Chances are that everyone, at some point, has wondered just how quick they could go in their car if given the opportunity. No-one can beat you in your own car, after all, right? Well, the best way to see just how quick you are is to take your car to your local racing track and book yourself on to a track day. But how do you do this, and where do you stand when it comes to insurance?
Have you already fallen foul of a track day incident, or perhaps you’re looking to sell the tired old family hatchback to get some cash for a track day car? In either situation, Scrap Car Comparison can help you out. With just a quick call to our team, or by entering your postcode and number plate into our quote generator, we’ll find you the very best price in just a matter of minutes.
Can I take my car to a UK race track?
You absolutely can, as there are no minimum requirements for taking a car to a track day – in fact, if you popped down to one just to have a watch, you might be amazed at the variety of cars that are put through their paces at a racing track. The writer behind today’s blog post once saw a racing-prepared 1960s GT car being chased by a modern Ferrari, swiftly followed by a 1980s Rolls-Royce and a Renault Espace, which should perfectly showcase how anything can be taken to a track day.
Just remember, while you may be in your road car, someone else might be in their professional level sportscar trying to get some testing laps in, so always keep an eye on what’s going on around you.
Is there anything I should consider beforehand?
If you’ve never been on a track before, it’s worth just preparing yourself to be let loose behind the wheel. While you may think it’s easy to drive in the same direction as everyone else and not crash, just beware that if it’s your first day, you’re likely to be one of the slowest out there – especially if you’re driving your daily commuter.
It’s also worth noting that the faster you drive, the more wear and tear you’re going to be putting on your car, most notably the engine, gearbox and tyres. Make sure you keep an eye on all levels and your tyre condition, as if you break anything, you’re going to struggle to get back home again.
Also, beware of noise limits. While unlikely to be a problem for most road cars, almost all track days will be limited to 98dB – so make sure you’re not going to be paying for a day to just sit in the pits because you’re too noisy. Some days may be 105dB (or in even rarer circumstances, unsilenced), so make sure you check before you get it all sorted.
Finally, be smart about where you’re booking your track day. If this is the first time you’ve ever driven to the limit in any car, let alone your own, there’s a strong possibility you’re going to be having a spin here and there. For this reason, you’ll want to make sure you’re booking on to a circuit that allows you plenty of space to do this. Silverstone has perhaps the most run off of any circuit in Britain, potentially more than most of the others combined (thanks F1), so this will be your safest bet. Brands Hatch and Oulton Park may not be the best places to start your trackday career though, unless you fancy digging yourself out of the Paddock Hill gravel trap or worse, bouncing off the Old Hall barriers.
How should I prepare my car for a track day?
Just like any long journey, you should make sure all of your fluids are topped up and everything is working correctly. Remember, it’s not just you that’s doing this for the first time – your car has likely never gone above 70(ish) on a motorway before, so the idea of throwing it into Copse Corner will be alien to it. Low oil levels, particularly if not in a great condition, could cause an oil surge as your engine works harder than ever before. Bringing some spare oil is never a bad idea, either.
Also make sure your tyres are up to scratch. It’s one thing to drive a hundred miles or so on the motorway, but again you’re going to be asking more of your tyres than you’ve done up until this point, so make sure that you’ve got plenty of tread and there are no cracks or blemishes. Once again, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a spare set of tyres that you specifically use for when on track, rather than destroying your road set.
Finally, make sure your brakes are in a good condition. It’s all well and good getting up to a good speed, but what happens when you reach the end of the Hangar Straight and slam on the brakes for Stowe Corner, only to find that nothing happens and you’re heading towards the tyre wall very quickly (that run-off is coming in handy now…)? Keep in mind that your brakes will likely be running hotter than they’ve ever done before, too, so try to keep your sessions on track brief, 15-20 minutes at a time at most. Do not use the handbrake between sessions, as this will clamp to the brake discs and potentially damage them.
Is my car covered by insurance if I take it to a track day?
More than likely, on your standard policy, no. You’ll likely find that if you read the fine print of your policy it particularly states that you can’t drive the car on a track (often specifically mentioning the Nurburgring Nordschleife as well). However, that’s not to say that you can’t insure it – in fact, your current insurers may provide specific track day insurance if you speak to them, often available at a day at a time.
If your insurers do not offer this, you can find a specialist insurer for track day insurance. In these instances you do not need to insure the full value of your car, but it’s always best to err on the side of caution in the event of an incident and try to insure at least half of your car’s value. This option is also available for modified cars or ex-racers, but they are seen as a greater risk so will likely fetch higher premiums – however they are cheaper to repair so it’s very much swings and roundabouts here.
What happens if I write off my car at a track day?
In most cases, your car will be recovered by vehicles operated by the circuit itself and then brought back to the paddock area for you to sort out. From then on it’s up to you to work out what to do next, and whether or not you were covered for this eventuality. If you didn’t take out specific track day insurance, then chances are you’re on your own, and even if you did, you may not have insured for the total value of your car (assuming you wouldn’t have had such a crash), meaning you’re now going to have to foot the remainder of the bill to get it repaired or buy a new car.
Tips for using your own car at a track day
Here’s a few simple tips for using your own vehicle at a track day:
- Get track day insurance, just to be on the safe side and to ensure you’re not going to be out of pocket if you run out of talent.
- Give your car a once over before you go – tyres, oil, fuel, brakes etc – to make sure you’re confident in your car’s ability to go fast
- Bring spares of the above, to top up and replace if necessary
- Use a separate set of tyres on track, not those you use on the road
- Do not use your handbrake while at the circuit
- Get rid of any loose items in your car (you don’t want an old coke bottle rattling around your footwell when aiming for the brake pedal
If your car has recently fallen foul of a track day incident and your insurers can’t help you, or you’re looking to offload an old one to get something a little more track day friendly, then Scrap Car Comparison is here for you. We’ll find you the very best price no matter where you are, and we’ll get it for you in just a matter of moments. With collection agents operating in 99% of all UK postcodes, it doesn’t matter if you crashed at Knockhill or Brands Hatch, we can sort you out. Better yet, as we only deal with certified Authorised Treatment Facilities, you can be safe in the knowledge your car will be recycled in line with all government legislation. Get started today to see just how much your tired, broken old vehicle could be worth as scrap or salvage.