High Performance Driver Education Day and Laps and Lunch at Watkins Glen International

June 21, 2017

Lotus, Ltd. and Mercedes-Benz Club of America (MBCA) are proud to announce another exciting High Performance Driver Education Day and Laps and Lunch at Watkins Glen International race track on June 21, 2017.

Watkins Glen International, at the southern tip of Lake Seneca in New York, is one of North America’s oldest road courses and was home to the U.S. Grand Prix for many years. Lotus won several times with Innes Ireland, Jimmy Clark, Jochen Rindt, Ronnie Peterson, and Emerson Fittipaldi while others such as Mario Andretti also took podium finishes for Lotus.

Our past three events were all huge successes, with rave reviews from drivers at all skill levels. What better way to explore the handling of your Lotus but on one of North America’s premier road courses.The intent of the Lotus, Ltd./MBCA’s Driver Education program is to teach you the skills to handle your car better. Besides having plain old fun with your car, the techniques you’ll learn will make you a safer, more aware driver on the street! Afraid to take your car on the race track because it might get damaged? That’s understandable, it can happen. However, it can also happen on the street. The race track is a controlled environment in which you have far more freedom to make a “mistake” than on the street. (But if you really want your car protected, read about optional track insurance coverage below) If you are a novice driver, during our High Performance Driver Education Day, you will have a seasoned instructor with you at all times to guide and teach you at a pace with which you are comfortable. There is no pressure and no trophies at a Driver Education day. It’s all about safety, fun, and car control! Yes, in that order.

You do NOT need a Lotus or Mercedes-Benz to attend this event. Any marque is welcome if properly equipped. You do NOT need to be a Lotus, Ltd. or Mercedes-Benz Club of America member to attend. You are encouraged to tell your friends about this event and have them join us for a wonderful day at Watkins Glen!

The track underwent a full repaving late in 2015 and it is just spectacular!  Drivers rave about the new surface. It’s truly one of the best the USA, using a new type of paving material that lets water pass through it into the subsurface. This greatly facilitates track surface drying and eliminates the rivers that used to run across the track should we get a wet day.

The cost for this year’s, Lotus, Ltd./MBCA High Performance Driver Education Day is $395(US) when you register prior to May 21, 2016. After May 22, a $50 late registration fee will be applied without exception. The late fee is necessary because we WANT YOU TO REGISTER BEFORE May 22, so we can do the necessary planning to hold the event. Any registrations after June 4, 2016 will be accepted at the event chair’s discretion.

Novice and intermediate drivers requiring instructors will be approved as we get an instructor for you and will be assigned on a first registered basis. So, register early to increase your chances of getting an instructor and into the event. All fees will be refunded if we do not have an instructor for you. Garage space at the track will be available for an additional $40 on a first come first served basis. Lunch will be offered at the Media Center, located between the garages and pits, also for an additional charge. (At the time this is going to press, the final amount for the lunch cost had not been determined but last year it was $25 and we expect it to be the same or within $5-$7 of what we paid last year.)

If you are an instructor and wish to participate, then the registration fee is only $75 for the day.  Advanced drivers and Instructors will enjoy lots of track time. Contact David Nagler at for consideration as an instructor.

Registration will be open at on March 1. 2017 If you don’t already have a account, it’s a simple, free signup on their website. If for some reason you cannot do that please let us know and we will make alternate arrangements but we prefer all to register on-line at . Just search on Watkins Glen after you register on their site to find our event on website.

We have arranged for Tuesday night trailer and car drop off at the track. The track will be open for drop off between 6pm and 8pm. Even if you’re not dropping a car off, we encourage you to come to the track between 6:00pm and 7:30pm for registration and tech to ease the rush in the morning. Following the drop off, we will be holding a get together at the Nickel Pit BBQ on Franklin St,, arriving there about 8-8:30 PM on Tuesday night.

We now have two sources for your HPDE day car insurance should you wish to insure your car for the day. We do have a welcome change to inform you about. If you use Hagerty for your street insurance coverage. Hagerty will now offer HPDE day insurance for your car whether or not Hagerty insures your car for street use. Visit their website at for more information.

We are also letting you know that a few of our drivers are using On Track Insurance (
You can also call them to provide coverage for your car should you desire.

I found the rates for both companies to very reasonable. I was just quoted about $230 for $30,000 coverage with a reasonable 10% deductible. Please understand that neither club has any connection with Hagerty or On Track Insurance other than to let participants know that their coverage is available to those that wish to purchase it separately from the registration fees.

Some of the things drivers will need to know before you arrive!

You are responsible for getting your car professionally inspected for safety and for bringing the form with you. All forms are available on our page and will be attached to your registration confirmation e-mail. You will not be able to participate without the safety form. Cars are required to have equal seating and restraint systems for both driver and Instructor. You will need a Snell (SA) 2010 or Snell (SA) 2015 Helmet. Snell 2005 helmets are NOT acceptable anymore. Motorcycle (M) Helmets are NOT, I repeat, NOT acceptable!  Cars must be roll over certified by the manufacturer. Lotus Elise/Exige are okay as are the Mercedes-Benz SL’s and Cabriolet from 1990 on, and Porsche 911 and 914 Targas and 911 Cabriolets from 1997 on. Other open cars must have at least a 4-point competition rated roll bar. Open cars will need arm restraints for both driver and instructor or the top must be in place. You must supply arm restraints for your instructor if you have an open car.
Please contact Jim Roberts at if you have any questions about the compliance of your vehicle.

Event Policies & Indemnity Policy

Participants acknowledge that The Mercedes-Benz Club of America and Lotus Ltd. driving events entail known and unanticipated risks which could result in damage to the participant, to property or to third parties, physical or emotional injury, paralysis or death. The participant understands that such risks simply cannot be eliminated without jeopardizing the essential qualities of the driving event. Participation in this event is purely voluntary, the participant expressly agrees to accept and assume all associated risks and elects to participate in spite of the risks. Only registered participants will be allowed on track.

Refund and Cancellation Policy

Cancellations received between 30 days and at least 2 weeks prior to the event will receive a 50% refund subject to a $20 per entrant service charge.

Cancellations received within two weeks of an event WILL NOT RECEIVE A REFUND. Event will be held RAIN or SHINE!!!!!!!

In addition, NO REFUND WILL BE MADE FOR NO SHOWS. If garage space is full and you have paid, your $40 will be refunded.


Spectators are welcome for the event and there is no cost. However, Watkins Glen requires you to be preregistered in order to get into the track. If you would like to come, watch, and hang out with your fellow car buddies, you must contact us so we can get you credentials and entrance into the event. Please email Tony at if interested.


In the past we have had the Radisson Hotel in Corning as our host hotel. Unfortunately, they are fully booked this year with another event. The LOONYs (Lotus Owners of NY) have been staying the Watkins Motel, located right across from the B-King in Watkins Glen for the Lotus Rendezvous that we hold in conjunction with the Vintage Festival in September and we really like the 1960’s look and feel of the motel.
Under new ownership the Watkins Motel ( has only 17 rooms and I have personally booked the entire motel for Tuesday night June 20th. The cost is $100 per night by our special arrangement. You can stay earlier or later, same cost, if you wish, just let me know. As I have reserved the whole motel, you MUST contact ME, (, if you want one of the 7 rooms left. I need to confirm those rooms by March 15, so if you want one, let me know ASAP.I have contacted the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel,,

and they offer a “Car Club” rate of $159 per night (street side) and $179 per night (harbor side). Please call them, mention the “Car Club” rate if you wish to stay there.

We are very happy to have The Mercedes Benz Club of America; Finger Lakes Section join us for the fourth year in sponsoring this day at the Glen. We look forward to our continuing relationship with the Finger Lakes Section so that we may keep bringing our club members events like this. So please come join us for one of those “bucket list” days you’ll be talking about for a long time to come!

If you are interested in the Laps and Lunch portion of the event:

Laps and Lunch at Watkins Glen

As we are renting the track for the entire day of June 21, 2017, we might as well make the most of it. Laps and Lunch is a completely separate event from the HPDE for those that want a little taste of the track! The Laps and Lunch starts about 11:30am and consists of three laps of the track behind a pace car, with a stop at the start finish line for pictures at the end of lap two. Then, it’s off to the Media Center for a sandwich lunch. Cost is usually $35 to $40 for the lunch menu and the three laps.  If you have a passenger, then it usually adds about $20-$25 for lunch per passenger. If anyone is interested in doing this, please let me know. The past 3 years we have had 20-30 cars participate in this. We will be able to get more exact pricing once we know the total interest. Normally the Glen requires a 35 car minimum for this sort of activity, but as we are renting the entire track for the day and using the Media Center for our HPDE event, there is no minimum car requirement!

Your car must be street registered for the Laps and Lunch portion of the event ONLY. (This requirement does not apply to the HPDE portion of the event) No helmets or roll bars are required for the Laps and Lunch portion of the event. You do not need a Lotus for this. ANY street registered vehicle is welcome!

Please email Tony at if interested in the Laps and Lunch or if you have any questions. Registration for the Laps and Lunch portion of the event will be handled by contacting Tony Vaccaro at DO NOT USE for the Laps and Lunch portion of the event.

Please join us for a fun and Sports Car filled day at Watkins Glen. It will be fun!