How to: Find and Book a Track Day

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How do you choose a Race Track? #

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The most common question we come across is, “Where can I drive my car on a track?” shortly followed by, “So what race tracks are near to me?”. When you book a track day the proximity of the track to your location is definitely important (closer tracks will save you time and money), but we’d encourage you to not make distance the only factor. With that said, if you’re new to HPDE and not planning to stay the night before or night of we’d recommend looking at something closer to home. You’ll need to concentrate hard on track and if you’ve driven a long way to get there you’ll tire pretty quickly.

When you’re looking to book a track day, here are some things you should consider.

Considerations #

  • Track Reputation: Research the reputation of the track in terms of safety, facility maintenance, and event organization. Look for reviews or recommendations from seasoned drivers. When looking at google reviews remember that many of the tracks will host racing events, so reviews will be more skewed to spectators. When you click into the Laguna Seca reviews you’ll notice a filter chip that allows you to choose ‘track day’. Handy when you’re trying to focus the reviews on track days.
  • Track Complexity: Easier tracks with fewer technical sections may be better if you’re just starting out. A track that’s too complex, has little run-off or a mixed surface (asphalt & concrete for example) could make it a little more overwhelming when you’re just starting out.
    Hot tip flame Tip: Track summary pages include hot laps and turn-by-turn videos
  • Proximity: As we said, the closer the track is to your location, the less you’ll spend on transport, accommodation, and other logistics.
  • Track Noise Limits: Got a loud car? Be sure to check out the track’s noise limit beforehand so you don’t get black flagged. There are a number of tracks that enforce strict limits e.g. Lime Rock Park.
    Flame icon for hot tips Tip: Track summary pages list their respective dB (decibel) limits
  • Instructor Availability: Tracks that offer experienced instructors can dramatically accelerate your learning curve. The club you go with might also offer this for free (or a fee), but if not, we can’t recommend seeing what options the track has for in-car instruction enough! If you want to take it up a notch, you could always consider race school!
  • Amenities: Basic facilities like restrooms, food and beverage vendors, and shaded areas can make your day much more comfortable.
  • Affordability: Cost can be a significant factor. Make sure to factor in not just the track day fee but also the cost of gas, insurance, and any additional costs like instructor fees.
  • Insurance Compatibility: Some tracks are more insurance-friendly than others. Ensure that you can get track day insurance that covers you adequately for that specific track.
  • Club or Event Host: Research the organization hosting the track day, more on that below.

Looking to research your next track? Dig into our US race tracks:

Race track map us

How do you choose a HPDE Club to go with? #

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Selecting the appropriate HPDE club when booking a track day is essential. You want your experience to be safe, fun, and well organized. We chose the Audi Club’s Northeast Chapter when starting out and couldn’t be more grateful for the supportive community and focus on driver safety they offer.

Here are some of the things you might consider when making this choice.

Considerations #

  • Club Reputation: Look for clubs with strong reviews and positive testimonials, particularly focusing on safety and driver education. Any of your friends track? A club recommendation from someone you trust is always a positive.
  • Education Focus: Some clubs prioritize driver development more than others. An ideal club, in our opion, focuses on beginner though intermediate coaching (i.e. you’ll always have an instructor in the passenger seat until you’re signed off by an instructor to go out solo on a specific track), with classroom sessions, skilled instructors, and constructive feedback mechanisms e.g. DrivingEvals. As a bonus, if you really get into HPDE and want to give back to the community, you might consider becoming an instructor. Does the club have this program?
  • Safety Protocols: Look at the club’s safety measures, like pre-event tech inspections, mandatory driver meetings, and, more recently, promotion of club safety with online training.
  • Skill-Level Grouping: Clubs that categorize drivers based on skill level can offer a more tailored and safe driving experience.
  • Instructor Availability: For beginners, one-on-one time with an experienced instructor is invaluable. Check if this is an option or even mandatory for new drivers.
  • Track Selection: Some clubs have access to a variety of tracks, which can offer a broader driving experience as you advance.
  • Event Frequency: A club that hosts events frequently gives you more opportunities to drive, practice, and improve.
  • Community Aspect: Look for clubs where there’s a strong sense of community. Networking with more experienced drivers is both enjoyable and more often than not, extremely educational.
  • Cost Structure: Understand the full cost involved in participating in events, including membership fees, track day charges, and any additional costs like instructor fees.
  • Insurance Partnerships: Some clubs partner with insurance providers to offer specialized track day insurance at a discounted rate.
  • Cancellation and Refund Policies: Life happens—understanding a club’s policies on cancellations and refunds can save you future headaches.
  • Additional Amenities: Extras like data analysis sessions, photography services, or even end-of-day social events can enhance the overall experience.

You can find an ever growing list of HPDE Clubs and their details here.

Updated on October 30, 2023
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