Track Day Essentials

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Track Day Essentials

A track day is an officially organised event, usually taking place on a real racing circuit. The purpose of these hugely popular events is to enable car and bike enthusiasts an opportunity to experience the thrill and freedom of testing their skill, as well as their vehicle, without the worry of road bound rules and regulations. Track days provides a highly needed release for speed fans, and a safer means of driving competitively without endangering Aunty Doris who is on her way to the shops to buy milk. Anyone with a driving licence or correct racing licence can take part. Road legal vehicles or specially prepared track cars are all allowed to take part in these exhilarating experiences.

Track Day beginners often find themselves unprepared trouble when attending track day events for the first time; not realising the demands placed on their vehicle and its components are far greater than a normal road journey. Being unprepared can ruin a track day and leave planned circuit time in tatters. Track day essentials consist of all the parts you need to bring to the event, as well as the significant ways in which your car should be prepared beforehand.

Cars are inspected before being allowed on the track, its important that your car complies with noise and safety regulations the circuit may have. Modified cars with loud exhaust systems may struggle to pass the static noise test. During a static noise test a decibel testing device (which looks a bit like a mini metal detector) is held at a 45 degree angle half a meter away from the exhaust exit. For cars the engine is held at ¾ of maximum revs. Certain tracks also have noise detection on straights, these are known as drive-by noise limit tests. The decibel threshold on drive-by noise limit tests are lower than static tests. So for example if your car has a screamer pipe (wastegate exhaust gasses vented to atmosphere) then you could run the risk of it triggering drive by noise limits.

One of the most important pieces of equipment to turn up with on a track day is a helmet. Although it may be possible to borrow one on the day, it is strongly recommended to bring your own. Firstly for hygiene reasons; but you also need to make sure you have high quality protection for your head. This is one area you cannot neglect or go cheap on. Looking for helmets with a Snell SA2010 or SA2015 rating, both are good options.

Another must have piece of gear to carry with you is a tyre pressure gauge. Over inflated tyres can be detrimental to grip. Air pressure will increase significantly as the tyres heat up on track. A reliable gauge is paramount to accurately keeping an eye on pressure, and making sure that tyres are kept in optimum working condition.

Speaking of tyres, it may be wise to bring a set of track tyres with you. Although many prefer to use street tyres, there is a danger of ruining them. And this could cause cause trouble if you wear them out beyond the legal limit.

A simple yet handy item to have with you on a track day is duct tape. You never know when things may come off your car. Duct tape can be a quick temporary solution to keep you road bound if something unexpected were to threaten your day on the circuit.

Do not arrive at a track day without extra brake pads. The extreme braking demands of a circuit will wear out your brake pads. Be prepared for this, and ensure you come with a fast road/track day specific set to get the most out of your car.

An essential tool to have is a correct socket set. With brake pad replacing a highly likely occurrence at a track day, be sure to have the tools to deal with it efficiently.

Driving on the limit can be demanding, and you will often find perspiration a problematic issue. It is worth buying a pair of driving gloves to aid with steering wheel grip. Find a pair that gives you comfort, but without losing the valuable connection you need with your steering wheel.

Finally, it is of upmost importance you arrive at the track with your vehicle in optimum working order. This may seem obvious, but many drivers do not come prepared, and end up suffering. Get a mechanic to check the car before hand if you feel under-skilled to attempt this yourself. Ensure brake pads and tyres are up to the job from the start. Get any unusual noises checked out prior to your track run.

As you can see there are many areas you will need to become fully comfortable dealing with on your car, and a list of items you must arrive with on a track day. Do not let this put you off. A track day can provide immense satisfaction, whilst giving you a unique experience to treasure long after the engines have cooled. The hope is there will be many more of these days to come as you become an expert in this most breathtaking of past times.

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