I go to a lot of Porsche enthusiast meetings and the atmosphere is always friendly with a lot of great people to talk to and their Porsches to admire. The Track Day scene is a completely different story. At the track you still get a lot of great people to talk to and good Porsche to admire, but the atmosphere is very different.
Porsche Trackday Action
A track day's atmosphere is a combination of pride in your car, the exhileration of the adrenalin rush, the pure fun from diving your car on track and the banter in the pit lane and on the pit lane wall. I go to my local track Brands Hatch a lot. Some times to watch and chat with the drivers but also to drive my 911 hard. The Porsche was created to be something you can drive every day, but also to drive to a race track, thrash it around the track and drive it hoe afterwards. If you haven't done a Track Day then I think it's something you should seriously consider doing. Not only is it a fantastic day, but you'll get to know your car on a whole new level. You better understand the braking capabilities, the handling characteristics, the cornering speeds its capable of. You'll also find your own driver strengths and limitations.
It won't be long before you get theh track day bug. It's addictive. Not only will you want to go back again and again, but you'll start to think about how you can improve your cars performance. Track day tyres, suspension and geometry set up....... But that's all part of it.
So what can you expect to happen at a car track day?
If you had to look for a way of defining a track day, then I guess the dictionary might say something like "Car trackdays are a way of enjoying yourself in your car, testing it's speed and handling capabilities in a safe, controlled environment away from public roads."
Do you need a special race licence?
Nope. Definitely not a requirement. If you are just planning a bog standard straight forward track day. However you do have to have your normal day-to-day driving. Make sure you keep your driving licence clean of penalty points. There are some circuits and track day organisers that won't let you take part if you have penalty points.
Will I need track day cloting and a crash helmet?
This is a must. You won't be able to get on track without a proper crash helmet. Don't borrow one or use and old chipped and bashed about helmet. Buy one that has the proper kite marks and fits you well. Some track day organisers will supply helmets, but check first. This is your life were talking about, so you should want to wear one!
Overalls, driving gloves and driving footwear arn't essential. They do offer a combination of comfort and safety. When you spend a few hard driving sessions on track, they come into their own. I personally only wear a light weight long sleeved tee shirt, jeans and light weight trainers. Many others I see at track days wear the same ting. You see others with all the kit and look like racing drivers from head to toe. Maybe something down the line, but not essential to get started. Arms must be covered at all times if you are in an open top car. I would recommend a couple of pieces of 'proper' equipment, which are race boots and driving gloves, as they do make driving easier.
Does my car have to be roadworthy?
In most cases yes definitely, If your car has a MOT then that's fine. The car has to be of a safe standard.
Is there anything else I need to do about my car in preparation for the track day?
Empty all loose articles from inside your car, including the boot. They will become dangerous flying objects on track. Ensure your indicators and brake lights are in working order. If you have a towing hook, ensure it is in place prior to going on circuit. Ensure you have sufficient fuel to complete your session. Ensure there are no fluid leaks. Increase tyre pressures by approx 5lbs front and rear. Windows and sunroofs must be closed. All track days will have a noise limit in which your car must pass before heading out on track, if the car fails you will not be granted use of the circuit and in most cases there are no refunds given in the event of a noise test fail, please make sure you have your car checked before booking if you are not sure. Some MOT test centres can test this and you can buy devices to help at home although they may not be as accurate as used at the venues. Most tracks will also do a test for you if you just turn up - even if you dont intend on going on track.
What about all the flags, do I have to learn them?
Don't panic as the marshals have ways of making them understood! You will quickly pick up the meanings of the flags.
What about the racing line around the track?
You'll normally have a track day briefing at the start of the day, explaining the rules and regulations as well as a description of the track and the line to take. The first time is a bit overwhelming, but it soons sinks in as you take to the track. Your first time on track will be in a parade forumation following a track official instructor who will demonstrate the line to take. There are normally markers on circuit that will highlight the apex for you and turn in points.
Will my insurance cover me for track days?
It can happen. Something goes wrong and you have a prang. In most cases your insurance probably will not cover you, unless you are very lucky. You can get a quote for track cover from either your own insurer or specilist providers.
So, with all that said, what are you waiting for. Get your self booked up for a track day annd have some fun.
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