Q: What does NASA stand for?
A: National Auto Sport Association. “We’re the race guys, not the space guys!” NASA was founded in California in 1991 to deliver high quality motorsports events to enthusiasts at major racing venues throughout the nation. NASA has created programs that allow owners of both racecars and high-performance street-driven vehicles to enjoy the full performance capabilities of their cars in a safe and controlled environment. NASA offers many different programs that will allow you to enjoy motorsports on a number of different levels, including our High Performance Driving Events (HPDE), Rally Sport, Time Trial, Car Control Clinics, NASA-X (Autocross), and Competition Racing programs (sprint and endurance format.) Learn more at www.drivenasa.com
Q: What is the history of NASA’s Florida region specifically?
A: The Florida Region of NASA has put on events since the early-mid 2000’s with founders Steve and Barbara Nix. In fall 2011 a longtime mid-atlantic and national NASA official named Jon Felton became our director, then in fall 2015 a longtime NASA racer named Jim VanderVliet took over. Our current schedule can be found here.
Q: Which Florida tracks do you use?
A: We use the biggest and best tracks! Mostly Sebring (and always the 3.7 mile “12 hour” course there), sometimes Homestead-Miami (club course or pro configuration with NASCAR T3/T4.) Our first Daytona took place in fall 2014. We used to go to PBIR but the membership didn’t support those events enough to continue. We occasionally have shared events at Road Atlanta also, and possibly at Roebling Road or other nearby tracks in the future.
Q: What makes your group and your events bigger and better?
Q: What is this HPDE thing I keep hearing about?
A: HPDE is literally our high performance driving school on a road course – for street licensed drivers in street cars. Passing is limited and instructors are provided free of charge for all beginner drivers. Please click here for much more HPDE information.
Q: Can I put my stock daily driver on track at speed?
A: Yes, in HPDE, as long as it passes tech! From Hyundais to Ferraris, almost all cars are welcome. No performance parts or modifications are required, but upgraded brakes and tires are recommended. If you are a beginner or novice driver we will pair you with an in-car instructor for the weekend too!
Q: Can I put my convertible on track at speed?
A: Yes, in HPDE, as long as it is on our approved list and meets some other conditions. Otherwise you will need additional safety equipment, usually including at least a 4 point aftermarket full width rollbar. Often allowed in HPDE with stock rollover protection: Honda S2000s, most BMW convertibles, and most Porsche convertibles. Generally not allowed without a rollbar: Miatas (sorry!), Corvette convertibles, or Mustang convertibles. Please contact us before your first HPDE for specific clearance to run a particular topless car.
Q: Do you offer specials or discounts?
A: Definitely yes, depending on time of year. Please see this thread on our forum for currently available specials and discounts.
Q: Do you offer 1-day entries?
A: Our events are 2 days by design because that’s what the vast majority of participants want (more than 96% of our membership registers for both days when given the choice.) Everyone in HPDE1 must sign up for both days to make sure the basics are fully taught and extensively practiced. Otherwise, Saturday-only entries are available in limited quantities per event and only to known safe & skilled participants in HPDE2 and above. If you are new to NASA, nationally or regionally, you must run both days for evaluation – regardless of experience or skill level, one day entries will not be accepted if you have not run with us before. You will also need to register for both days if it is your first weekend in a higher run group, if you need a check ride for whatever reason, or plan to move to a higher run group – so you can be evaluated properly. And we only offer Sunday-only entries by very specific criteria (to not make the run groups worse in any way for the vast majority who are participating both days), please inquire. This is all for participant safety and maximum enjoyment, thanks for understanding.
Q: Do you recognize experience with other organizations?
A: Absolutely yes we recognize outside experience as long as it is equivalent (especially in terms of passing rules and car counts.) Please make sure this is listed in your NASA registration profile in as much detail as possible, and email it in before your first event for proper run group placement and/or assignment of an instructor or check ride. You may be placed in a lower run group if you do not gain clearance before your first event and/or keep your profile updated.
Q: How do I go Time Trialing with NASA?
A: Get to HPDE4 then schedule a check ride. More info on getting into TT is here.
Q: How do I go wheel-to-wheel racing with NASA?
A: Get to HPDE4 then submit your driving history. More info on going racing with us is here.
Q: I want to drive on the track, but can’t be there all weekend. Do you have a program for me?
Q: I just registered for HPDE1 at my first event. Now what do I do?
A: Study all the rules and documents linked from the event info page, get your car’s pre-tech done, ask any questions you can think of, study track maps and videos, then await further info (sent via email and posted on the event page of the website) as the weekend of fun approaches!
Q: What is the cancellation policy once I’m registered for an event?
A: The cancellation policy you agree to several times when you register can be found here. Sorry but we are not able to offer exceptions to this policy regardless of your special circumstances. Please understand this before you register, and think of your entry like a ticket to a concert or sporting event… not like an item you can return to a retail store.
Q: Why do we have to put big unique numbers on our cars before going on the track?
A: Drivers in all our run groups need to put big unique numbers on both sides of the car for ease of identification from all manned flag stations on the circuit as well as the control tower. Communication is nearly constant during an event day about which car is first in the group to take the green flag, which is last to take the checkered flag, which just had a spin or 4-off, which is developing a mechanical problem, and soforth – but all of that is based on car number and to a lesser extent color and type (because some may not know exactly what an “Avusblau E36 M3 on K1s” is, but everyone can usually recognize “blue BMW #55.”)
Numbers need to be at least 8-10″ tall and of a contrasting color on bodywork not glass for visibility reasons, so they can be seen from up to several hundred feet from the track surface. They also need to be unique inside of each run group (i.e. we can’t have two cars both #7 in HPDE1/2, but a #7 in HPDE2 and a #7 in the race group is fine – because they’re never on track simultaneously) for identification purposes, so we know who’s driving each car. Blue painters tape or masking tape is preferred because it doesn’t leave residue, unlike duct tape. Or even better, get some custom numbers from our at track vinyl guy, Jason from kdvinylgraphics.com/.
When you register for an event, please list three car numbers in the appropriate boxes – generally your preferred number plus two adjustments you can make that still look ok… i.e. if you really want car number 75, put “75, 57, 7” or “75, 175, 751” in the boxes and be prepared to adjust with matching tape or vinyl. Then check the posted entry list on the website a week or two before the event and double check your car number on it. We do NOT send emails for number changes when necessary, but we DO send a confirmation email with a link to said list once it has been finalized. Car number preference always goes to whoever registered earlier, and the more rare your first choice number is, the less likely it is that there will be a conflict. For instance you can usually assume nobody else will request #971 or similar; however, there are always conflicts for common car numbers like 1, 3, 7, 11, 33, 77, and 111… so be sure to buy a season pass or register early if you must have a popular number like one of those. And yes you can absolutely expect to be black flagged for any car number related issue (usually not showing the number that’s on the list because you didn’t get your first choice number but didn’t bother to check) and you will absolutely miss track time until it has been corrected.
Other groups may allow participants to run tiny numbers, shoe polish numbers on the windows, one number only at the top of the windshield, or the same low number others chose – we don’t do this because quite simply it could make your track time worse, or cause you to miss track time. For example if we got a call from a flagger that a car may be dropping fluids on the track & making things slippery for everyone else, would you want us to waste several minutes figuring out which of the five seemingly identical black Corvettes on track is causing the problem, or would you want us to immediately turn our attention to the one with big blue #99 on each door? And what if you were in one of those black Corvettes but not the leaking one, would you be happy if we black-flagged you by mistake and cost you track time because we couldn’t easily tell which one was #99? Or what if you were in the leaky Vette, wouldn’t you want us to get you in and notify you of a small problem as soon as possible, before a small problem became a big problem? These reasons and many more are why car numbers must be big, visible, and unique in each group. Thanks very much for respecting these policies and “helping us help you” get the highest quality track time possible!
Q: Can I park my car in one of the pit lane garage stalls at Sebring?
A: The pit lane garage stalls at Sebring are open only to cars registered in the event and are only available for an additional fee when you register. A garage stall is NOT included with an event entry, there is an additional charge to reserve one (see each event registration page) so please do not park in one unless you have reserved it in advance. Any unreserved spots must remain empty unless reserved at trackside registration.
Q: Why haven’t we had a Homestead or Palm Beach event recently?
A: Members vote with their entries. While we have run at HMS and PBIR in the past, turnout was almost always too low to justify the expense. The NASA FL membership typically only supports Sebring events on premium weekends – so we’re just trying to give the people what they want!
Q: Why don’t we do more winter events?
A: Again, members vote with their entries. We’ve tried winter events in the past – November & January at HMS, December at PBIR – and the membership never supported them, they always had low turnout. That said, while we’d love to try again, there are no good dates available… the tracks are all booked up. So we will stick with what we do best – spring and fall events, especially at Sebring.
Q: Why do we do shared events with other regions or groups?
A: The primary reason we do shared events is to make more fun for everyone. Running with like-minded individuals from other groups or regions is always enjoyable. Sharing an event also makes it more affordable for both regions and allows us to run at tracks that otherwise might be out of our reach!