This sport (driving at speed) is MUCH different than flying IMO. In flying, there are vigorous training and certification programs and not every average Joe can walk in and claim they've flown XXX hours and grab a plane and fly. Every hour spent in the air is logged in multiples and verifiable. I would have very little trouble spotting an experienced pilot vs inexperienced pilot.
At a DE it's entirely different. There are so many different organizations and different standards of teaching, in addition different requirement in Sanctioning bodies that you have NO IDEA what their real skill level and experience is. Even in the professional ranks there are HUGE disparities in actual skill. So the problem is, unless you actually know the skill level of the driver, "letting the reigns loose" is a HUGE liability. On a typical weekend, it takes at least 2 full sessions before I'll let a first timer at our event start exploring the limits. Why? I've seen first hand, more time than I can count, when the instruction stops they immediately do something wrong or stupid.
Sounds like you found an organization you enjoy, so good for you. But if I were to come out there and boast I've been a CCA instructor for XX years and they let me drive in the advanced group without a proper check ride? I'd be a little concerned. Like I said, this isn't aviation where every hour in the air is logged. There's no way for me or anyone else getting in the passenger seat to verify any claim of experience so pardon me when I have my reservations, unless the car I'm hopping into is driven by a 6'4" white dude with a massive fro and a scraggly goat tee, and the dude owns a BMW dealership in Murrieta, CA.
Which isn't to say I've never loosen the reigns on a student either. About two years back we had a club race combined with a school. I was assigned an A student I didn't know in an E92 M3. This is when the M3 first came out, so I was thinking to myself I'm in for a LONG day. By the time we got to turn 2, I knew there's something different about this guy. By the time we completed our warm-up lap I knew I'd sign him off. By the time the session is over, all I did was offer him two minor adjustments on his line and point out the entry to turn 1 can be taken MUCH earlier than it appears. Signed him off to go SOLO.
Turns out he's one of the club racers who signed up as an A student because he's out of region and has never driven the track before. Not that we (CCA) don't extend courtesy to drivers with real skills and experience. We do. We just don't take anyone's word for it. Unless you go out and prove you really know what you are doing, we can't assume you really know what you are doing.
The hell I don't! LISTEN, KID! I've been hearing that crap ever since I was at UCLA. I'm out there busting my buns every night! Tell your old man to drag Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes!