Track Prep for Beginners

New to HPDE? Prepare for your first day at the track.

What can you expect your first time out?
  • A very different experience! Driving on a racetrack is very different than driving on the street.
  • There are lots of things going on! You have to pay attention to the gas pedal, cars on track, shifting, braking, and listening to your instructor.
  • No passengers
  • In-car instruction: In HPDE 1, you will be assigned an individual instructor who will work with you throughout the day or until you are checked out to move up to HPDE 2.
  • Tech your car: Prior to driving on track at each event, you must have your car inspected by a NASA tech inspector. They will perform a basic safety inspection and issue an event tech sticker for you to affix to your windshield.
  • Clean car of all loose objects: Make sure there are no loose objects in your car. You may not have or use any hand-held objects (cameras/ cell phones, etc.) while driving on track.
  • Put numbers on both sides of car: You can use blue painters’ tape to make numbers at least 8 in. tall on the driver and passenger side doors of the car.
  • Track map and handout: It is important to learn corner numbers and where flaggers are placed. Get a track map, study it, and be able to correlate to the real thing.
  • Flags: Start learning the flags. You must learn flags prior to getting on track.
Track terms and procedures
  • Paddock speed is 5mph. Watch for small children and people working on cars who are not looking around.
  • Pre-grid: This is the area where you line up before you get to the grid. HPDE 1 lines up in pre-grid next to pit wall.
  • Hot pits: Adjacent to pit wall, between track and pits.
  • Entering the track: Stay on entry side of track until the first corner. Do not ‘blend’ across the track.
  • First lap: Gain visual awareness of track condition and flag stations.
  • Exiting the track: Extend left hand out window during last section prior to exit. Do not slow down until off the line.