Guidence Towards Comp License


My son Phil will be sharing my car in HPDE. He’s 21 and an experienced kart racer (Rotax Series). He’ll do DE and I’ll race.

Obviously the goal is for him to get his comp license. I’d like this to happen as quickly as possible - Of course his driving skill will dictate this :unsure:

I really don’t want him in DE for an extended amount of time… I believe that slowness is an attribute (?) of extended DE… I’m not trying to start a sh.t storm here but I’ve instructed for over twenty years so my opinion is not without basis.

I should also say; I don’t believe he’s the next Schumacker or the sort. We have no pro aspirations… We’re in it to have fun and his safety is paramount.

Without the funds to go to Skippy or the sort, how long or how short is the path to a comp license?

Thoughts and suggestions…


Talk to your regional director. Participation in Comp School is by application. All Phil has to do is convince the director that he’s ready. If you don’t like what the regional director says, attempt comp school in a different region or with a different organization.

At comp school at CMP last weekend everyone passed. I helped out at a comp school for a different region last summer and less than half passed. That might indicate that different regions have different approaches for who gets admitted to the school.

Re. extended time in DE’s makes you slow, and the shitstorm. I would agree that after 70-80 track days or so, if a person wants to get faster they really ought to go race. It some point you end in a rut if you don’t have some outside pressure.


As always, Thanks Ranger…

You hit the nail on the head re extended DE time:)


As with Phil I am a young guy who wants to race as soon as possible. I have never attended a NASA event, but specE30 is my goal. I am an advanced/solo driver in a BMW CCA group in the northeast, will that cross over into a NASA HPDE event? Also question about the comp school, what are the prerequisites?


If you can TT - you can do the comp school.

SCCA will let you enter the comp school, pre-reqs are listed on the web - um got a fire suit?


E30KDG wrote:

The only prerequisite is that your regional director feels that you are ready.

That being said, car and personal safety gear has to be able to pass standard race tech. So a non-prepped car won’t do.

If you’ve never done an event with NASA, be prepared for the race director to require that you do an event with them first. Alternately, you might be able to provide him with a pile of references from folks that he personally knows and respects.


Paul, the amount of time it takes to work the way up to comp school is different for each person. It could be done in less than a year or it may take a lot longer. When he goes to his first DE, make sure he gets an instructor that is/was a racer and they know his plans.

You could always go the SCCA school route to get a license and then come over to Spec E30, but I really think working up through DE prepares someone much better than a 2 day school.

E30KDG, DE experience with CCA will crossover, you might have to do one day/weekend with an instructor just so the organizers can make sure. Like I told Paul, make sure they know your plans and your previous experience. For comp school, you need to be in HPDE 3 or higher, have a race car that’s meets all the requirements in the CCR, all the safety equipment and the approval of the director.

Don’t worry too much about how long it will take, I’ve seen people rush it and get completely overwhelmed in races and it takes away a lot of the fun for them.

edit: what Ranger said…typing while watching TV=slooooooww


You don’t develop slowness, you are born with it!!

With your son’s experience I would send him to a 3 day race school. At the end of the weekend he will have a comp license.


Just for a reference point, I did it in 2 years of doing about 5 events/year. That was relatively quick. If I were you, I would hand-pick instructors for your son who have race experience. They will understand his aspirations and keep him growing in the right direction while sharing a much wider range of experiences than your typical DE instructor.

the bmwcca club racing school at mid-ohio on the first weekend of april will have 6-7 SpecE30’s in it, including 3 who intend to race the following weekend at the NASA race. They will accept passage of the bmw school to grant provisional licenses.


Thanks for all of your replies, very appreciated!

I would not consider encouraging my son to get his comp license before I felt he was more than ready…

With that said, everyone learns at their own pace and everyone brings some prior experiences with them. My son has been involved with my racing since he was five years old and raced karts succesfully for nine years. We have always spoken at great length about driving concepts - do’s & dont’s…

Anthony, I like the info re the BMWCCA school at Mid Ohio…It’s definitly premature for this year but may make sense for next year after my son has a year of DE under his belt.


I started my track day life last year by doing 6 NASA events. SpecE30 was the goal from the beginning and originally I wanted to get there ASAP. Over the course of the year I decided that ASAP probaly wasn’t the right frame of mind. I went from DE1 to DE3 and was instructed by 4 SpecE30 racers, and I had another SpecE30 racer ride with me one session. I have had recommendations that I am ready for comp school, that I should do TT first, and that I should get as much instruction as I can prior to going to comp school and racing. I plan to do DE3 this year, and get more instruction at some BMWCCA events, and possibly some TT later this year and do comp school at the end of this year or first thing next year if I feel I am ready. I have also thought about doing one of the approved NASA schools, but it sounds like NASA comp school is the best learning experience.


King Tut wrote:

It’s not that the NASA school is better than the expensive shake-n-bake schools. It’s more a matter learning/dollar. The shake-n-bake schools are short, and there’s a real limit to how much information and skills a person can absorb in a week or less. But if a person took that same money and instead did DE’s and open track days, and you could do a lot of them with that same money, you have time to absorb those skills.

There’s also the possibility of buying a day of Mike Skeen to work on the race craft that is hard to learn in a DE environment.

Another possibility. The BMWCCA CR schools seem to have a good rep. The one that Fred and I went to was excellent.


Thanks for all the info, very helpful. I am not trying to rush the situation at all if thats how it sounds. I have been doing driving schools with BMW CCA for 5 years. Now I am a little older, I am making enough to support an inexpensive racecar, and spece30 fits as my experience has been with e30/e36. This season I will go to some NASA events, then depending on my progress, next season get my license.


The BMW Club Racing schools are probably the best there are at present, in my opinion. They are two day schools with a lot of time on track doing exercises in between classroom sessions. There will be a Race school at O’Fest at Barber this year. One thing I think is good about the schools is that a race car isn’t a requirement. You can do the school in any car suitable for an HPDE. That allows the students to find out if they are up for racing and the staff to determine that the students are qualified w/o the inital outlay of the race car.