A First Time Guide to Track Day
May 14, 2019
Track Day events are a truly unique experience. You meet people with similar interests to you, you learn and develop new skills and you live out your childhood fantasy of taking Forza to the real world.
So, what are you waiting for? If you’ve been thinking about getting on the track, now is the time. And Navigators + Track Day Insurance is here to guide you with our First Time Guide to Track Day Events.
First thing, how do you find out when events are happening? What event should you go to? And what is the best Track Day event for you?
How do I Find an Event?
You can find Canada wide events on the Track Day Insurance site. The events are listed by upcoming dates. Track season often begins around April and ends around September.
What Event Should I Go To?
If it is your first time, try looking for organizations with a history of training novice drivers. For example, DriveTeq events are designed to aid beginners.
But ultimately, the best thing to do is research each event. Also note that all events listed on our site have three categories: novice, intermediate and advanced – so any skill level can attend. And don’t be afraid to ask the event organizers questions prior to showing up.
Prepping Your Car for Track Day
How to Prepare Your Car
Odds are, you can probably take the current car you have to a track day event. You don’t have to spend tons of money on mods or buy a brand-new vehicle. Ideally, you want to get your car as close to factory stock as possible. To achieve this for Track Day, here are some steps to take:
Running general maintenance such as checking brakes and brake fluid, oil and other fluid levels are topped off. Brake fluid should be new, as it often absorbs water from the atmosphere. This can cause the fluid to boil when the brakes heat up, producing steam and reducing your efficiency.
Check the Wheel Nuts
Ensure the correct torque is applied to your wheel nuts. Torqueing to the correct specification, but not over-torquing.
Adjust Tire Pressure
If you don’t know what the tire pressure should be, start at the manufacturer’s recommendations and make small changes throughout the day if necessary. Also remember to adjust the pressure when cold, as the tires will heat up with usage. Remember to also check the depth tread of your tire. This will help you to ensure there will be enough after the track.
Remove or Secure Items
Remove anything in the car that moves and shifts around. This is both for your safety and increased performance. Also, check that your seatbelt and seat are securely attached.
To avoid anxiety when taking your car to high speeds, get insurance. Track Day Insurance offers a variety of coverage options and can be purchased online. One of the largest hindrances to participating in a track event is whether your current auto insurance policy will cover your vehicle.
Several insurance companies, including Chubb Canada, specifically exclude coverage for any damage while involved in a track day event. Others may treat claims on a case by case basis with no guarantee that they will actually cover your car. Getting specialized track day insurance coverage is a necessity for peace of mind.
What to Pack for Track Day
You’ve picked your event. You’ve prepped the car. Now, what will you bring to the event?
Jerry Can of Gas
Gas is more expensive on the tracks. Given the excess amount of driving you will be doing – this can add up. If you bring an extra jerry can of gas you can save both time and money.
- A socket set
- Wrench to tighten the wheel nuts
- Tire pressure gauge
- Zip ties, screwdriver, breaker bar, cutters, jack, rubber mallet and spare lugs.
If you don’t have all these, don’t stress, people at the events are often very willing to share their tools and help out.
Some events require certified helmets to race on the track. Check beforehand if this is necessary and if so, bring one that is properly certified.
To ease throughout the day, a foldable or lightweight camping chair can give you a comfortable place to take a break and socialize.
Oil and Brake Fluid
Have a correct amount of oil in the engine before you drive. Extra break fluid can help if you need to bleed the brakes. If you intend on being on the track quite often, you will want to change your brake fluid to one with a higher boiling point.
Work Gloves and Cleaners
Your car will have debris all over it from the track. Bringing cleaner and gloves means you can eliminate the dirt immediately.
Prepping Yourself for the Track
Perhaps the most important tip, prep yourself. Your mental and physical health can truly dictate your event experience. So, don’t forget to:
Get Plenty of Rest, Food and Water
No matter what you drive, driving on the track can be tiring. Get a good night’s sleep before the event and remember to bring water and pack a lunch (if it’s not provided) to be of optimal health for the day.
Have Realistic Expectations
Driving on a track is difficult and you might not get the knack of it the first time around. It’s important to remember that nobody does. Like most hobbies and sports, it is a skill that you must develop. So, don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t the fastest one by the end of the day. Take it as a learning experience.
Consider Attending as a Guest Before
This might give you a better understanding of what the event is like and what you want to bring. It can also ease any nerves, for the day you are in the driver’s seat. Ultimately, whether you are a guest or a driver, you will come to realize that Track Days are great! They offer a strong sense of community and are welcoming to all.
All in all, remember to have fun! Track Day events are there to help you build community, try new experiences and develop new skills. No matter which event you attend, how fast you go or which car you take – it will be a day you’ll never forget.
For more information on Track Day 101 or Track Day Insurance, visit the Track Day Youtube Channel.
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