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NASA Great Lakes Region HPDE Red Shirt Instructor Program


HPDE advancement HPDE 3, 4, TT, Instructor, Comp School Requirements Spreadsheet ALL


Are you a current NASA Great Lakes HPDE 3 or 4 driver interested in becoming a Great Lakes Region Instructor?  Are you a certified and current HPDE Instructor with another organization?  Perhaps you are a NASA certified Instructor for another region looking to join us for one of our events.  This page is for you and outlines our Instructor qualifications for all 3 categories of current or future instructor listed above.


NASA is a National organization with 13 regions across the USA.  The business model includes HPDE, Time-Trails and Wheel to Wheel racing.  The NASA Great Lakes region is a learning organization.  Our goal is to provide the best available DE training via a system of people and processes working together.  Each for-profit NASA region uses the same HPDE passport with specific driving concepts to support 4 run groups:  HPDE 1 (for never been on track ever before to little to some experience) to HPDE 4 including detailed preparation to succeed in W2W, NASA Time Trials and Instruction.  4 run groups with 4 different curriculums all working together to create excellent drivers with excellent skills.  Our system prepares drivers for advancement should they choose should they choose to advance from HPDE 4 and provides a great foundation for a driver to run safely and quickly with other drivers in any of our HPDE groups..  Our Great Lakes region is a bit different in that we hold download meetings and classroom education for each of the 4 run groups.  This allows for high levels of instruction and advanced driving concepts and a format a typical DE event can not provide or can't provide safety.  We are a learning organizaiton and our curriclum reflects this.  Advancement from each run group to the next includes a test to show the driver's proficiency and always involves some kind of safety or education exam to confirm you have understood the driving concepts presented in that run group.  The more advanced the driver becomes, the more education can be offered because of the very strong foudation created in HPDE 1 and 2.  Where most DE organizations have their advanced drivers run solo, we go the other direction and provide more education, more drills, more knowledge and advancment driving concepts.  This includes data acqisition, track walks, advanced curriculum, suspension dynamics and mechanics, Ross Bentley textbooks and group learning.  All of these make for great instructor candidates and those instructors coming from outside our organization must fullfill these requirements to instruct in our HPDE 1 program.  We have made this easy for an outside instructor to attain via a series of free on-line exams.   If you are willing to put in the work, we are happy to have you on our instructor team.


Each NASA region runs their own HPDE program w some slight variation and with their own unique personalization.  All regions typically have an Instructor certification program and Instructor status in one region is typically recognized in all other regions.  Discounts vary from region to region.  Once NASA Instructor status is earned in one region this license is usually entered into the NASA National database and other regions have visibility (Non Great Lakes Region Instructors please access your NASA Profile to insure you have a valid instructor license.).  No license.  No admittance.  This National Database allows an Instructor from Ohio or any other state to Instruct at a NASA event at Road Atlanta, VIR, Daytona and other tracks for example.  This is always done with the permission and at the discretion of the regional Chief Instructor and with the requirements listed below.


Our unique HPDE 1 curriclum has the instructor as a direct extension of the classroom.  He/she supports his/her student with specific on-track curriclulum that is "Aligned" to the classroom.  If this is not part of your instructing agenda please stop reading.  This program is not for you.  Our system is represented by on-track drills, student evaluation forms and student downloads and an interactive, discussion based classroom.  All of our HPDE 1 Instructors are assigned 1 student for 8 sessions and the student's learning experience takes priority over your driving.  This means you may be required to miss one of your sessions or find a suitable, certified replacement to cover you which is your responsibility.  


3 Categories.  There are 3 categories a prospective instructor falls into.  Interested in becoming a NASA Great Lakes Instructor?  Choose the category  that best fits you and follow the instructions.

Category 1.  Never Instructed and currently enrolled in our HPDE system.  

Category 2.  Non-NASA certified Instructor (current) with one or more Instructor Certifications (BMWCCA, PCA, MSF L II, Chin Track Days, etc.).  Driving resume required.

Category 3.  NASA certified Instructor from another region (current).



For Category 1 and 2 Instructors the process begins in HPDE 3:

HPDE 3.  Everything we do is our HPDE program culminates in creating drivers that are competant and can demonstrate proficiency in HPDE 3.  NASA Great Lakes HPDE 3 involves a very high amount of spatial and situational awareness exercises along with passing and flag drills to test and elevate a driver's skills.  Standard practice for these Group 3 drivers is 2 and 3 wide (and sometimes 4 wide) organized and structured drills run abeam.  "Abeam" is exactly side by side with each car's front bumper being in-line w the car(s) next to them.  If you are thinking US Navy Blue Angels or USAF Thunderbirds precision then you are envisioning what all drivers demonstrate.  These drills requires both individual and group awareness skills and is at the heart of HPDE 3.  HPDE 3 does several and various passing drills.  These are alongside surprise flags, mock flying double wide starts and single-file restarts and unscheduled emergency or tow vehicles on track to teach safety.  HPDE 3 run format is designed to help advanced drivers learn to play as both a group and as individuals.  Part of the HPDE 3 program is exposure to future path options of Instructing, Time-Trails and W2W racing.  This path to the advanced HPDE4+ offerings starts in HPDE 3.  You are essentially put on a path of your choosing in HPDE to support your driving in HPDE 4 or TT or becoming an Instructor or headed to Comp School.  This gives the driver an entire year of structured and specific practice to make them a better, faster and safter driver tailored to THEIR GOALS.  HPDE 3 works as a group and your Instructor Candidate participation is for you to fully understand the type of student you are creating when you are instructing them in HPDE 1.  Additional drills you will see in HPDE 3 included:  Up-the-middle drill, Monster passing (3 to 5 drivers), reverse gridding, time-trail/qualifying format and on occaision reverse course track driving.  From a driving perspective mastery of high corner entry speed is a must.  Our HPDE 3 drivers are very fast and have the ability to pass anywhere on track including the off-line and outside of corners and at close proximity at speed.  Much of the performance driving you will be tested will involve off-line driving at speed and the ability to run in closer formations while prioritizing the flag stations.  All HPDE 3 drivers can expect to receive one random back flag per weekend and missing it will prohibit your advancment from HPDE 3 to 4.  We have found this to be an easy self-regulating mechanism that has our driver's prioritzing flag-stations at all times.  Failure to observe and recognize a simple black flag will extend your time in our DE (or Category 2 or 3 Instructor program).  HPDE 3 is the destination skillset of the drivers you are instructing in our HPDE system.  HPDE 3 is also our hardest advancement group in our system.  Successfully advancing from HPDE 3 includes 4 on-line open book exams and are part of our "flipped" curriculum.  These can be taken at any time and in the convenience of your own home or office.   The following AT TRACK and OFF TRACK requirements for advancing from HPDE 3 are listed below:


HPDE 3 ON TRACK Requirements for Cat 1, 2 and 3 Instructors

Category 1 instructors are required to run in at least 5 NASA GL HPDE 3 events before they can request a check out ride.  This is done to cement and engrain correct, advanced driving skills.  The addtional requirement is to run 2 or more tracks in group 3 to advance.

Category 2 Instructors are required to run in at least one HPDE 3 weekend event.  This is done so the Instructor Candidate can fully understand and appreciate our program and culture.  HPDE 3 attendance for a Category 2 Instructor (regardless of experience)  is required.  Truth be told, HPDE 3 is everyone's favorite run group to plan in due to both it's large size and the quantum leap in driver learning.  Typical passing drills when combined with HPDE 4 run group on Sunday will involve 50+ cars on track at the same time all working together.  The driving standards and comfort driving in close proximity in group 3 is required to advance.  As a certified Instructor from another club we expect you to excel in this run group format.

Category 3 (NASA Certified).  There are no HPDE 3 requirements for current, certified NASA Non-Great Lakes Region instructors.  This is an open-book exam and easy to earn 90%+ if you are familiar with the NASA CCR (a NASA National Instructor Requirement).  On-line NASA CCR rule book Open-Book Exam


HPDE 3 OFF TRACK On-Line, Open Book Exam requirements for Cat 1 and 2 Instructors



HPDE 4 ON TRACK Requirements for Cat 1, 2 and 3 Instructors

Category 1 Instructors are required to run in HPDE 4 for a minimum of 4 events.  One of those events required Instructor School prerequisites (HPDE 1 Classroom Audit) can be counted for the one of the 4 events.  There is a minimum of 4 role playing scenarios required in HPDE 4 along w exposure to basic data analysis capture and review.  Additional requirements (can be achieved remotely) for HPDE 4 advancement are listed below.

Category 2 Instructors are required to attend a minium of 1 event in HPDE 4 (not including the HPDE 1 audit) and involving 2 role playing scenarios.  Additional requirements (can be achieved remotely) for HPDE 4 advancement are listed below.

Category 3 (NASA Certified Instructors).  There are no HPDE 4 requirements for current, certified Non-NASA GL instructors.  The only requirement for a Cat 3 Instructor is the On-line NASA CCR rule book Open-Book Exam.  This is an open-book exam and easy to earn 90%+ if you are familiar with the NASA CCR (a NASA National Instructor Requirement).


HPDE 4 One-Time Instructor Requirements for Cat 1 and 2 Instructors

  • HPDE Tech.  A senior Instructor will support you with a one time walk-through of our Tech Inspection program to help you become familiar with this process.
  • HPDE Instructor Morning Meeting Attendance.  Meet your fellow instrutors a our short Saturday and Sunday morning Instructor meetings.  These 15 minute meetings will expose you to our Instructor Team culture.  You are required to attend two instructor morning meetings and are welcome to attend them all (which most people do).
  • HPDE 1 Classroom Audit.  A unique HPDE 1 classroom audit where you partner with other Instructor candidates and act out the roles of both HPDE 1 customer and Instructor.  This weekend long event includes attending class and then doing the same actual on-track drills our customers experience.  This familiarizes you with our HPDE 1 classroom curriculum and it's supporting documents (noted below).  This is an entire weekend program and any free time outside of your group 1 duties can be spent in HPDE 4.  You will register under a unique line item w the total cost of the weeknd being $25.  Most instructor candidates find 2 or 3 sessions a weekend to drive in HPDE 4. Plan on driving all 8 sessions and role playing in your car (right seat required for role playing).
  • Track Walk Demonstration.  You will be asked to lead a track walk with a group of fellow instructors/instructor candidates.  The purpose of this is to review your understanding and knowledge of track surfaces, camber, elevation change, line, visual references and general driving knowledge.
  • It is recommended that you instruct with other organizations and we can help you do this.  Go and get your feet wet at your local track.  Practice makes perfect.
  • HPDE 3 Tire Temps and Pressures support in pit lane for one session.
  • It is recommended that you achieve MSF Level 1 Instructor certification.  Most all our NASA GL instructors have earned this one time, on-line certification. All of the above prepares you for success at our April Mid-Ohio 3 day instructor clinic where you will be assigned an HPDE 1 customer and help them learn the foundational concepts of open track driving.  Be nationally recognized as an MSF Level I (or II) instructor with your peers.


HPDE 4 OFF TRACK On-Line, Open Book Exam requirements for Cat 1 and 2 Instructors


Once all the above requirements are completed (4 total events in HPDE 4 for a Cat 1 Instructor Including Audit) and 2 events for an HPDE 4 Cat 2 Instructor (also including audit) you are eligible to attend our annual Instructor Clinic.  Here you will demonstrate concepts you've learned in your HPDE 4 Instructor Candidate program and on-line exams.  This on-track part classroom and part on-track role playing ITS 



All of the following criteria apply to a new Instructor coming up through the NASA GL HPDE program.  Those in RED are requirements for those Instructors coming from outside our system.  You must provide evidence of your valid Instructor Status via picture of your license, screen-shot, certificate or e-mail from an acting Chief Instructor.  References will be contacted.  

Each region runs their Instructor certificaiton program differently.  Each year NASA Great Lakes holds a 3 day Instructor School at MId-Ohio in April.   We've been doing this since 2014 and it's always on a Friday.  Our next school with be in April, on a Friday at Mid-Ohio.  Date TBD.  The one time cost for this program is $349.  The 3 day program consists of various role playing scenarios both on and off track, USE if our HPDE 1 classroom curriculm that was learned in the prerequisite HPDE 1 classroom audit, common, proven Instructor techniques and the actual use of customer review materials to document driver performance.  Our Instructor program is designed to support the HPDE 1 driver by connecting what happens in the classroom to what happens on track.  This is a direct relationship.  As part of the RED SHIRT Instructor development program you will learn both HOW to instruct and WHAT to instruct.  The what is our curriculum which includes all the foundational driving elements that make a successful DE driver.  There are several pre-requisites to our program and these are noted below.  Completion of all of these allows for a higher caliber Instructor Clinic.  Visiting instructors please note that all of the pre-requisites to our Instructor Clinic below are PART OF OUR NORMAL HPDE SYSTEM.  If you are to become an Instructor within our NASA GL region you need to learn, understand and be proficient with the same driving concepts our DE drivers are exposed to.

Are you ready to get started?  Please send me an email at: and we can get your on your way.





NASA Great Lakes Instructor school graduates driving in HPDE 4 pay $75 per weekend event.   Time-Trail drivers and Racers pay $100.  There is no cost for an instructor Not Driving.  Free lunch in included on event weekends.  There are requirements that must be met when instructing a weekend event and failure to attend/execute/show up may lead to permanent loss of your NASA Great Lakes Instructor status and privledges.  We take instruction seriously and put our customers and clients above our own personal track goals.  Instruction is not for everyone.  You must be dedicated to putting your student above your own driving weekend.  You can do both but it makes for a very, very busy weekend.  Each HPDE 1 Instructor is required to tech one or more car Saturday morning and ride right seat for 4 sessions on Saturday and 4 on Sunday.  NASA Great Lakes only assigns 1 student per each instructor in HPDE 1.



We think we run one of the best HPDE programs in the nation.  Yes, I just said that.  Our staff of HPDE leaders and instructors have evolved into a highly collaborative, continously improving team.  Each year we raise our bar and strive for higher levels of customer satisfaction, education, entertainment and execution.  Our current program began in 2014 and has 10 experienced group leaders, two chief instructors and we've certified over 160 in and out of region instructors.  HPDE 1 group leader John Santiago says it best:  "we are a learning organization".   Drivers who frequent NASA Great Lakes region get the best HPDE education out there.  We are an educational business model and not a "just lapping" group.  Our drivers excel at the fundamentals and frequently advance up our HPDE program to become outstanding DE drivers, instructors and nationally ranked Time-Trail drivers and wickedly talented racers.  We are not your normal lapping organizaiton that advances students to solo and leaves them alone.  Our program has instruction and classroom up to and including transition to Instructor, TT and W2W racing.  As such, this is a very high bar for instructors as we are not just "teaching the line".  Many instructors from outside our system and starting in HPDE 3 (a requirement) do not make the instructor cut.  The fall-out rate is high and we are very motivated and willing to work with you if you are looking to advance and improve your driving skills.  If you are looking for another Instructor Status using the thought process of "just signing up" please find another organization to drive with.  Understanding and being an extension of our system is a requirement to be a NASA GL instructor and the way this is learned is by going though our program.


NASA Regional HPDE Instructor rules that you'll want to know:

  • Advancement from HPDE 1 to 2 involves a check out process.  An assigned instructor does not have the final signoff of his/her student.
  • All Instructors are required to tech inspect thier Student's car with them plus one other HPDE car on Saturday morning.  Sample HPDE Tech sheet listed below.
  • NASA Instructors can run in any HPDE run group PROVIDED that they A.  Speak directly with the offical group leader of that group and B.  Follow the guidelines of that group as provided by that same group leader.  This includes drills, passing rules, pace and proximity.
  • NASA GL certified Instructors may take an approved passenger for ride-alongs provided that the above criteria have been met and the passenger is either a registered driver or has a passenger wristband available at registration.  There is no cost for the passenger.  Have them bring a driver's license.  Helmet rental available for a fee.
  • Visiting NASA Instructors should be familiar with the Club Codes and Regulations (CCR).  NASA CCR rules.
  • A NASA GL HPDE 1 Instructor is required to use HPDE 1 forms and documents that support our HPDE 1 aligned program.
  • NASA GL Instructors are excpected to contact their assigned student via e-mail after student/Instructor pairings.  It is required to Cc. the Chief Instructor at:  Components of your e-mail shall include (but are not limited to):   Event schedule.  Event track map.  HPDE Tech sheet.  Inquiries about the student's car, car modifications, driver's experience, driver's track familiarity and the driver's goals for the weekend.  Location of student/instructor first meeting (most often at the Saturday morning Tech Inspection typically held on grid).
  • A Cat 1, 2 or 3 Instructor may not both Instruct for their first year with NASA GL and race as a rookie in the same season.  We have found that doing both greatly distracts from the quality of instruction our customers receive.  Choose one or the other but not both.
  • Cat 2 and 3 instructors may be subject to special considerations including faster advancement through the process or delayed acceptance into our program based on driving skills, passing talent, general situational awareness skills and the duration from the last time they have instructed. 


NASA GL Instructor Resources and tools you should be familiar with:


Instructor Learning Resources:








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