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      03-29-2011, 10:52 AM   #1
jdl1pt
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HPDE/Track Insurance, your thoughts comments...

Hi All,

Getting ready to do my FIRST track day this Friday and am considering track insurance for the day. I've found 2 companies that provide this service, (sorry in a hurry but will try to post links later) and both cost around 180-200 for the day.
My questions:

Anyone purchase track insurance who has a recommendation on which company to use.

Anyone, god forbid, actually have "experience," in using the insurance due to misfortunes at the track care to share?

Not sure I'm going for it yet. I'll be doing driver school so not sure how agressive I'll be. That said, I'm also pretty much a novice minus a few auto x days. Your thoughts comments are appreciated!
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      03-29-2011, 11:05 AM   #2
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I just did a 6 event package with locktoninfinity hpde insurance. Used my bwmcca # for a Minor discount saved 70 dollars on the premium...i feel more comfortable knowing I have the coverage.

I buddy of mine wrecked his car last season...luckily he faired ok but car was totaled. He had no coverage, took the loss to his wallet and we all learned his loss ...
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      03-29-2011, 12:05 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdl1pt View Post
Hi All,

Getting ready to do my FIRST track day this Friday and am considering track insurance for the day. I've found 2 companies that provide this service, (sorry in a hurry but will try to post links later) and both cost around 180-200 for the day.
My questions:

Anyone purchase track insurance who has a recommendation on which company to use.

Anyone, god forbid, actually have "experience," in using the insurance due to misfortunes at the track care to share?

Not sure I'm going for it yet. I'll be doing driver school so not sure how agressive I'll be. That said, I'm also pretty much a novice minus a few auto x days. Your thoughts comments are appreciated!
This is a good question JD. I'm debating the same although it looks like my policy doesn't explicitly exclude anything other than "timed events". But that is no guarantee as well.

Just so you know the DS experience with NCRC it's going to be: one session learning the line (progressive speed); one session of follow the leader with heavy passing (practice); one session on flags; and then two regular sessions. All passing is point by only and only on the straights in the DS and next level group.

NCRC runs an efficient, safety focused, yet bare-bones track event (for ~135.00 I might add), and the NCRC DS is a good way to understand the rules/track experience and see if it's something you like. But it's not a track-instruction intensive experience like other events.

Personally I liked DS because I feel I know the track and the rules/flags/etc. well enough I can dedicate my focus to my instructor this time w/o having too many things to keep track of. If you like this, and you're like me, you'll probably want to request an in-car instructor for your next time out with NCRC or go with HOD or BMW CCA for a more intensive instructor based experience.

You have some AutoX experience so I doubt you'll be as green as I was--but I really didn't push it my first time out and was focused on trying to be consistent in my lines, smooth on my inputs, and mindful of braking/weight transfer.

Not sure if any of this helps in making a decision but I thought I'd pass it along.
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      03-29-2011, 04:38 PM   #4
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This is a good question JD. I'm debating the same although it looks like my policy doesn't explicitly exclude anything other than "timed events". But that is no guarantee as well.

Just so you know the DS experience with NCRC it's going to be: one session learning the line (progressive speed); one session of follow the leader with heavy passing (practice); one session on flags; and then two regular sessions. All passing is point by only and only on the straights in the DS and next level group.

NCRC runs an efficient, safety focused, yet bare-bones track event (for ~135.00 I might add), and the NCRC DS is a good way to understand the rules/track experience and see if it's something you like. But it's not a track-instruction intensive experience like other events.

Personally I liked DS because I feel I know the track and the rules/flags/etc. well enough I can dedicate my focus to my instructor this time w/o having too many things to keep track of. If you like this, and you're like me, you'll probably want to request an in-car instructor for your next time out with NCRC or go with HOD or BMW CCA for a more intensive instructor based experience.

You have some AutoX experience so I doubt you'll be as green as I was--but I really didn't push it my first time out and was focused on trying to be consistent in my lines, smooth on my inputs, and mindful of braking/weight transfer.

Not sure if any of this helps in making a decision but I thought I'd pass it along.
Finnegan, did you say you have State Farm?

I haven't looked at my policy yet to see if there are any explicit policy dislaimers, but I suspect it might be an uphill battle to get them to accept the claim. How would that process work, anyway? Since it's a non-public road, there wouldn't be a police report. Would you just have to tow the car back home and hope for the best?
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      03-29-2011, 05:14 PM   #5
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Those "clauses" in the insurance policies does not and will not stand up to scrutiny. All they're there for is to scare you from doing something fun like driving schools.

I have yet to witness a single incident with the BMW CCA that wasn't covered by each respective party's insurance company. Obviously who you choose to do your event with will have ramifications on whether or not the insurance will carry out their responsibilities. When you have the event organizers and the chief instructors going to bat for you pro-actively with your insurance company it helps a lot to get most incidents covered.

HAVING SAID THAT.

There's an old saying, that if you can't afford to write it off, you can't afford to track it. So if you can't just shrug and walk away, you probably shouldn't track it. Now, if you having DE insurance helps ease your mind about writing it off? By all means. Get it. I know of quite a few A/B level drivers who get it just for their peace of mind (strangely, those are the types that will not have an off-course incident in a million years). Of course, there are quite a few not so A/B level drivers that are just waiting to write off their car every time they get on a track too.

To me, there's some value to going with the BMW CCA events since they're so strict and the curriculum well designed to keep your average attendees safe. There's probably a reason why most of these HPDE insurances ran a huge discount if you're doing BMW CCA schools because they know their exposure to liability and payoff is insignificant, therefore every dime they take from you is pure profit in their pocket (again, in our region there has yet been a single incident where the car's primary insurance didn't pick up the bill).
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      03-29-2011, 05:26 PM   #6
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What HACK said, but also keep in mind that every track has a rescue vehicle that can drag your car out to a "normal" road near the track and you can call your insurance from there. I've personally seen this happen and it worked out fine .
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      03-29-2011, 06:19 PM   #7
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Thanks all for your thoughts and insite. Will I could afford to walk away from the car, I would be seriously sick for months to come. I'm sure I won't push the car near far enought this time to put myself at great risk, but you never know. Moreover, you can't control those around you even if a DS setting. Just got some $ back on my tax return so may use it on some piece of mind.

One other thought, even if my ins co would accept the claim, I'm sure they would stick it to me for years to come. Wouldn't think that filing through a track ins co would affect my insurance, but something to consider as well.

Thanks again for your comments and feel free to add more to this discussion. For future reference, I'll post info on the co's I've found when I get home this evening.
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      03-29-2011, 07:25 PM   #8
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Thanks all for your thoughts and insite. Will I could afford to walk away from the car, I would be seriously sick for months to come. I'm sure I won't push the car near far enought this time to put myself at great risk, but you never know. Moreover, you can't control those around you even if a DS setting. Just got some $ back on my tax return so may use it on some piece of mind.

One other thought, even if my ins co would accept the claim, I'm sure they would stick it to me for years to come. Wouldn't think that filing through a track ins co would affect my insurance, but something to consider as well.

Thanks again for your comments and feel free to add more to this discussion. For future reference, I'll post info on the co's I've found when I get home this evening.
Yes you can control those around you in the DS setting. Certain organizers are safer than others. We've known to kick students off track and give their full refund if they do not adhere to our very stringent rules. While that often creates the "BMW CCA is no fun" perception, it is an excellent environment to learn in. And there's a good reason why there has not been a single car to car incident on track in our region, like EVER, until last year (and that was a freak thing that happened that the offending party paid full in cash for). And I fully expect to never witness another car to car incident for as long as I live and attend these events.

On top of that, most driving schools have very controlled passing rules where only designated areas are open to passing for novices to intermediates (even to advanced students in our schools, although the rules have been relaxed for A+ students who wish to move onto a racing school) and the passee have 100% control over the execution of a pass. So in a way, you can control those around you by 1) selecting a choice event/organizer with great track-record for safety and 2) exercise your on-track awareness by managing traffic around you effectively, letting those that are faster by appropriately or pass only when given the signal to do so safely.

Plus, certain organizations that provide a qualified instructor (yes I'm plugging BMW CCA again) in your passenger seat will give you extra control over those that are around you by adding an extra pair of experienced eyes in the car.

HOWEVER.

There are always going to be a manageable amount of risk involved in this sport. There's no denying that. The amount of damage to be incurred increases as speed increases. Your risk of a potential mechanical failure increases as your speed increases, and the associated damages due to the mechanical failure increases as well. Again, these are circumstances or risks that CAN and should be managed if you don't want to wad up your car.

In the end, if you must purchase a DE insurance to give you the peace of mind to go out there and better your driving skills, and explore the capabilities of your vehicle, then by all means. It's a worthy investment for a peace of mind.
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      03-29-2011, 09:07 PM   #9
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+1 on BMW CCA schools, and their safety-oriented approach.

I' buy the Lockton coverage through CCA, but happily haven't had a claim. Think about doing two-day schools to leverage the premium-ashould be the same price.

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      03-29-2011, 09:52 PM   #10
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Good points being raised in here. John, I'll talk to you more about this matter in person one of these upcoming days

Stuff I've compiled from previous posts:
- choose your hosts wisely (run with a popular/experienced track host (such as NCRC, Trackmasters, NASA, BMW CCA, etc.)
- obviously prep your car to the best of your capability prior to each event (so as to minimize the possibility of something going wrong)
- obviously have full coverage on your car for anywhere on the street (with AAA towing as a plus, just in case )
- control your pace wisely: never go beyond self-control (it's not racing, it's schooling )
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      03-29-2011, 11:16 PM   #11
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Good stuff in this thread by the Hack, Mfanatic, and others who have a of track time under their belts and lots of experience.

Thanks guys!
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      03-30-2011, 01:34 AM   #12
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Good stuff in this thread by the Hack, Mfanatic, and others who have a of track time under their belts and lots of experience.

Thanks guys!
+1 thanks guys for your thoughtful insight. Greatly appreciate the constructive dialogue for us newbies.

Lon, we will def have to chat in person soon about this. Re the 11th. Gonna see how Friday goes then possibly sign up for LS on the 11th. would run in the solo division and it's still green!
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      03-30-2011, 01:51 AM   #13
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As a follow up, here are the co's I found via a quick search with rates base on a claimed value of $30,000. Locktonaffinity's policy covers multi days events for the price listed, the other co isn't stated.

http://hpdeins.locktonaffinity.com/
Single-event policy: $198
6-event policy: $996
9-event policy: $1222
12-event policy: $1416
15-event policy: $1580
deductible 10% of stated value or min 2,000 to max of 5,000

http://www.ontrackinsurance.com/index.aspx
single event $178.00, (they offer a $5.00 discount for club members, this was not reflected in the quote)
deductible is 5% with a $1500
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      03-30-2011, 02:38 AM   #14
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That's surprisingly cheap, even though I would urge anyone with proper sense of speed and control to save money by not getting track coverage, especially if you're just starting out and will be running with slower groups or you'll be going relatively slow anyways

Though if I had like a Ferrari, that'd be a totally different story


BTW John, if you sign up for the 11th, that'd be great! I could ride with and act as instructor lol
Unless you're paying extra for one to be appointed to you by NCRC that is.
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      03-30-2011, 08:15 AM   #15
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also keep in mind that every track has a rescue vehicle that can drag your car out to a "normal" road near the track and you can call your insurance from there. I've personally seen this happen and it worked out fine .
That--intentionally misrepresenting and manufacturing facts related to the cause of the loss--is called insurance fraud, and you can most likely go to jail for that if it were to be proven depending on the laws in your state. Never mind the fact that it is outright lying and unethical.

As to the general discussion and what would and would not stand up in court regarding the clauses in the regular policies, the only way to find out is to go to court. Insurance companies have armies of lawyers who do this type of thing for a living, and are not as adverse to duking stuff out in a courtroom. Not to mention that it takes months or years to resolve such a case.

I say this not just based on common sense, but also on an experience a friend of mine went through with a major insurance company. There was some kind of a clause in his policy. He asked his agent. His agent said he was covered. He put it into the wall. The company denied coverage. He was smart enough to produce some kind of documentation that showed his agent had told him he was covered (I can't remember if it was a piece of paper or an audio recording of a conversation). He used that in court to ultimately win the case. But without that documentation, he doesn't think he would have won it. In other words, he thinks, based on the legal advice he got, that the clause in the policy would have most likely prevented him from winning.

This probably all depends on the specifics of your policy and state...

If one is doing lots of track events, one can consider an annual policy, which provides coverage for a certain number of events (as opposed to days) such as this one:

http://www.wsibinsurance.com/online/de.shtml

I purchased an annual policy from them for my E92 M3 (and fortunately never had to use it). I know of one person who was involved in an incident and was covered as stated in the policy without any issues. I was told that they have covered several GT3s that were totaled although I have no direct knowledge of those incidents. I am not in anyway affiliated with them. Just putting them out there as an option for people who want track coverage for whatever reason.
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      03-30-2011, 09:21 AM   #16
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Yes you can control those around you in the DS setting. Certain organizers are safer than others. We've known to kick students off track and give their full refund if they do not adhere to our very stringent rules. While that often creates the "BMW CCA is no fun" perception, it is an excellent environment to learn in. And there's a good reason why there has not been a single car to car incident on track in our region, like EVER, until last year (and that was a freak thing that happened that the offending party paid full in cash for). And I fully expect to never witness another car to car incident for as long as I live and attend these events.
In my experience, BMW CCA is indeed a safe environment to learn how to drive on the track. Quality of instruction is usually rather high (Of course, there are some instructors who don't really cut it for various reasons like in any club, but they are fairly rare.) My main issue has been how run groups are structured. When I drove in the advance groups of several different chapters, there were simply too many drivers on the track who shouldn't have been in those groups for various reasons. On a long track, that is not a major issue although sometimes they make you sit on their bumpers for 1-2 laps. On a short track, it becomes a real issue (slow driving and partially not letting people by), and I remember several events where I drove back home thinking, why did I spend my time and pay for that?

Now, driving 7/10ths is of course safer, and when I drive 9/10ths of my ability, I realize I have a higher chance of making a mistake I might not be able to recover from. So, when everyone drives at 7/10ths, it is indeed safer for everyone. One can argue that that is what a drivers education event really is, and that driving at 9/10ths or 10/10ths of one's ability is a silly thing to do in that environment is a sound position. But the other extereme, where several people are driving really slow (and looking very confused and unable in the process) in the most advanced run groups raises some questions.

In comparison, NASA feels much more "open." It is not trivial to drive in the advanced run group. There is open passing to begin with in most events. Mostly, you are trying to get out of the way of full blow race cars who are testing if you are in a street car--especially if there is no racing that weekend. But that teaches one invaluable skills. The drivers are more skilled in general and the pace is much higher, but then you get a few loose cannons. I try to figure out who they are quickly and stay away from them on the track. That situation also teaches you to be really on top of what is happening around you. The risk does go up, but so does the potential to learn advanced skills.

It was shocking to find out how different it was to try to take that turn I took 100 times through an apex on the outside for a change when trying to go around someone, or diving into turn 1 at speed at LRP 3 cars side by side and people negotiating the way in and around. Sure, if someone makes a mistake, all 3 cars are out with contact, but you will never learn how to handle it unless you put yourself in that situation. Fortunately, I have not seen any car to car contact even in that environment, but it could certainly happen.

Perhaps, my point is that BMW CCA does not seem to offer a smooth transition to CR through its DE program whereas other clubs might/do. I know DEs are not supposed to be competition oriented and CR is a different ball game, but let's face it, even though DEs are not supposed to competitive environments, just about everyone I have ever met in a DE (including the instructors) is trying to catch the next car at some level. If that's not competition, I don't know what is...
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      03-30-2011, 11:48 AM   #17
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In my experience, BMW CCA is indeed a safe environment to learn how to drive on the track. Quality of instruction is usually rather high (Of course, there are some instructors who don't really cut it for various reasons like in any club, but they are fairly rare.) My main issue has been how run groups are structured. When I drove in the advance groups of several different chapters, there were simply too many drivers on the track who shouldn't have been in those groups for various reasons. On a long track, that is not a major issue although sometimes they make you sit on their bumpers for 1-2 laps. On a short track, it becomes a real issue (slow driving and partially not letting people by), and I remember several events where I drove back home thinking, why did I spend my time and pay for that?
We have, speaking for our region (Pacific only), made some significant changes to our program. Now there's beginners (D), intermediates (C), Advanced (B), and Advanced PLUS (A+). While B-D is still ran pretty much like how traditional BMW CCA events are structured, the A+ program is closer to a stepping stone for race school while maintaining the majority of the safety net put in place as mandated by National.

Some of the key differences in our A+ program is the passing zone has been redefined as from the back side of the starting line to the front side of the starting line, with a point by. While said definition is in place to satisfy national rule book, it pretty much means passing anywhere with a point. At the last few school I've attended, we've had 40+ cars on a 2.8 mile track and I've yet to see any real "train" develop where it does not allow you to spend more than 90% of your session driving at 9/10th while driving with the A+ guys. We also spend part of the day going through various exercises like 2x2 and 3x3 through corners or leap-frog exercises. The only thing(s) short of a race school we do not offer, are simulated starts and actual live timing (but we do data acquisition exercises as well) for rules imposed by National. The A+ candidates are screened vigorously and can only attend with a prior recommendation by an in-car instructor, so most of the students in A+ are pre-qualified to be safe drivers with more than enough skills to hold their own, with great track awareness.

We're sharing some of these new ideas with National and have invited multiple chapter CIs (Chief Instructors) from all over the country to attend our up-coming schools. Hopefully there'll be some cultural change within the National organization regarding the driving school structure where it'll allow us to continue to offer excellent instruction in a safe environment but also give some of the more advanced drivers a way to sharpen their skills in a more "open" environment while still retaining the safety we're known for.
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      03-30-2011, 12:08 PM   #18
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Yes, that sounds like a drastically different approach, and a significant improvement. However, it is based on the assumption that run groups will be tightly controlled. My impression is that there is a lot of "upward" pressure to move people into the next run group for several reasons. One of them is simply financial. What does one do if there is an uneven distribution of participants across the 4 run groups on a given day? I am under the impression that the distribution is usually bottom heavy--especially when there are credits for first timers. I suspect another reason has to do with social issues/connections. Anyway, let's see if the model you outlined propogates. I've seen such moves elsewhere, but they weren't as extensive.
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      03-30-2011, 12:48 PM   #19
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Yes, that sounds like a drastically different approach, and a significant improvement. However, it is based on the assumption that run groups will be tightly controlled. My impression is that there is a lot of "upward" pressure to move people into the next run group for several reasons. One of them is simply financial. What does one do if there is an uneven distribution of participants across the 4 run groups on a given day? I am under the impression that the distribution is usually bottom heavy--especially when there are credits for first timers. I suspect another reason has to do with social issues/connections. Anyway, let's see if the model you outlined propogates. I've seen such moves elsewhere, but they weren't as extensive.
You are absolutely correct. There is a lot of upward pressure. I've been involved with a couple of events as organizers and believe you me, the MAJORITY of people for these schools are classed one or two groups BELOW what they ultimately ended up placed in. Especially when they share cars. We had a FIRST TIMER at Laguna Seca being placed in "B", which is supposed to be pretty advanced, because he was sharing a car with his sons, who are also there for the first time.

We've had some pretty good success though, with the A+ program, in that the attendees are hand picked. Without a recommendation from a prior in-car instructor they can not sign up for A+. While the end result can sometimes be mixed, for example, at Laguna Seca we ended up with only 5 cars in the A+ program, while at the last Chuckwalla school we had about 20 in A+, it does mean that anyone driving in A+ are only there because they're TRULY A+ drivers.

An interesting comparison between Laguna Seca and Chuckwalla raceway, in that Laguna Seca being so darn famous that it attracts a ton of first timers (OMG Laguna Seca! Bucket List! Have to do it at least once!), but a lot of very advanced people skip it because, well, it's hard on equipment (lots of up-hill, murder on brakes, and after a while, the Cork Screw can only be so alluring for so many times...And it's easy to MASTER). Chuckwalla was a brand new track so all the big hitters, the guys who's been with the program forever, and are very advanced wanted to come out and experience a new track with BMW CCA in a safe, controlled environment so a ton of advanced students with novices and intermediates sort of filling up the rest of the available spots outside of A+.
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      03-30-2011, 01:15 PM   #20
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Bravo to you guys if you can deal with the upward pressure and run sessions with just 5 cars in the A+ group when necessary.
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      03-30-2011, 03:12 PM   #21
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Yes, that sounds like a drastically different approach, and a significant improvement. However, it is based on the assumption that run groups will be tightly controlled. My impression is that there is a lot of "upward" pressure to move people into the next run group for several reasons. One of them is simply financial. What does one do if there is an uneven distribution of participants across the 4 run groups on a given day? I am under the impression that the distribution is usually bottom heavy--especially when there are credits for first timers. I suspect another reason has to do with social issues/connections. Anyway, let's see if the model you outlined propogates. I've seen such moves elsewhere, but they weren't as extensive.
I've been running quite a bit with PCA recently and our region runs a very similar format. I've found that in Black (Group4/ A+) from a drivers standpoint is much safer to drive in because of the increased awareness and passing everywhere causing less trains and more emphasis on learning to drive your own session consistently.

I think more important is the screening / sign off procedures from group to group. I've seen other organizations who sign off anyone as an effort to fill up the larger groups, and often you see quite a bit more crashes and drivers out of their element in the mid to upper groups. I was more than happy to take the "slow road" to the top, and in the end glad I did personally.
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      03-30-2011, 04:50 PM   #22
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+1 on Lockton-Affinity HPDE insurance. Call Ryan at Lockton-Affinity. He will help you.

http://hpdeins.locktonaffinity.com/

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