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2024 Windrush track day guide

Posted by - Paul Garlick on 13 June 2024 (Updated 15 July 2024)
On the Road

If you want to get the most from your car, a track day offers a safe and controlled environment in which to test the limits of both car and driver. In this track day guide, Windrush offers some practical advice for those of you considering taking to the track. 

At Windrush we always enjoy seeing cars used as intended, but with modern performance cars now being so effective, sometimes the only way to get the most from it is to attend an organised track day. 

Taking your car on track for the first time can be a daunting prospect, with considerations being given to vehicle wear and tear, the pressure to perform as a driver, and also the potential of something going wrong resulting in damage to bodywork or mechanicals. But many of these fears can be alleviated with proper planning and preparation, of both the car and the driver. 

In this track day guide, Windrush experts share their top tips for preparing your car (and yourself) ahead of a track day event. However, before all that, we recommend doing your homework before booking a track day to ensure you choose the right event for you.

Track Day Guide for Novices

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Before you sign up to life in the fast lane, it is important to do your research so we’ve highlighted some essentials in our track day guide. This not only ensures your – and fellow drivers’ safety but ensures you get the most out of your experience.

  • Check the number of cars allowed on track at each session. Some track day organisers offer small groups which allows for more track time, and a more relaxed event
  • Be honest about your skill level. We all want to be in the expert group, but entering the novice or intermediate groups will allow for a more relaxed session with similarly skilled drivers
  • Consider booking tuition. Your car is only as good as the driver, and professional tuition is an enjoyable, and safe way to get to know the limits of your car, and yourself
  • Determine what circuit is right for you. You may dream of the Silverstone GP circuit, but a track such as Bedford Autodrome offers a less technical environment for a novice
  • Consider taking out a track day insurance policy. This will cover you, and third parties, should the worst happen. Policies also include home recovery
  • Did you know Windrush can deliver your car to the circuit? This allows you to arrive in a more road-focused vehicle, refreshed and ready to get out on track

How to prepare for a track day

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Ahead of any track day, some essential preparation is always required, and the team at Windrush Car Storage can undertake this work for you to ensure your car is in the perfect state for track use. 

  • Engine/ Mechanicals: We recommend a thorough engine service is carried out ahead of any harsh use. This should include, at least, a refresh of engine oil and a check of the gearbox, differential, brakes and the cooling system. Fluids can also be upgraded to offer better protection during prolonged, performance driving.
  • Inspection: A thorough check of all fastenings and fixings should always be carried out, including tightness of brake calliper bolts, engine mounts, gearbox mounts, exhaust, subframe mountings, steering rack and all suspension fixings.
  • Tyres: During a track day, your tyres will suffer rapid wear, so it is important the tyre has enough fresh tread to allow you to drive home (if not being transported by the Windrush team). Tyre pressures can also have a dramatic effect on the handling characteristics of any car, and should always be set to manufacturers’, or specialist, recommended pressures. You may also want to consider a set of track day wheels, on which specialist tyres can be fitted. Doing this ensures your road wheels remain in a legal condition, ready to drive away from the circuit.  
  • Brakes: Consider fresh discs and pads, if required, along with a refresh of brake fluid and an upgrade in brake pad compound to cope with hotter temperatures and increased use. 

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  • Suspension: Ahead of any track session, we recommend a full alignment and geometry check. This service will ensure your car is tracking straight and true and will give a neutral feel to the handling and braking when at the limit. Read more about the benefits of alignment and geometry set-ups to enhance performance in our recent blog.
  • Vehicle settings: A modern sports car will offer a myriad of settings to play with. We suggest starting your session with traction and stability control on, and the suspension in your preferred factory setting. While it may be tempting to go full Chris Harris mode and turn everything off, it is much better to get to know the limits of the car, and its driver, with as much assistance as possible. 
  • Seating position: On track it is recommended that you sit closer to the wheel than you might on the road. Look at professional drivers and you will see how close they sit to the wheel. This allows for easier control inputs, better feel of the car and increased visibility; it will also reduce driver fatigue when experiencing the increased effort required to corner at high speed. Consider also lowering the seat to its lowest position as this can increase the feel of what the car is doing. 
  • Empty the car: We are not about to suggest stripping your car to race specification but, especially in a road car, it is worth emptying any day-to-day items from the car that could move around on track and cause a distraction. This includes emptying the boot, removing loose items from the seats and emptying the door pockets of any unwanted items. 

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  • Noise: Take note of the noise limits imposed by your chosen circuit, as some cars can fail the lower limits even with the standard exhaust system. If you have a valved exhaust it may be required to keep the valves closed and, in some cases, a track day silencer may be required. Note that many circuits offer a loud day, where limits do not apply, but these can sell out quickly. 
  • Personal care: Many circuits require the driver to wear long sleeves and trousers (no shorts). For your own performance, wear comfortable, non-restrictive clothes, choose a helmet best suited to car use (perhaps an open-face), and wear comfortable, slim-soled shoes. Energy is also a factor, so pack plenty of fluids and energy-giving snacks into your day bag. 
  • Rest periods: These are needed for both the car and the driver. Usually track day organisers keep sessions to a manageable length, but it is recommended that car and driver come in for a rest after 30-40 mins of track time. Before coming in, at least one cool-down lap should be undertaken, where speeds are reduced, brake use is lessened, and the car is allowed to take in some cool air. Once in, check the car for tyre and brake wear ahead of your next session. 
  • Know the rules: At the start of any track day there will be a session explaining the rules and it is important to take note. They will explain how to overtake, what the flags mean and any other rules (some insist on no drifting, as an example). Knowing the rules will help you enjoy your session safely.  
  • Be your own hero: It goes without saying that the only person you have to impress on the day is yourself. Nobody is timing the laps; nobody judges your car, and nobody wants to have drivers on track exceeding their own limits. Be safe, have fun and relax. If you are the fastest, people will let you by, if you are not, be ready to let faster cars pass. At the end of the day, the best result is having had a great day, with a car that is safe to drive home ready to do it all over again. 

Take on a track day with Windrush

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If you have supercar storage with Windrush, our team can help you prepare for your track day with specialist car preparation, track day and insurance provider recommendations and even transport to and from the circuit. Please speak with your usual contact for more information.

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