4 Tips To Prepare For Your First Track Day

Track days allow you to explore the limits of your car, but you still need to prepare adequately for your track adventures, so here are four tips to get you through your first experience unscathed...
4 Tips To Prepare For Your First Track Day

1. Choose the right event for you

4 Tips To Prepare For Your First Track Day

Taking to the track for the first time can be a daunting experience, so it’s vital that you choose the right event. Your first step should be to ensure that the circuit is suitable for your ability. Tracks like Cadwell Park (the ‘mini-Nurburgring’) and Oulton Park are brilliant circuits, but they offer little to no run off. Wider and more open plan tracks like Silverstone, Anglesey and Bedford Autodrome give you and your vehicle a greater margin for error.

The next thing to consider is the format of the track day: ‘open pitlane’ or ‘sessions’. An open pitlane is exactly what it sounds like. You can venture out onto the track at your leisure, and can spend as much time on the circuit as you please. Predictably, these track days tend to be more expensive due to the virtually unrestricted access to the circuit. However, keep in mind that there’s often a mix of abilities on track at any one time, so they can be quite intimidating for novices.

4 Tips To Prepare For Your First Track Day

Sessions, on the other hand, are far more restrictive, but they’re often better for beginners. This is due to the fact that drivers of similar ability and experience are seeded into specific groups; novice, intermediate and advanced. As a result, you’re less lightly to get overwhelmed by faster drivers. Most track day events also have qualified ARDS track day instructors on hand to give you some tips. Expect to pay between £20-£40 for half an hour of tuition.

2. Prepare your vehicle

4 Tips To Prepare For Your First Track Day

Before you head off on your track day, make sure that that your fluids are topped up, that your brake pads have enough meat left on them and that your tyres are in good condition. We also recommend removing any clutter from your vehicle beforehand.

On the day itself, make sure to keep an eye on your engine temp, oil consumption and tyre wear. Monitoring your tyre pressures can also help increase the longevity of your rubber, as well as helping to decrease your lap times. You’ll find that midway through a session, the heat generated on track will cause your tyre pressures to rise. If you find the car becoming skittish you can lower your pressures incrementally to increase traction. But do so carefully and note down the changes that you have made.

4 Tips To Prepare For Your First Track Day

After the session it’s also important to ensure that you give your car enough time to cool down. If you come in quickly and park the car, you risk warping your discs and causing serious damage to your brake pads. By circulating at a brisk pace on the last lap you can let the discs, engine and transmission dissipate heat effectively.

3. Prepare yourself

4 Tips To Prepare For Your First Track Day

Before you even set foot on the track, you need to prepare yourself. Number one on the list is to make sure that you have adequate clothing. This doesn’t mean that you need to hit the track dressed as the Stig, but it does mean that you should wear clothing that covers your arms and legs (a common requirement for most tracks). You should also make sure that you wear thin-soled shoes as this will ensure that you have a good pedal feel. It will also help make techniques like left-foot braking and heel and toe-ing far easier.

If you are getting serious about track-days and you’re looking to attend multiple events, we would also recommend purchasing a racing helmet that complies with motorsport regulations. Circuits often rent out cheap helmets, but good brands such as Arai, Bell or Stilo will always offer better protection.

4 Tips To Prepare For Your First Track Day

Personal preparation also extends to looking after yourself. If the circuit is far away, make sure that you book a hotel for the night before. You want to be well rested and well hydrated before you venture out on track. You might think this sounds like overkill, but you will genuinely feel the difference. If Sebastian Vettel requires ten hours of sleep before a race day, why are you any different?

4. Pay attention to the rules

4 Tips To Prepare For Your First Track Day

Make sure that you arrive early so that you’re not rushed. You will need to ‘sign-on’ at the main desk where you’ll receive a wristband and the timetable. This will include your mandatory ‘Driver briefing’. At the briefing, the event organiser will run through key information such as the schedule of the day, flag signals and rules of the track.

You’re then ready to hit the track. The important thing to remember is that a track day is not a race day. One of the most important rules is that you should only overtake on the left-hand side of the track (some circuits differ so check beforehand). The majority of events also restrict overtaking in the braking zones, so make sure you keep an eye out for cars approaching fast from behind, and make sure to let them through safely. Now, this might sound fairly straightforward and perhaps even a little patronising, but the red mist can catch out all drivers (us included), regardless of their experience, so it’s important that you remain calm when out on the circuit.

4 Tips To Prepare For Your First Track Day

With that, you’re ready to book your first track day! They’re genuinely the most fun you can behind the wheel and we can’t wait to hit the track in 2016. In fact, who’d like to see a CT track day?



Ct trackday sounds so good

03/22/2016 - 17:02 |
0 | 0
Darren Langeveld

Also people - if you do lower tyre pressures to manage heat during the trackday - don’t forget to pump them back up again before you set off for home!

03/22/2016 - 17:03 |
16 | 0
Ethan 18

CT track day for sure

03/22/2016 - 17:05 |
4 | 0
Igor Konuhov

Most important part - “trackday bro” sticker

03/22/2016 - 17:47 |
10 | 2

+20 hp

03/22/2016 - 17:53 |
8 | 0

5) Dont use a Vauxhaul

03/22/2016 - 19:01 |
0 | 0

Any car can be a race car, even a Vauxhaul.

03/23/2016 - 21:45 |
0 | 0
Nick 29

And dont drive slow

03/22/2016 - 19:05 |
0 | 10

1.Choose the right event.
2.Prepare you car.
-What car?
2.Buy a car.

03/22/2016 - 19:07 |
6 | 0
  1. Buy a car.
    -No license
  2. Get older and a driver’s license

I shouldn’t read articles that make you wanna drive…
Which is basically EVERYTHING!!!

04/07/2016 - 21:38 |
2 | 0

I drove my first lap ever two days ago on the Nordschleife and i learned one very important thing: do not overestimate the grip of your tires…
I filmed my first lap, you can see here how i nearly spun out

03/22/2016 - 19:18 |
4 | 0
Error 404: user not found

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

good save bruh ;)

03/22/2016 - 19:42 |
0 | 0

Some tips from my experience:

1: More expensive events feature more expensive (and faster cars). In a slow car you will therefore have to check your mirrors quite often. The advantage is that these drives tend to look a bit more after their cars. They are driving mostly a bit less risky.

2: Watch a youtube vid of the track you are going with a car that comes close to yours. Watch out for the racing line and some references that could help you find your braking point.

BTW.: I have never seen a trackday in Europe where overtaking on one side or in the braking zone is prohibited (Except Touristenfahrten on Nürburgring). Just don’t leave your racing line and the others will find a way past you. And don’t forget to brake just because you are impressed by how late that racecar is braking that just passed you (I’ve seen that happening quite often).

4: Use your indicators if you are going to do something unpredictable (like entering the pitlane)

03/22/2016 - 19:21 |
4 | 0
turbo banana

In reply to by maddnz

I think the overtaking rules is mainly a thing done by british trackdays organisers . They ask you to take over in the straight and always on the same side .
Not sure if it’s due to the track day organiser insurance or just them trying to prevent people from racing and do stupid things (I know it’s a minority but there are always a few to ruin everyone’s fun) .

03/22/2016 - 22:26 |
2 | 0

I took my Toyota G-touring out on the local go kart track near me it was fun time to have the hole track to myself

03/22/2016 - 19:38 |
0 | 0


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