Austin Schnell Fest PCA Driver Education at Austin's Circuit of the Americas
September 18-20, 2020
Dear Schnell Fest Drivers,
I hope that you and your Families are safe and well. I'm writing to let you know that we have released the September 18-20 Schnell Fest weekend back to COTA. The Schnell Fest HPDE planned for September 18-20 will not take place. The current Covid 19 daily infection figures made it extremely unlikely that we would be able to conduct that event under PCA's extremely strict health and safety requirements. I'm aware that other groups have run events at COTA, but they do not have to comply with the extremely strict PCA health and safety guidelinesâ€¦ we do. Also, unlike other groups, we put a great deal of emphasis on education. Any event that we could have run would have been a solo-only event without a Novice Run Group. Running a solo-only event would eliminate one run group and fundamentally change our event economics.
There is some good news though:
There is very good likelihood that an October and/or November weekend will become available on the COTA Calendar. If that happens, and if the Covid situation allows, we will still be able to have a Schnell Fest HPDE at COTA later this year. Obviously, I will send out an announcement as soon as we learn about an October or November weekend.
You have other HPDE opportunities:
Maverick Region - PCA is sponsoring a September 5-6 Advanced Solo HPDE at the newly refurbished Eagles Canyon Raceway. For more information check mav.pca.org/Events/HPDE.
Lone Star Region - PCA is sponsoring an October 3-4 HPDE at Motorsports Ranch Houston. For more information check with lsrpca.com.
For those of you hungry to drive COTA, Chin Motorsports has an event scheduled for the weekend of September 26-27. Registration for that event opened last night.
We appreciate your patience during these trying times. We hope to see you at the track soon.
NEW FOUR RUN GROUP FORMAT - LONGER RUN SESSIONS AND MORE TRACK TIME.
TWO-DAY EVENTS WITH OPTIONAL FRIDAY AFTERNOON LAP SESSIONS FOR SOLO DRIVERS
NEW! FOR FIRST-TIME HPDE DRIVERS: MANDATORY 4:00 P.M. FRIDAY ORIENTATION CONSISTING OF TWO CLASSROOMS AND TWO BRIEF ON-TRACK SESSIONS
The Austin Schnell Fest HPDE events are sponsored jointly by the Hill Country, Lone Star and Maverick Regions of Porsche Club of America ("PCA"). As always, we invite our friends at the Houston Chapter BMW-CCA to participate in these events. Drivers of every make of automobile are invited to participate, and membership in PCA or any other club or organization is not required. We conduct surveys after each Austin Schnell Fest, and based on your feedback we're making some significant changes to this event:
- Four Run Group format - each run group gets four 30-minute scheduled sessions per day on Saturday and Sunday. In just two days you'll get
virtually the same amount of track time that you used to get in our three day events. Both Advanced 1 and Advanced 2 Group drivers are expected to have the
same high level of driving skill, but we are dividing them by pace so that each group is more homogeneous in terms of speed. So, for example, a Cayman or
Boxster would be in Advanced 1 while a GT3 would more likely be in Advanced 2. The object is to provide drivers with a more seamless experience, fewer passing
issues. There will be instructors in both Advanced 1 and 2.
- Staff - Approved staff members only.
- Novice - all instructed students – formerly green and instructed blue – passing zones as per green and blue.
- Intermediate - solo drivers – formerly blue solo and lower level yellow – expanded passing rules
- Advanced 1 - Advanced drivers slower pace cars – expanded passing rules
- Advanced 2 - Advanced drivers faster pace cars – expanded passing rules
- A1 I - Approved instructors only.
- A2 I - Approved instructors only.
- Instructor - not driving - Approved instructors not driving - no cost
- Staff - Approved staff members only.
- NEW Lower Registration Fee - registration for the Saturday-Sunday HPDE is only $850.
- Optional Friday Afternoon Lap Sessions for Solo'd drivers - Solo HPDE drivers can register for Optional Friday afternoon lapping sessions from 12:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. This will be three solo run groups, each of which will have four run sessions. Cost is only $350. Registration priority will go to drivers who have also registered for Saturday and Sunday. (Note: beginner HPDE drivers and non-solo HPDE drivers are not eligible for the Optional Friday afternoon Solo sessions they can only register for the Saturday-Sunday fully instructed HPDE â€“ see below for additional details for first-time HPDE drivers).
- NEW FIRST-TIME HPDE DRIVERS - MANDATORY FRIDAY ORIENTATION! Drivers who have not previously participated in at least two PCA or BMW-CCA HPDE events at any track are required to particiate in a Friday afternoon mandatory orientation. This will consist of two classroom sessions and two on-track sessions. The purpose of this orientation is to give first-time HPDE drivers a "leg up" on the learning curve Friday afternoon which will enhance their experience throughout the weekend. The registration fee for this First-Time HPDE Drivers Mandatory Orientation is $150.
- NEW More Track Time/Longer Track Sessions/Best Value - Drivers who sign up for both the Optional Friday afternoon solo lap sessions and Saturday-Sunday will get a total of Six Hours of scheduled track time. All of it in sessions of 30 minutes or more. This is the best HPDE value at COTA.
- NEW No Wall in pit lane - you have spoken and we have listened! Drivers exiting track can enter their garages from the pit side.
- NEW Advanced Run Group Expanded Passing - Drivers in the Advanced Run Groups may pass anywhere on the track but only with a point-by from the car being passed.
- NEW Advanced Run Group Grid Procedure "Fast/Faster/Fastest" - Drivers in Advanced Run Groups will "self select" one of three grid lines. Drivers who believe their pace puts them in the top third of the run group will line up to the right; drivers in the middle and bottom thirds will line up in the middle and left lines. Cars will be released from the grid by right, middle and left lines. Dramatically improves flow on-track and reduces trains.
- NEW Limited run group size - Student run groups will be limited to 50 cars. If you are the 51st (or later) person to register and you're in a run group that is full you will be wait-listed and may not make it into the event. Note: you must both register AND PAY to assure yourself a spot.
- NEW Lower garage pricing - We will have access to 28 Formula 1 garages. Individual quarter-garage slots will be available for $300 for the weekend. A participant can register for up to four garage slots.
- NEW OnSite Tires - Chris Macarak and his team from On-Site Tires will be "onsite" at COTA to handle tire sales, mounting and balancing. You can also pre-order tires from Chris and he will bring them to the track and mount them on your wheels. Chris can be reached via email at: email@example.com. On-Site Tires' website is: https://on-sitetires.com/.
- NEW - Car Numbers Required on the Rear of your car. Drivers will be responsible for providing rear numbers. This is a measure to reduce trains. Click HERE to purchase.
Here are things you'll need to know:
- Registration for the September Schnell Fest will open July 20 at 12:00 PM.
- REGISTRATION PRIORITY IS BASED ON TIME OF PAYMENT, NOT TIME OF REGISTRATION! To make things clear: (1) The time that you make payment counts! Your spot in the "queue" of registrations is based not on the time that you submit your registration but based on the time of your payment. If, at the time of registration, you do not pay, another applicant who registers later but pays before you will be accepted before you. Remember time of payment counts! (2) Register and pay early!
- Registration Fee: Registration fee is $850 for the two day Saturday-Sunday weekend. Saturday only, or Sunday only registrations are not available. Run Sessions: Each run group will have four roughly 30-minute run sessions each day on Saturday and Sunday. A schedule will be posted on the event website shortly.
- Instruction: Beginner and novice drivers (green group and non-solo blue group drivers) will be instructed. This means that an experienced PCA, BMW-CCA or other marque driving instructor will be with these students in the right seat of their car at all times while on track. Our instructors use helmet communicators to communicate with their students.
- Parking: We will limit our parking to the Main Paddock at COTA. If you have special parking needs (such as a large-footprint vehicle, or want to be paddocked together with particular people) please contact our event Parking Guru, Dave Foreman, at firstname.lastname@example.org to make special arrangements.
- Helmets and Clothing: All car occupants must wear a Snell "K" "M" or "SA" approved helmet, which has the current available Snell rating (Snell 2015) or the one previous Snell rating (Snell 2010). Snell 2005 helmets have expired and may not be used. Other helmets are acceptable if they are approved for PCA Club Racing. NEW 2019 Safety Requirement for drivers who use a race seat and race harness system a Head and Neck Safety Device is required. If you use a race seat with a race harness restraint system, PCA 2019 Safety requirements mandate use of a Head and Neck Restraint device. Long pants are required. Natural fibers are required. Footwear must be enclosed, non-slip, with a relatively smooth sole. Hiking type deep lugged soles are not acceptable.
- Car Tech Inspection: In order to participate your car must have a technical inspection not more than 30 days prior to the event. The car owner must certify that the car is safe to run on the track and that the car has been inspected by a dealer or other reputable automobile repair facility. Both a representative of the inspecting dealer/repair shop and the owner must complete THIS FORM.
- Equal Restraints: All vehicles must be equipped with a properly installed lap and shoulder restraint system. Both the student and the instructor shall have the same restraint system. So, if only the driver's seat is equipped with a 5 or 6 point harness, then both the driver and the instructor will use the 3 point factory lap and shoulder restraint system.
- Cabriolet/Convertible Cars: Any make of car delivered with factory installed rollover protection meets the minimum standards for PCA DE events. (For example, Boxsters have factory installed roll over protection that meets this requirement and can be driven in PCA D.E. events). In these cars we recommend the soft-top be in the up position or the hard top installed. If the soft top is in the down position, an arm restraint system* must be used. An SFI and/or FIA approved arm restraint system is required. Cabriolet/Convertible Cars without factory installed rollover protection: If a car does not have factory installed rollover protection, a roll bar or roll cage must be installed, which meets the "broomstick" rule (the driver's helmeted head is below a bar placed on top of the roll bar and windshield). Design, installation and materials of roll bars or cages and their installation must meet PCA Club Racing specifications, contained in Appendix A-Roll Cage Specifications of the PCA Club Racing Rules. All targa tops must be installed unless there is additional roll over protection. All sunroofs must be in the closed position. The windshield alone is not considered to be factory roll over protection.
- Chalk Talk: Time is TBD, but will be scheduled for Saturday afternoon approximately 4:00 p.m. Classes: Throughout the weekend all run groups will have classes in the Media Center Press Room. Those of you who have attended previous Austin Schnell Fests know how informative and fun the classes are!
- Hotel: A block of reduced rate hotel rooms has been reserved at Austin Microtel (512) 386-7800. Email your phone number to email@example.com and the hotel will call you to make the reservation.
- Parade Laps: At Noon on Saturday and again on Sunday we will do paced parade laps for charity. Folks wishing to participate in the parade laps should go to the grid at Noon. A nominal donation is required which will be shared equally among the sponsoring clubs' charities. No passing is allowed, and speeds will be paced, but you can drive your family car and your friends/family on the racing surface of COTA!
- Food: On Friday, Saturday and Sunday the "COTA Cafe" will be open from 11:30 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. serving hot lunch and sandwiches. We will also have the highly acclaimed Redfin Food Truck serving breakfast and lunch on Saturday and Sunday. Bottled water: We will have coolers of bottled water placed strategically around the paddock throughout the weekend. We encourage you to stay hydrated!!!!
- Hospitality Suite: We will have one of the large COTA second floor "Paddock Club" Hospitality Rooms available for use throughout the weekend. This is a comfortable air conditioned space where family members can relax while you are driving. It also is a good spot to watch cars on the main straight heading to Turn 1, and cars coming through the carousel.
Please plan on joining us in Austin this year for both of our Austin Schnell Fest HPDE Events! If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!