On the original question, I have been doing HPDE for about 8 years, in HPDE3/4 since about the second year. And still love doing it. I’ve considered instructing, but I just don’t think the passenger seat is the place for me. Considered TT, but chasing that last tenth hasn’t enticed me. And I don’t want to spend the money to be competitive racing, even though that was probably the original plan way back when. I like driving it to the track, everything needed packed in the trunk, no truck/trailer/etc.
Why is it still fun this way? Recently I’d say track variety. I’ve had the most fun the last year or so doing Barber, Mid-Ohio and Daytona for the first time - learning a new track and knocking several seconds off over the weekend. And car variety can be fun too. I started out in an Integra that quickly became fully track prepped. But a couple of years ago I went back to my daily driver and had a blast. It didn’t handle as well, so you really had to drive it. I’m currently on my 3rd different dd, each a different drive. Finally, the NASA social aspect is unbeatable. Just because you’re in HPDE doesn’t mean you can’t get to know everybody. I’ve known several current instructors, TT’ers, racers and HPDE’ers for years.
Agreed. Sometimes the cost, stress and personal frustration of racing exceeds the fun. Been in both competitive and non-competitive for 20 years, honestly the enjoyment factor increases when the pain and effort are decreased.
Hopping in your "track car" and driving to the track without spending tens/hundreds of thousands of dollars for tow/trailer/tools/engines/tires/brakes/etc/etc/etc/etc might not make it as competitive, but the fun factor is much higher when you're done at the end of the day and only require a beverage as you sit in your A/C and listen to the radio.
Driving in a competitive race car with no A/C, nothing in the dash, roll cage, not even windshield fluid for 5+ hours at this point, sounds like cruel punishment. When you're 25 and fit with no back troubles, no problem. The social enjoyment of open tracks without the competition obsessed willing to clip another car for that .05 second faster lap time seems more befitting.