RE: Track days for beginners | PH Explains

RE: Track days for beginners | PH Explains

Author
Discussion

flukey5

263 posts

27 months

Monday 6th July 2020
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Arguments aside, as someone who has little experience in my own car - I'd genuinely be interested in hearing from the most experienced here what the good organisers are and good circuits for a complete novice. Are PH ones actually any good?

As I said before, no ego here - just pretty wary that others on track aren't always as attached to their machines as I am haha.

nickfrog

14,689 posts

184 months

Monday 6th July 2020
quotequote all
flukey5 said:
Arguments aside, as someone who has little experience in my own car - I'd genuinely be interested in hearing from the most experienced here what the good organisers are and good circuits for a complete novice. Are PH ones actually any good?

As I said before, no ego here - just pretty wary that others on track aren't always as attached to their machines as I am haha.
My advice would be to start at Bedford on a MSV novice day. It's not always that much of a novice day but on balance it's probably a decent solution to minimise risk.

UTH

2,841 posts

145 months

Monday 6th July 2020
quotequote all
nickfrog said:
flukey5 said:
Arguments aside, as someone who has little experience in my own car - I'd genuinely be interested in hearing from the most experienced here what the good organisers are and good circuits for a complete novice. Are PH ones actually any good?

As I said before, no ego here - just pretty wary that others on track aren't always as attached to their machines as I am haha.
My advice would be to start at Bedford on a MSV novice day. It's not always that much of a novice day but on balance it's probably a decent solution to minimise risk.
Bedford is certainly good for being forgiving if you make a mistake as there is plenty of run off at most points on the track. Compared with somewhere like Goodwood where if you make a mistake you'll usually end up in a wall!

timbo999

Original Poster:

976 posts

222 months

Monday 6th July 2020
quotequote all
Some people could start an argument in an empty room...

I always think Snetters would be a good circuit to do a novice day at - loads of room, both on circuit and run-off (with the possible exception of Murray's), a good mix of corners and a couple of good long straights to test your nerve! And the Bomb Hole and Coram of course!

Edited by timbo999 on Monday 6th July 17:42

Throttlebody

837 posts

21 months

Monday 6th July 2020
quotequote all
flukey5 said:
Arguments aside, as someone who has little experience in my own car - I'd genuinely be interested in hearing from the most experienced here what the good organisers are and good circuits for a complete novice. Are PH ones actually any good?

As I said before, no ego here - just pretty wary that others on track aren't always as attached to their machines as I am haha.
Lots of good starter circuits available, much depends on your location. Bedford is a bit boring and noise sensitive, but has run off. You can always go for a Novice day or have an initial dabble on an evening - a cheaper less track time taster.

Once the post lockdown max booking eases off, a non fully booked mid week day can less busy.

Once social distancing rules ease for an instructor to be in your car, get some tuition. Some organisers provide it for free.

james_gt3rs

4,816 posts

158 months

Monday 6th July 2020
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2 tracks I would avoid as a novice - Brands Indy as it’s so small that you’ll spend the whole time moving over or getting in people’s way. And Donington... maybe it’s just me but for some reason I never get through a day there without tonnes of red flags and race cars practicing.

Throttlebody

837 posts

21 months

Monday 6th July 2020
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james_gt3rs said:
2 tracks I would avoid as a novice - Brands Indy as it’s so small that you’ll spend the whole time moving over or getting in people’s way. And Donington... maybe it’s just me but for some reason I never get through a day there without tonnes of red flags and race cars practicing.
Yep, Brands Indy is too busy, too short. Thruxton, if the dB level is in limits, is good, wide and flowing, decent run off. They just need to get the temp earthworks chicane removed.

JTN358AT

75 posts

105 months

Monday 6th July 2020
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I do like MSV trackdays myself. I would recommend their novice days initially. MSV, is always well organized and they monitor driving standards carefully. Prices are competitive. Many of the drivers on the novice days are not real novices but consideration for others is high and the race cars that use other events as cheap testing are absent

I would use any of the MSV, tracks for novice days, but do get instruction (£20-25) booked before the day. Just drive the car well within your limits (7/10 's) and work on what the instructor told you.

I favour winter events over summer ones. There are fewer race cars, (often a source of aggro) and the prices are far lower. Make sure you have access to a tyre that is A rated in the wet. Often, drivers turn up in 60k+ cars but do not have a tyre that works in the wet. It rains (frequently in the UK), they scare themselves and go home. You, on your A rated wet tyre will be out there, having fun learning lots.

Don't kid yourself trackdays are risk free, but compared to fast driving on the roads, the risks are trivial.

Ben Lowden

3,293 posts

144 months

PH Marketing Bloke

Tuesday 7th July 2020
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Frimley111R said:
Did a novice TD with a friend and the car in front of us coming out of the pits had a cage and was stripped out! The day was no different to any other as its hard to define what a novice is.
You'd be amazed how much money people will sink into a car without having done a single track day. I met a lad a couple of years ago who must have spent £3K prepping a Clio 182 for track without having done a single track day and a couple of months later it was up for sale.

flukey5 said:
As someone who has little experience in my own car - I'd genuinely be interested in hearing from the most experienced here what the good organisers are and good circuits for a complete novice. Are PH ones actually any good?

As I said before, no ego here - just pretty wary that others on track aren't always as attached to their machines as I am haha.
Generally speaking the more you pay, the less cars there are on track. Circuits will have a limit on how many cars can be on track at any one time but you can spend time queueing in the pits with organisers who charge less. The more you pay, the less cars there'll be and you can go straight out and have less cars around you too. Having said that, paying more and having less cars on track doesn't always mean that driving standards improve as it can entirely depend who's on track that day.

I would say that Brands, Donington and Silverstone are all very good circuits for novices. All have been set up as GP circuits so tracks are wider and have more run off. I did my first track day at Brands (Indy layout) and my second at Spa biggrin

Irrelevant of the track or organiser, I always take out track day insurance. Depending on your car, it may only be £60-80 for the day and is 100% worth it for the piece of mind.

BFleming

2,959 posts

110 months

Tuesday 7th July 2020
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I've also done a few track days. My input if you're a novice...
Chose your track carefully. Don't just pick the nearest track to you, but one that's forgiving if you get it wrong. In this regard, Bedford offers loads of run-off. Brands Hatch is ok too. The Nurburgring is the wrong place to pop your cherry. Expensive barriers everywhere, expensive marshalls and recovery too, and it's a long way home with a broken car.
Bring basic tools. I've had undertrays come loose, and seen other people with the same. It can spoil your day if you can't fix it. Tuck the tools somewhere secure (either in the car or in a pit garage) when you're on track.
Noise - there is nothing worse than arriving for a track day, only to be turned away as your pride & joy is too loud. Keep it road legal. Some circuits are more sensitive than others (Goodwood comes to mind).
Fuel - you use loads on track. Arrive full, and know where to fill up locally if you need to. On track fuel tends to be well expensive.
Brakes - pads and fluid should be up to the job. As mentioned in the article, standard/aged fluid will boil, leaving you with no brakes. Pads that are low anyhow will be finished off much quicker on track than on the road.
If it's an open pitlane, i.e. you can go on & off as many times as you want, give your car a rest in between - maybe 30 mins on, 30 mins off. It's hard on the car and you as a driver.
Be patient of other people. If you're on a Novice day, just give people space until they acknowledge you/indicate/move over. No need to smash the lap record on every session. If it's an Experienced track day, mistakes are less tolerated, and you will be pulled in & re-briefed/banned if you're causing a hazard (not necessarily that you're slow, just that you're oblivious to your surroundings/a danger to yourself & others).
Some people have the luxury of bringing their dedicated track car on a trailer, for others it's their daily driver & they drive to & from the track in it. It's important that everyone comes away in one piece (and their cars too).


Jamescrs

2,055 posts

32 months

Tuesday 7th July 2020
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Track locations for a novice depending on where you are and how far you want to travel, I'd consider Blyton Park and Croft as two options, both have decent run off areas and are very flat so you can see well in advance what's going on and there's good room for error.

Personally I love Cadwell Park, one of the best tracks in the country but there's less room for mistakes.

gazza5

647 posts

72 months

Tuesday 7th July 2020
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Funnily enough my only track experiance is the nurburgring.

Not in my car, we hired one and had tutor next to me. Yes it was expensive, about £230 for 2 laps in a dsg polo, shared with a mate so we got 4 laps in total, he did 2 I did 2. We were nice and early on track 8:20am on a saturday - got up nice and early from belgium (on autobahn by 6:30 am), didn't have any alcohol after 6pm the previous night, and that was one only.

Have to say it was one of the most fun things I have ever done, and one I would like to repeat. Having the tuition we felt was certainly needed for somewhere like the nurburgring, and even our tutor had a word with one of the "nob" drivers in the car park afterwards, who got very close to my mate in one of the bends, barely 5 cms away it was that close.

At least at the nurburgring you have the rules of slow traffic to the right (not sure if you have the same n the uk), I think that worked quite well, I was just happy to be on track and tick a box of one of the things I have always wanted to do. And yes my mate was faster than me by about 15 seconds!

For me I look at it as a bit of fun, but unfortunatly i too have been put off over here, as heard the horror stories too, but I must admit, after reading this I am more than up for a novice day now!

Glenn63

1,430 posts

51 months

Tuesday 7th July 2020
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Iv never really noticed much difference between different organisers. Only thing I did once was book a track day but was more like a ‘test day’, rocked up in my daily Impreza to a wall of race trucks and teams etc, spent the whole day keeping to one side to let people past...

xjay1337

15,966 posts

85 months

Tuesday 7th July 2020
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tonyg58 said:
I always remember two points of advice i was given by an old hand at my first track day and pass them on when i can.

1) Before going on track, engage brain.

2) On your first track day, if at any time while on track you start feeling really confident, it's time to head in to the pits !!
Very good advice ^^^^^

I would also say

FIT PROPER SUITABLE PADS.
You'll go through 95% of OEM pads in about 1 hour at Circuit.

Lower tyre pressures to around 28psi cold as a starting point for most cars

Check pressures after a session, for road tyres aim for around 34-35psi up to temp.

Semi slicks are not required.

Don't scrub your tyres (IE push too much).

Always have an eye on your mirrors for faster cars. Stay out of the way where possible of faster cars.

Be assertive on track in braking zones. Take the racing line through the corner. This stops people doing silly things.

Always have an escape plan in a braking zone if someone dive bombs you.


Throttlebody

837 posts

21 months

Tuesday 7th July 2020
quotequote all
Glenn63 said:
Iv never really noticed much difference between different organisers. Only thing I did once was book a track day but was more like a ‘test day’, rocked up in my daily Impreza to a wall of race trucks and teams etc, spent the whole day keeping to one side to let people past...
It can be a bit of a lottery when the race season is running, the only long shot is to check if there’s a race meeting on at the circuit in the few days after the trackday. You can guarantee there will be some grabbing a cheap test pre race.

JTN358AT

75 posts

105 months

Tuesday 7th July 2020
quotequote all
If there is a race meeting anywhere near the track day, then it may be used as a test day by racers. This can make for a very intimidating day if you are a novice. Hence, the reason I suggest going for novice days first. I was at Oulton, last year on a normal but wet track day. A Renault Clio race car collided with a Fiesta ST with a novice cross on it. The Clio was on its side in the barrier. The ST had all the airbags fired, the roof cut off and the driver was being stretchered off. The rest of the day was cancelled. My point being, stick to MSV novice days at first.

I did my first track day at Oulton, many years back. It was an MSV novice day. On paper this, like Cadwell, is unforgiving on mistakes. In practice, by booking an instructor early in the day and not overextending my abilities I came away having had a great day with confidence to build on.

snotrag

12,760 posts

178 months

Tuesday 7th July 2020
quotequote all
Ben Lowden said:
Frimley111R said:
Did a novice TD with a friend and the car in front of us coming out of the pits had a cage and was stripped out! The day was no different to any other as its hard to define what a novice is.
You'd be amazed how much money people will sink into a car without having done a single track day. I met a lad a couple of years ago who must have spent £3K prepping a Clio 182 for track without having done a single track day and a couple of months later it was up for sale.
Done a few trackdays now (croft next month) in my MX-5 which doesnt have a cage, doesnt run slicks, doesnt have bucket seats.

I know a number of people who are 'going to build this' or 'going to do that trackday' or have half a kit car in their garage for a decade, but guess what, none of them ever do.

If your car is MOT's and safe for the road, has reasonably good roadtyres and good, quality working brake pads and discs - thats enough to start with. Your body and brain will give up long before the car does, as a beginner, 15-20 minute sessions is plenty.

flukey5

263 posts

27 months

Tuesday 7th July 2020
quotequote all
Thanks for all the advice everyone. Actually really helpful. In the little experience I've had, I thought it was best to stick to tracks that were well mapped in some of the driving sims (Wheel, Pedals, VR, etc). So I ended up doing ~10 laps in a GTR at Brands w/instructor.

The main thing I learned is that time goes very quickly when a lap is >1 minute! Also, they charge a fortune for not very much haha.

The practice I had on the sim was actually really useful though, gave me a good idea of braking zones, lines to take and the course layout.

Viperz888

557 posts

125 months

Tuesday 7th July 2020
quotequote all
I have a day coming up with MSVT. As part of the online booking in process, section 12 of the disclaimer says:

Any material filmed or recorded by me at the venue is for personal use only and is not for broadcast (whether for commercial reasons or otherwise) on any public transmission media anywhere in the world (including on the internet, eg on Facebook or YouTube).

Is this correct that I can’t post footage online??

Ryvita

677 posts

177 months

Tuesday 7th July 2020
quotequote all
Done a few bits including Silverstone, Goodwood, airfields, Nurburgring touristenfahrt probably a total of twenty laps but would absolutely consider myself slow and a novice. smile

- Listen to the damn briefing and consider writing notes to help it stick in your head.
- You would think waved flags would be obvious but when you're focussing on an apex it's possible to miss these things. Eyes up.
- For airfields, bring a tent to chuck stuff in while on track, and somewhere to sit out the rain worst case.
- Consider investing in some wedges to avoid handbrake use (This kind of thing - https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07WD4ZZT4/ref=cm_sw_e...

Ring stuff
- Be aware of the massive potential costs of accidents on Touristenfahrt. Your worst case is dropping fluids on track and causing others to crash...
- Don't do two ring laps back to back without at least some cooldown. Even if it's just running down to Tankstelle and back. Hammering up to the gate, and then queueing out towards the main road can result in embarassing overheating under the eyes of the world.
- Should be obvious but don't dick about in the carparks or local roads.
- For a nervous beginner, having a passenger can be a good or bad thing. I always liked having a "co-pilot" second pair of eyes to watch for traffic and flags but your mileage may vary.
- Do not time your bridge to gantry live. If you must, work it out off a video later, preferably after you're home safe.
- The region is beautiful, allow some time to do non-track things and explore. Eat at the Pistenklause at least once and try and finish a Pinnochio Family size pizza between two people.

Edited by Ben Lowden on Saturday 11th July 15:29