Track Days

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What is a track day and what are they all about?


Track days are an organised day at a racing circuit that gives you the opportunity to drive your own car on the race track without speed limits.

That's the simple explanation.  What a track day does is give you the opportunity to explore the full potential of you car and your driving skills safely on a race track with all the marshalls and ARDs racing instructors on hand for when you need them.

Can I use any car?

Yes, as long as you are satisied with the mechanical safety of your car, it really doesn't matter what you take to the track.  Its all about having fun.

Is there any scrutineering or limits to a car?

There is no real scrutineering, marshalls will of course point out anything they see wrong with your car from a safety point of view, for instance - loose panels/bodywork or oil leaks where they drip onto the track.

The major factor that is closely monitored is noise.  Most tracks have a 105 Db limit.  This is pretty loud but something you do need to be aware of.

So what happens on a track day, how does it work?

Firstly you need to choose which track you want to go to and book your track day online.  There are lots of companies that organise track days all round the country and most covered a wide variety of circuits with a wide pricing structure.

Most track days are "open pit lane" events.  This means once the track is declared open, you can go on and off track as often and for as long as you like, however, there are a few things happen before you go for it.

Track days usually start early in the morning, around 8am.  You need to sign in and collect your wristband, basically indicating you have paid.  At this point you can hire a helmet if you need to and book and pay for any additional drivers or passengers that have tagged along.

Once signed on, you may need to hang around a bit for everyone to get sorted before you attend a drivers briefing.

Drivers briefings are pretty much the same whichever circuit you attend.  They give you a brief overview of the circuit, the safe places to overtake and the rules for the day.  In addition, they will speak to you about the flag system used by the marshalls.

Track day rules are slightly different for each circuit but mainly concentrate on the fact that this is not a race or a time trial.  With that in mind. there is a fairly important point to remember when on track.  You should only overtake on the straights - clockwise circuits only on the left, anticlockwise circuits only on the right.  The slower car should slow slightly and indicate to allow the faster car to pass cleanly and easily.  There are some exceptions to this but again, that is what will be covered in the drivers briefing.

So you have had your briefing and collected another wristband, to differentiate between drivers and passengers and indicate you have attended the briefing.  Now we can go out and let rip......No.  Next you will line up behind the intructors car and will drive two or three sighting laps with no overtaking.  This allows you to learn the layout of the circuit and note where all the marshall points are.  Follow the cars back into the paddock and wait for the track to be opened.......now you can let rip.

So you done all the things the organisers have requested, the track is now yours to enjoy.

To make your day more enjoyable, especially if its your first time on track or the first time at a new track, I would strongly recommend taking advantage of the ARDS instructors.  Even if you are a confident driver, these guys are professionals and will help you get the most out of your car showing you all the best lines, braking points and gear changes.  You drive the car, they just passenger.

Some Do's and Don'ts

Don't go on the track with your fuel tank brimmed.  Fast cornering could make you spill fuel but also adds a lot of weight.

Don't have any loose objects in the car.  Empty everything out that can move around, if you do have an off, these things will become missiles inside the car.

Don't wear a T shirt or shorts.  Arms and legs must be covered at all times on circuit.  This is for your safety.

Don't stay on track for long periods.  20 to 30 minutes at a time is plenty.  It is tiring and your car will need a rest too to allow things to cool down.

Don't time your laps, don't have someone else time you either.  Most circuits have a very strict policy on this and you could get sent home if caught.  Yiming makes you competative and push too hard.

Don't spoil it for other people.  Everyone there is out to enjoy themselves and doesn't want to wreck their car - there is no insurance, if you crash tough, if someone crashes into you tough.

Do speak to other drivers, everyone there has the same interest as you so you all have something in common.

Do spend a bit of time watching other drivers on track, you might learn something or spot something.

Do come in after a spin or a moment.  It might not be your fault and you will want to check the car is alright.  Plus you might need a couple of minutes to calm down.

Do take a few essentials with you for your car.  Oil and any consumables that you may use or break.

Do eat and drink plenty.  Most circuits have some form of canteen but you will need energy to drive fast all day.  Hot days especially, make sure you take plenty of fluids on board.

Do have a pair of comfortable driving shoes, preferably trainers.  Also dress accordingly remembering whilst in the car, arms and legs need to be covered but if its a hot day in the paddock you might want to cool down

Do take some tools with you, even if its just a jack and a wheel brace.  You will be pushing your car hard and no matter how well prepared your car is things can break.

Do go with friends, being there with other people makes it lots more enjoyable.