Introduction

Drive your car on America's most famous road courses!​

You have always wanted to know what “she could do”, but you know the streets and highways are not the place. NASA gives you and your car an easy, safe, and affordable way to get on the track! No speed limits, no pedestrians, but best of all-no tickets. The NASA HPDE provide you with a certified instructor to help guide you through the event, one on one, as you learn how to handle your car at the limit. You set your own goals and go as fast as you feel comfortable going.

Basically, all you need is a safe car and a helmet. The car does not have to be fancy or fast. Students bring everything from a Hyundai to a Ferrari. Read the requirements for the other miscellaneous items required.

Anyone who is a member of NASA may participate. Minimum age is 18 (16 with parental consent). Many different types of people enter our events. The number of women who are taking our courses has steadily increased and most are very eager to enhance their driving skills. A lot of husbands and wives also team up and use only one car which makes it a little bit more convenient. There are many teenagers and young adults who receive a school entry compliments of their parents who want to teach their kids to be safer drivers. Note- All passengers must be at least 18 years old. Please see section 4.6 of the Club Codes and Regulations.

Body damage to cars very rarely occurs, however you are encouraged to check with your insurance company regarding coverage. Most insurance companies cover damages to your car during the HPDE. Be careful if they tell that it is not covered. Agents have been wrong before. Ask them for a list of “exclusions” in YOUR policy and consult an expert.
The student participants are separated according to their experience level into four basic groups: One, Two, Three, and Four. There are no speed limits in any of the groups, and the novice drivers are assigned instructors for safety reasons.
Group One (HPDE 1)
This is where you begin. This is one on one guidance from experienced instructors, as you learn to control your car and yourself. Your instructor will provide you with guidance as you learn to drive at the limit. You will address how to approach a turn, the fast way around it, what gear should you be in, how to brake, and how to exit. The session generally includes a lead-follow session. Passing is very limited in the Group 1 Sessions.
Group Two (HPDE 2)
Your instructor has determined you can drive on your own and with less supervision. You apply what you learned in the Group 1 sessions to get more practice. Group 2 is often mixed with Group 1 and is for those drivers that want some more Group 1 seat-time, but do not need an instructor.
Group Three (HPDE 3)
You have progressed to the world of high-performance driving. The passing rules in group 3 are not as strict. You must learn to share the track at high speeds with others.
Group Four (HPDE 4)
This is only for the more experienced drivers. No passing restrictions, except those of good judgment and rules of the road etiquette, apply. You and your peers are now experiencing the joys of doing it right in a relatively safe and controlled environment! You can now enjoy high performance driving at its finest.
  • Membership in NASA
  • Any car in safe operating condition (from Ferrari to Hyundai)
  • Mufflers. Different tracks have different sound policies
  • Roll bars in convertible autos
  • Seat belts in good working order
  • State driver’s license
  • Long sleeve shirt and pants (cotton is great)
  • A helmet
  • Knowledge of the Club Codes and Regulations
  • At least 18 years of age (16 w/parental consent)

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FAQ

Questions and Answers to Feed Your Curiosity

NASA’s High Performance Driving Event welcomes enthusiast drivers to learn the fine points of high performance driving on America’s greatest road courses in a safe and controlled manner.
NASA will assign an instructor to you when you participate in HPDE1. Now that the pandemic is largely behind us, the instructor can ride in the passenger seat in your car and help you every step of the way, teaching you the driving line, the essentials of braking, steering inputs, smoothness and identifying the four elements of every corner. If you’re uncomfortable with an instructor in your car, you can benefit from lead-follow sessions behind an instructor in his or her car.
NASA-certified instructors are included with your entry fee at no additional charge.
It’s a reinforcement for the instruction you get on track. After each session, you and the other drivers in your HPDE group meet in a classroom to re-emphasize the principles you are putting into practice on the track, and to give you new skills to work on in later sessions.
Crashes are extraordinarily rare in HPDE, and preventing new drivers from getting in over their heads is one of the priorities with which NASA instructors are tasked. Follow the advice and guidance of your instructor and you’ll do fine.
No, in fact it’s better to learn to drive in a low-horsepower car. We do suggest it be something sporty. Anything from a sports coupe to a sports sedan will work, and of course, hot hatches are good choices, too. Manual transmissions are preferrable, but automatics will do. Leave the trucks and SUVs at home. They’re just not as much fun.

Convertibles with proper rollover protection — whether it’s from the factory or aftermarket — are eligible to participate in HPDE. You can find a list of acceptable factory and aftermarket systems here.

Download the HPDE form from DriveNASA.com and check over the items noted on the list and bring it to HPDE Tech first thing in the morning of your first event. Unless they’ve been neglected or abused, most modern cars pass tech without much trouble.
You most certainly do. For HPDE, use a proper fitting helmet that meets Snell SA2015 (SA2015 or M2015) or newer (or equivalent) standards for cars or motorcycles.
When you have been cleared to move up to HPDE2 you can drive on your own, although we encourage you to seek instruction of some kind at every level of your driving “career.”
Four. HPDE1 and 2 typically run together on track at the same time. HPDE3 and HPDE4 often run together because lap times are faster and passing rules are more open.
If you advance to HPDE4 and you want to go further, you can apply for either a Time Trial license or take the CCR test and apply for your provisional racing license.
No. Racing requires a full complement of safety equipment for the car, such as roll cages, fire systems and racing harnesses. The driver also must wear safety gear such as fire-resistant suits, shoes, gloves and underwear.
Visit DriveNASA.com, sign up for a NASA membership, then register for an event in your area.

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