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Is the MSF the right platform for national accreditation of track days and instructors?

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Mark HPDE Ambassador's picture
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February 15, 2016
Is the MSF the right platform for national accreditation of track days and instructors?

There has been on-and-off discussion on the topic that a national standard for track day/HPDE training and safety guidelines would be a good idea. And, potentially have a uniform instructor training accreditation. I'd like to start a topic to dig into this topic a bit more.

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February 15, 2016

I think the idea of a uniform standard is a great one, but I'm not sure you could get all the various stakeholders involved to agree on 1. Just inside the car clubs, it's difficults to get the various regions/chapters/groups to agree on a minimum standard, so across marques and organizations it would be a monumental task.

 

But, I think the idea of  having a credential for the paid "coaches" is a great one. This would allow any of the consumers who are hiring someone to know what level person they are hiring. Just make sure it doesn't follow the FIA driver rating system :)

Mark HPDE Ambassador's picture
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February 18, 2016

No doubt, it would be a big deal to get all stakeholders to agree. Yet, if the common objective was safety, wouldn't that have universal appeal? On hiring private coaches, it's probably fair to say that different track clubs have different minimum expectations of what a "pro-coach" should bring to the table. I recognize the value that a common credential would have for coaches. But, one could not really regulate how individual clubs choose who to allow/not allow to provide coaching. Ultimately, the driver doing the hiring should have the discretion to do his/her own due diligence to decide if the paid coach has merit.

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February 23, 2016

OK, I'll jump in.

As someone who has no influence in these matters whatsoever. I think of it as a known standard, as is any other standard. It is the industry that recognizes the value of that standard. As with most things, it is earned, it's a credential.

Anything mandated, is that what we are looking at...?

Mark HPDE Ambassador's picture
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February 18, 2016

the idea of having a widely applicable standard is in its infancy. Regardless of what direction the standard-setting process takes, it is unrealistic that track event providers could be compelled to comply with a standard. It would be unlikely to be mandated. However, those providers that voluntarily DO comply with a recognized standard, if it were to be adopted, would be likely to fair better in the marketplace, don't you think? When a "buyer" is faced with choosing between 2 service providers, and one has a "professional certification" from an oversight body, and one does not, which provider is the "buyer" more likely to choose?

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February 23, 2016

Yes, mandatory standards, that could be a potential fear clubs may have. We think of aviation as being regulated and it is but there seems to be as much variation (comparatively) in quality of training as there is in HPDE, but there is a baseline of safety established and that's what saves the  lives really. HPDE has just become so large and growing that regulation seems inevitable. From what I have seem of those that work behind the scenes for MSF are some great minds doing great things.

 

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March 1, 2016

Maybe we could reverse engineer this topic and discuss, "What and who's regulations and training standards would be appropriate and beneficial for HPDE Programs?"

I myself am particularly in favor of at least a base-line standard across HPDE curriculums and instructor training. But, who is authorized to implement the training? ie: Can an accredited club do their own training? Is it mandatory? And the million dollar question, what does it cost and who gets the money and where does it go?

For me, rote use terminology and subtle passed down misconceptions was probably the biggest stumbling block (next to my own shortcomings) as I came up through various HPDE programs. As odd as it sounds, something as simple a continually using rote phases like “Be Smooth” can dramatically hinder progress. Telling a student to be smooth is like a psychiatrist telling their patience to relax. It is practically useless. Tools are what are needed. Tools to help the subject achieve the desired results, like try offering them a couch (coach?). Hmmm, anyway, get them something. (see Ross Bentley's Inner Secret #29 “Smooth is Fast”, p.120 for a constructive approach to this example)(or check out the condensed version in this video: https://youtu.be/vPrN7zBNZvQ)

As they say (or maybe I just made up), “Passing on a little misconception goes a long way (the wrong way)”. That I have been and probably will be guilty of again when instructing. I teach what I was taught like most everybody else and figure some stuff out on my own along the way. That is usually an awesome thing, but what happens when you pick up a misconception or “Partial truth”. You guessed it, it gets past right down the line and can even spread like a virus.

Detecting and breaking that chain can be very difficult in any arena, especially motor sports in all it's grand mystery, even at elite level, so where does that put us in HPDE? We need to band together for the good of all. Maybe I am being idealistic, but have to believe that if we got all the people who design all the HPDE curriculums from all clubs in one room, or a website like MSF (hint hint) I think many barriers would come down and we could bring together the best of each program,. And then we could all go chase each other around the track;}

Note: If my closing thought seems far fetched to you or even better, if it sounds awesome, please take the time to view the documentary "I am" which is currently streaming on Netflix: http://www.netflix.com/title/70160425

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March 18, 2016

This is a three day conversation!  every complex.   But here is where i would start the conversation. The three givens of motorsprts.  Training and luck you must have both!  but should either fail.... proper vehicle choice and structual intregity, if you have chosen poorly or exceeded the structual capibilty,  incident response by track safety personal must match the risk before you leave pit lane.  

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March 21, 2016

We have been making great progress in this matter.  From instructor training to marshal training to best practices adoption.  It is not about "mandating".  It is about teaching best practices and having each independent group to adopt them willfuly since we will show them why it benefits them.  Our online training and certification program is coming along very well.  Stay tuned!

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