|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 Bond||Honda Civic||163||HPDE1|
|Paul Dulaff||Chevy Corvette||9||HPDE1|
|Eugene Gutman||Alfa Romeo Giulia||27||HPDE1|
|Ryan Horan||Honda Civic||189||HPDE1|
|Chad Jones||BMW Z4||12||HPDE1|
|Jose Madero||Fiat 500||71||HPDE1|
|Robert Myers||Dodge Challenger||87||HPDE1|
|Robert A. Nixon||Fiat 500 Abarth||77||HPDE1|
|Robert Palya||Honda Civic||140||HPDE1|
|Ishaan Shah||Jaguar XE||18||HPDE1|
|Adam Torrey||Subaru WRX STi||21||HPDE1|
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: https://nasaproracing.