What advice would you give to a beginner track driver?27 Jul, 2023
Beginning Your Journey
If you've just decided to venture into the world of track driving, congratulations! It's an exciting, adrenaline-packed realm that is sure to leave you on the edge of your seat. But as with any new endeavour, it can be a bit daunting. But don't worry, Kieran has got you covered. Let me take a moment to share some wisdom from my own experiences and provide some practical tips and advice for those stepping into the world of track driving for the first time.
Finding the Right Vehicle For You
Alright, let's start with the basics: your car. Depending on your budget, this could be anything from a small hatchback to a top-of-the-range supercar. But for beginners, it doesn't necessarily matter what car you choose, what matters is that it's reliable, safe, and not too powerful. A lot of beginners opt for something used or cheap as they're learning. In my case, I started with a beaten-up, second-hand Ford Escort. It was far from glamorous but it got the job done.
Understanding Your Car
Now that you've got your track-ready car, it's time to familiarise yourself with it. And by that, I don't mean just knowing where the radio and climate control buttons are. You should know your vehicle inside out. Understand how it handles, brakes, accelerates and takes corners. Understand the limits of the car and how it behaves when you push it against those limits. This will tremendously boost your confidence and enhance your control over the car on the track.
Invest In Safety
This is non-negotiable, safety should always come first. Invest in a good helmet, fire-resistant racing suit, shoes, and gloves. These will all provide an additional safety net whilst you're tearing up the track. Also, make sure your car is prepared too – you'll need a roll cage, racing seats, harnesses, and a fire extinguisher. Trust me, as much as you care about your car's speed, you should care more about making sure you're safe in there.
The Importance of Driving School
Almost every track offers some sort of beginner’s course to help you develop driving skills. Join one of these courses. It's not just about learning to drive fast, but about understanding your car, the rules of the track, and your capabilities. Drivers’ schools give you an opportunity to learn from professional instructors and can help you gain confidence on the track. Let's face it, they know a thing or two about track driving that we might not.
Practice Makes Perfect
Yes, it's a cliche, but it's also a fact. The more you drive, the better you'll become. I remember when I first started, it was kind of nerve-racking, but over time I got used to the sound of the tyres screeching, the smell of the burning rubber and the feel of my heart pounding against my chest. So, take every chance you get to practice. The more seat time you get, the better you will understand yourself as a driver and the more fun you will have on the track.
Track Etiquette Matters
Track driving isn't about reckless abandon. You can't just show up and start tearing around the circuit without a care in the world. There are rules that need to be respected. When it comes to overtaking, you need to remember it's not a race, it's a practice session. Don't make a pass unless it's safe. If a faster car wants to get by, let them, it’s not a race. Respect the flags, understand what they mean and react accordingly.
Remember, It's Supposed to be Fun!
Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, have fun. This is, after all, supposed to be a hobby, an escape from the regular world. It's not worth the stress if you're not enjoying yourself. Don't be too hard on yourself if you're not hitting those lap times you're aiming for. Slow down, relax, enjoy the experience. And remember: even the best drivers in the world had to start somewhere.
So, all in all, if you're just starting your track driving journey, soak it all up, immerse yourself in the experience, learn and grow, but most importantly, have fun! You're bound to experience bumps along the way, but remember, it's all part of the ride, and I, Kieran, will be here to provide more tips and advice along the way.