If you are interested in learning the basics of High Performance Driving, or simply want to drive your car on a racetrack in a controlled and professionally staffed environment, then HPDE is for you. HPDE gives drivers a chance to test their skills and learn from NASA’s cadre of experienced instructors in a venue designed for safe spirited driving far away from the risks present on the street. NASA’s HPDE program has become the standard for the ‘open track’ industry and features multiple skill levels to ensure that drivers are able to enjoy a safe and fun day at the track.
Basically, all you need is a safe car and a helmet (We even have a few loaners available). The car does not have to be fancy or fast. Students bring everything from a Hyundai to a Ferrari. Read the requirements below for the other miscellaneous items required. Registration links are availalbe on the schedule page, when registration is open.
Anyone who is a member of NASA (You can join while you’re registering for your first event) may participate. Minimum age is 18 (16 with 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 it a little bit 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.
Body damage to cars very rarely occurs, however you are encouraged to check with your insurance company regarding coverage. Most insurance companies cover damages to your car during the HPDE. Be careful if they tell that it is not covered. Agents have been wrong before. Ask them for a list of “exclusions” in YOUR policy and consult an expert.
The HPDE Ladder
The student participants are separated according to their experience level into four basic groups: One, Two, Three, and Four. There are no speed limits in any of the groups, and the novice drivers are assigned instructors for safety reasons.
Run Group Explanation
Group One (HPDE-1)
This is where you begin. This is one on one guidance from experienced instructors, as you learn to control your car and yourself. Your instructor will provide you with guidance as you learn to drive at the limit. You will address how to approach a turn, the fast way around it, what gear should you be in, how to brake, and how to exit. The session generally includes a lead-follow session. Passing is very limited in the Group 1 Sessions.
Download the HPDE 1 Welcome Letter to help you get ready for your first day.
Group Two (HPDE-2)
Your instructor has determined you can drive on your own and with less supervision. You apply what you learned in the Group 1 sessions to get more practice. Group 2 is often mixed with Group 3 so you will come up to speed, and learn awareness of your surroundings quicker than running with only group 2.
Group Three (HPDE-3)
You have progressed to the world of high performance driving. The passing rules in group 3 are not as strict. You must learn to share the track at high speeds with others.
Group Four (HPDE-4)
This is only for the more experienced drivers. No passing restrictions, except those of good judgment and rules of the road etiquette, apply. You and your peers are now experiencing the joys of doing it right in a relatively safe and controlled environment! You can now enjoy high performance driving at its finest.
- Download the HPDE 1 Welcome Letter to help you get ready for your first day.
- Register in advance
- Current Membership in NASA
- Any car in safe operating condition
- Completed HPDE Tech Form (HPDE Tech can be completed by any SAE mechanic, or by race shops at the track)
- Roll bars in most convertible autos
- Seat belts in good working order
- State driver’s license
- Long sleeve shirt and pants (cotton is great)
- A Snell SA1995, M1995 or newer helmet (we have a limited number of loaners available)
- Knowledge of the Club Codes and Regulations (PDF)
- At least 18 years of age (16 w/parental consent)