Honda Performance Development GT3 Driver Academy

As the preeminent OEM racing organization in North America, one of HPD's core principles is to support drivers in achieving their racing dreams. The HPD Driver Academy embodies this by providing extensive track time in the Acura NSX GT3 EVO, and access to experienced GT3 drivers, HPD engineering and trackside support staff, and SRO and IMSA Championship engineers and team owners. The curricula is focused on the skills needed to be ready to race at this level in North America or in global series.

The program will include on-track racecraft coaching sessions in the championship winning Acura NSX GT3 Evo from drivers such as Ryan Eversley, Kyle Marcelli, Mario Farnbacher, and Dane Cameron, as well as off-track instruction relating to effective communication with team personnel and engineers, in addition to driver marketing insights and sponsor searches.

The highly successful Acura NSX GT3 EVO is the only GT3 car developed in North America.  In addition to titles in Japan’s SuperGT 300 and European SRO SportsClub, the NSX GT3 EVO won five out of six titles in IMSA GTD and SRO America GT PRO/AM in 2019. While planning to achieve similar success in 2020, HPD is also focused on finding future GT3 winning drivers and is offering  this opportunity to a limited group of hand-selected potential participants. 

Each program will be limited to four drivers at a time to ensure substantial track time and individual attention.

On track performance will include training covering the following topics:

  • Managing tires and fuel
  • Race craft and multiclass racing
  • Achieving race strategy targets
  • Driving for the conditions
  • Efficient pit stop execution for the driver
  • Learning how to practice with efficiency
  • Clear communication between team, driver, and spotter
  • Qualifying laps vs. race pace
  • Understanding the difference between starting and finishing driver roles
  • Optimizing set up for more than one driver and getting the most out of a compromised set up.

2020 HPD GT3 Academy NSX GT3 Evo

Off track performance will include training covering the following topics:

  • Engineer and team communication – how to develop a common language with race engineers and the team.
  • Expectations of top drivers and teams.
  • Data analysis – utilizing data to understand vehicle behavior and contribution to lap time, identifying and reacting to the earliest signs of vehicle trouble and learning how to communicate nuanced vehicle feel into set up changes.
  • Working with teammate(s) – developing a common language, complimentary within team competition and creating best set up to match multiple drivers.
  • Off track training program – learning the most effective physical fitness, mental focus and dietary best habits to optimize on track performance
  • Social/digital media – learn strategies that increase (the right) followers and engagement
  • Sponsorship acquisition – how to prospect, secure and retain sponsors that offer more than transactional support.
  • Physical/mental preparedness – preparing for consistent highest level performance
  • The role of the driver manager –deciding whether to work with a driver manager and what are some of the key criteria that set managers apart

2020 HPD GT3 Academy Road Atlanta Debrief

 

Tentative Schedule and Format:

Format: Two drivers per day (except Daytona).  Driver pairings to switch during the course of the program.

DATE

TRACK

TEST FOCUS

NOTES

Event 1

Road Atlanta, 6/22-6/23

Learning the car, dealing with traffic, pit stop basics, radio protocols, and using a spotter. Learning how to practice effectively;

Drivers requested to arrive 1 day early for fitting and orientation. Driving coaches: Dane Cameron, Ryan Eversley

Event 2

Mid-Ohio, 7/22-7/23

Working with an engineer – how he does his job and the feedback needed from the driver

Guest engineer will review the NSX GT3 setup guide to help drivers understand how to make the car faster for them. Driving coaches: Kyle Marcelli, Mario Farnbacher

Event 3

Indianapolis 9/8-9/9

Team test program – how to work in the test environment

Pre-event: Discussion on the NSX GT3 electronics. We will have the engineer that led development of the Traction Control and related GT3 driver aids give a “deep dive” discussion on these systems

 At event: Focus on vehicle control systems & driver feedback to engineering staff. Will include driver/engineer feedback sheets and full engineering debrief sessions.

Driver coaches: Mario Farnbacher and Dane Cameron

Event 4

Daytona - TBD

Race simulation – long stints, driver changes, fuel saving, consistency, and speed.

Limited practice time before race simulation. 4 drivers each day. Driver coaches: Ricky Taylor and Trent Hindman

The Racers Edge Motorsports team -- winners of the 2019 SRO GT3 PRO/AM driver’s championship-- will operate program under the guidance and direction of HPD. Team Principal Jon Mirachi and Race Engineer Jim Pattin will lead tests. Acura Motorsports/HPD will provide specific support at each event to increase driver learning; including key race engineers and championship drivers from Acura and Honda global motorsports.

Taylor Hagler GT3 Academy Cameron

As part of the program, drivers will be invited to American Honda for introduction to key executive members of Honda’s North American operations, visit the Honda Museum in Torrance, California, and receive a tour of the Honda Performance Development facility in Valencia, California. Drivers will also receive Acura Motorsports gear including a personalized driving suit. As factory development drivers, members will be given the opportunity to be promoted by HPD and Acura Motorsports and attend key promotional events, including paddock access at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Program Costs:  $125,000/driver (not including IMSA Encore). Deposit required upon application acceptance.

Includes: Test days support, track rental, tires, fuel, vehicle mileage, insurance, meals at the track, and drivers suit

Not included:  Travel cost, lodging, parts damage up to deductible

Crash damage insurance:

Terms of coverage - $30,000 deductible/$150,000 maximum (per incident). Driver is responsible for costs below deductible and above maximum coverage.