Trackday basics

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Types of trackdays:

There are many types of trackdays: virtually open test sessions with rally cars and circuit racers; or car make clubs (usually open to other makes as well if you ask nicely); or disciplined safety focused days with rigorously enforced rules, aimed at just having a bit of fun, and strictly no racing.

Below is a list of days that mostly fall into the last category, but some are borderline into the first. Ask around with people who have been before venturing out to be sure the day is right for you.

Tips:

Days open to road cars require helmets, and usually long sleeved shirts, but not full on race suits. Any helmet will do, no need for fancy motorsport stuff. And a full driving license, no need for race license. That's it.

Days are either run in sessions, or "open pit lane".

On session based days, expect 10-20 minutes on track at a time. Depending on organiser, and how many cars they let on, expect to get 3-8 sessions in a day. Generally, a cheaper organiser will cram in more cars, so ask about their policy.

"Open pit lane" is exactly that - drive as much as you like, for as long as you like. Usually more expensive, but gives more track time, and allows for longer stints. Again, check how many cars the organiser accepts, to avoid queues on the track.

Normal road insurance is not valid on track, neither is breakdown cover, medical insurance, etc. In some cases it is possible to get specific track cover (for example, greenlight), but it is usually expensive for obvious reasons. In practice, you are on your own.

Accidents are usually very rare, but do happen.

Mechanical breakdowns are common, especially with road cars that have not been prepared (brakes, engine oil, brake fluid, etc.). Keep cool, use your head, drive with mechanical sympathy, stick to short stints, and it will normally be fine.

Most organisers have waivers, meaning if anything happens on track, then each person involved pays for damage to their own car. Some tracks also charge additional fees for damage to the track itself, for towing, and so on.

Expect tyre wear, especially front left (most circuits are predominantly right turns). Keep an eye on brake pads, they will wear very quickly.

Brakes will run very hot. Standard road cars, even most sports cars, will have discs and pads aimed at road driving. They will suffer on track, with excessive pad wear, and disc damage (warped discs).

Stick to short stints, max 10-15 minutes, and let the car cool down between sessions.

Costs:

Days typically cost around £90:- to £350:- per day, depending on track and time of year.

Add fuel. Expect 1/4-1/3 of normal MPG.

Tyre wear: Depends entirely on track and driving style. On a "normal " FWD/4WD road car, expect front left to last maximum 2(-3) normal track days.

Pad wear: Depends entirely on track, driving style, and brake type. On a "normal" FWD/4WD "sporty" road car, expect front pads to last maximum 2(-3) normal track days.

Tyres: Road tyres are cheap and work well in wet/cold, adequate but wear quickly in dry/warm conditions. "Road legal" semi slick tyres are more expensive, are very good in dry/warm conditions, but pretty useless in cold/wet. Full on race slicks are not road legal, and dangerous in cold/wet conditions.

Other stuff: Oil change (engine and transmission) at least at the start and end of the season is a good idea. Use good brake fluid, Dot 4 or Dot 5.1 if possible.

If you get the track bug, and you will :innocent:, upgraded discs and pads will be the first port of call.

In NI:

Kirkistown is the only circuit with public track days, located near Kirkubbin. Fairly small circuit, days typically around £90, fast with a few tricky corners, good fun.

Many organisers, pick of the bunch:
Trackskills: Track Skills - Providing Track Days for cars at Kirkistown Race Circuit in Northern Ireland
TSCC-NI: TSCC
TVRCC-NI: http://www.tvr-car-club.co.uk/region...ernireland.asp

All of the above are well organised, with disciplined driving.

Club GTI do a couple of days at Kirkistown: http://www.gtini.com

Ireland:

Mondello park is an international GT circuit, days typically around €300:-. Make sure to get on the full international circuit, not the short national. Long and very technical track, with awkward corners, good fun.

The circuit organises its own track days:
Track Days | Cars | Mondello Park

Some clubs also organise Mondello days, like the Porsche club of Ireland.

Scotland:

Knockhill, just north of Dunfermline, is a very nice tight little track. Not as fast as Kirkistown, but much more technical, with dips and hills and blind bends. Days are around £60-100:-
http://www.knockhill.com/trackdays/index.php

England/Wales:

Loads and loads of tracks, and loads and loads of organisers. Days typically around £180-250:- depending on track and time of year.

Anglesey in Wales is very handy from Ireland, just off the ferry landing in Holyhead. A nice little track with good corners.

Donington has to be one of the best tracks anywhere. Fast, flowing, undulating, exceptional. Handy from Stranraer or Holyhead.

These outfits organise well run, disciplined days all over England and Wales:
UK Track Days - BookaTrack.com
RMA Corporate and Track Days

Official Lotus days:
Welcome to Lotus on Track - The track day club run by Lotus enthusiasts for Lotus enthusiasts.

This is a kind of gateway for a bunch of smaller organisers. I have not used this site myself yet, but could be worth looking into:
Track Days Driving Experiences and Gift Vouchers from Trackdays.co.uk

Pistonheads have a forum on English trackdays, good to get feedback about an organiser:
Track Days

Europe:

Many tracks in Europe are open for trackdays.

Nurburgring is probably the most famous. All you ever need to know is here, including a very good forum:
Ben Lovejoy's Nurburgring Nordschleife website

The gem of all tracks anywhere has to be Spa in Belgium. Everybody who has been raves about how good it is, and it is even better in reality. Right next to Nurburgring too.

These outfits run very good days at Spa and other European circuits:
UK Track Days - BookaTrack.com
RMA Corporate and Track Days

Official Lotus days:
Welcome to Lotus on Track - The track day club run by Lotus enthusiasts for Lotus enthusiasts.

Snoop around here for other organisers:
Track Days Driving Experiences and Gift Vouchers from Trackdays.co.uk
 

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Updated

Added a couple more organirsers for GB and Europe.
 

EF Ian

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Good Information. I'm thinking about talking my 260Z on track once I change the suspension and brakes but I'm too worried about something happening to it, not from me as I know how to drive within the limits of the car and myself but more from the chance of someone else hitting me. Perhaps I'm better just leaving track work to my civic.
 

Cooper

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Good Information. I'm thinking about talking my 260Z on track once I change the suspension and brakes but I'm too worried about something happening to it, not from me as I know how to drive within the limits of the car and myself but more from the chance of someone else hitting me. Perhaps I'm better just leaving track work to my civic.
260z? Photos please!

I would go with the civic for track days first. Done some in my old VTi back in the day and it was great for it. Bring spare pads!
 

EF Ian

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260z? Photos please!
I'll post some up later. :grinning:



I would go with the civic for track days first. Done some in my old VTi back in the day and it was great for it. Bring spare pads!
I'd definitly like to get both on track although theres no doubt my Civic is a far better track car (although I'm working on changing that with the 260Z) Its an EF so only weighs about 970kg and it has a 244hp B20 among many other things. I'd probably bring spare pads incase but its got ITR brakes with Hawk HP+ pads so it should be fine.
 

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not from me as I know how to drive within the limits of the car and myself but more from the chance of someone else hitting me. Perhaps I'm better just leaving track work to my civic.

I have never seen two cars come in contact on a trackday. It is very safe, and there is a lot of respect for others. Just use common sense, let faster cars by when safe to do so, and everyone is on their way.

It is not racing. Overtaking on straights only, and only by consent of the car in front. Anyone who misbehaves gets sent home straight away. Everyone there is in the same position - a nice car, out for a bit of fun, nobody wants any "incidents".

Most "issues" come from lack of preparation, or "over-enthusiasm". Running out of brakes, or tyres, or both. Think of it as an endurance event, let the car rest between sessions, use a bit of basic mechanical sympathy, and it will be fine.
 
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