Jack, I’m glad to be reading your new content on Hagerty, having followed your column on R&T for a couple years now!
I did a TNiA event in 2017 at PittRace, and I’ve admittedly only done 1 event with them, but it wasn’t without its issues in my opinion. I had only done a handful of weekend HPDEs with local BMW and Porsche clubs at Mid-Ohio, so I signed up for the novice run group with TNiA.
It’s both bad and good that, in the novice group, anyone can show up and drive. The good is that it’s cheap and accessible, it’s not a full weekend commitment like most HPDEs, and they’re pretty efficient with getting you some track time.
The bad is that the instructors have no teeth. A group of guys, with more money than skill, also seemed to have a language barrier and missed or ignored the instructions given in the novice group download sessions. What we saw was passing under yellow flag conditions, outside of the passing zones, without point bys. The instructors couldn’t/wouldn’t do anything besides remind everyone at the next download session to mind the rules.
The convenience factor depends on your work schedule. The value factor is technically higher cost per
hour of seat time than, say, my local PCA chapter’s events, who also provide in-car instruction; however, it’s certainly a smaller lump sum with TNiA. In my experience, albeit limited, the full HPDE proved to be safer and more valuable from a driver’s ed perspective, especially for a newbie like me.
Maybe SCCA has addressed this? Maybe I should just sign up for the intermediate group? I’m not sure what the solution is; however, I’m not sure it’s unreasonable for novice groups to be “policed” in a sense so that people who have never even seen a race track before aren’t lumped together with guys that don’t follow the same rules.