A Guide to Trackdays

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A Guide to Trackdays

Postby hb69 on Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:20 pm

Im by far not the most experienced at doing these, but ive done a fair few and try to encourage others to get into them. Hopefully this guide will help anyone whos considering some track action

Track days are the best way to learn the limits of your car safely and legally.

So to start with there are various ways you can get on track. The first thing you will need to do is identify what type of event you want to do.

Open Pit Lane- This is structured so the track is free to go on and off as you please throughout the day. The circuit is
openend at a set time, you can do as many laps as you please until the track closes (if you do a full day there will be an hour break for lunch). Its important to try and take frequent breaks though, as you will get tired if your staying out for too long at a time

Sessioned day- As the title says the day is done in sessions. Commonly for a full day you will get 5-6 20 minute sessions.
There are benefits of this structure, you shouldnt come accross cars coming out of the pitlane as much and it gives you a structured day.
The options with a sessioned event tend to be divided into novice, intermediate and advanced sessions. Meaning you can chose your skill level and be put with drivers of a similar ability.

20 Minute sessions-Available at most shows with a race track, and organisers such as club msv (only available to people with less than 2 track days experience) offer them as a cheap way to get some track experience. Usually between £20-30 they are definately the cheapest route to track time. Great if you cant afford the full day, or if you want to just see what all the track hype is all about.

Theres several different organisers of track days, the most popular are

-Club MSV http://www.clubmsv.co.uk/car-home.aspx
-Easytrack http://www.easytrack.co.uk/
-Javelin http://www.javelintrackdays.co.uk/trackday/index.php

I will not go into flag colours etc, as different circuits and organisers have different flags, signs, and beacons which they cover in the briefings

Different organisers offer different circuits, throughout the UK and Europe. You can specify optional extras for events too (not for the 20 minute sessions usually) such as passenger, additional driver, garage, tuition all at additional cost

Once youve decided how you want to get on the track you will need to do a bit of preperation for the event

Car- It doesnt have to have an MOT, or even be road legal. But it must be to MOT standards meaning things like tyres, bodywork, fluids, seatbelts, and running gear need to be in good order. Seatbelts or harnesses are required.

Some tracks will not allow full slicks, or open wheel vehicles. The sound test must be passed before your car can go on the track. Commonly the maximum is around 98-103 db depending on which circuit. Also check tyre pressures, because tyres will get hotter than they would with normal use I would advise a few psi under the manufacturers advised quantity. I tend to carry a small multitool (with allen keys and screwdrivers),a torque wrench, some oil and coolant.

You do not have to spend money on modifications to make your car ready. Any road car is track ready. I would sooner spend £100 on a track day and improve my own skill than spend £100 on some bigger brakes and not know the quickest lines.

Yes you can spend money on brakes,suspension, cage, seats, harnesses etc but theres pros and cons to that and its up to you,its your money after all. In car cameras, these need to be secure (suction mounts arent great for that) and not handheld.

Yourself- You will need some safety gear for yourself, a helmet is a must. It doesn't have to be approved by any authority to be ok for a track day though. So they can be purchased very cheaply. Motorcross helmets have been used by some people i know, and not had any problems. Either full face helmets or open face helmets are fine. It must have a chinstrap to be ok to use though. Obviously the purpose of a helmet is to protect you in the event of a an accident, so i would advise you buy the best you can afford. You will also need to cover your arms and legs. You will need a full driving licence or race license, which you should have both parts with you to present to the organiser if asked.

Once you have decided what type of event your doing, and at which circuit, your happy you and your car is ready you will need to look to the day itself.

The organiser will advise you what time to attend the day, sign on is usually 7.30-9.00 for a full day. Once you have signed on you will need to attend the briefing, which highlights any potential issues on the circuit that day (weather etc), the flags and signs, cones (which are used to show when to turn, and where the apex of the corner is). After the breifing wristbands are handed out. Some organisers will then have sighting laps (follow a circuit car fairly quickly for a few laps to get a feel for the track). Then the sessions, or open pit lane will commence.

Important things to remember are:

-Build up your speed gradually throughout the day. Tyres will be cold first thing and the racing line will have no grip
-It is not a race. If something quicker comes up behind you (you should usually be shown a blue flag/light) then get out of the way on the next straight
-Keep an eye on your fuel gauge, I have known people run out of fuel on a track
-Fit your tow eye if its a removable item
-Secure any loose items in your car, or ditch them in the paddock somewhere safe (I doubt you will need them on a racetrack)
-Make sure your wheels are torqued up (90-100 lbft)

With that make sure you follow the guidelines the organiser sets in place and have a good time pushing your car legally. Be careful though, track days are addictive.

You need to keep in mind that you will be going at much higher speeds than you do on the road, cornering at 70mph is not something you will be used to and you will find your car will behave differently to what you will have experienced on the road. Take your time to learn how quickly you can go in it.

FAQ

Q. How much am i looking at for a trackday?
A. Usually between £100-350 depending on the circuit and organiser.

Q. Whats the score with insurance?
A. Some companies will cover you for trackdays, some wont.That will be in the small print. If you want cover (albeit with a very high excess) you can get it from Motorsport Insurance Services, who will also cover you for the Nurburgring. I've been advised the cost of cover comes down if you hold a race licence

Q. What if i break down on the track?
A. You will get recovered to the paddock where you can try and mend it or get recovered by a breakdown company back home

Q. How about things like wear and tear, tyres etc?
A. Your tyres wont wear out that quickly, most will last for 4-5 full days if your not running mental power. Nothing wrong with the abuse the engine etc gets either, things will wear slightly quicker, but your actually using them to their full potential so its worth it right?

Q. I dont think im ready to take my own car on a track
A. Your best off finding a friend a go out with them as a passenger until your ready

Q. I dont think my car will survive the abuse
A. Why not? You would be surprised at some of the sheds I've seen survive all day. If theres anything thats a cause for concern on a trackday, maybe it should be rectified as a matter of course anyway

Q. What if i have an accident?
A. This is what tend to put most people off. Your insurance is unlikely to cover you. The circuit organiser will recover your vehicle to the paddock and you will need to sort out recovery to wherever you want it repairing/breaking etc. It does happen at these type of events, but not as often as you think.Most circuits have large run off areas and gravel traps
to avoid this type of thing happening but it still can. This is why i personally will not take a car i cannot cover the cost of replacing round a track.

I should add a bit here about the Nurburgring. This does generate alot of interest from people, and rightly so, its amazing! A famous circuit, with so many unique features, and its only 30 euros per lap. It is technically a public toll road so you see all sorts of vehicles on there, I once overtook a coach! Helmets and any other safety gear are not required here, as it is a toll road just a seat belt will do and you can have passengers in the back which makes things interesting. Most UK insurance policies will not cover this circuit though as they tend to state in the small print. I can do a separate guide to the ring if there's enough people interested, but theres plenty out there already really e.g http://northloop.co.uk/
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Re: A Guide to Trackdays

Postby Rhinopower on Tue Jun 19, 2012 5:19 pm

If you break down, most breakdown companies WILL NOT, recover you, it in the terms and conditions (I've checked)
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Re: A Guide to Trackdays

Postby hb69 on Tue Jun 19, 2012 5:36 pm

Rhinopower wrote:If you break down, most breakdown companies WILL NOT, recover you, it in the terms and conditions (I've checked)


Fair enough. I just based it on past experience, the rac recovered me from castle Combe when the head gasket went. True it did take them 5 hours to come and get us though.
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Re: A Guide to Trackdays

Postby andymac on Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:01 pm

Recovery is at companys discretion, I'm afraid.

A special note re nurburgring :

It is a requirement to carry insurance for travelling the ring, standard EU green slip insurance cover is acceptable HOWEVER the vast majority of insurance companies will not insure you on the ring as it's considered a race circuit. Many underwriters are changing their attitudes to Spa and other "public road" circuits too.

Expect daily insurance costs to be in the region of £75 a DAY if you're a trackday noob. If you have demonstrable experience of trackdays or a race licence some underwriters will significantly reduce this premium. See below.

Trackday Information:
Date: 13/09/2010
Organiser: Public Day
Track/Venue: Nurburgring - Nordschleife

Policy Premiums:
Excess: £1,000.00
Premium: £73.00
Personal Accident Cover £75,000: £15.00
Excess Buy Back: £11.25
Discount: £0.00
Admin Fee: £5.95
Total Premium: £105.20 including Tax
Credit Card Surcharge @ 2.5%: £2.63
Total Amount Paid: £107.83


I don't know if the aspect has changed however it's a point of both concern and note : It is VERY important to remember that if you have RAC / AA cover they are not obliged to get you home if you break down on the continent. If your vehicle is over 18 years old there are often clauses in the small print that allow them to offer to purchase your car from you at current market rates and send you home by train (or whatever is cheapest). I get my recovery from ADAC which is not only cheaper than RAC/AA, but they will get me home regardless - even putting me up in hotels / hostels as necessary. They will also recover me from the Nurburgring, no questions asked. If anyone's interested then please feel free to PM and I'll send you contact details for the very lovely lady at ADAC I dealt with in the past.
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Re: A Guide to Trackdays

Postby Tweek on Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:40 pm

A grand excess :o
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Re: A Guide to Trackdays

Postby andymac on Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:20 pm

Tweek wrote:A grand excess :o


Yeah, but covers repairs to circuit etc.
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Re: A Guide to Trackdays

Postby bakewell001 on Fri Jun 22, 2012 1:23 pm

andymac wrote:
Tweek wrote:A grand excess :o


Yeah, but covers repairs to circuit etc.


If you crash on the 'ring and you have insurance, you would be more than happy to pay the £1,000 excess when you see what they charge! :oooh:

Stolen from some other website regarding a crash in 2010:
As the owner of this Astra VXR discovered, it can be gigantic. Here’s the summary of expenses:

• Base fee for attendance of armco truck: €150
• Removing damaged armco: €10/metre (x2 or x3 or x4 for multiple-height sections)
• Replacement armco: €31/metre (x2 or x3 for double/triple height)
• Removing damaged armco posts: €5.10 each
• Replacing armco post: €39 each
• Safety car attendance: €82 per 30 mins (car + 2 people)
• Circuit closure: €1,350 per hour
• Recovery truck: €190 (inc VAT)
• Hospital stay & air ambulance: Let’s just say, do NOT go there without travel insurance! (Though a European Health Card – which replaced the E111 – may cover the hospital bit.)
Everything except the recovery truck is then subject to 19% VAT.



Nice write up though Henry. I was pretty scared when in the queue for my first ever track session, but I can confirm it's extremely addictive! Hopefully this guide gets a few more FT'ers into the days we do regularly during the year :)
Last edited by bakewell001 on Fri Jun 22, 2012 3:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Guide to Trackdays

Postby hb69 on Fri Jun 22, 2012 2:28 pm

bakewell001 wrote:
andymac wrote:
Tweek wrote:A grand excess :o


Yeah, but covers repairs to circuit etc.


If you crash on the 'ring and you have insurance, you would be more than happy to pay the £1,000 excess when you see what they charge! :oooh:

Stolen from some other website regarding a crash in 2010:
As the owner of this Astra VXR discovered, it can be gigantic. Here’s the summary of expenses:

• Base fee for attendance of armco truck: €150
• Removing damaged armco: €10/metre (x2 or x3 or x4 for multiple-height sections)
• Replacement armco: €31/metre (x2 or x3 for double/triple height)
• Removing damaged armco posts: €5.10 each
• Replacing armco post: €39 each
• Safety car attendance: €82 per 30 mins (car + 2 people)
• Circuit closure: €1,350 per hour
• Recovery truck: €190 (inc VAT)
• Hospital stay & air ambulance: Let’s just say, do NOT go there without travel insurance! (Though a European Health Card – which replaced the E111 – may cover the hospital bit.)
Everything except the recovery truck is then subject to 19% VAT.



Nice write up though Henry. I was pretty scared when in the queue for my first ever track session, but I can confifm it's extremely addictive! Hopefully this guide gets a few more FT'ers into the days we do regularly during the year :)


A guy I know crashed there and I saw the bill, it was around €3000 for a very small bit of Armco,recovery, closure and cleaning etc. I'd rather pay the excess
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Re: A Guide to Trackdays

Postby rsonblackwheels on Sun Jun 24, 2012 11:45 am

nice guide, good job :aviator:
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Re: A Guide to Trackdays

Postby jonyb4 on Sun Jul 08, 2012 6:56 pm

cracking guide!

bakewell001 wrote:

Nice write up though Henry. I was pretty scared when in the queue for my first ever track session, but I can confirm it's extremely addictive! Hopefully this guide gets a few more FT'ers into the days we do regularly during the year :)



i second that
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Re: A Guide to Trackdays

Postby Tygress on Tue Jul 10, 2012 10:47 pm

Nicely Written There Henry, Gold Star For You! :)
Don't Be Afraid Of Fear, Let It Be Afraid Of You!
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Re: A Guide to Trackdays

Postby Michael! on Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:07 pm

good guide henry
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Re: A Guide to Trackdays

Postby andymac on Tue Sep 04, 2012 12:03 am

hb69 wrote:A guy I know crashed there and I saw the bill, it was around €3000 for a very small bit of Armco,recovery, closure and cleaning etc. I'd rather pay the excess


Precisely. It's very easy for things to go wrong very quickly at 100+ :lol:
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