Cheap Trackdays: An Introduction to Having Cheap Trackdays
Trackdays are one of the most fun things any type of petrolhead can do. They allow you to drive fast without expensive speeding tickets. However, driving on a track isn’t free and the only cost isn’t just the entrance fee. We will look into a few key points that will help you reduce the cost of any given trackday and what impacts the average price of a trackday
Choosing the Right Trackday Event
There are 2 main factors that impact your overall pricetag when it comes to trackday selection. The first thing is the ticket price: some tracks are more expensive than others. For example, an official Formula 1 track such as Spa-Francorchamps has very high standards and due to the size requires the attendence of a lot of marshalls, fire department and ambulances. If you want to drive on track while keeping cost in mind, it is most advised to avoid tracks like this and look for smaller tracks such as Circuit Clastres, Folembray or Abbeville. These tracks have ticket prices which can be up to 4 times as cheap as one for a big F1 circuit.
The second part that matters is also track related but not in a way you might think. Some tracks such as Zolder, are very demanding of the car. They wear down tires, brakes and even the suspension at an alarming rate. This is due to Zolder being a fast track with heavy braking zones but too few straights to give your brakes and tires time to cool down. It is always preferable to opt for tracks such as Clastres again, which are very technical and don’t wear down car consumables as much. Folembray is also a good example of a track that isn’t too hard on tires and brakes.
Your Driving Style Affects the Cost
Driving the car on the limit will impact the lifespan of the brakes and tires. Also the lenght of your stints will matter a lot. There are a few simple guidelines that will help a lot in preserving tires and brakes.
Dont’ do too many laps at once! This will leave time for several parts such as the brakediscs to cool down. We suggest doing 4-5 fast laps maximum, then you stay on track for one extra slower lap with limited braking so you give the car enough time to cool down due to the airflow. When you stop the car in the pits, make sure the brakes are cold enough before engaging the handbrake or you will bend the brakediscs! Not doing too many laps will stop the brakepads from overheating also which causes faster wear. All brakepads have an optimal braking temperature and once it is exceeded, you will experience brake fading and extra wear. Doing only a few fast laps at a time will help resolve this matter.
Keep the tires at optimal pressure. Tires heat up during driving and the air expands due to the heat. This leads to the tire not being perfectly flat anymore which gives it a slimmer contact surface and therefore a lot more heat buildup. Start at the optimal tire pressure as advised by the manufacturer. After a few laps, enter the pits and measure the tire temperature. Keep removing air from the tire untill the tire is at the manufacturer setting with the tire heated up. This will result in less tire wear and more grip! Don’t forget to inflate the tire again when driving home as low tire pressures at normal operating temperatures will result in more tire wear aswel.