The goal of Comp School is to prepare you to earn a NASA Provisional Competition License and enter your first wheel-to-wheel race. Once you've utilized HPDE or a similar program to become proficient at high-performance driving on track, and are comfortable and aware in traffic, Comp School is here to help you go racing. This is typically held over the course of a NASA event weekend, with you competing in your actual race group on the final day.
The Race Groups are NASA's highest offering, granting you the most privileges and highest level of competition, but it also comes with the most responsibility and places the greatest amount of trust in you. We know that this can be intimidating at first, as we have been in your shoes before, and we're here to help guide you through it. While you are the person who is ultimately responsible for being prepared to enter Comp School and completing the requirements, we'll provide you with information, advice, and additional on-track experience, before you're expected to do it all on your own.
1) Demonstrated experience driving predictably and safely in a high-performance open-passing environment, such as HPDE 3/4, NASA Time Trials, or a comparable run group of another organization (subject to approval). While we highly encourage open lapping days, generally some formal training is required to enter Competition School. Please contact NASA Rocky Mountain if you feel you are prepared to
2) You will be expected to drive at race speed in close proximity to other vehicles, while maintaining control and demonstrating advanced situational awareness (other vehicles, flags, conditions, rules, etc.).You don’t have to set any lap records, but you should be able to reasonably keep up with others in your race class.
3) You must have read the NASA CCR. This is vital, as we need everyone to be on the same page and know what to expect from each other when we’re racing. It will also answer many common questions. Pay particular attention to the Competition section, as there will be a test.
4) A reliable race car that has passed NASA Race Tech and has a current Log Book and annual tech sticker. You will be driving in a real race group and must meet the technical requirements, as defined by the CCR and your race class.
5) Full driver safety gear as required by the NASA CCR for race group competition.
6) NASA-Approved Medical Form. Be sure to get this completed by your doctor, then submitted and approved by NASA National well in advance, as it may take some time for them to process.
1) Meet all of the above requirements and pass the CCR test.
2) Participate in all on-track drills and designated race sessions without incident.
3) Demonstrate speed, control, awareness, and predictability while competing in close proximity with other cars.
You're here to go racing, so we'll need you to be ready to both make passes and to defend passes in corners. The classroom session will talk about how to do that, and how to be smart about it, but you will need to be ready and willing to try it. We can't allow hanging out at the back and driving by yourself to be a way to pass Comp School, as that doesn’t demonstrate that you’re ready for race group. Please note that we must take any flag, awareness, or other safety violations extremely seriously. If your car breaks down or you do not make it to all sessions, then you will likely need to complete Comp School at a future event before you can race.
Fear not, all of NASA is here to support you in achieving your goals. The easiest way to prepare, and to build up your experience and comfort level, is to spend time driving in HPDE 3/4 and participating in the advanced driving discussions and drills they do. Comp School is effectively the next step after that, and we may even share some track time together.
In addition to a review of the rules of racing (NASA CCR), we'll also cover more about how to race, with “race craft” / strategy, risk vs reward, and practical examples. Just because you might be allowed to do something, doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea.
We will likely be a guest of HPDE 3/4 or another group and may participate in some of their drills, but will also have our own race-centric drills without affecting them. These can include practice race starts (with or without a pacecar), off-line and side-by-side driving, passing scenarios, and handling unexpected circumstances.
This is the real deal... You're going racing, in your normal race class. We'll have given you the info you need, so now it's up to you to follow the schedule, be in the right place at the right time, attend the race group meeting, and race. This will require the successful completion of the classroom session and the on-track drills.