Thursday, July 19, 2018

NMS FIAT Abarth Returns to the Track!

Previous HPDE Session in 2017 at Carolina Motorsports Park: Photo Courtesy OG Racing

The NMS FIAT will return to track action in August when we head to Pocono raceway for a full day of High Performance Driver Education, or HPDE. While the word "education" might sound funny, that's what this session is all about. Sponsored by the fine folks at NASA in the Northeast region, we'll be driving several sessions all day with an instructor in the passenger seat, and be working to improve our driving technique. This is not a race or competition in any way, other than we'll be trying to be a better driver at the end of the day than we were when we woke up in the morning. 

What kind of car can drive on a track at an HPDE? Well, pretty much anything that has four wheels and is in good mechanical condition. Since it's not racing and there shouldn't be any contact or off-track excursions, drivers still have to wear a helmet, but they don't need all the roll bars and other safety gear (need a roll bar if you're in a convertible though.) Here's a quick look at what cars have signed up so far: 

Douglas BondHonda Civic163HPDE1
Paul DulaffChevy Corvette9HPDE1
Eugene GutmanAlfa Romeo Giulia27HPDE1
Ryan HoranHonda Civic189HPDE1
Chad JonesBMW Z412HPDE1
Jose MaderoFiat 50071HPDE1
Robert MyersDodge Challenger87HPDE1
Robert A. NixonFiat 500 Abarth77HPDE1
Robert PalyaHonda Civic140HPDE1
Ishaan ShahJaguar XE18HPDE1
Adam TorreySubaru WRX STi21HPDE1

OK, the Corvette, Dodge Challenger, Jaguar XE, and Subaru are going to be fast cars, but along with the Abarth we'll be seeing a Honda Civic, FIAT 500, so it's not all about speed. While we won't be racing, in our beginner HPDE 1 sessions we are only allowed to pass other cars under certain conditions. This  makes things as safe as can be. Those conditions are that you can only pass on the straights, and only when the car in front sees you gaining on them and sticks their hand out to give you a "point by". This way both drivers are communicating and know what is going to happen. Being predictable is important, and if you've ever driven anywhere for more than about 1 minute in the US you've learned this by watching the other crazy drivers!

If you want to learn more, or see what other cars will be driving in the HPDE 2, 3, and 4 sessions, here's the link:

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