Is your car track ready?

In light of this year’s Formula One season, some of you might have the thrill to release your inner Lewis Hamilton with a day on the racing track. Luckily for you thrill seekers, the UK is a haven for track day experiences — just take a look at this handy calendar from TrackDays for events taking place on renowned circuits such as Silverstone, Donington Park and Brands Hatch.

But once you’ve found a track that’s right for you, it’s important to make sure your car is ready to hit the track and if you are prepared to put pedal to the metal.

Fear not, car radiator supplier Advanced Radiators has this nifty guide so that you don’t forget anything when preparing.

Preparing the car

You’ll need to prep your car ahead of racing – it’s almost like a mini service of your own.

First things first, your tyres must match the manufacturer’s recommended levels. Tyre pressures can be a cause for debate when it comes to track days — run them too low and damage can be caused to the sidewalls (due to them flexing when putting them through sustained cornering), while too high a pressure runs the risk of increased wear. Bear these points in mind when deviating away from the manufacturer’s recommended levels.

This also entails making sure your tyres are in a good general condition – this means no damage and the thread should be above the legal limit of 1.6mm across 75% of the tyre.

Pop open the bonnet and check that all fluids are topped up to their maximum marks. Cornering force on a track can result in fluids building up on one side of the vehicle’s reservoir, causing the potential of fluid starvation.

Safety is key when racing. You’ll need to carry out a few checks of the safety equipment inside your car. Seatbelts must be in good condition with no tears or issues with them clipping into their holds, while you need to ensure there are no loose objects that could fly around and cause damage or injury once you’re at high speed. By removing as many items as possible from inside your vehicle, you will be surprised at how much lighter this will make your vehicle.

On the topic of shedding weight, ensure your car has just enough fuel to get through the day instead of filling the tank all the way to the top – and causing the vehicle to be unnecessarily heavy. Higher octane fuel is advised, as it tends to aid performance significantly more than the standard alternatives.

Preparing the driver

Whilst preparing your vehicle is important, you’ll also need to prepare yourself.

The clothing you wear should be considered carefully. Fire-retardant clothing made using natural fibres are recommended to ensure the highest level of protection. In fact, many circuits have policies in place which state that arms and legs must be covered while you’re on track.

When considering your choice of footwear, be aware that on most tracks, closed toe footwear is the minimum requirement. You should also be sure to opt for a shoe, boot or trainer with thin soles and no overhang so that they achieve good pedal feel lap after lap.

It Is likely that your insurance doesn’t cover you for this style of driving. Most don’t as standard but usually you can just add this on the day of the event for a small premium by contacting your provider. If this isn’t an option for you, seek out specific trackday cover so that your no claims discount isn’t affected in the unfortunate event that you need to make a claim from your day out.