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Old 09-07-2016, 05:56 AM   #1
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Trackday Instructor Shortage?

This story from Road & Track about the risks and concerns of track day instructors caught my eye since I'll be instructing in someone else's car this weekend at the POC event at AutoClub Speedway in Fontana, CA.

I'll admit that I have concerns about personal safety when I get into a novice driver's car to instruct but that is mostly offset by the fact that most novice drivers are fairly slow, typically pretty cautious, and a modern Porsche is a pretty safe car. Also, I mostly instruct drivers in 986/987 Boxster's (because that is the car in which I have the most experience) and those cars aren't anywhere near being called "over-powered" - at least not like a Z06 or a Hellcat.

On another note, this is what the author had to say about Porsche club (those darn overly wealthy Porsche owners aren't motivated by fee discounts!);

I've been given to understand that most NASA regions aren't facing any kind of instructor shortage whatsoever, since they have multiple race groups every weekend full of drivers who are eager to save some money on registration fees by also coaching.

Most trackday providers don't have that luxury. Instead of having hundred or so licensed racers on hand every weekend, they have a relatively limited number of "black group" drivers in their fastest run groups. Some of those drivers are so wealthy that the prospect of saving money on the weekend doesn't interest them—think Porsche Club and Ferrari Club...


Read the full story here: Theres a Trackday Instructor Shortage a Brewin
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Last edited by thstone; 09-07-2016 at 06:05 AM.
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Old 09-07-2016, 06:31 AM   #2
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That quote might be true for the Ferrari Club, but not the Porsche club. The local PCA has tons of instructors out there working their butts off to get some "free" track time.

And they need no-cost track time because at the speeds they drive, they burn off a lot of rubber, brake pads, discs, and wear out suspension parts a lot faster than the rest of us, that's for sure.

I also think the Pcar owners who track their cars enough to instruct are not the stereotypical doctor who is leasing his Pcar for 3 years and driving it to work on pretty days when he's bored with his Range Rover.
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Old 09-07-2016, 07:40 AM   #3
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I've instructed with the Audi Club, HOD and others for about 7 years. Was asked to become chief instructor for the Audi Club but passed since I don't have the time. While I still instruct with Audi, I don't with the other groups because I've simply grown tired of getting in cars with people who simply know it all and are unwilling to learn. While that isn't everyone, it's increased over the years and seems to be a trend. Not sure why. I've literally gotten out of students cars after a couple laps due to this.

I still haven't attended a PCA event - but hope to next year. Not sure if I'd want to instruct or not.
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Old 09-07-2016, 12:02 PM   #4
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Plenty of instructors at the Phoenix area PCA HPDEs doing it for free track time. Overall the folks that show up are a pretty great bunch of real Porsche enthusiast there to learn what their car can do and willing to learn from the instructors on hand. Most common car is the Boxster.

I read the article and for the most part agreed. The organizations need to do a better job of self monitoring and if they don't its just a matter of time before someone else will do it for them. Until then, it's up to each instructor to do what's right. I know when I go out with an instructor I listen to every word and I'm very grateful for their willingness to go out with me because I know they don't have to and they are taking a risk.
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Old 09-07-2016, 07:20 PM   #5
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I know someone that races a 911 and is an instructor for PCA and chin. He said he was going to stop instructing for PCA because they're a PIA. I didn't dig deeper to see why he felt that way.
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Old 09-08-2016, 08:12 PM   #6
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A pretty inflammatory article that misses more than it hits. I have been instructing with PCA for 9 years and serve as CDI for our region events these days. I have instructed in nearly everything from 400hp Carrera, 650hp GT2RS, Z06, 944 LS3 and I think there is very low risk if you have good command of the car and driver from the right seat.

We manage to fill our PCA DE instructor spots pretty well and our safety record is as good as anywhere. To the instructor that feels "the cars are too fast now" I simply suggest he get more instructor training. We do instructor training every year and have another event coming up in October. If you as an instructor lack confidence, the student senses this and thats when things can go sideways, literally.
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Old 09-08-2016, 08:19 PM   #7
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^^^^

I can personally attest that Topless knows what he is saying.

At least in our PCA region, we have great instructors and no shortage of instructors. Over the last 2 years, I have had the pleasure of around 12 different instructors and I learned a lot from each of them.

I am working to be an Autocross instructor and eventually ( a ways down the road) a track instructor. Pay it forward
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Old 09-09-2016, 10:49 AM   #8
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I have really enjoyed working with and learning a lot from the PCA instructors with Florida Crown PCA Region - for me it is a ways down the road as well but if it is the cards for me to become a PCA instructor when the time is right I plan to do it and give some back.
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Old 09-09-2016, 02:19 PM   #9
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In thinking more about this - especially after ready peoples responses to the original post - it's probably less of an issue with clubs than it is organizations that sponsor track days. The club atmosphere is always a bit different. It's why I still instruct for Audi - I know the people and for the most part even the newcomers are more readily going to adopt to the club ethos and if they are not - you generally don't see them at the next event.

That being said - when we hold our yearly event at Sears Point - we can get upwards of 170 cars - including students and instructors. It's always a challenge to put an instructor in every right seat.
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Old 09-23-2016, 11:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thstone View Post
This story from Road & Track about the risks and concerns of track day instructors caught my eye since I'll be instructing in someone else's car this weekend at the POC event at AutoClub Speedway in Fontana, CA.

I'll admit that I have concerns about personal safety when I get into a novice driver's car to instruct but that is mostly offset by the fact that most novice drivers are fairly slow, typically pretty cautious, and a modern Porsche is a pretty safe car. Also, I mostly instruct drivers in 986/987 Boxster's (because that is the car in which I have the most experience) and those cars aren't anywhere near being called "over-powered" - at least not like a Z06 or a Hellcat.

On another note, this is what the author had to say about Porsche club (those darn overly wealthy Porsche owners aren't motivated by fee discounts!);

I've been given to understand that most NASA regions aren't facing any kind of instructor shortage whatsoever, since they have multiple race groups every weekend full of drivers who are eager to save some money on registration fees by also coaching.

Most trackday providers don't have that luxury. Instead of having hundred or so licensed racers on hand every weekend, they have a relatively limited number of "black group" drivers in their fastest run groups. Some of those drivers are so wealthy that the prospect of saving money on the weekend doesn't interest them—think Porsche Club and Ferrari Club...


Read the full story here: Theres a Trackday Instructor Shortage a Brewin
I once thought I would be interested in instructing to save a few $$
but now I do/would do it to give back to the community.

Right now my track time is scarce, I'm hoping that changes in the future.

M
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