Have you ever watched other people driving on race track and looked on with envy? But couldn’t picture taking your own pride and joy on the track? Not sure where to start, not good/fast enough, don’t know anyone there, it costs too much, and scared of breaking something or crashing the car? Well, it is actually quite easy and affordable (compared to a speeding fine!) to hit the tracks, so let’s have a quick look at what’s available out there.
There are 2 basic types of track days that target the beginner/amateur level.
Firstly, there are driver training groups such as John Bowe Driving or Drivers Dynamics that hosts regular High Performance Driving days at various tracks across Australia. These days are suitable for first timers right through to confident drivers as they provide qualified and experienced one-on-one training with seasoned drivers. The pro drivers are on hand to ensure you improve upon your driving skills.
The other type are Car Club operated track days. Large car clubs such as SAU/Skylines Australia or the Impreza WRX Club organise events for their club members on a regular basis. The events aren’t limited to members only so provide a lower cost to getting on the track. These days are aimed at amateurs/enthusiasts who may have attended previous track days and are able to participate with minimal assistance, however, beginners are welcome as these days provide a great place to start out. You’ll probably find that the car clubs are very supportive of all new comers who join. Keep an eye out on our Circuit Calendar for all the track days coming up!
Both of these track days are conducted in a controlled environment of a racetrack, governed by rules and regulations, with trained marshals, and medical response on standby and is the safest way to test your own skills and the abilities of your car on the limit. Shorter tracks like Winton are great places to start as they have shorter straights which keeps top speeds lower.
Once you have registered and paid for the attendance, they will usually send a basic check list to ensure you bring the essentials with you, and are dressed appropriately in long sleeve non-flammable clothing. The start of these track days usually involves a drivers briefing on safety, how the flag marshalls/pit lanes operate, and how the program of the day will run. Cars are sent through scrutineer bays where your car will be checked for safety including working fire extinguisher, valid helmet and safety belts etc.
You may also be given a bunch of things like a number to display on your car, a sticker to identify which group you’re in and a timing device. Some venues will require you to have a valid CAMS competition licence as well which can be purchased online through the CAMS website.
Once you have your allocated grouping and times, we highly recommend you to use the experienced drivers (if available) to sit in the car or drive your car for you, so that you can observe and learn as much as you can. It would be easier and more fun to correct your bad habits earlier on than to find them out at the end and have no time to practise.
Everyone out there with you on the track are all looking for a bit of fun, so be aware and respectful of those that you are sharing track time with and you will have a fantastic time too!! Look forward to seeing you guys out there sometimes!