Porsche Club of America (PCA) - Potomac Region

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PCA Potomac Drivers' Education Program


What are the benefits of Driver Education?

Driving well involves a number of skills. One of the best ways to improve those skills is through practice, which we call "seat time." When we drive on the street and obey the traffic laws, we are driving at a fraction of the capabilities of our car. It is not safe to approach our limits and the limits of our cars on the public streets. And public roads make it unsafe to practice the skills necessary to drive in emergency situations, including when we unexpectedly must avoid another vehicle, a person stepping out from an obscured position, or a deer crossing our path. DE provides training and practice that results in most drivers being better able to control their vehicles when forced to take evasive measures under adverse conditions. Although participation in a DE is no guarantee that you will be able to control your car under all circumstances, wouldn't it be better to learn and practice the important car control skills that can help you to avoid an accident before you unexpectedly are forced to control your car in an emergency? Driving on racetracks can be a lot of addictive fun!

What are the risks of Driver Education?

It is important that you know the risks inherent in DE and understand your risk tolerance before you decide to begin. Because you are in control of your car, you ultimately decide how fast to drive and how close you get to the limits of your car's capabilities and your own abilities as a driver. Nevertheless, you face the risk that you will lose control of your car, which could result in damage to your car, someone else's car, or the personal property of others. Although the goal of a DE is to provide a safe learning environment, it is also possible that an incident can lead to injury to yourself or someone else. It is also possible that the actions of another driver could damage your car and personal property, or even result in injury. Finally, as is always the case when you drive your car, you could make an error, like shifting into the wrong gear that results in damage to your transmission, engine or other components of your car. The rules and procedures for DE are designed to minimize these risks, but the risks cannot be eliminated, and nobody should participate in a DE if they think that these risks do not exist.

All DE participants and guests must sign two liability waivers: one for the track facility and one for PCA Potomac. The track waiver is generally signed in person at the facility gate, and the waiver for PCA Potomac is typically signed online via the Motorsportreg SpeedWaiver system. PCA generally does not provide insurance for DE participants apart from very limited medical insurance coverage and liability insurance. The PCA medical and liability insurance coverage is summarized at the Members Library Summary and the Region Procedures Manual Summary. If you would like to review the actual policy rather than this summary, please contact the National Office or the Insurance/Risk Management Chair. The Insurance/Risk Management Chair can also answer other questions you may have about the potential effectiveness of these policies.

What about insurance? Am I covered?

As a general matter, most DE participants should consider the following issues when determining what insurance coverage they have, if any, when they participate in a DE: warranty coverage; physical damage; medical; and liability. Do not assume that your policies will cover your participation in a DE. We urge you to review your policies carefully to determine the impact, if any, that participating in a DE will have upon your coverage, and seek professional advice if you do not feel competent to make that determination.

All DE participants and guests must sign a liability waiver when they enter the track. PCA generally does not provide insurance for DE participants apart from very limited medical insurance coverage and liability insurance. The PCA medical and liability insurance coverage is summarized at the Members Library Summary and the Region Procedures Manual Summary. If you would like to review the actual policy rather than this summary, please contact the National Office or the Insurance/Risk Management Chair.

The Insurance/Risk Management Chair can also answer other questions you may have about the potential effectiveness of these policies.

You are the only person who can determine if the protections afforded by your insurance and warranty policies, as well as PCA's policies, are sufficient for your needs. We strongly recommend that you review all of these documents to assure yourself that you are adequately protected. If you do not feel competent to make that determination, we urge you to seek professional advice.

You can get more information about track insurance polices and quotes from multiple insurance companies that are unaffiliated with PCA. Some of the common providers include the following:

Race Car & Motorsport Insurance | Hagerty
Lockton Motorsports | HPDE, Track Day, and Autocross Insurance Provider
OpenTrack: Premier HPDE Track Day Insurance & High-Quality Driver Resources
OnTrack Insurance | HPDE Insurance Programs

Of course, you are also welcome to discuss track insurance with instructors and your fellow drivers to compare notes.

What will running in a DE event do to my car?

Participation in DE will increase the rate of wear on some parts of your car regardless of your level of participation. The wear on standard maintenance items, such as tires, brakes, belts, hoses, suspension components and fluids, is accelerated. You also will spend a lot of time cleaning bugs and rubber debris from your car. DE could also result in unexpected wear or damage to other components of your car. Active maintenance, proper care and proper driving are key to minimizing wear and damage to your car.

What's the best way to start?

If you're interested in participating in DE, but have no experience driving on a track, you must meet one of the following prerequisites:
• Preferred: participation in a High Performance Driving Clinic (HPDC) or equivalent.
• Previous DE, karting, or motorcycle track time, PLUS the approval of our chief instructors.
• 3-4 autocrosses, at least one w/ PCA Potomac so our AX instructors can sign off, PLUS the approval of our chief instructors.

You can also read up on technique, watch videos and use driving/racing simulators to help with learning tracks.

What can I do to start this season if I missed the latest HPDC?

If you have no experience, there are a few ways to get started without having to wait for Potomac’s next HPDC.

• Drive one or more days at Porsche Driving Experience offered at Barber Motorsports Park
• Participate in local Autocross events; PCA Potomac, PCA Chesapeake and BMW CCA hold frequent events in the DC and Baltimore areas; Do at least one AX with PCA Potomac for a reference from the AX Chair
• Do one or more track days with other organizations, such as Fridays at the Track offered by Summit Point Motorsports Park.

Can I just come to watch a DE (before I register)?

Yes, the Club allows registered guests to be spectators and talk with drivers in the paddock. All guests must sign a liability waiver when they enter the track and a waiver in the paddock. You can also VOLUNTEER to help (e.g., with onsite registration, grid marshal, happy hour), in which case you register as Volunteer in MSR at no cost, and sign the SpeedWaiver. PCA Potomac driver education is 100% fueled by volunteers! Every event of our season is organized, managed, scheduled and instructed by volunteers who are passionate about this sport. Our goal is to exceed expectations and make sure everyone has a safe and fun weekend.

How do I register for an event?

Everyone who participates in a DE must use MotorsportReg to register for our events.

Once you have an account, please go to:
-->My Account
-->click into your profile
-->Add Club Memberships (at the bottom of Club Memberships section)
-->Add clubs to account (in the upper left) and then find / add our DE club "PCA - Potomac, The Founders' Region - DE"
-->after you add the DE club, click “edit” next to our club and you will find spaces to enter track days and experience. If you are just starting out, you may not have any yet but the Registrars and our Chief Instructors rely on this info heavily, so please keep it up to date as you accumulate track days. 

If you still have any questions, contact the Registrar -- send an email to deregistrar@pcapotomac.org.

When should I register for an event?

Registration usually opens for all events on February 1st at 12:00 AM unless the event's detailed listing in MotorsportReg listing states otherwise. Registration for all events closes one week before the event. Potomac events are very popular, so we recommend that you register as early as possible. This means early in the morning, particularly for events at Summit Point Main.

Applicants are accepted on a first come first - served basis, with preference given to event volunteers and instructors. You must monitor your status on the web site to see if you are accepted. Your registration will initially be listed as New until the Registrar accepts drivers for an event. If you are accepted, your status will be changed to Confirmed. If you did not register soon enough to be accepted, your status will be changed to Waitlist New. If the Registrar does not have sufficient information to accept your registration (e.g., online log book, references from other clubs/regions, completion of HPDC etc.), your status will be changed to On Hold.

Late Registration

If for some reason, you want to register for an event after it is closed, contact the DE Registrars. If there is space available in your run group, they will usually arrange for you to register. If not, they will let you know and give you the option of not registering at all or registering into Waitlist status. Please note that our instructed run groups (Green and Blue) often fill up early in the season, so we recommend registering as soon as possible. If you cannot participate, cancel your registration in MSR before event billing.

How do I know if I'm accepted for an Event?

The Registrar will notify you by email of your acceptance status. Acceptances start in February for events occurring early in the season, and about 7 weeks before events later in the season. You will also receive instructions about billing for the event and the date when your credit card will be billed. This is usually 21 days before the event. Potomac accepts only credit cards for payment so make sure your credit card information in your profile is correct.

About 5-7 days prior to the event, the Registrar will send another email with specific information about the event and the event schedule.

Log in to MSR regularly and check your status in your DE club Dashboard. If you do not receive an email confirming a change in your acceptance status, first check that your email application did not filter out emails from PCA Potomac (look in your junk email folder). To avoid Potomac emails being filtered from your Inbox, adjust junk email settings in your email account settings to permit email from pcapotomac.org and/or deregistrar@pcapotomac.org.

How do I pay?

Potomac accepts only credit cards as payment for DE Events. This makes it easier for you and us to track your payments and resolve any payment issues. We will charge your credit card about 21 days before the event. When your card is charged, you will receive an email notification of the charge. Please make sure your email address and credit card information in your profile are accurate.

Credit card and billing information use secure connections and are encrypted. You are the only person who has access to your card number. No one who has access to the DE database can access your credit card number.

If there is a problem billing your card, the DE Cashier will notify you by email. You will have one week to resolve the issue. Problems are usually associated with incorrect information in your profile or cards that have expired. Remember that it is your responsibility to ensure your card information is correct and the information in your profile matches your actual credit card information. The email address entered in the credit card section of your account is a separate address from the email address in your Contact Info - you have to change both if you change your email.

How do I cancel?

You can cancel online in MSR without penalty prior to the date your credit card is billed. This is usually 21 days before the event. If you cancel less than 21 days before the event, you cancel late and will forfeit your registration fee. The email you receive notifying you that you are accepted into an event will contain details about the billing procedure and the cancellation dates. This may seem draconian, but it's very hard to fill open slots on short notice and we must pay the track rental fee with the number of people participating in an event.

Go to the Event Registration page and click the cancel button and update your registration. This will automatically change your status to canceled and zero out the fee for the event. If you can't cancel online, you must notify the Registrar by email prior to the cancellation date. The Registrar will base the decision on whether or not you are billed for the event prior to the timestamp of your email request.

If there are exigent circumstances regarding your cancellation, you can contact the Registrar by email and request a refund. These requests will be addressed on a case-by-case basis by the DE Chairs. Generally, the Club does not provide refunds for late cancellations.

Very Late Registration

Things can change right up to the date of the event. Drivers occasionally must cancel late and when this happens, the Registrar will try to fill the run group from the WaitList. If the Registrar accepts a driver into an event after registration and billing has closed, the Registrar will positively contact the registrant before accepting them, given that billing will occur upon acceptance. The prospective late entrant may not have much time to make arrangements for tech inspection and/or travel and lodging before the Registrar must extend the offer to the next registrant on the WaitList. This can get dicey with away events, since a driver may have little notice to get a reservation or plan the party. It's the price we pay for the privilege. You don't have to agree to go if you're accepted late.

Here are the status codes used by Potomac and what they mean:

Status Code What this status means

You registered but the Registrar has not begun to process registrations for the event.

When the Registrar begins to process registrations, your status will change from Pending to either Accepted, or Waitlist if there's no room in your run group.

Waitlist The registrar has begun to process registrations for an event. Either the Registrar is waiting to accept you for the event or the run group for which you registered is full.
Confirmed You're accepted for the event.
Cancelled You canceled prior to the cancellation deadline. You will not be charged for the event.
Cancel Late You canceled after the cancellation deadline. You will not be refunded for the event.
On Hold Your registration cannot be processed until the Registrar has more information. This usually happens with registrants who have no driving history available for reference in their MSR profile or log book. Check for an email from the Registrar.
No-show You were accepted but didn't attend/check in at the track. You will not be refunded for the event.

What do I do if I'm accepted (before the event)?

Let's say you're accepted to an event. Here's what you need to do to prepare:

• Helmet must be at least SA 2015. A head-and-neck restraint system must be worn when using a harness. Note: Snell approved Motorcycle helmets (at least M2015) are allowed in Green & Blue run groups in cars NOT equipped with: roll bars, cages, racing seats, or 5 - 6 point harnesses. M-rated helmets are NOT allowed for drivers in the White, Black or Red groups. You can rent or buy a helmet from OG Racing (1-800-934-9112 or 703-257-0009) or other high performance auto safety stores.

• Download the Potomac DE Tech Inspection form for the current year (no substitutions allowed).

• Take the tech form and attend the technical inspection for your event about 1 or 2 weeks before the event (check the schedule on the Potomac website). The club conducts a tech inspection prior to every event at a repair shop or Porsche dealership in the DC metro area. If you're not local, you can have your professional mechanic perform the tech inspection using the same form. Bring the form to the track with Section A filled out and signed by a tech inspector!

• Book lodging if you intend to stay near the track for one or more nights (particularly for “away” events).

• Bring plenty of drinking water. Breakfast and lunch are usually available at Summit Point Main.

• Dress for any kind of weather, following the local weather reports. Wear layers of clothing so you can adjust. For safety reasons, all clothing should be made of all-natural fabric - do not wear any clothing made of synthetic fiber. You are required to wear a long sleeve shirt and long pants for your track sessions. You will need some kind of closed toe lace up shoes for good pedal response. A pair of tennis sneakers will do fine when you are starting out, although the thick rubber sole may reduce pedal feel. Boots, sandals or loafers are not permitted. A pair of thin driving gloves is also a good idea.

• Bring a tarp or plastic sheet big enough to wrap all your stuff up including all the stuff in your car. Also, think about taking any superfluous stuff out of your car before leaving your house.

• Bring a tire pressure gauge to check and adjust tire pressures as necessary.
Note that Cabriolets and Boxsters have special safety requirements (see Can I drive my Cabriolet (or Boxster)?).

What should I do when I get to the event?

Here's roughly what will happen on the day of the event:

- Plan to arrive at the track at around 6:30 AM, or when the gate opens. Each event day will run until about 5:00 PM. Bring a copy of the schedule that you received by email.

- Firearms are not allowed during track events. No consumption of alcohol or recreational drugs is allowed while cars are on track.

- When you arrive, park your vehicle in the paddock [parking] area and unload anything that moves including floor mats, remote controls, magazines, etc. Then drive your car through the grid technical inspection which opens around 6:45 AM, bring your helmet. Bring the completed and signed tech form mentioned above to the grid tech inspection. The tech inspectors at the track will fill out Section B and give you a tech inspection sticker to put on your car.

- Park your car and take your cell phone with a copy of your Speedwaiver to the at-the-track registration table for your run group. This will be in the classroom building at Summit Point. Get your wristband. Do not take the wristband off until the event is over. Instructor pairings will be made after the drivers' meeting.

Driver Wristband- Worn on the LEFT wrist. READILY displayed to the Pit or Grid Marshall. The Pit Marshal WILL NOT allow a driver/vehicle on the course that does not have proper credentials.

- Affix the tech inspection sticker to the upper driver's side corner of your car windshield.

- Attend the mandatory driver's meeting, usually around 7:50 AM. Understand the meaning of the flags, passing zones, and meet your instructor. You may be given another sticker that verifies your attendance at this meeting to get out on the track.

- Around 15 minutes before your run group is scheduled to go onto the track, find your instructor, check your tire pressures, adjust your seat/mirrors/safety belts, then proceed to the pit entrance and line up to enter the track. Follow the directions of the pit officials.

- Following the directions of your instructor, enter the track at the appropriate time, and start learning. Keep your eyes up, and look for the flaggers/course workers - they're your eyes and ears and will signal you if there's a problem. Watch for faster drivers behind you and signal them to pass when appropriate.

Can I come out for just one day?

If you are just starting driver education and register for a High Performance Driving Clinic (HPDC), you are in luck, because they only last one day! For regular DE’s, Green and Blue run group students must attend all days of the event for safety reasons. That means attending both days of a two-day event or all three days of a three-day event. Instructors and solo drivers can attend a single day of a multi-day event by registering as a Driver and paying the full rate. Instructors are not permitted to register at the Instructor rate for multi-day events without committing to instruct all days. Some multi-day events have a pair of MSR registrations in which the first day is a Solo only day for White, Black and Red run group drivers. The Club does not prorate registration fees.

Why are there different registrations for the same DE event in MSR?

Some three-day events are separated into a Friday event for Solo drivers and a two-day Saturday/Sunday event for all drivers. This simplifies the administration of registrations and assignment of instructors to students in the two-day event. White, Black and Red run group drivers are eligible for both the Friday event and the Sat/Sun event, but must register for each separately in MSR. Solo drivers can also opt to only register for the Friday solo events.

What are run groups?

Drivers are assigned to a run group according to demonstrated track driving experience and skill level. You drive on the track and attend classroom sessions with the other members of your run group. You will wear a disposable wristband that indicates your run group color, and your car will bear a sticker that displays your run group color.

The run groups are:

Run Group Instructed Description
Green Yes Novice with little or no track driving experience.
Blue Yes Beginner driver, stilling learning technique and how to be smooth.
White No Intermediate driver, drives solo but can take an instructor at any time to help with finer points or more advanced concepts.
Black No Advanced and Instructor drivers, eligible to instruct.
Red No Advanced and Instructor drivers - eligible to instruct and most experienced drivers.

You start in the Green run group, and are placed in a more advanced run group as your skill improves. There is no set schedule for how long it takes to progress from run group to run group. Some people progress faster than others. The time it will take you to progress depends on your abilities as evaluated against the Club’s criteria (see "How do I move up a run group?" below).

The schedule for a day will show you your on-track sessions and your classroom sessions by run group. On-track sessions typically last 20 to 30 minutes. Classroom sessions are roughly as long. You'll typically have 3 or 4 on-track sessions a day. Additionally, Green and Blue drivers will have two classroom sessions over the weekend.
Green and Blue drivers drive with an instructor. Your instructor can "sign you off" to drive solo for the remainder of a day or for the remainder of an event. But remember, being signed off to drive solo does not mean you are promoted to a higher run group. Your instructor will evaluate your driving and record the evaluation in your online logbook (typically DrivingEvals). You should keep your track days experience on the MSR DE web site up-to-date so that it reflects the tracks and track days you've driven. At the end of an event, you will usually be emailed a request from the Chief Instructor to evaluate your instructor and classroom instruction, which provides the Club and instructors valuable feedback.
If you drive with another organization/club or PCA region that has different run groups and want to know in which run group you would be placed, contact the DE Registrar. Better yet, proactively ask the Chief Instructor of the club or region you drive with email a reference to the DE Registrar.

What does it cost?

The fee for an event depends on the venue and the duration of the event. You can see the fees when you log in to the MSR event registration page. Usually there are two fees listed. The higher one is for those who drive only. The lower fee is for volunteer Instructors who drive and instruct. You'll also need to consider costs to buy your helmet, perform any required maintenance of your car to pass tech inspection, and accommodations for away events.

How do I solo?

Your instructor will determine if and when you may drive solo. Your instructor will ask you if you're comfortable driving alone - you don't have to if you don't feel ready. When the time comes, your instructor will present you with either a “solo” wristband or windshield sticker that indicates to the pit officials that you've been authorized to drive without an instructor. This is not the time to try anything new, but rather, to be safe and practice what you have been taught up to that point. Driving solo in the Green and Blue run groups does not mean you are promoted to a higher run group! If you have driven solo in an instructed run group in another club or region, this does qualify you for Potomac’s White or more advanced solo run groups (see What Are Run Groups above).

How do I move up a run group?

At some point, you will be evaluated for your readiness to drive safely in the next higher run group. If you are in the Green or Blue run group, it is the responsibility of your instructor to inform the Chief Instructor when it's time to evaluate you for a move. This is based on your driving record and the instructor's assessment of your driving skills. You may ask your instructor or the Chief Instructor for the evaluation criteria. Each instructor scores your skill relative to your run group. When you score highly enough in enough of the required skills (no, you don't need a top score in everything), your instructor will recommend that you be evaluated for promotion. Don't hesitate to discuss this with your instructor.

Once you have been recommended for promotion, you will be assigned one of the designated evaluation instructors. Depending on the circumstances, this may occur at the current event or may occur at the next event. This instructor will take you out in your assigned group, and decide if they concur with your previous instructor that you are a candidate for moving up. If they concur, they will take you out in the next session in the higher run group to see how you perform. If you perform well, you will be placed in the next run group permanently, starting immediately if space is available in the new run group for that event. If space isn't available, the move will become effective for your next event. If you are in the White group, the system is similar, but the burden falls on you to make the evaluation happen. Since White group drivers are not routinely assigned instructors, the only way to be recommended for promotion is for you to ask instructors to ride with you to help improve your driving to qualify for the higher run groups. Just because you are in a solo group doesn't mean you've learned everything (even Tiger Woods sees a swing coach). Keep inviting instructors to ride with you, and when appropriate, one of them will recommend that you be evaluated for promotion.

How am I assigned an instructor?

The Chief Instructor assigns an instructor to each instructed student. If you have an issue with your instructor, bring it up immediately to the instructor and to the chief instructor to allow the Club to address the issue. You may be asked to swap instructors. Although unusual, this can happen, for example, if your instructor doesn't fit in your car, or if you and your instructor have difficulty working together.

If your instructor is really displeased with your performance, (e.g., if you've done something inconsiderate, aggressive, or unsafe) you may sit out a run session while listening to advice. If the course workers see you doing something wrong, they can “black flag” you, which will require you to exit into the pits to talk with the Steward or Chief Instructor. If you do not accept the guidance and instruction provided, you could be told to leave the event.

Can my partner or relative drive too?

It is possible for both of you to participate, but there are some considerations if you intend to drive the same car. Since you'll both be progressing through the same instructional system, both of you cannot drive in the same run group at the same time. Each driver in the Club’s initial driving clinic must use their own car (i.e., cars cannot be shared). Typically, one driver starts in the Green run group, and the other starts in Green when the first driver moves to the Blue run group. There can be problems with this - what if the Green driver is ready for Blue before the Blue driver is ready for White, not to mention the fact that both drivers may not be accepted to the same events. Nonetheless, it has been done successfully by many driver pairs and should not dissuade you from participating.

Can you guarantee that our whole group will be accepted to the event?

The Club understands that drivers often like to attend “away” events with fellow drivers from their own Region or club. Although we do our best at accepting drivers traveling together, we do not do “batch” acceptances. Each driver is accepted on a first-come first-served basis, according to their run group. To improve chances of a group being accepted, it helps if the drivers are at least Solo drivers, and/or Instructors. The Club has accommodated other PCA Clubs that co-branded Potomac events in the past, and anticipates being able to continue this practice (in which the other club provides references for the entire group). We enjoy running with ARPCA, MORPCA, NNJR, ACNA, for example. Contact the DE Registrars or DE Chairs for more information.

How do I become an instructor for PCA Potomac?

Once you get to the White or Black run group, you are eligible for consideration as a potential instructor. It requires initiative on your part to communicate your interest, similarly to being promoted in solo run groups. Ask an instructor to ride with you, and tell them you are interested in becoming an instructor. The instructors you invite to ride with you will let the Chief Instructor know when they feel you should enter into our Instructor Training program. An Instructor Candidate Coordinator may also reach out to you to gauge interest. You will receive an invitation, along with a description of the program. The advantage of being an instructor is you get the satisfaction of passing your driving skills to someone else and playing a role in increasing that person's driving skills. Other benefits are you receive preference in being accepted to an event and you pay a lower registration fee. More information about the National PCA Instructor program can be accessed at: PCA club website regarding National Instructor training: National Instructor Training | The Porsche Club of America (pca.org).

Can I instruct for PCA Potomac if I’m an instructor for another organization or PCA Region?

PCA Potomac welcomes volunteer instructors, and can accept you into our Instructor corps in one of a few different ways depending upon the circumstances.

• If you are a PCA National Instructor, include your certification number, and add DE club “PCA – Potomac, The Founders’ Region – DE” to your MSR account BEFORE trying to register. The event Registrar will mark your profile accordingly so that the Instructor registration option will be made available to you at event checkout.

• If you are an instructor for another PCA region, another organization or club, our Chief Instructors will evaluate your experience and reference(s) from the Chief Instructor(s) of the other organization(s). Our CI’s would also use information about your driving skills to help place you into one of our run groups. Based on the CI’s decision, the event Registrar will mark your MSR profile accordingly. Consider proactively asking your organization’s CI to provide a reference to the Registrar in advance of registering for event(s).

What's a technical inspection?

The purpose of the technical inspection program is to promote the use of mechanically safe cars on the track. There are two parts to the technical inspections that you have to attend for each and every track event.

The first part is a full inspection with your car on a shop lift no more than 30 days prior to the event. The club conducts these events at shops in the DC area that service Porsches (see the DE schedule), usually from 9:00 AM to 12:00 pm on a weekend day. At this inspection, fellow Porsche enthusiasts will put your car on a lift and inspect critical components--wheels, tires, brakes, exhaust, hoses, CV joints, sway bar mounts, lights, wipers, gas pedal sticking, etc. If they find a problem, you'll have some time to get it corrected before the event. The inspector will fill out Section A of the tech inspection form. If you can't attend the free club event, you can take the form to your dealer or your independent service shop and they will perform the inspection, sometimes at no cost.

The second part of the inspection is conducted at the start of each day of the event. You drive your car through the grid tech inspection usually starting around 6:45 AM for a sight check. On the first day, the inspector will fill out Section B of the tech inspection form. On subsequent days, the inspector will mark your tech inspection sticker to indicate you've been through inspection. The track inspection is mandatory and you won't be allowed on the track without the tech inspection sticker.

Track inspection is mandatory each day. From the PCA Potomac website, you can download the Potomac DE Tech Inspection form.

Can I drive my Cabriolet, Boxster or other convertible?

It is possible to drive a convertible if certain criteria are met. Safety is the Club’s first concern. The following rules apply to driving a Cabriolet (cab) or a Boxster on track:

1) At all tracks EXCEPT VIR, the 996/997 pop-up roll bar and the Boxster integral roll hoops are considered acceptable, subject to the 2-inch rule (see below). An extender manufactured by Brey-Krause is available for the Boxster if additional bar height is required.

2) At VIR ONLY, the 996/997 cabriolet pop-up roll bar is NOT considered acceptable. Cabs require a roll bar that meets club race specs.

3) At VIR ONLY, the Boxster roll hoops alone are NOT considered acceptable. The Brey-Krause extender MUST be attached and the driver must meet the 2-inch rule.

The 2-inch rule: 987.2 and newer Boxster roll hoops are acceptable at VIR. With the driver strapped into the seat, the top of the driver's helmet must be 2 inches below a line drawn between the top of the windshield and the top of the roll bar.

The Potomac Region is responsible for enforcing this policy by its contracts with the tracks. Failure to comply could result in loss of rental privileges, so we are serious about this.

Do we drive in the rain?

It does rain, and we do drive in the rain as long as there's adequate visibility on track. The track officials will decide on the spot if it's safe to drive or will close the track if not (e.g., if there is lightning in the area). Driving in the rain is great for learning and practicing car control. You can choose to drive or choose not to drive at your option. If you do choose to drive in the wet, you'll typically need to reduce your speed based on the loss of traction with the pavement (depending on how wet it is and what kind of tires you use). To maintain car control, you'll need to exercise precise smoothness. The skills you acquire driving on a wet track will be very valuable when you drive on the street in inclement weather.

Can I run my air conditioning?

Yes, if you so desire. However, for safety reasons, rain or shine, the driver's side window must be fully open. If there is only a driver in the car, the passenger side window must be raised or lowered all the way. If there is a passenger (e.g., instructor), the passenger side window must be lowered all the way. A sunroof must be closed tight. So, depending on how many windows are open, your A/C may or may not keep you cool. It may have some benefit helping defog your windshield in humid/wet conditions.

What tracks do we go to?

Our local track facility is Summit Point Motorsports Park, in Summit Point, West Virginia. The tracks we regularly drive are:

Summit Point, WV - Main Circuit - Our "home track" where we have most of our driving events.
Summit Point, WV - Jefferson Circuit - High Performance Driving Clinics are conducted on this track.
Summit Point, WV - Shenandoah Circuit – This is a “technical” track featuring many turns, elevation changes, and even a banked turn like one at the Nürburgring in Germany.
Pittsburgh International Raceway (PittRace) - An annual event usually in June at a track that features interesting elevation changes and a terrific sense of rhythm.
Watkins Glen International – An annual event usually in May at a famous and fast track in the Finger Lakes region of New York (about 5 to 6 hours north of the DC area).
Virginia International Raceway – America's motorsport Resort (virnow.com) - Our ‘home away from home' (just over 4 hours south of the DC area).

What safety equipment do I need?

You must have an approved SA 2015 or SA 2020 helmet for the DE events for intermediate and advanced run groups. SA stands for Special Applications and is made for use in cars and has fire resistance which M helmets might not have. M helmets are made for use with motorcycles and are not approved for DE for White, Black and Red run group drivers. M 2015 and M 2020 helmets are allowed for Green and Blue run group drivers in cars NOT equipped with any of the following: roll bars, cages, racing seats, 5- or 6-point harnesses, but SA rated helmets are highly recommended. Please note the allowance for M-rated helmets may be eliminated at some point. So, if you have caught the DE bug, but are still using an M-rated helmet, it would be wise to get an SA-rated helmet. Also, the allowance of open-faced helmets in non-modified cars will be ending at some point in the not-too-distant future, so if you are shopping for a new helmet go for a closed-faced model.

NOTE: Instructed drivers must have a passenger seat and safety belts/harness in their car AND they must provide the same level of safety protection as the driver’s seat/belts/harness.

When purchasing a helmet, it is prudent to have hardware for a head and neck restraint system installed (or at least buy a pre-drilled helmet), as a head and neck restraint system (HANS) must be worn when wearing harnesses (see below).

Helmets with visors are required for students and instructors running cars with open tops. A helmet support collar and a pair of driving gloves are a good idea. Other safety equipment is completely optional. You need to decide if you want to purchase this extra equipment. Talk to your instructor or one of the more experienced drivers to get an idea whether or not you should purchase this equipment.

Helmet Support Collar These collars go around your neck and support your helmet. If you have an impact, the helmet support collar helps prevent neck injury. Recommended.
Driving Gloves Keeps your hands from slipping on the wheel when you sweat. Depending on materials, protects your hands in case of fire. Recommended.
Driving Shoes Gives you better "feel" of the pedals. Depending on materials, protects your feet in case of fire.
Sports Seats Keeps you from sliding around during turns. An enormous benefit.
5- or 6-way Harness Straps you in securely. Race seats and a HANS device are required with a harness. Typically not recommended when first starting out. Talk to an instructor if you are thinking about this.
Roll Bar Required for cabriolets and Boxsters. Adds safety in a roll over if properly installed. Can do more harm than good if not properly installed.
Roll Cage See roll bar, only more so. Can make it really hard to get in and out of your car.
Fire Extinguisher Your first choice is to get out as quickly as possible, but a fire extinguisher may give you a little more time if you are having trouble getting out. Don't breathe the smoke from a car fire - it's bad stuff.
Headset Permits you to talk to your instructor without shouting. Most instructors will have one for your use.
Students may buy their own student headset to avoid sharing with other drivers (e.g., https://www.ogracing.com/collections/driver-communicators/products/chatterbox-tandem-pro-2-student-headset).

What is a car number and how do I get one?

You can enter your preferred numbers in your "Vehicle Garage" in your profile in MotorsportReg. You will be given the opportunity to change or confirm your number when you actually register for an event. After you are accepted into the event, the Registrar may need to assign you an alternate car number if yours is a duplicate of another driver in your run group. Note that instructor / volunteer status and club seniority factor into granting number preference. This alternate assigned number will typically be one of your other preferred numbers or, if they are also taken or if you don't have alternates listed, a "1" will be added to the beginning or end of your originally registered number. There is no need to establish and purchase car numbers for your first HPDC, as you will be assigned a number at the track.

Why do some cars have an in-car video camera?

Some drivers record run sessions to later review their performance, understand lap to lap variations, identify areas for improvement and to reinforce learning off the track. More advanced, solo drivers use it as part of a training regimen, often coupled with use of a data logger. Video can be a good way to "relearn" a track you drive only infrequently. Talk with an instructor before considering purchasing and/or using such devices, given that they can be expensive and potentially distracting. The Tech Inspection form includes requirements for mechanically attaching and tethering such devices to the car. For safety reasons, vehicle occupants are not allowed to record with handheld devices (including cell phones).

What if I'm not sure if DE is for me?

Simplify your learning progression - rent a helmet and try a PCA Potomac Autocross. Consider entering a “parade” or charity laps event that the Club may hold at Summit Point. Then try an HPDC. After an HPDC, chances are good that you will know if you want to do more DE. You do not have to wait to sign up for DE’s until you complete HPDC (your DE registrations will be placed On Hold at first). We recommend that you register as early as possible in the season – “register early and often”! If you decide it's not for you, you can cancel the remainder of the events. If you bought a helmet, you can probably sell it. If you replaced the engine oil, brake pads and brake fluid… You still come out ahead!

What are parade laps? 

“Parade” laps are conducted on a DE weekend at a track (usually Summit Point Main) to help the Club raise funds for charity as part of our award-winning Community Service program. It allows you to drive on track behind a pace car, without a helmet, with or without passengers. Such sessions are typically held either during the DE lunch break or at the end of the day, and are sometimes coordinated with our annual PorscheFest and drive and dine events. It is the only way to allow friends and family to be passengers on track. Participants will need to sign liability waivers.

The Meaning of Safety Flags

 Flag Display Method Meaning
 GREEN Any, including no flag at flagging stations Session is open and passing allowed in designated passing zones according to run group rules
 YELLOW Single Standing Local Caution – Potential danger ahead OFF the paved surface
No passing until you reach the next manned flag station that is not displaying a Yellow Flag
 YELLOW Double Standing Full Course Caution
No passing until you reach the next manned flag station that is not displaying a Yellow Flag
 YELLOW Waving Immediate Danger -Danger ahead ON the paved surface, track may be blocked, prepare to take evasive action
No passing until you reach the next manned flag station that is not displaying a Yellow Flag
 YELLOW/RED STRIPED Any Debris Flag - Potential hazard is ON the paved surface (e.g., oil, coolant, parts)
Proceed with caution, avoid debris
 WHITE Any Service vehicle(s) or other slow-moving vehicle(s) ahead on the track
Cautious passing allowed
 BLUE/YELLOW STRIPE Any Faster traffic is approaching and/or overtaking you
Drive predictably
Give a point by in next designated passing zone when it is safe to do so
 BLACK Furled pointed You, yes YOU - Indicates aggressive driver warning
Pit-in and report to the Steward
 BLACK Open Driver conduct or car mechanical issue (may include a car # board) displayed at Start and Black Flag Station
Pit-in to consult with the Steward
 BLACK Full Course Standing or Waiving Session is being stopped - Displayed at all stations
ALL cars Pit-in; Follow Steward direction
Either line up in hot pits for potential track reentry on Green flag, or exit to paddock
 BLACK/RED CIRCLE Open Mechanical problem with YOUR car
Slow down and proceed to pits and await further instruction
 RED FULL COURSE Extreme Danger - Check your mirrors. All cars come to a controlled STOP at the edge of the paved surface
Stop within sight of the next flag station
Do NOT block access by emergency vehicles from the pits, access roads or gates
Do NOT stop where other drivers may not see you (e.g., just after a blind crest, a hairpin turn, or a bridge abutment)
STAY PUT, await signal from a flag station course marshal; Pit-in once the Black flag is displayed
 Checkered Any End of Session
Maintain reasonable speed and return to pits this lap

Passing is allowed only with a point-by from the driver of the lead car, one car per point-by, in designated passing zones per group. All passes must be completed before the braking zone for the next turn. 

Where can I learn more?

• PCA Potomac's DE Resources Page
Porsche Club of America (national) Driver’s Education web page
• "Drive to Win, the Essential Guide to Race Driving", Carroll Smith, ISBN 0-9651600-0-9
• "Going Faster, Mastering the Art of Race Driving - the Skip Barber Racing School", Carl Lopez, ISBN 0-8376-0227-0, Robert Bentley, Inc.
• "Sports Car and Competition Driving", Paul Frere, Phil Hill, ISBN 0-8376-0202-5, Robert Bentley, Inc.
• "How to Make Your Car Handle", Fred Puhn, ISBN 0-912656-46-8, HPBooks.
• "Porsche High-Performance Driving Handbook", Vic Elford, ISBN 0-87936-849-8, Motorbooks International Publishers & Wholesalers.
• "Bob Bondurant on High Performance Driving", Bob Bondurant with John Blakenmore. ISBN 0-7603-06036, MBI Publishing Company.
• "Secrets of Solo Racing", Henry A. Watts. ISBN 0-9620573-1-2. Loki Publishing Company.
• "Think to Win, the New Approach to Fast Driving", Don Alexander, ISBN 0-8376-0070-7. Robert Bentley Inc.
• "Ayrton Senna's Principles of Race Driving", Ayrton Senna. ISBN 1-874557-40-3. Hazleton Publishing Ltd.

Performance Driving Glossary

Performance Driving Glossary


Don't drive your Porsche like a fool on the street; you'll only bring grief to yourself and others. Instead, learn to drive your Porsche safely in an exciting and controlled learning environment - Driver Education. You can't imagine what a difference it will make to your driving abilities. You'll be far better off using your high performance driving skills on the track where it's legal, encouraged and fun. This will enable you to better drive responsibly, legally and confidently on the streets and highways.


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