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Hey all, I've been looking into open track days, and the ones I've seen require intermediate level drivers who have been signed off.

I've just gotten recommended for intermediate after my third event, and was wondering how long it took for you guys to get signed off?

How many days did it take for you guys to get from novice to intermediate, intermediate to advanced, and how long did it take to get signed off?

I know it varies person to person, but just trying to get an idea.
 

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I got signed off after my first event, but my instructor told me it normally takes 3-4. I also am now working on being an instructor for a few clubs. Took me about 10 track days to go to advanced and now I run open passing with no point by.
 

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It depends upon the track and the group leasing the track. I showed up with an Elise with Hoosier R6 slicks (having never tracked), and they tried to toss me in the Advanced class. I told them I wanted to start easy. I received about a half hour of classroom time, and was turned loose without an instructor. By the end of the day, only people in the advanced group were still running; so I finished the day with the advanced group. Out West, watch out for the cowboys. ;)
 

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Sign off as in run by yourself? I tend to go to smaller less formal hpdes so after event 1 I think.

To me running with advanced groups has nothing to do with speed. Im no hot shoe but I am fine with running with any group.

Its more about minimal ego, remembering you are not in an actual race, staying out of traffic, etc

If you ever brag about passing cars at hpde you arnt ready for the advanced groups :)

Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App
 

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hope more of you track guys chime in about your experiences about this.
More data, more better.
I think your experience was about "right" and similar to mine. It certainly varies a LOT from person to person and with different groups. I instruct with one group that almost always solos people after the first day, the other ones take 3 - 5. Personally, I think one day is way too soon for almost everyone. Unless you have previous track experience, it takes a little while to get comfortable with car control, location on track, line, traffic management and never missing a flag. That extra set of eyes is needed until people have the experience and awareness to make safe decisions. Someone might do fine at a small event and then show up where there are 35 cars on track with huge speed variation....and then it rains mid-session. Things can happen fast and an instructor could save them some broken car parts.

Around here, even the instructors groups run with point-by passing. Anywhere on the track, but still with a point. Usually, it does not even slow you down because they know you are coming for several corners.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I agree with all that is being said here. I think the instructor riding is always a value. I just am hoping to get signed off for the first time soon so I can start going to open track events to get more seat time for cheaper
 

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Hey all, I've been looking into open track days, and the ones I've seen require intermediate level drivers who have been signed off.

I've just gotten recommended for intermediate after my third event, and was wondering how long it took for you guys to get signed off?

How many days did it take for you guys to get from novice to intermediate, intermediate to advanced, and how long did it take to get signed off?

I know it varies person to person, but just trying to get an idea.
I've coached a bunch of people at local tracks, and in our track days, the criteria for being signed off for intermediate run groups are good situational awareness - flags, other cars, road conditions, and demonstrating this awareness by being good about letting others pass or reacting to caution, surface condition, and passing flags. Our faster new guys can indeed hit intermediate after 3 track days, but a few more track days is more common, but we're pretty strict about safety.

The intermediate group is where trouble happens most frequently in terms of offs or mechanicals. These are people who are starting to go fast, but lack the experience to react to the unpredictable at speed, and the car control skills aren't quite honed yet, so you get more spins, and more freeze-ups in panic situations. In terms of mechanicals, these tend to be the cars that are pushed hard but haven't been track hardened.

If people in the beginner group are not holding you up in terms of passing, then stay there, honestly. It's lower stress as you learn more about your car and driving it. Once you're reaching the point where you are faster than others, and this is after working on awareness, that you're ready to move up, and you'll have more practice under your belt to deal with unpredictable situations.
 

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...If people in the beginner group are not holding you up in terms of passing, then stay there, honestly...
This is good advice. The first time I ran intermediate I was very excited and when it was 5 minutes to grid I was the first in line. It was miserable*, it felt like I pointed everyone by (and morning cobwebs kept me from taking a run through the hot pit to alleviate the 'bottle neck'.)

If you run intermediate do yourself a favor and line up in back the first time.

*point of clarification, it was miserable because i pointed so many by that I didn't get a chance to work on my skills, not because people passing me gives me anxiety
 

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Last year I did 26 track events and this year so far I have done 14 track events. I still consider myself to be a beginner. Don't get me wrong, I am not half bad but every track is different and there are so many elements that can go wrong. There is so much to learn. Things go wrong when you start feeling comfortable...

Below is one example. This is not me. My closest encounter was a bird hitting my windshield during a warm-up lap.
 

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This past weekend in an advanced group of pretty fast cars (Porsche GT2s, GT3's, a GTR etc, in addition to a couple dedicated race cars) there was a spin four corners ahead. For some bizzarre reason a flag worker past a blind crest where I was heading in a line of four cars dropped a BLACK flag.

That wasn't the bad part. The bad part was that the nimrods driving a BMW and a Turbo Porsche slammed on their brakes seeing the flag and came to almost a dead stop past the effing crest. So when I and 3 other cars came over the crest at about 80-90 MPH we had about 100 feet to stop or back end these idiots. Maybe a little knowledge of your flags fellers? In an advanced group.

'Nuf said.

PS I would seriously question driving with any group that allows an instructor who had 10 track days.
 

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It probably depends on who you run with and how the groups are divided.
It took me one day to get bumped to the intermediate group and another day to get bumped to the "advanced" group. That particular organization runs 4 groups, the last one being for race prepped cars. The beginner group really is for beginners so chances are that unless you confuse the brake pedal for the accelerator you will be moved after one or two track days. Of course some people feel comfortable in the beginner group forever and that's absolutely cool.

Matter of fact I'd rather see people stick in a slower group if they feel comfy in there rather than being with a few idiots who think they are Fangio's spiritual son and pull stupid stunts and run way over their head.
 

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Man you guys are fast learners. Its been 2 years today since I went to my first open track day. I had never done anything like it before but after the first time it has really grown on me. Most organizations I've run with have at least 4 different groups, Green, Blue, Yellow, Red. I guess I am a slow learner as it took me 6 events over 6 months time with 2 different organizations to move from Green to Blue, 2 months and 2 events to get from Blue to Blue Solo ("signed off") and then another month and 1 event to get to Yellow. I'm comfortable in Yellow as I still have a lot to learn and learn something new each track day and still make plenty of mistakes. I know how the top level drivers in the Red group run as I catch rides with them when I can and I know that I don't have that skill level as of yet and no hurry to get there.
 

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4 weekends with Chin Motorsports and I suck! Still running yellow solo (drive with green). Once in a while I ask one of their instructors to ride with me for a prog ride. I'm happy with the group im in and still learning the car.
 

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Well put.......Im still getting passed by higher HP cars but like the traffic I get in the novice group, love watching their lines go all haywire while I work on keeping mine, its good practice! The weakest link in my car at the moment is me!

If people in the beginner group are not holding you up in terms of passing, then stay there, honestly. It's lower stress as you learn more about your car and driving it. Once you're reaching the point where you are faster than others, and this is after working on awareness, that you're ready to move up, and you'll have more practice under your belt to deal with unpredictable situations.
 

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I went to an IMSA license school many years ago, got my license in a weekend and have had that and an SCCA license since. Every time I show up at an event and show my license they put me in the advance group. Having said this, some in advanced groups don't belong there, they do not see the flags or look ahead for hazards. I am a big fan of the "go slow"policy of most clubs in signing off people for solo driving.
Oh if you show up and drive in a Lemons event, you are solo by definition with a LOT of cars around you, kind of like the old method of throwing you in the deep end to learn how to swim...
 

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sign off is totally dependent on the organization... there is no consistency here. and sign of is generally sign off for each group, so sign off to for the 'beginners group, vs sign off for the intermediate and so on. so there is little relationship except with in your circle.

I've noticed the east coast tends to be more "by the book" and organized. the west coast tends to be a lot "looser" with safety related management. which is one of the reason when i moved out here i decided to moved into sanctioned race cars instead of track days. again - no absolutes, you just have to talk to the folks around you and in your organizations.
 

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sign off is totally dependent on the organization... there is no consistency here. and sign of is generally sign off for each group, so sign off to for the 'beginners group, vs sign off for the intermediate and so on. so there is little relationship except with in your circle.

I've noticed the east coast tends to be more "by the book" and organized. the west coast tends to be a lot "looser" with safety related management. which is one of the reason when i moved out here i decided to moved into sanctioned race cars instead of track days. again - no absolutes, you just have to talk to the folks around you and in your organizations.
Spot on. I'm glad we can keep the "west coast" "looser" management here in Colorado without the West Coast overcrowding problems, though - it means it's easy to get started without ending up on a scary track with 50+ badly driven cars on it.

I think you'll find sign-off will be 100% different wherever you go - every track, club, and sanctioning organization has totally different requirements.

LeMons has strict car requirements but no driver requirements whatsoever.

My local track (High Plains Raceway)'s open lapping days are literally wide open. No tech, no driver requirements, and yet somehow things turn out, mostly because there's not a lot of traffic and a lot of wide open space on+off track. Some clubs here run open days, some clubs here run easy sign-off days, and obviously the national clubs here still run tiered licensing.

Sometimes I envy the West Coast's weather, but throw the number of people in and I'm glad to be where I am...
 
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