Driving School

Southwest Motorsport, Inc. (SWMS) offers a High Performance Driving Education (HPDE) school based at Sandia Speedway, 12 miles west of Albuquerque.

Headed by our Head Driving Instructor, John Slenes, SWMS HPDE school instructors include a variety of individuals who are certified by SCCA, PCA, and/or SWMS.

SWMS offers an affordable and convenient school for learning the techniques of high performance driving, in a controlled environment with experienced instructors.

Provided that you pass the first day of instruction, you will be eligible for Lapping Sessions with SWMS during the remainder of the weekend, and at other subsequent events.

How do I sign up?

Sign up is easy. Simply download the form, fill it out, and send it in with your check or money order.

As a school member, you will NOT require a logbook or license or medical form. However, you must have your car go through technical inspection for safety purposes. You must also have a valid driver’s license.

How much does it cost?

A full weekend (one day of instruction and one day of controlled lapping) is $195 . One day of instruction only (Saturday only) is $150.

Do I have to be a member of SWMS?

You do not need to be a member of SWMS in order to participate in the HPDE School. However, if you plan to take advantage of your graduation by either moving into the lapping group or toward your competition license, you will have to become a dues-paying member of SWMS after your first weekend.

What kind of equipment do I need?

You do not need a race car or a supercar to learn about high performance driving. Learning driving skill is much more about learning the physics of “finding the line” around a set of road conditions, learning about the balance and performance dynamics of your car and — first and foremost — learning about your own skills and limitations as a thinking, reacting and creative person.

At the SWMS HPDE School, we put the emphasis on learning, but it is imperative that your car be in good working order, with no safety issues. The wheel bearings must be in good condition, the tires of a safe tread depth and construction, your brake lights in working order and there must be no leaks of fluids.

Other than that, we highly recommend that you wear long pants and a long-sleeve cotton T-shirt, comfortable, closed-toed shoes which will give good “feel” for the pedals, and that you bring sunscreen and a hat for between sessions. If you have a 2000 Snell Foundation Approved helmet, bring it. Otherwise, we have loaner helmets available.

What happens during the weekend?

You can check in at the Sandia Speedway tower late Friday afternoon or early Saturday morning, where you can complete your registration (if you haven’t done so previously), sign the release, get your event wristband and pick up your packet.

You can get your car “teched” either Friday afternoon or early Saturday morning at the tech inspection station, to be sure it is safe and in good running order. Because event mornings can often be busy, we recommend that you do it Friday, especially if this is your first event, to avoid confusion.

Registration and technical inspection are open from approximately 3:00PM to Sundown on Fridays during weekend events and starting at 6:00AM on Saturdays.

Saturday morning, meet your instructors in the SWMS HPDE School classroom at 8:00AM for your orientation session. Your day will be divided into four different classroom and driving sessions. Classroom sessions will be for learning “the line,” discussing the safety and physics of driving, and for a forum during which you can ask questions and share experiences. Your on-track sessions will be with an instructor who will monitor safety conditions and provide coaching for finding and driving the proper line to allow the smoothest, most efficient way around the highly technical Sandia Raceway road course.

What will I learn?

During the school, you will learn about car control, the physics of high performance driving, finding the right line through a given set of corners, and personal self-control and growth. High performance driving is as much about self-growth as it is about going fast, perhaps more so.

Can I use this to earn a competition license?

The SWMS HPDE School can be used as a starting point for earning your competition license with SWMS, a regional car racing club. Once through your rookie probation period, you may be able to transfer your license with other motor sports sanctioning bodies in the United States.

Watch a lap around our road course!