My first ever track day was a memorable experience. It was a 30th birthday present and allowed me to drive six sports cars on the wide tarmac of Bruntingthorpe. It was exciting, it was fun, and it was over far too quickly.
Three laps in each car was barely enough time to get to know them, never mind learn their nuances and get the best out of them. It cost almost £400 for what amounted to roughly 5 minutes behind the wheel of each car. Not exactly cheap, although the memory of howling down the runway in a Lamborghini Gallardo at 150mph is one I still treasure.
So when I saw a press release for a track experience that costs £1,650 I first thought … well, I can’t write what I actually thought, but I was certainly taken aback. It seemed like a lot to ask for a track day but then I read the detail and slowly it dawned on me that this might not seem so expensive after all.
First of all, the car you’ll be driving is a Radical SR3 RS. It uses a Hayabusa bike engine to produce the equivalent of 420bhp per tonne. A McLaren MP4-12C can only just muster 412bhp per tonne so you can imagine how quick the Radical’s going to be.
60mph arrives in 3.1 seconds and it can reach 161mph flat out. Thanks to its slick tyres it can pull 3Gs through the corners and 2Gs when you stamp on the brakes. It’s a proper race car that makes most supercars seem tame.
Next, you get proper tuition. Not just a chaperone to make sure you don’t bin the car on the first corner, but tuition from a professional racing driver who knows the car inside out. He’ll ride alongside you and offer tips and guidance through an ‘in-ear’ intercom.
You get two hours of track time too and no, that doesn’t include the safety briefings and tour of the car. It’s two full hours driving around the track, not standing around the pit lane.
You head out onto the track for up to 30 minutes at a time. That’s enough time to get a proper feel for the car without overloading your senses. It’s a better way to learn the track and the car, giving your body time to rest and to let your mind process things before heading back out again. You can even review the in-car footage with your instructor to see where you can improve.
The last part of the day will be a reminder that no matter how quick you think you’re going, the pros are quicker still. You’ll get a flat-out passenger ride with a pro driver who’ll show you just how to squeeze 3Gs out of the Radical.
So while my supercar experience may have been questionable value at £400, this Radical SR3 experience is easily worth four times that price. It may sound steep but the professional tuition you’ll receive will stick with you and if you crave speed the Radical should give you more than you need. £1,650 for a track experience? Sounds like surprisingly good value to me.
If you’re interested, head on over to ExperienceMad.co.uk for more information and instructions on how to apply.