Performance Driving Experience (PDX)
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.
- Print this packet – it might be useful to bring it with you to the Driver’s Meeting. All driver participants MUST insure their vehicle is safe and sound before the event. The Technical Inspection we perform on the grid is a basic safety inspection. If you are unsure of your vehicles condition, we recommend you have it reviewed by a repair shop prior to the event. Alternately, a self-inspection by people who are mechanics or have been doing work on racing cars for many years is an option.
- All participants must have a helmet with a minimum SNELL 2000 rating – no other certifications are acceptable. This is different than the TTR Rule Book of SA95/M95 and is outlined in our Supplemental Regulations.
- Registration will normally take place on the morning of the Event. But you can register at anytime during the weekend (provided the windows are open. Road Atlanta Registration usually opens at 7:00 am – but check the schedule to be sure – and please note when the windows close each day.
- Tech Inspection will normally be done on the Grid Sunday morning. Cars should be completed cleaned out and Track Ready prior to entering the Grid. There is limited room on the Grid for small items. All participants should plan to arrive as early as possible to register, attend the Driver’s Meeting, and properly prepare their cars in a timely manner. All cars MUST be inspected at the event – if your car is not inspected, you will not be allowed on the track.
- All students must attend the Driver’s Meeting in the Media Center or any other site specified by announcement, Supps or other signage. We anticipate a great time and a safe event at Road Atlanta. Please feel free to call or e-mail us if you have any questions.
General Event and Track Rules
- Convertibles with an installed factory hardtop are allowed. Otherwise a roll bar is required.
- SUVs, trucks, and vans are not allowed to participate.
- Long cotton pants and long-sleeved cotton shirts are needed when on-track.
- Speed limit in the paddock is walking speed.
- No consumption of alcohol is allowed until the completion of daily activities.
- No one under the age of 18 is allowed in the hot pits or on the track without a completed Minor Waiver at Registration.
- Smoking is prohibited in the pit area, near the gas pumps and in all buildings.
- Any video equipment must be rigidly and securely mounted, metal-to-metal. The stewards and instructors have the discretion to request that cameras and other equipment be removed.
- Front windows must remain completely down at all times. The passenger’s must remain down if the passenger seat is occupied. Rear windows and sunroof must remain closed.
- With the exception of instructors, passengers are not allowed. The only people allowed on the track are participants and instructors.
- Do not, under any circumstances, pound stakes or make holes in any asphalt surface. You will be held liable for all damages.
- Do not work on, fuel, or leave cars unattended in the hot or cold pit.
- It is mandatory that waste materials be disposed of in the correct drums, (antifreeze, oil, brake fluid, etc.) which are located in the paddock near the Club Race Tech Shed. Spillage may result in ejection from the facility. Participants must remove all used tires, batteries, and unwanted parts.
- Absolutely no bedding of new brakes and/or testing of vehicles on the infield roads.
- The track has gas pumps that are credit-card operated and will be available during the event. But 98 Octane is the cheapest gas there and you’d be better off filling up before arriving.
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.
- Pass only in designated areas and only after receiving a pass signal from the driver being passed. Do not attempt to pass at the end of a straight. This isn’t Formula One and we aren’t giving out “Michael Schumacher Wanna-Be” trophies. Be sure you have the time and room before you attempt a pass. When you give a car the pass signal please back off long enough to allow the car to pass.
- Watch your mirrors! The driver being overtaken must give a hand signal for EACH AND EVERY PASSING CAR. 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 you did not get a pass signal, be patient, and back off. Do not ride the bumper of the slower car. They may be overwhelmed and riding their bumper won’t help. Never pass when operating under a YELLOW flag.
- Don’t group together. If a train, or line, forms, the first/lead car is responsible for “clearing their rear” by safely allowing cars behind them to pass or pitting in and re-entering the track after a pause. Always be aware of the traffic around you. If you have not been able to pass a slower car, consider a short pit stop and re-entry.
- Concentrate, concentrate, and concentrate. Vehicles at speed need smooth, decisive, and balanced maneuvers. If you are confused by too much input you are going too fast. Keep to the “line” and feel what the car is telling you. Stay within your capacity on the straights initially giving you time to remember and learn the turns.
- Flags are extremely important. We will review them before the event and be sure to study the information on them found later in this packet. The RED flag means you must stop as quickly and safely as possible. Be sure that the cars behind you have seen it as well. Pull clear to the side of the track – NOT off – and wait until you receive a signal from a Corner Worker or Track Official before resuming your run.
- Spins. If you spin, both feet in (stick shift). This will avoid stalling or cycling the engine backwards.
- Passing Zones will be determined based on run group experience/ability. They may NOT be the same as areas used by other clubs/groups. Passing rules are discussed later in this packet. Please read the rules carefully! Passing zones are NOT open for discussion. Refer to the Track map in the Driver’s Meeting.
- Modifications. If you have modified your car, please note that more power and speed means you must adjust your braking distances accordingly. Adding in 50-100 more horsepower and keeping your stock brakes can be a problem. Please make sure you tell your instructor if you have modified your car, and please pay attention to possibility of brake fade.
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
- Ensure your car is in full mechanical working order prior to arriving at the track. Even though a car has passed your pre-event inspection, cars arriving with obvious problems will not be allowed on track. Make sure you have sufficient tread on your tires and your brake system is in good condition.
- Ensure you have all required clothing & equipment. Trying to find extra items at the last minute can add one more thing to an already overloaded set of nerves.
- Be sure to check your car’s fuel level before your first track session.
Suggestion: Fill up right before you arrive.
- Don’t forget to bring your current driver’s license and Membership Card.
Some of the Don’ts
- Don’t worry if you have never participated in a track event before. There will be no pressure to get you up-to F1 level. The day is designed for your enjoyment and you are encouraged to learn at your own pace. There is nothing worse than putting pressure on yourself when you are on the track. You should be concentrating on the circuit. The instructors will be there to help and explain to you the physics involved in performance driving.
- Do not be tempted to follow other drivers’ lines. Take your time to learn the track. Instructors will talk about the correct lines. If following another car, remember, driving styles and type of car can affect your cornering technique.
- Do not worry about the speed and the fact that you might be going around a corner at 50mph and you see people going around the same corner at 75mph. Stick to your correct line through the corners and you will gain more confidence in yourself & your car’s capabilities.
- Do not try to “be the racer” on the circuit. There is NO tolerance for showing off on the circuit. Deliberate slides are not permitted, nor are “racing” maneuvers like hitting the ripple strips or any other kind of tricks on the track. Do not pass another car on the track unless you receive a Point-by from the other driver. Anyone showboating will be ‘Black Flagged’ and potentially removed from the track for that day.
- SLOW IN FAST OUT. If you enter a corner too fast and half way through it you feel that you will not make the turn, don’t stab the brake pedal. If there is enough grip in the tires to stop the car, there is enough grip to turn. While you are turning in, nailing the brakes takes grip from the rear, causing you to spin and lose control. Once you have committed to the corner make sure your brake and throttle inputs are light, if used at all. If you think you are going too fast, turn in a little more and gently get back off the brake and throttle. Chances are you’ll scrub enough speed to make the turn.
- If you go off track and stop, LOOK for the corner station. We don’t want you to attempt to reenter without making eye contact with the nearest corner station if possible. If you are in a blind spot, safely work your way down to a station. If and when you do reenter, come into the pits on that lap and speak to an official to let us know what happened. You aren’t in trouble, but you might be if we don’t talk to you.
- If you drop wheels off the track, get the car under control safely and come into the pits to speak to an official to let us know what happened.
Some General Comments
- Relax – The more you can relax and get into the mindset of what you have to do, the better. Instructors will be on hand to advise you. Every official, worker, and instructor is there to help you and keep everyone safe, not to judge you or admonish you. Help us to make your day successful and safe.
- Drive *through* corners – When approaching a corner always look through it toward the exit Point, i.e. ‘Where you want to end up’. As a rule your car will go where you are looking. If you concentrate on where you don’t want to go, chances are you’ll end up there anyway.
- Avoid missed shifts – Make positive gear changes. Don’t try to see how quickly you can shift.
- Take care of yourself. Drink lots of water, and be mindful of your own physical limits. Don’t be afraid to stretch and do other physical/mental warm-ups before going on track. Get a good night’s sleep prior to the event. Performance driving is strenuous exercise, so don’t overdo it.
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.
- The Mechanic, or yourself if you feel qualified, shall review these items. SCCA Staff will review the items marked with an “X” during the on-site Tech Inspection but can’t take responsibility for hidden mechanical issues.
- This list is designed to help you advise the shop of the items that should be checked.
- If any items fail the inspection, please have them corrected prior to arrival at the track, preferably at a qualified repair shop.
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.