So, you’ve decided your car is track ready. You’ve submitted your entry and your number is up…now what?
Doing anything for the first time can be a daunting experience and attending your first track day is no exception. In this post we’re going to detail ten things about what to expect and map out the nuts and bolts of attending your first track day.
1.Before you hit the track make sure you have your license; these come in a few different formats with the most popular being either the CAMS or AASA license. In order for your CAMS license to be valid though, you’ll also need to be a card carrying member of an affiliate car club. AASA only requires you to purchase the license, which can be a day license or a yearly one. AASA licenses can be purchase here; https://aasa.com.au/licences/ whilst CAMS licenses are available here; https://www.cams.com.au/membership/licence So remember, if it’s not on, it’s not on…oh wait…
2. Come early; the supplementary regulations will usually provide a time for when gates open. If it’s your first day it’s best to get in early and start setting up, find a park and start emptying your car out. Anything that can possibly become a projectile needs to be removed from your car’s interior, especially that racially profiled Hawaiian girl in a straw dress playing the ukulele that’s stuck to your dash with double-sided 3M.
3. Sign in; with your license in hand head up to sign-in. This can take place at a number of locations, just look for the line of tired looking people holding coloured A4 paper, you can’t miss it! At Winton we sign in at the red shed. If you have a pen, bring it along, fill out a driver form and hand it in with your license when signing in.
4. Scrutineering; while you’re signing yourself in leave your car unlocked and our scrutineers will make their way to your car and “check out your shit”. At EXE, we mandate the mounting of a 1kg fire extinguisher with metal bracket. These can be picked up at your local Bunnings and a good place for them to go is in-between your passenger seat rails. If you’re even a little handy you can knock up a mounting system in little under half-an-hour. Make sure at least two of your brake lights are working, you’re topped up with essential oils, your wheels are on tight and you’re not p!ssing fluids. If you’ve added other safety equipment like race seats and harnesses, it’s your responsibility to make sure they’re installed properly and you understand the various risks associated with changing out OEM safety equipment.
5. Collect your timing device; your timing device is what records your lap times. These can be collected from the timing tower which is the white shed near the old start/finish line. Timing devices can be a little sensitive to placement and the best place is outside your car, on the grille or even a wing-mount if you have one. Knowing your group letter and car number will help speed up the process and keep the timing staff from cracking jokes at your expense.
6. Come to the driver’s briefing; this is a compulsory ten minute briefing held at the red shed where we detail the safety aspects, expected etiquette and finer points of being out on track…did we mention safety…and mandatory? Promise we’ll try not to bore you.
7. (Optional) Find a tame racing driver; The fastest way to learn the nuances of a track is to wrangle one of our many (amateur) tame racing drivers, who’ll be more than happy to provide tips and tricks around the circuit, or if you’re with a friend, get them to show you around. They’ll even set a time in your car to chase if you’re brave; bring a barf bag just in case.
And when you’re on the track…
8. Breathe, relax and take things at your own pace. Don’t try to follow faster cars. It’s not a race, start slow, learn the lines.
9. Check your mirrors; it’s really easy to be out there and so focused on what’s happening in front of you that you don’t realize what’s going on behind you. Keep an eye on your mirrors and if someone is screaming up behind you it’s best to pull off the racing line when it’s safe and let them pass. If you happen to have a double-fisted size turbo that’s pressurising your poor head studs to the tune of 400psi, it’s polite to lift off the throttle and come out of warp 9 whilst letting the car behind pass.
10. Finally, and most importantly remember to have fun!