The PDX provides an instructional environment for drivers who want to improve their driving skills and increase their enjoyment of driving their street vehicle. True to the “run what ya brung” adage, all it takes to be a part is your street car, a valid State-issued drivers license, a helmet and long pants/long-sleeved shirt.
You Will Be A Better Driver
PDX events are about you, the driver. Plenty of seat time – two 20 minute sessions are the norm. Plenty of individual instruction and coaching; all of which is designed to educate you and make you more confident behind the wheel.
Participants receive a solid blend of driving instruction, ranging from the classroom to in-car training. A wide range of topics are discussed and shown at a PDX, including: following a “racing line”, passing zones, speed limits and other general driving techniques. Of course, each driver receives feedback from his or her instructor at the end of each lesson.
PDX events are non-competition based – in fact stopwatches are not allowed. Why? Because the focus is on you – it’s important that the skills taught at a PDX are learned beforehand so you can enjoy the latter levels of the program. The PDX is the starting rung of a ladder system – the three other levels of the Time Trials program provide competition – Club Trials, Track Trials and Hill Climbs.
So now the ball is in your court – want to know more? Review the information in our website for a complete description of the Atlanta Region’s PDX that we run during Club Race weekend Quiet Hours on Sunday morning. After that you’re ready to go…just keep an eye on our website’s Schedule page for the opening of on-line registration
Materials and Preparation
The materials in the enclosed Student Packet will provide you with technical inspection information, safety instructions, rules of conduct, and procedural information. We want this to be a safe and fun event with minimal confusion for everyone, so please read everything in this packet carefully. Please remember that this is a Drivers Education event and not a racing school, overly aggressive or reckless driving will result in expulsion from the event without refund and possible suspension from future events.
Drivers are financially responsible for any damage they make to a facility and its parts (not to mention your car). You will be billed by ARSCCA for any damage you incur to the facility. The primary insurance covering drivers and their vehicles at the facility is their own.
General Event and Track Rules
Please read these rules carefully. Safety is the MOST important aspect of this event. Anyone deemed driving in an unsafe manner will be asked to leave by the Stewards without a refund. This seriously jeopardizes the likelihood that you will be allowed to participate in the future.
Remember to use the first few laps of each session to warm up tires, brakes, and yourself. Be sure to check your brakes, tires, oil and lug nut/bolt torque prior to each on-track session. A high-temperature brake fluid, such as ATE Super Blue or Gold 200, or Motul 600, is recommended since you may easily reach stock brake fluid boiling points.
Before you begin your Performance Driving EXperience, clear your car of any loose items. Make sure you remove loose items from the door pockets, behind the seats, the glove box, the ashtray, the armrest, the trunk, and your parking pass behind the sun visor. Remove hubcaps, lug nut covers, floor mats and that Anti-Theft Device you never use on the steering wheel. You will be given a car number at the Driver’s Meeting. Make sure that the number on your car is securely attached at the Top Center of your windshield.
Comfortable clothing is recommended. Long, cotton pants and long sleeved cotton shirts are required. Sandals, shorts, or dangerously loose/bulky clothing are not allowed in the cars or hot pits.
Above all, pay attention. Please listen for announcements and keep to the schedule. Be ready to run as your group is called. Get into the car at the 5 minute warning and await your instructor (who is probably out on the track in either his/her own car or with a student). Get your helmet, belts, seat and mirrors ready to go so you can depart as soon as the instructor arrives.
LISTEN TO YOUR INSTRUCTOR. THEY ARE HERE TO TEACH AND HELP YOU.
Staging and Track Entry
Staging – All participants will enter the grid via the Down Ramp directly adjacent to the Chalet. AS you enter the Cold Pits from the paddock stay close to the right-most lane until you are directed to move up to your Group’s Grid position. Wait by your car for Tech Inspection – open the hood and trunk. Each run group will be announced in plenty of time so you are not rushing to staging. Before your session your instructor will come to your car. Be prepared to start the session by explaining your experience and any modifications to the car that would affect performance. Wait for the 5 minute warning – then helmet on, belts tightened, mirrors adjusted, etc.
When the track opens for your session, go out single file upon the track worker’s signal. Use the first lap to warm up the tires and get mentally re-acclimated to the track and the staffed corner stations. Each event is different and there may be one or more stations staffed differently.
Pit in – When you see the checkered flag waving to end your session, finish that lap at a reasonably fast pace so the next group can go out. Remember to give your pit signal (fist up arm out the window) as you exit under the bridge at the pit entrance. Come into the pit at reduced speeds – 20 mph maximum slowing to 5 mph in the staging grid area. If your instructor has a student in the next group, let him/her out quickly in the pit area. BE ALERT. There could be other cars heading to stage for the next session while you are returning to the paddock or driver’s walking to cars.
If a car is to go back out for the following session because it is a two-driver car, take it to the appropriate grid lane. This will keep us organized safely and will save time for both your partner and his/her instructor. Be sure to clearly signal your intentions and move across the pit lane slowly. DO NOT PASS IN THE HOT or COLD PITS unless signaled to do so by a worker.
If you are a solo driver, stay in the pit line and follow the traffic. Be patient as instructors get out and move between cars.
All tracks provide a great opportunity for drivers to pass. With the mix of super/turbo-charged and normally aspirated, four, five, six, eight and ten cylinder, 5/6 speed manuals and automatic cars on the track at the same time, the horsepower differences easily exceed 100 bhp. So, of course, passing opportunities will present themselves.
As participants become more comfortable and smoother in their driving, car weight, power and suspensions come into play. That 3700 lb turbo-charged sedan that blew by the normally aspirated coupe on the straight now has that lighter coupe on its tail through the corners. What ensues is a line of traffic (a train) and possible frustration. Because of this, we want everyone to follow the passing rules to the letter of the law.
Passing zones will be detailed during the drivers meeting. Note that allowable passing zones may vary between run groups (e.g., the Beginner Group will have fewer passing zones than advanced groups). When it becomes apparent someone wants to pass you, stay on line, give a CLEAR, SPECIFIC signal (a Point of the INDEX finger) and LIFT SLIGHTLY OFF THE THROTTLE! Do not resume full acceleration until the car has passed. Give a clear signal to each and every car. Again, the driver being overtaken must GIVE A CLEAR HAND SIGNAL FOR EACH AND EVERY PASSING CAR. The overtaking car will pass off-line. DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE, RACE A CAR TO THE CORNER!
If a train, or line, forms, behind you it is your responsibility to “clear your rear” by safely allowing cars behind you to pass.
After receiving the appropriate signal, CHECK YOUR MIRRORS, pull off-line and accelerate past the car you are overtaking. Be sure to make a clean, complete pass and do not come back on-line until the lane is clear. Just because the car in front of you got the passing sign does not mean you got one. If in doubt, don’t pass. If someone wants to pass you, stay on-line and give the appropriate hand signal.
DO NOT PASS WITHOUT A CLEAR SIGNAL. NO SIGNAL, NO PASS.If someone is not letting you by, do not get frustrated and do not tailgate. Be patient. If a pass-signal is not eventually given, pull into the pits, drive through slowly and wait at pit out for signal from the Pit Control worker to re-enter the track.
ALL PASSING MUST BE COMPLETED AS STATED IN THE SUPPS AND BEFORE ANY CORNER. NO PASSING WILL BE ALLOWED IN THE CORNERS REGARDLESS OF YOUR ABILITY, SEAT TIME OR KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRACK. IF YOU DO SO, THE BLACK FLAG WILL BE DISPLAYED AND YOU WILL BE HEADING HOME EARLY WITHOUT A REFUND.
Remember – ALWAYS FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS OF THE TRACK OR EVENT OFFICIALS.
As you lap the track, you will notice the flagging stations. Please take the opportunity to visit one of these stations during the event and see how they work. These corner workers have a vast amount of track experience and are here to ensure a safe event. Their primary job is to keep you informed about possible dangers on the track that YOU CAN’T SEE. Their word is the law at track events, so pay strict attention to them each time you pass a station and be vigilant. The following flags will be used during this event:
Yellow – Indicates trouble on the course in the vicinity you are entering. Slow down and be alert. There may be a disabled car ahead of you off the driving line. There is NO PASSING under the yellow. A waving yellow means imminent danger. Get ready to avoid a serious hazard. A car may be disabled in the middle of the driving line and you will have to avoid it. This serious flag needs your utmost attention.
Yellow/Red Striped – This is a debris flag and something very upsetting is on the track. If it is OIL, the flag will be waving and you will need to slow down and prepare yourself for a slide.
Red – Indicates serious trouble. Come to a stop as soon as possible and pull to the side of the track, not off. Do not move until signaled by a track official. Do not get out of your car unless you are signaled out, get out and move behind the barriers immediately.
Black – You don’t want to see this. This means you are guilty of a rules violation and you must acknowledge the flag (in a friendly wave, not an obscene gesture) and report immediately to the front of the hot pits. The worse the infraction, the longer we take to explain it and the less time you have on the track. A black flag with an orange circle (the meatball) means your car has a mechanical problem and you must acknowledge the flag and report to the pits for inspection.
Checkered flag – End of the session. We recommend a pace less than your full PDX pace but not 50%. Be sure to give the pit in signal at the last turn (a raised fist out the window) and wave a friendly thanks to the corner workers as you pass by their stations.
First-Timer’s Guide to a Performance Driving Event
Prior to arriving at the Track
Preparation is everything. A track day will put a significant strain on your vehicle. Change the oil before the event and bring along an extra quart of oil just in case. Change your brake fluid, using a high quality brake fluid.
Check tires for proper tread and balance (a shaky steering wheel makes it difficult to drive at the limit). Tires (pattern and tread) should be equal. Tires should never be mixed on the same axle and preferably on the whole car always keep to the same make. Regular swapping of the tires will help to even out the wear so that the tires wear out at the same rate.
Remove ALL unnecessary items from the car.
Before going on track
Check tire pressure. Tire pressures always increase as the tire warms up – do not inflate them to the maximum pressure, but run them at the pressure listed by the car manufacturer as a starting point. You will need more pressure than the lowest recommended setting initially but you must remember to check pressure again when the tires are hot to avoid any problems.
Check your fluid levels (oil and coolant especially) before a session. Warm up the engine before your first track session. If your vehicle runs excessively hot, PIT IN before serious damage occurs or worse, before you leave slippery fluids on the track surface for your fellow students to slide and spin on.
While on track
Braking – lots of braking will generate loads of heat in the whole braking system – most track day accidents occur when brakes overheat and fail. Brake hard early on – feel for stopping power before relying on the brake to slow the car. Apply brakes firmly in a straight line for the minimal amount of time it takes to slow the car in a controlled manner. Using the brakes with lighter pressure for a longer period will actually cause more brake overheating and wear issues than harder applications for a shorter time.
Cornering – the exit speed is what gives you look for – Remember “Slow in, Fast Out”. Brake early; accelerate through the corner, steadily increasing the throttle, building up power and speed toward the exit.
Stability – keep rear windows and sunroof closed when driving at high speed, as these can dramatically affect the handling of the car.
You know your car but the surface condition of the track will dramatically alter the control you have over your car. Keep a keen eye open for the amount of camber in the track surface, bumps, gravel and loose chippings and obviously patches of oil or water.
In between sessions
Check your car – Check tire pressures and tread. Check your wheel lugs to ensure that they haven’t worked themselves loose. Check under the hood (look at fluid levels, check for leaks).
Check yourself – Watch your fluid intake- make sure you’re drinking enough. Most importantly, take a few minutes to relax and clear your head each time before you go on track.
At the end of each day
Check over the car from top to bottom. Set tire pressures back to normal. Check tire tread. Check for play in wheels/bearings. Make sure all items are securely in place before leaving the track.
Track Tips to make your Performance Driving Event SAFE and Enjoyable
These are some Do’s and Don’ts that will help keep your stress level down and allow you to focus on enjoying a Performance Driving Event to its fullest extent. Please read through the Do’s, Don’ts and Comments and bear in mind what has been written. These tips have been compiled for your benefit. While some experienced folks know this stuff already, it’s always good to read it one more time…
Some of the Do’s
Some of the Don’ts
Some General Comments
ATLANTA – REGION SCCA TIME TRIALS & PDX
PRE-EVENT TECHNICAL CHECKLIST
People have asked about the mechanical items we recommend checking prior to the event. While not an exhaustive list – and it may vary by vehicle type – we suggest all of the following items be checked if you have not done so recently. There will be a Technical Inspection conducted on the Grid at each PDX – but the following items are meant to be sure you are safe before coming to the track.
UNDER HOOD ITEMS
X Fan belts OK, tight, no cracks
Engine mounts solid
X Throttle linkage OK
Two throttle return springs (where appropriate)
Fluid levels OK (brakes, engine, trans and diff), no leaks
Brake fluid flushed at factory service intervals
Hoses secure & flexible, no cracks/rubbing/ no leaks
X Battery secure, terminals clean, tight & in good condition
Upper strut mount secure
WHILE IT IS ON THE LIFT
Unibody subframe & differential mountings OK
Header and exhaust OK. NOTE: sound limits apply
Steering box securely mounted
Springs and shocks OK
Front strut mounting locations & hardware OK
Brake rotors in good condition
Brake pads/ shoes Good (Not just OK)
X Wheels must be damage free (no cracks or dents)
X Wheel bearings, ball joints tight
X Tires MEET 120mph SPEED RATING, no cracks/bulges
X Passenger seat & belt design & condition equal to or better than driver seat & belt
X Mirrors – inside and right/left in place and no cracks
X Steering wheel play OK
X Brake pedal feels firm
Seats securely mounted
X Driver & passenger seatbelt in good working order
X Fire extinguisher securely mounted (Optional item)
X No loose gear in the car
WALK AROUND EXTERIOR
X Brake lights and flashers working
X Wiper blades OK
X Body – all panels secure, no tire rub, no excessive corrosion
X No cracks or viewing obstructions in the windshield
Lug nuts/bolts torqued to mfr. specs
Brake performance – check for rotor warping
X Gas cap tight
Helmet: Snell 2000 Rating
RESPONSIBILITY STATEMENT – Atlanta Region SCCA –
This is not a racing school. This is a Performance Driving eXperience encompassing high speed performance driving on a racetrack, under close supervision of instructors. While the overriding consideration during the operation of the event is safety, incidents may occur that could cause vehicle damage and/or personal injury. You may be driving in a class session with other students and instructors whose vehicles may be uninsured and/or unregistered.
You are fully and solely responsible for the safe operation and safe mechanical condition of your vehicle. SCCA, the Atlanta Region of SCCA, its officers, instructors, staff, and facility providers assume no responsibility in the event of an accident of any kind during the course of this event. We recommend that you contact your own personal insurance carrier for advice to determine what coverage may be in effect during this event. Participation and signing the waiver at Registration is your acknowledgment of the above and agreement to attend under these conditions.
You are certifying that the vehicle specified on the technical inspection checklist form at the PDX, has been carefully examined and that all the items specified on the technical inspection checklist have been inspected. The safe condition and operation of the vehicle at the PDX is entirely your responsibility as well as any problems, malfunctions, or damage that occur in connection with the operation of the specified vehicle prior to, during, and subsequent to the Performance Driving eXperience.