GP Academy #1: An Introduction to Track Days

 

Welcome to the first part of our GP Days Academy. We started this format for anyone who is still trying to get familiar with the world of Track Day driving.

However, even more experienced drivers will find value in skimming through the content and following series of our Academy, as it is packed with useful tips and tricks! 

For all newcomers to the world of Track Days, I will start with probably most important question - what is a Track Day?

I will keep it brief: A Track Day gives you the chance to drive your car on a race track which means, you get to find out what your car and yourself are truly capable of.

I am 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 always leave the track with a couple of new friends!

Always remember, a GP Days Track Day and almost any other Track Day you will find are not competitions. Everyone is there to have fun and return home in one piece!

How exactly does this works you may ask? Let me explain!

Probably the first question that comes up when talking to someone new to track driving is:

Do I need a "race car"?

The answer is definitely no but as always, there is a BUT.

As most people, I started my first track adventures in my daily road car - a bog-standard Mini Cooper S with absolutely no modifications. Especially in the beginning that was no problem at all.  As you will be learning the track, getting a feel for the car and generally dealing with what is going on, you will most likely not go 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 (often the brakes first).

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 either dial down your track time, or you get into modifying your car. Once you start 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 and the Track Day virus will spread - guaranteed. And it is a lot of fun!

It will start with the brakes, you dive into other areas and before you know it, your car develops into what is commonly called a proper tracktool. I am getting carried away though!

Conclusion: You don't need a racecar especially in the beginning, but racecar?

What kind of cars can I expect to be with me on track?

Our Track Days are not competitive in any shape or form, so there are not many restrictions on the cars you can use.

As I said before, you do not need a race car. In general, your car needs to fit for use i.e. safe, not leaking any fluids or generally on its last legs. While we do not necessarily restrict "SUVs", we do not encourage people to participate in them. Their weight and geometry are not suited for track use and they will wear out much quicker than other cars.

If you drive a convertible, it must be fitted with a fixed roll-bar if you want to drive with the roof down. Otherwise the roof must be closed and preferrably a hardtop installed.

For safety reasons, we do not allow "Open Wheelers" such as Formula Ford or Formula Renault cars as well as "kart-like" vehicles. 

Please contact us anytime if you are unsure whether you can participate in your car!

Will I be good enough?

That is an easy one! A Track Day is for everyone, period. It doesn't matter whether you have done 20 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. More on this in another part of our Academy.

At least in Germany, there are some organisers which offer Track Days / Groups for beginners. Let me know if you are interested in this as I can give some recommendations!

What does a typical Track Day look like?

To keep it short, I will simply talk about the way we do it at GP Days - Open Pitlane only! If you want to find out more about other formats of running Track Days, check out this post: Track Day Formats Explained

Briefing

After you have booked your Track Day, you will receive an E-Mail that links to our Online Briefing Room (The Online Briefing is usually actviated 3 - 4 weeks before the Track Day). Here you will find out everything about the rules and regulations, driving etiquette and track specific aspects. Also, you always have the chance to contact our Team for any kind of questions you may have - we can also always hop on a quick video call if you need some more in-depth guidance!

In our Online Briefing Room, you will also find all documents including the schedule, track access Information as well as the most important document - the Liability Waiver. Sound fancy right?

Well, without having signed the liability waiver, you will not be able to go on track!

In short: By signing the liability waiver, you will confirm that you access the track at your own risk and that you will not make anyone liable for any damages caused be it to the track facilities or your car. There is no liability between the drivers.

Once you signed the Waiver and sent it to us via E-Mail, you are basically good to go and hit the track!

At the Track

Our processes at the track are quite simple. If you completed all the steps I outlined above, you can arrive at whatever time you want to check-in, pick up your number stickers and wrist bands (for identification) and you are good to go.

If you have any questions throughout the day, we are always there for you. Whether it is 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 me, I will happily sit next to you for a couple of laps to talk about all things you should pay attention to - however, this can not be seen as a coaching session (You can get it HERE). I will be just there to make you aware of the most important things to remember while on track.

And by the way, your 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 in full resolution and ready to be downloaded! HERE you can find a taste of what to expect.

For more information, check out our FAQ!

CLICK HERE for the second part of our GP Days Academy: How to prepare for a Track Day!

Please remember that you can approach us anytime via support@gp-days.com  to ask your questions! We are more than happy to help and sure to find the right answer!

 


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