Getting prepared for your first track day

So you’re keen to drive on a race track and have been looking into track days.

Plenty are held every week around the country – but which experience do you go for when you’re first starting out? There are so many options to choose from.

Here are some points to consider when booking your first ever track day.

Will you be taking your own car or bike? If so, make sure it’s up to it . . .
You can either take your own vehicle or hire one, but you will need to look into what’s possible at each particular track day.

If you are using your own, there should be no major problems with taking it on the track as long as it’s in good condition. Just make sure all the fluid levels are at the maximum mark and check the tyre pressures and treads depth.

A recent service will help, and tell the mechanic your plans to take it on a track. Hopefully, it’ll get an extra good looking over and anything that needs correcting will be solved.

. . .  And also make sure you have the right track day insurance cover.
Check your car insurance before you start looking at track days, because some policies may already cover these experiences. Another option is to call your insurer to see if it can be added for the track day by paying a small premium.

Alternatively, you can take out standalone track day insurance. With some policies, should anything happen you may be able to claim without it affecting your no claims bonus.

Decide which kind of track day is for you.
Track days come in a number of different formats so it’s worthwhile consider which one is for you. The most popular are:

  • Open Pit Lane (OPL): This is the most popular format for car track days, and a few bike track days are also OPL mainly for advanced riders. It means the pit lane is open throughout, so you can go on the track whenever you like, for as long as you like.
  • Sessions: This is the most popular format for bike track days, but some car days and many test days also run in sessions. It’s ideal for new riders or drivers as similar abilities are grouped – usually into novice, intermediate and advanced – and allowed on the track for fixed periods of time throughout the day.
  • Semi Open Pit Lane: A mix between an open pit lane and sessions. Typically, only a small number of vehicles are allowed on the track at once so queuing is required. After a period of time, all cars are taken off the track and the next batch are allowed on the circuit.
  • Speed: These are events that run like sprints on hill climb events where participants set off one at a time to run the course or track.

track day

At the beginning, maybe consider a track day closer to home.

Taking on a track day can be full-on and tiring, especially your first.
So it’s a good idea to choose a circuit that’s closer to home. You’ll want to channel your energy into the track driving – and not during the travelling time.

There’s no need to necessarily hit the larger, well-known tracks straight away. Get some experience under your belt and then really enjoy the likes of Brands Hatch and Thruxton.

But if you do want to hit a larger track, ones with wide, open corners which provide clear sight-lines are best for novices such as Donington, Silverstone and Snetterton.

Consider a day of tuition if you’re a complete novice.
Many novices ask if they will feel out of their depth the first time they’re out on the track.

The best track day organisers will make sure beginners are well looked after and extra instruction is available through an ARDS qualified racing instructor.

You’ll properly learn the ins and outs of track day driving, and will get tips on the things to pay attention to.

It would also be a good idea to become familiar with track rules and be aware of what to expect on a track day.

Find out whether you’ll need your own gear or not.
Most circuits will insist that your arms and legs are covered inside the car, so look through your track day information about what to wear. If you have some overalls or boots, it makes sense to take them along regardless.

When it comes to helmets, they are available through most track day companies if you don’t already have your own. They’re definitely worth the investment if you’re planning on going on track days regularly, particularly one that complies with motorsport standards if you’re on a motorbike.

Adrian Flux offers Track Day Insurance from as little as £67.20 per day.

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