Mark Hicks

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Mark Hicks

Username: Mark HPDE Ambassador

Location: at a race track near you

Occupation: Director, Chin Motorsports track events

Sanctioning Body: IMSA

Ambassador Areas: HPDE

Mark is a lifelong road racing fan, and began first-hand participation in motorsports doing sports car track days in the late 90's. Since 2004, he has been the general manager of Chin Motorsports.

Chin MS began as a small gathering of track enthusiasts in 1999. Today, with over 45 calendar dates and 80+ days on track at 14 of America's best known road courses, Chin is the largest single provider of non-competition track events in the USA.

Mark is an expert in motorsports event management, driver coaching, track safety, and best practices for HPDE track events.

              

5 QUESTIONS WITH AN AMBASSADOR

1) What do you consider to be the single greatest advancement in motorsport safety in the last 50 years?

Modern emphasis on driver cockpit safety. Since the 2001 death of Dale Earnhardt, there has been a revolution in seats, harness configuration, and of course head-and-neck restraints. This has also trickled down to street performance cars. Multi-airbag systems, active seatbelts, improved dashboard and door panel surfaces. All of this has led to decreases in injuries and fatalities. Also, it cannot be overlooked how improvements in track environmental safety have made a huge difference. Barrier construction and locations, and run-off zones.


2) You can either implement one new motorsport rule or get rid of an existing one. Which option do you choose and what rule would it be?

It's not competition related, but, I'd like to advocate for implementing a new rule requiring drivers to periodically RE-QUALIFY for street car driver's license renewal. In most states currently, when your license expires, you visit DOT and prove your identity, take a vision test, pay a fee, and get your new license. The only time a driver is actually tested on rules of the road and basic driver skills is when one acquires your FIRST driver's license. It is obvious to anyone that pays attention to daily driving, that there are many adult drivers that need a "refresher" on rules of the road and how to use a vehicle. NEW RULE: Routine license renewal should require a driver skills test.


3) What is your favorite racing circuit and why?

Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium. Huge elevation change, majestic and dramatic lap, scenic setting, fantastic track safety, legendary history. Making laps there is euphoric!


4) Who is your hero?

Make that heroine... my wife, Maria. Easily, that's the one person that has influenced me the most in life. She is also a highly accomplished driver, track event expert and a manager for Chin Motorsports.


5) What do you hope to accomplish as an MSF Ambassador?

The HPDE/Track Day hobby has taken off in the past 10 years. There are many track events and providers today, offering opportunities for sports car owners to get track experience. But, there are not uniform guidelines for track day driver skills, nor for instructor qualifications. Through the MSF, I'd like to be a contributor to a national accreditation standard for track event providers.


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