Excited about going on track?
Taking part in a track day experience is a really good way of driving your performance car beyond the limits of a public road. However, driving on a race track for the very first time can be a nerve racking experience.
What should you do to prepare?
Will your car be able to survive the session?
Will you be able to handle everything that can and does happen on a race track?
Will you actually enjoy it?
What could go wrong on your first track day experience!
You have worked long and hard to get your performance car. You don’t want anything to happen to your pride and joy and your partner doesn’t want anything to happen to you! We’ve had clients turn up in a brand new FIA approved race suit, full face helmet, boots, gloves the lot when it is only their first time on a race circuit. You know you need to balance safety with cost, but where exactly do you draw the line?
I mean, what if you don’t like it? Your mates all have stories about someone who totalled their car on the Nurburgring. YouTube is full of crashes at nearly every track that exists. Scaremongering gets attention and it can make you think twice about taking your precious performance car out of the garage, let alone on an open pit lane at the nearby airfield circuit!
“It is not always possible to be the best, but it is always possible to improve your own performance” – Jackie Stewart
Want advice from a professional?
Everyone has an opinion about going out on track. Most of it is great advice, but some of it is purely misguided and likely to spoil your day. Here are just a few of the most popular myths about attending a track day experience.
1) Take spare underpants – Unless you have a medical problem, then you don’t need to take a change of underwear. There is usually an instructor in attendance, so ask the organiser who that is and get booked in with them. Even just a few minutes with a professional instructor will give you plenty of confidence to actually have fun!
2) Upgrade your brakes – Unless you are going to go on track reguarly then you really don’t need to upgrade your brakes. On cars such as Porsche the quality of brakes will be more than adequate for an occasional track day experience.
3) Do neck exercises in advance – Unless you are planning to drive a dodgem car, you really don’t need to exercise any particular part of your body. Provding you are fit and well, then you will be fine. Professional racers use HANS devices in conjunction with their harness to protect their necks should they have an impact at high speed. The organisers will simply not allow anyone on the circuit who will be going at the kind of speeds to make that kind of equipment a requirement.
4) Keep in the clean air – Every race circuit has it’s own set of unique race lines to ensure you not only can drive fast, but preserve the car’s brakes, tyres etc. If you aim for the clean air you will undoubtedly end up off the optimum line and potentially at more risk of disaster. Again the answer is to get instruction from a professional who will help you learn the correct lines.
5) Takes loads of brake fluid to top up when the brakes start boiling – Your brakes will never boil if you adopt a smooth driving style. Quality time with a professional instructor will help you to develop flowing, but super fast lap times without hardly using the brakes.
6) Fill your tank with 98 octane – Unless your car stipulates that it needs 98 octane fuel, then you really don’t need to waste money on it. Given everything else that is happening on a track day experience, you won’t really notice any differnence to your performance on the day.
A professionally run and well managed track day experience is a great taster of what you and your car are really capable of. Remember it may not be a public road (unless you are on the Nurburgring), but there are a lot of rules that are there to keep you safe.
You really don’t need to do anything extra to your car than check all fluids, brakes and tyres are in good condition and that your tank is full of fuel. Wear long sleeves, trousers, soft soles shoes and grab your helmet if you have one (you can hire one at most circuits).
However, the best upgrade you can get for your car for a track day experience is coaching from a professional instructor. This will give you confidence and assist you to go faster, but more importantly they will make sure you are safe too. Contact us here for an informal discussion about our professional instruction in Spain and the rest of Europe.