Here is some basic information about trackdays, what they are, who can participate, flags meaning, etc. Please consider this as a general information. Depending on the organizer and type of trackday, things may vary.
So you will find below a few frequently asked questions (and answers), plus the meaning of the commonly used flags. For specific questions about car or bike trackdays, please refer to the appropriate section or follow the links at the bottom of this page.
if you have specific questions or suggestions about what should be added to this article, just let us know!
What is a trackday?
On a typical trackday, participants are either allowed to drive on a circuit as much as they want (aka open pitlane), or are given a sports/safety driving course by experienced instructors. On most of the trackdays, participants drive their own car or bike, while some specific courses might provide them.
The goal of a trackday is to test a vehicle's speed and handling in a safe and controlled environment, away from normal traffic. Improving the driver/rider's skills should be on top of the day's goals, as well as... having fun!
Who is this for?
Normally, anyone with a valid driver's license is allowed to attend a trackday. Depending on the event, special requirements may apply. A race-license is only required for... races.
Besides, there's no need to have the latest, greatest and quickest car or bike to participate. Especially if you're planning to attend a safety course, your daily-driver will do a perfect job. Just make sure it's in optimal conditions though (brakes, fluids, tyres, etc).
What about insurance?
It's quite rare that an insurance company covers damages that happened during a trackday. Some courses might offer a special insurance for the day, but it's recommended to check this point with the insurer before the event. Some insurance companies offer trackday coverage, even for races.
Open pitlane? Course? Race? What's this?
An 'open pitlane' trackday is when the organizer just rents the track and lets the participants use it as much as they want without giving special instruction. Depending on the type of vehicles, number of participants and their experience level, length of the track, etc, the organizer might define groups and specific schedule.
A 'course' is either a safety course taking place not on a circuit but rather on a driving-center (with skid pads, wet zones, etc), or a course to learn a new track while also improving basic driving skills.
A 'race' is... well... a race! This can go from locally organized slaloms to club races to hard-fought race series. These events will usually require a proper race-license (from local to international rating), but even the local or club races are very exciting ways of getting a glimpse of what might happen at a higher level!
I'm not very experienced. Will other participants be pissed if I'm too slow?
No. Everybody has been a beginner, and experienced participants are usually more than willing to help newcomers. Just stick to the organizer's rules, try to drive in a predictable way (don't slalom randomly on the track) and try not to block the whole track. Most importantly, don't pretend to be a world champion if you're a novice. Let your ego on the parking lot and don't overdo it. There's always someone who's quicker than you... So have fun while improving your driving skills!
Here the meaning of the most commonly used flags.
|Yellow: Hazard/danger on the track. Slow down and be prepared to change direction or stop. Overtaking is not permitted.|
|Yellow with red stripes: Oil or water on the track. Be extra-cautious.|
|Green: Track is clear. Shown after a yellow-flag section or at the stat of a practice session.|
|Blue: A faster vehicle is about to overtake you.|
|White: A slow vehicle is on the track.|
|Red: Session is interrupted. Reduce speed and slowly drive back to the pits. Overtaking is not permitted.|
|Checkered: End of session or race.|