Thinking of taking your Porsche to the track? Here’s what to expect.
Porsches were meant to be DRIVEN and the safest way for an inexperienced driver to do that is at a track. By tracking your car, you can get a feel for and get more comfortable with its performance, handling, braking and shifting. Even if you don’t have aspirations for getting into road racing, drivers education track days are great for honing your driving skills in an atmosphere that’s instructive, spirited and fun.
If you’re new to the track, we’ve created a handy guide of what you should expect and tips to get you through your first track experience.
Which organization should you run in?
There are several organizations that run in tracks throughout the country and there really aren’t any that we don’t recommend. However there are two that we frequent more often that our clients enjoy. Those are:
Porsche Club of America Club Racing
PCA events are great for the beginners because it offers coaching and a great introduction to the fundamentals of your Porsche. The PCA DE Program provides a safe, structured and controlled learning environment for new drivers. Their program is designed so that the driver can improve his or her driving abilities and get a better understanding of vehicle dynamics and driving safety.
Once you’ve had a few track days under your belt, we recommend the David Murry Track Days to further test the limits of your skill and your vehicle. These events also offer dynamic, interactive coaching with current professional racers throughout the event to help you get to the next level.
When deciding which event you want to participate in, you need to consider the structure of the event. There are two different types of formats for how a track day is structured. You will learn which you like better and which one is more conducive to your learning style.
Open Track, such as the David Murry events, means that every driver can go onto the track when they like. So that could mean you’re sharing the track with just a few cars, or several cars and at all different experience levels. However, you decide how much downtime you have and you don’t have to wait for your specific session. This is great for drivers working with coaches so that you can quickly get back on the track to start implementing the feedback.
The PCA Club Racing events are sessioned track days. That means that each driver is broken into a group (usually determined by driving experience) and you can only be on the track during your session. Sessions typically last between 20 minutes up to an hour. This format is great for first timers, because you’re only on the track with others at your skill level. This can be a less overwhelming experience for beginners.
If you are interested and want to know what events are in your area for these organizations and others, visit our track calendar on our website. You can filter to show just the DE events and by track location.
What does a typical day at the track look like?
Each track organization does things a little differently, but a typical day will go as follows:
7:30 am: Arrive at the track
8:00 am: Sign in with the organizer and sign waivers
8:30 am: Drivers’ meeting where the organizer will review track rules and safety
9:00 am: Track opens for racing
12:00 pm: Lunch Break
1:00 pm: Track opens for racing
5:00 pm: Track closes for day
Cost and Insurance
The cost of the events varies per the organization, length of the event and the track. However, you can expect them to be anywhere between $150-$300.
Another cost associated with the track weekend is the insurance. There are several reputable companies you can find online, and some track organizations will give you a list of companies to choose from. Check the organizations website to find their insurance requirements.
There are requirements for what safety gear you will need to have to participate in the track events. Here’s the list of the most common:
This is an obvious one. When shopping for one, make sure it fits well, meaning the top of your head fits snug and your checks are pressed against the pads.
Gloves will help you grip the steering wheel and keep your hands dry.
Race boots will help you feel the pedals more because of their thin soles. Not a necessary expense to start with, but a purchase to think about as you get more track time under your belt. Feeling the pedal will help with your development.
Track Car Prep
The requirements for your car will be about the same with every event organizer. Here are the main components of your car you should worry about.
Wheels & Tires
Do a visual inspection of the tires to make sure they have enough tread to get you through the event. If you see tears, embedded objects, etc then its best to get a new pair for the track. Your tires will get a lot of wear and tear during the event and you don’t want to run the risk of blowing a tire and losing the weekend (and your money).
Check the torque of all the wheel nuts before you drive onto the track. Also, check the tire pressure and adjust as necessary. You should do both of these after every session as soon as you get off track.
You will be very hard on your brakes on the track and you need to make sure your brake pads are good. You’ll most likely need to replace your brake pads after the event and a good pair of racing brake pads may not be necessary for your first few events, but it’s definitely something to think about as you start frequenting the track more. We recommend the Race Technologies RE10 Race Brake Pad.
Track Day Support
There are many race shops that offer track support for not just race weekends but also for drivers education weekends. Their fees can vary depending on the type of services you need, but most can be between $100-$300 dollars a day. Support typically includes:
At Pulse Racing Services, we offer a few different levels of track support depending on your experience level and needs.
If you don’t bring track day support, you can certainly attend an event on your own (lots of drivers do) but don’t go empty handed. Here’s a list of tools you should definitely have in your tool box to make sure you are prepared for a day at the track:
Now that you know what to expect, sign yourself up for an event! Driver education track days are a great way to get more comfortable with the performance of your Porsche and improve your driving skills. Also, it’s fun to get to know more people in the Porsche community in an encouraging environment.
Stay tuned for upcoming blogs on driving techniques and performance upgrades that will help you get even more out of your Porsche at the track.