RE: Track days for beginners | PH Explains

RE: Track days for beginners | PH Explains

Author
Discussion

Megaflow

7,606 posts

192 months

Monday 15th February
quotequote all
Hi there.

What track day organisers would you recommend for somebody who has done track days in the past, they were always single make club days.

I like the look of Javelin, they have some good circuits, and don’t seem to be bad value.

Thanks.

gruffalo

6,660 posts

193 months

Monday 15th February
quotequote all
Megaflow said:
Hi there.

What track day organisers would you recommend for somebody who has done track days in the past, they were always single make club days.

I like the look of Javelin, they have some good circuits, and don’t seem to be bad value.

Thanks.
One thing to remember is that the circuits charge a certain price the operators then decide how many people to divide that price between so the cheaper operators tend to have busier days.

I have done a few Javelin days and they are well run but busy with a fair queue in the pit lane to get on track.

C70R

8,368 posts

71 months

Monday 15th February
quotequote all
gruffalo said:
Megaflow said:
Hi there.

What track day organisers would you recommend for somebody who has done track days in the past, they were always single make club days.

I like the look of Javelin, they have some good circuits, and don’t seem to be bad value.

Thanks.
One thing to remember is that the circuits charge a certain price the operators then decide how many people to divide that price between so the cheaper operators tend to have busier days.

I have done a few Javelin days and they are well run but busy with a fair queue in the pit lane to get on track.
It's honestly luck of the draw if you're not going in the height of summer. I've done a few Javelin days without excessive queueing, for example.

200Plus Club

8,941 posts

245 months

Monday 15th February
quotequote all
C70R said:
gruffalo said:
Megaflow said:
Hi there.

What track day organisers would you recommend for somebody who has done track days in the past, they were always single make club days.

I like the look of Javelin, they have some good circuits, and don’t seem to be bad value.

Thanks.
One thing to remember is that the circuits charge a certain price the operators then decide how many people to divide that price between so the cheaper operators tend to have busier days.

I have done a few Javelin days and they are well run but busy with a fair queue in the pit lane to get on track.
It's honestly luck of the draw if you're not going in the height of summer. I've done a few Javelin days without excessive queueing, for example.
Point in question also if you pace yourself and take breaks in the morning / Don't rush out/ don't use up all your fuel and tyres then you'll often find the track very quiet mid-late afternoon on many trackdays. You often get better clear runs and the surface has often improved from lower grip at the start of the day.

C70R

8,368 posts

71 months

Tuesday 16th February
quotequote all
200Plus Club said:
C70R said:
gruffalo said:
Megaflow said:
Hi there.

What track day organisers would you recommend for somebody who has done track days in the past, they were always single make club days.

I like the look of Javelin, they have some good circuits, and don’t seem to be bad value.

Thanks.
One thing to remember is that the circuits charge a certain price the operators then decide how many people to divide that price between so the cheaper operators tend to have busier days.

I have done a few Javelin days and they are well run but busy with a fair queue in the pit lane to get on track.
It's honestly luck of the draw if you're not going in the height of summer. I've done a few Javelin days without excessive queueing, for example.
Point in question also if you pace yourself and take breaks in the morning / Don't rush out/ don't use up all your fuel and tyres then you'll often find the track very quiet mid-late afternoon on many trackdays. You often get better clear runs and the surface has often improved from lower grip at the start of the day.
Absolutely agree. The first 30min of every trackday I've been on has been the same.

Everyone rushing to get out, a busy track, and often a red or yellow flag because someone had a rush of blood to the head.

I'll often do the sighting laps with the car as I drove it there, then spend the first 30min or so swapping wheels, adjusting pressures and sorting out GoPros etc.

Bedford last year was a classic example of someone getting carried away and rushing to get everything done. It always raises a dry smile to see a car brought back to the pits with three wheels on because the driver forgot to tighten the bolts in a rush.

Worth remembering that it's not a competition to see who can spend most time on track during the day, and that time spent doesn't always equate with more fun.

gruffalo

6,660 posts

193 months

Tuesday 16th February
quotequote all
C70R said:
200Plus Club said:
C70R said:
gruffalo said:
Megaflow said:
Hi there.

What track day organisers would you recommend for somebody who has done track days in the past, they were always single make club days.

I like the look of Javelin, they have some good circuits, and don’t seem to be bad value.

Thanks.
One thing to remember is that the circuits charge a certain price the operators then decide how many people to divide that price between so the cheaper operators tend to have busier days.

I have done a few Javelin days and they are well run but busy with a fair queue in the pit lane to get on track.
It's honestly luck of the draw if you're not going in the height of summer. I've done a few Javelin days without excessive queueing, for example.
Point in question also if you pace yourself and take breaks in the morning / Don't rush out/ don't use up all your fuel and tyres then you'll often find the track very quiet mid-late afternoon on many trackdays. You often get better clear runs and the surface has often improved from lower grip at the start of the day.
Absolutely agree. The first 30min of every trackday I've been on has been the same.

Everyone rushing to get out, a busy track, and often a red or yellow flag because someone had a rush of blood to the head.

I'll often do the sighting laps with the car as I drove it there, then spend the first 30min or so swapping wheels, adjusting pressures and sorting out GoPros etc.

Bedford last year was a classic example of someone getting carried away and rushing to get everything done. It always raises a dry smile to see a car brought back to the pits with three wheels on because the driver forgot to tighten the bolts in a rush.

Worth remembering that it's not a competition to see who can spend most time on track during the day, and that time spent doesn't always equate with more fun.
Completely agree, as soon as the track opens I rush to the cafe for a brew. I lie the seat back after a bite of lunch and grab some sleep so I can make the most of the afternoon when it does normally get quieter.



snotrag

12,753 posts

178 months

Tuesday 16th February
quotequote all
My experience of Javelin Trackdays is that they are well run, the staff are good, and if wait out the initial morning madness, there has always been plenty of space.

Dont think I've ever sat behind more than two cars waiting to join track, and rarely more than one, if any.

Also, if you take it steady in the morning, by the time it gets to mid-afternoon, half the attendees have left/broken down/given up/are huddling from the cold.

I remember a day at Blyton where me and a friend genuinely had the track to ourselves from about 3pm onwards, we stayed right until the staff had had enough and wanted to go home.

Megaflow

7,606 posts

192 months

Tuesday 16th February
quotequote all
Good feedback and lots of useful tips.

Cheers guys.

As soon as lockdown ends and I am allowed to go and buy the track slag, I might see you out there!

thumbup

200Plus Club

8,941 posts

245 months

Tuesday 16th February
quotequote all
snotrag said:
My experience of Javelin Trackdays is that they are well run, the staff are good, and if wait out the initial morning madness, there has always been plenty of space.

Dont think I've ever sat behind more than two cars waiting to join track, and rarely more than one, if any.

Also, if you take it steady in the morning, by the time it gets to mid-afternoon, half the attendees have left/broken down/given up/are huddling from the cold.

I remember a day at Blyton where me and a friend genuinely had the track to ourselves from about 3pm onwards, we stayed right until the staff had had enough and wanted to go home.
Used to be a guy in a mk2 escort at Blyton who never came in seemingly after lunch when the track was quieter. He really got his money's worth!

C70R

8,368 posts

71 months

Tuesday 16th February
quotequote all
gruffalo said:
C70R said:
200Plus Club said:
C70R said:
gruffalo said:
Megaflow said:
Hi there.

What track day organisers would you recommend for somebody who has done track days in the past, they were always single make club days.

I like the look of Javelin, they have some good circuits, and don’t seem to be bad value.

Thanks.
One thing to remember is that the circuits charge a certain price the operators then decide how many people to divide that price between so the cheaper operators tend to have busier days.

I have done a few Javelin days and they are well run but busy with a fair queue in the pit lane to get on track.
It's honestly luck of the draw if you're not going in the height of summer. I've done a few Javelin days without excessive queueing, for example.
Point in question also if you pace yourself and take breaks in the morning / Don't rush out/ don't use up all your fuel and tyres then you'll often find the track very quiet mid-late afternoon on many trackdays. You often get better clear runs and the surface has often improved from lower grip at the start of the day.
Absolutely agree. The first 30min of every trackday I've been on has been the same.

Everyone rushing to get out, a busy track, and often a red or yellow flag because someone had a rush of blood to the head.

I'll often do the sighting laps with the car as I drove it there, then spend the first 30min or so swapping wheels, adjusting pressures and sorting out GoPros etc.

Bedford last year was a classic example of someone getting carried away and rushing to get everything done. It always raises a dry smile to see a car brought back to the pits with three wheels on because the driver forgot to tighten the bolts in a rush.

Worth remembering that it's not a competition to see who can spend most time on track during the day, and that time spent doesn't always equate with more fun.
Completely agree, as soon as the track opens I rush to the cafe for a brew. I lie the seat back after a bite of lunch and grab some sleep so I can make the most of the afternoon when it does normally get quieter.
In my experience, the most relaxed way to do it is to turn up just in time for signon, scrutineering and sighting laps. Then you can have a quiet few moments getting the car ready while the lemmings, who've been at the circuit since the gates opened raring to go, get out there.

ldn_mx5

26 posts

7 months

Tuesday 30th March
quotequote all
I've booked the novice day at Snetterton for this Friday. It'll be my first ever track day alone (I've done one full-day guided session at Bedford and some 1-on-1 tuition at Millbrook before), and first day in the MX-5 NC I had bought specifically for this.

I keep reading about having to change brake fluid, pads, etc. I have done none of those things, on the assumption that the service I had done in January (I've only driven maybe 500 miles since) would be enough to get me through one novice track day. At the time of service, pads were 6mm everywhere and I had the oil changed.

I was thinking of taking the tyre pump and towing hook with me, checking the oil level again and basically showing up on the day. Is that naive? Should I urgently book another service to change e.g. brake fluid and pads?




Edited by ldn_mx5 on Tuesday 30th March 10:43

timbo999

Original Poster:

972 posts

222 months

Tuesday 30th March
quotequote all
From memory, I think Snetters require the tow hook to be installed, so definitely take it. Snetters is great, long and fast with plenty of room both on and off (ahem!) track, so good choice. Take it easy and have fun - you'll be fine.

BFleming

2,959 posts

110 months

Tuesday 30th March
quotequote all
Sounds like you have plenty of meat on the pads, so that'll be fine. An MX5 isn't exactly pad hungry.
I'm not sure you grasp the importance of brake fluid though. It's hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs water (from the atmosphere, over time). This means that the boiling point comes down, so as you brake loads (which you will, on a track) the fluid will get hot. The newer and higher-spec the brake fluid is, the better your brakes will perform on the day. Once the fluid boils it takes a long time to recover, and won't ever be the same! So start the day with known good brake fluid. Was it definitely changed in Jan? It'll probably be fine if so.

ldn_mx5

26 posts

7 months

Tuesday 30th March
quotequote all
BFleming said:
Sounds like you have plenty of meat on the pads, so that'll be fine. An MX5 isn't exactly pad hungry.
I'm not sure you grasp the importance of brake fluid though. It's hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs water (from the atmosphere, over time). This means that the boiling point comes down, so as you brake loads (which you will, on a track) the fluid will get hot. The newer and higher-spec the brake fluid is, the better your brakes will perform on the day. Once the fluid boils it takes a long time to recover, and won't ever be the same! So start the day with known good brake fluid. Was it definitely changed in Jan? It'll probably be fine if so.
It's unlikely it was changed in Jan - I had an oil service and general post-purchase inspection, but not brake fluid change.

So sounds like I should be quite urgently booking a brake fluid change now? Should I request a specific brand or just go with the garage's recommended fluid?



Cambs_Stuart

1,188 posts

51 months

Tuesday 30th March
quotequote all
ldn_mx5 said:
It's unlikely it was changed in Jan - I had an oil service and general post-purchase inspection, but not brake fluid change.

So sounds like I should be quite urgently booking a brake fluid change now? Should I request a specific brand or just go with the garage's recommended fluid?
You can get DIY brake fluid testers. You basically dunk them in the reservoir and it says how much water they have absorbed (Disclaimer: I've not idea how accurate they are). However, I'd try one of those first, ad if it passes it suspect you'll be fine. If the worst happens and you start to lose brakes you'll just need to come in bit more frequently to let them cool off.
Then after your first track day you'll be buying braided brake lines lines, race spec pads, G-hook discs, bucket seat, track tyres, coilovers etc so do the fluid change then.

200Plus Club

8,941 posts

245 months

Tuesday 30th March
quotequote all
If you are going to do regular trackdays get into the habit of changing your own oil/filter/pads/fluid after about every 6th day or earlier as required. You'll need to inspect the pads after every track day to see if they are worn out or breaking up from heat anyway.
Dot4 high boiling point is all you need for trackdays in a road car fluid wise. Fast road pads unless you are the last of the late brakers

C n C

2,442 posts

188 months

Wednesday 14th April
quotequote all
200Plus Club said:
If you are going to do regular trackdays get into the habit of changing your own oil/filter/pads/fluid after about every 6th day or earlier as required. You'll need to inspect the pads after every track day to see if they are worn out or breaking up from heat anyway.
Dot4 high boiling point is all you need for trackdays in a road car fluid wise. Fast road pads unless you are the last of the late brakers
Interestingly, speaking to several instructors, it is apparently easier on pads, disks, and fluid to brake hard and for a much shorter time (last of the late brakers) than gradually applying the brakes and decelerating more slowly, which gives more time for heat build-up.

In terms of recommended trackday organisers, I've had some very good days with Goldtrack. They are not cheap, but I don't remember ever having to wait to get out on track on open pitlane days. Silverstone GP circuit and Spa were both excellent.

In terms of not trying to use the whole day, I certainly agree with not rushing to get out on track with everyone else right at the start. Take your time. I'd also highly recommend planning to, and finishing your trackday maybe 30 minutes before the formal end to the day. There is often a tendency for people to go quicker and sometimes try too hard at the end of the day - you can sometimes almost feel the tension rising. I've seen it several times, including someone putting a Porsche 911 GT3 RS into the concrete wall accelerating too hard out of the bus-stop at Spa. It went home on the back of a recovery truck.

C70R

8,368 posts

71 months

Thursday 15th April
quotequote all
C n C said:
200Plus Club said:
If you are going to do regular trackdays get into the habit of changing your own oil/filter/pads/fluid after about every 6th day or earlier as required. You'll need to inspect the pads after every track day to see if they are worn out or breaking up from heat anyway.
Dot4 high boiling point is all you need for trackdays in a road car fluid wise. Fast road pads unless you are the last of the late brakers
Interestingly, speaking to several instructors, it is apparently easier on pads, disks, and fluid to brake hard and for a much shorter time (last of the late brakers) than gradually applying the brakes and decelerating more slowly, which gives more time for heat build-up.
I think that, while you're probably right that you'll prolong the lifespan by braking hard and short, you'll probably overheat road pads more quickly this way.

I found this at Bedford in my Mini, running DS2500s (before I swapped to Carbotech XP8s). Braking late and hard meant that they were cooked after 4-5 laps. Braking gradually and for longer overall helped to avoid them overheating on track. It might sound unintuitive, but this was my experience.

Edited by C70R on Thursday 15th April 15:31

RM10

76 posts

14 months

Monday 21st June
quotequote all
I've just finished doing some work to my first project car (MX5, fitted polybushes all round and MeisterR coilovers). I bought it for trackdays (having never done one before) and to learn to drive fast in. Only problem I now have is they're all fully booked! I live near Bedford and would really rather go there than have to drive miles, but they're all sold out until Sept.

Having never booked a trackday before, do cancellations ever become available? Or do I just need to suck it up and wait until Sept?

QBee

18,206 posts

111 months

Tuesday 22nd June
quotequote all
RM10 said:
I've just finished doing some work to my first project car (MX5, fitted polybushes all round and MeisterR coilovers). I bought it for trackdays (having never done one before) and to learn to drive fast in. Only problem I now have is they're all fully booked! I live near Bedford and would really rather go there than have to drive miles, but they're all sold out until Sept.

Having never booked a trackday before, do cancellations ever become available? Or do I just need to suck it up and wait until Sept?
There's a thread on here for cancelled track days being offered for sale. I will find it and edit

Edited to add:

https://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/topic.asp?h=0&...

See UTH's post, 3 from the end

Edited by QBee on Tuesday 22 June 08:14