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track days through owners' clubs etc

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
What do they typically cost? What's the deal with insurance? How many laps do you tend to do? Do you race them? How aggressive are other drivers? How often do people wreck their cars?

It seems like a fun way to kill a weekend. Every time I get an itch to buy a car I always seem to go back to looking at a used Lotus or Porsche. I don't commute to work so any car I bought would essentially be a weekend car/toy.

I'm kind of in that mode of wanting to buy one now but i'm not sure... I'm happy on public transport for getting to/from work. Driving wouldn't be faster or less bothersome. There are times when I really find myself wanting a car in Toronto though... And if I bought a car I'd want a fun car, but then I wonder where I could actually use it as intended...
post #2 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQgeek View Post
What do they typically cost? What's the deal with insurance? How many laps do you tend to do? Do you race them? How aggressive are other drivers? How often do people wreck their cars?

Expect $200USD or so, ime. It varies by participation levels, the track fees, and the day of the week you go.

You'll need separate insurance as most policies don't cover track days. Most club newsletters will have recommendations.

The number of laps varies - number of particpants/run groups, length of time the club has the track for, length of the track itself.

A club track day isn't a race. They aren't timed, for one thing. Aggressive driving is strongly discouraged - this is a bunch of people in their own cars, many of whom drive them to and from the track. The rules of the track day are specifically intended to prevent contact with other drivers, and the tracks are set up to have wide run-offs so that a mistake won't injure you, other drivers, or the cars. If you drive too aggressively, expect to be kicked out, amidst a lot of glowering looks from people who didn't pay to watch you drive like an ass and endanger them.

The typical track day is you driving your car around the track, getting a feel for controlling the car at speed - accelerating, braking, controlling it in various types of turns and elevation changes. As the day progresses, you'll learn to do it faster and faster and just when you've got the hang of it, the day is over.

It's actually rare that someone wrecks their car at a track day or car control clinic, more so during autocross. It's much more common to see people spin out and run off the track in their 500hp beasts while old guys in 120hp Miatas and Porsche 944s lap them effortlessly.

Expect to pay for a tech inspection. Expect them to require a helmet and proper attire. Expect to sit thru a safely lecture. Expect to be told you can't drive a convertible, even a folding hardtop version, unless you've got a rollbar, even though your factory rollbars are sufficient (I recommend getting a coupe). Expect to look like an idiot a few times and feel like an idiot most of the time that first day.
post #3 of 32
Thread Starter 
Ok that's not bad at all. What's the insurance like though? It seems like it could be killer... Just looking for rough numbers so that I can get an idea..
post #4 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQgeek View Post
Ok that's not bad at all. What's the insurance like though? It seems like it could be killer... Just looking for rough numbers so that I can get an idea..

I've never priced it - I'm one of those guys that gets out there and hopes for the best. Currently I'm only making 2-3 days a year - if that increased, I'd buy a 944, strip it out and plan on buying another if disaster struck.
post #5 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by epb View Post
I've never priced it - I'm one of those guys that gets out there and hopes for the best. Currently I'm only making 2-3 days a year - if that increased, I'd buy a 944, strip it out and plan on buying another if disaster struck.

But the track makes you buy liability right? And that's included in the $200?
post #6 of 32
200 seems to be about the starting point for what I've experienced, it entirely depends on the place and the type of club. club days are awesome in the respect that your on a course with similar cars. I've mistakenly gone out for events where I was on the track with zondas and koenigseggs and its a positively frightening experience when you only have 200hp and are 1/20th the cost. EPB stated it correctly that ITS NOT A RACE, its enjoying a track day and its like driving on the roadway that albeit entirely different and without speed limits that there are some very clearly defined rules of the road. before you drop any money on an exotic car, GO TO A FEW RACE SCHOOL EVENTS! There is a lot to learn and a lot you need to know to be safe and to enjoy doing it. Plus you get to drive some pretty cool cars that are not yours. I have a lot friends with reallllyyyy nice cars, but pretty universally the cars they track do not cost more than 20k ("you put one built 911 into a wall and it really puts things into perspective")... but with that said, I think a used lotus is a fantastic option. Where in CA are you? I can probably set you up to meet with some people to get you a nice introduction to the track scene. EDIT: just for full disclosure, my love is building cars, I've had my fair of track time but its not really something I enjoy.
post #7 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrGoodBytes View Post
before you drop any money on an exotic car, GO TO A FEW RACE SCHOOL EVENTS! There is a lot to learn and a lot you need to know to be safe and to enjoy doing it. Plus you get to drive some pretty cool cars that are not yours.

This is true, but it's a very expensive way to learn, and the OP seems concerned about costs - it's been a couple grand each time I've done it (coincidentally, I'm wearing my BMW Perfomance Driving School shirt as I write this) and although that included meals and hotel rooms it's a lot more than a club track day/car control clinic.
post #8 of 32
They are all ran a little different. Prices seem to range anywhere from 250-500 in my area. My favorite group to hit the track with is SCDA. Welll organized and you get a serious amount of track time. Try 4 30 minute session in a day. Awesome.

PCA drivers ed is a great place to start.

You are grouped by skill level so no beginners with experts and beginners have very strict rules. You almost never see a crash involving 2 cars.
post #9 of 32
Depends on your clubs, but I just paid $350 for a NASA HPDE event here in South Florida. I'll be taking my "stock" Honda S2000. You don't need to buy anything special. Just bring a car in good mechanical condition. I have my own helmet, but you can rent/borrow one at the track.

I wouldn't buy a car just to "track" it. I doubt you'll get enough use. Go rent a Mustang or Corvette and take that to the track...
post #10 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by epb View Post
This is true, but it's a very expensive way to learn, and the OP seems concerned about costs - it's been a couple grand each time I've done it (coincidentally, I'm wearing my BMW Perfomance Driving School shirt as I write this) and although that included meals and hotel rooms it's a lot more than a club track day/car control clinic.

true, I guess hitting up an scca autocross event would be an even better start pricewise, just get an iGo or Zip car for the day (should be able to get a mazda 3 which are quite fun).
post #11 of 32
Thread Starter 
I would certainly do a performance driving school type of thing if I bought a car. Lotus has a track for this purpose in AZ, I think, and it would be fun to make a long weekend of that or something similar.

I'm just getting annoyed about not having a car recently. I wouldn't drive it super frequently, but if I bought something decent like a used 911 (964 or 993) or a lotus and took care of it, it probably wouldn't cost me too much and I could resell it for in a couple years when I hopefully leave the country for most of what I paid for it since i wouldn't add a lot of miles to it.
post #12 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQgeek View Post
I would certainly do a performance driving school type of thing if I bought a car. Lotus has a track for this purpose in AZ, I think, and it would be fun to make a long weekend of that or something similar.

I'm just getting annoyed about not having a car recently. I wouldn't drive it super frequently, but if I bought something decent like a used 911 (964 or 993) or a lotus and took care of it, it probably wouldn't cost me too much and I could resell it for in a couple years when I hopefully leave the country for most of what I paid for it since i wouldn't add a lot of miles to it.

You're going to drive to AZ from Canada for a weekend?

A used 993 is probably more expensive than you think. Often good examples are more expensive than the 996.

Which "used" lotus are you looking at? An Elise or something older like Espirit? Maintenance will be a labor (and $$$) of love.
post #13 of 32
Since you are in Toronto, I would assume that all the numbers those guys gave you are going to be low end. You can def buy a decent, fun track car for fairly cheap though to counteract the high fees you'll probably pay at the track. 944, older rx7, older Corvette, bmw Z3, etc.. Edit: found a track out to the east of TO Like i was saying about prices.... http://www.shannonville.com/body.php...k&page=pricing
post #14 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rohde88 View Post
You're going to drive to AZ from Canada for a weekend? A used 993 is probably more expensive than you think. Often good examples are more expensive than the 996. Which "used" lotus are you looking at? An Elise or something older like Espirit? Maintenance will be a labor (and $$$) of love.
I haven't really done the research on the cars yet and what it would take to maintain them. Maintenance will factor in. I haven't forgotten about it. I was just curious about the track fees aspect. If I went lotus, probably an elise or exige, which you can buy used in the 25-40k range used. If I bought a lotus, then ya, I wouldn't mind driving it down to AZ for a weekend, if i'm remembering correctly where their school is.
post #15 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQgeek View Post
I haven't really done the research on the cars yet and what it would take to maintain them. Maintenance will factor in. I haven't forgotten about it. I was just curious about the track fees aspect.

If I went lotus, probably an elise or exige, which you can buy used in the 25-40k range used. If I bought a lotus, then ya, I wouldn't mind driving it down to AZ for a weekend, if i'm remembering correctly where their school is.

Iron Butt for sure. Elise or Exige would be a very fun track/drive to the track/minimal trips car.
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