WHAT IS DRIVERSí EDUCATION?

If you are reading this article on our website, you have probably had your curiosity tweaked by references from friends or something on the news. If you are like I was, you probably donít really know what Driver's Education (DE) means, but youíre too embarrassed to ask anyone! Well, relax: this article is for you, and it should answer most of your questions.  

Let me start by quoting our past President, Peter Kendig about Drivers Ed: ďItís the most fun youíll ever have in an upright position.Ē

Some of the regions of the Porsche Club of America (PCA) conduct driving education at race tracks which are reasonably close to their region. Coastal Bend Region RGV Area conducts its driving events at the Cameron County Airport in Bayview. Our DEís are generally held six times a year. We host monthly events & we alternate between DE's & Auto-X's with the exception of the summer months.  We normally use the full race course (1.6 miles) for our DEís. This is not a race school. We teach driving techniques that make you a better and safer driver on the highway, and you get to learn just how great Porsches really are!

What are the requirements to participate?  Coastal; Bend Region would like participants be members or affiliate members of PCA, but we allow members of the BMW car club, SCCA, Valley Corvette Club & Mustang club or any license driver 18 years or older to participate. Our region requires that each participant use a helmet with a Snell rating of either SA95 or a M2000. We do have loaner helmets if you don't own your own.

Do I have to drive a Porsche at the event? No. If you qualify to participate, you can bring whatever car you choose (naturally, we prefer Porsches).

Whatís in it for my wife, girlfriend, S.O., etc? We have a number of women that participate and love it. Several of our instructors are female. Donít be shy!

What do I have to do to my car to participate? All cars must pass an event technical inspection by a authorized tech inspector and should have bled the brakes within two weeks of the school. If your car has an open convertible top, you must install a roll bar or must have one of the new "pop-up rollbars" that are factory original equipment. If you have any questions give us a call.

How do I get to the track, and what do I do when I get there? The morning of the event, you should be at the track by 8:30 A.M. or the specified time for the event check the website.  Bring a full tank of gas the nearest gas station is 15 min away. The track is located near South Padre Island on of FM 510. We have a map on our website if you need help. Security will meet you as you enter the facility and direct you to registration. EVERYONE (visitors included) must sign the PCA insurance release form. Pick out a nice place to park and then completely unload your car of extraneous or loose equipment and get in line for the participant vehicle safety inspection. After inspection, usually about 9:30, there will be a mandatory drivers meeting, and further information about the activities of the day will be provided.

 How much track time will I get?  Each level gets 2-3 track sessions of Ĺ hour each per day. Bring a full tank of gas the nearest gas station is 15 min away.

What is the cost?  The tuition for our DEís is $80.00 for each driver of a car.

O.K., so what happens? Assuming you are a novice, once the safety inspection is done, the drivers meeting is held. At this meeting, event procedures will be discussed, and you will be teamed up with your instructor for the day. He or she will talk with you about your car, your driving experience and about what he or she expects from you during the day.

When itís finally time for you to go out, the event coordinator will announce on the PA that the green group should line up on the grid. Take your car to the designated grid area and wait for your instructor. When the session starts, your instructor will take your car onto the track and drive it for at least the first two laps. During this period, your instructor will point out flagging stations, and will generally show you the proper driving line around the track. You will try to absorb everything and will probably go into overload, but thatís expected so donít worry about it! After a couple of laps, your instructor will drive into the ďpitsĒ and you will switch seats. Now the real fun and education begins!

At first, you will not be driving fast. Things like hand positions on the wheel, seat position, braking points, turn-in points, driving line, use of mirrors, track awareness and passing etiquette will be covered in detail. Your session will last about Ĺ hour and will go by in a hurry. After the session, your instructor will review the session with you and will complete the first part of the evaluation form. The remaining sessions will be devoted to honing the skills it takes to become a good driver! At the end of the day, you may be asked to help pick up cones on the track. We would appreciate your help if you are asked! 

Caution!  Drivers Education can be (and usually is) addictive!

More questions?  Contact, Rene Molina, by phone at (956) 789 5469, or by e-mail at rmj928s@swbell.net