Top 12 Track Day Do's And Don'ts
If you've never been to a track day before you might want to check out our Top 12 Track Day Do's And Don'ts. Let's get straight to it... Do:
- Do: Get plenty of sleep the night before. Arrive in plenty of time and pace yourself. Track days can be extremely tiring both mentally and physically, especially if you have a long drive to and from the track. Once the adrenaline wears off it would be pretty common to find yourself feeling exhausted
- Do: Get involved & talk to new people! The vast majority of track day goers are very friendly bunch of like-minded petrol-heads just like you. Most will be only too happy to have a chat and help newcomers out. Half the fun of a track day is the craic and banter that goes on in the pits and paddock. Don't be afraid to ask if it's ok to go for a passenger lap in someones car, it's a great way to learn - but similarly don't feel put out if they say no!
- Do: Bring your drivers licence, you won't be allowed on track without it! It's a rule this is strictly enforced. Don't think you'll talk your way out of it if you forget yours - you'll have to go home and get it!
- Do: some basic checks on your car. Are all the fluids topped up? Do you have plenty of meat left on your brake pads? Is anything loose or likely to fall off? Is there likely to be enough tread on your tyres after the track day to drive home legally? Checking these few simple things out a week or so in advance of the track day could mean the difference between having a great fun day on track and going home early with a broken car because you forgot to do something simple like check it had any oil in it! (yes we've seen it happen)
- Do: Bring the right attitude. Track days are all about like minded people having fun, driving their cars hard in a safe environment on a race track. Respect the other drivers and their cars out on track with you.
- Do: Bring loads of warm clothes. Mondello Park is one of the most freakishly cold places on the planet!
- Do: a warm up lap and a cool down lap. When you first head out on track your tyres, brakes, engine and gearbox will all be relatively cold. We see a surprising amount of people tearing off down the pitlane on their first session, bouncing off the rev limiter and quite often ending up in the gravel trap at the first corner. Don't be that guy! Take it easy coming out of the the pitlane, take it easy round the first few corners and build your speed up gradually over the course of a lap or two. This will allow everything to warm up nicely and will help you get a feel for what the grip levels are in a more controlled manner. Your car will thank you for it too! Similarly a cool down lap is an extremely good idea. Even after a handful of flying laps your engine, tyres and brakes will be red hot. The best way to cool things down is not to come straight into the pits and switch the engine of but rather do a nice, steady lap or two. The air flowing over your brakes and through the rad will cool things down much more quickly than if the car is stationary.
- Don't: Go on a session the night before! Being hung over at a track day is no fun at all, you'll feel terrible and probably won't enjoy your day, plus it's dangerous. Also don't go nuts on the energy drinks, once the adrenaline starts flowing you'll be pretty pumped up as it is and too much can have an adverse effect on your driving.
- Don't: Forget to tighten your wheel nuts - preferably with a torque wrench and to the correct torque setting for your car. We've seen wheels falling off cars dozens of times for this simple reason and it only takes 2 minutes to check them. It's a good idea to check them again once or twice throughout the day too.
- Don't: Be afraid to ask for help! Get some tuition. If you've never driven on track before, a quick session with an instructor or another experienced track day goer can be invaluable. It will make you go faster, be safer and be a better driver. Similarly if you need help with your car, don't be afraid to ask. Chances are you'll find the paddock at a track day is full of experienced and knowledgeable individuals. Most will be happy to give you a dig out if your stuck.
- Dont: Race. Track days are not the place for racing. A lot of people bring their daily driven cars and their pride and joy to track days and a genuine concern for a lot of people is that their car will get damaged by someone else who thinks they're taking part in a round of the Irish Touring Car Championship.
- Don't: Be this guy: