For a very reasonable cost, you can safely track your car and have a memorable experience . The main High Performance Driving Education ( HPDE ) Clubs in Florida are:
CHIN MOTORSPORTS – CHINMOTORSPORTS.COM
NASA – DRIVENASAFL.COM
SAFE MOTORSPORTS – SAFEMOTORSPORTS.COM
PBOC – PBOCFLORIDA.COM
FARA – FARAUSA.COM
ERME – ERME.US
All these clubs are professional, regulated, and offer an opportunity to share your driving passion with others. Take a moment to look at the event dates and register at the club of your choice. The cost of registration in each club is about $50 to $100 per year. You need to be a member in order to be eligible to participate in the upcoming events. The cost for each track day cost about $290, generally including an assigned in car instructor for all your track driving sessions if it is you first time on the track.
HOW TO PREPARE YOURSELF FOR HIGH PERFORMANCE DRIVING EDUCATION (HPDE) & AUTOCROSS EVENTS
This following is made to prepare and inform the novice track drivers to make sure they obtain the optimum level of fun and safety in their High Performance Driving Education (HPDE) event. This guide acknowledges HPDE and racing in general as a dangerous and life threatening sport that can result in serious injury or death. Please always drive safely and be aware of other drivers on the course.
You have to prepare your car and yourself for an HPDE event:
At Breathless Racing, we will not only revise your car, but also guide you in making sure that it is safe and track ready.
Remember to remove EVERYTHING from your car, including floor mats, all tools, and the spare tire. You do not want loose parts to turn into projectiles at high speeds. You also want the minimum weight for the maximum performance from the car.
Your tires, your brakes and all your car fluids (oil & hydraulic fluids) are CRUCIAL areas for inspection.
Make sure you have fresh fluids. A good functioning fluid will keep your car running smoothly during high intense driving. We recommend to check your engine oil, and your brake fluid. make sure your brake fluid is clear and not burnt. Also, be sure to bleed your brakes prior to every event. Your brakes must be firm.
Another fluid to check is your clutch fluid. Make sure there is no dirt in the clutch fluid preventing you from performing a smooth shift. It is always good practice to change your brake fluid prior to an event. DOT 4 or above will suffice, although the higher end brake fluid will provide a more firm pedal feel, and much more resistance to heat.
Make sure your whels are high speed balanced, and that your tires are in good condition.
Check the tire pressure and make sure they are at the proper PSI. Your tires should be at their recommended pressure, once they are HOT. Be careful : you will need to wait a few laps until your tires reach the correct temperature for optimum performance. Verify your correct pressure with your instructor at the track. Remove any center caps as they may come loose during the course of racing. Tighten and retighten your lug nuts prior to moving into the pits. You would not want a lug nut to fall loose while taking a corner at 60MPHs.
If it is your first experience, prepare yourself:
The most important thing to any sanctioned body of racing is protective head gear. A good helmet will last you a long time, given it never serves its built purpose (protecting your head in a crash). Most sanctioning bodies will require a Snell approved helmet, ask your local event manager/supervisor which is the most current Snell approved helmet. Helmets range from $200 upward to $2000. The rule of thumb is to buy the best helmet you can afford, it is after all your head. A decent helmet from Bell will run you a good $500. A closed face helmet is always a safer bet than an open face helmet, although open face helmets are cheaper, they are again, open. A typical closed face helmet provides a Snell rating, a fire retardant substance in the helmet, and a tested and approved crash safety material. Closed helmets protect not only your head but your face. With a good closed face helmet, you get a visor which makes it easier to protect your eyes from dust whilst driving at a good 100MPH.
Most sanctioning bodies require long sleeve shirts and long pants to protect you in case of a fire. Not required for HPDE, but if you intend to participate on a regular basis to HPDE events, the best bet would to purchase an entry level driving suit. A good Bell or Sparco racing suit with an SFI rating of 1 will run about $100-$300. The higher the SFI rating, the more expensive the suits. Find one that suits your needs, looks, style, and fit. A tighter fit is better because in case of an emergency you do not want a suit to get caught in anything. If you decide to buy a driving suit, we recommend the 3 layers suits. It is also recommended that you also buy a pair of driving gloves (Sparco or others)
Buy a pair of driving shoes. A good driving shoe will have a thinner sole allowing you to better feel the pedal for pulses and vibrations. Puma makes many good driving shoes around $100 a pair. You will enjoy and feel your vehicle much more than with typical sneakers.
Driving on a Race Track:
People do not realize how different it is to drive on a race track. You will learn mostly were to stop accelerating, when, where, and how to brake, and how to negotiate the turns in order to exit the turns as fast as possible.
With your Instructor, set your “Goal For The Day”
On the Track:
1-Memorize where all CORNER WORKERS are located
2-LOOK FAR AHEAD !
3-Understand and practice for each turn:
The Braking Point
The Turn-In Point
The Turn-Out Point
4-In the Straights, make sure to look for the NEXT CORNER WORKER, then check all your MIRRORS, and then check your GAUGES.
5-Remember that HPDE is not racing, and that you have the OBLIGATION to let any car pass which is faster than you. Don’t be surprised to be overtaken by a Miata, even if you have a 400HP car… Drivers with experience and knowledge of the track will not be faster in the straights, but they WILL have a faster lap time. So let them pass you in the straights, lift your throttle, and you will see that after a couple of turns, they will be gone (until they are back in your rearview mirror…).
Once you have completed your run, it is good practice to let your car cool off. Park your car, leave it in first gear, but do NOT pull your hand brake. Your brakes are very hot and can damage your rotors if you leave your e-brake on. Pop open your hood and prop it up. Leave it this way until your next run. Opening the hood allows the hot air to flow out of your engine bay and lets your engine cool faster. You want to give your car sufficient time to cool down before your next run. Remember, track driving puts a lot of strain on your car.
Prior to go to an HPDE event:
-Buy the best closed-face Snell approved helmet you can afford
-Wear a long sleeve shirt, long pants and driving shoes.
-Study carefully the track maps, look at some videos of the track several times ( you can find those on our website, at the very top of this page), until you are able to visualize and memorize each and every corner, and have full knowledge of the corner workers locations, and cold knowledge of all track flags.
If you intend to participate in more than one of these events, it is really worth it to change your brake fluid, your racing brake pads, and to buy a set of wheels and tires for the track.
That way, not only you will have a much better braking power, but also the competition tires such as Hoosiers, Toyo, Michelin Cup, etc… will give you an incredible grip. Additionally, you will not risk any damage on those beautiful shoes that your car is proudly running on every day.
We can even arrange to pick up and deliver your car for your convenience.
-High performance brake pads and racing brake fluids are strongly recommended. Replace brake pads and fluids as necessary, and bleed your brakes before each event.
-Make sure your tires are at proper PSI, and check pressure before and immediately after each session.
-Check your engine oil, clutch and brake fluids,
-Remember to NEVER pull your e-brake right after a track session.
-Prop up your hood and let the engine cool off after every run.
Please feel free to consult with any of our expert technicians who are well qualified to answer any question you may have
———————- High Performance Road Course Driving Terminology ——————
If you are new to the sport of high performance driving, there are certain things you need to know. It would be in your best interest to review this page prior to driving on track for the first time. If you have an instructor, he/she will be using this terminology while giving instructions.
The point during the corner where the car comes closest to the inside edge of the turn.
An early apex occurs when the car touches the inside edge of the track too soon which will cause the car to run out of track at the corner exit unless you slow the car and/or increase the turning of your steering wheel. Remember though, your tires can only do so much at one time. If you slow the car and turn at the same time, the car must be going slower than if you did either function alone.
A late apex occurs when the car touches the inside edge of the road further around the corner than necessary, leading the to the car to use less than the full track width at the exit of the corner unless the driver begins to unwind the steering wheel and/or accelerates the car.
The vehicle dynamics of front vs. rear end grip. In cornering, the aim is to get a balance of front and rear cornering traction. In braking, it is a matter of having the front and rear ends of the car do their appropriate share of braking in proportion to their different downloads.
Proper balancing of the car is essential in high performance road course driving. It is a main factor in obtaining higher speeds in a safe and controlled environment.
“BLIP” The Throttle
In order to perform a proper downshift at higher speeds, a throttle “blip” enables an increased engine RPM to allow the engine speed to match the driveline speed for smooth engagement of the next lower gear. This is usually done while braking which means; you are using the brake and the gas pedals at the same time.
This is a specific point prior to corners where you must be on the brakes, slowing the car for the turn. If you go past your brake point at a high rate of speed, you will not make the turn. It is in your best interest, and will be MUCH safer to begin your laps by braking EARLY into a turn and then slowly gaining the skill and confidence to brake later. You also have more to gain by working on your exit speed.
CONSTANT RADIUS CORNER
This is a corner which can be defined by a single radius throughout the entire corner.
This is the area where you are decelerating while making your turn into the corner. Once you begin the corner, you will then slowly begin to apply throttle, all the way through the turn. You may also hear your instructor refer to this as your “Turn in Point”.
DECREASING RADIUS CORNER
This is typically a corner where the first section of the turn has a larger radius than the second part of the turn.
DEEP “into a corner”
This is where you delay your corner entry “turn in” as long as possible. This allows for several things, one of which is a “late apex”.
The speed a car can attain at the “track out” point of the corner and consequently the speed carried onto the following straight. Work on obtaining higher exit speeds. It is where you can greatly decrease your lap times.
HEEL and TOE DOWNSHIFTING
This is where you “blip” the throttle in order to synchronize gears while downshifting, and at the same time continuing to have constant pressure on the brake pedal.
INCREASING RADIUS CORNER
Entering a corner where the radius of the early section of the corner is tighter than the radius of the later section.
This occurs when you lift off the gas pedal, even if a small amount.
Be cautioned, lifting while in a corner can be very dangerous. It can cause the rear of the car to get light and spin around to the front. Knowing “when to lift” will prevent you from carrying too much speed into a corner.
IN HPDE driving, all instructors will teach you the “club line”. The club line is considered the “best” path around the course. You will learn how to “open” the radius of each of the turns on the track, so you can exit each turn faster.
There is other lines, like the racing lines and rain line, etc…but they are not teached in HPDE. It is only used in racing
This can also be termed as “Oversteer” and can cause the front of the car to turn better than anticipated and would cause the rear end comes around. when this happen, you are spinning, and you do not want to try to save it. The rule at this point, is : “ BOTH FEET IN “ ( brake and clutch )
Adding a bit of steering, usually in the second half of a turn to make up for an early apex. Don’t pinch if don’t you have to. Let the car track out to the edge of the track.
This would be a point on the track that you can visualize in order to know where to brake, downshift, turn in, etc…
Same as “Banking”
Negative camber is when the track “leans” away from the inside of the corner. Postive camber is when the track “leans” into the inside of the corner. Negative camber works against you and Positive camber works with you.
This is the point at the start of a corner where the driver begins to turn the steering wheel into the turn.
This is the point of exiting the turn where the car gets as close as it can to the outside of the track.
For advanced drivers only. Trail braking is the technique of continuing your braking while turning into the corner, up to the Apex. IT increases the contact patch on the front wheels, giving more grip on the front.