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Maximum amount of cars per DE session?


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Is there an official (or unofficial) amount of vehicles that are recommended/suggested/allowed per DE session?

For example, using track length, this many cars are allowed on track for DE1, DE2, DE3, or DE4, etc.

Tracks definitely vary in length and having ~40 cars at Summit Point Main and VIR Full Course creates a noticeably different situation.

VIR is roughly 63% longer and takes a Spec Miata about 50% longer to lap.

The faster cars will lap the slower cars much more often at the shorter tracks thus creating more point bys.

On the shorter tracks, ~40 cars seems to create a fairly constant cycle of point bys every few laps, which I understand is part of the process, but at some point it does becomes excessive IMO.

I can't imagine having ~40 cars on a ~2.0 mile with only 3-4 passing zones for DE1 and DE2 participants. It sounds miserable. 

I doubt many attend DE events to give as many point bys as possible. 

I fully understand that it is part of the learning to and driving safely on track, that someone is always faster, and they will always happen.


Overall, I feel that some regions are upping the group sizes for the almighty dollar at the expense of the participants.

Don't be surprised when some start leaving for other organizations. Many of them purposely limit group sizes to 15-30 vehicles.

I'm definitely looking into it.


*This does not address when a region combines parts of TT practice with DE3 or DE4 and puts even more vehicles onto an already busy track. 


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  • 6 months later...

I'm surprised that these forums are such ghost towns. I'm hoping to contribute more here myself. 

I haven't experienced a terribly crowded session in NorCal tracks. I believe 40 is about the most that can be on grid? In DE3/DE4 there were fewer cars than in 1/2. It's a slippery slope with regard to graduating drivers vs keeping things safe. I was graduated to DE3 after one ride check and the instructor was hesitant, said I am not fast enough. I wanted to argue with him. I really think he was wrong to focus on that. NASA is proud of the HPDE program being open to anyone with any stock car, but then can (not always) discriminates against anyone with a slower car. Basically, you get the feeling you aren't welcome if you don't continue to get faster, faster, faster..... My first HPDE1 experience was quite bad. I kept at it but there is definitely no hand holding here. You're expected to figure things out. I'm not sure how that compares to other orgs like SCCA. I've gone to one Track Time event and it was sketchy. 

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  • 1 month later...

As I progressed thru SoCal NASA DE1/2/3/4, in mine (BMW 328i Wagon with 6AT), I wasn't fast. Moving to DE3/4 was attributed to consistency and awareness. Aware of other cars in close proximity especially in corners. Seeing corner workers display a passing flag wasn't a surprise, I had been monitoring the approaching cars through frequent use of mirrors and observations cross track. This includes Miatas and other momentum cars; providing a point-by before corners helps them immeasurably. Case is point, NorCal (Sonoma) DE4 and TT often in the same session.

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