Earlier in the week, I wrote about what to expect at your first track day experience, and some basic tips on how to conduct yourself. Let’s assume you’ve done it; you went and had a grand ol’ time at your first track day, and you’ve decided to sign up for a second one. As I recently completed my second event—June 15th’s SCCA Track Night of America event, good fun—I feel compelled to write an article with some tips and tricks for your second track day. While it is easy to assume that it’ll be a piece of cake, there are still some important things to remember before you start clipping apexes on track for the second time.
The first, and by far the most important, thing to remember is that no matter how well you did at your first event, you are not a driving God. In other words, don’t get cocky. Everything about safety, car preparation, and on-track etiquette from my previous article, still applies to your second track day, and every one that follows. A particularly pertinent tip of mine is to not lie to yourself. It is important to be honest when evaluating how well you did at your first event when registering for your second event. If you are lucky enough to live near multiple tracks, you may have to learn a new track, which should also factor in to your choice. Feel like you need more time to learn a track, even if it is your second time there? There is no shame in running in the novice group two or three times if you need to get comfortable.
Saying that, you might be ready to go up to an intermediate group quickly, and want to pick it as your group on your second day. Again, this is fine, but DON’T go up more than one group: you aren’t that good. Once you pick your group, it is important to develop the regimen of preparing your track box, checking your car’s safety, and then heading out to the track. Once there, the benefits of having already done a track day will become apparent: you know what to expect. Chances are that by the second time around, the blinding-thrill of being on-track will have faded a bit, and you can begin focusing on improving your skills on-track.
What this means is focusing a bit more on what you are actually doing on track. A good place to start is to learn the proper line for your car around the various corners of the track. I specify your car because a FWD car vs. a RWD car vs. an AWD car will all have different lines around the various corners of a track. Once you know your line, practice, practice, and practice some more. Once you think you’ve practiced enough, rinse and repeat. Throughout all of this, it is paramount that you keep safety as the first priority. Aiding this greatly, is remembering that unless you are specifically in a racing event, track days are NOT races. Maintaining proper passing zones and etiquette, staying on track, and following all flags not only keep you and everyone around you safe, they maintain the—hopefully—good reputation you have from your first time out.
As long as you keep all of that in mind, as well as what was mentioned in my first article, you will have a good time. After that, the only thing to do is have fun, meet new people, and go back for a third time! In regards to meeting new people, this particular SCCA Track Night of America was taken over by a ST/RS club located in Nor Cal: the NorCal ST [Lighting Bolt] RS Facebook group. As I was driving my 2016 Fiesta ST, this was fortuitous, because it meant that I had an instant group of people to hang out with. It seemed to be a sea of Foci, as I was the only Fiesta. For the first three or so laps, my plucky little egg of a car held its own against its bigger egg brethren. After this, the heat soak became real, and my engine felt sapped of power. The larger displacement of the Focus ST came into play, powering them past me in the straights; although I stuck to their bums in the corners.
I had fun at my second track day, and most importantly stayed safe while not making a fool of myself. I hope the same for you, and if you are anything like me, there will be a third, then a fourth, a fifth…and so on. Throughout all of them, remembering these simple tips and rules will remain essential: never skimp and stay safe everyone. Like the article? Hit the button, then share it with all your friends and family. Look for daily news posts every weekday, with Monday’s, Wednesday’s, and Friday’s featuring larger ‘feature’ articles. Want to see something written about? Fill out the contact form: it’ll get to me.
I recently recieved a degree in History from the University of Nevada, Reno.