I haven't heard of any groups that allow it either and I instruct with different groups all across the country.
Many groups in ct let it happen as long as the instructor is okay with it. Personally I would never get in someone's car without harnesses. My car had matching seats, harnesses and fixed side mount brackets before going to the track. I always try to inform the instructor that he can wear Hans. Before the session.
The false dilemma being perpetrated here is that the only available choices are used R-comps or new street tires. Used street tires are the most cost effective option for a learner. I paid $10-20 apiece for them when I was starting out. They will likely be flatspotted long before they actually wear out.
At least it was Turn 2 at maybe 40 instead of Turn 10 at 105.
On another forum's thread where many of us PacNW miata track (and non-track) brosefs hang out Aidangj popped in and introduced himself as "I'm the asshat who crashed with Martin." That doesn't quite get him off the hook, but being able call one's self an asshat is I think a first step on the road to redemption. Shows it was an error of judgement at the time and not an ongoing case of enormous ego.
Indeed he was driving over his head, we lost traction twice prior going through the second part of the chicane on the two laps before and both times I told him you need to slow down more entering the chicane, you can carry a lot of speed into it but not sustain it, I gave ample warning. This was just a case of false confidence due to R comps and honestly not listening to what I had to say.
Third lap was the charm, I'll bet you won't let that happen again?
I've not heard of any track days local to me that allow the instructor to have nonidentical safety equipment to the driver. Interesting.
I've heard of one group that required this at another local track. Never at PIR though. Had to borrow a seat and harness. No need now, passengers know the risk and I haven't had an instructor myself in a while.
I try to get an instructor/coach every chance I get. Fortunately/unfortunately, I've been promoted into the advanced group everywhere I run, which means that I have to request an instructor and often it doesn't work out. Still, whenever I get someone to tag along I learn more than I would by myself with data.
Last time I had the miata on track I grabbed one of the few instructors available and managed to shave massive amount of time off my laps as well as gain a lot of confidence. My friend who passed up the opportunity was chasing after me in his S2k and mashed it into a wall at LRP... again.
His attitude has since changed and he has gotten a lot better with instruction (better than me for sure)
Last time I had the BRZ on track, however I brought my Fiance out so she could see what its like because she wants to get on track next year. I didn't like having a novice passenger and probably would not do it again. Having someone in the car who is not comfortable with you just makes things worse.
Especially if that is someone you spend significant amounts of time with. Ms Mobius has not expressed any interest in going for a ride on track in my car. That's probably for the best.
Next topic: Jules Bianchi. May your thoughts and prayers be with him. This is carnage of the worst sort. I'm not really a sensitive guy in touch with my emotions and whatnot, but I nearly cried after seeing this. It is difficult to see how he survived this crash at all, he is currently in critical condition. For those of you who don't follow F1 at all, this is especially tough on the Marussia team, as one of their test drivers (one of the few women driving in F1) suffered a horrific head injury and lost an eye a couple of years ago in testing.
Context - Suzuka, wet, Adrian Sutil has gone of previously in this corner, and Sutil's car is being recovered by the front end loader.
The race was red flagged and then ended in pit lane with 8 laps to go.
Wow ... that's amazing. But the most amazing part was the organizer allowing him to continue. He'd fit right in at one of our Alfa club track days. Maybe that track day was done by Alfa Romeo Owners of Britain ...
Actually, thankfully, after the shitstorm Greddygalant created and a number of us locals further contributed to after the last Alfa day here, they have decided they need help running their track days and will no longer run them by themselves.
Always watch your mirrors. Just after 3:15 of this video, going into Sebring's turn 1 out of the front straight, the 350z overcooks his brakes or just brakes way too late down the inside. I see him coming and continue to brake more than usual and turn in a little later so that I cross behind him. This is DE4. Earlier in the video, I back off of the 944 going into the turn because I know there is a good chance he didn't see me, and I was right.
No pics or video, but rather a story from a NASA instructor:
Work, and other onerous commitments, have conspired to severely limit my track days of late. With coercion from the C5 Mafia, and an open time slot in my schedule, I signed up to instruct at VIR for a two day event . I was intending to bring my 1999 C5 but the planets did not align for me to prep it completely before the event so I was immediately down to co-driving in my buddies car. Other Mafia members, as per normal, started dropping out as the day got closer or outright refused since Hoosier crack was not an option. In the end we had a few Mafia make it to the event. VIR is always a special place but this time weather was fantastic, there was low track density and the new track surface is awesome. The Oak Tree is sorely missed but the new exit does ease the pain a little. Hotels were a problem so we ended up in Roxboro, NC to get a room (Hilton points). It had been a while since I had run with the organization and it was pretty much as I remembered. Tech and drivers meeting was relatively painless. I had checked the instructor pairing and saw I was in a C6 Vette. Talking to the event manager I found out it was "GT1 Corvette" (I was thinking tube frame, race slicks, sequential trans, 600HP+, etc.) so I knew it would be loud and hot with a communicator pretty much useless. I met the driver and found out he had done 4 days at Mosport and had sorted out some electrical problems in the car. He was an experienced motorcycle racer and this would be his 5th track event and first at VIR. Then he told me had to go install the passenger seat.
We missed the warmup and he missed most of the first classroom session by the time he brought the car to the paddock. Then I realized I knew the car (sad when you know many cars through several previous owners) and had once seen it burn up mostly at T10a at Road Atlanta. It had been rebuilt and run in NARRA, SCCA and NASA races since. It was a frame car, T56 trans, 480HP LS3, and a carbon fiber body car with new R6s. So not as potent a weapon as I initially thought. It went through a very quick tech and we made it to grid. It was loud and hot with loose wires in passenger side, loose passenger aluminum floor pan, no roll bar padding, holes in the firewall, gas smell in cockpit and the seat belts mostly installed correctly. Some of these ills were not immediately apparent. First session is mostly an elephant walk with people sorting out their cars and figuring out the full course at VIR. We talked about the line, some braking points and rhythm after the session. We then went out in my buddies C5 so I could show him the lines, brake points and where throttle puts the car where you want it to be. It was a great session for me. Car was working great, I was working a lot of traffic and talking to him as we made the laps. I have learned not to go all RAFT in the first student session with me driving since some folks want to emulate that tail out throttle flat style. It was controlled fast laps with no effort of beating a personal best.
After the session he went shopping for a new helmet and HANS since his helmet was a loaner and fit poorly with the added limitation it had no HANS capability. He missed the classroom session and almost all of the next session. But I discussed hand signals and we did get in a few laps where his line was way better but his digital throttle style, braking style (downshift then brake) and bumper riding was apparent. When I talked to him about he said it was no big deal since we were so slow and he was pissed off at being held up. I explained it was all about good habit patterns and being repetitive in tasks to build muscle memory. He said he was a pro racer and could handle it. He then asked when he could get cleared solo. I said not yet.
The next session went much better with smooth throttle inputs and better braking. He missed a yellow flag and had terrible situational awareness on catching slow cars in bad places (it was not a race remember). He rode bumpers and made late passes. He tended to push in the clutch at corner entry and released it about mid-corner. It is a technique but not my preferred one. He freely admitted he could not heel toe. He shifted when the car was unloaded. He also did not like to open the wheel at exit and bound the car up. There were other basic technique issues. It was a long, loud hot and gas fumed 30 minutes. When I mentioned these in the debrief he said it was no big deal since he was not the normal student, people needed to get out of his way, often interrupted me to point out he was not doing whatever I mentioned and when could he take a written test on the corner workers. At that point he was insistent he should be solo in the next group. I said I would go talk to the manager. I did and gave my honest feedback on his capability to pass a checkride (I used to give them in this organization so I knew it was pointless). He was very supportive and asked me to try it again.
In hindsight I should have called Kings X at that point. Fourth session was a nightmare, he absolutely ignored me, almost hit a Ferrari, chopped corners, rode bumpers, broke it loose in T1, had no track manners, and was annoyed when I shook my head in the car. I could not get his attention to bring the car in. Probably the longest thirty minutes in my track experience. I must admit I got out of the car (impossible with a helmet on), drank a bottle of water and breathed air without gas fumes. That annoyed him more but I was in no mood to talk. When I came back he was insistent he get soloed. When I pointed out errors he said he did it because he was pissed off. No matter what I said (in a normal monotone voice) he argued with me. I went back to organizer. The corner workers had called in the aggressive C6 Vette so he knew some issues. I told him he was in racer mode, would not listen and refused critique. About that time the student came up and started talking. He freely admitted he was pissed off people did not get out of his way (he held people up since his technique was awful), tuned me out completely, said I never went over hand signals with him (he later said he was not interested), I pissed him off, he learned better on his own, that he would never spin off, that he would just go back to Canada and race there, that focusing on the corner and car in front did not allow him to look at corner workers, he was in race mode (and could not turn it off) and the best part he argued a 2700-2800 pound 480HP race prepped C6 was not that much of a car for a driver of his skill set. I did not want him in the next group much less solo. Once again I was talked into giving it one more shot. The student stayed back to talk to organizer.
When he came back to the car he was giving me the team work talk and how he managed a factory motorcycle race team. I did ask how that compared to squadron command in a combat zone. Truthfully, my patience is not that good. Then he pointed out he was the customer and said he spent a lot of money to be here and I did nothing to help him fix his car. I then pointed out I was responsible for safety. Maybe a bit forcefully using fighter pilot words. He then said he did not want me in his car. Finally, something we agreed on. He did go into detail how we had a bad dynamic and it was mostly him not me. He said I was decent guy just not a good fit for him. I can say I have met the "Flat Out" guy.
We went back to organizer and I told him the student did not want me in his car anymore. He tried to get my buddy to take him out for last session of the day. He declined. They did get a chief or senior instructor in the car. He held up faster traffic for 5 minutes since he ignored that instructor and his mirrors also. I went to a great steak dinner in the country.
Next day was a bit cooler but a repeat in fantastic weather and light traffic. I did get a session in and it was glorious until it ran out of gas. The ABS and clutch went out in the car when my buddy tried to drive his car next, somehow all that was my fault also. Luckily, I did not get a new student so I had time to hang out and load broken cars.
I did notice my former student missed the mandatory drivers meeting and novice class. The organizer did drop by to talk to him briefly. I did notice the instructors in the car did give me the stink eye but maybe they are just grumpy or I am too sensitive. I am sure there are some who feel I am too judgmental, impatient or lack instructor experience in this situation. They may be right.
Overall I had fun with my friends, got to drive a fantastic track, ate a good steak and survived "that guy". I did relearn an important lesson. Street cars and current logbook racecars are typically track ready and safe. Modded cars and works in progress racecars are not always track ready. As an instructor do not depend on "tech" and do not get in cars you feel are unsafe.
My hat's off to you instructors. Hopefully the schools are supportive when you decide risk is too high. It sounds like the school wasn't supporting this particular instructor all that well.
I've got the fighter pilot background too (I wonder if I know this guy?). I can tell you that this kind of stuff/attitude isn't tolerated for a nano-second in military flight training or squadron operations. Maybe the flight background of this instructor seemed too rigid to the school.
His name is Jeff and he runs in the southeast region somewhere.
NASA-FL doesn't play around. I believe if I go to the chief instructor and tell him someone is unsafe and not listening to my directions and I will not ride with him, I would be supported. The chief instructor would probably ride or recruit another instructor to ride for a second opinion but I wouldn't be required to do so if I was uncomfortable. It would be the last day I instructed if they said I did, and I still wouldn't do it.
I've actually seen where a good strong talking to caused someone to pack up and leave instead of compromising.