HPD GT3 DRIVER ACADEMY PROGRAM
HPD GT3 Driver Academy graduates: (L-R) Taylor Hagler, Jacob Abel, Dakota Dickerson, Karl Wittmer
The inaugural HPD GT3 Driver Academy was designed to enable qualified professional racers to accelerate their racing career via ‘on-track’ and ‘off-track’ skills training from experienced Acura NSX GT3 Evo drivers, Honda Performance Development (HPD)-supported teams, and HPD personnel.
Supporting driver development is a fundamental value of Acura Motorsports and HPD Racing. The HPD GT3 Driver Academy represents the latest demonstration of this commitment. As talented drivers rise through the sports car developmental ladder, many find that reaching the next level is limited by access to in-vehicle/team experience, promotional ability, and paddock knowledge. The Driver Academy Program provides the knowledge, training and hands-on education for these drivers to reach the highest levels of the racing profession.
The Racers Edge Motorsports team operates the program under the guidance and direction of Honda Performance Development with Team Principal Jon Mirachi and Race Engineer Jim Pattin developing the curriculum and leading on-track sessions. Acura Motorsports/HPD will provide specific support at each event to increase driver learning; including key race engineers and championship drivers from Acura and Honda global motorsports.
Jim Pattin leads an experienced Racers Edge crew
The four members of the first GT3 Academy class all were selected for their potential talent and career growth potential, and have already established respected racing resumes: Taylor Hagler, Jacob Abel, Karl Wittmer and Dakota Dickerson.
Despite necessary adjustments due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Driver Academy ran all four planned events, completing the goals and objectives of the flagship program.
Mario Farnbacher reviews real time data with students
The curriculum included on-track racecraft coaching sessions in the championship-winning Acura NSX GT3 Evo as well as off-track instruction relating to effective communication with crew and engineers, in addition to driver marketing insights and sponsor searches, all taught by experienced racing personnel. At each track location- Road Atlanta, Mid Ohio Sports Car Course, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Sebring International Raceway- additional elements were added, such as pit stop procedures, real-time driver changes, and night-time racing.
Trent Hindman demonstrates driver change procedure
Veteran drivers Ryan Eversley, Dane Cameron, Kyle Marcelli, Mario Farnbacher, Ricky Taylor and Trent Hindman joined the roster of instructors throughout the program, all of whom have contributed to Acura's multiple manufacturer, driver and team championship titles in both IMSA and GT World Challenge America.