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Hagerty Employee

Open track days, demystified

Do you enjoy straightening out curves on the road? Does your significant other smirk when you hit the perfect apex on an on-ramp? Is there a favorite left-right combination on your drive home from work? Are you sick of getting speeding tickets?

One thing that helped me was to watch videos of other people's track days, especially at new tracks. But even on tracks I thought I knew well, I might run across a different way to take a corner.

as intriguing as the concept is, that article did a lot to help convince me to keep straightening out the curves on my favorite windy road. One - its free, and two, 9 times out of 10 I'm the only one on it (benefits of living in the boondocks). There is not much potential for me getting overconfident because I'm on a closed course and wiping out a vette, two porshes, and a miata. The one question the article didn't answer for me is what happens if you do happen to smash up someone's pretty yellow brand new Vette (and your car too)

If a track day is a bit too much there is always the High Performance Driver's Education (HPDE) events that can help you to get the taste of being on the track with some instruction.
Advanced Driver

At the age of 64, I got the itch. Now, 5 years later, I'm still scratching and I've been on every track in New England, plus Watkins Glen in NY. I run with SCDA and MassTuning, both very well managed. I take all my cars to Canaan, a small track about 1.5 hours away, to get good, safe experience with handling and performance, even my daily drivers. I love 'heavy metal thunder' and the smell of hot brakes in the crisp early morning.

The big attraction to me, beyond the driving, is the community. I've met some really great folks, had some spontaneous ride-alongs, and enjoy spending a day thinking and talking about nothing but cars and driving. My personal goal is getting my GT350R to Road Atlanta (my home town), where my track interests started long ago. But that's over 1,000 miles and a lifetime from me now.
New Driver

Ed, we must be almost neighbors. I'm also 1.5 hours from both Canaan and Tamworth, and only 1 hour from NHMS. Tamworth, Palmer, Thompson, and Lime Rock are all within 1.5-2.5 hours, but I've yet to visit those venues.


We're also on similar life trajectories. My first track day was five years at age 63. My goal is to get on the track at Watkins Glen. My dad took me there a few times in the 70s for CanAm/6 Hours weekends. Also a lifetime away, but only 400 miles.


Great article! Wish it had been floating around the interwebs ten years ago.
The one addition I’d make is that some promoters/organizers/car clubs will not allow individuals on-track without some “solo” experience. For true newbs this typically means attending driving school.
And not that this is a bad thing…do you really want to be responsible for taking-out someone due to your own inexperience; or have someone with no idea of what they’re doing take you out? Just be aware the requirements to get on-track may/will vary by locality.
Advanced Driver

The most daunting part of it these days is the 3+ tanks of gas it takes to get there, track it, and get back home.

Second up from the bottom, third from the left; Hallett Motor Racing Circuit. I've left a LOT of rubber on that track!
New Driver

Superb article and intro for the uninitiated! Though implicit that no special car is necessary it seems worth highlighting. Because of how often I hear it, "any street car, really?". Yes, any street car (meeting the basic safety/reliability checks diligently cited here, of course). I've seen a Smart car on track. Not ideal, but you get the point. Any street car!
To hopefully help get you signed up for a track day/HPDE event:
>> - NASA will assign you an instructor and help you through the advancement ladder system from HPDE 1 up to HPDE 4.
>> - Things can go sideways. Hegarty can help you straighten them back out, when they do.

New Driver

I have an AARP card and am a total newb to tracking my car, so its never too later to start. Started last summer and I am hooked. People don't realize how BAD of a driver they really are until the track a car. The classroom sessions are critical to learn car balance/dyNA mics, which are things you can apply to every day driving that will make you safer.