If you are being dragged to your car guy’s track day, then you are in luck. Track days are one of the most interesting motorsport events that you can attend, because the cars are fast and there are plenty of breaks in between. Your car guy will actually get a break to talk to you, and there are more things going on that will keep you entertained throughout the day.
What is a track day?
What should you expect when attending a track day? If your man is taking his own car to a track day, this means that he will be racing his car around a race track.
There are different levels of experience that are allowed on a track. If this is his first track day, there’s a high chance that he will be taking a class, or will have an instructor ride with him to give him tips. During your first few track days, you are not allowed to pass other cars to ensure safety for everyone involved. Typically, you will have to do a few track days before you are allowed to truly race.
During a track day, there will be multiple sessions for each group allowed on the track. The drivers will be sorted into groups based on experience, and typically each group comes with different rules on when you are allowed to pass each other. Your drive will probably have 3-5 sessions throughout the day, and each session will last around 15-20 minutes. This will give him usually up to 10 laps around the track.
Track Day Checklist for Spectators
If you are coming to a track day as a spectator, that’s awesome that you are being so supportive. You’ll get up early, and you will be in the sun for a while. If you are attending a track day as a spectator or guest, you will want to bring the following:
- Comfortable shoes for walking around.
- Cooler with drinks: pack water and Gatorade.
- Snacks to share.
- Hat, sunscreen, and sun glasses for protection from the sun.
- Lawn chairs for waiting around.
- Cash for lunch.
- Camera for sweet photos.
- Helmet, if you plan on riding along.
If you are not interested in watching the cars while he is driving, I’d also recommend bringing a book to read.
What to expect attending a track day
If you are a track day spectator, you may still need to pay a cash fee, usually around $10, in order to get into the track to watch. Typically, if you say that you are part of your car guy’s “pit crew”, then you can get in for free.
You will probably get to the track around 7:00 am, while everyone is getting set up. Your car guy will probably have to take his car through inspection, meaning that the event organizers will check to make sure the vehicle is safe for going around the track. There will also be a driver’s meeting before the track day begins. You are welcome to attend the driver’s meeting – they will go over the schedule, the rules of the track, and talk about what all of the different flags mean. It’s a great learning experience, especially if it is your first time. I usually take a nap in the car until the first session.
As mentioned, your car guy is likely signed up for around 3-5 sessions throughout the day. Everyone in your session is called to line up about 10 minutes early; when he drives off, that’s your opportunity to walk to a place where you can see the track. There are typically grandstands that you can sit on. The cars will race around the track for about 15-20 minutes, and you can then walk back to your parking spot to see how he did!
Depending on your car guy’s experience on the track, you may have the opportunity to ride along with him. I never ride passenger because I get car sick easily, but it is an option. If you do decide to ride along, you will need your own helmet. If your car guy does not have an extra helmet for you, you can typically borrow one from a friend.
To make your car guy love you…
If you want to go above and beyond as a spectator, take photos and videos of your car guy while he is on the track. Occasionally, the event coordinators will hire photographers to take shots of all the racers, however these photos typically cost $10 a shot. Your car guy spent way too much money to attend this event, so he is going to love proof that he can post on social media. If you can take any photos of him while he is driving, he will be ecstatic. For brownie points, grab a few photos of his friend’s cars as well.
Overall, track days are one of the more interesting motorsport events, and track days are more fun when you can bring friends. It’s a great way to get a tan and to spend some time outside, so have a lot of fun!