2 Track Day Formats: What Are They?

What’s the typical track day format for a HPDE event? #

A standard HPDE track day typically starts with registration and a tech inspection, followed by an obligatory drivers meeting. Novices will often start with classroom sessions, while the more advanced drivers tend to be first out on track. Track sessions (organized by run groups) cater to, for example, Instructor, Advanced, Intermediate, and Novice groups, with each group getting 20-30 minutes of track time.

The day includes a lunch break around noon, during which the track goes ‘cold,’ meaning no driving takes place. Post-lunch, the track sessions resume, following the same group sequence until the day concludes in the evening. This type of track day format ensures a balance of education, practice, and safety, making the most of the day for drivers of all skill levels.

Example of a typical track day format showing track timing for each experience run group
Example of a Track Day Schedule

What are track day run groups? #

Run groups are categorizations of drivers based on their skill level and experience, which helps to manage track sessions more effectively. These groups often vary from club to club, but they generally range from beginners to advanced levels. You might come across groups like Green, Yellow, Orange, and Red/Black, each with distinct requirements and restrictions. Most clubs, such as Just Track It, have defined guidelines on how to get promoted from one group to another. It should also be noted that just because you’re in one group with one club, that doesn’t necessarily translate to another.

  • Green groups: for first-time and beginner students and usually come with an instructor assigned for one-on-one coaching.
  • Yellow: for intermediate students and also often includes an instructor. Both groups are more structured to facilitate learning.
  • Orange: consists of more experienced drivers who’ve been signed off to go solo at specific tracks. An instructor may be assigned to multiple students as a resource for the entire event, offering various types of coaching such as ride-alongs and post-session debriefs.
  • Red/Black: are for advanced students and instructors where passing is more liberal, usually allowed anywhere with appropriate point-bys. Drivers in this group are encouraged to consult with instructors for in-car coaching to continue their education and fine-tune skills.
Two green wrist bandsYellow wrist bandOrange wrist bandRed wrist bandThree black and white checkered wrist bands
Most clubs use wrist bands to identify which group you’re in. It typically needs to be shown to the Pit Marshall to get out on track.

What are ‘Open Lapping’ or ‘Open Pit Lane’ track days? #

An ‘open lapping’ or ‘open pit lane’ track day format is a less-structured event typically aimed at upper-intermediate (soloed) to advanced drivers. This setup usually requires you to have previous experience at the specific track and the ability to drive it solo. It also allows for greater flexibility, letting you get in more laps and refine your driving skills without the constraints of rigid session timings.

While open lapping track days can be pricier than standard, more structured track day formats, they generally feature fewer drivers. This means less track traffic, which can translate into a more focused and efficient period of seat time. Be sure to check with the club you choose before booking to determine if there are any restrictions relating to your on track experience.

Updated on October 14, 2023
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