Track days at NASA are called High Performance Driving Events (HPDE). HPDE is essentially an instructional driving program and, if you have ever thought about getting on track, it’s a great place to start. The HPDE program makes up the core of the NASA SoCal track experience and includes instructor-led classroom and on-track training.
Instruction for all experience levels
First and foremost, we stress the importance of safety at all of our track events. Whether it’s your first or fifth HPDE session, we want to make sure you feel 100% safe and comfortable on the track.
We run a four-level program that groups drivers with similar skill sets. A strict point-by system and passing zones for each group ensure you never have to worry about faster cars or drivers pushing you beyond your comfort zone while on track.
HPDE Intro is an introductory track experience for drivers who want to try it on for size; it’s a shorter one-day program than HPDE 1, the beginner level of track instruction. Currently, this program is available to drivers who purchase a 2022 GR Supra or GR86 as part of a national level partnership with Toyota. Find out more here.
“Beginner” drivers are those who have driven at zero or very few track days and have never been approved by an instructor for solo track driving.
HPDE 1 is the only level where there is in-car instruction, and a 1:1 driver/student ratio.
Passing other cars in HPDE 1 is only allowed on straights and only after the driver of the lead car signals that it’s safe to pass.
“Intermediate” drivers are those who have participated in a variety of HPDE sessions on more than one track and have been approved by an instructor at each track.
Passing other cars in HPDE 3 is allowed anywhere on the track and only after the driver of the lead car signals that it’s safe to pass.
“Novice Solo” drivers are those who have driven at some track days on at least one track and have been approved to drive solo by an instructor on at least one track.
Signing up for HPDE 2 may require a check ride. Passing other cars in HPDE 2 is only allowed on straights and only after the driver of the lead car signals that it’s safe to pass.
“Advanced” drivers are those who have significant on-track experience.
Passing other cars in Group 4 is allowed anywhere on track without a point-by signal from the lead car.
HPDE Participation Requirements
- NASA membership
- Any car in safe operating condition.
- Roll bars in convertible autos.
- Seat belts in good working order.
- Valid state driver’s license.
- Long sleeve shirt and pants (cotton is great).
- An SFI- or FIA-approved helmet (rentals are available).
- Knowledge of the Club Codes and Regulations.
- At least 18 years of age (16 w/parental consent).
WHAT IS HPDE?
HPDE stands for High Performance Driving Event. It is a chance to drive your car on a racetrack in a safe and controlled environment, away from the risks present on the street. The HPDE program is beginner-oriented with some of the best instructors to help you feel comfortable on the track.
WHAT HPDE GROUP DO I BELONG IN?
If you have never been on a road course before, even if you have drag raced, auto crossed or are “fast on the backroads”, you belong in HPDE 1. Drivers that have participated in 5+ HPDE or similar events at road courses should choose HPDE 3. Drivers comfortable with open passing or have comp licenses or advanced driver trained should choose HPDE 4. Send any questions about the best group for you to [email protected].
WHAT KIND OF CAR DO I NEED?
Any safe and well-maintained vehicle is all you need for a HPDE track experience. The car can be bone stock and does not have to be fancy or fast. Students bring everything from Hyundai to Ferrari. The only requirement is that the car is able to pass the HPDE tech inspection.
HOW SHOULD I PREPARE MY CAR?
When you get to the track, you will need to visit tech where the tech inspectors will inspect your car for basic safety (ASE) requirements. This is the form the tech inspectors will use to inspect your car: HPDE Tech Inspection
As a general rule, most late-model, closed-top vehicles in good condition will pass technical inspection. Some convertibles with factory-installed rollover protection devices or aftermarket roll bars are also allowed. An “unmodified” factory vehicle will usually pass technical inspection without any problems; but, cars that have been modified (seats, roll bars, belts, etc.) must conform to the preparation rules.
WHAT IF IT RAINS?
We run events rain or shine. No refunds are given due to weather.
ARE OTHER CARS ON THE TRACK WITH ME?
Yes, but HPDE is not racing. Passing is only allowed in passing zones (straights) and passing is only allowed by point-by; this means that no car will ever pass you without your knowledge and approval.
HOW MANY TIMES TO I GET TO GO ON TRACK?
Typically, all HPDE drivers will get eight classroom and eight on-track sessions throughout the weekend. Sessions are typically 20-30 minutes long and include a warm up and cool down lap.
DO I NEED A HELMET?
Yes, you will need a SNELL SA2010 or newer helmet to participate in any on-track activities. SNELL SA2015 is strongly recommended. There will be a limited number of helmets available for rent at the event.
WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?
Long pants & closed toed shoes are required for all on-track participants. No jellies, birks, crocs etc. Short sleeve shirts are allowed. Eye protection is recommended.
HOW SHOULD I PREP MY CAR?
Click here to download and view the HPDE Pre-Tech form. Please arrive at the track with this form filled out and signed by a qualified inspector.
Read what NASA members have said about the HPDE experience: