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Thread: National HPDE Instructor Certfication

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    Default National HPDE Instructor Certfication

    Here's a link to a Road & Track article on a program proposed by the MSF to nationally certify HPDE instructors:
    The Movement to Certify Trackday Instructors Has Finally Begun

    Here's a link to the MSF program:
    Certified | Motorsport Safety Foundation

    Personally, I think the idea of standardized training (to a certain level) is a good thing. We'll see if this takes off or not. What do you guys/gals think?
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    Chest hair required Olitho's Avatar
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    I think most of the people on TrackHQ are already certified....
    To the right of The Sheriff. Isn't everyone?

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    http://www.trackhq.com/Banners/yellowsitesponsor.gif Blackbird's Avatar
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    Are these the same guys that were suggesting speed limits in track days?

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    I see no downside to instructors continuing as students in a certification framework. Time will tell on execution, but the concept is worthwhile.

    There's a long tradition of HPDE instructors that have little more experience than their students.

    This isn't a criticism of individual instructor abilities, simply a quantitive observation about the frequent lack of accumulated experience before student becomes HPDE instructor.

    The system worked (or didn't) in the past because HPDE instruction isn't the same as coaching. Very different objectives. And frankly HPDE instructors don't need to be experts - though hopefully they understand the objectives and the job they need to perform to achieve that outcome.
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    I do not like concentrations of power. Who are they to determine what is a national hpde instuctor.

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    http://www.trackhq.com/Banners/yellowsitesponsor.gif Blackbird's Avatar
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    For just $50 a year, you could be one too after you complete your online training program!

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    Could be hard to do well. Teaching incorporates a lot of observational and communication skills that are very hard to teach, so good teachers will always be a very small subset of the already small set of good drivers.

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    There are many club instructors that come from very rigorous and structured instructor development programs. While the concept of a national "certification" seems appealing - PCA and BMWCCA have wrestled that nationwide standards problem and both have arrived at a carefully considered set of standards. As I understand it - that took years and much work. Both organizations have the benefit of hands-on implementation - both in observing and vetting potential instructor candidates, in instructor
    school content, classroom work and on-track work.

    Standards are good - but some organizations have already carefully developed them and have them in place now. Plus they have hands-on experience with the actual instructor/candidate.

    I personally don't care for the use of Kenneth Novinger's name and tragic death to seed drama for the intro of the article. This issue has nothing to do with his passing.

    The article attempts to lump all HPDE organizations and their instructor development and safety practices into one group - and then draw quick conclusions from that over-simplification. Anyone who has been out with a wide range of HPDE organizations knows just how flawed such an approach is. The resulting conclusions are just as flawed.
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    RaceTape Ninja Force McCocken's Avatar
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    Been proactively setting up qualifying procedures and training with the HPDE outfit I run with for our instructors.
    Yer pal,
    Force

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    The big thing about porsche club and bmw club is that they are not impossing thier standards on everyone else. MSF wants to be the new sherrif in town. No thanks!

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    Default National HPDE Instructor Certfication

    Hello all,

    I am obviously new to the forum but wanted to jump in to help address some comments in regards to MSF's new program.

    First and foremost this program has been created due to requests from the HPDE community. The program itself has been defined and vetted by many of the groups mentioned. A centralized consistent program of certifying instructors (which is what this is) has been asked for.

    Yes MSF did not invent this, many groups have very defined training programs which already exist and the MSF program recognizes this and it is the core of Level 2 Certification, each organizer training their own instructors via their own methods.

    MSF is primarily a independent group to manage the process.

    Thanks for the discussion and please feel free to reach out to me directly if you have further questions/comments.

    Scot Elkins
    COO - Motorsport Safety Foundation
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    Welcome Scot.

    A couple comments across the responses in this thread...

    A safety organization that works collaboratively with existing event organizers (rather over them) is a great - as event organizers are essentially the governing bodies. It's reassuring to hear MSF recognizes that this is key. As safety advocates, I suspect there are also opportunities to engage established safety organizations like SFI and Snell in the future to elevate driver awareness in an additive way.

    I also appreciate the initiatives outlined on the MSF website. For example the head restraint rental that lowers the barriers to entry (given the high costs of our sports, especially for those who are new or run infrequently). ICE and adopt a corner are also intriguing programs.

    Again, I don't see any downside. If the execution doesn't work then it will fade away. As with most initiatives, the worst case scenario is that it doesn't quite succeed or fail. Challenging the status quo is a good thing in any event.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanB View Post
    Again, I don't see any downside. the worst case scenario is that it doesn't quite succeed or fail.
    The downside are "unintended consequences". That worst case scenario is further driving the trackday experience out of the reach of regular people and providing new barriers to entry all under the guise of safety. Any street experienced licensed driver can safely negotiate any race track starting at perceived street speeds and working his way up from there. That's what we did safely decades ago. You want regimented...Porsche club was there too. With or without an instructor common sense prevails. When we lack common sense we get laws and new rules. It does not appear that trackday driving in the USA is less safe than many road conditions nor have increased mortality. We have trackday organizers doing a good job and drivers doing their due diligence to seek out trackday organizers who share their values. One size does not fit all. A national database and certification could become the "new normal" and your choice will disappear. Nothing good comes from a national bureaucracy.

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    Senior Member Gian's Avatar
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    Still not sure how I feel about this.

    For me, it's kind of like ASE tests for a Mechanic. Sure it sets a standard of Book knowledge. But I can show you many more mechanic's that don't have ASE cert's that are great at working on a car. Then I can show you mechanic's that have ASE cert's that are any good at working on cars. Still this is the industry standard that is commercially excepted.

    To be a good instructor you don't need to be a great driver. Knowing vehicle dynamics and how to get a car to do what you want it to, is only a part of it. There are great drivers that suck at teaching. As well as great teachers that suck at driving. Plus there is regional, weather and track differences.

    So to have one Sanctioning body. I just have a hard time seeing it work.

    P.S.
    After this post, I'm going to become a Ordained Minister.
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    I am not quite sure how I feel about this.
    95% of track day instructor is not to make one go faster, in fact, it is often to slow the driver down to be safe. most of stuff taught to first timer (like slow in, fast out) is to keep driver safe by going slow.
    Instructor (for noob) number 1, number 2 and number 3 job is to make sure the student don't leave track in an ambulance and/or have a totaled car. so I am not sure what national certification does in this regard.

    have we really had anyone seriously hurt because they had a bad instructor ? I feel it is always the faster drivers (intermediate and up) that hurts themselves. I don't think instructor would of made any difference then.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fatbillybob View Post
    The downside are "unintended consequences". That worst case scenario is further driving the trackday experience out of the reach of regular people and providing new barriers to entry all under the guise of safety. Any street experienced licensed driver can safely negotiate any race track starting at perceived street speeds and working his way up from there. That's what we did safely decades ago. You want regimented...Porsche club was there too. With or without an instructor common sense prevails. When we lack common sense we get laws and new rules. It does not appear that trackday driving in the USA is less safe than many road conditions nor have increased mortality. We have trackday organizers doing a good job and drivers doing their due diligence to seek out trackday organizers who share their values. One size does not fit all. A national database and certification could become the "new normal" and your choice will disappear. Nothing good comes from a national bureaucracy.
    Slippery slope?

    Bowing out on this thread. Meh, no strong opinion. I'm really killing time waiting for Moti to post an update on his mid-engine Honda project... and still waiting.

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    http://www.trackhq.com/Banners/yellowsitesponsor.gif Blackbird's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanB View Post
    I'm really killing time waiting for Moti to post an update on his mid-engine Honda project... and still waiting.
    Ha!
    I'll post an update on that one when we get there, but we've been working on another project recently that I didn't post here because it's not really track related.
    It's an old NSU Prinz from 1960-62 that we're converting to an EV, but if you guys want to see something else I'll be happy to start a thread.

    [/hijack]

    On topic, I agree with William and Carl.
    I see very little chance of positive change with what MSF is suggesting and quite the potential for bad scenarios to take place as the result of having anyone claiming the position of the national expert on what's good for track rats.
    If you're still reading, Scot, what is the MSF position on limiting top speed at track events / HPDE?

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    I see it as a good thing as long as they jump in with both feet

    (to preface I was an instructor with the Jim Russell school at Laguna then Sears for 12 years before taking off to do my own thing)

    Here is my problem with the current HPDE system as run by most smaller organizations... instruction is generally done only to a certain level, it's not a full program. Basically what we see is an instructor rides along a couple sessions and if the student appears to be "safe" enough he's left to his own devices from there on out. Realize most instructors do it because it allows them track time themselves (usually free) so their interest is not 100% focused on their students for the entire weekend, their focus is getting their students to a certain point so they themselves can go play.

    There should be classroom time followed by ride along then corner observation and debriefings at minimum. This should be a full weekend event of instruction for the beginning driver.

    Besides the driver him/herself instructors need to make sure the students car is safe for both their safety.

    Instructors also have to be able to recognize and share the responsibility to make sure the track is safe.

    Fact is we live in a litigious/regulated society and sooner or later something is going to trigger big brother in some shape or form into sticking his nose in our business, so anything that keeps our sport out that spotlight and under our control is a good thing.

    All it's going to take is one or two big insurers to pull the plug on covering these events and the whole thing comes tumbling down. I also have a problem when the go to argument against formal instructor training or more control over new drivers at HPDE events is nobody has been killed... Death or injury shouldn't be the standard, the standard should be nobodies car goes home on the hook because of an on track incident.

    We can't make these things 100% safe. The very act of hustling your car around a racetrack no matter the drivers skill level tells us something is gonna happen sooner or later but we're just plain goofy not to do everything we can to lessen the chances where we can. I've always found it odd that we'll enforce rules that require us to spend time, effort and in some cases thousands of dollars on safety equipment to protect ourselves or others from injury AFTER the car loses control but rail so hard against making sure everything was done to prevent that car from losing control in the first place.

    just my two cents

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    Chest hair required Olitho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gian View Post
    For me, it's kind of like ASE tests for a Mechanic. Sure it sets a standard of Book knowledge. But I can show you many more mechanic's that don't have ASE cert's that are great at working on a car. Then I can show you mechanic's that have ASE cert's that are any good at working on cars. Still this is the industry standard that is commercially accepted.

    To be a good instructor you don't need to be a great driver. Knowing vehicle dynamics and how to get a car to do what you want it to, is only a part of it. There are great drivers that suck at teaching. As well as great teachers that suck at driving. Plus there is regional, weather and track differences.

    There is much truth in these two paragraphs.
    To the right of The Sheriff. Isn't everyone?

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    Chest hair required Olitho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KJSCV View Post
    ...but we're just plain goofy not to do everything we can to lessen the chances where we can....

    That is an interesting statement. What is the definition of doing everything we can to keep people safe from getting injured on track. If we start developing a process to do "everything we can" to keep people safe on track, that project would lead to the logical conclusion of never letting them on the track in the first place to do everything we can to keep them safe.

    Some form of risk has to be deemed acceptable.
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    To the right of The Sheriff. Isn't everyone?

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