Our HPDEs are not racing schools. Our focus is on skills, not speed, and our overriding concern is with your safety and that of your car. We select our school instructors very carefully, not simply for their technical knowledge and accomplishments as drivers, but also for their abilities to impart that knowledge to their students in a clear, concise, and professional manner.
Your BMW is an amazingly capable car. At a National Capital Chapter HPDE, you will be able to realize your car's capabilities, learn the limits of those capabilities under controlled conditions and practice the skills needed to control your car safely within those limits.
High Performance Driving Events
The primary goal of these schools is to develop and hone your car-control skills. It is not to drive fast, although speed will come with improving skills. We seek to produce not necessarily the fastest, but the most proficient drivers possible.
Each HPDE consists of driving sessions on the track and at the skidpad, as well as classroom sessions. During your on-track sessions, you will be driving the full track at progressively higher speeds throughout the school. An in-car instructor will work with you to help you improve your driving mechanics. Braking, cornering and accelerating techniques are refined continuously during your on-track sessions.
Skidpad sessions will allow you to begin to master the skill of controlling your car at the limits of adhesion. You will learn how to control understeer (when your front tires lose adhesion) and oversteer (when your rear tires lose adhesion.) The skills learned here will not only be invaluable on the track, they may well save your car - and your life - on the highway.
Classroom sessions present the underlying mechanics of your car's behavior and how your inputs as a driver affect it. We present basic driving theory, the physics of car behavior (i.e., the "why it works" of driving) and discussions of the techniques of advanced car control.
No single drivers' school will ever convey all there is to learn about driving. In this sense, our HPDEs are part of a continuous learning environment, one that requires several years of attendance at dozens of schools before proficiency is attained. Even at that, there is always something more to learn, something additional on which to work. Acquiring driving skills is a process that is never completed.
About Our Instructors
Our instructors come from two basic driving backgrounds: accomplished HPDE students and successful amateur (e.g., SCCA) racers. Regardless of their backgrounds, our instructors conform to a uniformly high standard of competence, professionalism and enthusiasm for teaching.
Candidates selected from our student roster have a documented record of achievement. Candidates applying from a racing background must have comparable skills and experience. We note that the requirements for a successful racer and those for a successful instructor are not necessarily the same, as the sole ability to drive fast is about the most minor qualification we seek in an instructor. Therefore, as part of the qualification process, we apply a series of student instruction simulations (using our instructors as the "students") to ensure that the candidate understands not only how to drive, but how to teach as well. We also ensure that candidates display impeccable attitude and driving etiquette and are successful in making the transition from "race-mode" to "school-mode."
Our current instructors' driving experience ranges from five years to twenty-five years. Our "average" instructor has been driving on the track for 11.5 years and has been instructing for 6 years. We draw our instructors from twelve BMW CCA chapters, the SCCA, PCA, and other marque clubs. We select our instructors very carefully to ensure that every student receives the best possible instruction from the safest, most professional and most knowledgeable people we can find. We are very proud of our instructor corps and we trust that you will share that pride.