Now that this discussion has followed it’s path, I wanted to throw in something that I haven’t seen addressed. As the administrator of the program I may have a different perspective than a participant or even some of the Instructors. Please keep in mind that I did teach for 15 years before I took on this administrative job. I’m looking forward to the day that someone else will be Track Chair and I can go back to doing that.
The labeling of our run groups is generic. We copy a format that other regions also use so that we can identify the skills of those who choose to join us from other regions. They may call Black = Blue or White = Yellow Sign Off, but the basics are the same. You can find a list of skill levels on back of the Instructor evaluation cards, in the back of our log books and in the Driver Ed manuals given out at IDS. Those are the criteria that all Instructors use for advancement.
What this numbered system doesn’t quantify is the range of skills in each group. Using generalizations, there are large differences in driver skill in the same group. The line has to be drawn somewhere in order for the Instructors to know what level their unknown student possesses.
Green = Anywhere from never having been on a track, to understanding the line and work zones.
Yellow = Anywhere from knowing which way to turn, to skillful and consistently smooth laps.
White = Anywhere from driving the line alone, to smooth traffic management and self correction.
Black = Anywhere from being quick, to being brilliant anywhere on the course. At one with the car.
Red = Anywhere from being at one with the car, to being able to teach those skills to others while constantly learning themselves.
To suggest that White = Black is to suggest that someone who has driven alone for the first time has equal skill to someone who is about to become an Instructor. That’s the range we’re talking about between entering White and exiting Black.
You may have noticed that nowhere in this generalization did I mention passing zones. They are extended to groups as the driver’s skill progresses. Additional zones require additional tasks, correct car placement and driving maturity that only comes with seat time. Experience isn’t something we can teach. It’s something you must learn yourselves.
No program is perfect and we are happy to consider any well though out suggestions. That’s how we improve and the program benefits from it. What we try to do is give everyone a consistent set of skills that they can develop into a safe and challenging experience. While keeping up with your friends is fun, mastering high speed driving techniques is imperative.