Getting started with PCA PNWR

What is Driver Education?

Driver Education is a premier programs for the PCA Pacific Northwest Region and a way to explore your car at one of our local racetracks.

There are many ways to enjoy our Driver Education program:

  • Improve driving skills under all conditions
  • Learn about how your car performs
  • Learn how to control your car in emergency situation.

Before we dive into the details of our program,one important thing: Driver Education is not racing. Our events are designed to be educational and fun and are run in a structured, controlled and safety-conscious way.

A word about insurance

Your car insurance is between you and your insurance company and it is common for insurance companies to deny coverage for track-related damages. If you are not sure, ask your agent.

How to prepare before your track day

We highly recommend that you get your car inspected by a professional mechanic before driving on the track. What is required is that you fill out the Event Technical Inspection Form (link here).

Before you begin your journey to the track, fill up with gas, check the oil, the coolant level and set the tire pressures on your car to the values recommended by the manufacturer.

What to bring, what to wear, what not to bring

Make sure to bring your driver’s license, helmet and the Technical Inspection form. Other things you may want to bring include water, snacks, sun screen, umbrella, folding chair and depending on the weather an umbrella.

Please wear long cotton pants (jeans are fine), lightweight sneakers or driving shoes and we prefer a long cotton shirt.

No drugs or alcohol are allowed at any of our track events.

When you arrive at the track

So, when you get to the track you’ll do the following things:

  • Sign the liability release waiver
  • Get your wristband (these are color coded to your run group)
  • Give the staff your Tech Form and get a sticker for your windshield
  • Go through the Tech Line, a brief safety check that’s performed at the track
  • Bring a freshly signed Technical Inspection form if it’s greater than 30 days since your last event
  • Get a sticker on your car indicating you’ve passed tech
  • Drive into the paddock, park and find registration (a white tent at Pacific, the classroom at the Ridge)

Getting set up in the paddock

One you’re done with the Tech Line, find a place to park. Remove everything that is removable from the car from the trunk, glove box, center console. Remove floor maps and any other personal gear.

Put your numbers on both sides of the car, a good place are the side windows behind the driver and passenger doors. We have different colors of removable tape are available at the track if you don’t have numbers.

Attend the mandatory Driver meeting at 8 am.

Meet your Instructor. Your instructor will want to learn about you, your car and your goals for the day

Format of our day

There are three different run groups that divide up students by skill level

The groups are as follows:

  • A (Advanced Solo and Instructors)
  • B (Intermediate Solo)
  • C (Novice Solo and Novice with an Instructor)

Our goal is to divide up the attendees into groups of similar skill levels and speed so that everyone has the best experience. For example, all the first-timers and people who are fairly new to driving at the track are in the C group.

If you have never been on the track before (you’re a first-timer) or you haven’t been signed off to drive solo, we will assign an instructor who will ride in the passenger seat for all the sessions to coach you.

When you go out on the track, it will be for 20 to 25 minutes throughout the day. Below is an example of how we rotate through the groups during the day:

Sample run groups

Your driving sessions

Before the session. Check your car for anything unusual. Spend some time with your instructor and ask any and all questions you have and set or review goals and objectives for the session.

During the session. The goal for you, especially if you’re new to driver education is to learn the line and the techniques of high performance driving. Make sure to take things easy to start and increase your speed in small increments as you gain skill and confidence.

After the session. Your instructor will spend some time with you debriefing and talking about areas to focus on to improve. Don’t forget to get some water before your next session, staying hydrated is important.

Flags

Flags are how corner workers communicate with you while you are on the track. Pay attention to the location of the corner workers during your warm-up laps. If there is an incident or problem on the track the corner workers give you advance warning.

The meaning of the flags

Last Words

The best experience for you at our Driver Education events is to have the mind set learn and have fun. Remember every person at the event began as a first-timer!

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