For many years, track days were hard to come by. About the only way to get on track was to join a major car club, like the BMW Car Club of America, and attend one of their high performance driver education schools. But at best, your local chapter would have two track days a year, as it takes a lot of time and effort to run one these events.
Recently there has been a boom in businesses offering track days. With a quick Google search, you can most likely find a couple groups offering events at your local track. These groups tend to go for the low cost, high volume business model as taking your car to the track is never cheap. And with so many cars on hand, track time is limited, with most providing about four sessions at 20 minutes a piece.
BMW Performance Center driving instructor, and professional racing driver and coach, Jon Miller has partnered with Arya Omidvar, formally of Porsche Motorsport North America, to offer a higher quality track day experience that they are calling High Performance Driving University (HPDU).
HPDU says that they are offering a nearly private track day, with a maximum of 40 cars, consisting mostly of other experienced drivers. Stating that you will have as much track time as you can handle, they invited us out for their first event to demonstrate what a premium track day is like.
When we arrived at Buttonwillow Raceway, we were greeted by a friendly staff and shown to our own private garage to get prepared. At the driver’s meeting, we met the other enthusiasts that would be sharing the track with us. Quite a few had just taken delivery of Porsche Cayman GT4s and were eager to see what they could do! Since HPDU’s events are an open track format, with no run groups, they wouldn’t have to wait long as Jon took everyone out for a lead/follow session to get warmed up.
After a few hours of track time under our belts, the track was closed for lunch so everyone could regroup, take a break and go over the morning session. Jon, and fellow driving coach David Thilenius, then took the group out for a track walk to discuss different lines and tactics. Professional racers do this before every race and it allows you to get an up-close look and insight on how to best attack the track. Most driving schools don’t allow this, unless you get there super early, as it takes away from the amount of time they can have cars running on track.
With new found knowledge on some of the trickier corners due to our track walk, the track went hot again with four more hours of open track time! We went out in the afternoon session for a good 20–30 minutes. It was a great experience as it felt like there was no one else on track! There were maybe five other cars while we were out there and this allowed us to focus on our driving technique and to work on a few new skills. Though car counts will most likely go up at later events, with an open track format, it’s very easy to get some free track time.
HPDU provides great one-on-one professional instruction as well. Jon Miller, David Thilenius, and Emile Bouret were on hand to answer any questions, provide in-car coaching, and even perform data and video analysis with you.
Our day ended at 5 p.m. and every attendee left with a large smile after having several hours of track time! This day felt more like a private race team test than it did a normal HPDE. If you’re looking for something where you can maximize your track time to advance your skills, HPDU is for you!
Their next event is September 9th at Auto Club Speedway where they will be offering over 7 hours of track time for $499, with professional instruction being optional, at an additional $199. HPDU is offering BMWBLOG readers a $50 discount—just use coupon code BMWBLOG50! Find out more at www.hpdu.org.