Run Group Promotion Requirements
Published: October 18, 2012; updated: July 4, 2013
This page lists my requirements for run group promotion. These are the minimum requirements, intended for drivers who specifically want to move up one or more groups, and primarily focus on safety and awareness rather than particular driving techniques. Most drivers spend some time at each level working on going faster. See student evaluation for a list of skills that you can work on.
To drive solo, you must:
- Respect blend line.
- Have your fist out when pitting in.
- See what is going on on the track early enough to take action (flags/incidents).
- Know all flags.
- Demonstrate awareness of flags being displayed (wave to corner workers).
- Have a reasonable idea of where the corner stations are.
- Know where the passing zones are.
- Give correct point-by signals.
- Be aware of cars behind you (prompt point-bys).
- Pass and be passed safely (staying on your half of the track).
- Follow slower cars sufficiently close that you get point-bys from them.
- Drive a safe line. This means:
- Braking in a straight line before corners.
- Finishing braking before turn in point.
- Turn in points not excessively early.
- Throttle application no earlier than apex.
- Unwinding steering at corner exit.
- No abrupt car inputs.
Requirements for novice solo are primarily safety. You will note that being fast is not one of them. Nor are you expected to drive a perfect line at this stage.
- Hitting apexes in most if not all corners.
- Reasonable consistency and smoothness in braking, steering and throttle.
If you are better than this, check out intermediate requirements below.
This is when you are in an intermediate run group with an instructor, either because it is the policy of the organization you are running with to start everyone in the intermediate group with an instructor, because you requested an instructor prior to the event, or because your instructor moved you from novice to intermediate during an event but remains in the car with you.
To be in this group, you must:
- Have reasonable pace (lap time). Pace varies greatly with organizations and run group composition at a particular event, but roughly speaking, if you are the slowest car on the track in an intermediate group chances are you should be in the novice group instead.
- Be aware of cars behind you (prompt point-bys).
- Be comfortable passing and being passed in most passing zones. Generally speaking, you must be comfortable passing and being passed in everything that is designated as a "straight" on a track map for the track you are running. Some tracks have "optional" passing zones that are very short, you do not have to pass or give point-bys in those.
Note that the novice solo requirements do not apply to intermediate instructed requirements. This is because you will have an instructor who will be able to fix any issues with your driving.
Requirements for an intermediate group focus on pace, such that you are not holding up all other cars on the track.
This is when you are in an intermediate group without an instructor.
To run in intermediate solo, you must fulfill all of the requirements for novice solo and intermediate instructed groups combined. In other words, you must be safe and have respectable pace to not hold up the rest of your run group.
- Be comfortable passing and being passed in all designated passing zones.
- Cars should not be stuck behind you for any length of time in any of the designated passing zones.
- Have good consistency and smoothness over an entire session at intermediate group pace.
- Executing the school line with good precision.
This is when you go out in an advanced group with an instructor.
"Advanced instructed" driver is a rare phenomenon. You can take advantage of instruction in an advanced group, in organizations that offer this, to speed up your promotion to advanced solo. Most advanced groups allow passing anywhere including corners; most intermediate groups do not. As an advanced driver you are expected to be comfortable with passing in corners, yet as an intermediate driver you almost never have opportunities to practice this - a chicken and egg problem. Going out in an advanced group with an instructor will allow you to practice passes in corners, and your instructor will help you do so safely.
To be an advanced instructed driver, you must fulfill all requirements for an intermediate solo and you should be close to requirements for advanced solo, below.
The highest non-instructor run group. Many organizations allow passing in corners in advanced groups, which demands outstanding awareness of other cars.
To be in an advanced group, you must:
- Fulfill all requirements for intermediate solo, above.
- Check all corner stations every lap (no missed flags).
- Have exceptional awareness of other cars, both in front and behind.
- Comfortable driving off line in any corner or straight.
- Comfortable giving and receiving passes in braking zones and corners, if permitted by the passing rules of the organization running the track day.
- Cars most not be stuck behind you for any length of time.
You also should have excellent driving technique, partially because the advanced group is supposed to be the fastest, and partially because you have to have the correct technique to drive close to the limit. There are no absolute rules for what you must do or what you do not have to do, but the more advanced techniques you know and use the better.