Newbie questions about what to expect/prepare for

Questions and information about the WHRRI Driver's School
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stefanodel
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Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2018 1:00 pm

Newbie questions about what to expect/prepare for

Post by stefanodel » Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:07 am

Hello, everyone. I am currently registered for the WHRRI driver's school this year and had a few questions about what to expect or be prepared for. Hopefully someone can help me out with these questions, and hopefully this may help someone else with the same questions.

Firstly, the paperwork side. I bought a car that came with an old SCCA logbook, but has not been raced in several years. Will I need to apply for a new logbook before the safety inspection, or can I show up with the old logbook in hand and expect to be issued a new logbook on-site? I plan to bring the car to the classroom session because I've heard that it is a convenient time to have the safety inspection done.

In addition, I chose the registration option to receive an SCCA novice permit upon completion of the school (I'm already an SCCA member). However, I've read on the SCCA website that a novice permit must be applied for, with other paperwork submitted, before attending an accredited school. Can anyone confirm or deny this? I've also had my physical exam paperwork completed, but I'm not sure if I just show up at the school with the physical form in hand, or if I have to mail it in/submit it somewhere prior to the school. I just don't want to show up at the school with paperwork in hand that was supposed to be submitted before the school.

Also, what can I expect during the on-track portion of the school? I've heard that you aren't pushing very hard, and it's mostly on pace with a typical caution lap just to learn the basics. I'm not sure if that's true, but I'm mostly curious if I can expect a new set of Hoosier SM7's to last both days of the on-track portion.

I have no prior club racing experience, and this will be my first school. Any help answering these questions is greatly appreciated, and I look forward to seeing all of you at the track!

ADPWL1
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2014 12:34 pm
WHRRI Member Number: 2785
Location: Brownstown, MI

Re: Newbie questions about what to expect/prepare for

Post by ADPWL1 » Thu Apr 04, 2019 9:45 pm

Its been three years since I attended class, and I took last year off from racing, but lets see if I can help answer a few. Anyone else, please correct me if I'm wrong here.

As for the log book, I think a log book just continues from person to person until it doesn't have any more pages, then at an inspection event, you can apply for another book. They usually are doing SCCA inspections at school. Just fill out the next empty page with all you've done to prepare the car for this season.

As for the Novice paperwork, just have all that filled out, including your completed medical form, they will take all that at class and submit it for you. I know when I attended, as long as all the paperwork was completed, they issued a novice permit at the end of the class/track sessions. Get the latest versions of the Novice Permit and Medical forms from the SCCA site.

As for the on-track portion, there is some actual racing, but not until all the basics and stuff are completed. I can't recall everything we did, but I do remember doing side by side driving so both drivers could experience passing and driving on a part of the track you would normally not drive on. I would say a set of new tires will last you the weekend. If its raining, they will still run, so be prepared.

I would HIGHLY suggest you bring a person or two that can help you with the car and getting prepped in the car. An example, someone that can help you get your belts on, adjust your outside mirrors, tire pressures, car repairs, fuel.... All that sort of stuff. You will have little time to fix the car on your own if something happens. Track accidents do happen. I fell off into the pebbles and needed to get towed out, and have one of my tires dismounted to clean out all the pebbles that came in when the tire bead pulled away from the rim. If I hadn't had someone with me, I would have had to handle all that activity and miss the after track debrief and possibly not complete the weekend. Bring what you would bring to a race weekend, be prepared.

Good Luck and have fun!!! Make friends and ask lots of questions, especially of the instructors and those that have been around.
---------------------------------------
Andy Pawlowski
1994 Spec Miata #38

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surratta
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Location: Ann Arbor, MI

Re: Newbie questions about what to expect/prepare for

Post by surratta » Fri Apr 05, 2019 9:10 am

^^^ what he said.

there will be several on-track sessions bringing you up to speed on saturday. racing line, find your apexes, braking points, shift points, flags, rules, controlled passing, nerves, adrenaline. plan on being exhausted at the end of the day.

sunday will see more of the same, and you'll also probably be thrown some curve balls, many of which are planned. you'll do some practice starts, you'll likely get a wave-off, maybe a black flag, maybe a red flag (please, please know your flags ahead of time), you'll do controlled side-by-sides, and at the end of the day, you'll do a full-on race starting from the false grid.

ask questions of your instructors, stewards, corner workers, fellow students. absorb. there'll be a lot of knowledge and wisdom milling about, but you may need to speak up to get access to it. people running the school tend to be very helpful. they're all volunteers. they all want you to succeed.
Andrew Surratt, Resident Troll

Camaro67racer
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Re: Newbie questions about what to expect/prepare for

Post by Camaro67racer » Fri Apr 05, 2019 11:15 am

It would be a great idea to bring the car to the classroom session. That way if there are any issues that Tech finds during the inspection, you'll have time to fix them and won't be in a panic. There's a lot of nerves to work through during driver's school.
Bring the logbook, you don't need a new one.
You mentioned the car hasn't been raced in several years which means the belts are likely expired. Check the dates and replace them with a quality set of belts purchased from an authorized dealer (not eBay, etc. there is counterfeit gear out there and it's not worth the risk of injury).
Also, have you thoroughly checked the car over and changed the fluids? Not sure what your familarity is with your car (assuming it's a Miata since you are running SM7s?) or mechanical aptitude, but they last thing you want is any mechanical issues on the on-track portion of school. Not a bad idea to have someone look over the car and check suspension, etc. if you aren't familiar with what to look for. You could ask V2 Motorsports or someone else in the area.
As for tire wear, driver's school will be among the first on the new track surface so no one knows yet how tire wear will be affected. That said, a set of stickers should last you the weekend no problem, but I would recommend having another set of tires on hand. You never know if you'll drop a wheel and de-bead a tire or flat spot tires after a lockup. Also, since you are learning, if you can find a set of used take-off SM7s to use, that would save your sticker tires later for racing and when you get more comfortable in the car. Unfortunately, I don't have any used tires at the moment but you can ask around or put up a post. Mike Novak might have some or maybe Ralph at V2.
As mentioned in another post, get a buddy or two to help you during the on-track sessions.
Remember to eat, stay hydrated (with water!), and have fun!!
Jon Yanca

#20 Spec Miata
(Former) #20 T4 MX-5

stefanodel
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Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2018 1:00 pm

Re: Newbie questions about what to expect/prepare for

Post by stefanodel » Sun Apr 07, 2019 2:58 pm

Thank you all for answering my questions and giving helpful advice.

To answer some of your questions, yes, the car is an old Spec Miata. The belts were outdated and have been replaced with new certified belts, along with any other safety equipment that needed recertification. I've had a professional shop inspect the car, and have fixed or will be fixing any potential mechanical issues prior to the school. All 4 shocks are pretty badly worn, but shouldn't be a safety issue or threat of mechanical failure. I ordered a new set of shocks but I won't get them before the on-track portion of the school. I'll just have to deal with bad shocks for now.

I'm currently working with 2 sets of wheels and tires: SM legal wheels with sticker SM7s, and 16" Mazdaspeed OEM wheels with all-seasons on them just for street driving and moving the car. The plan is to mount up the wheels with the SM7s and drive it to school. In the event of rain, I guess I could make do with the all-seasons just to complete the school. I know it's not ideal, but as far as I know there aren't any rules against it. I was hoping to not have to make the commitment for another set of wheels with dedicated rain tires just yet.

Some of the most common advice I've heard is to bring help to work on the car. This may not be a possibility for me, and because I'll be driving the car to the school I won't have room to bring a lot of tools. I'm hoping that with good preparation I can minimize the chance that I'll have to do any on-site repairs.

Thank you all again for helping me out here. Feel free to chime in with thoughts on any of the stuff I've mentioned above. If not, I look forward to seeing you at the track.

Camaro67racer
Posts: 134
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2009 12:24 am
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Location: Saline/Ann Arbor

Re: Newbie questions about what to expect/prepare for

Post by Camaro67racer » Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:19 am

You will hear this many times at the track, but we always say...it's called "Water"ford Hills for a reason. Be prepared to change to rain tires or the all-seasons in your case. It seems to rain a lot at the track, especially driver's school (where it also tends to be 40 degrees that weekend, too).
Jon Yanca

#20 Spec Miata
(Former) #20 T4 MX-5

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