What are track days all about? For those that don’t know – it’s not as scary a prospect as you may think. Also it is more accessible now than it has ever been for those of either a two or four wheeled persuasion. There are a massive number of trackday dates for race circuits and airfields across the nation. The prices are good with huge amounts of time on circuit. It really is great value for money and amazing fun. More and more riders and drivers are taking to circuit driving because it really is the only environment where you can have fun and go fast!
The true meaning of a trackday is simple: It is the opportunity for like minded people to take their own vehicles round a track. Trackdays have very different rules to racing, but they still give you the freedom to go any speed with guidelines to keep every one safe.
The people that run the days are very protective of their hard earned reputations so you won't find any hooligans out there to worry about. Other riders and drivers out on circuit take their safety and pride and joy just as seriously as you do. Anyone that gets a little carried away soon has their wings clipped. But don’t arrive thinking it’s a knitting competition – a trackday has dangers, you can make mistakes and there are risks involved. Thankfully the safety briefing at the beginning of the day will help you reduce those risks. It sets out the rules, provides good advice and explains how the circuit environment operates including the flags.
There are typically two main formats to a trackday: Sessioned or Open Pit Lane. A sessioned trackday will split people into groups according to ability and rotate through the groups during the day. Each group would normally get six, twenty minute sessions which is plenty. An open pit lane format allows vehicles on and off the circuit as they choose. There is a limit to the number out on track to ensure space and safety. More attention is needed towards others on circuit with this format as all abilities are potentially out on circuit together. For all trackdays there is no close or aggressive overtaking. The rules and guidelines are designed to keep things safe.
- Watch out for the ‘noise limit’ set for the day - especially if you have changed your exhaust.
- Make sure your tyres are healthy and correctly inflated.
- Make sure you have the right clothing – no shorts and T-shirts!
- All trackdays will have instructors on hand – use them.
- Don’t worry about how fast you are – it doesn't matter and there will ‘always’ be someone faster no matter how experienced you may become.
- Have a good check over your vehicle to make sure everything is working well, fluid levels are ok and there are no leaks.
- Remember you are there to enjoy yourself - not become world champion in a day!.
Written by Mark Rusted of Trackdays.co.uk