Track days are quickly becoming one of the most popular ways of experiencing the thrill of a race track. They’re an excellent opportunity to experience the ins and outs of a famous track with your own car, or a hire car if yours is not suitable.
They differ from driving experiences in that they allow a greater freedom when driving. You will be able to drive your own car over the legal road limits and take advantage of an unlimited amount of laps, rather than being monitored in experience days. There also the satisfaction of preparing your own car and pushing it to its limits on your favourite track.
Types of Track Day
Before you purchase a track day you should be aware that there are different types of track days available, and your choice will ultimately affect the experience you will get.
Session Track Days
This particular kind of track day splits drivers into different ability levels. The group you’re assigned will depend on the amount of track day experience you have, with novices having the least and the advanced group having the most experience and being the most competent.
You will begin your track day with a safety presentation and a briefing on the types of flags you may see. Next all the drivers are split into their correct groups and may also receive a number ID that is placed onto their vehicle to help identify them at a later date.
As a general rule the advanced group will be the first group to be allowed on the track. The sessions will last approximately 20 minutes and will allow all the drivers in this group free reign of the track until the time is up. Once the 20 minutes is up the next group will go on the track until it is the turn of the final group, often the novices. This cycle repeats itself until lunchtime, where the drivers and marshals can take a break from the track and then continues until the end of the day.
Open Pit-Lane Track Days
Open pit-lane track days are the best if you’re seeking unlimited driving time. The pit lane will open in the morning, usually at 9am and close at 5pm with a short break for dinner at some point. Unlike the session track days you are able to pick whenever you want to drive on the track.
Obviously you should ensure on these types of track days that you take an appropriate number of breaks – not only for your own health, but for your cars health too. It is suggested that open pit lane track days are for those drivers who have been on track days before as it is best to practice in a controlled session track day environment.
Before you head out onto the track you should ensure that you are thoroughly covered by insurance. The track itself will probably have public liability cover, but this will not cover any damage your car takes from the track day.
Your standard car insurance will not cover your car when it is on the track. There are some companies that will insure your vehicle for you and it generally costs around £100 per day, depending on the car. Beware that this cover will probably come with a high excess of around £1000, which will be higher or lower subject on the value of the car.
While it is wise to insure your car, it is not a necessity. Accidents on track days are a rarity.
Finding out More
It’s pretty easy to find out more information about a track day. Most of the famous race tracks will offer them and will display this information on their website.