GP Academy #1: An Introduction
Welcome to the GP Days Track Day Academy. We've started this format already in 2021 but are continuously trying to expand the content in order the to help anyone who is trying to get familiar with the world of Track Day driving and understand what it's all about.
However, even the more experienced drivers among you will find value in skimming through the content and following the different series of our Academy. It's packed with useful tips and tricks and probably some things to learn!
For all newcomers to the world of Track Days, we'll start with a straight forward, but very important question - what is a Track Day?
In short: A Track Day gives you the chance to drive your car on a race track which means you'll be able to find out what your car and yourself are truly capable of in a safe environment. This makes it the perfect playground for true Petrolheads!
We're convinced that - at least after some Track Days - you will be a much better and especially safer driver on the road as well. Besides, you will meet loads of like-minded people and you can almost be sure to leave the track with a couple of new friends each time!
So let's dig in deeper and go through all you need to know in case you're new to the greatest hobby in the world!
How exactly does a Track Day work you may ask? Let us explain!
To make it easier, we're going to look at what happens before, during and after a Track Day:
1. Pre-Track Day
Booking a GP Days Track Day is easy! Just have a look at what dates we have on offer and secure your spot right through our homepage. After you have booked your Track Day, you will receive an E-Mail that links to our Online Briefing - we call it the "E-Briefing". (The E-Briefing is usually activated 10 days before the Track Day. You'll receive an E-Mail reminder as soon as it is available).
Here you will find out everything about the rules and regulations, driving etiquette and track specific information in the form of our GP Days E-Briefing Videos and Presentations. Also, you always have the chance to contact our Team for any kind of questions you may have. We're happy to help! In our E-Briefing, you will also find a detailed time table, information on how to access the track as well as the most important document - the Liability Waiver. Sounds fancy right? Well, without having signed the Liability Waiver, you will not be able to go on track!
By signing the Liability Waiver, you will confirm that you access the track at your own risk and that you'll not make anyone liable for any damages caused be it to the track facilities or your car. You'll find out more about the Liability Waiver, its meaning and how to sign it in our "Liability Waiver Tutorial".
2. At the Track
As almost all steps of the registration process done online, there's not much to do once you arrive at the track! If you completed all the steps outlined above (Watched and read the E-Briefing Videos as well as having signed the Liability Waiver), you can arrive at whatever time you want to check-in.
The Track Day Check-In includes you having to pick up your number stickers (so we can identify your car on track), as well as your coloured wrist bands. These indicate whether you are a driver or passenger and if you have signed your Liability Waiver and completed the E-Briefing. After you have completed the Check-In you are ready to go.
As we run Open Pitlane Track Days only, you are able to enter and exit the track whenever you want throughout the day. Usually driving time starts at 9:00am and ends between 5:00pm and 6:00pm depending on the circuit we are visiting. If you have any questions throughout the day, we are always there for you. Whether it's about organisational questions, you needing some tools or anything else - just let us know!
Especially if you are new to track driving, do not hesitate to speak to any of our Team. On some Track Days we'll appoint mentors which are basically our regular participants who are always happy to help with any of your questions!
3. After the Track Day
Remember, your GP Days Track Day experience is not over once you arrive at home. A couple of days after each event, we will upload all pictures of you on and off-track to our Gallery in full resolution and ready to be downloaded! In addition, don't forget to join our Facebook Community to keep the conversation going!
Here you can also ask fellow Track Day friends about any questions you may have! The information above should give you a good overview of what to expect during your day at the race track. But what are other questions you may have?
Can I participate with any kind of car? Do I need a "race car"?
First things first, you can definitely participate in almost any car. You don't need a race car but as with many things in life, there's a "but" in this
Most people start their race track adventures with a road car. Especially in the beginning, that's totally fine. As you'll be learning the track, getting a feel for the car and generally dealing with what is going on around you, chances are you're not going to be incredibly fast. However - and here comes the "BUT" - as you progress and get faster, you will get to the point of reaching the stress limit of some of the components of your car. In most cases that will be the brakes and tyres. Two parts you definitely don't want to be failing on you while on track.
With some cars, you will reach this point earlier than with others, but you'll reach it. Once you do, it gets a bit more difficult as this means you'll either have to dial back your track time to give your car a bit of rest, or you get into modifying your car.
Let us be clear, once you go down the route of modifying your car, you are done for. There will be no quick ending to this, as there is always something you can add or optimise. The Track Day virus will spread - guaranteed. Don't worry though, it's a lot of fun and you'll be in good company!
It will start with the brakes, you dive into other areas and before you know it, you risk your car being developed into what is commonly called a proper "track tool". A car which is almost exclusively focussed on being fun, fast and safe on track.
At a GP Days Track Day you are not permitted to participate with any type of car though. There are some restrictions. We don't permit Open Wheelers (i.e. Formula Cars), SUVs and prototype-kind of race cars. Be aware, if you want to take your convertible to the track, be sure it's fitted with a roll bar - most convertibles are equipped with one right out of the factory. Otherwise it's simply too dangerous and we may not allow you to get on track.
If we or the track officials deem a car to be unsafe or in a bad state of maintenance, we reserve the right to exclude them from our events to ensure the safety of other participants.
If you have any further questions regarding vehicle restrictions, check out the "GP Days Track Day FAQ" or contact us anytime!
What kind of cars can I expect to be with me on track?
As we mentioned above, you don't need a race car. In general, your car needs to be fit for use on a race track i.e. safe, not leaking any fluids and generally be well maintained.
As a result, you will usually see a wide variety of cars during our Track Days from road legal daily drivers to properly built track tools which would not be allowed to drive on public roads, all having fun together on track!
Do I need anything else?
All drivers must be at least 18 years of age and have a valid drivers licence. On most tracks, it's fine for passengers to be 16 years old. Please check the Track Day description though!
Please remember, that all drivers and passengers have to wear a helmet on track at all times. In Part 2 of our Track Day Academy: "Track Day Preparation", you'll find out more about all the equipment you need!
Will I be good enough?
That's an easy one! A Track Day is for everyone - period! GP Days Track Days are non-competitive in any shape or form. Neither is there an official time keeping or any trophies to be won. We are all here to have fun and enjoy our cars on track together. It doesn't matter whether you have participated in 20 Track Days already or just getting into it - everyone is welcome! We are all here for a good time.
Of course, we want to go fast and probably faster than we did so the previous time but you will be surprised how "easy" it is to stay out of trouble on track when you follow some simple rules and tips.
You can find out more about this in Part 3 of our GP Academy: "How to Behave on Track"
We highly recommend to book a coach (half or full day) in case you participate in a Track Day for the very first time. Please contact our Team anytime if you want to find out more about this.
This concludes our introduction to Track Days. We hope this gives you a good overview of what to expect. We'll dive into more specific topics in other series our GP Days Academy for those of you who are eager to learn more!