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Driver Education, December 2013

Mike RobertsDriver Education – What Porsche calls High Performance Driving Experience. [Offered through their Sport Driving School. --S.]

We just completed a great year with a visit to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, on November 26th. The event was a sell-out, but we ended up accommodating all but a couple of drivers. The weather was perfect; sunny and warm – it doesn’t get much better in Monterey in November.

I must admit the day began with a slight panic, when I was called over to talk with the Track Supervisor who pulled me out after the drivers’ meeting and insisted I go over to their offices – turned out our check to pay for the event was made out to the wrong payee... totally my fault but they could have caught it earlier and been less dramatic about the need to correct it before the day began!

But the day developed well and the great turnout from our Instructors really helped to make everything run smoothly.

Actually, this year has gone well for the DE program – we continued to develop and present the pre-event briefings we call DE101/201, a couple of weeks before each track day. They have been really well received and we certainly find people who have attended them approach the day better prepared, whether first timers or experienced.

The formula we announced in late 2011, with an emphasis on driver training and an exclusive, 3 run group format on the track, with a limit on the number of participants, means an experience unlike any other – not to mention that it makes our events friendlier and easier to run. Having David Ray and the Hooked On Driving team support us has also been a valuable contribution to safety and effective management of our days at the track.

Further, our DE activities have not been a big drain on the bank account...in 2013 we are around break-even for the year – pretty good considering we need to rent space for DE101/201 these days, plus we always buy pizza.

I would like to thank Adam Cipriano for stepping into the DE Registrar role this year, it has been terrific to have the help and many people just don’t realize that MotorsportReg.com is not easy, even though it is a great tool for managing sign ups. Also, Adam has helped us field questions from participants or prospective participants. This is a volunteer program, and Members often don’t realize when they have questions or queries on our activities, that there’s a volunteer at the other end who has probably worked a full day already!

My thanks also to Kay Maloy whose continued support on DE (as well as many other Club activities), is a mainstay of PCA Diablo’s success. Not only does Kay design and publish our Flyers and create the monthly Advocate newsletter, she also appears at every track event with individually prepared envelopes containing all participants run group letters, schedules and passing zones, she also brings freshly baked goodies...

Thanks also to Jeff Urnes for taking on the Chief Driving Instructor role both on and off track. Jeff’s enthusiasm has included the introduction of several participants to the wonderful world of driving their car on track and to their learning.

It’s not easy talking in front of groups, particularly peer groups... so I am also grateful to Ken Wu and Tom Davenport who have come out to present our DE 101/201 briefings. They started as an idea in 2011 and we have now done 7 of them! Tom and Ken did the original presentation and it has been honed over the last couple of years and to include videos, and expanded to cater for the experienced driver too.

Finally, I would like to thank our sponsors. This year we had a unique mix of three events sponsored by the three Porsche dealerships in our Region, Livermore Porsche, Michael Stead Porsche and Fremont Porsche (in calendar order). It’s great to see the increased level of interest in PCA events from them and PCNA.

As many know, back in April I informed the Diablo Board that I would not be performing the DE Chair role in 2014. Hopefully, we will be able to announce my successor and manage a handover soon. Certainly, the program is now well-developed with all the process, documentation and content that we need.

I’m grateful to everyone who has helped and supported me through the last couple of years as we have up-leveled the program. We are all volunteers and only by sharing the work can our Club and its programs continue to exist. My challenge to all members who are interested in, or participate in Diablo DE is to help play your part to ensure its continued success – and that means getting things done - the administration, the planning and the event management. What’s the old saying? “it takes a village’...

© Diablo Region, Porsche Club of America