Lone Star Region PCA has many strengths but one of the best is the diverse areas of interest offered to membership. While many PCA regions are limited to a couple of strong regional programs, LSRPCA has no less than six ever-growing strong areas of activity.
Recently we talked to Tra Townsend, the new LSRPCA High Performance Driver’s Education Chairperson for 2019. We asked Tra what his vision and ideas are and the responsibilities in his new role.
LSR: Tra, you’ve been a part of LSRPCA Driver Education for a while now. Tell us how you got into DE.
Tra: I bought my first Porsche from Porsche of North Houston in October of 2011. As we finished-up with the paperwork, my salesmen, Rodger Gay gave me a certificate to do a Driver’s Education event with LSRPCA. He knew what he was doing because I was hooked after my first event.
LSR: We’ve heard you have some new ideas planned, like adding a training section to the LSRPCA YouTube Channel. Tell us about that idea.
Tra: I’m currently looking for someone within the club that does videography and video editing. I want to put together a detailed “Lap around MSR” video going both directions. This will be something we can send to all participants to review before their weekend at the track.
LSR: What additional new ideas do you have in mind?
Tra: I’m working to get a professional race car driver that has driven Le Mans to be a guest speaker at one of our DE events. Being able to have a question and answer session during the Saturday evening Social would be a great way for drivers to get additional education to further enhance their driving experience.
I would like to put together a series of videos to be used in the classroom as teaching aids to better understand the right way and the wrong way to make a high-speed turn.
LSR: Tell us about the new LSRPCA Facebook Group for Drivers Education.
Tra: I wanted a Facebook page that was dedicated to LSRPCA Drivers Education events where I could answer any questions participants may have and communicate about upcoming events. Anyone interested in DE events are welcome to join the group!
LSR: What are some of the biggest challenges you foresee in 2019?
Tra: New National PCA Rules for vehicles with harnesses. We will be working closely with those drivers affected to make sure they have the proper safety equipment to meet the new guidelines.
I’ll remind all participants whether you are a driver or instructor, that it is extremely important they read any and all correspondence provided for their event thoroughly in order to be prepared for the event.
LSR: DE, is one of the five driving interest areas in PCA (the others being autocross, car control, touring, and rallying). How do you see DE fit in with the other areas? Is there a progression for drivers?
Tra: Skills and techniques learned on tracks for HPDE’s make it easy for drivers to apply that education to the other driving programs. Practice makes perfect. The more you are able to participate in the various events, the more you are able to learn and progress.
LSR: Some of the regions have very sophisticated timing and scoring reporting tools for autocrossing where the time is posted online after the run. Any hopes for such a system?
Tra: We are a High Performance Drivers Education program with emphasis on the Education part. Racing/time tracking is not a part of the DE program as that is the purpose of PCA Club Racing. Many people start with DE and as their driving performance and skill level advances, they transition to the PCA Club Racing program.
LSR: Tell us about the support team that helps make each DE a success.
Tra: It all starts with the Registrar, Rey Pagan. Rey creates the event at ClubRegistration and manages the process through the Saturday morning registration at the track.
Philippe Oberti is the Chief Driving Instructor. Philippe is responsible for making sure there are enough instructors for the event. He sets up the run groups / team leads, and assign students to run groups.
Without the dedication and commitment of our instructors and numerous volunteers (registration, grid, black flag, classroom teachers), these events would not be possible.
The time and effort put in from these folks too often goes unrecognized. No matter the weather, they are in the trenches working hard to provide a fun, safe and memorable experience for everyone.
Tra’s new Thunder Roadster, a US Legends race car.
The car is powered by a 1250cc motorcycle engine. He affectionately refers to it as “a go-kart on steroids”.