Plenty of circuits run these events, providing you with something exciting of theirs in which to run around. This might be a Porsche or a Ferrari, something light and exciting like a Caterham, an old classic car or even a single-seat racer. These tend to be separate events, usually run by the circuits themselves rather than track day organisers.
On corporate bookings, you and your team spend the day driving a whole host of different machinery from off-roaders to purpose-built racing cars, with instructors next to you with the aim of pushing you to the limit of what you can achieve behind the wheel. They’re exemplified by Palmer Sport days at Bedford Autodrome (palmersport.com).
You can pay pretty much what you like for some time on track, from a two-figure sum for a morning or afternoon at a less than epic circuit, perhaps run in sessions and maybe with an inconvenient noise restriction, up to many hundreds of pounds for a ‘noisy’ day at a famous circuit with an open pit lane policy.
How to drive on your first track day
* Make sure your car’s tyres are all at their correct pressures before heading out on track.
* Don’t do racing gearchanges, because they will do nothing other than wear out the transmission.
* Look after the brakes. If you don’t, the least that will happen is that they will start to go off just when you need them most. But if you push on and boil the brake fluid, they will stay gone all day.
* Regard kerbs as your safety margin, to be used only when you’ve run out of track width by mistake. If instead you treat them as part of the track, you will come off the track altogether if something goes wrong. In the meantime, clouting kerbs means potentially damaging your wheels, tyres, suspension and wheel bearings.
* Keep off painted surfaces if the track is even damp, let alone wet. They can throw you into the wall without warning.
* Bear in mind that the usual racing line is often not the fastest when the track is wet. Instead try a wider, more outside line where there’s less rubber on the surface.
* Keep your car’s traction and stability systems on at first, ideally in track or dynamic modes if those are available. These should allow the car some slip while still providing a safety net.
* Don’t, however, think that these systems are infallible. They aren’t: physical law is physical law, and if you brake much too late or turn in far too fast, it’s unlikely there will be a happy ending.
What you must watch out for
* Track day companies aren’t all the same. Some, like Motorsport Vision (MSV), RMA and Gold Track are world-renowned, others less so. But pick your level: do you want to spend your first track day being monstered by far faster road and racing cars on a super-fast track that might not play to your car’s strengths? Maybe start at the bottom and work your way up.