It all started when Henrique Cisneros lost a good friend and teammate. Sean Edwards was killed in an incident while coaching a client during an on-track high-performance driving event in October 2013. To help standardize education and safety guidelines for the non-racing driving community, Cisneros established the Motorsport Safety Foundation (MSF) in 2014.
“The MSF is an organization that gives a single voice for the High-Performance Driver Education (HPDE) community,” says MSF board member Scot Elkins. “Our mission is to improve the standards for HPDE schools, instructor training programs, and Instructors for the purpose of providing a safer, better quality experience.”
Starting the MSF was the first step in championing HPDEs, but the organization knew that establishing how instructors were trained was the next step in promoting safety at such events. In collaboration with leaders in the HPDE community, MSF created the MSF Certified program. With the Certified program, MSF has created standards for the selection, training, and certification of high-performance driving instructors across the country. There are two levels to the Certified program:
- Level 1 is the first step; it is a required course that is taught online. Successful completion allows participants to attend an in-person, event-organizer-led Level 2 instructor-training program.
- Level 2 differs from Level 1 in that the event organizer’s training program is certified by the MSF. The event organizer receives certification by submitting its curriculum to the MSF to ensure it meets its minimum standards for training. Once the event organizer achieves Certified status, it can then conduct Level 2 instructor clinics. These are hands-on, in-depth events that occur at and on the track. They include classroom instruction and on-track mentoring rides, and put HPDE instructors in a position to become right-seat-qualified and MSF-Certified.
Chris Vorce is the instructor-training coordinator of the Empire State Region of Ferrari Club of America. “It took me about a month to put the curriculum together,” recalls Vorce. “I submitted my curriculum to the MSF and received approval in August 2017. We were the third region to achieve Certified by the MSF. Since then, we’ve certified 18 candidates.”
David Ray is on the MSF Advisory Council and is founder of Hooked on Driving, a performance driving school he began in 2004. By his estimate, he has trained between 25,000 and 30,000 people during his tenure, and he is equally enthusiastic about the MSF Certified program. “I realized with HPDE, we had a new hobby/sport with people participating and we wanted to be sure there weren’t unsafe practices that would damage the ability to grow this really fun experience,” he relates. “We knew the MSF would be available to give other organizations that wanted to conduct HPDEs some standards with the Certified program. We don’t want people to have to learn the hard way!
“Being able to take your car on the track is still one of the best kept secrets out there, and we want to share it,” continues Ray. “At the same time, the fundamentals of keeping people safe in cars and being effective coaches are our primary goals, and we have that with the MSF Certified program.”
Hagerty Motorsports, which offers HPDE/track day insurance, is proud to support the Motorsport Safety Foundation. Its efforts to standardize education and safety guidelines for the non-racing driving community align well with our mission to save driving for future generations. Safer track events lower the barrier to entry, getting more people out of the bleachers and behind the wheel!
If you are interested, you can register via MotorsportReg.com here for the Level 1 online course.