Track Racing on the East Coast

August 28th, 2011 Comments Off

I finally made it to a track this weekend., and had an amazing time!  There are a bunch of things I learned in general about track racing through this experience, as far as logistics of how to actually do it.

General Info

  • Tracks rent out in time intervals, at the rate of thousands of dollars per hour.
  • “Groups” (aka BMW Club, Porsche Club, SSCA, EMRA) rent out the track for a few hours or a whole weekend.
  • Every group runs the day differently, and some are much more serious and competitive than others.
  • I went with EMRA, which is not super competitive and whose rules are a bit more relaxed.  They allow stock cars, stock seatbelts to race.  You need to tape up any glass (sunroofs, headlights), and have a proper racing helmet (snell rated), but that’s about it!
  • SSCA is much stricter about cars — everybody needs a rollcage etc.  Don’t expect to bring a stock M3 here generally.
  • No matter what you’ll pay several hundred $ for a track day.
  • HPDE — High performance Driver Education Event.
  • HPDE Insurance is a great idea — usually you can get this either at the track or buy it online ahead of time.  I paid about $115 for insurance for the day.
  • There are several tracks within 3-4 hours of NYC — to find a track day you can either pick a car club and look at their schedule, or pick a track and look at the track’s schedule.
    • Lime Rock Park
    • Watkin’s Glen
    • Pocinos Raceway
    • New Jersey Motorstate Park (NJMSP)
    • Summit Point Circuit
  • Unlike Autocross you usually get a LOT of time on the track at an event like this.  Anywhere from 1.5 -> 3 hours!
Bring to the track:
  • Your own Snell 2005 or 2010 rated FULL FACE helmet!  (Expect to pay $300+ for a good one)
  • Blue masking tape — the stuff that doesn’t leave residue
  • Zip Ties (to tie on a timing transponder)
  • A Razor / Sizzor (to cut the zip ties at the end of the day)
  • An EMPTY car — nothing in the trunk, etc.
  • Fresh break pads!  (You eat these guys up at the track!)