The world of High Performance Driver Education (HPDE) can be one of the most, if not the most, fun learning experiences of your life.

HPDE is really a type of journey, where the E (education) plays the biggest role. But what about the H-P-D? Just what are you getting yourself into with High Performance Driving?

That’s the topic today, where we take a high-level look at what high performance driving is really about, what options are out there for you to participate in it and how to participate safely.

What Is High Performance Driving?

From the outside looking in, it can be hard to know what high performance driving is really about, but with a closer look, everything becomes clear.

Everyone knows a supercar is capable of incredible things. But what about your own car? In experienced hands, you’d be surprised what your humble hatchback is capable of. This is the premise behind high performance driving.

Though the specifics will vary between different types of vehicles, every car is capable of performing at a high level. High performance driving is about having the knowledge and expertise to unlock that potential for a particular vehicle.

What Makes a High Performance Driver?

The simplest definition for a high performance driver is someone who’s been trained to drive really well. Of course, we’re not just talking about acing your driver’s ed test. High performance driving skills go much deeper.

High performance drivers are experts at smoothness, which often translates into incredibly fast driving. They also have highly developed skills in the use of steering, throttle and braking. These are drivers who have spent years learning how to take a vehicle’s performance to the next level. Professional racing drivers fall into this category, as well as stunt car drivers.

However, the great thing about HPDE is that you, too, have an opportunity to become a high performance driver. With the right education, time and dedication you, too, can join a club of skilled drivers — without having to quit your day job!

How to Get Started in High Performance Driving?

HPDE events are one of the best ways to get started in high performance driving. With the emphasis on education, you get to learn the fundamentals in a fun, low-pressure and non-competitive environment.

HPDE does not involve wheel-to-wheel racing, meaning that the only person you’re really competing against is yourself in your last lap. Plus, it’s literally learning at your own pace, since you can drive as slow as you need to or as fast as you and the event instructors feel is safe and comfortable.

At the same time, you can become an incredibly skilled driver through HPDE. That’s because events are broken up by experience level, so you will progress to faster groups with time, developing more and more refined steering, throttle and braking skills.

Plus, driving in HPDE events allows you to begin unlocking the potential of your car, often on the same racetracks you see professionals compete at on TV. This is possible through the coaching of your in-car instructor and classroom instruction during events.

What Other High Performance Driving Options Exist?

HPDE is a great way to experience high performance driving, especially for first-timers, but it’s not the only option. Time Trial events allow you to drive on the same tracks as HPDE events, with an added aspect where you compete with other drivers for the best lap time. It’s a good option for those who are more competitive.

Autocross is another way to get involved in high performance driving. Events are generally more accessible, since they can be held anywhere there’s a big enough parking lot. Autocross is essentially a Time Trial competition with a course outlined by pylon cones. With a course that can be set up differently at each event, you have more chances to improve your high performance driving abilities.

High performance driving offers other opportunities once you become more experienced behind the wheel. Many drivers eventually transition into instructor roles where they help new drivers learn the sport in classroom sessions or in-car coaching sessions. Some drivers choose to begin competing in wheel-to-wheel racing, and those that want to center their life around motorsports can build a career in the sport by driving professionally for a racing team or movie studio, hosting their own motorsports events or even opening their own motorsports park.

How to Stay Safe in High Performance Driving?

Everything in life involves risk and high performance driving is no exception. Even in the carefully controlled environment of a closed race course, it’s possible to have an accident.

Because high performance driving involves driving that goes above and beyond everyday on-road driving, your regular car insurance probably won’t apply. Most policies specifically exempt claims for high performance driving. Thankfully, you can obtain specialty insurance to protect your car on the track.

At Lockton Motorsports, we offer HPDE Insurance to cover your car for accidental physical damage while you are participating in HPDE, time trial and track day events. Coverage works from the moment you drive onto the track till the time you leave.

We also offer Autocross coverage and Off-Track Insurance and more to help protect your car, no matter how you participate in high performance driving. Learn more about your options at