Your First Track Day, What to Do and What to Expect

In my opinion, every enthusiast should be out doing track days.  A track day is a safe outlet where you can drive as fast as your heart desires in a safe controlled environment.  Ever notice that we don’t talk much about freeway speed runs and canyon running much?  It’s because we are pretty much against this sort of activity on public roads.  So we all should be doing track days.  People hesitate about driving on tracks for some reason, we guess because it is intimidating and in the past with some organizations this was true, but the folks at Starting Grid run track days that cater to beginners and they stress a very helpful and friendly environment.

In our area, the popular track day organizations have largely stopped consistently supporting beginner groups.  This is probably because the intermediate and advanced groups are really popular and there are often not many beginners.  This forces beginners to sign up for intermediate many times.  In the case of my daughter, Christa, she had not done a track day yet because I could not sign her up with a track day group I liked because they could not guarantee a beginner run group.

Christa does not have any experience in road racing cars although she is an accomplished kart racer.  However, she felt that karts and cars are very different and the skills don’t necessarily cross over.

8-year-old Christa driving her 50cc Emick kart for the first time at Cal Speedway.  She was fast then, going to K1 paid off.  Look at her cool driver’s suit!

Christa is also a beginner drifter so she has pretty good car control at lower speeds.  Speeds when on a road course are much higher so this doesn’t exactly carry over either.   Because of this, I wanted her to do an event where she could have a lot of support and the ability to gradually work up to speed even though I was sure that she could adapt quickly.

5 comments

  1. What an amazing experience for her!

    I can’t get my own 9yo to stop spazzing out with even a Powerwheels 6/12V plastic car! I don’t see karting in his future. LOL

    1. Some kids are scared of speed and noise. Don’t force them, it’s supposed to be family fun. I didn’t encourage my daughter, a friend gave her a free kart and it was game on for her from there.

  2. “In our area, the popular track day organizations have largely stopped consistently supporting beginner groups. This is probably because the intermediate and advanced groups are really popular and there are often not many beginners. ”

    Do you also think there could be a lack of instructors?
    I’ve read a few anecdotes of instructors that quit because the amount of horsepower available to beginners turns them off.

    1. “Hi, I’m a doctor who’s done nothing but study and work my whole life while driving a beige Corolla. I finally got an attending gig and bought a 911 Turbo, can you show me how to drive it fast?”

      …and oh the irony of buying a car too fast to enjoy on the street and too fast to drive on the track.

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