MotorCity Chapter BMWCCA

Events => Track Days => Topic started by: mmmpowr on February 21, 2009, 10:29:17 PM

Title: Drivers' School - First Timers Briefing
Post by: mmmpowr on February 21, 2009, 10:29:17 PM
Congratulations, you made the decision to attend a performance driving school, hosted by the MotorCity Chapter BMW CCA and our Driving Events Committee.  This may be your first school ever or simply your first school with MotorCity BMW CCA.  This message is intended to help you be prepared to get the most out of your first experience at a High Performance Drivers' School and to provide you with answers to some questions you may have about the event ahead of time. Please note the emphasis on School. Most of you are already good drivers. The fact that your are interested in improving your skills shows you want to become a better driver. Most on road driving uses about 50% of the cars capability and about 50% of your potential driving skill. Our school will raise your driving to 75% to 80%. Your car is already much more capable than you, especially if it is a BMW.


How much track time do I get? Plenty! Don’t be surprised if you are on the track for nearly 1-1/2 to 2 hours each day (spread out over three or four sessions). Before each session, you will have some short classroom review/training with the head instructor.

Is this racing? No. It is a high-performance drivers’ education school (HPDE). The instructor will tell you when you can pass, what you can do, etc. No one keeps score or times you. The idea is to learn the “line” on the track and for you to gain experience as you learn the limits of your car.

Is it safe? This isn’t a race. Most tracks are very forgiving and feature safe run-off areas. Plus you can’t pass another car without the car in front of you signaling that it’s okay—and no one can pass you without your approval.

How fast will I go? Not as fast as you think, the course will consist predominately of many fun twisting up-hill and down-hill turns that will slow drivers down. The emphasis is on driving well—not on going fast.

What safety equipment do I need? An approved helmet is absolutely required. Beyond that, you have to wear long pants just for the time that you are on the track. Short sleeve shirts are allowed. You will probably want water and sunscreen, too. You will also be putting numbers on your car so we can identify you (included in your registration packet). You might want to learn the flags in advance, but they will review them at the track, too.

Do I need a race car or exotic sports car? Heavens, no! Whether you are driving that old 2002, a vintage 328, or a 2016 M4, you are going to have fun. Most people drive their daily drivers to these events. You will see all types of BMWs and other everyday cars, as well as some tricked-out toy cars. Most driving-school participants—especially in the novice class—are going to be driving the same thing you are. You probably don’t want to drive a van or truck (and they aren’t allowed), but basically anything else will be fine. Again, you aren’t trying to race; you are trying to learn your car and the track. The car will have to be inspected for safety. You can’t have any fluids dripping from the car and the stuff in your trunk and glove box has to be removed before you take to the track.

Am I going to wear out my car? You shouldn’t—but you will put a little wear on your brakes. Expect the car to get dirty from the brake dust. Other than that, you probably won’t wear out your tires or anything like that.

Only the following Snell rated helmets are allowed. If you buy a new helmet this year, make sure it is SA2010 or M2010 as this year (2016) is the last SA2005 or M2005 will be allowed.
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A limited number of loaner helmets may be available for rent.

Convertible Rules?
NO CONVERTIBLES - Anything that does not have a fixed 'B' pillar is a convertible.

This is a non-timed/non-speed event. Due to insurance regulations, absolutely no timing will be done or permitted-NO EXCEPTIONS.


Study the provided materials. It is important to have a working knowledge of the flags, procedures, and schedules before you show up at the track. Given the tight schedule of these events, it is important that everyone be on the same page.
Get a Tech Inspection. You will be operating your car under hard braking and at high speed so your car needs to be mechanically sound!
Source A Helmet. Snell SA2005 or M2005 or newer rated helmets are required. The requirement for a Snell SA2005 or M2005 or newer rated helmet is MANDATORY and there will be NO EXCEPTIONS. A Snell SA2005 or M2005 approved helmet can be identified by a dated sticker that is usually located on the inside of the shell beneath the inner liner.
Choose Your Attire. Comfortable clothes are recommended including loose fitting pants, shirts, sweaters, etc. Flat-soled sneaker or similarly treaded shoes are recommended. Full Nomex race gear is very seldom worn by students and not necessarily worn by instructors. Consider cool weather possibilities as well as rain and/or heavy fog, so be prepared. Be prepared for all types of weather.
Check The Weather Forecast. The event will be held rain or shine. Rain is an excellent learning opportunity; don't be afraid to attend if it is wet. Do plan on bringing appropriate protection for you and your belongings.
Arrange For Lunch and Refreshments. Lunch will not be provided at this event. Food can be purchased at the track. You should bring your own ice chest for snacks and fluids, particularly if the weather is warm. Do not rely on the availability of water at the track.
Forms. Remember to pack you your Tech, Helmet & Medical Forms in a convenient location to retrieve for registration.


This list of items will help you to prepare for your track school experience.

*Get a good night’s sleep. It will be a long, busy day and alert students are safe students.
*Upon arrival, empty your car, glove box and trunk of all loose objects. Remove hubcaps and trim rings.
*If you did not register the night before, proceed to registration. At registration you will sign the liability waiver and you will receive your wristband and student registration packet that includes your car numbers, nametag, track map and a schedule.
*Place a set of car numbers and letter designating your run group (A, B, C) in accordance to your registration packet instructions.
*Check with more experienced attendees for their input on tire pressures. Air service may not be available at the track, so bring your own pump and tire pressure gauge.
*Stay alert for announcements and driver meetings. No slack time in the schedule means we go with or without you.
*Be sure to think through what you want from your day, and discuss it with your instructor at the start of each track session.
*If you want something different from your instructor (e.g., different quantity or quality of feedback), discuss it with your instructor. If you still are not getting what you want, consider changing instructors and discuss it with your instructor and/or instructor group leader – this is expected to be routine, acceptable practice.
*There is a 5 mph speed limit in the paddock area. Please observe this limit for your safety and the safety of others.
*To better control access to the track, wristbands (issued at Registration) will be worn on left wrists by all students, instructors, and workers. No one will be allowed to drive on the track without a wristband visible. Passengers in instructor cars will also be required to have wristbands to signify that the passengers have signed the liability waiver. Wristbands for passengers will be available at registration.


These items have proven useful over time to our students. They are not required items but suggested to maximize your enjoyment of the school.
*Plastic tarp or plastic garbage bags to protect your stuff while it's out of your car
*Bungie cords to hold the tarp down in the wind
*Ice chest with FLUIDS and snacks
*Hat and sunscreen
*Event paperwork
*Hand sanitizer
*Fan belt
*Carpet cleaner
*Duct tape
*Brake fluid
*Electrical tape
*Spare engine oil
*Extra car keys
*Paper towels
*Lounge chair
*Air compressor
*Tire pressure gauge
*Torque wrench
*Car shop manual

Cleanup of trash, oil or fuel spills is charged at exorbitant rates. Please help keep the facility clean. Trash receptacles will be provided. Waste fluids need to be removed by participants. Fuel spills on the asphalt must be brought to the attention of track personnel immediately, and doused with lots of water. Save yourselves from major cleanup bills on this one, please.
Fuel is sometimes available from operations at the track but do not rely on this. Filling stations can be found a short distance from the track but you may not always have time to make the trip.
Track gates schedule will be on your track schedule.
No vehicles are permitted on any portion of the property other than the paddock or parts of the racetrack.


All drivers should study this description of our signal flags. Bring it with you to the track for review and reference (while in the paddock, not while on the track). You may be quizzed by the instructors regarding this information, so be sharp! Learn the meanings of these flags—they are our means of communicating with you while you are on the track. Remember that flag signals must be obeyed without question. If you are flagged while on the track and do not understand why, obey the flag, complete the lap you are on, exit to the pit lane, continue to the head of pit lane, and ask the Steward there for more information.

Standing Yellow: Proceed with caution, no passing.

Waving Yellow: Proceed with EXTREME CAUTION; there is a car blocking the track or otherwise endangering oncoming traffic just ahead. SLOW DOWN! NO PASSING!

Yellow w/Vertical Red Stripes: Oil/debris flag. Proceed with caution, there is oil, fluid, gravel, dirt, or other debris on the track. Traction will be poor. No passing until past the debris.

Green: Start of track session.

Black: Waved or pointed at the car in question—there is something wrong with your car or with your driving. Complete the lap you are on, come into pit lane, proceed to the head of pit lane, and talk to the person there who will discuss the problem with you. In some emergency situations, a black flag will be displayed to ALL cars in order to clear the track in the quickest possible time. If available, a Black Flag With Orange Ball In Center will be used to designate a mechanical problem with your car, so be especially careful as you complete the lap and pull into pit lane.

Furled Black, Pointing At You: Warning! You are driving in a manner that is questionable. If you continue to drive in this manner you will be black flagged on the next lap. It may mean that you would benefit from an instructor to accompany you and remind you of the correct line, or other helpful information to make your track session and driving school even more enjoyable.

Black Displayed To All Cars, And Standing Yellow At All Turns: Proceed with caution, no passing, complete your current lap, exit the track to the pit lane, and park.
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Blue With Diagonal Yellow Stripe: A faster car is behind you, and may wish to pass at the next passing zone. When the passing section of the track is reached, signal the car behind which side of your car you want it to pass you on. Do not change your line or speed up while being passed. Note: flag will be used at turns at the beginning of an allowed passing zone.

Red: Stop off line as safely and quickly as you can after checking your rear view mirrors for tailgaters. Signal with your arm raised out the window. Pull to the right side of the track. Do not finish the lap you are on. The Red flag is used only when continued lapping cannot be done safely—a damaged car is on or near the track, or there is another unsafe situation.

Black With Orange Circle, Pointing At You Also known as the "Meatball", this flag means there is a problem with your car. Check your guages, look for smoke in your mirrors and report to the pits immediately. If you see smoke, or observe that your oil pressure is low, move your car well off line.

Checkered: The track session is over. Slow your car safely, complete the lap you are on and exit into the pit lane and paddock. This is your cool-down lap. NO PASSING! Do not use your parking brakes upon returning to the pit lane or paddock!


Students are assigned to a run group commensurate with their experience.  Instructors are required in your car, at all times, while you are on the track.  If you have a driving school log from a previous school, be sure to bring it to the track.


We are committed to run a safe event. Students and instructors are required to wear a helmet while on the track. The minimum required helmet rating allowed is a Snell-rated SA2005 or M2005 (2016 will be final year Snell-rated SA2005 or M2005 are allowed) . Bring the helmet with you even if you have to borrow one; loaners will may be available. Cars, drivers and instructors judged to be operating in an unsafe manner will be removed from the track.


To maximize your track time and insure you get adequate instruction, the event is run on a tight schedule.  Adherence to the schedule requires your cooperation and will allow us to get through the preliminaries quickly.

Arrive at the track to allow ample time to prepare your car.  Stop at Registration and check in.  ALL individuals entering the track property may be required to sign the “Release and Waiver of Liability and Indemnity” form.  Please read it carefully to insure you understand what you are signing, then proceed immediately to the paddock area and unload everything from your car and trunk.  Please remove floor mats.  A properly fastened spare tire can remain, if you choose.  Be ready for the your drivers’ meeting; this is the most important meeting of the day!  Make sure you arrive with a full tank of gas.  Air and water are available at the track. The line may be long. Fuel is available close by.  Lunch will be available at the snack bar.


We don’t know as this depends on your specific insurance policy. We recommend reading your policy and asking your insurance company. As an option, Lockton Motorsports does offer single event or multi event insurance (does not include liability coverage) for verified HPDE events. For more info, please go to: (


STUDENTS ASSUME ALL RISK OF DAMAGE TO PERSONS AND PROPERTY DURING THE EVENT.  This includes times when instructors are driving your car.  Since you are assuming risk, you should be satisfied with the manner in which your instructor drives your car.  If, after discussing any apprehensions you may have with the instructor, you are still not satisfied, you are encouraged to contact the Chief Instructor or any event staff member to address the problem.


Students are NOT allowed to take passengers on the track at any time—absolutely NO exceptions.  Only students and instructors are allowed to drive on the track.  During the Instructors’ session, instructors may take passengers who have signed the waiver release, have a helmet, and are at least 18 years of age.


The driving school will be run rain or shine. Be sure you come prepared to protect yourself from the sun and rain. At a minimum, we recommend you bring folding chairs, a hat and sunscreen.

Title: Re: Driving School - First Timers Briefing
Post by: rperry on February 24, 2009, 08:08:03 PM
Great post, mmmpower, thanks.

I'd add that for me one of the real treats is getting a ride with an instructor (your instructor will take you out, and you can get rides with other instructors, too). Especially for someone like me, who doesn't have a lot of experience on a lot of tracks, it's just great to get out with a driver who knows what she's doing. I remember my first instructor ride really well--at just about each turn, I thought we'd never get the car slowed down to make the turn or that the car couldn't possibly stay on the track in the turn at that speed, and that we'd both die (or maybe that was my most recent instructor ride, with mmmpower). But he actually made most of the turns!

Plus, I think the chapter is still opening one run group to SAVs (X3, X5, X6, Cayenne, etc.), so it's not just the cars that get to play.

Title: Re: Driving School - First Timers Briefing
Post by: chaz58 on April 09, 2009, 03:50:46 PM
When will the M2000 and SA2000 helmets become obsolete?

Title: Re: Driving School - First Timers Briefing
Post by: mmmpowr on April 09, 2009, 11:36:44 PM
When will the M2000 and SA2000 helmets become obsolete?

2011 I believe.

Title: Re: Driving School - First Timers Briefing
Post by: cmachado on September 11, 2010, 08:16:39 AM
What time is the mandatory meeting???
Planning to leave Detroit Saturday AM ,,so need to know latest allowed arrival time

Title: Re: Driving School - First Timers Briefing
Post by: mmmpowr on September 11, 2010, 05:58:03 PM
What time is the mandatory meeting???
Planning to leave Detroit Saturday AM ,,so need to know latest allowed arrival time

Drivers meeting will probably be at 8:00am, but you should plan on being at the track by 7:00 am to register and unload the car for clean tech.

Title: Re: Driving School - First Timers Briefing
Post by: JackSpadesSI on March 15, 2011, 12:29:01 PM
2011 I believe.

It's 2011, so is there any update to the helmet requirements? I plan to buy a helmet soon for HPDE's this year... which type do I need to look for now? Anyone have a recommendation?

Also, what's the deal with insurance while on the track?

Title: Re: Driving School - First Timers Briefing
Post by: mmmpowr on September 24, 2011, 09:06:53 PM
Since we have just completed our last driving school for the year, it is now time to start looking for a new helmet if you do not have a minimum SA2005 or M2005 Snell Rating!!! SA2000 or M2000 helmets will no longer be allowed next year (2012)  :o

Title: Re: Driving School - First Timers Briefing
Post by: bippie999 on September 17, 2014, 10:11:37 PM
I'm in. If I can't borrow my friends helmet, hope I can rent one. (mine's still in storage from our move!)

Title: Re: Driving School - First Timers Briefing
Post by: Damien on September 22, 2014, 09:23:56 PM
What will the minimum Snell rating be for the 2015 season?