Has all of the action and drama of the first few months of the 2017 Formula One season led to you wanting to take to a race circuit yourself?
You’ll be pleased to hear then, that there are so many track day experiences to be found all across the UK. This TrackDays calendar highlights this point, with events available on iconic race tracks like Silverstone, Brands Hatch and Donington Park.
However, you will want to ensure that you and your car are both ready for being on a race track ahead of the experience. Advanced Radiators, a specialist car radiator supplier, explains how to prepare in this following guide:
Considerations regarding the car
Giving your car its own service is a great way to get the vehicle ready for a track day experience. Start by looking at your car’s tyres by ensuring the pressure matches the manufacturer’s recommended levels. Tyre pressures can be a cause for debate when it comes to track days — run them too low and damage can be caused to the sidewalls (due to them flexing when putting them through sustained cornering), while too high a pressure runs the risk of increased wear. Bear these points in mind when deviating away from the manufacturer’s recommended levels.
Make sure all of your tyres are in a good general condition too. The tread depth should be considerably above the legal limit of 1.6mm across 75 per cent of the tyre to enhance grip; there shouldn’t be any dents or damage to the mounting surface, and no cords or belts should be visible.
After this, pop open your car’s bonnet to analyse whether all of the fluids have been topped-up to their maximum marks. Cornering force on a track can result in fluids building up on one side of the vehicle’s reservoir, causing the potential of fluid starvation.
Have you checked the safety equipment found inside your car as well? Seatbelts must be in good condition with no tears or issues with them clipping into their holds, while you need to ensure there are no loose objects that could fly around and cause damage or injury once you’re at high speed. Problems can be avoided with loose objects by emptying your car as much as you can. Removing the spare wheel, jack, luggage and any rubbish from your car has the added benefit of making your car lighter too — you’ll be surprised how much this takes off your lap times.
Want another tip to keep weight down in your car when it’s tearing up the tarmac on a race circuit? Filling your fuel levels to the amount needed to get it through its track day instead of filling the tank to the brim is a great way to shed weight. Higher octane fuel is advised, as they tend to aid performance significantly more than the standard alternatives.
Considerations regarding the driver
You, the driver, also need to be prepared for what’s ahead on a track day experience — starting with your choice of clothes. Fire-retardant clothing made using natural fibres are recommended to ensure the highest level of protection. In fact, many circuits have policies in place that state that arms and legs must be covered while you’re on track.
Take your time picking the right shoes for the experience too. Closed toe footwear is the minimum requirement at most tracks, though you should also be sure to opt for a shoe, boot or trainer with thin soles and no overhang so that they achieve good pedal feel lap after lap.
Once you’re happy with your clothing, one final task is to check your car insurance policy and determine if you’re actually covered for a track day experience. Most don’t as standard but usually you can just add this on the day of the event for a small premium by contacting your provider. If this isn’t an option for you, seek out specific track day cover so that your no claims discount isn’t affected in the unfortunate event that you need to make a claim from your day out.