Racing around a racetrack might seem like a pretty straightforward thing, especially if you’re used to driving. But is it as easy as you think?
There are a few differences between driving on normal roads and driving on a race track, but the upshot is that you’ll put your car on a racetrack through extreme racing conditions, and this will require preparation for you and your car.
With that in mind, we’ve developed a detailed beginner’s guide to Track Racing that will make it easier for you to switch from a regular racer to a racer.
Before you decide to race, the first thing you should do is to choose a racetrack. Most British tracks have track days per week, so there is plenty to choose from. It is recommended to choose a route that is close to your house, because this is not only convenient, but it is also safe. Track days are both physically and mentally exhausting, so it could be risky to drive a long distance back home after such an event.
You should also choose a racetrack, depending on the race format it offers.
There are three main types of track days:
Open pit lane:
This is the most popular of many racetracks and means that the pit lane is open to everyone all day long, so you can drive around the track anytime and for as long as you want. The problem is that if there are many vehicles on the track, you may have to wait in line to get on the track. However, the organizers ensure that they limit the number of participants on such a day, so that the track can accommodate almost all.
In this format, the drivers are divided into groups based on their driving ability or type of cars and these groups are assigned different time slots throughout the day where they can drive around the track.
Semi-open pit lane:
This combines the open pit lane and session format. A limited number of vehicles are allowed on the track at all times. There is no grouping as in the open pit lane, because if enough vehicles enter the lane, it is closed off. Closing and opening the track also creates “sessions” as in the format of the sessions.
This allows you to view and book your preferred track day in advance. Remember to go for the one closest to you.
Since you’re expected to get your car running at extreme speeds, you’ll need to make sure its fluids are filled up, its tires are at the right pressure, and they have good braking performance. Most importantly, make sure the car is not too loud for the track. Local councils usually enforce noise restrictions on racetracks, so before booking, check the noise limit to see if your car is accepted into the track. Finally, you need a helmet that can be rented from the track.
At the Gleistag, it’s important to fill your tank and take note of the nearest gas station so you do not get stranded and lose time refilling during the day. You may want to pay for some lessons before heading out to learn the various rules and regulations that vary from track to track.
Time to enter the circuit. Do not be so quick at first, understand the track. Feel its corners and straights and slowly build up your speed as it gets more familiar. Always be on the lookout for waving flags. There are different racing flags, each means something different.
If you want to take a break, go around the circuit for a cooling round to protect your engine, brakes and gears.
Oh, and remember to bring your driver’s license.
After the event, inspect the car to make sure it’s road worthy. It is very unlikely that you have damaged your car or burned your tires, but a simple check-up will not be a big hassle before you go home.
Once the day is over, it’s time to think about the next track day because you can never get enough of the adrenalin racing action.