High Performance Driving Experience (HPDE)
Held on a closed road course, with managed passing rules, the HPDE is a full day program where most participants bring their own sporting cars and are allowed to drive them on the course in conjunction with focused instruction, monitoring, and are grouped by ability and experience. Some drivers choose to rent race cars that are offered by HOD partners. Contact HOD in advance if this is of interest to you. The focus of the HPDE day is threefold:
1. Safety and good judgment on track at all times – this is NOT a competition of any kind
2. For everyone, regardless of run group and skill level, to have a great experience, and
3. For all drivers to progress in skill from one day to the next.
Most frequently, these HOD track events are broken into 4 run groups, A, beginner, B, intermediate, C, advanced and D, for race-prepped cars and competition drivers. Drivers will be on course approximately 2 hours. While this can vary on any specific day, the schedule usually runs like this:
Note: This is a common track day schedule. However, be SURE you are aware of the schedule for your specific event. A logistics email goes out no less than four days before each event to all registrants who have supplied their email address. Be sure that any spam blocker is set to accept content from firstname.lastname@example.org
A generous catered lunch is included in registration, as is a supply of water for drivers. We suggest you bring some of your own in a small cooler for simple convenience. Helmets are required. Helmets can be rented at most tracks, including Thunderhill, Buttonwillow, and Reno-Fernley.
Run Groups. Each run group is limited to no more than 25 cars. Groups A and B will have “Download” meetings after each session, with some later in the day optional. Group C will generally have at least two download meetings then individual, optional coaching is offered. Group D generally has “stand up” meetings at pre-grid before going on track to review track rules and protocol and any related changes as the day progresses.
Group A: The beginner group, is the starting point for new drivers in which the Group Leader discusses the fundamentals of driving on track to include; flags – their meaning and recognition, track protocol – how to handle an unexpected circumstance, the “rules of the road,” and the fundamental skills of driving a car at a higher level than many have ever done. We ask that, regardless of level of experience – if you haven’t been on the specific track that is the site of your event – you start in Group A until you are familiar with the track, we are familiar with you, and we can promote you to more advanced groups during the day as appropriate. Group A drivers will generally be provided an HOD coach to ride “shotgun” with them and guide them through the first few runs. Our goal will be to sign you off as “OK to solo” but we will always be available to coach you if you want to continue to improve.
Group B: The intermediate group, can be quite diverse and includes some very capable drivers who choose to keep the pace down a bit, as well as drivers on the way up in skill who are ready to add to their technical knowledge of how to drive quickly and safely. A more analytical approach to each turn is discussed, with introduction of techniques such as heel/toe shifting, understanding understeer and oversteer, discussion of car preparation and handling characteristics, and troubleshooting problem turns as the pace picks up.
Group C: The advanced group, has many track days under their belt, and may also be a past competitive driver who wants to just stay in the hobby. Drivers in Group C are always reminded that just because the pace has accelerated, HOD is not about racing – its about how well we drive, and having a good time. Drivers in Group C who start pushing the envelope are warned, but run the risk of being asked to head home early. Group C tends to be mostly HOD regulars who get to know one another on and off the track, and learn what to expect from each driver’s skill, speed, and to trust one another to keep the track fun for all. Advanced driving techniques such at trail braking, double apexes, varying a driving line based on the car’s characteristics, and individual coaching are all a part of the Group C curriculum.
Group D: Race-prepped cars: This implies that a car has been prepared to SCCA Solo One standards – a four point structural roll bar, five/six point racing belts, and fire bottle mounted inside the car. In addition, drivers with a clean record as competitive drivers have the option of joining Group D. One key difference in Group D is that passing can be done, with good judgment, anywhere – with a mandatory point by from the car being passed. This opens up the course substantially and allows diverse cars to run together with no traffic issues.