an event. Make sure that you know all of the flags, as you will probably be asked about those. When on track, you should not have tunnel vision (just watching the car in front of you), but instead should be aware of most things around you including picking up the flag stations (situational awareness).

 

When progressing from HPDE-2 to HPDE-3, they check if you can drive the line consistently. When you get to HPDE-3, you need to DRIVE THE LINE, and have the faster cars pass offline, as that helps make everyone more predictable. That is what they emphasized to us in HPDE-3 in Northern California. They didn't check if we could heel and toe downshift, but just made sure that we could drive smoothly and at a fast enough pace.

 

For the regions, try http://www.nasaproracing.com/aboutnasa/regions.html and that has the main contact for each region along with the region's website.

 

When I was in HPDE-1 thru HPDE-3, during the events, I liked going out as a passenger in HPDE-4. Some of the instructors drove in HPDE-4, so if you hung around their parking area around 10-15' before the HPDE-4 session, then they might let you ride along. It was interesting as the pace in HPDE-4 was faster than HPDE-1 thru HPDE-3, so gave a good feel for the track at high speed plus in passing in that group. Have fun, and I expect that you probably will be able to progress pretty quickly. - Jim

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kieranlavin

Here is a list of criteria given to the instructors in the northeast (not sure which region you're in):

 

The Blue / Group 3 run group driver has advanced one more step along the continuum from a novice to an expert in all of the driving skills taught in our program. The following skills are required for one to be a competent Blue / Group 3 driver

Continues to improve through seat-time and requested instruction.

Is safe to drive alone.

Drives the line effortlessly lap after lap.

Alters the line when and where necessary.

Executes smooth inputs at all speeds

Finds visual inputs to be natural. .

Understands momentum and can carry momentum through corners. .

Demonstrates mastery of trail braking, throttle steer, and heel-and- toe techniques.

Stays focused in spite of closeness of other cars.

Is approaching driving at the limit of his or her car.

Displays behavior that is respectful, courteous, and not overly aggressive.

 

As far as heel-toe goes, I disagree with our head instructor on the use of heel-toe. He's gung-ho on it's usefullness while I feel that it's good to know how to do it and to be able to do it but that it's not necessary. I can be just as fast and just as smooth and not put any undue strain on the transmission without using heel-toe. There's actually two back-to-back turns that I can think of where one turn I prefer to heel-toe while the very next I prefer not to.

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Ev
perfect heal and toe downshifting

I guess I'd better go back to HPDE 3

 

Shoot I'd have to go back as well.

Me too... I have a comp license and run upper mid pack... Maybe if I learned to heel toe, I would be a contender...

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getfast

Whether it's right or wrong, plenty of licensed racers don't heel-toe. However I haven't yet seen or heard of any at the pointy end of the pack who don't (same with left foot braking...)

 

Back on topic, as one of the check ride people in this region, I'd say in no particular order for a 2->3 ride I'd look for:

 

1) Situational awareness, doesn't miss flags, can read the car and the track

 

2) Drives a good/consistent line

 

3) Comfortable in traffic, and with whatever passing rules are in place

 

4) Good car control & general driving skill commensurate with experience level, i.e. ready to start working on advanced techniques

 

5) No red mist, won't be a danger to him/herself or others when the speeds increase & passing zones open up

 

IMHO, YMMV, etc.

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beerkat

One of the main thing that you will need to be able to do is manage traffic. Since passing anywhere on track is allowed you need to know what is going on around you at all times. You should not hold anyone up. Also you need to be able to drive off line so when you are passing someone in a turn it can be done safely.

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whoahstu
1) Situational awareness, doesn't miss flags, can read the car and the track

2) Drives a good/consistent line

3) Comfortable in traffic, and with whatever passing rules are in place

4) Good car control & general driving skill commensurate with experience level, i.e. ready to start working on advanced techniques

5) No red mist, won't be a danger to him/herself or others when the speeds increase & passing zones open up

All great points. I'm in a Miata, so I have no problem with slow cars on the track. You just don't want to be the car out there that is piling the session up. HPDE3 should theoretically be jam-free as everyone is confident and competent in their abilities to manage traffic. I sometimes wonder who passed some of the people off to HPDE3, when I'm out there. HPDE3 has a wide range of skill and cars, so talented drivers are the equilibrium. HPDE3/4 in the GL Region is now open passing (except in the braking zones); point-bys optional. I almost always get a point-by, and trust almost anyone in the group, just make sure you are competent before trying to jump to HPDE3/4.

 

"Safety. Satisfaction. Speed." -Wade Gagich

Edited by Guest

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trhoads

how someone can progress beyond HPDE 2 and not be able to heel 'n toe in a MT car, I have no idea. My very first instructor in DE1 told me to get that right...

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kbrew8991

I guess smooth downshifts would be the thing they're looking for on that. If you've got a different "tool" in your "toolbox" that does the same task does it really matter?

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ninetyfourintegra

Heel-Toe comes.

 

I had a DE1 student frantically trying to do it after he was told he needed to do it before progressing and not being smooth or consistent because that was what he was focused on. I took that option away from him and he was dramatically better. Towards the end of the weekend we started getting back towards the level of driving (braking really) in which HT was making its need apparent. In other words, without knowing why one needs it, its hard to teach it or prove its benefits.

 

I can HT. But I can only do it when I am really on the brakes and the balance of the car demands it. I can't do it for the life of me just driving around town ( I know some that can do in their DD but can't in their race car) and I can't do it when I am running a pace lap. Maybe my feet are too big but if I'm not threshold braking I can't HT, all that happens is I jam the brake and induce lockup.

 

In some of the slower entry turns where a smooth entry is needed and the car needs to wait for the power, I will brake and then do a pseudo-toe shift (not sure what to call it) where I come off the brakes and blip throttle to go down a gear while keeping the balance even.

 

As for LFB, I can do with no issues in stock car on an oval but can't do it for the life of me in a street car or my race car....

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beerkat

I do not heel and toe very much either.. I probably kill more speed than others before down shifting, as long as I do not chirp the rears it is a smooth downshift. It is in the rain when you really need to watch your downshift.

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trhoads

I did not practice it on a full track, I waited until I was at a small event at TGPR, and worked on it all day, until I started to get better. Now, I can do it on the street, I find myself doing it all the time. It takes a lot of practice though.

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whoahstu

I did it on the street, got it down, and then used it on the track. I think it's something to practice well before trying it where others are doing even more advanced things.

 

It's an important skill.

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Cooper93

Just to add to this (not trying to hijack the thread, just didn't want to start a carbon copy of this one).....Here's a brief history of me:

 

Drag racing for about 7yrs prior to making the jump over to road course. Also owned several modified cars in the past (Cavalier Z24, Several Mitsu Starions, and now my WRX). I have ALWAYS loved a good handling car, and my previous cars show it. I learned the understeer characteristics of a FWD, then learned the oversteer of a RWD, and now I'm in an AWD that's pretty neutral thanks to the mods I've done to it.

 

I started CMP in DE-1 in May (first time). Got signed off solo on Sunday, and check ride to DE-2.

Started RA in August in DE-2 (first time at RA also). I learned the track quickly and learned my car with the new stickier tires I got (Dunlop Direzza Star Spec). My plans are to get something like an RA-1/NT-01/R888 when those wear out.

 

I was reading the rules/regs and they state it takes a minimum of 10 events to even get a check ride to DE-3. How true is this? I would think it all depends on how well someone progresses with their own abilities and skills.

 

On my last 2 sessions at RA in August, I started doing some off-line driving and a little heel-toe shifting just to get the feel of it on the track. I feel comfortable with myself and my car on the track. I also feel I can manage traffic quite well, and I don't freak out when I'm in a lot of traffic. I do know I have a couple of "trouble spots" that I'm not consistent enough with at CMP and RA.

 

I guess it wouldn't hurt to get a check ride just to see where I stand?? Worst thing the instructor can say is "Are you kidding me?" Do you "more experienced" drivers/instructors think I should just take my time, or should I see where I stand? I don't want to be unfair to myself, but at the same time, if there is something I need to work on that I can't see, I don't want to move forward until that problem is fixed.

 

Thanks in advance!!!

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pcdrj

Here's my $.02

 

You sound pretty comfortable with tracking the car and are progressing quickly. I moved to Group 2 on my first day as well. Like you I was very anxious to move to higher groups and felt I was ready. However, there is a reason for some guidelines on progress. The fastest learning, most natural driver can move up after 10 days but that is not automatic as some folks spend a few years in a group. A minimum amount of days ensures you get ample experience in various situations. You will definitely look back and think how much more aware you are than when you first started.

 

After you've attended 15-20 track days, I can almost guarantee you will give the same advise to the new guys asking the same question.

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kbrew8991

the ____ number of trackdays thing just doesn't make sense to me alot of the time. Sure you need SOME time to experience all the flags, to really nail things, but I've seen people with hundreds of days I wouldn't want to be on track with and I've seen people with 2-3 days that I wouldn't hesitate to run door-handle to door-handle with.

 

People learn at different rates.

 

If you feel like you're really sure you have learned everything you need to learn for the level you're at it wouldn't hurt anything to have a check-ride and see imho. Couldn't hurt to talk with your regional HPDE people either

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Cooper93

I appreciate the info, guys. I think I will stay in DE-2 until at least RA in December just to give me more seat time. I do know all the flags, as I am a certified corner worker, but it can be very easy to miss a corner station (I've never missed one, but I've seen people that have).

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jimbow

Suggestion - find Laura Patton late Saturday or lunch on Sunday.

Talk with her and see what her take is. Find an instructor to ride with you at least one session. Maybe they would have lots of feedback for you

 

Good Luck!

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Cooper93
Suggestion - find Laura Patton late Saturday or lunch on Sunday.

Talk with her and see what her take is. Find an instructor to ride with you at least one session. Maybe they would have lots of feedback for you

 

Good Luck!

 

I was thinking along the same lines. My original instructor said he was gonna be at CMP. I haven't seen his name on the list. I guess I need to call him and remind him!

 

Thanks!!!

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