Track days are something of a logical conclusion for the automotive hobbyist. Whether someone with a tinkerer’s interest in engines and suspensions, or an avid follower of all things motorsport, getting the opportunity to flex your own instincts on the racetrack will naturally appeal. But if you’ve never done a track day before, what do you need to know?
Can You Use Your Own Car?
First, the million-pound question: can you indeed take your own car down to a racecourse track day? The answer is an emphatic yes – albeit, with caveats. There are typically few restrictions on what cars can participate in track days, though cars with open wheel bases – e.g.: kit cars like the Caterham Seven – are sometimes prevented from driving alongside conventional vehicles for safety purposes.
What Documentation Do You Need?
Naturally, you will need to provide a valid driver’s licence in order to be eligible for any track day. You will also need to consider insurance carefully; generally speaking, standard car insurance plans cover damages sustained in track scenarios, providing the event was not a timed one. This, however, is dependent on the specific terms and conditions of each provider, and should not be taken as granted.
If you are sharing your car with another driver, it is also important that they take out temporary car insurance in order to keep your car covered during their track session. Beyond this, there are specialised insurance track day insurance plans that cover unique sub-sets of criteria – but these are by no means necessary to take out.
Addressing Car Condition
Here, though, it is important to address another important consideration: car condition. While driving license and insurance are vital parts of gaining access to a track day, your car does not need to be road legal in order to be ‘track legal’. You might have a track car that does not conform to road safety standards, or you might have an older vehicle unsuitable for the road.
As long as your car does not leak, possesses functioning indicator lamps and runs well besides, you are generally good to go. Consider fitting a tow hook before your track day, though, in order to facilitate easy recovery in the event of a crash.
It is also important to understand the impacts that track days can have on your vehicles, particularly daily drivers. Track driving accelerates the wear of numerous parts, from engine components to your brakes and suspension. This could be costly in the future, and should be monitored if you intend to continue with track days.
Lastly, we come to some essentials you should consider before leaning fully into your track day experience. From a safety perspective, a helmet is vital to bring. Tools are also important to bring, in order to make key safety checks before your run – whether torquing your wheel nuts or investigating fluid lines.
Arguably the most essential preparation you can perform, though, is research. Knowing important information about the track’s layout, the itinerary for the day and how the flag signalling process works will all work in your favour to make for a safe and smooth track day.