Category Archives: DE

Drivers Ed

Your First Track Event

Your First Track Event

Coming to your first Driver Education event can be pretty intimidating. You’re excited, but really anxious. You’re wondering how both you and your car will perform. It’s going to turn out great, but you don’t know that yet. Your friends on the Schattenbaum DE track team put this doc together to give you a check list so you can relax knowing that you’re covering the bases. You’re not going to forget the important things – if you read this!

Hopefully you’ve come to one of our annual club meetings that introduce PCA Driver Education (DE), but it’s okay if you’ve missed those. This doc pulls the highlights together. PCA offers a much more comprehensive but general introduction on their website, as well as Tips and Techniques for DE Participants.

Well before the event

First things first. You need to register for the event. Point your web browser to Motorsportreg.com. Once you’re on this site, you might as well set
up an account because you’re going to want to do this more than
once.

page1image46412592Click the button to find nearby events, then search for events hosted by Schattenbaum. For our upcoming event in March, you’ll see this link…

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Fill in the form and you’re registered. Make sure to click the buttons that tell us you’re a club member. And be honest. If you’ve never been on a track before, then say so. You don’t want to end up being assigned to the wrong run group. All of our events are held at New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP).

Our events are usually two days long, either Saturday/Sunday or Thursday/Friday. Most who attend will come for both days, but you’re welcome to sign up for just one. Some recommend that if you’re doing just one day to come on the first day so you don’t feel behind everyone else when you show up on the second day. But decide based on what works for you.

A couple of weeks before the event

We want to make sure all of the cars on the track at a Schattenbaum event are safe, so we require that your car undergo a tech inspection before you come to the track. You can find thecurrent2024techinspectionformatthislink. Afteryou’veregisteredfortheevent, you’ll get an email from our registrar Jon Schepps with further details and a reminder that you need to have your car inspected.

This tech inspection should be quite routine for a recent model Porsche. They’re track ready, but it’s important to make sure wearables like your brake pads are adequate.
The tech inspection needs to be done by someone who can vouch that your car is ready to be driven on a racetrack. Mike Bono from our club will be doing a free tech inspection for club members who are coming to our upcoming March event. Watch for an e-mail announcement. If that’s not convenient, take the form with you to wherever you take your car for maintenance. Hold onto the completed (and signed) form and bring it with you when you come to the track.

The second thing to do before the event is decide if you want to buy a helmet. You can rent a helmet at NJMP, and if you take this route, you should call ahead of time to check on availability and cost. Otherwise, you’ll need to borrow or buy a helmet. You’re probably going to track driving a lot, so go ahead and buy a helmet! Make sure to buy one from a shop where you can try it on. If you opt to borrow a helmet, make sure it has a certification sticker of Snell 2015 or Snell 2020. Older or uncertified helmets are not permitted.

You also need to decide how you want to put numbers on your car. Every car that goes onto the track during a DE has to have large, visible numbers that identify the vehicle. These usually go on the doors on both sides and need to be large enough to be visible from a distance. These numbers help us know who’s who and identify cars on the track that have a problem. You can order numbers on-line or use some form of easily removed, contrasting tape (like painters’ tape). You will be assigned a number to use when you register.

Finally, figure out if you want to spend a night in Millville. If so, make a hotel reservation at one of the many hotels in Millville or nearby in Vineland. Unless you live close, we recommend getting a room in the area. Driving on a track can be really tiring and having that extra time for sleep is a good idea.

Getting to the Event

Okay, now it’s time to drive to the track. Remember to bring your helmet and tech form! You might want to bring some snacks and extra water to drink too. The general store and vending machines at the track sell assorted beverages. Make sure you wear long pants. That’s not usually a problem to remember in the winter, but you have to wear long pants when driving on the track.

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Once you’re on the road. NJMP is easy to find… just tell you driving app to direct you to NJMP. As you drive into the facility, you’ll come to a gateway where you sign in. Just tell the host that you’re with Schattenbaum and sign the form.

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Now’s comes the hard part. NJMP has two tracks, and you need to decide which one to head for. You’ll come to a tee in the road… Should I go left or right? Do I take door number 1, door number 2 or door number 3? Most of our events are on the Thunderbolt track, so in that case (as in March) take a left after you sign in.

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Follow the obvious path at this point and you’ll come to an overpass that take you over the Thuderbolt track. Once you see the bridge, you know you’re on the right path. Hit a dirt road? Go back and turn the other way.

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As you pass over the overpass, you will get the full panorama of
the Thunderbolt facility. A viewing tower, the classroom, tech
inspection area, and garages are to the left, with the General
Store oK to the right (where you pick up a helmet if you’ve rented one). Park your car where it looks sensible and remove loose things from the car that you won’t want flying around when out on the track.

At the track

Okay, you’re here. Now what?

First, head to the classroom located near the base of the tower shown in this picture. The classroom is at the end of the long building that holds the garages. Go inside the classroom and sign in at the registration table. You’ll get a wristband that identifies your run group, which is the Green group if you’re new to the track. Now’s a good time to make sure you have a copy of the schedule on your phone. You got a link to the schedule when you received an e-mail from the registrar.

Next, put your assigned numbers on the outside of your car and then
head to the tech inspection area. That will be in the garage entrance
nearest to the classroom/registration location. Have your signed,
completed tech inspection form and helmet in the car with you. We’re
not going to do another full inspection. We’re just going to take one
last look at your brake pads, check that your helmet qualifies (if you’re bringing one), remind you to get loose junk out of your car before heading onto the track, and collect that tech form. Don’t forget to bring it with you. Your car will get a windshield sticker that is needed for you to be allowed on the track.

After getting your car inspected, head back to your parking spot. A drivers’ meeting starts at 8:30 am sharp. You’ll want to make sure to attend and listen carefully. You’ll get instructions about where to enter and exit the track, a review of the flags, and any special day-of-event announcements. During the drivers’ meeting, instructors for the event meet separately and get matched to students. Your instructor will come to look for you right after the drivers’ meeting. If they can’t find you, they will meet up with you in the parking area or find you when you’re lining up for your first track session.

After the driver’s meeting, drivers in the Green run group have a classroom session at 9 am. Don’t miss this. The classroom instructor will go over what will be happening over the day. These are important details, like where to line up for entering the track and where to go to exit the track. Yes, you’ll have an instructor with you, but it’s good for you to know what’s happening as well! The classroom instructor might also go over the layout of the track, but most of that won’t make much sense until you’ve been out there yourself and driven the course. The second scheduled classroom session will be much more interesting!

The rest of the day takes care of itself. You’ll have more sessions of driving, relying on your instructor to help. Between sessions, walk around. Look at the cars. Talk with the drivers!