Drivers Education, Porsche Club style affectionately known as DE, is an opportunity for Porsche owners and others to explore the handling of their performance cars and to learn the basics of high performance driving safely. Individual Porsche Club regions organize and run the events on regular road course racetracks all over the country. The events are extremely popular, are an outstanding value and sell out quickly.
Each new student is given classroom instruction just before going on the track. New drivers must have a qualified instructor on board at all times when on the track until they are checked out for solo driving. Solo normally does not occur at your first event. Passing other cars will be allowed only on straight portions of the track and only after a signal by the car being passed that it is safe to do so. Instructors are recruited and trained by the club to make your experience a safe and rewarding one. Most of the instructors started out as DE students themselves. Many are now licensed racers competing in Porsche Club and SCCA racing all over the country.
Here is how it works. After receiving an acceptance email for the event, you and your mechanic will check your car over looking at particular items to make sure it is safe for track events. Use the tech form that you downloaded from the DE page for this. You will present the completed tech form to the registrar when you sign in on Saturday morning. You must have this form completed and available at sign in. Any Porsche dealership can carry out the inspection for you or you can use your regular mechanic or private shop that has knowledge of the car. If you are unable to complete the inspection before the event we may be able to tech your car at the track. Our ability to do this however is very limited. You will almost certainly miss your first run session of the day and should your car not pass inspection you will not be able to drive. Drivers should complete the tech inspection before the event.
Your acceptance letter will also contain a run group assignment. Drivers are assigned to one of five different skill level based run groups. They are designated by colors. At your first event you will normally start out in the green group. After multiple events you may progress through blue, yellow and white as your skill increases. The red group is reserved for instructors.
At the track each run group will take its turn on the track one by one. The sessions for each group will last about 25 minutes. You normally will cycle through 4 times per day so that each group will get 1 hour 50 minutes of track time each day. You will discover that this is just about the right amount of time.
While you are on the track, you will set the pace you are comfortable with assisted by your instructor. He will be pointing out things you have heard in the classroom including the line, apexes, braking points and many other items as well as discussing car control with you. As you move through the weekend you will discover that good driving technique makes your car easier to control and speed seems to come without effort and is much safer than before you started. Most of all you will have a blast.
So, I sent in my registration for the DE event and did not hear anything back for a while. What gives?? They always seem to be sold out so how do we determine who gets into DE events?
In an effort to serve its members first in this time of extremely high demand, the region has a priority system for accepting DE applications. Registration normally opens one month prior to a DE event. Drivers are divided into five experience and skill run groups based on the experience listed in their online profiles and information contained from instructors from previous DEs. The run groups are assigned color designations that are fairly universal with DEs in PCA. They are green, blue, yellow, white and red in ascending order of experience and skill. Dividing by skill and experience generally ensures that drivers in a group will have similar speeds and traffic awareness and is necessary for safety. For example, all first time entrants are normally assigned to the green run group. A driver with 30 DEs behind them and the appropriate instructor recommendations would normally be assigned to the white group. The red group is reserved for instructors. We would not ask nor allow a first time participant to go on the track with a seasoned track junkie.
Each run group becomes a separate set of entrants competing for a spot in the event. Drivers within each group are then arranged in the following order of priority: Maverick Region, PCA members from other regions, Porsche owners, and then others. Within each priority group drivers are arranged by the registration date and time on clubregistration.net. NON-paid entries will not be confirmed and will be placed at the bottom of the priority list at the time confirmations are sent out.
At the event, each color group will contain about 22 cars (1.7 mile track) or 40 cars (3.1 mile track), which is about all the track will safely handle for DE. After all this priority stuff is accomplished the committee then accepts the first cars on the rearranged list within each run group. If we simply accepted the first applications many members whose dues create the structure that allows PCA DE's to occur would be cut out.
One exception to the member's first rule is necessary to be able to put on the best event possible. That is, instructor credentials carry as much weight as region membership. Some of our instructors will have as much as 25 years of track experience but are not PCA members.