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track days through owners' clubs etc

Discussion in 'Fine Living, Home, Design & Auto' started by GQgeek, Mar 6, 2011.

  1. gnatty8

    gnatty8 Senior member

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    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.

    This is what I'd do if I were the OP. I've been to BMW's PDC twice now, and will probably do it again this spring. It's a great time, you learn a good deal, and it scratches that itch, at least for a while.
     
  2. epb

    epb Senior member

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    This is what I'd do if I were the OP. I've been to BMW's PDC twice now, and will probably do it again this spring. It's a great time, you learn a good deal, and it scratches that itch, at least for a while.

    He's looking for a cheaper route, and truth is you can pay for a lot of track days with the tuition to a 2-day PDC. The only thing cheaper than club track days is karting...
     
  3. rohde88

    rohde88 Senior member

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    He's looking for a cheaper route, and truth is you can pay for a lot of track days with the tuition to a 2-day PDC. The only thing cheaper than club track days is karting...

    And autocross, but Solo II is kinda boring...
     
  4. gnatty8

    gnatty8 Senior member

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    He's looking for a cheaper route, and truth is you can pay for a lot of track days with the tuition to a 2-day PDC. The only thing cheaper than club track days is karting...

    PDC is more than just track days though, you learn driving skills and responses that can come in very handy in real life, reaction to oversteer/understeer are good examples.

    I was also reading OP as being on the fence about buying a car to track. Best way to find out if he's gonna like this at all is to do it with someone else's car. I will admit though, factoring in tuition and travel (if he's flying in), it's an expensive option, but I've been in situations where properly learning to respond to my rear end coming out from under me on a slick road has been priceless.
     
  5. A Y

    A Y Senior member

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    The good track schools (like BMW CCA's) will teach you car control skills as well, because mastery of those skills is necessary to improve and go faster safely. For some club chapters, a car control clinic which just does oversteer, understeer, weight transfer, etc. is a mandatory prerequisite for a track school.

    The bad schools will just let you go out there and drive like a yahoo.

    --Andre
     
  6. GQgeek

    GQgeek Senior member

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    PDC is more than just track days though, you learn driving skills and responses that can come in very handy in real life, reaction to oversteer/understeer are good examples.

    I was also reading OP as being on the fence about buying a car to track. Best way to find out if he's gonna like this at all is to do it with someone else's car. I will admit though, factoring in tuition and travel (if he's flying in), it's an expensive option, but I've been in situations where properly learning to respond to my rear end coming out from under me on a slick road has been priceless.


    Which courses did you take?

    Does anyone have any thoughts on the BMW courses vs. others?
     
  7. 13k

    13k Senior member

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    Which courses did you take?

    Does anyone have any thoughts on the BMW courses vs. others?


    Just noticed this section of the forum... but BMW is a good entry level program. Porsche, Lotus has one too (depending on your location). Most of these are use your own car.

    If you're looking for a more advanced driving school, they cost anywhere from 500-4,000 (1-2 days) and may include professional instruction and provided cars to use.

    Some regional tracks (Mostly sanctioned SCCA tracks) have beginner courses available as well. I believe they run anywhere from 125-250 a day.
     
  8. darnelled

    darnelled Senior member

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    I'd just start looking at the scca regional site for your area. I've done a few at 2 different tracks and they are the most fun I've had in years. There are always a wide variety of cars and drivers and we were classed by experience.

    Each was $200 and included an instructor. I never buy the track insurance, but have seen wrecks at all but 1 of the events attended. One was a Viper that sustained $35k in damages and the owner went to the hospital for 3 days with a concussion- he came back with the car fixed and ready to go at the next event.

    It's the best safe and legal way to learn to drive your car to its limits.
     
  9. Kai

    Kai Senior member

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    My experience with track days is that they can cost anywhere from $120 on the low end, to $250 at the high end. It depends on who is organizing the events, and the costs of the track.

    I've not seen any insurance that will cover track days. These days, your regular insurance likely has an exclusion for anything that happens on a "racing surface" which means tracks are not covered even if you aren't racing. My rule of thumb is that if I can't afford to total the car and walk away from it, then I can't afford to drive that car at the track.

    Most of the track days I've been to have 20 minute sessions, which is about how long most sports cars can go before their tires and/or brakes and/or cooling systems become over worked.

    Most track days I've been to also have run groups that are based on speed and experience. Beginner run groups tend to have stricter rules about where you can pass other cars, and often require the car in front to give a "point by" to signal the car behind it's ok to pass. Moderate and advanced run groups tend to relax these rules, and often the advanced groups are simply passing at the driver's discretion.

    I've been to maybe 40 track days at 4 different tracks. I've seen a lot of cars take minor damage from spin outs onto dirt or smacking into tire walls, but I've only ever seen one car get seriously smashed up. It was a beautiful azure blue Ferrari 360 Convertible that drove straight into the concrete wall on a NASCAR "roval."

    There are some track days that are timed. These are generally referred to as "time attack" or "time trial" events. These are competition events, where the person with the fastest lap time of the day is the winner. SCCA, NASA, and some private clubs sponsor these events. The level of competition in some of these events can be pretty high, with some pretty fast cars, and pretty fast drivers.

    As for what car to get for track days, if I were looking for a relatively inexpensive car that was good on the track, I would likely get a Porsche 944. They can be had for not too much money, and they are a real blast to drive. A Mazda Miata would be another option.
     
  10. gnatty8

    gnatty8 Senior member

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    Which courses did you take?

    Does anyone have any thoughts on the BMW courses vs. others?


    M school, one day and went back for the two day. Also did a full day there with our bankers from Wachovia a few years back as part of a "client business meeting". Didn't drive just the Ms but the Z and some 3 series as well. I'd highly recommend the M school.
     
  11. darnelled

    darnelled Senior member

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  12. skalogre

    skalogre Senior member

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    link to the company offering track insurance at the events I attended-
    http://hpdeins.locktonaffinity.com/


    I use them, too. Rates are quite low for an older Miata. Have not had to file a claim thankfully but the peace of mind is nice.
     

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