HPDE: High Performance Driver Education
Drive Your Car on America's famous Road Courses
You have always wanted to know what “she could do”, but you know the streets and highways are not the place. NASA gives you and your car an easy, safe, and affordable way to get on the track! No speed limits, no pedestrians, but best of all-no tickets. The NASA HPDE provide you with a certified instructor to help guide you through the event, one on one, as you learn how to handle your car at the limit. You set your own goals and go as fast as you feel comfortable going.
Basically, all you need is a safe car and a helmet. The car does not have to be fancy or fast. Students bring everything from a Hyundai to a Ferrari. Read the requirements for the other miscellaneous items required. Get a head start and fill out the required HPDE Tech Inspection Form before your first event!
Anyone who is a member of NASA (or a NASA sanctioned car club, such as INEX) 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. Note– All passengers must be at least 18 years old. Please see section 4.6 of the Club Codes and Regulations.
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 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
High Performance Driving
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 NASA’s Race School HPDE program is for you. NASA 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. Our 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. HPDE is High-Performance Driver Education. NASA Central region HPDE is not a competitive, timed, or racing event. HPDE is High-Performance Driver Education.
This is where all of the fun and excitement of NASA begins! This group is designed for first-time track day participants and drivers requiring in-car instruction to understand and learn the basic principles of road course driving. In HPDE 1 you will learn the fundamentals of high performance driving in a controlled environment using both the classroom and on-track instruction.
Drivers in HPDE 1 will experience a combination of fun and education as they build a strong driving foundation. You will be assigned an instructor for all of your 8 sessions per weekend. The total combined classroom and track time is approximately 8 hours per weekend. Consistent demonstration of driving the
school line, safety procedures, smooth braking, turn-in and acceleration, and some passing is required to advance from HPDE 1. All of these terms and concepts are published HPDE 1 section of your assigned NASA Passport journal. Sign up for Group 1 for track fun and to build your driving skill foundation. NASA Central region HPDE is not a competitive, timed, or racing event. HPDE is High-Performance Driver Education.
Embark on the next step of the NASA HPDE ladder. This group is designed for novice drivers with previous track day experience and can successfully demonstrate the learned concepts of the HPDE 1 curriculum. Group 2 drivers must possess this basic knowledge plus be very comfortable driving with and without an instructor. Group 2 drivers are very familiar with grid procedures, passing rules, and flags. Group 2 uses a combination of some classroom, some instruction, and some solo driving. You’ll use the same NASA Passport used in HPDE 1, 3, and 4. HPDE 2 has more liberal passing than HDPE 1 with faster speeds and exercises that support driver skillset growth. Building upon the solid foundation of HPDE 1, HPDE 2 introduces car dynamics, track maps, visual training, and cooperation with fellow drivers on track. Sign up for HPDE 2 and hone your skills today. If you are new to NASA you may be asked to demonstrate your knowledge of HPDE 1 driving skills via a brief checkout ride. Drivers causing “trains” will be asked to be moved back to HPDE 1. NASA Central region HPDE is not a competitive, timed, or racing event. HPDE is High-Performance Driver Education.
NASA HPDE 3 allows the experienced Driver to catapult their skills gained in NASA HPDE 1 and 2. HPDE 3 is not a lapping group. Our far-reaching program is heavily based on drills and close proximity driving. You will learn how to quickly and confidently navigate small and large groups of traffic in close proximity, off-line at speed all while being aware of flag stations and those around you. The goal of HPDE 3 is greatly increased situational awareness. Our other group objective is to work with drivers individually to help them learn how to drive more quickly. HPDE 3 is staffed by advanced instructors who have specialized skills in all types of cars and are experts in Time-Trails, Racing, helping drivers lower lap times, and Instructor development. New to 3 drivers are required to have an instructor with them for one of the first two sessions on Saturday. This is to bring the driver quickly to speed and help identify areas that they can begin working on. We are a “group” and act as a group. We hold a mandatory attendance classroom environment covering advanced driving topics. Safety, suspension, the art and science of driving fast and an open forum to ask questions and share challenges. HPDE 3 drivers must spend a MINIMUM of 5 NASA Central events in group 3 in order to request a check out ride to group 4. Out of region or new to Central region group 3 drivers will be required to have an instructor ride with them on one of the first two sessions on Saturday. HPDE 3 is the perfect spot for those individuals seeking to become much better, much faster, and much safer Drivers. A second seat is required in HPDE 3 if your goal is to advance to HPDE 4. NASA Central region HPDE is not a competitive, timed, or racing event. HPDE is High-Performance Driver Event Education.
Welcome to the top rung of the NASA HPDE ladder. Group 4 drivers have passed through all previous NASA HPDE levels or equivalent, have obtained an Official Signed NASA Passport, and understand the HPDE rules as described in the CCR. They can successfully navigate the road course both on-line and off-line and are comfortable passing and being passed just about anywhere on track. It is essential they have a heightened situational awareness and understanding of common passing situations such as ‘leap frog’ or ‘side by side’ exercises as experience passing and being passed is an absolute must in this run group.
HPDE 4 is a destination for the elite performance drivers and a stepping stone for future racers and time trial drivers. This fast and skilled group is frequented by our NASA instructors and other licensed competitors who choose to get extra seat time outside their competition groups. As a prerequisite of the NASA competition school, additional, advanced passing exercises and coaching to maximize corner entry roll speed will be presented with other advanced driving techniques. HPDE 4 is reserved for very experienced drivers who have extensive training within the NASA Central system and must list previous experience, events, schools attended, and licenses on the entry form to be eligible. Out of region drivers registering for 4 or new to NASA Central drivers are required to contact the group leader or Chief Instructor to drive in the group. In most cases a few sessions in HPDE 3 to access your traffic skills are required. NASA Central region HPDE is not a competitive, timed or racing event. HPDE is High Performance Driver Education.
Enter Into A World Of Fun
Learn more about the NASA Driving Experience.
to get started with HPDE
We’re excited to have you aboard. Here are a few more resources to get you started.
- Membership in NASA or a NASA sanctioned club
- Fill out HPDE Tech Inspection Form
- Any car in safe operating condition (from Ferrari to Hyundai)
- Mufflers. Different tracks have different sound policies
- Roll bars in convertible autos
- Seat belts in good working order
- State driver’s license
- Long sleeve shirt and pants (cotton is great)
- A helmet
- Knowledge of the Club Codes and Regulations
- At least 18 years of age (16 w/parental consent)
Time Trial Program- Compete for fastest time against other cars in your class. More information can be found at the NASA Time Trial Website
NASA supports the efforts of the leading safety testing and standards bodies in motorsports today and is a proud member of SFI.
Allowed Convertibles with Stated Factory Rollover Protection
HPDE and Time Trial Only. You can find more information on this Drive NASA forum.