Fri, Apr 27 - Sun, Apr 29, 2018

BMW CCA Genesee Valley Chapter Spring HPDE

Watkins Glen Int'l

About this event


Genesee Valley Chapter Ultimate Driving School XCVIII

Watkins Glen International

GVC's 98th Ultimate Driving School! 

Our driving schools offer personalized high-quality in-car and classroom instruction on the art and science of high-performance driving to students at all skill levels.  The overarching goal of our school is to advance the level of your driving skills in a fun, friendly, and safe environment.  It is important to recognize that this is not a racing school, and that instructors emphasize skill development, not speed.  Your pace improves naturally as your skills grow with practice and experience.

During registration, you will assign yourself to a "run group".  Run groups at this school include Novice (Group 4), Intermediate (Group 3), Advanced (Group 2)Group S (Group 1), and Instructors (Group 0).   Each run group is limited to under 40 drivers (typically 35 or less).  The student registrar reviews your selection and makes a final assignment based primarily on driver experience and prior evaluations (if any), and secondarily on vehicle performance.  Reassignments may also be made during the school at the request of your instructor in order to place you in the optimal group for your skill and pace.  Track sessions for each group are on a rolling schedule.  Between your track sessions and mandatory classroom meetings, you'll have time to work on your car and socialize with your fellow driving enthusiasts.

Except for Group 1, which is led by a small team of specialized coaches, you will be pre-assigned a personal driving instructor for the weekend to work with you from the passenger seat of your car.  Your instructor is also expected to take you out during one or more instructor track sessions to demonstrate the techniques being taught to you.  Classroom sessions for each run group are taught by a senior instructor, and are focused on topics relevant to your experience level.  

Enough philosophy, now to some details about this school.

Weekend Format


  • Open track day for Instructors and Group S drivers.
  • "Novice Track Day":  NTD is GVC's special one-day school for beginners (<3 track days).   We limit NTD to no more than 25 drivers to minimize traffic. Format is similar to our two-day school on Saturday and Sunday, with 4 half-hour track sessions with personal in-car instruction intermingled with classroom sessions that emphasize basic concepts and skills for the first-time track driver.  The cool thing about NTD is that it's an economical way to try out the sport without the expense of overnight lodging, meals, and extended time away from family and/or work.  
  • But wait, there's more!  Beginners interested in accelerating their learning curve may register for the “Big Weekend” option, extending NTD to all three days!

Saturday and Sunday:

  • Group 4:  Novice (D; SLIP* L1).  Drivers with 0 – 4 previous driving schools
  • Group 3:  Intermediate (C, less experienced B; SLIP L2 – L3)
  • Group 2:  Advanced (experienced B, A; SLIP L3 – L4)
  • Group 1:  Group S (SLIP L4 and up)
  • Group 0:  Instructors (Expert; SLIP L5 and up)

*SLIP (Skill Level Instruction Program) is a standardized system for evaluating and tracking a student's HP driving skills. BMW CCA HPDE programs are increasingly adopting this system to make it easier for students to receive the appropriate level of instruction they need to improve their driving.  More information about SLIP is available by downloading this document: SLIP Criteria 2016.pdf

Track Schedule

  • Track goes “green” at 8:30 AM; final checker at 4:30 PM each day unless otherwise specified.
  • Lunch break from 12 – 1 PM each day.
  • Weekend track sessions (per day, 25 min. each; note that the number and length of track sessions are based upon ideal track conditions.  Breakdowns and other situations may require changes in the schedule, which are unavoidable):
    • Group 1 (GS):  Five sessions, with the option to pay for additional track sessions with Group 2 or instructors ($50 per session, pay at event; space permitting). 
    • Groups 2, 3 and 4:  Four sessions
    • Instructors:  Three sessions minimum, plus additional sessions combined with Group S (space permitting*) 

*Note:  the number of instructors in combined sessions will be limited to avoid over-crowding.  Students have priority.

Group Exercises

  • Organized group driving exercises are done for the first ten minutes in one or more sessions each day, typically at somewhat reduced speeds for safety.
  • Exercises, such as close-quarters (side-by-side) lapping, pair-wise passing, trail-braking, and off-line passing in corners, are intended to improve passing skills, traffic awareness, and driving line flexibility.


  • Groups 2 – 4 attend three 30-45 minute-long run group classroom sessions each day, led by a senior instructor
  • Group 1 drivers attend two sessions in the classroom each day, facilitated by the Group 1 coaches, as well as invited special guests.  Topics may include group debriefing after a track session, the application of advanced driving techniques, data acquisition and analysis for skill improvement, and other topics of interest to the group.


Bonus Features (complimentary unless otherwise noted)

  • GVC Driver’s Resource Center:  Helpful advice and assistance for all participants and guests.
  • Event shirts for all drivers and instructors.
  • After-hours socials at the track both Friday and Saturday, open to all participants and guests.
  • Tire and performance parts auctions courtesy of our generous sponsors.
  • Friendly and helpful staff to make this your “Ultimate Driving School”.

*Group S

Group S is open only to highly skilled, experienced drivers who have previously been checked out and approved for the Group.  First-time admission to Group S requires a checkout by the Group S coaches. Once admitted to Group S, GS drivers in good standing may freely register for GS at future GVC HPDE’s without need for checkout.  

If you wish to be be admitted to Group S, you MUST register using the "Group S checkout" option.  This is a three-day registration option limited to 5-6 drivers.  Checkout is typically done sometime on Friday morning after you've had a little time to warm up on track. At registration, checkout drivers are initially assigned to Group 2 (Advanced) so that they will have an assigned instructor for the weekend should they not pass checkout.  If checkout is successful, the student is promoted to Group 1 for the remainder of the weekend, and is automatically pre-approved to register for Group S at future events.  Those who do not pass checkout remain in Group 2 for Saturday and Sunday.  

Approved Group S drivers are offered the following registration options:

Two-day school:  Saturday and Sunday only

Friday add-on option: For those looking for a 3-day weekend. Requires Sat-Sun registration option above.

Two-day school: Friday and Saturday

One-day school: Friday only

Please visit the GVC website for complete details about our HP driving schoolsincluding the Group S application procedure:

Registration and Fees:  

  • Members: GVC chapter members are afforded highest priority for slots at our events, followed by BMW CCA members from other chapters.
  • Non-Members:  Non-members are charged an additional $100 above member fees, and are last to be accepted from a waiting list.  GVC will use $48 of the non-member fee pay for a one-year new (or renewed) membership in BMW CCA.  Join the club today to avoid the $100 non-member surcharge!
  • Registration after the deadline is only possible by special arrangement, and only if there are still slots available (call or email the Registrar:  
  • Fees
    • Advanced (Group 2), Intermediate (Grp 3), Novice weekend students (Grp 4): $510 (two-day school, 4-5 track sessions/day).  Non-members:  $610
    • Group S checkout applicants: $695 (Friday-Sunday).  Attend Friday for checkout ride.  Those failing checkout remain in Group 2 (Advanced), refunded/credited $150 for Friday.  BMW CCA members ONLY.
    • Novice students (Group 4):  BMW CCA members ONLY
      • Novice Track Day:  $310 (4 track sessions, classroom, after-hours social).
      • "Big Weekend" (Friday - Sunday) option:  $670.
    • Group S (Solo); members ONLY 
      • Group S drivers:  $550 (two-day school, 5-6 track sessions)
        • Friday open-track add-on option:  $210.  
      • Group S (two day) Friday open track and Saturday school:  $590.
      • Group S Friday open-track ONLY:  $310
    • Instructors (includes shared garage access for the weekend): 
      • Friday - Sunday:  $100.  Includes Friday Orientation Day, minimum 3 sessions each day Sat and Sun.  
      • Fri - Sun., sharing a vehicle:  $50
      • Sat - Sun only (no open track): $50
"Bring a Friend" Discount
Any registered driver or instructor who brings a “new to GVC” friend to the track as a school participant will receive either a $75 credit for use at any future GVC event, OR exclusive use of half a garage bay for the weekend.


  • Fees may be refunded or credited toward a future GVC Driving School if cancelation occurs before the registration deadline.
  • No refund or credit after the registration deadline unless we can fill your run group slot with another driver.


The host hotel is the historic Seneca Lodge ( located at the upper entrance to beautiful Watkins Glen State Park off NY 329.  The Lodge is famous for its food and racing heritage.  The bar is notable for its collection of over 60 years of racing memorabliia, as well as an extensive selection of fine beverages.  Another favorite place to stay very close to the track is the Falls Motel in nearby Montour Falls.  These lodgings fill quickly, so make reservations early

Many other accommodations are available in Watkins Glen, from cozy bed-and-breakfasts to the luxurious Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel.  

Camping at the track:  Not available.  

Off-site camping:  Available at nearby Watkins Glen State Park and at other private campgrounds.


Event requirements

Vehicle and driver requirements are detailed on the GVC website:

GVC Pre-event Tech Inspection Form:  GVC Tech Form.pdf

GVC Emergency Medical Form:  GVC Medical Info form.pdf


IMPORTANT:  GVC’s policy* for cars equipped with automatic “crash avoidance systems” (CAS). 

CAS technologies go by different names depending on manufacturer, but they all have the same basic function.  The two systems of concern are:  1) Rear collision warning/automatic braking systems designed to prevent rear-end collisions at highway speeds; and 2) Active lane-keeping assistants, which generate audible and tactile warnings, and in some cases apply counter-steer, to prevent an unsafe lane change in traffic when the driver takes no action. When operational, these systems may be unsafe in conditions typically encountered on a racetrack at HPDE events.

Therefore, cars equipped with either or both these systems will be allowed on track ONLY if the systems are completely shut down and remain off until the ignition is turned off .  We have been assured by BMWNA that these systems can be completely shut off by the driver on all current BMW models.  Cars from other manufacturers will only be allowed if the driver can demonstrate that the system may be manually shut down.  Vehicles in which such systems are “hardwired”, and therefore CANNOT be manually turned off by the driver, are not permitted on track at GVC driving schools.

It is the responsibility of the participant to follow the vehicle's shut-down procedures to the letter before leaving staging and entering a "hot" track.  If these procedures are followed, we have been assured that CAS-equipped cars will be safe and compatible with the HPDE track environment.

*Please note that the policy outlined herein applies only to Genesee Valley Chapter driving events, and does not necessarily represent the national policy of the BMW Car Club of America or it’s affiliated chapters.

Watkins Glen Int'l

Watkins Glen, NY
Download track map
Download track map
Buy virtual track walk
Buy virtual track walk


HPDE organized by

BMW CCA - Genesee Valley Chapter

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Event over!