As the evenings are slowly getting lighter and the motorsport season has got under way it’s time that a lot of drivers start thinking about getting out on track to test their skills. If it’s something that you’ve considered before but not given a lot of thought to you might be surprised at just how many ways you can get yourself some track time.
Take Your Car On A Track Day
Track days are big business these days and attract loads of people looking to extract the maximum performance from their cars. There are lots of racing ciruits that arrange special track days and evenings throughout the summer and allow you to bring practically any car on track – as long as it’s roadworthy! Expect to pay around £100 for a full day of action, with evening events being a bit cheaper. Don’t forget to check your oil, brakes and tyres before you go!
Visit the Nurburgring Nordschleife
The legendary Green Hell is a mecca for keen drivers. Just 3 hours drive from Calais, the Nurburgring attracts fast cars and their owners from all over Europe. Simply turn up, buy a ticket and join the queue at the barriers – then you’re away onto thirteen miles of fast and challenging tarmac. Make sure you check the small print on your insurance – it may exclude the Nordschleife specifically, even though it’s classed as a public toll road.
Join a VXR Track Day
If you can get your ticket in time this is probably the cheapest way of getting on a track day. Drive any of the VXR range around some of the circuits used in the BTCC, then get a passenger ride with a professional racing driver who’ll show you just how slow you were going. A great day out and fantastic value, I’ve been on them for the last three years and loved every minute.
Book A Driving Experience
Not the cheapest way of getting on track, but driving experiences are a popular way of getting behind the wheel of something exotic. Ferrari? Lamborghini? Porsche? All are available (for a price) at loads of venues across the country. Thruxton circuit is one popular venue with a good choice of cars to drive.
Buy A Different Car
Some manufacturers like to offer little extras for their customers to reward loyalty, boost the brand image and maybe sell some extra cars. For example, Vauxhall are offering exclusive track sessions to anyone who owns a car from the VXR range, while Renault host a series of events at tracks throughout Europe for owners of the Renaultsport range. These events tend to be well organised and quieter than normal track days, simply because they’re open to fewer drivers.
Run What Ya’ Brung
The legendary Santa Pod dragstrip runs open days throught the summer. Just turn up in your car, buy a ticket and join the queue. You’ll then find yourself at the end of the strip with the xmas-tree lights counting down to your attempt at the 1/4 mile. Then it’s you against the clock, and at the end you’ll get a printout showing all of your timings.
Join an Owners Club
No matter what car you drive, the chances are that there is a club for owners. Run by true car-nuts the bigger owners clubs will host events through the years that might allow you to get on track at a discounted rate, or even for free. Just Google your car and see what results come back e.g. ‘focus st owners club’.
Join A SuperCar Club
You could always join a car club and drive someone else’s cars on track. It sounds ideal – you get all the fun of driving the car without any of the hassles of ownership. There are a number of companies who have started offering supercars for on-track use, but don’t expect it to be cheap – true exotica is likely to set you back thousands of pounds per day.