Own-Car Track Days: Where To Go This Summer
If you're new to own-car track days, find out where the best UK circuits are and how to prepare for this unmissable driving experience.
July 14, 2015
Now that we can say the UK summer has officially arrived, there’s no better time to treat yourself to an own car track day at one of the many sites around the country. Whether you own a sports car, hot hatch or super-mini, race tracks are the ultimate playground for testing the performance limits of your car in a safe, controlled environment. So to all those own car track day newbies and those who just want to know where’s best to go in the UK; here’s all the answers you need.
The concept is simple. Turn up at the race circuit with your car (after making a booking), sign on, complete a noise test and safety briefing then enjoy the freedom of the track for a day! Usually the day’s format will come in two forms:
Open Pit Lane – going on and off circuit whenever you choose throughout the day, 9am-5pm, with no lunch break included.
Sessions – consisting of 20 minute alternating sessions, grouped according to your level of experience. 1 hour lunch break usually included.
This is by no means a competition between you and other drivers on the day. Own car track racers must follow the ‘drivers’ etiquette’, meaning no aggressive overtaking, poor or dangerous driving. The circuit is monitored by professionals, who are at liberty to deal with breakers of the etiquette. But don’t worry. As long as you drive with respect and care for others on the track, the track is all yours to unleash the full power and speed of your car.
Providing you pre-book, you can bring additional drivers, passengers and spectators to the event. All passengers must be over the age of 16 and wear a helmet. Spectators must also be 16 or over, unless accompanied by an adult.
Before being accepted onto an own car track day, you and your car will need to meet the following requirements:
1. Hold a DVLA fully unrestricted road license
2. Hold a valid driving license with the appropriate category clearing indicated
3. Have an up-to-date MOT on your car
4. Have fully working seatbelts in the car
5. Car in good mechanical and bodily condition
On the day you will also have to:
1. Pass the static noise restriction test. The maximum noise level for your car should be around 102db, but this can vary by track and by the day, so check before booking if in doubt
2. Have arms and legs covered at all times and wear a safety helmet
3. Wear sensible driving shoes or trainers
4. Pass drive-by noise monitoring tests during track time
5. Not have slick tyres fitted if the ground is damp or wet
There are over 20 racing circuits across the UK that offer own car track days, so really you’re spoilt for choice. But places are filling up fast due to the time of year, so make sure you pre-book.
Some of the most popular places to take your car this season are:
Blyton Park, Gainsborough – regular dates available on their Full or Eastern Circuits, all taking an open pit lane format. 105db max.
Abingdon – a few dates available in open pit lane format. 100db max.
Castle Combe, Wiltshire – a wide and varied range of dates in open pit lane, semi-open pit and session formats. 100db max.
Donington Park, Derby – a wide range of dates in open pit lane and evening session formats. 110db max.
Silverstone, Northamptonshire – select dates available in open pit lane format, at a higher cost. 102db max.
Oulton Park, Cheshire – dates from 18th August onwards in open pit lane and 3 groups per hour formats. 105bd max.
Cadwell Park, Lincolnshire – a few dates in open pit lane and evening session formats, at varied price ranges. 105db max.
Other circuits include: