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Discussion Starter #1
Talk me through it like I\'m a retard....

But I wanna get my comp. license. Open track days are fun... but I think, as my life gets more serious... I wanna get more serious about racing the Focus.

So what all is involved? Both the NASA and SCCA websites don't really have a nice english version of the how-to.

Should I say screw it and just spend a weekend out at Bondurant?
 

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Re: Talk me through it like I\'m a retard....

I would start out with the Barber Experience and work your way up from there. Allan (aka slidemaster on focaljet) can tell you more about it. His posts are all over the boards. Contact him and he will steer you straight. Ha ha.
 

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Re: Talk me through it like I\'m a retard....

Get a safe, legal car and go to the required two weekends of SCCA licensing school. Or, for NASA, graduate to their advanced group (if you are not already there) and ask to be put in their licensing program with a mentor. Either one will get you the license. Here in the SouthEast, Buccaneer SCCA runs a two-in-one every Feb at Roebling that allows you to get your license in one long weekend. Perhaps your region is similar.

Or, as you said, set the credit card on fire and hit a pro-licensing school. The drawback of this is you don't get to see the people you will be running with until you are running with them.

I went the NASA route, btw, and while I have no experience with the SCCA method, from what I have heard from other racers, the NASA route is superior.
 

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Re: Talk me through it like I\'m a retard....

I would have to say Go NASA as well. The SCCA does not rcognize a DMSB/FIA Class A race licese but NASA does. I was floored when SCCA told me I would have to "start over" from square one. NASA said sure they would convert it to a NASA license with no issues. I am back in the European Union again so my licese is good. If I ever do finally get my license transfered it will be to NASA. Make sure they get you a ACCUS/FIA background check you might need it later on down the road.
 

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Re: Talk me through it like I\'m a retard....

Get a safe, legal car and go to the required two weekends of SCCA licensing school. Or, for NASA, graduate to their advanced group (if you are not already there) and ask to be put in their licensing program with a mentor. Either one will get you the license. Here in the SouthEast, Buccaneer SCCA runs a two-in-one every Feb at Roebling that allows you to get your license in one long weekend. Perhaps your region is similar.

Or, as you said, set the credit card on fire and hit a pro-licensing school. The drawback of this is you don't get to see the people you will be running with until you are running with them.

I went the NASA route, btw, and while I have no experience with the SCCA method, from what I have heard from other racers, the NASA route is superior.
If you prove that you have some open track experience, and don't do anything stoooopid in school (on track...follow flags, show improvement in lines etc.), you can get waived out of the second school and get your novice permit in one weekend. That's what I did.
 

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Re: Talk me through it like I\'m a retard....

You may want to start with a good school like Bondurant. The Focus as it sits is tough to catagorize because of the blower. I would run with a group that allows for a wheel to wheel session at the end of the weekend.

Your always welcome to go through our program Todd. It would get you focusing on some little things that can make a big difference. We are a ton more formal than a year ago.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Re: Talk me through it like I\'m a retard....

If you prove that you have some open track experience, and don't do anything stoooopid in school (on track...follow flags, show improvement in lines etc.), you can get waived out of the second school and get your novice permit in one weekend. That's what I did.
Yah I'm not uber fast... but I do know what the line is... and I can stand to improve a bit when it comes to braking and such... so thats kinda what I'm hoping for. Not to say I'm an expert, but I don't really feel like getting grouped with a bunch of guys who wanna get their license to "feel young again" and have no clue what they're doing and have never set foot on a track before.

I know that makes me sound snobby.... but sometimes my patience wears thin. "OK I get it..... you pass offline... move on!"
 

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Re: Talk me through it like I\'m a retard....

Todd... have you thought about all the ramifications?
The car you race (wheel to wheel) will most likely not be able to be your daily driver. You will probably need a tow vehicle for racing. The cost of true racing goes up exponentially over what you are spending for "track weekends".

lastly... what series are you going to run in? The spec series or something else?

I'm all for getting for your license as long as you are prepared for the end game (whatever that end game may be)

Personally I say screw the license until you are truly ready to go racing, and just work those driving skills at a school or with formal training from Allan and so on. That way even on track weekends it'll be a ton of fun working those guys in better cars!!
 

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Re: Talk me through it like I\'m a retard....

jinstall i can identify....when i lived in jersey, north jersey scca had no problem with my emra comp license...moved to d.c. area sort of)and washington region wanted me to attend 2 schools. this after holding a senior comp license for 19 years...told em screw it..dont need you...nasa however had zero problem with it....
 

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Re: Talk me through it like I\'m a retard....

Yah I'm not uber fast... but I do know what the line is... and I can stand to improve a bit when it comes to braking and such... so thats kinda what I'm hoping for. Not to say I'm an expert, but I don't really feel like getting grouped with a bunch of guys who wanna get their license to "feel young again" and have no clue what they're doing and have never set foot on a track before.

I know that makes me sound snobby.... but sometimes my patience wears thin. "OK I get it..... you pass offline... move on!"
Well, experience is a good teacher. Knowing what to do in a situation is one thing, being able to do it is another. Personally, I think that the more seat time you get running with advanced groups (open point-by passsing) the better off you will be.

As for the other people you are getting a license with, if you don't like them now, you probably won't like them as racers either. That is why I think it is important to run with a group before commiting to the licensing procedure. Unfotunately, SCCA makes this hard, but NASA HPDE and race weekends being together allow it to happen easily.
 

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Re: Talk me through it like I\'m a retard....

Since you've done some Focus Challenge Events, you should be able to run in Group 4 once or twice in NASA...then all you need to do is take the Driving Concepts Racing School here in Southern California http://www.drivingconcepts.com/ , Which is around $500 (edit. It went up) for a weekend. You can use your own car in the DC School.

After that all you need to do is get a Physical and then request for a Provisional License to run in NASA. After Four clean Races with you’re Provisional, you can then request for your Competition License.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Re: Talk me through it like I\'m a retard....

Todd... have you thought about all the ramifications?
Yes I'm thinking about it all. The new paths that I'm going down here in the next year and a half should put me ready for the real stuff very soon, or I hope.

But yes, I'd be renting a car for the class... not in the Focus to get the license.... yet
 

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Re: Talk me through it like I\'m a retard....

Nasa is a good group. I personally prefer them to SCCA, unless your running pro level. Just a nicer group.

Todd you may want to run with as many groups as possible, Im trying to expose myself to as many instructors as I can to learn all the ideas that guys are using out there. Im out with SpeedTrial this weekend as a provisional instructor
 

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Re: Talk me through it like I\'m a retard....

Allan.. I'm not sure exposing yourself is the best way to gain instruction experience.. unless maybe those guys enjoy what they are seeing
 

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Re: Talk me through it like I\'m a retard....

Having been around NASA and SCCA and having seen the ugly underbellies of each, I'd still have to go with the SCCA program, or the pro program... More on that is a minute. As far as getting signed off for prior experience, seat time is seat time, and last time I looked, I wasn't making anymore money club racing than I did at the driver's school, but it was much cheaper to get in and I had personal feedback from some very good drivers.
I lucked up and had a Good national racer as instructor as well as a Pro racer (TransAm- http://www.baucommotorsports.com/ at my first school and a Very good National driver at my second.
NASA seemed to have the whole gammit of instructor skills at the events I've been to. From club racer (that's me) to well, other club racers.
.... but sometimes my patience wears thin. "OK I get it..... you pass offline... move on!"
Um. You may want to sit down, drink a cold one and rethink the whole thing. You won't make friends rushing in, taking chances, forcing the issue. (see Video "BUT I WAS SEVENTH"..) Patience is what racing is all about. Planning, executing, and ruminating the results before you plan your next attack.
It isn't just going balls out, Katie-Bar-The-Door, take no prisoners.
Oh, on the Pro (Barber, Bondurant, et al), We were told at our SCCA school. "We'll make sure you are safe drivers with enough knowledge someone else will want to be on track with you, and not worry about hurting them or yourself. If you want to learn fast, you'll have to pay big bucks at Barber, Roos, etc."


See http://www.rivergate5speed.com/scca/race/rrtimet.htm
 

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Re: Talk me through it like I\'m a retard....

this after holding a senior comp license for 19 years
hehe, he said senior...

Having just gotten my provisional comp license with NASA, that is the route I would recomend, but part of that is the way NASA MA runs thier program (I have no clue as to how the other regions run thier programs.) As you advance through the different levels of HPDE's you build up to the open passing (with a point) rules. Once you feel that you are comfortable enough on track then you can request to attend a comp school. I was fortunate enough to have instructed a few times with NASA, so I didn't have any problem getting into the school. From there it was a Friday ordeal with over 2.5 hours of track time and more than that in the classroom. The track time was everything from going out in the first session and pretty much no rules (they explained later that this was to get our attention,) and a practice rolling start and a practice restart. The next 40 minute session was devided in half spending 20 minutes track right and then 20 minutes track left. The next session was 10 minutes side by side with a partner all the way around the track, the switching sides for another 10 minutes, followed by twenty minutes of leapfrog drills. The final session was supposed to be a warm up lap followed by a standing start and race to the black flag (the standing start was called off due to track conditions) and the second half of the session was the same with a rolling start and race to the checker.

It was a hell of a lot of fun and I can't wait to put the license to good use.

What you do need to think about is why are you trying to get your comp license?
 

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Re: Talk me through it like I\'m a retard....

What you do need to think about is why are you trying to get your comp license?
Exactly. 'Comp license as trophy' is a waste of time and money. If you don't have anything to race, you're just some guy with an expensive membership card and maybe an extra war story or two. Better to spend that time and money on either honing your skills, prepping a car to race - or both. Get your comp license once you have a real need; it's just a friggin' piece of paper that represents a degree of self-preservation and 'plays well with others', not admission to a magic club filled with horny virgins and good beer.

Well, at least that wasn't the case with EMRA. But now that I think about it, the FIA Superlicense has to have *some* perks...

I agree with DFL and thetable - NASA (or at least NASA Mid Atlantic) has a good structure in place to get you there, and the school is very well designed. Open passing anywhere with a point by - in your street car, no less - will really keep one focused on playing well with others. But...I'll also agree with rheacer, in that I think the NASA instructor corps is lacking in talent, experience, and depth when compared to the SCCA pool. (I'm a NASA-certified HPDE instructor, btw)

Oh yeah - I've been cautioned against using rent-a-racers in general by no less than garyk, who was dumb enough to loan me his car for my comp license and further exploits. The cars seem to fall into two categories: ready to fall apart, or too nicely done for you to write off. You're on the hook if you ball one up.

Seriously, man. Don't do it. Get everything else ready first (marriage, finances, insurance, attitude, car, skills), and *then* do it.
 

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Re: Talk me through it like I\'m a retard....

What you do need to think about is why are you trying to get your comp license?
Exactly. 'Comp license as merit badge' is a waste of time and money. If you don't have anything to race, you're just some guy with an expensive membership card and maybe an extra war story or two. Better to spend that time and money on either honing your skills, prepping a car to race - or both. Get your comp license once you have a real need; it's just a friggin' piece of paper that represents a degree of self-preservation and 'plays well with others', not admission to a magic club filled with horny virgins and good beer.

Well, at least that wasn't the case with EMRA. But now that I think about it, the FIA Superlicense has to have *some* perks...

I agree with DFL and thetable - NASA (or at least NASA Mid Atlantic) has a good structure in place to get you there, and the school is very well designed. Open passing anywhere with a point by - in your street car, no less - will really keep one focused on playing well with others. But...I'll also agree with rheacer, in that I think the NASA instructor corps is lacking in talent, experience, and depth when compared to the SCCA pool. (I'm a NASA-certified HPDE instructor, btw)

Oh yeah - I've been cautioned against using rent-a-racers in general by no less than garyk, who was dumb enough to loan me his car for my comp license and further exploits. The cars seem to fall into two categories: ready to fall apart, or too nicely done for you to write off. You're on the hook if you ball one up.

Seriously, man. Don't do it. Get everything else ready first (marriage, finances, insurance, attitude, car, skills), and *then* do it.

It sounds like that Mid Atlantic is a lot like SoCal. Group 4/Time Trial is open passing every where. I think SoCal even takes it one step further were point bys are not need, but just recommended. Most of the drivers do it. Also, a lot of us have done TT for two years now, and you get use to each other on the track. I would say that 95% of the drivers in HPDE4 run in the Time Trial Series.

The NASAs SoCal Time Trial Series is one of the best Time Trials series around, because of the close competition, and the Qualifying style runs, with open passing every where. Some people from other time trial series kind of get nervous about that type of format, but once you run it. You really start to like it, and it can really be a good stepping stone into Wheel-to-Wheel racing.

Also, in Southern California NASA works closely with Driving Concepts, and Driving Concepts does a great job for experience open track drivers ready for wheel-to-wheel racing.
 
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