Track days are the ideal way to discover more about the performance potential of your car without falling foul of the law – this is a legal and exciting way to enjoy speed and performance with other motor enthusiasts in a regulated space. That makes it safer, less risky, and generally more enjoyable. Once you try it it’s likely you’ll want to do it again and again; it can really become a hobby that gives people an immense amount of joy in their lives.
If you are planning to go to a track day and drive, there are some essential pieces of equipment that you will need to take with you, and it is worth investing in high-quality equipment too because as exhilarating and exciting as a track day is, it is also hard on the car itself. The better the equipment you buy, the less chance there is of having to buy it again because it broke or was damaged.
So what are these essential pieces of crucial equipment that you’ll need to get your track days off to a great start? Here is a rundown of the most important; as you progress, you’ll work out what else you need, but for now, these are the basics.
A good GPS system may not immediately spring to mind when it comes to track days (after all, you’re just driving around a pre-determined racing track; you don’t need to necessarily know where you are going), but it can be extremely useful. Some tracks are located in remote areas which are not easy to find. This is so that everyone can enjoy themselves without the residents of the local area getting tired of the noise and the number of people showing up.
Enjoying the track is one thing, getting there is something entirely different. Investing in a high-quality GPS system will help you find where you need to go. You may also want to find a good GPS tracker too – your vehicle is going to be essential to making you happy if track days are your new hobby, and if it were to be stolen, you would want to know exactly where it is, so you could get it back. You can learn more here.
Safety must always be the priority when it comes to any kind of track day racing and speed. One wrong turn, getting caught up in a skid, or finding that you’re too close to another driver or even the edge of the road can all cause accidents, and at the speeds, you’ll be traveling they can have pretty dire consequences. That’s why a helmet is essential. It’s true that we don’t drive around the streets wearing a helmet (although who knows where the law will take us in the future!), but this is different – there is much more potential for danger.
Some track day clubs will have helmets that you can borrow, and if it’s your first time trying this adventure out then you might want to consider doing this, but they aren’t always the most pleasant of additions to borrow because so many other people have used them and they may not have been cleaned that well – they tend to make people sweat, so you can imagine that they are not the nicest of items.
When you do buy your first helmet, you will need to ensure that it has the right certification. This will vary depending on what club you are attending, so check first once you have found the club that suits you and get the right helmet. When it comes to budget, spend as much as you can – the helmet is potentially going to save your life, or at least stop you from having a life-changing injury; it is definitely worth every cent.
It is entirely possible to use standard street tires on your car during a track day, and it can certainly be interesting to see just what your car can do when it has limits imposed on it, which is what these standard tires will do. However, there could be a problem – what if one or more of your tires was damaged because track days are not what they are made for? If you push too hard on these street tires, they can easily burst or be shredded, and if you have a long drive home, you would be stuck without tires to get back on.
This is one of the reasons why special track tires are often used on track days. They will mean that you can really see what your car can do without holding back because you’re worried about damaging your tires. It means you have more freedom, can go faster, and can generally relax a little more.
Of course, getting four extra tires to the track is something you will need to consider, and how you do this will depend somewhat on the vehicle you have. If they can fit in the trunk, then that is your problem solved, but if not, you may also need to invest in a trailer. These can be hired when you need them, but it may be cheaper in the long term to buy one; it will depend on how often you want to attend track days.
When you are testing your car to its limits, you are going to need tools to ensure that everything is okay once you’re done (or even before you start). For example, you will possibly need to change your brake pads, so you’ll need a good set of sockets and wrenches to get the job done. You will also need to switch your tires over if you’re using track tires, so you’ll need a wrench and jack. It’s important to check that your wheels are properly torqued. They shouldn’t be done up too tightly or too loosely, as both of these will cause potential issues and damage on the track, so the lug nuts need to be checked before you start driving.
A tire pressure gauge is another useful piece of equipment. The weather, road conditions, temperature, and the way you are driving will all have an impact on the pressures in your tires, and you need to keep on top of this, adjusting the pressure as you go through the day to ensure it is always optimum.
Add to this a good tool bag which includes work gloves and overalls, and you should be prepared for anything that happens. Of course, just having the equipment doesn’t mean you know how to use it, but this is where research and studying will help you – plus there will always be someone at the track who can give you advice when you need it.