Solo Junior Driver Program Updates
Members of the Solo Community,
The 2018 SCCA Solo season will mark the 22nd year of the Club's unique Junior Driver Program (JDP) where younger SCCA members have been able to participate at Solo events with their families and become part of the Community. During these two decades of the JDP, we have seen a significant number of young drivers graduate into full size cars and continue their involvement with the Club. Many of these drivers have gone on to great success, both behind the wheel and as representatives of the Club, such as JT McClintock, Christine (Berry) Grice, and Julian Garfield. The program has certainly been of benefit to the Club in many ways and for folks like me that have been around a while, it has been a delight to see these young drivers evolve in so many ways.
Since 1997 the JDP has been relatively stable and has only evolved with some small rule changes such as alternate motors. 2018 will be a time of significant evolvement for the JDP. The desired outcome with these improvements is to insure all future Solo events that include JDP will be better organized and executed with consistent safety standards in place across all Regions. We believe these adjustments will not only insure that young drivers will have an improved experience, but this will improve and standardize the overall JDP program experience across the SCCA as well.
The Solo Events Board (SEB), the Solo Safety Committee (SSC), the Kart Advisory Committee (KAC), a special JDP Committee, and the National Staff have been working for over a year to develop rules, standards, and training to make the program better than ever and to ensure that it goes on for decades to come.
The key components of the upgrades to the 2018 JDP are focused in four areas; course standards, driver instruction, kart rules/inspection, event operations. While there will be some changes in the 2018 National Solo Rules to support these upgrades, the primary tool in accomplishing the upgrades will be training programs and materials that will aim to educate Region officials on JDP best practices and procedures. The completion of this training will result in the issuance of licenses to Solo event officials that will certify Regions to be sanctioned to operate a JDP at their Solo events. All SCCA Solo events after February 1, 2018 that include a JDP program must have licensed JDP officials for the event to be sanctioned.
How and when will this training and licensing happen?? The training materials and presentation are being finalized now, with the first training sessions happening at the NEDIV Convention on November 11, 2017 (https://www.motorsportreg.com/events/2017-nediv-mini-con-hosted-by-wash-dc-turf-valley-resort-scca-washington-848411). This will be followed by training presentations at the SWDIV Meeting on January 13, the SCCA National Convention on January 18-20, 2018 (https://www.scca.com/pages/nationalconvention), the SEDIV Convention on February 3, 2018, the MIDIV Convention on February 10, 2018, the GLDIV Convention on March 10, 2018, and the CENDIV Convention on March 17, 2018. Information on these gatherings will be posted on the SCCA web site as it becomes available.
In addition to the above meetings, a webinar version of the training is being developed and we will post information on that when it is finalized. As this training program moves forward, the intention is to be training the trainers so Regions can ultimately have qualified instructors near them that will make face to face training within their Region practical.
What licenses will be part of the JDP?? The following licenses will be issued after training and are required for sanctioning Solo events with a JDP after February 1, 2018:
· Solo Safety Steward, JDP: Current Solo Safety Stewards (SSS) can have their license upgraded to include JDP after receiving the training. The JDP training will be incorporated into ongoing SSS training for new and renewing stewards, so after a few years we will revert to just one SSS license instead of two licenses (SSS and SSS/JDP)
· JDP Course Design License: If a member is only interested in designing courses and not becoming a SSS, they can take this specific part of the training for this license. If the Region does not have at least one SSS/JDP license holder, they must have a JDP Course Design license holder. If they do have a SSS/JDP license holder, a JDP Course Design license holder is not required, although recommended.
· Youth Steward License: The current Youth Steward licenses will lapse as of February 1, 2018 and will be replaced with a license that will be issued after receiving the upgraded training on driver instructions and event operations.
· JDP Tech License: This license will be issued after receiving training on the proper procedures to do a technical inspection of the unique components found on a kart.
In addition to this general letter to the Solo Community on the upgrades to the JDP, there will be other communications with greater detail in the coming weeks directed to specific groups of folks within the sport, such as Solo Safety Stewards, Region Solo Chairman, and the Solo Development Coordinators (SDC) in each Division. As a result, some of you will receive multiple messages on this subject, so please do not tune these out as this is important information regarding the JDP and our ability to sustain and improve this valuable program.
I would encourage everyone in the Solo Community to take this opportunity with these upgrades to the JDP to become more involved with your Region and to attend your Divisional Conventions, as well as the SCCA National Convention. You will find these gatherings to be fun, informative, motivating, and will introduce you to some new friends within the Club.
Thank you so much for your support of the SCCA.
Howard Duncan, SCCA Senior Director, Rally/Solo