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Track Days for Beginners

So, you want to race your car or motorcycle around a track, but you're not sure what you need to do because it's your first track day event.

The information in this section explains what to expect from a track day or a driving experience organised by one of the companies around the United Kingdom.

Track Day Guide for Drivers and Riders

First of all, event attendees do not need to have any previous racing experience.

But, you will need to have at least one of the following documents:

Tip: Motorsport UK (Britain's governing body for motorsport) issues racing licences.

Track Days vs. Driving Experiences

Will this be your first drive (or ride) around an established motor racing circuit? If so, you should understand the difference between a track day event and a driving experience.

In simple terms, track days are racing events where drivers or riders use their own vehicles (a car or motorcycle). So, you get to feel how your car or motorbike handles itself around the track. In general, it will be a full day or an evening event.

Driving experiences are 'test drives' that take place in vehicles supplied by the organisers. Furthermore, there will be a driving instructor present and you'll usually have shorter time limits - up to four (4) laps. The vast majority of driving experiences are classified as (either):

Important: Some of the venues for track days and driving experiences (e.g. famous circuits and airfields) allow non-licence holders, and children from age twelve (12), to drive a car. Another section explains how to prepare your car for a track day in the United Kingdom.

Beginners Guide to Track Days

Being able to test the speed and handling abilities of your own vehicle around a track is exhilarating. Moreover, racers get to do it away from public roads and highways - in a safe and controlled environment.

Arrival at the Circuit (Signing On)

  1. Almost all race circuits will conduct the registration process at the signing desk early in the morning (e.g. around 7.30am).
  2. Drivers and riders get to sign all relevant paperwork and have their driving licence checked (you may already have an official confirmation document).
  3. The organisers will give you a sticker that you need to display on your vehicle. The sticker indicates your specific ability group. As a rule, you will also need to get your vehicle noise tested.
  4. The next step is to attend the mandatory driver (or rider) briefing. This usually takes around twenty minutes to complete. Staff members will brief you about the schedule, track etiquette, and circuit training.

What Do the Flags Mean?

Racing Formats

Grouped Format

Attendees are usually split up into two or three groups on grouped track days. Hence, according to any relevant previous track experience, you will be grouped as (either):

In most cases, the first session starts at 9:00am for the advanced group (for 20 minutes). Next, the intermediate group starts for twenty minutes, and then the novice group goes last.

The rotation keeps repeating until 1pm. This is when the circuit closes for a one hour lunch break. You can usually refuel your vehicle during the break and buy snacks and meals at the circuit.

Open Pitlane Format

The Open pit lane format is the most popular because it usually gives you an extended track time. In this format, all driver and rider levels will use the track at the same time. Most Open pit lane events allow you to stay out on the track for as long as you wish.

Motorcycle Track Day Ability Levels


This ability group best suits riders who will be doing a track day event for the first time. Often, the Novice group goes out first, riding behind either an instructor, a pace rider, or through the use of sighting laps.

Another section explains the basics about bring your own bike track days and where to find the best circuits for beginners to race motorcycles.


This group is suitable for riders with some prior experience with riding around a Circuit. They may also add any 'quicker' riders from the Novice group.


This group is only for riders who have experience and they are fast. Thus, many of the riders in this group will already be holding racing licences.

Note: The Advanced ability group sometimes uses these events to get some "track time' before a race. Even so, track day rules still apply as "racing" is not permitted on public track days.

Car Track Day Ability Levels

The majority of car track days in the United Kingdom follow the open pitlane format. As a result, they tend to suit all ability levels.

Exception: Some events are suitable "only" for experienced track day drivers. Hence, you should always give an honest answer when asked about your driving or riding ability and any previous experience.

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