So you’ve got the car, you’ve got the skills and you’ve got the nerve. Seems like you’re ready to take that beautiful new sports car or supercar in your driveway and actually do what it’s designed to do; hit the track. Sure, driving your own car around a track sounds as easy as showing up with the right car and the right attitude but it’s not quite as cut and dry as that. Without proper preparation and focus, driving a powerful sports car or supercar around a track at high speeds could quickly turn into a dangerous activity. However, with some solid know-how, your next day at your local track can not only go off without a hitch but also be one of the best days any automotive enthusiast can have.
We’re going to cover everything you need to know to get ready for a safe and fun day at the track:
- Choosing The Best Track Day Event
- Prep Your Car
- Prep Yourself
- What To Bring To The Track
- During The Event
So grab your keys, your helmet, and your nerve because it’s time to hit the track!
Choosing The Best Track Day Event
There are a shade over 1200 racetracks in the United States, so finding a track day near you is typically not a challenge. It’s finding the best track day for you, your vehicle, and your driving ability that makes finding the right event a challenge. Luckily for you, there are a wide variety of driving events to get you out on the track; even if it’s your first time:
Open Track Days:
These types of events are exactly what they sound like; a day of driving around the track that’s open to a variety of cars and a variety of drivers with no instruction. You’ll find these events at private and public tracks all over the country and they are usually done on a first-come, first-serve basis. Get there early because these events typically fill up fast due to their low cost! Most tracks require some experience of driving on a race track and there may be soft limits on the types of cars you can bring as well.
High-Performance Driver Education (HPDE):
HPDE events are focused on bringing instructors and students of all levels together at the track with the primary focus being on the mastery of high-performance driving techniques. There are a variety of organizations around the country that organize these events and all levels of drivers are encouraged to participate. If you’re looking to learn to drive your car on the track, this is a great way to join the fun.
Member Only Events
The primary way that tracks make their money is by renting their facilities to automotive organizations (like Xtreme Xperience), clubs, or groups for single or multiple-day events. These events are typically arranged by anything from car brands (Honda’s, for example) to groups with a broader set of members like the SCCA or Sports Car Club of America. Once you’re a member of these groups, you simply pay a fee and show up to join your compatriots in a day of track fun!
Prep Your Car
This should go without saying but you’ll want to make sure your vehicle is in prime condition before you take it out to the track. Honestly, you wouldn’t believe the kind of condition that some owners track their cars in! We’re talking leaking fluids, parts falling off, you name it. Tracking your car pushes it to the limit so it needs to be in top shape to achieve the best lap times and avoid the frustration of track staff and fellow drivers.
Here’s a quick checklist you can reference to make sure your car is in tip-top shape prior to coming out:
You’ll want to come with at least 2 / 32 of tread on your tires when you show up for a track day and ensure that your tires are free of cracks and other damage.
Make sure your brake pads are not worn down by scoping out the indicator slot (if it’s gone, it’s time to replace it) and that your rotors are not warped.
Double-check all fluids in your engine and top off as necessary! This includes everything from oil to the coolant. If fluids are dirty, flush and change them.
Make sure that your car isn’t belching white, grey, or black smoke; these are all bad signs and could lead to major issues on track.
Again, this may seem like a no-brainer but you’ll need to prepare yourself for a track day just as much as you prepare your vehicle.
Here are some top tips to get yourself ready:
- Buy a properly fitted helmet, gloves, and driving shoes. You can typically rent these at events but this cost can add up quickly and they won’t be as comfortable or sanitary as buying your own.
- Make sure your car insurance covers you for on-track duty or buy a separate track day policy from your agent
- Learn the track BEFORE you go. Also, remember, tracks may have multiple layouts so confirm this before committing it to memory!
What To Bring To The Track
Remember, you’ll likely be spending a very full day at the track, so you’ll need to pack essentials for yourself and your car because there likely won’t be options nearby for restocking.
Here are some top tips to make sure you’re not left without the essentials:
- You’ll likely be standing outside in the sun, so wear sunscreen and bring plenty more to reapply
- Bring as much water as you can carry! Sun, heat and in-car excitement can dehydrate you very quickly.
- Bring extra fluids for your car like coolant, oil, brake fluid, etc.
- Bring an easy to transport toolbox that includes everything from a battery-powered drill to ratchet sets, wrenches, hoses, clamps, and even some high-grade tape.
During The Event
Ah, track day is finally here! It’s time to finally enjoy the fruits of your preparation but keep in mind, your focus should not let up.
Here are some top tips to keep in mind on the day of the event:
- Pay attention to the track organizers for up to the date information and follow the rules!
- You’ll likely be grouped according to your skill level (Amateur, Intermediate or Expert) so be honest with the event staff or you may be in a position of looking silly in front of your fellow competitors.
- Learn all procedures before heading out and closely follow them.
- Keep track of your times throughout the day to gauge improvement and your ranking
- Have fun!!!
Get On Track With Xtreme Xperience
Make no mistake, getting on track with your own car is an incredible experience but it is not without its challenges. First off, not all of us are expert drivers! If you’ve never been taught how to properly drive on a track, an open track day will soon prove to be a frustrating experience. In addition, tracking your own car is incredibly tough on your vehicle so you’ll need to set aside a good chunk of cash for inevitable repairs that come from beating up your personal car.
Rather than go it alone and beat up on your personal car; learn from the expert instructors at Xtreme Xperience on our fleet of incredible supercars! We’ll teach you how to drive at the limit in properly maintained vehicles that are meant to be driven to the 10th degree. For the automotive enthusiast, there’s no better way to spend the day.
Join us at the next event in your area! See you on the track!
Learn the racetrack closest to you before heading out on a track day with our high-speed professional ride-alongs.