Keep It On The Track!
No matter if you’re 17, in your 20’s,30’s, having a midlife crisis or of an age where you should know better; At some point in your life, you will believe that you are the next Lewis Hamilton having a spirited drive on the road or alternatively, Diago Saito, kicking it sideways around a carpark or roundabout, in an attempt to pull girls down the local car meet. The bottom line is that no matter your age, we have all been there and we know its not big, its not clever, it is illegal and could result in someone being injured or worse.
You may have a hot hatch, a sports car or something a little more exotic or track inspired, like a 911. Within this post, we look to cater to all types of driver. Unless of course you’re a driving miss daisy type, that believes a car is to get you from A to B, then there’s no love for you here.
Think You're Awesome? Time To Get Schooled
Being an experienced Motorsport instructor; I have seen it all and can honestly say the most common issue is a driver that believes they are an awesome, skilled, fast driver. Often this is not the case at all, this is simply false confidence based on the fact they haven’t binned it yet or they have purchased a car with enough driving aids, that even the most inexperienced driver could feel a hero behind the wheel. When teaching, we would start with the following statement – “Just because you own a Ferrari, it doesn’t mean you can drive a Ferrari”; meaning, you can buy a fast car, but it doesn’t mean you are fast – or controlled for that matter.
The best way to understand not only your current capabilities, but also understand how the vehicle reacts to your input and how to get yourself out of a flappy bum situation, is by going back to school; There are plenty of advance driving schools, Motorsport academies and freelance ARDS Motorsport instructors out there, that can provide you with the correct level of tuition to transform you within a controlled environment.
Advanced Driving Tuition - Circuits
Aimed towards traditional circuit racing and advance driving; There are various accredited organisations located around the country or at various track locations; The Real Gran Turismo (RGT), MSV Driving Academy or The Palmer Race School, are just a few of highly regarded Motorsport tuition providers.
You will find that some outfits will rent you a car and an instructor to attend a designated track or alternatively, have a dedicated Motorsport facility. Regardless of the choice in academy, you will go through a level of theoretical training to understand basic to intermediate car control, the racing line and the physics of how your actions influence the behaviour of the car. Once covered off, they will head out on track with you to give you 1-2-1 tuition, with the aim to support your improvement as the laps rack up.
Drift Schools / Academy - Sideways
If you own or drive a rear wheel drive car; You are bound to have experienced the rear of the car kick out or attempted to be the next drift king. If this is the case or you are wanting to learn the art of going balls out in a sideways fashion, then hitting a Drift School or academy is for you.
Just like the Advance Driving Tuition organisations, there are plenty of drift orientated academies – Prodrift, Learn2Drift, to name a few. As you would expect, most will provide a car, an instructor and the necessary seat time to understand both the theoretical aspects and how that translates to inside the cockpit. Now I’m not saying you will become an absolute drift weapon in one session, but you will learn the basics that may even help you out if the rear of the car breaks loose in poor conditions.
You Have The Skills, Now It's Playtime!
Once your confident; Where best to test your newly holmed skills, than on the track. No matter where you live, there are Motorsport venues dotted all over. Such venues can range from FIA Circuits (e.g. Brands Hatch-UK, Sliverstone-UK, etc), Drift Circuits/Pads, FIA Drag Strips, Airstrip Events, Hillclimb and the list goes on. We would recommend searching on various social media platforms and/or getting in touch with your local District Motosport Club to understand what’s going on near you.
The good thing with most of the events listed above, is that you dont need a FIA/MSA Race License in order to take part; You simply need a valid drivers license and for the vehicle to be scrutineered on the day. Before booking on to such events, do check out our other articles on the required Safety Equipment, Recommended Preparation and event specific articles detailing the type of event and what to expect on popping your Motorsport Cherry.
This is your chance to put your vehicle or rented track vehicle through it’s paces on the same tracks that you see the professionals zooming round every weekend. The specialist facilities allow you to find your inner track day hero, but in a safe controlled environment, that doesn’t feature lamposts or dreaded old people pulling out; All you need is a valid license in most cases and a vehicle that meets the entry requirement (e.g safety, noise limits,etc).
Track days can be booked via the track operator (e.g. MSV), various experience agencies (e.g. bookatrack.com) or through your local Motorsport club. You’ll find there are different sessions pending your level of experience and the level of entrant (e.g public, trade, Motorsport test day). Track days aren’t just limited to the UK, there are tracks all over the world that you can hop on and book up some time.
Just be careful, it’s very addictive!
Drag Event / RWYB / Test'n'Tune
If you are more inclined towards acceleration, 1/4 Mile or top speed runs; Then Drag events are for you. This is where you line up against the clock or against a competitor, launch the car as hard as you can and then hang on for dear life until the end.
Drag events come in two forms, ‘Run What You Brung’ (RWYB) or Test’n’Tune days. RWYB is often held at Santa Pod Raceway, the legendry FIA approved track is where you will see the Pro’s go head to head. Test’n’Tune days are often held at Airfields and attended by those that not only want to put the car through it’s paces, but also refine the set up/mapping etc.
Both are open to the Public and often require you to have a valid driving license and the required safety gear. Same as above, hit up Santa Pod Raceway or your local Motorsport Club for dates and bookings.
Drift Event / DYWB
If you have a burning desire to show off and to really get the adrenaline pumping, then Drifting is for you. Nothing screams ASBO more than hooning around a track, sideways, with as much angle, speed and smoke as possible.
Unfortunately due to the non friendly nature towards the environment and numerous snowflakes moaning about the noise, there are limited places and dates throughout the year in which you can take part in a public day. However, don’t let that stop you!
To take part you will need a certain type of car (namely RWD) and a few minor requirements in order to actually drift and have a fun day. For more info, its recommended to hit up the social media groups/communities for events coming up.