What to Bring for a HPDE / Track Day?

Example items of what to bring to a track. It includes items like air pump, pliers, pressure gauge, collapsible chair

What to bring for you, the driver! #

When determining what to bring for HPDE events or track days, we find our focus tends to gravitate towards ensuring that we have everything we need or might need for our car. However, we mustn’t forget that personal preparation is equally as important to ensure we have a safe and fun day at the track. It’s crucial to bring items that will keep you hydrated, fed, and comfortable, as the track can often be both physically and mentally taxing.

Top of the list of what to bring include items such as water, electrolyte drinks, and light snacks such as protein bars or fruit. Keeping well hydrated and fed throughout the day will keep your energy levels consistent and focus level up. We suggest you bring a small cooler too, as there’s nothing worse than tepid water! Related: Track Day Food Guide: 5 Meals to Stay Focused

Sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats provide necessary protection against sun exposure, which is often underestimated at the track. Appropriate clothing like moisture-wicking tops (no synthetic clothing though!), and layers that can be easily added or removed, allow for comfort and adaptability to changing weather conditions. In spring and fall, temperature ranges can be large and it’s not unusual to be wearing a hoody first thing in the morning and t-shirt mid-morning.

A folding chair is a godsend for in-between sessions and depending on which track you’re heading to you might consider throwing in a pop-up canopy if you have one. If you haven’t got a garage spot, or there are no garages, the sun will take its toll on you throughout the course of the day.

A helmet that meets the event’s safety specifications is required (not ready to buy one, check with your club as many clubs rent them), along with driving gloves for better steering grip (sweaty palms and steering wheels are not a good combination). Lastly, don’t forget a basic first-aid kit for minor cuts and nicks, and a back-up set of important personal items like prescription glasses or any necessary medications. We’ll all have a slightly different approach as to what to take to the track but we have put together a check list that we hope will serve as a good starting point for you.

Tool box with spanners and screwdrivers

What to bring for your car #

As we’ve discussed in other articles, preparing your car for an HPDE event or track day is extremely important. However, with all the preparation to the car done, you’re now heading to the track and not quite sure what to bring to help support your day or two there. First things first, don’t take everything and the “kitchen sink”. Realistically, what work will you be able to perform on the car while you’re at the track? The whole event is about 10 hours long so consider what you might be able to accomplish in short time frames should you need to tweak anything or perform any on the spot maintenance.

There are certainly a few essentials to consider. For instance, spare fluids such as oil, brake fluid, coolant and windshield wash are important to have on-hand in case you need a top-up during the day. You might also consider investing in some replacement brake pads, you’ll wear through the ones on you car faster than you think and having a backup set will mean your day isn’t cut short.

As we’ve said, the community is extremely supportive and we’ve been at events where we’ve seen folks help others bleed brakes and replace the fluid, change brake pads, coil packs, rotors and even disassemble, fix and reassemble an exhaust. Take fluids, even if you don’t use them, you will at some point so it’s not money wasted.

A tire pressure gauge (must have) and small portable air compressor (preferable) allow you to adjust the pressures throughout the day and most importantly, add air back into your tires for the journey home – don’t forget this!

We suggest bringing along a basic tool set, torque wrench, spare fuses, mechanics gloves and wet wipes/paper towel and rags. Lastly, make sure you have a tow hook or strap attached front or back or both. Buy quality ones or use the hook that comes with your car. If you go off into the gravel the track workers will come and pull you out. You want them pulling you out using your tow hook and not, for example, your suspension which will, at best, mess up your alignment.

There’s a lot you can take to the track and we’ve tried our best to be as comprehensive as possible with this checklist. However, just because it’s on the list doesn’t mean you have to buy/take it.

Part of a completed tech inspection form

What to bring for the event #

There are always suggestions of what to bring from the organizers and many of these are often mandatory. E.g. If you don’t provide XYZ signed paperwork, then you’ll not be allowed on track. We’ve been to events where the organizers require mandatory tech. inspections and a few individuals turned up without having it done. They were not allowed on track.

Many clubs require you to bring your driver’s license to the track. While track insurance isn’t mandatory, do make sure you bring your policy with you and have it easy to hand in case of an incident (you don’t want to be hunting for it if something has gone wrong).

We think it’s a good idea to have cash with you for small transactions, whether it’s for buying food, paying for last-minute gear, or covering any incidental track fees. A debit or credit card is obviously a useful backup.

Always check if the event requires signed waivers or forms; it’s a good idea to print these in advance and bring a couple of copies. Likewise, don’t forget the technical inspection form you had completed by a mechanic for you car’s pre-event inspection. We not only leave them in our glove box as soon as the tech inspection is done, but also take a photo…just in case.

Carry a notebook and pen (or better yet a tablet) for jotting down notes during drivers’ meetings, classroom workshops and after session instructor debriefs. Also, given that track days are an excellent networking opportunity, you might consider bringing a few business cards to exchange with other enthusiasts or industry professionals.

There are certainly a fair few items to bring to a track day, but honestly, once you’ve done it a few times and with the help of a few checklists, you’ll be pulling things together in no time. You’ll find the checklists here.

Updated on October 14, 2023
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