Friday , April , 10 2020
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NASA Great Lakes Region HPDE Instructor Program

Are you a current HPDE Instructor with another organization or a current NASA HPDE 3 or 4 driver interested in becoming a Great Lakes Instructor?  This page is for you and outlines your path 

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 and preparation for advancement should they choose.  Our Great Lakes region is a bit different in that we hold downloads and classroom for each of the 4 run groups providing higher and higher levels of instruction and advanced driving concepts.  We are a learning organizaiton and our curriclum reflects this.

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 entered into the NASA National database and other regions have visibility.  This allows an Instructor from Ohio or any other state to Instruct at a NASA event at Road Atlanta, VIR, Daytona and other tracks where NASA holds events with the permission and at the discretion of the local Chief Instructor or Registrar or Regional Director.  

Our unique HPDE 1 curriclum has the instructor as a direct extension of the classroom.  He/she supports his/her student with a specific on-track curriclulum that is "Aligned" to the classroom.  This is represented with on-track drills, student evaluation forms and student downloads.  All of our HPDE 1 Instructors are assigned 1 student for 8 sessions and the student's learning 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.  All out of region NASA Instructors MUST have a VALID Instructor License that is visible in their NASAPRORACING profile.  No exceptions.  Please contact your regional Chief Instructor if your profile does not contain this.


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.

  1. Never Instructed and currently enrolled in our HPDE system.  These future Instructors fall into our RED SHIRT Instructor Program
  2. NASA certified Instructor from another region
  3. Non-NASA certified Instructor or outside driver with one or more Instructor Certifications (BMWCCA, PCA, MSF L II, Chin Track Days, etc.).



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.


Required by out of region instructors possessing a formal instructing certificaiton and seeking NASA Great Lakes region Instructor certification.  These are minimum requirements BEFORE entering our April Instructor Clinic.   These are the prerequisite efforts required to complete before being accepted into our HPDE Instructor Clinic 

  • One event in HPDE 3* (minimum)  Participation in group 3 is to fully understand the goal of creating a NASA GL driver.  This is an non-negotiable.
  • One event in HPDE 4* (minimum)  2 role playing scenarios and your demonstration of your abilities to run in our advanced group with advanced passing drills, mock flying double wide and single file restart drills, 2 and 3 wide traffic exercises and general situational awareness will be tested in group 4.
  • One dedicated HPDE 1 classroom audit weekend*.   This one time requirement will have you attending all meetings, classrooms and peform the same drills and paperwork that you'll be instructing for your future HPDE 1 assigned student.  This carries with it a one-time weekend cost of $25 Total.  For those moments you are not in the classroom or on track you are welcome to run in HPDE 4.  We appreciate your investment in learning and recognize you are investing in us as much as we are investing in you.

*These are minimum standards.  More events in HPDE 3 or 4 may be required to be considered into our  Instructor Clinic in April.  


HPDE 3 specifics:

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 cars next to them.  This requires both individual and group awareness skills and is at the heart of HPDE 3.  HPDE 3 does various passing drills along with surprise flags, mock flying double wide starts and single-file restarts and 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.  HPDE 3 works as a group and your 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 including the outside of corners, at close proximity at speed.  Much of the performance drivign you will be tested on invovled 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 Instructor program.  HPDE 3 is the destination skillset of the drivers you are instructing in our HPDE system.  Successfully advancing from HPDE 3 includes 3 on-line open book exams.  These can be taken at any time.  These include:

  • On-line Ultimate Speed Secrets Open-Book Exam
  • On-line NASA CCR rule book Open-Book Exam
  • On-line Introduction to Data Acquisition Exam


HPDE 4 specifics:

The follow concepts are required for Instructors advancing from HPDE 4.

HPDE TECH.  Attendance and involvement with our NASA GL Saturday morning Tech Inspecton.  You will learn how to tech a car.  This happens in HPDE 4.

HPDE INSTRUCTOR MORNING MEETING ATTENDANCE.  Start your instructor knowledge with your fellow instrutors as soon as you commit to the Red Shirt Program.  Attendence in both Saturday and Sunday morning Instructor meetings (15 minutes) is your step to familiarity of our system and culture.

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 support documents.  The cost for this is $25 and it is a one time event.  This is an entire weekend program and any free time outside of your group 1 duties can be spent in HPDE 4.

4 ROLE PLAYING SESSIONS.   Role Playing events both on and off track with our senior instructor mentors allow you to practice and learn.  Let's practice during the season to get you some experience so the actual April Clinic can be of higher quality and a higher standard.  These on and off track role play events happen during an HPDE 4 event.

Ross Bentley's Instructor Manifesto document and a 20 question open book quiz.  The Instructor Manifesto is the HPDE Instructor bible.

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.

 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.

DATA ACQUISITION BEGINNER TEST.  This 40 question open book exam requiring 90% or better to pass.  You have 4 total attempts to pass.

TRACK WALK DEMONSTRATION.  You must attend and pass a Track Walk with Chief Instructor Eric Meyer.  You'll be asked to present to a group and share your findings.  This happens during an HPDE 4 event.

 NASA GREAT LAKES CCR (RULE BOOK) AND INSTRUCTOR EXAM.  This is a free on-line exam using the NASA rule book and common driving knowledge.  It is open book and a passing grade of 90% or better is required to pass.  This is a one time exam for new instructors and continuing education (once every 2 years) for certified instructors.

 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.


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.
  • 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 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).


NASA GL HPDE 1 Instructor Resources and tools you should be familiar with:

NASA Rules (CCR)

NASA Great Lakes HPDE 1 classroom presentation (full)

HPDE 1 Drill Descriptions for Instructor

HPDE 1 TO 2 Advancement Instructions for Instructor

HPDE 1 to 2  Advancement Instructions for Student

1/3/5 Session Review Packet.  You will use this document several times.




Instructor Learning Resources:

Richmond Shreve Free Manual

Instructor Manifesto Free Download

Richmond Shreve Free Resources

MSF Certification (not required to Instruct by highly recommended)