Track Day Formats Explained

Track Days can be organised in different formats. I will look at the two most common ways of structuring a Track Day and give you my opinion on what I think is best!

OPEN PITLANE

There are almost no restrictions when it comes to entering and leaving the circuit during an Open Pitlane Track Day. You will be able to structure your day on track as you want.

Theoretically, there is no limit on how much you can drive as you will usually get between 6h to 8h of net track time. That is plenty and I definitely do not recommend trying to drive in a circle for 6h!

As you can decide how to structure your day, it is no problem to drive a couple of laps and come back in to check your tyre pressures or take a break! It is all up to you.

To make sure you have a great experience on track, most organisers – including us - implement an upper limit of cars being allowed on track simultaneously. In my experience, you will rarely come across any waiting time to get on track though.

The only time you cannot enter the track is usually during the lunch break (around 1h).

GROUPED / SESSIONED TRACK DAY

As the heading suggests, you will be allocated to a specific group for the day. Depending on the organiser, there will be around 2 – 4 groups.

Each group is assigned a specific schedule and is driving in several sessions throughout the day. Depending on the organiser and the number of groups, a session usually lasts between 20 – 45min.

Oftentimes, organisers put together the groups according to the types of vehicles used or the experience level of the drivers.

The overall track time for Grouped / Sessioned days is usually around 2h – 3h.

SO WHAT IS BEST?

I am all for Open Pitlane! That is why GP Days does not do anything else. In my opinion, there are several key advantages:

1. Drivers are more relaxed
If you have more than 6h of track time available, a single lap does not count. If you hit traffic you can simply take a short break or take a detour through the pitlane to put some distance between you and a group of cars ahead.
Did you forget to fuel up your car? No stress! There is no schedule and you can take all the time you need to prepare before you get.
If a car breaks down on track, we often have to get everyone back to the pitlane to ensure a safe recovery. If this happens during a grouped Track Day, your stint will be cancelled, and you will lose valuable drive-time.
You can be sure that there is more track time than you can ever use during an Open Pitlane Track Day!
2. Relaxed Journey

Even though Track Days often start around 7 am or 8 am, you can arrive whenever you feel like. Especially in combination with our E-Briefing, you will be ready within in minutes to get on track after you checked-in.

3. Changing drivers and passengers made easy
If you share a car with a friend or have a couple of passengers, you can always change. 
4. Perfect for your coaching session
Especially in the beginning, you want to have lots of time discuss your driving with your coach. During an Open Pitlane Track Day, you can take lots of short breaks in the pitlane without even having to get out of the car.
5. Always time to check your car
During grouped Track Days with short stints, it may not even possible to check your tyre pressures should you feel something is “off”. This does not only spoil the fun but potentially damages the tyres if you stay on track for too long.
Open Pitlane means, that you can tweak your car's setup easily throughout the day!
In the end, I feel that the reduced time pressure leads to more relaxed driving on track and ultimately a safer event.

Grouped / Sessioned Track Days are not all bad though!

As some organisers will offer groups specifically for novices, you can get the first track-kilometres under your wheels without having to look in the mirrors to much. 

Due to safety reasons, some cars – such as open-wheelers – are usually prohibited during Open Pitlane Track Days! Some organisers offer specific groups for such cars so you can get on track and have some fun!

Let me know in the comments whether you prefer the Open Pitlane or Sessioned Format!

 


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