DE CHAIR 2017 MESSAGE
- Last Updated: Thursday, 26 January 2017 13:51
- Written by Dirk Dekker
The PCA Potomac 2016 Driver's Education season sponsored by OG Racing is now complete and our 2017 season begins Saturday March 11, 2017 with our Instructor refresher, required of our Instructors at least once every 2 years. This is followed on Sunday March 12 with our High Performance Driving Clinic aimed to new Porsche Drivers, spouses and as an entry to qualify for regular DEs though we do welcome other cars, but only Porsche SUVs, Cayennes/Macans. Our final event of 2016 was our late season three day DE at Summit Point. The event consisted of a DE Volunteer Appreciation Day on Friday open to Instructors and qualified DE volunteers and a two-day DE on Saturday and Sunday open to all. Despite the late date, over 140 cars participated in this event and it was the first oversubscribed event, including having to turn away instructors, for the past couple seasons. The 2016 DE season was very successful with outstanding participation at all our events, and great help from many volunteers, both at the track, Tech Inspectors, Instructors, registration help, grid marshalling, stewarding and social, as well as our two overworked registrars, cashiers and probably many more.
During 2016, Potomac continued our commitment to provide the highest quality DE experience possible. As we have in past DE seasons, Potomac committed to stressing safety throughout the year. In coordination with our Chief Instructors, we continued mandatory safety briefings at all our DEs for Green, Blue and White groups. During the year, we also held mandatory safety briefings for all Black and Red Run Group drivers. The Chief Instructors and Chief Steward stressed safety at our mandatory Instructor and Driver's meetings daily.
The DE Committee believes our emphasis on safety was a major factor in our successful DE season and we will continue our emphasis on safety in 2016. We had 3 Co Chief Instructors for 2016, hopefully making it easier for a CI to be more readily available and to take care of questions, problems, promotions and still manage to drive a bit themselves. We continued a mentor program for the Green, Blue and White run groups. We also look forward to working closely with the recently appointed Potomac Safety Chair as we explore options to make our DE Program as safe as possible.
We continued our policy of assigning only one student to each instructor unless there were exigent circumstances. This policy allows the instructor to spend more time with the student driver and enhances the learning experience. DE Committee members canvassed drivers and instructors throughout the year to solicit their input on how to improve our events. We implemented many changes based on this input taking into consideration efficient management of Potomac events.
The DE Committee wants to thank all the drivers and instructors who came to our events in 2016. We realize that without you, there would be no program. We know you have a choice of driving venues and we appreciate that you chose Potomac. Our commitment to you is to work to make the 2017 season even better than 2016, and will include our first visit to PITT Race near Pittsburg May 5-7, Watkins Glen in June and VIR Labor Day Weekend.
The DE Committee also wants to thank our volunteers. We know volunteering requires a personal commitment to the club. Our program would not function as well as it does without you. These volunteers include those who support Track Registration, Tech and Pit Out as well as our instructor corps and our emphasis on Classroom sessions.
Speaking of 2017, the DE Committee will consist of familiar faces. Dirk Dekker and Bob Mulligan will continue as DE Co Chairs. Dirk has more than 20 years experience as a driver and instructor as well as Chief Instructor for Potomac and other clubs in the area. Bob will be our DE Co-Chair. Bob has almost as many years as driver and Instructor as well as just coming off a long spell as Chief Instructor.
Co-Chief Instructors Dan Dazzo, Don Mattran and Steve Wilson have done an outstanding job and will continue. Brian Walsh continues as Track Coordinator as well as White Run group mentor and in charge of Instructor Development. Ellen Beck and Dan Dazzo will again provide instruction for our Instructor Candidate training. Dan and Steve will provide instruction for our High Performance Driving Clinics. Classroom Instructors Tony Pagonis, Carson Soule, Steve Wilson, Brian Walsh often helped by others have raised the bar and interest in the mandatory classroom sessions. John Vrankovich and Dave DiQuollo continue for Tech. Carol DeZwarte and Chris Mantzuranis continue as DE Registrars. Roger McLeod continues as Cashier. Steve Vetter and Tim Kearns joined by Michael Handleman and Stephan Kiraly continue as Stewards and Bernice Richmond continues as our Track Registrar. We have also increased our commitment to safety making more use of Skid Pads where available and have been ably assisted by our friends from the BMW club, most of whom have now purchased Porsches. These generous folk are often joined by many others who pitch in. A new face is Pat Kaunitz who is our Grid Marshall and cajoles the drivers onto the grid making sure with her helpers that all helmets and other safety equipment is properly fastened as well as a last minute look over the cars to make sure hoods, trunks etc. are closed. To be considered a volunteer, helping regularly at Pit Out/Grid does count. Sounds like a lot of people, but with up to 200 cars at some events, can be like herding cats!!
One of the most important positions we have is that of Potomac Safety Chair which covers all events that involve moving cars, even Drive and Dine, but DE is the biggest focus. Tim Kearns our Chief Steward has taken this job and works closely with Dan Dazzo who is also involved with Safety at the Zone and National level, giving more emphasis to our commitment to safety.
The 2017 season is shaping up to be one of the best ever. In 2013, Potomac moved our DE event registration to MotorsportReg. This move has been very successful as it has allowed us to more widely publicize our events. All Potomac events, including non-DE events are posted at pcapotomac.motorsportreg.org
We are making some changes to registration this year, intending to reduce the chaos due to last minute cancelations and last minute sign ups by Instructors making it very difficult for the CIs to make the assignments. These will be announced after we have our DE Committee meeting in January, e mail blasts will be sent out and announced on the web site. We expect the finalized DE schedule to be published on the website and on MotorsportReg in early January.
New for us will be a 3 day event at PITT Race (the old but much upgraded and extended Beaver Run) just 5 minutes off the PA turnpike just before Ohio. This will be the first weekend in May (5-7) This will replace our Mid-Ohio date that we shared last year and did not have much of a turn out and actually lost us money, all other dates and locals will remain pretty much the same. In 2016 we let our Advanced DE at the Club Race in September go in favor of the newly sanctioned Vintage Run group at the 25th PCA Club Race which was a great success, but DE was missed by some of our advanced drivers, and we will not be having an Advanced DE at the 2017 Club Race again allowing for a Vintage Race group.
Check out the PCA Potomac Website www.pcapotomac.org for the complete schedule.
Our DE Committee will continue mandatory safety briefings as part of our DE track education program. Our Stewards, Chief Instructors and DE Chairs will continue to review driver performance. Our goal is for all drivers to have the safest and most enjoyable driving experience possible.
We believe our Potomac DE s are amongst the best in the country, including best dollar per minute of quality track time, and continue to strive to implement improvements.
As we said above, Potomac realizes both drivers and instructors have choices for their driving venues. We appreciate that you choose Potomac and commit to working with you to make 2017 a great season.
Dirk Dekker and Bob Mulligan
Co DE Chairs
Potomac, The Founder's Region