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2021 Annual USA7s Event with NJMP Drivers Club - September 19/20


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Welcome

NJMP Drivers Club has generously invited USA7s back to NJMP in Millville, NJ to run the Thunderbolt Circuit.  This will be the 11th running of the USA7s' participation in the NJMP Drivers Club HPDE.

 

Please take the time to read all of the following information prior to registering.

 

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As in prior years, the NJMP Drivers Club is fully responsible for operating the day. They have generously allocated HPDE sessions to participants that will be Se7en only. This is desirable as you do not have to be out on track with big heavy cars around you, and your momentum will not be impeded by some big heavy car slowing you down through corners.

 

The NJMP Drivers Club rules and regulations apply for registration, technical inspection, driver qualifications and all aspects of safety in compliance with New Jersey laws. They will offer the registration site and collect all fees for this event.  USA7s does not make any money out of this event.

 

Please keep in mind that NJMP Drivers Club Member Days are not a racing event but rather a Driver Education Day. You will learn to handle and control your vehicle at high speeds as well as explore the capabilities as a driver and those of your vehicle. At no time will you be pushed or encouraged to go any faster than is comfortable for you. All participants are organized into run groups based on experience, skill, and type of vehicle.

 

Even if you do not wish to drive then there are reasons to join us. 

  • It is a great social event to meet your fellow owners and share in the joy of our cars.  If you are thinking of buying or building a Se7en then we recommend you join us.  You can talk to a number of experienced owners and see a large range of cars in one spot to facilitate your building or buying experience or just get ideas for your car. 
  • Photographers have a ready made opportunity for pursuing automative photography and arrangements may be available to join the official NJMP photographer as he takes photos around the track.  

 

 

Schedule

The event schedule is as follows:

 

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Afternoon: Arrival at NJMP.   Both days are being held on the Thunderbolt circuit. The Thunderbolt circuit is likely being utilized on the Saturday and so the pits may not be accessible until close of track operations around 5pm or so. If you arrive before 5pm then head to the either the Finish Line Pub/Clubhouse or alternatively to the on-NJMP property garages at 367 Corsair Drive (NJMP can provide directions).

 

If there is commitment, then I will set up a karting event at 3pm.

 

5.30-6:00pm Welcome Pool Party at the Clubhouse/Finish Line Pub. Casual wear is appropriate.

 

Sunday, September 19, 2021

7:30am Breakfast at the Clubhouse. Option to get grab and go box to bring back to pits

7:30am Registration and Tech inspection at the Thunderbolt pits area.

8:30am Mandatory Drivers Briefing near the control tower in the pits

9:00am Track is live

1:00pm 1 hour lunch break. Lunch is served at Clubhouse. Option for a grab and go box.

5:00pm Track is closed

6:30pm Dinner – Clubhouse/Finish Line Pub. Lighthearted awards session. Casual wear is appropriate.

 

Monday, September 20, 2021

7:30am Breakfast at the Clubhouse. Option to get grab and go box to bring back to pits

7:30am Registration and Tech inspection (if not inspected prior day)

8:30am Mandatory Drivers Briefing near the control tower in the pits

9:00am Track is live

1:00pm 1-hour lunch break. Lunch is served at Clubhouse. Option for a grab and go box.

5:00pm Track is closed

Dinner - We expect most will be heading home afterwards but for those still around I am sure something informal can be sorted out.

 

The sessions times are subject to finalization and a schedule for that day will be handed out each daily driver briefing.

 

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

For those hard-core track rats, I can arrange for a test session track day for a small number of you.  Maximum cars would be 4-5.  Please contact me via the details at the base of this post if you are interested.

 

 

Registration

This year, online registration for drivers and their guests is via MotorsportReg.

 

Step 1 is to register as a user. Step 2 is to register and pay for the event using the links provided below. NJMP’s cancellation policy is outlined on the registration page. Late registration will incur a late fee. Drivers Club member' have a different HPDE cost to non-members reflecting their club subscriptions paid.

 

Non-driving visitors are required to be registered by NJMP. If you are a driver bringing a guest, then there is space on the registration site to do this. The fee for non-driving visitors covers all refreshments during the day plus breakfast and lunch.  

 

If you are attending as a non-driver then we recommend you register on the day when you turn up as the registration site is not designed for guest only attendance.

 

The following links should be used to sign up for each day individually.  NJMP is going to modify the registration page to allow you to sign on as a USA7s member - This should happen next week.  If they do not then by all means sign up as a Non-Member Guest in the white group and we will will work to move your registration into the right group later.  

 

Sunday Registration Link:

Drivers Club Member Day Thunderbolt info on Sep 19, 2021 (834677) | MotorsportReg.com

 

Monday Registration Link:

Drivers Club Member Day Thunderbolt info on Sep 20, 2021 (669057) | MotorsportReg.com

 

 

NJMP wishes to maintain the high quality of their Drivers' Club experience and they have limited USA7s to 20 cars.  This will provide a quality experience on track for us.

 

 

Event Requirements

Safety: All safety requirements that are mandatory for all participants are specified in New Jersey Law – Chapter 62 here:

https://www.njsp.org/divorg/operations/pdf/mvracetrack/20150709_racing_regulations.pdf

 

Please read the section on HPDE as it will specify all safety and tech requirements you are subject to.

 

Driver’s License: All drivers must have a valid Driver’s License and be at least 18 years of age to participate. You will be asked to present your Driver’s License at NJMP.

 

Attire: NJ State Law requires all participants on the track wear long pants and closed toe shoes. No one in shorts will be permitted to enter the racetrack or pit lane. Driver overalls are perfectly acceptable but are not mandatory to those without them.

 

 

COVID-19 Requirements

NJMP has implemented COVID-19 procedures in accordance with NJ State Government guidance to ensure your safety. These are:

 

  • Mandatory wearing of masks
  • Indoor dining at 25% of capacity. Clubhouse dining is also outside by the pool under an open air tent. If the table set up is not to your preferred distancing then there are additional seating options around the pool for you to choose from although we recommend you bring some warm gear for that option. Also, breakfast and lunch have a grab and go box option to take your food back to the pits for extended social distancing.
  • Outdoor drivers briefing
  • Staff usage of Personal Protection Equipment
  • Encourage socially distant interactions with others

 

From recent events, our observation is that the new protocols for achieving a safer Drivers Club event have been working well and we have been enjoying quality event days.

 

There will be PPE available (masks, antiseptic wipes, sanitizer) for those who have run out or forgot to bring any.

 

While we remain hopeful that COVID-19 restrictions will have been eased by September given the current rate of vaccination progress, if you are traveling from another state, then the NJ Government COVID-19 information hub will answer all questions you are likely to have.

https://covid19.nj.gov/

 

Some states are listed as requiring a quarantine period but given the event is 6 months away and great progress is being made on vaccinations, we expect that will ease before the event. The website also notes that “self-quarantine is voluntary”.

 

 

Technical Inspection/Rules & Regulations

You will be required to complete a tech inspection prior to the event. During the registration process, a link is provided to the tech inspection form. Please download, print and complete ahead of the event – bring the completed form with your car to the tech inspection.

 

Please read the HPDE section of New Jersey Law Chapter 62 seen here.  These regulations are yet to be updated for 2015 helmet requirements:

https://www.njsp.org/divorg/operations/pdf/mvracetrack/20150709_racing_regulations.pdf

 

Some essential criteria for being able to participate in an HPDE at NJMP:

  • Helmet required: A Snell M or SA rated full face helmet dated 2015 or newer is required for all drivers and passengers on the track. Open face helmets are not permitted in Se7ens.  Rental helmets are available with prior arrangement through the NJMP General Store.
  • Arm restraints: NJMP requires these as mandatory safety equipment in open cars
  • Open top cars: Must have approved rollover protection. No pop up roll-bars or detachable hard tops. Chapter 62 makes no mention of requiring a cage or an FIA/SFI labelled roll bar.
  • Broomstick rule is applicable for roll over protection. Broomstick is from top of roll bar to front chassis tube (at nosecone) as the windscreen is not viewed as structural.
  • Belts: Only 5 or 6 point belts are acceptable. Belt age must be on a label on the belts. No label – no driving. SFI belts must be 2 years or newer. FIA belts must be within 5 years or newer. No 4-point belts allowed. No DOT 3-point belts are accepted in open cars like ours.
  • Numbers: Painters tape or vinyl sticker numbers on both sides of your seven are acceptable. Please don’t pick “7” as everyone does that and you will be asked to change it.
  • Tires: Please anticipate tire wear and do not turn up with marginal tire tread. Consider that the track may be damp in which case slick tires are unsafe. If you are close to wearing out a set of tires, then consider ordering and bringing a new spare set. TK Autosports can mount these on your wheels at the Thunderbolt pits for a small fee.

 

You will have to go through a tech line on the day and complete a tech form.  These forms will be available from NJMP on the day of the event.

 

Other Matters

Getting to NJMP: The GPS address of NJMP is 8000 Dividing Creek Road, Millville, NJ 08332. If you are coming to Millville on Rt 55 South, then it is strongly recommended that you exit off Rt 55 at Exit 24 as this route option avoids trailers having to make a sharp right turn in downtown Millville. While the signposts on Rt 55 say you should use Exit 27 to access NJMP, we do not recommend this option because of the difficulty you will have making the turn.

 

Participants, including Drivers Club Members and their guests, are responsible for any damage to NJMP property including on track and off track. This includes damage to the Armco and tire wall barriers or for the white powder to soak up oil and coolant spills on track.

 

A layout map of the NJMP property is provided below:

 

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Fuel: NJMP houses fuel stations at the Thunderbolt and Lightning pits. The stations are open from 8:30am to 3:30pm. The fuel station at Thunderbolt pits offers 93 & 100 octane (unleaded) and 110 & 112 octane (leaded). The fuel stations are permitted to fill containers in 5-gallon red fuel contains, as per NJ state law. Larger fuel containers of 10 gallons or more (any color) are permitted to be used as long as they are marked appropriately (stickers or writing on the container reading “FUEL”).

 

General Store: NJMP has a convenient General Store open during Drivers Club days. Located at the back of the Thunderbolt pits, it sells refreshments, ice, driving equipment (helmets, boots, driving suits, gloves, etc.), oils, some tools, safety gear and other related items. It also does rental helmets should they be required (Please check ahead of time due to possible Covid-19 restrictions).

 

Spares: Consider what may or is likely to break on your cars and consider bringing some select spares of known frequent failure items that will keep you mobile during the weekend. Prior events have shown a need for bearings, throttle and clutch cables, TPS, brake pads/fluid, duct tape, silicone tape, Hylomar (for making fuel seals). Millville does have a Napa Parts outlet and Advance Auto but beyond this, specialist parts suppliers do not exist.

 

Pit Set Up Location: We normally set up in the big barn-like garage in the center of the Thunderbolt pits. There are also garages underneath the Pit Suites complex. You are entitled to use of a garage during the daylight hours of the event. You can also choose to set up on the pits outside if you prefer a more outdoor setting. Overnight garage rental is available plus there is some storage space at Garage 367 of Exotic Car Garages on the Thunderbolt pits access road, in prior years we have had as many as 12 sevens in there plus a selection of other automotive money pits.

 

Seating: We strongly encourage you to bring a folding chair or other seating as there is no seating in the pits provided by NJMP.

 

Accommodation: There are a lot of preferred options available.

  • NJMP has pit suites at Thunderbolt and Villa rental options available.  Note the check in time is 7pm and the check out time is 3pm.  This allows you use of the lodging during your day at NJMP. 

On-Site Accommodations – New Jersey Motorports Park (njmp.com)

 

  • In Millville, there is a Fairfield Inn and Holiday Inn Express.  Conventional check in/out hours.

 

  • In Vineland, about 10 miles away, there is a Hampton Inn or Wingate by Wyndham.  Conventional check in/out hours.

 

  • Camping is available at NJMP by permit along with power hook ups for RVs with a fee. Showers and bathrooms are at the Officers Club at the back of the Thunderbolt pits.  Those with RVs also have the option of parking outside my garage and hooking up to my power.  

Camping and Electric – New Jersey Motorports Park (njmp.com)

 

 

Mechanics: TK Autosport has been our trusty mechanic of last resort when our cars have broken/melted/fallen apart. TJ (the little one) and Ian (the big one) are a fantastic resource during Drivers Club event days, usually saving the day when it has all gone wrong. Their rates are very reasonable given their experience. While they do frequently save the day, they are not miracle workers, so you are encouraged to take your preparation seriously. If you need help preparing your car in advance of the event, then TK Autosports can be reached at (888) 978-5506. They are located at Millville Airport, adjoining the NJMP site. They also have a tire shop located in the Thunderbolt pits.

TK Autosports - Home

 

 

Other attractions in the Millville area:  There are other things to do around this part of southern NJ.  The NJMP website has some suggested options:

Around NJMP – New Jersey Motorports Park

 

Contact: NJMP can be reached at (856) 327-8000. After hours, the main switchboard will not be answered. In this event, you should call the Main Gate security office on (856) 327-7255.

 

 

Driving Format

As we are participating in an NJMP Drivers Club event, we follow their practices for on-track behavior. We will have a series of exclusive Se7ens-only sessions.  To accommodate the range of driving experience participating we follow intermediate HPDE group rules.

 

Passing will be by invitation on. That is, a passing car will need to receive a point-by from the car being passed. No point-by, then no passing. It is courteous for drivers to monitor their rear vision mirrors and let cars past promptly. Passing zones are defined at the straights. You will be briefed on these at the Drivers Briefing or please ask and we can walk you through the track map.

 

Passing in the turns is not acceptable. No passing in braking zones. Given sevens have such remarkable cornering and braking skills it is not expected that passing cars will be held up for any length of time if drivers of slower cars monitor mirrors and point-by promptly. These rules are intended for your safety and if followed should prevent car-to-car contact.

 

In the past we have had no traffic issues or people being held up on track. I put that down to good drivers participating and our remarkable little cars.

 

If you are new to driving on track, then we encourage you to participate in the “Green Run” group. This is progressive paced laps and includes classroom sessions to help you understand the best techniques for driving on a circuit. It introduces the concepts progressively in a way to maintain the safety of you and your car plus facilitates your learning of core driving skills.

 

A number of NJMP Drivers Club members who will be participating in the event have done substantial time on this track since it was first built in 10+ years ago and we can coach you on specific lines and driving approaches to get the best from your car on this circuit.

 

 

Driving the Thunderbolt Circuit

This circuit is technical in nature. The first half of the circuit is fast, long straights, fast sweepers, where the key is to carry as much speed as possible. The second half of the circuit is tight, technical and quite slow in average speed. This part contains the Jersey Devil section, comprised of the most radical decreasing radius corner (Turn 9) of any racetrack in North America, then a heavily off camber slow left corner (Turn 10) which rewards experimenting with different entry points, apex points and exit lines.

 

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For an instructional look at the circuit, below is a 360-degree video. For those who have not used one before then:

 

  1. Click through this video into YouTube itself.
  2. Play the video
  3. Move the camera around by (a) the arrows top left, or (b) clicking your mouse on the video playing and dragging to look behind, up, sides or down

 

If you move the camera to point down slightly you will see I overlaid a track map on the passenger seat below the speed. You may have to move the view slightly right to read the various captions anyway as the YouTube screen size is narrower than my video edit app. Sorry no sound as this camera does not have an external mic.

 

Time:

  • 0:00 Leaving the pits - where to line up to await going out on circuit
  • 0:23 Pit lane and the turn onto the circuit
  • 0:40 Leaving the pits and the blend line you should follow merging onto track
  • 0:52 For the next two warm up laps I have added text commentary on some of the more tricky corners and what you should not do.
  • 5:35 Some clean laps at a good moderate pace to illustrate the lines.  I deliberately tried lots of different lines in the Devil section of the Thunderbolt track to show you what happens - the speed is relatively low. Experimentation will teach you a lot about your car in this corner. Just watch the entry speed on the decreasing radius right hand corner on entry into the Devil - it will catch you out first time.
  • 19:19 I follow Tom so you can see the track lines from a different perspective.
  • 23:50 Returning to the pits and back of pits

 

 

 

For those that have never participated in this event then two videos of the event by Glen S, a USA7s member, Lotus Enthusiast and all-round good guy, will help you appreciate it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is above all a social event. We do it to enjoy our sevens’ unique handling and performance capabilities in a facility that allows safety compared with doing the same on road (which would be illegal too). There will be no racing or timing of events. We want the atmosphere to be relaxed and social, above all, enjoying our cars as they were designed to be used, in a mutually respectful and safe manner.

 

We look forward to meeting you at the 2021 event!

 

Questions: Should you have event related questions, then you can post them via USA7s (either PM or on this event thread) or by email to sevensarefun AT gmail DOT com.

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  • Croc featured this topic

Just to reiterate: They are not kidding about current belts and helmets and arm restraints. And as Croc noted, removing the seatbelt tags disqualifies you. Of the 5 or 6 of of these wonderful events that I have done, inevitably someone always misses one or more of these finer points and is scrambling to remedy the problem (while others are out on the track). And putting in new belts is a 2 hour process, at least.

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2 hours ago, Croc said:

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

For those hard-core track rats, I can arrange for a test session track day for a small number of you.  Maximum cars would be 4-5.  Please contact me via the details at the base of this post if you are interested.

Did this with Croc in 2018. If Mike extends you an invite, I highly recommend taking advantage of the day.

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Today we are 10 weeks away from our annual Se7ens gathering at NJMP. So you have less than 70 days to get your cars in shape if you plan on joining us this year.  
 

We once again have our own dedicated session for Sevens only.  It’s a DE event so not a race. But there is passing allowed on the straights with a point by.  For those of you that have not been on track before but would like to, you can run in the green group, behind a pacecar to learn the lines, braking points and your car.  Classroom instruction is provided between sessions on track.  

 

 It’s really a good social event with a chance to meet other seven owners and enjoy some good food, and share your experiences and stories and drive on track without having to worry about that 3100 pound corvette or porsche braking way sooner than you. 
 

Looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones.  Tom

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