NORTHSTAR MOTORSPORTS BLOG
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Pagid Racing Brake Pad Compound Overview Video
HANS Device Review and Demo Video
Introducing Northstar Motorsports GIFT GUIDE!
Northstar Motorsports Video Compares OMP Driving Suits - Entry Level to Top of the Line
Northstar Motorsports Video Compares Entry Level, Composite and Carbon Fiber SA2015 Auto Racing Helmets
Northstar Motorsports Video Compares an SA2015 Auto Racing Helmet vs an M Rated Motorcycle Helmet
Northstar Motorsports Video Demonstrates the Proper Fit for an Auto Racing Helmet
Northstar Motorsports Sponsors Hole at Recent PCA Golf Outing
Northstar hosts Windy City BMW Club Tech Session - February 7, 2015
Northstar Motorsports Unveils Its New Website
PCA Fall Tech Session held at Euroquipe, St Charles, IL - November 3, 2013
Northstar Motorsports Named Offical Safety Equipment Supplier of MVP Track Time
Northstar Motorsports Selected For Exhibit at Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago
Northstar Develops a Spring Safety Equipment Checklist
Northstar Motorsports Attends OMP Worldwide Dealer Meeting in Italy
Northstar Customers Qualify Well for Races at Daytona
Northstar's John Ruther to Speak at Winter Bench Racing Session at VFC Engineering
Northstar Provides Pagid Brake Pads and other Equipment to several teams running in the 2008 Rolex 24 at Daytona
Northstar Motorsports to Sponsor Golf Outing with Michael Andretti to Benefit the Homeless
Northstar Motorsports Provides Safety Equipment for Stunt Drivers in New Batman Movie
Northstar Motorsports Sponsors SCCAs June Sprints
Update on SA2015 Helmet Availability
SA2015 Helmet Availability
Brey-Krause Introduces a Harness Mount Bar for Porsche Cup Cars
Stocking Stuffer Ideas - $50 and under
Is it Brake Pad fade or Brake Fluid fade?
Why is brake bedding important?
Unique PAGID Brake Pad Steel Backing Plate Design
When Should I Replace My Safety Equipment?
Price Reduced on all HANS Device Sport Models
Virtually All Helmet Manufacturers Have Full Stock of Their SA2010 Auto Racing Helmets
Update on Impact Racing Product Decertification by SFI
SFI Foundation Decertifies Certain Products Manufactured and or Distributed by Impact Racing
Northstar has Produced its Own In-Car Videos of the Countries Best Road Courses
What's the Difference Between Major Brands of Racing Brake Fluids?
Hans Device Probably Saves F-1 Drivers Life
What's the Difference Between a 5-Point and a 6-Point Competition Belt?
Mounting Race Seats as Low as Possible
Hans Device only works if worn.
F1 Cockpit Protection, Helmets and HANS Devices
Red Bull Team Members Get Bonuses for Winning Championships
The Young Gun Has Won! Vettel's Title Winning Season
Why Tyre Size Matters - Bridgestone Explains
What Lewis Hamilton Drives Everyday?
MTM Audi TT RS Packs Up To 424 Horsepower, 185 mph Top Speed
Ferrari Preparing Hardcore 599 GTO?
Another Day, Another Racing 911: Introducing the Porsche GT3 R
Car and Driver Runs Porsche Panamera turbo in The 24 Hours of Dayton
Seven New Porsche Models Reportedly Due Over Next Four Years...Could There Be More?
BMW M3 GTS is Unveiled!
Evidence Mounting That 2010 Audi S4 is Underrated
Porsche 911 GT3 RS Reportedly Laps the 'Ring' in 7:33
From the Prancing Horse's Mouth: Montezemolo Reportedly Confirms Ferrari 458 Spider
Porsche Unveils 2010 911 GT3 Cup Racecar Ahead of Frankfurt Auto Show Debut
Porsche Unveils Sportier 2010 911 GT3RS
First Images of Gemballa's Mistrale Modified Porsche Panamera Surface
GM Reveals Details on New Chevrolet Corvette C6.R GT2 for ALMS
Ruf Updates Its Lineup With the 685 HP RT12S
2010 Ford Mustang GT500 Production Limited to 2,000 Units
In Car Navigation Systems Set To Go 3D?
BMW Considering Offering M3 GT4 to Gentlemen Racers
BMW Readies It's New M5 To Arrive Sometime in 2011 or 2012
Porsche Driving Pointers With and Without ABS
Jaguar UK Launches a New Police Package for XF
Audi Dropping 3.2 Liter V6 From 2010 A3, A4 and TT
2010 Porsche 911 GT3 runs the 'Ring in 7:40
BMW M3 GT4 to Campaign in Nurburgring 24-Hour Enduro
Homewood, AL Has a Porsche 930 Turbo As Its Latest Police Car
Audi Releases More Details on the R15 TDI
Porsche Unveils the New 2010 GT3 at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show
Porsche Unveils Updated 911GT3 for 2010
New Porsche Museum Opens This Week in Stuttgart
Spy Shots of New Porsche 911 GT3 RS
Porsche Unveils its Latest GT3 RSR
Audi Motorsport Announces New R8 LMS GT3 Customer Racecar
American LeMans Series Consolidates Racing Classes for 2010
Ayrton Senna Documentary Starts Rolling
Porsche's Legendary 917 Hits the Big 4-0! Happy Birthday!
Ferrari World Abu Dhabi Gears Up For Grand Opening in 2010
Which Car Holds the Official Nurburgring Lap Time Record for Production Automobiles?
Martini Girl Messes up F1 Racers in Monaco
Enjoying Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
GingerMan Raceway and Visiting the Nearby Towns.
When Am I Ready to Go Wheel to Wheel Racing?
Last Updated: 2011-03-07 08:03:20
As the chief Driving Instructor of PCA Chicago Region I get asked this question a lot. There are actually two answers to this question:
I can only speak to the requirements of PCA Club Racing. If you intend to race with any other sanctioning body you should check their requirements, as most sanctioning bodies differ in terms of their experience requirements. But in PCA Club Racing the rules require that you have at least 12 days of race track driving experience and experience at Driver's Ed events, time trials, race schools or equivalent events within a 24 month period. (Note: experience at Autocross events does not count.)
Having said this, I don't know of many people who are ready to go Wheel to Wheel Racing after just 12 days of race track driving experience. I have had many drivers who have any where from 50 or more days of track driving experience before they feel they are ready to take the plunge and go racing.
In PCA Club Racing, the application for a Novice License includes a Certification of Experience that must be completed by your region's Chief Driving Instructor.
The one thing to remember is that when you are racing much of what you learn while doing DE events will change. For example, in DE the one thing that is stressed is to always drive the proper line. However, in racing this is not always the case. When you are attempting to pass another car they are not going to move off-line so you can pass, so you are going to have to make the pass by going off-line yourself and still make the next corner.
My recommendation is that you should be completely comfortable in driving the proper line just like it is second nature. You should know the braking points that you need to use in order to get your car to the appropriate entry speed for all the corners. Remember, this changes when you have just completed a pass under braking and you are now off-line. In racing there are cars all over the place and you must be comfortable with your own driving skills so this is not disconcerting. When you first start racing, the most difficult part is the start when cars are all bunched up and everyone is trying to gain spots before Turn 1. Remember, just hold the line you want to take into Turn 1, whether it's on-line or off-line. But be Predictable. Proper racing etiquette is that cars trying to pass you need to give you racing room. Now in theory that sounds great, but in practice it doesn't always work out that way, so you need to be aware of all the cars around you and you need to be somewhat defensive in order to avoid contact with another car.
The bottom line is there really isn't any set number of days of track driving experience that will indicate your are qualified to go racing. We all learn at different rates and while some people who have had a lot of experience in karting ,for example, may be ready to go Wheel to Wheel racing after 12 - 25 days of experience, most people will NOT be ready with that amount of experience.
One other recommendation is do your first race at a track you are familiar with and also a track that has lots of run off room in case you (or the other guy) makes a mistake. I have lots of people who tell me that Road America is their home track and they want to do their first race at that track. My recommendation is to NOT do that since the PCA Club Race at Road America is a very big event with high levels of testosterone and race groups with up to 80 cars. And Road America is not only a very fast (read Scary) track but it has lots of concrete barriers. My recommendation for a first race would a track like GingerMan or Putnam Park or any track like these with plenty of run off room and not so many entries. Once you have a few races like this under your belt then you can try your hand at one of the faster tracks like Road America, Road Atlanta, Watkins Glen or Sebring.
If you have any questions about this just give me a call at the number below. Remember, you will also need lots of additional safety equipment items before your first race, that are not required when doing DE or Time Trials. These items include, but are not limited to, a current SA rated helmet; HANS device: FIA or SFI approved belts; approved fire retardant driving suit, shoes, gloves and underwear; roll cage; fire suppression system; approved race seat and mounting hardware; ignition kill switch; and a window net. You can check all of this equipment out on Northstar Motorsports website: www.northstarmotorsports.com. If you have any questions, just give me a call at 847-304-5515 or send me an email at email@example.com and I'll be happy to help you.