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      09-18-2020, 12:45 PM   #1
byroncheung
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lead-follow in covid19 HPDE?

Haven't been back to HPDE this year yet, I see most of the groups are doing "lead-follow" format instead of in-car instruction for novice / intermediate group.

Has anyone tried this "lead-follow" format? I'm not entire sure how it will be ran I haven't seen a detailed description of it. How did you like it compared to the traditional in-car instruction?
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      09-18-2020, 01:06 PM   #2
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Not sure for an HDPE but the BMW M school runs this format, you never have in car instruction. Instructor will generally keep a pace and slow down if they see you struggling or speed up based on your comfort level. If they see you making mistakes they'll dial it back. I'm not sure if they'll have in car radios to provide you specific feedback or not.

Having done a few different events in that format it's not bad, it's harder for them to give you very specific timed instructions for braking points etc, but if you focus on driving (rather than keeping your bumper stuck to them) it's still useful time out there.
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      09-18-2020, 01:11 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by byroncheung View Post
Haven't been back to HPDE this year yet, I see most of the groups are doing "lead-follow" format instead of in-car instruction for novice / intermediate group.

Has anyone tried this "lead-follow" format? I'm not entire sure how it will be ran I haven't seen a detailed description of it. How did you like it compared to the traditional in-car instruction?
Lead-follow works well if the instructors have been trained to do it. I've had instruction via "in-car" and "lead-follow" and they each have their benefits. My one concern about lead-follow in the Covid era is that instructors are being put into a situation where they haven't been trained to do lead-follow just so the HPDE can happen. So, I would inquire about how long the organization has been using this format and what sort of training the instructors have for lead-follow before committing to attending.

Just my thoughts.
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      09-18-2020, 02:01 PM   #4
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Lead-follow is fine for learning the basic racing line, but there's really no interactivity to it except some beforehand or after-the-fact "here's why we turn in late on corner X".
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      09-18-2020, 02:38 PM   #5
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In the case of in-car instruction, cars are spaced out as much as possible, and slower cars will let faster cars pass, in an effort to allow everyone to push their car close to where their skills allow.

How would that aspect play out in the lead-follow format? Is each student car lead by a dedicated instructor? Will passings still be allowed? Or it will just be a long train of cars with pace dictated by the slowest car happen to be in front of you in the line?
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      09-18-2020, 03:15 PM   #6
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Lead-follow is never at 10/10ths. Too many different skill levels and performance levels, plus it's risky for inexperienced drivers to be going that fast in proximity to another car of unknown skill. The instructors will typically increase the pace once they see everyone can still keep up.

They need to be able to see everyone in their mirrors so no one will really get that spread out.
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      09-18-2020, 08:01 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by byroncheung View Post
In the case of in-car instruction, cars are spaced out as much as possible, and slower cars will let faster cars pass, in an effort to allow everyone to push their car close to where their skills allow.

How would that aspect play out in the lead-follow format? Is each student car lead by a dedicated instructor? Will passings still be allowed? Or it will just be a long train of cars with pace dictated by the slowest car happen to be in front of you in the line?
It depends on the club, and the run group, but passing is allowed, but should be the entire group, which if an instructor has 2 students becomes trickier. Some tracks only have a few spots to allow 2-3 cars to pass in quick succession. At least initially trains seem to be a bigger problem in lead-follow than in-car, as to be expected.
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      09-18-2020, 09:27 PM   #8
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I've instructed at 6 events so far this year between SCCA and NASA, at least here in the DMV area, they are leaving it up to the students/instructors whether they are comfortable with in car instructing - which is preferred. NASA at first was doing 1 leader per 3 followers... we quickly learned this was a nightmare and just didn't work well with traffic and various skill level students. 1 to 1 is the way to go, you can learn a lot by letting your instructor follow you and give feedback, and of course following him/her. Most importantly there needs to be some type of download after the session otherwise it's pretty pointless
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      09-21-2020, 05:43 PM   #9
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ok so sounds like lead-follow is kinda dicey and also tricky when the track is filled with cars with different skill level. guess i just have to wait when things get more normal to go back...
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      09-21-2020, 07:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by byroncheung View Post
ok so sounds like lead-follow is kinda dicey and also tricky when the track is filled with cars with different skill level. guess i just have to wait when things get more normal to go back...
A good club should use lead-follow with drivers of the same run group.
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      09-22-2020, 10:28 AM   #11
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I instructed with BMW CCA at Hallett last weekend. Great event and track, BTW! Every novice driver had an instructor, and the intermediate group had 1:3 ratio.

I thought it worked out very well for the novice group. Good prep meeting that included instructors was key. Passing was emphasized. The lead instructors control passing and speed so we rarely experienced trains. The key is to have the student stay pretty close - two to four car lengths. The student helps dictate speed with their distance. As others have mentioned, debriefing after each session is critical, but I always do this anyway. By mid-day Sunday, my student was driving as smoothly and quickly as he would have if I was riding right seat - maybe faster. I think lead/follow is more of a challenge with multiple drivers at varying levels in intermediate, but you can start to have them lead.

Next event at MSR Cresson in November so come on out!
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      09-22-2020, 11:01 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbyrd View Post
I instructed with BMW CCA at Hallett last weekend. Great event and track, BTW! Every novice driver had an instructor, and the intermediate group had 1:3 ratio.

I thought it worked out very well for the novice group. Good prep meeting that included instructors was key. Passing was emphasized. The lead instructors control passing and speed so we rarely experienced trains. The key is to have the student stay pretty close - two to four car lengths. The student helps dictate speed with their distance. As others have mentioned, debriefing after each session is critical, but I always do this anyway. By mid-day Sunday, my student was driving as smoothly and quickly as he would have if I was riding right seat - maybe faster. I think lead/follow is more of a challenge with multiple drivers at varying levels in intermediate, but you can start to have them lead.

Next event at MSR Cresson in November so come on out!
Hopefully, one of the many positives of covid will be we finally figure out that we don't need helpless, vulnerable sacks of meat to ride shotgun to teach people who want to learn how to drive good and do other stuff good too
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      09-22-2020, 11:42 AM   #13
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I did a BMW 2-day M school in July, and the instructors there did a 2 student group lead follow. All cars have a walkie-talkie and we agreed that it is a 1-way radio from the instructor unless there is an emergency or problem. The instructor will allow the 2 students to switch positions who is following the instructor a few times during the session to get a feel for each student. As we picked up the pace, the instructor adjusted to the pace of both students to average out the pace. If the slower student was behind, that student would be in the middle and have a little more 1on1 to help improve their pace. It was a great way to instruct IMO.
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