Register For A MORPCA DE Event – Clubregistration.net
Table Of Contents
2. What Is Drivers Education? In other words
3. DE – Frequently Asked Questions
4. DE Event Administration
5. Mandatory Safety Equipment
6. Pre-Event Preparation
7. At the track- at last
8. Miscellaneous Tips
9. Safety And Performance Modifications
11. Flag Descriptions- READ…UNDERSTAND…MEMORIZE
12. Personal Checklist
13. Driving Directions and Local Hotels
Welcome! You may be reading this MORPCA Drivers Education Guide because you visited our web site or because you are wondering what a DE is all about. This text is intended to help you in your preparations and to provide information about what to expect once you get to the track. If you are considering or if you have already made the commitment to a Driver Education (often abbreviated to ‘DE‛) event, please take the time to read this Guide. The better you are prepared, the more you will get out of the event.
2. What is Driver Education?
The purpose of the Porsche Club of America Mid-Ohio Region’s (MORPCA) Driver Education Program is to provide a safe, structured, and controlled teaching environment in which participants can learn advanced car control techniques. The Program is designed so that participants can improve their driving abilities and acquire a better understanding of vehicle dynamics and driving safety. MORPCA Driver Education events are not racing, preparation for racing, or a competition of any kind. No times or placings are recorded and no awards or prizes are received by the participants at MORPCA Driver Education events. Any conduct considered by MORPCA to be either unsafe or inconsistent with the spirit or purpose of the MORPCA Driver Education Program will not be permitted. The MORPCA Driver Education Program is designed to afford participants the opportunity to experience first-hand the capabilities of high performance automobiles in a controlled environment and to acquire skills that will improve their driving abilities on the street as well as on the track.
…In other words:
Driver Education events allow us to learn more about our Porsches, to learn more about ourselves and, above all, to have fun. You’ll learn the rudiments of performance driving in a safe, controlled, and non-competitive environment and be able to use the experience to improve your safety and driving ability on the street. In fact, DE events are one of those rare enjoyable things in life that aren’t illegal, immoral, or fattening, but are extremely addictive. You’ll learn, at first, that the limits to how you drive are yours and not your Porsche’s. You’ll find you have to push yourself harder to approach the limits of the handling of the car and, with your instructor beside you, you will learn to recognize these limits and to control the car as it approaches them. Many of the lessons learned from a DE experience can be carried over to street driving and you should end the day with an increased confidence level in your own and your car’s abilities. The events are organized with safety as the paramount consideration and with the aim of providing enjoyment for all. Driver Education events are not races. By requiring a signal from the driver in front to permit a pass – and taking cars off the track if they fail to obey the rules – the competitive element is eliminated. Your ego and pride should not be dented if another car passes you. On the contrary, you should help the other driver get around you while you concentrate on driving your car to your ability. Remember: the only prize you can win is to get to drive your car home in the same state in which it arrived. If you want a competitive event, then why not try your hand at other MORPCA events that are competitive in nature, such as the autocross, or maybe club racing?
3. DE – Frequently Asked Questions
This section attempts to answer some of the questions that many beginners ask about doing a DE event. Don’t worry if you don’t understand all the terminology in the answers – the terms will become clear as you read through this Guide.
Is My Car Eligible?
Generally speaking, any hard-top or soft-top Porsche with a roll bar is eligible for MORPCA DE events. Hard-top Porsches do not require a roll bar. Soft-top cars without roll bars are not eligible. However, some of the newer models have built-in pop up bars that are permissible. All targa tops must be installed, unless there is additional roll-over protection. If you are not sure whether your car is eligible, check with the event organizers.
All open-topped cars must have a roll bar and conform to the following:
- The top of the main hoop must be above any occupant’s helmet(s). With the driver (and passenger) correctly seated and securely belted into the vehicle, an occupant’s helmet must be below a straight line drawn between the top of the windshield and the top of the roll bar, the so-called “Broomstick Test.”
- Roll bar must be padded in any area that may come in contact with the occupant’s helmet or person.
- Drivers in open-cockpit cars must have arm restraints.
What about my Cayenne?
Cayenne‛s have run successfully in other regions’ events, but not yet with MORPCA. Cars of widely varying weights running on the track together present additional risk. If you are interested in doing a DE event in your Cayenne, please get in touch with the driving committee. Usually, if the car can be safely driven on the street, then it is acceptable for DE events.
Am I Eligible?
If you are over 18 years of age, have a current driver’s license, then, yes, you are eligible.
Note: we do not require DE entrants to be Porsche owners or members of PCA. If you are a Porsche owner but are not yet a member of PCA, you may read about membership at the PCA Web site (www.pca.org) where you may also download an application form. PCA membership allows you to nominate a family member or friend to be a member at no extra cost.
Can I Participate If My Car Has An Automatic Or Tiptronic Transmission?
No problem. A manual shift is not a pre-requisite for a DE event. In fact, as a beginner, learning may be simpler if you do not need to be concerned with shifting on the track. Come along and give it a try.
Will A DE Event Harm My Porsche?
Porsche has followed a long tradition of over-engineering its components and, as a beginner. it is unlikely you’ll be stressing any of its mechanical components. The old saying that “Every Porsche Built is a Race Car” has a solid foundation. They are built to be driven and are in their element on the track. Cars used for DE are often better maintained than street-only cars with owners ensuring they are in tip-top mechanical condition. A pre-event technical inspection ensures it is in safe and suitable condition for your DE event.
Some people may be concerned about stone chips or other cosmetic damage. A good coat of wax, along with judicious use of a clear bra or racer’s tape (blue painter’s tape) can all but eliminate any cosmetic damage.
Is My Car Insurance Valid On The Track?
The short answer is “probably not.” In the past, most policies used to cover DE property damage claims but exclude competitive events (such as autocross and racing). Because Driver Education is not competitive (remember the “no racing” part in the goal of DE?) and is not a timed event, it was generally covered, but. of late, most insurers have excluded coverage for DE’s. If in doubt, you would be well advised to read the ‘exclusions‛ page of your policy to confirm there isn’t language that would exclude DE events (for example, excluding any event on a track). You may wish to talk to your agent, but if he or she is not sure, then get the answer in writing from the head-office underwriter. Answers from agents may be wrong! Don’t assume that insurance companies know anything about DE. Be sure to understand and explain that DE isn’t racing. It is a noncompetitive drivers’ education event with no prizes, no placings, etc. Some insurance companies offer DE insurance; a list of the companies that provide this coverage can be found on the Internet or contact MORPCA for the current list of providers.
Do I Have To Make Any Modifications To The Car?
If you are a beginner attending your first few DE days, the answer is “No.” Once you graduate to higher “run groups” (see the “Event Organization” section in Chapter 4), you may want to add various other safety or performance enhancements.
Do I Need A Helmet?
Any driver or passenger on the track must be wearing a helmet. You may have friends who can lend you one, or you can purchase a helmet. See Chapter 5 for more detail about helmets.
Do I Get Instruction ?
As a beginner or intermediate student, you will receive both classroom instruction and on-track instruction. In the classroom sessions, you will be briefed on the terminology that will be used by your instructor, basic performance driving concepts, safety, and flag meanings, etc.
An instructor is assigned to you for the day or weekend and he/she will write up your student evaluation at the end of the event, noting your progress. It is rare, but if for any reason the chemistry is not right between you and your instructor, you can ask for a change. If time permits, we encourage you to ride with or request different instructors on your return trips. There is no extra charge for instructors.
What are Run Groups?
The Event Chair, the Registrar, and the Chief Instructor work together to assign drivers to a run group based on your track driving experience. Your car will have a sticker that indicates your run group.
The run groups are:
- Green (Beginner, D): Beginning driver with little or no track driving experience
- Yellow (Novice, C): A driver with usually three or so previous events
- Blue (Intermediate, B): A driver who has been cleared to run solo, but has still modest experience, usually more than six DE events under the belt. Blue drivers are restricted to passing on straight sections of the track.
- White (Advanced, A): A driver with considerable experience, often more than 15 events. White drivers may be permitted to pass on almost any part of the track, including curves.
- Red (Instructors. I): an advanced driver who has taken a course to prepare her or him to become an instructor, often a course run by a PCA-recognized instructor, or who has been approved as an instructor by the region’s Chief Driving Instructor.
You start in run group D, and move to a higher run group as your skill improves. There is no predefined schedule for how long it takes to progress to the next run group. That depends purely on your skill and your experience.
What Happens If It’s Raining?
The event is run come rain or shine, although if conditions are extremely poor, the Chief Driving Instructor may cancel run sessions. Of course, when it is wet, you will be driving somewhat slower as your tire grip will be reduced.
Can both myself and my spouse drive at an event ?
If you are going to share a car, you will need to be in different run groups. Of course, if you have ‘His’ and ‘Her’ Porsches, you have no such problems. Also, read Chapter 4 for more information about registering.
Can Family Members Or Friends Ride With Me?
Only registered drivers are permitted on the track and, if there is a second person in your car, that person must be an instructor. You won’t be able to go out with you spouse or with friends. Once you have progressed out of the beginner’s group, why not share your car with your spouse so both of you can experience Driver Ed? Sometimes, at the discretion of the Chief Driving Instructor and the track, at lunchtime, licensed drivers are permitted on the track for parade laps (speed is limited).
How do I find out about MORPCA DE Events
You can keep on top of all of our track and social events by visiting our club calendar, our web site at mor.pca.org, or by reading our club newsletter Die Offene Strasse or DOS. Our events are also listed on ClubRegistration.net (more on this later) and on MotorsportsReg.com.
MORPCA HPDE events also operate under PCA National’s event liability coverage; that coverage requires minimum standards be met for our HPDE events (and other moving-car events); those standards can be read at PCA Minimum Standards
4. DE Event Administration
The following sections deal with the general administration of DE events. Learn about how events are organized and how to register for an event.
In general, MORPCA runs at least three events per year. Note that the Spring event usually includes a PCA Club Race run concurrently with the DE event.
Registering For A MORPCA DE Event
ClubRegistration.net is the mechanism by which you will register for our events. You will build an account on ClubReg in which you will provide some personal information (name, address, phone, email) and a brief profile describing your training and experience as a driver. ClubReg lists all of our DE events and those of other clubs across North America. It also provides a secure mechanism for paying the fees for our events. MORPCA events tend to fill up well in advance and it is therefore important to register early. Porsches will be running alongside other marques and a full event may have up to 300 cars, but split among four to six run groups. You will need to check on the web to find out when registration for a specific event is opening. It typically opens some six weeks before the event. You can request that Clubregistration.net notify you when any event opens for registration.
Sharing a Car
You may share your car with another driver if you wish. Each driver needs to fill in their own entry form and the two drivers must be in different run groups. For this reason, sharing a car is not recommended if both drivers are beginners. Each driver pays the event registration fee, but only one technical inspection form is required for the car.
Once registration has opened and once your registration has been processed and accepted, you will receive an email confirming your registration. The roster is also published on the web.
Last Minute Registration
If there are spaces and instructors available, sometimes the event can accommodate last-minute registration. You will need to check with the event registrar.
If your plans change, the entry fee may be refundable (full or partial), less an administration fee, if the event chairperson or registrar receives notification in writing or via email to the address stated in Clubregistration.net. Check with the DE event chairperson about the specific cancellation details.
The track at a typical DE event opens at 7:00AM. Trackside tech inspection is usually open from 7:10AM to 8:00AM. A drivers’ meeting at 8:00AM is followed by the first run group getting on the track around 8:30AM. We stop for an hour at lunch (actual times depend on run group) and continue running until 5:00PM. Tech inspection and registration are also open the evening before the event at the track or at the hotel headquarters. You are strongly urged to arrive early as track tech/registration time is limited. You could miss the first session; for the beginners, that would be the first classroom session.
All DE entrants are divided into “Run Groups” according to experience and ability. Group A is for advanced drivers (some instructors may be in group A), Group B is for intermediate solo drivers, Group C is for novice instructed students and Group D is for beginners. Instructors can be assigned to anyone on request. but are always assigned to drivers in Green and Yellow groups. (Students may be “signed-off” and allowed to drive solo later in an event. Some instructors who have determined that their students are competent and controlled may want those students to experience the feel of the car with less weight in it, and there are other reasons to allow even a beginner to run solo. This sign-off is not necessarily an indication that the student is promoted to the next run group.) Each run group gets 20-30 minute sessions on the track, typically 4 sessions per day. You will be given an event schedule; keep it handy so you know when you are due to drive and pay attention to the PA and phone messages for schedule changes.
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course is a road course auto racing facility located in Morrow County, Ohio, just outside of the town of Lexington. The track is a 15-turn, 2.4 mile (3.86 km) road circuit run clockwise. This is a world class facility in our own back yard. Mid-Ohio is one of the best tracks in the country and drivers come from out-of-state and out-of-country to drive this venue.
5. Mandatory Safety Equipment
The following sections cover the only mandatory safety equipment – a helmet.
A helmet is a mandatory safety item for MORPCA HPDE and AX events and all helmets must carry the Snell Foundation’s certification. The helmet safety standards are updated every 5 years (2000, 2005, 2010, 2015, etc.). Helmets must display SA certification that is less than 10 years old. That is, any helmet used now must have SA certification of 2010 or 2015. It is recommended that a helmet be replaced if it has ever dropped (or been in an accident). M rated helmets for motorcycles are not acceptable. Read about these standards at the Snell Foundation Web site: http://www.smf.org/
MORPCA has several “loaner helmets” that are available to students. If this is your first event, you might consider using one of these helmets rather than spending several hundred dollars for a new one. Please advise the event registrar that you want a loaner helmet.
It is recommended that you do not purchase a pre-owned helmet; if the helmet has been dropped, it may be ineffective, despite looking OK externally.
It is often asked, “How much do I need to spend on a beginner’s helmet?” to which the answer is, “How much is your head worth?” Seriously though, price isn’t always a good guide. The helmet must have the Snell SA certification, but after that you may be paying more for a lighter helmet, or for a helmet with a nice paint job, etc.
The fit of your helmet is very important and a very personal choice. You will spend a bit of time inside it – some of it in unpleasantly hot weather. Although the Internet does have various fitting guides and you may get a better price, it is recommended that you look at local suppliers where you will be able to try on various helmets and get good advice as to selection. Not all same-sized helmets feel the same and by trying them on, you will be able to make a much better choice. Various styles are available and, again, a local supplier will be able to help you choose. For example, some helmets are designed primarily for open cockpit racing and have a small eye port, others have a larger eye port to take account of eyeglass wearers (if you are an eyeglass wearer, don’t forget to take them with you when you go to buy a helmet), some have full-face protection, others are open face, some have a visor, others don’t, etc.
6. Pre-Event Preparation
So, you’ve registered for an event. Congratulations for taking the plunge! Now read about other topics and items that will aid your preparation.
Once you have booked for your event, don’t forget to settle your accommodation. Depending on where you live, the event may require you to travel on the day or evening prior to the event and, with a two-day event, you will probably need to stay overnight near the track. See chapter 13 for details of local hotels. We will have a hotel headquarters which will be conveniently located as near the track as possible. Rooms go fast, so make your reservations early. At Mid-Ohio camping is usually available.
Spectators are welcome at MORPCA DE events. If you want to bring along a spouse or a friend, please feel free to do so. The track management will typically require each person entering the track premises to sign a waiver of liability at the track entrance. Note: pets are not permitted at tracks.
Your Porsche needs to go through the pre-event technical and safety inspection before each and every DE event. This is an important part of your preparation.
The Web site contains the Tech form that you need to complete. Print or photocopy the form, fill in the top section, and ask a qualified mechanic to examine your car, check off the inspected systems in the lower portion, and sign the form. You will present this completed form with your car at the inspection station. Each event requires a separate form and the car should be inspected no more than 2 weeks prior to the event.
You can check many of the items yourself; look at the tech form and see what you can check yourself. Check your brake lights, inspect your tires for wear, learn to determine how much brake pad you have left, keep records of when the brakes were last bled and when the brake fluid was last changed and so on. Note that you cannot do the checks yourself and sign the form.
We strongly recommend that you have a qualified mechanic check your car. We strongly recommend that you change your brake fluid at least annually. DOWNLOAD AND PRINT OFF TECH FORM NOW !!!! Be sure to BRING IT COMPLETED TO THE TRACK WITH YOU.
Please make sure your car will pass tech. For safety sake, we cannot allow unsafe cars to run, but we hate to turn anyone away. READ THE TECH FORM THOROUGHLY. The Tech Form is not necessarily comprehensive. You and/or your mechanic should perform whatever safety checks you feel are necessary.
LUG NUT KEY- Tech inspection includes checking the lug nut torque. If you have locking lug nuts, be sure to bring the key.
MORPCA now requires that you supply car numbers of 8-10 inches high with a stroke-width of 1.5-2 inches on each side of the car and a single number of 4-6 inches high with reasonable stroke-width at the back. These numbers can be permanently attached or temporary, and can be made of painter’s tape if you are not fussy. No number may be duplicated on multiple cars. ClubReg provides a list of available numbers associated with a space to enter the number you have chosen. ClubReg’s store also provides various sets of numbers, temporary or permanent for purchase.
What Do I Need To Bring?
A summary of this list is given in Chapter 12. You may want to print it as a checklist.
- Driver’s license!
- Completed Tech Inspection Form!
- Maps and directions to the track and hotel
- Paper towels – useful for window cleaning, mopping up oil drops, etc.
- Window cleaner – you’ll pick up a few bugs during the day!
- Tire pressure gauge – essential to get the maximum grip from your tires
- Blue paint tape – for covering headlights and protecting them from stone chips
- A penknife or similar to cut the tape
- A quart of oil and a funnel. (A rolled paper plate can be used as a standby funnel)
- White shoe polish for checking tire rollover
- Plastic bags for storing the contents of glove compartment, door pockets, etc.
- A tarpaulin, ground sheet, or large garbage sacks for placing your belongings on and to cover them if it rains. Also useful on wet days for keeping rain off everything.
- Sun protection such as a wide-brimmed sun-hat, sunscreen, and an umbrella or pop-up for shade
- Rain protection such as a poncho or waterproof outer clothing. An umbrella.
- A folding chair.
- Appropriate clothing: The clothing you wear is intended to keep you safe and comfortable. For driving, a long-sleeved shirt and long pants, both made of natural fibers such as cotton or linen, are required. (Jeans work well.) Shoes should also be made of natural fibers and should have a flat sole. Tennis shoes or leather driving shoes are ideal (not jogging shoes with their thick soles). Shorts, short-sleeved shirts, sandals, or other loose fitting shoes are not acceptable driving attire. Bring a change of clothing for when you are not driving – whatever is comfortable and suitable for the prevailing weather. Note: sometimes when the temperature and humidity are extremely high, short sleeve cotton shirts are permitted.
- Cooler with drinks and ice – You will get dehydrated at the track so you must drink plenty of liquid. No alcoholic drinks are permitted at the track for either drivers or spectators until the end of the day – but remember that alcohol can affect your judgment for up to 24 hours so at a two-day event, be careful.
- Food & snacks. The concession stand at the track will be open both days. Hours vary. There are pop machines on the premises. You may want to bring snacks and something to drink.
- ALCOHOL is strictly forbidden while the track is in use.
More advanced drivers may also consider:
- A torque wrench, jack, jack pad, jack stand, etc., if you will be changing tires at the track
- A can of brake fluid and spare brake pads
- Air tank
7. Going To The Track – And At Last Getting To The Track-
Be certain you know how to get to the track. Directions of Mid-Ohio and Putnam Park are in chapter 13. If you are going to your hotel first, don’t forget directions to it as well.
Remember that we all enjoy the use of our host tracks. Please obey speed limits and other traffic directions so that we may continue to have the support of the local communities. It is not unknown for the local constabulary to post speed traps when they know the club is at the local track!
When You Arrive At The Track
Get to the track early with a full tank of fuel. You can buy it at the track along with racing fuel at eye-popping prices. The track typically opens at around 7:00AM and shortly after is a good time to be there. Find a place to park to set up your pit. Try to leave room between your car and the next as you and others may be working on the cars.
On arriving at the track, you very likely will be asked to sign the track’s waiver of liability. On entering the paddock, find a comfortable place to set up your “pit.”
Preparation for Trackside Tech
Now attend to your car and empty it – empty it of everything. You don’t want that old coke can under the seat rolling under your pedals on the first lap, do you? Or that old kid’s toy on the back seat hitting you the first time you brake hard? Check the trunk(s), the door pockets, glove compartment, remove your radar detector, seat covers, and any other loose items. Double check under the seats! If you have detachable floor mats they too should be removed – both at the front and rear.
Use your duct tape or blue painter’s tape to cover the headlights and fog lights to protect them from any stone chips or debris on the track. Some people also tape the leading edge of the hood and the side view mirrors. You may have a vinyl “bra” on the front of your car for debris protection when on the street. At high speed, bras can sometimes flap around and actually cause more damage than debris. It is advisable to tape down a loosely fitting or a magnetic bra.
Trackside Safety Inspection – “Tech”
Place your pre-event Tech form under the windshield wiper, put your helmet on the passenger seat, leave the trunk and engine lid unlocked and drive slowly to the Tech line. Here the trackside tech inspection crew will greet you, descending on your car to check the torque of your wheel nuts, the state of your brake pads, that your car is empty of junk, that it has its numbers etc. You will probably be asked to use the brake pedal so they can check your brake lights and also ‘blip‛ the throttle so they can check the throttle return is working correctly. A small sticker will be placed on your windshield indicating you have passed Tech. Return to your parking place and check that your engine lid and trunk are locked closed.
You only need to present your car to trackside tech on the first morning.
After completing tech inspection, go to the Registration Area.
There you will:
- Present your driver’s license
- Sign the MORPCA insurance waiver
- Settle any unpaid fees.
You may have a few minutes to spare to have a quick breakfast, but check your timetable for the Drivers’ Meeting. Don’t be late – it is embarrassing to have 100+ pairs of eyes on you as you stroll up late! The meeting is mandatory and attendance is taken. All drivers gather and you will be told about the track, any special conditions on the day, the location of the passing zones, how the flags are to be used, etc.
Instructors and students will be introduced to each other if this has not already happened. Instructors and students are paired prior to the event and instructors are urged to contact their students and make arrangements to meet, but unfortunately this does not always happen. The type of car you drive is also taken into account and efforts are made to pair you with an instructor familiar with your type of car.
You will have a couple of classroom sessions where a senior instructor will talk you through the theory you will be (or have been) practicing. Please ensure you are on time for these sessions. Again, attendance is taken.
Students are urged to evaluate their instructors and instructors are required to evaluate their students. The evaluation forms are on ClubReg in a section of your account entitled “Evaluations.” Please complete these as soon as possible after the event. You and your instructors will be able to record your progress as you do DE events and as you progress to “going solo”. The entries will also assist your instructor(s) at subsequent events in understanding your progress thus far. Students, we recommend that you urge your instructor to complete the evaluation; the staff will also send reminders.
Preparation For Driving
Let’s now go through some topics in preparation for actually getting out the track.
You have, of course, read the pre-event preparation section so will have brought the correct clothing MORPCA requires that you must wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants made of natural fiber. Shoes should have a thin, flat sole with adequate grip so they don’t slip off the pedals. Worn sneakers or ‘boat‛ shoes work well for many drivers. Thick-soled shoes are not recommended. You ‘communicate‛ with your car through the seat of you pants, your hands, and the soles of your feet. You’ll get messages from your Porsche more easily if your feet are not insulated from the car by big thick soles. Leather–soled shoes tend to be too slippery and are not recommended.
Take account of the weather: If it is hot and sunny, as it can be is at MORPCA events, apply your sun protection now, before you get sunburned. Perhaps even more importantly, you need to keep yourself properly hydrated throughout the day. By the time you feel thirsty your body is already dehydrated and this can seriously impair your judgment and safety on the track. Remember to keep drinking liquid, even when you don’t actually feel thirsty. This cannot be stressed highly enough.
With the climate changing as it seems to be, we have experienced cold, rain, and yes, SNOW, at Mid-Ohio in May, so bring some warm clothing that you would never expect you’d need.
There are still a couple more items that need attention before you get on the track.
Depending on your schedule, you may want to do these earlier, as you prepare the car for trackside inspection.
The seat position you use for DE is unlikely to be the same as you use on the street. The majority of drivers position themselves too far back or with the seatback inclined too much. Do not imitate what you see on TV with either the NASCAR driver’s position, upright and close to the wheel, or the F1 drivers who appear laid back with outstretched arms.
The correct seating position takes into account how you contact the seat, leg position, and arm position. In order to get better leverage on the steering wheel and in order to get a better “seat-of-the-pants” feel of the car, it is usual to sit a little further forward and more upright, and perhaps a little lower than you may do for street driving. Try following the recommendations below.
Depending on your height (with your helmet on) and whether the car has a sunroof or not, you may find it necessary to lower the seat.
Sit in the seat by pressing into it so that you maximize your body area in firm contact with the car. Pressing down snugly will help you to feel the car communicating with you. Your back should be flat against the seat back, your backside firmly wedged in the right-angle between seat back and seat cushion and the underside of your legs should be in contact with the seat. Put on your seat belt and ensure it is a tight fit – you don’t want to be sliding around the seat at the first sharp corner.
Adjust the forward/rearward position of the seat so that you can move your feet easily between the pedals with clearance under the steering wheel. There should be a moderate bend at the knees when you fully depress the pedals with the ball of your foot (not the toes).
Adjust the seatback angle so that with your arms extended and without pulling your shoulders away from the seat, your wrists should be able to rest on top (12 o’clock position) of the steering wheel. Your arms should be bent when your hands are placed on the steering wheel at the three o’clock and nine o’clock positions. This slight bend in your arms, even when being fully outstretched during cornering, helps prevent the arms from getting tired through overextension. This same position should allow you to change gears without needing to lean forward.
Your seating position can best be tried in advance of the event.
Having properly changed your seating position, you now need to adjust all your mirrors to ensure they cover their areas properly.
The driver’s side window and the passenger side window must be all the way down (rain or shine).
With the tires cold in the early morning, check the tire pressures of all wheels. As a starting
point, ensure they are set to the recommended values given in the car’s handbook. Air is available – just ask where it is. Most drivers check the air pressure again as soon as you come off the track to see how much it has gone up due to heat build up in the tires.
“Staging” is designed to minimize the time between run groups by ensuring that the next group of cars is ready to get on the track as soon as the previous group is off. Cars are staged in the ‘false grid‛ area. There are separate entrance ramps and exit ramps to the track and you need to be sure you use the correct ramp. At the drivers meeting, there will have been instructions on how and where to stage. Prepare for your run in good time. Go to the bathroom if you need and ensure you are at the staging point with ten minutes to spare. Generally your instructor will meet you at staging, although he/she may have made arrangements to meet you in the paddock area – it tends to depend on their workload and number of other students.
Your instructor will be equipped with a two-way communicator to help in-car communication. He or she will give you an earpiece attached to a boom microphone. Put your helmet on first, then take the earpiece and gently insert it inside your helmet between your ear and the helmet padding. The boom microphone will be naturally positioned in front of your mouth. At the end of the run, remove the communicator by grasping the earpiece. Do not pull the connecting wire – they do not last long if you do
If your instructor doesn’t have a communicator don’t worry – you will still be able to hear
their comments and instructions.
It’s All In The Mind – Tortoise / Hare
There are (at least) a couple of ways you can approach your first few track events. Let’s call the first the ‘Hare’ approach. You’ve figured out a way to get to drive your Porsche on the track, you’ve only got a handful of sessions and you want to make the most of them. You want to get out there and you do everything you can’t do on public roads: pushing the car’s limits as much as you can, trying to squeeze every tenth of an mph out of it that you can — full on the gas; full on the brakes; catch that guy in front, etc., etc. On your first day at DE, a guy can’t help but think (however irrationally) that he’s going to be the best and bravest driver out there.
This is fine and may be a lot of fun, but it will only get you so far. It’s like trying to lift the absolute maximum weight you can manage on your first trip to the gym, and then calling that a workout. Before too long, you’ll have ‘pushed’ the car as hard as it will go, and — what the heck? — guys in lower-powered cars are still overtaking you. You walk away scratching your head.
Or… you stumble on the second way of approaching a Driver Ed event; Let’s call this the “Tortoise” approach. It’s linked to the “you’d go a lot faster, if you’d just learn to slow down” school of thought which experienced drivers will be able to tell you about. The smarter way of approaching a driver ed event in your first season is to leave your ego in the paddock and see what you can learn from your instructor – your mind as a blank slate, open to listening and learning. Learning the best possible line through each turn – long before you’re carrying the maximum amount of speed through each turn – and getting a sense of the subtler relationship between driver inputs and the way the car reacts. It’s a slow process although you may hit some speeds you’ve never see before. And you’ve got to accept the fact that the faster guys are faster because they’ve been doing it longer, and have taken the time to figure out the less fun parts of the equation. Beginners always try to sort out the difference between fast and slow lap times based on the specifications of the cars involved. It’s the Viper mindset. The more experienced guys know that horsepower doesn’t matter very much — that 90% of the journey is learning how to drive, and the other 10% is about having a fast car.
Hopefully, you’ll soon realize that you’re just starting out and there’s going to be a long and fun road before you.
Off The Track
Pit speed limit and speed limit on premises is slow, about 15 mph
Off Track Mistake
Two (2) or more wheels off the track or a spin will require drivers to voluntarily come into the pits to talk with the chief driving instructor or representative before continued participation will be permitted. A visual inspection of the car will be make at the same time. If you don’t voluntarily come in to the pits, you will be black-flagged on the track (more on flags below), ordered to come into the pits, and one black mark will be placed against your record. Usually, if you earn three black marks, you are sent home by the chief driving instructor.
On The Track
It’s quite simple, really: Remember “Asphalt – good, Grass – bad, Walls and Armco Barriers – worse.” Seriously though, remember the aims of DE (learning about your Porsche and yourself and having fun), listen to and obey your instructor and enjoy yourself.
As this guide has tried to emphasize, the better you are prepared, the more you will enjoy the experience. There are many books and articles as well as Internet sites that explain the principles of performance driving. Some are listed in the Resources section and the end of this document. If you have the opportunity, you are recommended to read some of these.
It’s no use cresting a hill, wondering why the flag marshal was waving a yellow flag! By the time you see the car stopped in the middle of the track just over the brow of the hill, it will be too late.
Understanding the flags and knowing what action to take when you see one is vital. Please take a few minutes now to read Chapter 11 now, test yourself on the flags for a few minutes, and then return here. As it says there: Read, Understand, and Memorize.
You are only permitted to overtake or be overtaken in designated passing zones, generally the long straightaway. Higher run groups are permitted to pass in additional areas. At the drivers meeting you will be informed where the passing zones are.
In DE events it is not permitted to pass a car without receiving a hand signal from the driver being overtaken. This applies equally in all run groups. The signals are as follows:
“Overtake me on the left” – point your left arm straight out of the window; “overtake me on the right” – extend your left arm out of the window and point emphatically over your roof to the right.
Each of these signals indicates to a single car behind you that they may overtake. If there are more cars behind, wait until the first car is starting its overtaking maneuver, then give the same signal for each subsequent car. You MUST back off the gas momentarily to allow a safe pass.
If the car in front of you signals you to overtake, it is your decision as to whether to take the opportunity. You are not obliged to pass and you should not pass if you feel at all uncomfortable – for example, you may be nearing the end of the passing zone on the straightaway.
Watch your mirrors! If a car is behind you that was not there before, it is doing faster laps and you should let it pass. This is true whether or not your car is faster down the straights
Use good judgment! Remember, this is a driving education, not a racing school.
End Of Run: the “Pit-In” Signal
At the end of your run, you will see the checkered flag. Slow down (but not to a crawl) and use your brakes as little as possible to allow them to cool during the remainder of the ‘cool-down’ lap. Approaching the pit in turn-off, clench your fist and hold your left arm straight up out of the left window to indicate you are pitting. Use this signal if you need to pit-in during a run as well.
Drive back to your parking spot, still trying to use the brakes as little as possible. The rotors will be very hot and you want to avoid transferring this heat to the brake fluid in the calipers. When you stop and switch off the engine, leave the car in gear to prevent it moving. Do not engage the parking brake. Your instructor will often want to sit with you for a couple of minutes to discuss the run.
Condition Of Your Car
After a run it is wise to check your car in preparation for your next outing.
- Tire wear – Check your tires after every session for nicks, punctures, or worn areas.
- Tire pressure – Check tire pressure before each session. Tires typically increase more
than 5 PSI during track sessions, so if your tires have increased pressure, this is normal.
- Oil level and temperature – Check the oil level every couple of sessions and add oil if needed. Get in the habit of checking the oil gauge on the track and monitoring oil temperature. The back straight is a good place to do this.
- Coolant temperature – As with oil, monitor your coolant temperature regularly while on the track. If you get a reading in the red zone or no reading (too little coolant), you should end your session early and let things cool down.
- Fuel level – You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can go through gas. If you’re not sure whether you have enough to make it through an entire session, get more gas. You don’t want to take up everybody’s track time getting towed off the track.
- Brakes – Track driving takes its toll on the brakes. You may have an indicator light that warns you when the brake pads are getting thin, but if your car doesn’t have one, you should learn to examine the brake pads yourself. Ask someone to help – they’ll be only too willing to show you how. While driving if ever the brake pedal starts to feel soft or spongy, tell your instructor and come into the pits immediately. A soft brake pedal happens shortly before the pedal goes straight to the floor without any resistance – not a fun experience. This happens when your brake fluid boils and can be easily rectified by “bleeding” your brakes. This is a simple process – again, ask someone for help if you need to do this.
Are you sweating after your run? Don’t for get to keep properly hydrated!
8. Miscellaneous Tips
The following sections are valuable tid-bits that may prove useful to you at some stage in your DE career.
At summer events, you need to be aware of the effect of heat and sun on your body and take measures to cope. The tips below may sound like common sense, but are important.
- Apply sunscreen liberally.
- Wear a hat while in the paddock
- As stressed earlier, dehydration leads to deterioration in judgment, concentration, and mental performance. Medical studies have shown that fluid loss exceeding approx. 3% of body weight impairs reaction time, judgment, concentration, and decision making.
- Be alert and if you notice any of these symptoms of heat exhaustion, pull off the track and let someone know: Dizziness, Headache, Heavy sweating, Muscle cramps, Nausea, Weakness .
For those of you who change tires at the track: Most early Porsches have light, aluminum alloy lug nuts. Along with the wheel, these lug nuts will get hot during your run. Do not try to remove them when hot. If you try to remove them with the commonly used soft-socket-with-a-plastic insert (to prevent damage), the plastic may turn to a gooey mess. If you use a regular steel socket, it is easy to break the neck of the lug nut from the collar. Removal of such a destroyed lug nut is not generally something that can be done at trackside and you’ll be on an early journey home!
Wait for the lug nuts and wheel to cool, or alternatively use open, steel lug nuts.
Although later Porsches like the 996 and Boxster utilize steel lug bolts, it’s still advisable to allow the wheels to cool somewhat before attempting to remove them while very hot.
When re-installing the wheel, you should check the manual for specifications but later models require the lug nuts be tightened to 96 ft lbs. with a torque wrench.
9. Safety And Performance Modifications
The following topics are not a concern for the beginner driver. Once you have several events under your belt, you may want to consider some of the changes mentioned below. The paragraphs below are placed in no particular order.
Once you have done a few events and your cornering speeds increase, you may find yourself bracing yourself against parts of the car. The stock seat belts are good, but cornering and braking from high speed ideally calls for a harness to keep you firmly planted in your seat. Most popular nowadays are 5- or 6-point harnesses using 3-inch webbing. There are different mounting options and in many cases can be installed without drilling holes in the car. If installing a harness, ensure you install it for the passenger too. Most regions require the same restraint system for both occupants. After all, if it’s good enough for you, it should be good enough for your instructor.
A recent national PCA ruling for 5 and 6 point harnesses require the use of slotted seats for the shoulder harness and submarine straps. Most OEM seats do not have these slots. If you want the 5 or 6 point harnesses, you must also have the correct seats. The original 3-point belt is still acceptable.
For frequent DE participants, a specially designed racing seat may be installed. These generally provide more support when cornering and may be lighter, saving some weight compared to the stock seats. However, they may not be so comfortable for those long drives on the street. Other drivers will be happy to discuss their choice of seat with you and allow you to see how you’ll ‛fit‛ in their car. Remember, both the driver’s seat and passenger’s seat and harness must be similar. If in doubt, ask.
Roll Cage Or Roll Bar
The likelihood of a rollover accident is very small but it can happen. While the roof pillars on your Porsche are very strong, a roll bar or roll cage may be installed for extra safety. A roll bar is typically a steel hoop bolted or welded to the body and extending above (and behind) the driver. Many people install a half cage for not only for the rollover protection but also for using harness belts. The Harness bar or roll cage gives you a point to attach the racing harnesses.
Good quality street tires are entirely adequate during your first several events. Without any track experience, you won’t be using any tires to their performance limits. Learning the feel of your car through street tires aids learning and will teach you how the car feels and behaves as you approach the limits of adhesion. Also, starting out with your car in stock configuration will give you a baseline for comparison so that, once you get some track experience, you will be better able to judge the impact of a tire upgrade on your performance. Any of the Z-rated street tires give you very good performance on the track and it works out less expensive because they wear so much less than track tires. (You won’t go through a set of street tires in a track weekend!).
As you become more experienced, you may want to try tires with higher performance (more grip). If your car is also used on the street, you have a few choices; you can fit high performance street tires, you can fit R-compound track tires that are street legal (but which wear more quickly than street tires), or you could get a second set of rims and fit dedicated track tires (slicks). As you attend more DE events ask plenty of questions and make your own decisions.
Stock Porsche brake pads work well on the street but, for most early cars, they are not optimized for the heavy braking you will be doing at the track. After several events, as your speed increases, you may find that you want to try a pad more suited to the track. However, the brakes on late models such as the 996 and Boxster have brakes that are generally adequate for your first season of DE events. Several upgrade options are available – from out-and-out race pads to ones suitable for mixed track/street driving. In general, track pads need to be hotter to get maximum braking effect, which is why they may not be completely effective on the street on a cold winter morning. They will also tend to wear the rotors than stock brake pads. Changing pads is such a simple job, it is practical to have one set for street and a second set for the track.
Brake fluid is a hydraulic fluid used to transfer pressure from the brake pedal to the calipers, creating the clamping action of the brake pads onto the rotors. Driving at the track causes brakes to get very hot; after all, it is the heat of friction that dissipates the momentum of the car. If your car has a 300 hp engine, your brakes usually apply 3000 hp of stopping power. Some of the heat is dissipated by the large metal mass of rotors and wheels, some is dissipated by the airflow over the rotors, but some heat is transferred through the brake pads to the calipers and the brake fluid in the calipers. Unfortunately, brake fluid absorbs water from the atmosphere (in technical terms it is “hygroscopic”) and the longer it has been in your brake system, the more water it will have absorbed. Brake fluid has a very high boiling point (often over 400 °F) but water doesn’t. If the heat transferred to the fluid causes any water in the fluid to boil, steam is generated and bubbles form in the brake fluid. Brake fluid is not compressible (that’s why it’s used) but bubbles of steam are. The end result is that the brake pedal will start to get “soft” and will eventually go to the floor with no braking power at all. (If ever you feel your brake pedal going soft, slow down, pump the pedal a few times to get full braking effect back and pull into the pits as soon as possible.) If you become a DE regular, change your brake fluid for each event and use a high-quality, high boiling point brake fluid.
Purpose designed and made for performance driving, although they may still be worn around the paddock, they provide excellent ‘feel‛ through the soles.
Driving gloves serve mainly to allow you to keep a good grip on the wheel. Good gloves, typically with leather on the palm and fingers, give you a good feel on the steering wheel while also absorbing the sweat from your hands. Choose a contrasting color to your car to help other drivers see your passing signals.
Primarily of utility to those drivers taking part in Porsche Club Racing, a good quality driving suit can provide several seconds of protection to the driver in the very unlikely event of a fire inside the car. Think of it as extra insurance! The more expensive suits are made from an inherently fire-resistant material, (Nomex, Kevlar, PBI), while cheaper ones are made from treated cotton fabric (Proban, Fireware). Generally speaking, the more layers of material, the greater protection is offered. Besides the fire-resistance of the material itself, the air gap between the layers is also important.
If you go down this route, remember that the driving suit is just one item used for total body protection. The other items include: helmet, head sock (balaclava), helmet skirt, helmet support (neck brace), gloves, underwear, socks, and shoes. All these items must work together to achieve total protection. If any one part is inadequate or fails, it will undermine the effectiveness of the whole.
Helmet Support (Neck Brace)
You may see some drivers wearing a donut-shaped neck support around their necks. Its main benefit is as protection from hyper-extension of the neck. In an accident, the head is forced to move in ways that it was never intended to move. Restricting travel by placing a foam shim between the shoulders and helmet can help prevent paralysis.
Many drivers now wear a HANS (Head-and-neck safety) device, which straps the helmet to the torso. In a collision, the head will carry its momentum away from the shoulders, stretching the neck and perhaps severing the spinal cord. A HANS device, when properly adjusted, keeps the head from stretching away from the shoulders, reducing the risk of neck injury. HANS devices are not cheap, but they are life-savers and are required for racing.
See our monthly newsletter Die Offene Strasse (DOS) and the many sponsors who support our club. Don’t forget our web site mor.pca.org as well as the national site www.pca.org/members/extranet/default.asp for many good documents on DE. This is a PCA member-only page. You will need to establish user ID and password. Follow directions.
Performance Driving Books and Articles
(In no particular order)
- Secrets of Solo Racing by Henry Watts
- Driving in Competition by Alan Johnson
- Going Faster by Carl Lopez/Skip Barber Racing School
- Porsche High Performance Driving Handbook by Vic Elford
- Speed Secrets – Professional Race Driver Techniques by Ross Bentley
11. Flag Descriptions – READ…UNDERSTAND…AND MEMORIZE
If you are viewing this on a screen or have a color printer, the flags below are shown in glorious Technicolor. If you have a black and white printer, use your imagination
A waving RED flag is an indication of a serious problem on the track and that the run group is ended immediately. Pull off the driving line to the side of the track, just off the roadway and STOP immediately in a safe manner, preferably within sight of a flag station. Remember to check your rearview mirror before braking to a stop; Someone behind you may not have seen the flag! Do not proceed back to the pits. Remain in your car and await instructions from a flag marshal. The red flag will be withdrawn or replaced with a black or yellow flag. A black flag after a red flag will indicate to all drivers to proceed at reduced speed to the pits. A yellow flag following a red flag will indicate to all drivers that they may proceed at a reduced speed with no overtaking until given the all clear (a green flag) to continue at speed.
A BLACK flag is a signal to PULL INTO THE PITS. It may be used to bring all cars in the session to the pits, or it may be used to signal an individual driver to come to the pits. In either case, pull into the pits, giving the pit-in signal. When used to warn a particular driver, the flagger on the Start/Finish line or at the Black Flag Station will point the Black Flag to the car being flagged as it passes the station. In addition, the car number may be displayed at the Black Flag Station. The driver should acknowledge the Black Flag with a hand signal and proceed at reduced speed, with caution, to the pits where they will report to the Pit Marshal. The Black Flag may indicate either mechanical trouble or incorrect driving behavior. When used to bring all cars to the pits, it will be displayed in the standing position at the Start/Finish line, at most flag stations, and at the Black Flag Station perhaps with a sign ALL. All cars will proceed at a reduced speed to the pits and follow the instructions of the Pit Marshal.
STANDING YELLOW: Slow down (but do not jam on the brakes). There is a problem on the track ahead requiring CAUTION in the vicinity of the flag, such as a car off the road, an animal on the track, etc. NO PASSING.
WAVING YELLOW: There is a problem in the immediate vicinity. Proceed with EXTREME CAUTION. and be prepared to stop. NO PASSING.
YELLOW with RED STRIPES indicate a SLIPPERY or HAZARDOUS track. There is something on the track causing a slippery or dangerous condition. It may be oil, water, debris, dirt, etc. on the track. Drive with CAUTION. Remember, once you have seen this flag, the track is likely to remain slippery at this place on future laps – even if the flag is no longer displayed.
The WHITE flag means that there is a SLOW-MOVING or EMERGENCY VEHICLE on the track ahead of you. Treat this flag as a yellow flag. NO PASSING. Reduce speed and proceed with CAUTION. Please note that this flag DOES NOT mean “one lap remaining” at a DE.
BLUE or BLUE with a YELLOW STRIPE: The flaggers have noticed a faster car behind you. CHECK YOUR REAR VIEW MIRROR. Allow them to pass at the next passing zone by giving the appropriate signal.
The CHECKERED flag means the END OF THE SESSION. Displayed at the finish line and perhaps at other flag stations around the track. Finish the lap at cool-down speed, then pull into the pits at your first opportunity, giving the pit-in signal. Do not pass after seeing the checkered flag.
12. Personal Checklist
Please feel free to print copies of this for future use
- Driver’s license
- PCA membership card
- Completed Tech Inspection Form
- Maps and Directions to the track and hotel
- Paper towels
- Window cleaner
- Tire pressure gauge
- Duct tape
- A knife
- Quart of oil
- Plastic bags
- A tarpaulin or large garbage sacks
- Sun protection: sun screen and a sun hat
- Rain protection
- Folding chair
- Driving clothing
- Non-Driving clothing
- Cooler with drinks and ice
- Food & snacks
1. Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course:
Located directly off Interstate 71 in the heart of Ohio, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course is ideally situated and easy to find. Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, 7721 Steam Corners Road, Lexington, Ohio 44904-0108
- From Cleveland, Ohio:
Take I-71 south to U.S. 30. Go west on U.S. 30 to the Fourth St./Crestline exit. Turn left at end of the exit ramp and proceed to the stop light. At the stop light, turn right and then veer right onto OH Rt. 314. Go approximately 7 miles and turn left on Steam Corners Rd. Mid-Ohio is one mile on the left. Approx. Travel Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
- From Columbus, Ohio:
Take I-71 north to OH Rt. 95 east. Turn right off the ramp and follow OH Rt. 95 for 2 miles and turn left (north) on OH Rt. 314 for 15 miles. Turn right on Steam Corners Rd. Mid-Ohio is one mile on the left. Approximate Travel Time: 1 hour
- From Akron/Canton, Ohio:
Take U.S. 30 west to Fourth St./Crestline exit. Turn left at the end of exit ramp and proceed to the stop light. At the stop light, turn right and then veer right onto OH Rt. 314. Go approximately 7 miles and turn left on Steam Corners Rd. Mid-Ohio is one mile on the left. Approximate Travel Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
- From Fort Wayne, Indiana:
Take U.S. 30 east to Fourth St./Crestline exit. Turn right at the end of exit ramp and proceed to the stop light. At stop light turn right and then veer right onto St. Rt. 314. Go approximately 7 miles and turn left on Steam Corners Rd. Mid-Ohio is one mile on the left .Approximate Travel Time: 3 hours
- From Detroit/Toledo, Ohio:
Take I-75 south to Route 15 east (Exit #156). Route 15 becomes Route 23 south. Route 30 then joins Route 23. Stay on Route 30 east to Fourth St./Crestline exit. Turn right at end of exit ramp and proceed to stop light. At the stop light, turn right and then veer right onto OH Rt. 314. Go approximately 7 miles and turn left on Steam Corners Rd. Mid-Ohio is one mile on the left. Approximate Travel Time: 2-1/2 to 3 hours.
- Quality Inn and Suites Bellville (usually our headquarters), I-71 and OH Route 97 (Exit 165), 855-516-1092
- Comfort Inn Splash Harbor, I-71 and OH Route 97 (Exit 165), 419-886-4000
- Best Western, 880 Laver Rd. I-71 & US 30, Mansfield, OH, 419-589-2200
- Knights Inn, 555 N. Trimble Rd. (near Comfort Inn) Mansfield, OH, 419-529-2100
- Comfort Inn-North, I-71 and OH Rt. 13, Bellville, OH, 419-529-1000
- Holiday Inn, 116 Park Avenue West, Mansfield, OH, 419-525-6000
- Travelodge (old L & K South) West Handley Rd., I-71 & Ohio 13, Mansfield, OH, 419-756-7600
- Buckhorn Inn Bed & Breakfast 8702 Ross Road Lexington, OH, 419-884-3500, www.buckhorninn.net
- White Fence Inn B & B 8842 Denham Rd, Lexington, OH, 419-884-2356
Have questions? Feel free to e mail me at Frank@todarolaw.com, or Dave Stetson, MORPCA’s Registrar, at dlstetson@icloud,com, and we will try to help.
Presented by Frank Todaro MORPCA 2008 – 2020 ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
A special thanks to John Krzymuski (email@example.com) for Peachstate Region, PCA.
Who originally created many of the materials in this guide.
© 2008 – 2020
Edited and updated by Dave Stetson, © 2008 – 2020