Also known as High-Performance Drivers Education, or HPDE, is intended to provide a structured, safe, and controlled learning environment in a race track setting rather than an autocross parking lot or street. Performance driving can become very addictive, so driver beware!
Porsches are designed and built for handling and speed. Driver Education events are the perfect opportunity to experience your car that cannot be safely nor legally achieved on public highways. At Nord Stern HPDE events you don’t have to own or participate with a Porsche. In fact, any well-maintained street vehicle can be used.
Driver Education weekends are a chance to meet fellow Porsche owners and track enthusiasts.
Participants are assigned to run groups according to speed and experience. New or novice drivers are typically placed in Run Group 1 where speeds are lower so as not to be intimated by experienced drivers or “zoomy” cars. Run groups range in size from 20 to 30 cars and are allowed on track at scheduled times. A typical session lasts about 20 – 30 minutes with shorter sessions in the morning and longer ones in the afternoon.
Participation in Nord Stern HPDE events requires drivers to have had prior training through the Club’s Driver Training school or another PCA regional training program. If you are a visiting participant from another club such as the Glacier Lakes Audi Club, North Star BMW, Central Minnesota Corvettes, or another car club that offers formal performance driver training, submit a copy of your certification or have your driving Instructor contact the Registrar or Nord Stern’s Chief Driving Instructor. If you hold an active racing license from any of the sanctioning bodies you certainly qualify for HPDE participation.
Prior to every track event you need to prepare your car as well as yourself.
- Go through your car looking for operational soundness; especially the tires and brake pads for wear. Use the annual tech form for guidance.
Each vehicle on the track is required to be inspected by a qualified shop or mechanic at their first track event of the year. While the tech form is needed only once a year for each vehicle, drivers are expected to properly inspect their registered car prior to any track event. Details on the tech inspection requirement and shops in the Twin Cities that can perform the annual inspection can be found here.
- Bring a certified DOT or Snell 2015 helmet or newer to the track. Closed-face is recommended but not required.
NOTE: All helmets “expire” for track use after 10 years so a 2010 helmet needs to be replaced in 2020. Nord Stern will allow a 2010 helmet to be used for a 1-year grace period.
- Bring weather dictated comfortable clothes. Wear a cotton shirt, long cotton pants, and closed shoes made of natural material. General rule of thumb is don’t wear anything synthetic. Short pants are strictly prohibited.
- Driving gloves are optional.
- Learn or review the flags.
- Review the track turn-by-turn descriptions
Where & When
Nord Stern has 4 track events each year; 3 at the Club’s home track of Brainerd International Raceway and 1 at iconic Road America. These are 2- or 3-day events, held over weekends at Brained or the Monday/Tuesday event at Road America. Brainerd HPDE events are held in the spring (late April), summer (late July), and the fall (mid-September). The Road America event is in early June.
The July HPDE event — the extremely popular “Fast Fling DE” — is held in conjunction with the annual Nord Stern Loonacy Club Race. This 3-day event that has limited availability for driver education registrants so register early if you’re interested.
Track events are held rain or shine although with inclement weather at Brainerd, the Club uses the infield Competition road course, otherwise it’s the 3.1-mile Donnybrooke course with the longest straight in North America (5200 ft).
The current track dates can be found on the Club’s calendar.
Elligible drivers can register for any Nord Stern track event at www.ClubRegistration.net. You’ll need to create an account if you don’t already have one, but don’t worry, it’s free. Use the guide if you have trouble find the Nord Stern Driver Education events. You can also contact the Registrar by email if you need assistance with the registration process.
The Registrar will start confirming registrations about 30 days prior to the event (if not sooner). The confirmation notice will include a car number assignment that needs to be applied to the registered vehicle. Numbers can be applied using window paint or painters tape. They need to be visible on both sides of the car and either on the front hood or the upper corner of the windshield of the passenger side of the car.