High-Performance Driver Education (HPDE)

Gateway to Getting Involved
If you have always wanted to know what “your car could do”, but you know the streets and highways are not the place. Have you watched racing on TV and have thought that you would like to try it or thinking “I can do that”? NASA gives you and your car an easy, safe, and affordable way to get on the track! No speed limits, no pedestrians, but best of all-no tickets. The NASA HPDE (High Performance Driving Education) provides you with an experienced and Certified Instructor to help guide you through the event, one on one, as you learn how to handle your car at the limit. You set your own goals and go as fast as you feel comfortable going. You can progress as far as you want, even get a competition license.

Who can participate?
Anyone who is a member of NASA (or a NASA sanctioned car club) may participate. Minimum age is 18 (16 with parental consent). Many different types of people enter our events. The number of women who are taking our courses has steadily increased and most are very eager to enhance their driving skills. A lot of husbands and wives also team up and use only one car which makes it a little bit more convenient. There are many teenagers and young adults who receive a school entry, compliments of their parents who want to teach their kids to be safer drivers.
Basically, all you need is a safe car and a helmet. The car does not have to be fancy or fast. Students bring everything from a Hyundai to a Ferrari. Read the requirements for the other miscellaneous items required.


  • Membership in NASA or a NASA sanctioned club
  • Any car in safe operating condition (from Ferrari to Hyundai)
  • Mufflers. Different tracks have different sound policies
  • Roll bars in convertible autos that are not pre-approved (see list of convertibles that are approved)
  • Seat belts in good working order
  • State driver’s license
  • Long sleeve shirt and pants (cotton is great)
  • A helmet
  • Knowledge of the Club Codes and Regulations
  • At least 18 years of age (16 w/parental consent)


Full Course:
The student participants are separated according to their experience level into four basic groups: One, Two, Three, and Four. There are no speed limits in any of the groups, and the novice drivers are assigned instructors for safety reasons. personal attention is paid to every student.

Body damage to cars very rarely occurs, however you are encouraged to check with your insurance company regarding coverage. Most insurance companies cover damages to your car during the school (HPDE) portion of the event. Be careful if they tell that it is not covered. Agents have been wrong before. Ask them for a list of “exclusions” in YOUR policy and consult an expert.

Run Group Explanation

NASA HPDE Vehicle Tech Inspection Sheet

This is where you begin. This is one on one guidance from experienced Instructors, as you learn to control your car and yourself. Your mentor will provide you with guidance as you learn to drive at the limit. You will address how to approach a turn, the fast way around it, what gear should you be in, how to brake, and how to exit. Passing is very limited in the Group 1 Sessions and only done on the straight sections.

Your instructor has determined you can drive on your own and with less supervision. You apply what you learned in the Group 1 sessions to get more practice. Group 2 is often mixed with Group 1 and is for drivers who want more Group 1 seat-time but do not need an instructor.

You have progressed to the world of high performance driving. The passing rules in group 3 are not as strict. You must learn to share the track at high speeds with others.

Congratulations! You have made it, no passing restriction except those of good judgment and rules of the road etiquette. You and your peers are now experiencing the joys of doing it right in a relatively safe and controlled environment! You can now enjoy high performance driving at its finest. Those that wish to can petition to apply for a competition license.