Monday , March , 30 2020
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NASA Great Lakes Region RED SHIRT  HPDE Instructor Development Program

Are you a current HPDE Instructor with another organization or a current NASA HPDE 3 or 4 driver interested in becoming a Great Lakes Instructor?  This page is for you and outlines your path 

NASA is a National organization with 13 regions across the USA.  The business model includes HPDE, Time-Trails and Wheel to Wheel racing.  We are a learning organization and our goal is to support our customers to whatever level of driving skill they aspire to.  Each for-profit NASA region uses the same HPDE passport with specific driving concepts to support 4 run groups:  HPDE 1 (for never been on track ever before to little to some experience) to HPDE 4 including detailed preparation to succeed in W2W, NASA Time Trials and Instruction.  4 run groups with 4 different curriculums all working together to create excellent drivers with excellent skills and preparation for advancement should they choose.

Each NASA region runs their own HPDE program w some slight variation and with their own unique personalization.  All regions typically have an Instructor certification program and Instructor status in one region is typically recognized in all other regions.  Discounts vary from region to region.  Once NASA Instructor status is earned in one region this license is entered into the NASA National database and other regions have visibility.  This allows an Instructor from Ohio or any other state to Instruct at a NASA event at Road Atlanta, VIR, Daytona and other tracks where NASA holds events with the permission and at the discretion of the local Chief Instructor or Registrar or Regional Director.  Usually you will be contacted by the Chief Instructor who may or may not brief you on thier region's unique curriculum and grant you permission to instruct in thier region.  NASA Great Lakes region has a specific set of support objectives a visting instructor must familiarize and demonstrate proficiency with before you can instruct.  Specificialy this is our unique HPDE 1 curriclum where the instructor is a direct extension of the classroom and supports his/her student with a specific on-track curriclulum that is "Aligned" to the classroom.  This is represented with on-track drills, student evaluation forms and student downloads.  This familiarity takes about 2 hours of initial study time prior to instructing at your first event.  All our HPDE 1 Instructors are assigned 1 student for 8 sessions and the student's learning takes priority over your driving.  This means you may be required to miss one of your sessions or find a suitable, certified replacement to cover you which is your responsibility.  All out of region NASA Instructors MUST have a VALID Instructor License that is visible in their NASAPRORACING profile.  No exceptions.  Please contact your regional Chief Instructor if your profile does not contain this.  No exceptions.  This is not the job of the NASA Great Lakes team.



All of the following criteria apply to a new Instructor coming up through the NASA GL HPDE program.  Those in RED are requirements for those Instructors coming from outside our system.  You must provide evidence of your valid Instructor Status via picture of your license, screen-shot, certificate or e-mail from an acting Chief Instructor.  References will be contacted.  

Each region runs their Instructor certificaiton program differently.  Each year NASA Great Lakes holds a 3 day Instructor School at MId-Ohio in April.   We've been doing this since 2014 and it's always on a Friday.  Our next school with be in April, on a Friday at Mid-Ohio.  Date TBD.  The one time cost for this program is $349.  The 3 day program consists of various role playing scenarios both on and off track, USE if our HPDE 1 classroom curriculm that was learned in the prerequisite HPDE 1 classroom audit, common, proven Instructor techniques and the actual use of customer review materials to document driver performance.  Our Instructor program is designed to support the HPDE 1 driver by connecting what happens in the classroom to what happens on track.  This is a direct relationship.  As part of the RED SHIRT Instructor development program you will learn both HOW to instruct and WHAT to instruct.  The what is our curriculum which includes all the foundational driving elements that make a successful DE driver.  There are several pre-requisites to our program and these are noted below.  Completion of all of these allows for a higher caliber Instructor Clinic because you are already familiar with many of the concepts you will be tested on.



We think we run one of the best HPDE programs in the nation.  Yes, I just said that.  Our staff of HPDE leaders and instructors have evolved into a highly collaborative, continously improving team.  Each year we raise our bar and strive for higher levels of customer satisfaction, education, entertainment and execution.  Our current program began in 2014 and has 10 experienced group leaders, two chief instructors and we've certified over 160 in and out of region instructors.  HPDE 1 group leader John Santiago says it best:  "we are a learning organization".   Drivers who frequent NASA Great Lakes region get the best HPDE education out there.  We are an educational business model and not a "just lapping" group.  Our drivers excel at the fundamentals and frequently advance up our HPDE program to become outstanding DE drivers, instructors and nationally ranked Time-Trail drivers and wickedly talented racers.  We are not your normal lapping organizaiton that advances students to solo and leaves them alone.  Our program has instruction and classroom up to and including transition to Instructor, TT and W2W racing.  As such, this is a very high bar for instructors as we are not just "teaching the line".  Many instructors from outside our system and starting in HPDE 3 (a requirement) do not make the instructor cut.  The fall-out rate is high and we are very motivated and willing to work with you if you are looking to advance and improve your driving skills.  If you are looking for another Instructor Status using the thought process of "just signing up" please find another organization to drive with.  Understanding and being an extension of our system is a requirement to be a NASA GL instructor and the way this is learned is by going though our program.



*Required by out of region instructors seeking NASA Great Lakes region Instructor certificaiton BEFORE entering our April Instructor Clinic.   These are the prerequisite efforts required to complete before being accepted to our HPDE Instructor Clinic.  For outside Instructors this is a 3 event minimum and does not guarantee you admission into our April Instructor school.  You will attend:  

  • One event in HPDE 3 (minimum)
  • One event in HPDE 4 (minimum)
  • One dedicated HPDE 1 classroom audit weekend.  

These are minimum standards and should your driving skills not meet our standards more events may be required to be considered into the Instructor Clinic in April.  These do not apply as prerequisites to future instructors coming up through our HPDE 3 system as they are part of our normal HPDE curriculum.


Current HPDE 3 and above drivers interested in Instructing enter our RED SHIRT INSTRUCTOR DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM.  All our NASA GL instructor graduates wear a red shirt to denote Instructor status.  The RED SHIRT program is the start of your learning and begins about a year before the April Instructor school.  This allows the new instructor a jump start and a solid foundation to achieve high levels of Instructing success.  You will understand the in's and out's of becoming a NASA GL Instructor months before your first assigned HPDE 1 student.  It is a backwards mapped program to prepare you for success at our annual Instructor School in April at Mid-Ohio.  


The program checklist consists of:

___ VERBAL COMMITMENT TO THE REDSHIRT PROGRAM as an HPDE 3 or above NASA GL driver and after a successful evaluation ride with a Chief Instructor(s).  This ride includes both an assessment of your driving quality and pace but more importantly your ability to communicate and multi-task while driving.  A good instructor can multi-task and process vast amounts of information quickly while providing concise and relevant feedback.  This check out ride is to evaluate you for the Red Shirt program which is generally 1 year in length.  This check out process happens in HPDE 3.

___ HPDE TECH.  Attendance and involvement with our NASA GL Saturday morning Tech Inspecton.  You will learn how to tech a car.  This happens in HPDE 4.

___ HPDE 3 weekend attendance*.  Everything we do is our HPDE program culminates in creating drivers that are competant and can demonstrate proficiency in HPDE 3.  NASA Great Lakes HPDE 3 involves a very high amount of spatial awareness, passing and flag drills to test and elevate a driver's skills.  Standard practice for these drivers is 2 and 3 wide (and sometimes 4 wide) organized and structured drills ran abeam.  HPDE 3 does various passing drills along with surprise flags, mock flying double wide starts and restarts and various random exercises on track designed to help drivers learn as both a group and as an individual.  Part of the HPDE 3 program is exposure to future path options of Time-Trails and W2W racing.  HPDE 3 works as a group and your participation is for you to fully understand the type of student you are creating when you are investing in them during their time in HPDE 1.  This HPDE 3 attendance requirement for NEW to NASA Instructors (with or without instructing experience) is required for all instructors.  

___ HPDE INSTRUCTOR MORNING MEETING ATTENDANCE.  Start your instructor knowledge with your fellow instrutors as soon as you commit to the Red Shirt Program while in HPDE 3 or 4.  Attendence in both Saturday and Sunday morning Instructor meetings (15 minutes) is your step to familiarity of our system and culture.

___ HPDE 1 CLASSROOM AUDIT.  A unique HPDE 1 classroom audit where you partner with another Instructor candidate and act out the roles of both HPDE 1 customer and Instructor.  This includes attending class and then doing the same actual on-track drills our customers experience.  This familiarizes you with our HPDE 1 classroom curriculum and it's support documents and also gets your feet wet driving with your fellow future instructor.  The cost for this is $25 and it is a one time event.  This is an entire weekend program and any free time outside of your group 1 duties can be spent in HPDE 4 or TT or Race group.

___ 4 HPDE 4 EVENTS WITH ROLE PLAYING or 4 ROLE PLAYING SESSIONS*.   Role Playing events both on and off track with our senior instructor mentors allow you to practice and learn.  Let's practice during the season to get you some experience so the actual April Clinic can be of higher quality and a higher standard.  These on and off track role play events happen during an HPDE 4 event.

___ Ross Bentley's Instructor Manifesto document and a 10 question open book quiz*.  The Instructor Manifesto is the HPDE Instructor bible.

___ It is recommended that you instruct with other organizations and we can help you do this.  Go and get your feet wet at your local track.  Practice makes perfect.

___ It is recommended that you achieve MSF Level 1 Instructor certification*.  Most all our NASA GL instructors have earned this one time, on-line certification.

___ One time attendance at the annual 2 day Instructor Summit in Indianapolis featuring Ross Bentley.  Here you will learn and use benchmark HPDE instructing concepts in a workshop environment with peers and leaders in our industry.  This is an option and is not required but recommended.

___DATA ACQUISITION BEGINNER TEST*.  This is new for FY 2020 and is part of the HPDE 4 program to advance to TT, Comp School or the Instructor Program.  This happens during an HPDE 4 event.

___TRACK WALK DEMONSTRATION.  You must attend and pass a Track Walk with Chief Instructor Eric Meyer.  You'll be asked to present to a group and share your findings.  This happens during an HPDE 4 event.

 ___NASA GREAT LAKES CCR (RULE BOOK) AND INSTRUCTOR EXAM*.  This is a free on-line exam using the NASA rule book and common driving knowledge.  It is open book and a passing grade of 90% or better is required to pass.

 ___NASA HPDE 1 classroom curriculum video and on-line exam*  Our Instructional process aligns the instructor to the classroom curriclum.  The instructor is an extension of the classroom and therefore intimate knowledge of the content and the process is required.   Prior to attending the attending the mandatory HPDE 1 classroom audit (which requires one weekend and costs $25) this free on-line exam is required.  It will familiarize you with the processes and paperwork you are required to use during an HPDE 1 instructing event.

All of the above prepares you for success at our April Mid-Ohio 3 day instructor clinic where you will be assigned an HPDE 1 customer and help them learn the foundational concepts of open track driving.


Are you ready to get started?  Please send me an email at: and we can get your on your way.



NASA Great Lakes Instructor school graduates driving in HPDE 4 pay $75 per weekend event.   Time-Trail drivers and Racers pay $100.  There is no cost for an instructor Not Driving.  Free lunch in included on event weekends.  There are requirements that must be met when instructing a weekend event and failure to attend/execute/show up may lead to permanent loss of your NASA Great Lakes Instructor status and privledges.  We take instruction seriously and put our customers and clients above our own personal track goals.  Instruction is not for everyone.  You must be dedicated to putting your student above your own driving weekend.  You can do both but it makes for a very, very busy weekend.  Each HPDE 1 Instructor is required to tech one or more car Saturday morning and ride right seat for 4 sessions on Saturday and 4 on Sunday.  NASA Great Lakes only assigns 1 student per each instructor in HPDE 1.


NASA GL Instructor Resources:

NASA Great Lakes HPDE 1 classroom presentation (full)


1/3/5 Session Review Packet


Instructor Learning Resources:

Richmond Shreve Free Manual

Instructor Manifesto Free Download

Richmond Shreve Free Resources

MSF Certification (not required to Instruct)