|The pit lane|
Castle Donington, Derby
6th October 2014
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I join MGs on Track?
If you are looking for safe, fun track days in a friendly environment at a reasonable price and are happy with our rules and etiquette then you should join.
What is a track day?
Track days are an opportunity to take your car away from the public road, and drive your MG quickly and in the relative safety of a racing circuit or airfield track.
There are no speed cameras or hidden police officers with speed guns. There are no caravan-induced traffic jams or traffic coming in the opposite direction. Just you, your car, and like-minded enthusiasts on a challenging length of twisting tarmac.
It is worth noting that track days are in no way, shape or form, a competitive event. For competitive driving, get a motorsport licence, and compete in a speed or race championship! On a track day, organisers take a predictably dim view of any participants obviously racing each other, or timing their laps.
Remember, this is a fun event! It's about driving quickly, but with due care and consideration for those around you. As the old MG motto goes: "Safety Fast!"
How are track days organised (Sessions, Open Pit Lane)?
Typically, track days are organised either as "sessioned" events or as "open pit-lane" events. In both cases, only a limited number of cars are allowed on the track at any given time to make sure you're not driving amongst excessive traffic.
In a sessioned track day, all the participants are divided into 3 or 4 large groups. The groups are usually chosen so you'll be with similar performance vehicles and with drivers with similar levels of experience. Each group will go out, one by one for a 'session', usually between 15 and 30 minutes, and then you'll all return to the pits together and the next group will go out. This is a good, sociable format, as it allows everyone in the same session to get together and compare driving notes!
An open-pit lane has no sessions. You can go out when ever you like, and stay out for as long as you like. The marshals will only allow a certain number of cars on the track at any given time, so you may have to queue to get back onto the track. This format is good fun - but remember, the longer you stay out on the track, the hotter your tyres will get, the more wear your brakes will receive, the more of a roasting your engine will get – and the more tired you'll become – so don't plan to spend the entire day out on track!
Is my MG suitable?
Yes, your MG is absolutely perfect for track days! We do expect all cars to be able to meet safety and noise emission requirements. All cars need to meet MOT standards, seatbelts, brakes, indicators and lights all need to work and tyres must be in good condition.
On a sessioned track day, you will be grouped with similar performance cars, so there should be little worry about holding up faster cars, or getting held up by much slower machinery.
If you have a classic MG you may want to invest a bit more care and attention in preparation, checks on engine health, brake performance and safety areas. If you are aware of your car suffering from severe oil leaks, you'd be advised to get this attended to: track day organisers and marshals take a predictably dim view of oil (or indeed any other fluid other than rain) on the track!
I've never driven on track before, am I welcome?
Yes! We want to encourage more enthusiasts to take part in days and first time beginners are always very welcome at any of our events.
If the day is being run in "sessions" you'll be grouped with other people with little or no track day experience anyway, so there's no worry about getting in the way of more experienced drivers.
Are track days dangerous?
Track days are a form of motorsport and like any form of motorsport it can be dangerous. The best bit of advice is to drive within your limits, start out cautiously and then start to explore the limits of you and your car during the course of the day.
Because there is no competition, do not feel as though you need to go as fast as the next man and take it at your own pace. Track days are usually at a race-circuit or an airfield, where hard things that might get hit are few and far between. However all circuits have some Armco and tyre walls – and you want to avoid them! Pace yourself accordingly. All track days are well marshalled, and have full medical and emergency services support. So if the worst were to happen, there are trained experts at hand.
Is tuition available?
We will have ARDS (Association of Racing Drivers' Schools) registered instructors at all of our events and you will be able to book an instructor for a session when booking the event. This is something you may want to take, particularly if you are new to track days or if you've never driven one particular circuit before. Additionally, it is often possible to pay for instruction on the day of the event itself if you feel you would like some guidance on track driving.
Can I have more than one driver with only one car?
In most cases we will allow a car to be booked on our track days with two drivers sharing the track time. We do not recommend more than two drivers except in exceptional circumstances. Please contact us to confirm.
Do I need any special equipment?
The only current requirement for every track day is a helmet conforming to BS6658 Type A or Snell SA2000. These can often be hired on the day but please check the individual event information in advance.
Whilst the above helmet standards are currently acceptable for our track days, the latest Motor Sports Association (MSA) standard for helmets excludes 'BS6685 Type A' and notes that 'Snell SA2000' may be withdrawn from 01/01/15. We are under increasing pressure from many circuits to change our helmet standard to conform to the latest MSA standards and recommend anyone buying a new helmet to get a Snell SA2005 or SA2010. There are many companies that will sell you a helmet (e.g. Demon Tweeks, Grand Prix Racewear, etc.).
Our MGs on Track helmets conform to Snell SA2005
It is also compulsory to have both your arms and legs fully covered by your clothing. Other 'safety' clothing and equipment are optional, although many circuits require you to cover your arms. If you want the full Michael Schumacher battle dress - no problem!
Having a AFFF fire extinguisher - ideally with a capacity of 1.5litres - securely fastened in the car and within reach of the driver is a good idea, but not compulsory.
What are the rules (track-day etiquette)?
Specific instructions may vary from track to track, but there are several common rules:
* ALL of our track days are non-competitive
* Overtaking is only by consent
* Overtaking is only allowed on the left
* Overtaking is only allowed on straights, NEVER in corners
There will be a drivers' briefing at the start of every track day and you MUST attend this before you will be allowed to drive on track. The specific rules which apply to that event will be explained at the briefing.
You must also be aware of the marshals and of the flag system or warning lights which will be used at the track. These will be explained to you at the drivers' briefing, but the basics are (note that the details may vary):
Red Flag: Danger ahead. Brake and slow RIGHT down (drop it into first gear and cruise at about 10 mph so if you need to stop, you can do so immediately).
Yellow Flag: Caution - be aware that there may be a problem or obstruction ahead. Be ready to stop.
Blue Flag: A faster car is behind you, and you are holding them up - pull over as soon as you can for them.
Chequered Flag: Game over - it's the end of the session. Slow down for your cooling lap, and re-enter the pits at the end of the next lap.
Black flag: You've done something very naughty or something is dropping off your car! You need to go and see the chief marshal immediately.
What do I need to do to my car to prepare for a track day?
Preparing your car for a track day is not as daunting as perhaps it may sound. The main principle that you need to bear in mind is that your car is going to undergo some very heavy use - much more than the equivalent mileage on the road for example. Therefore there are three areas you need to look at:
The engine is going to be used hard - you don't need us to tell you this! So with this in mind, check that all the vital fluids are topped up, but not beyond their maximums - having too much is sometimes just as bad as having too little. Check the condition of the oil - if a black sludge is evident on the dipstick, then consider getting the oil changed!
Again, this is not a difficult thing to predict - so check that your seat belts are in good condition and your seat is securely and properly fastened to the floor pan. Check the condition of the brakes - you are going to be using these hard, so if you don't know when the fluid was last changed, changing it before the fluid boils on the track and you lose your brakes, would be a good idea. Likewise, check the condition of the brake surfaces and pads - if you are unsure how to do any of this, get your local mechanic/garage to check this out for you.
This is the most vital interface between you, in the car, and the road surface below. Those boring round things will be doing the most work keeping you on the black stuff and off the greenery... So check the condition of the tyres - the tread, the tyre walls (make sure that the walls have no bulges or blisters) and tyre pressures.
Beyond this, it is a question of having a car in good condition, paying particular attention to the suspension. But most of all, what we are talking about is common sense!
What vehicle checks do I need to perform on the day?
Pretty much as described in the previous answer really:
* Tyre pressures and tyre condition
* Oil level and oil condition
* Water level
What are the noise restrictions and will my car pass?
Many of the tracks in the UK have noise restrictions imposed on them but these limits vary from track to track. The limit for each event is displayed with the event information.
If a car is over the official limit, the car will not be allowed onto the circuit and MGs on Track will have no say in this process. If you do not know what the noise output of your car is, as a general guide most standard road cars will record lower than 98db (the strictest enforced at any of the venues used by us), indeed many sports exhaust systems will also, but may reach 102-3db.
Am I insured?
Although track day accidents are rare, if you decide to take your car on to a track, you must be aware that you are accepting the risk. You will be required to sign a declaration at each event, this is usual on any track day. The circuit, MGs on Track or any other person or company cannot be held responsible, even if an accident is not your fault.
Your standard road going insurance policy is unlikely to cover you for driving your car on track. You should check with your insurance company whether they offer any cover and emphasise that track days are non-competitive and no racing or timing is allowed.
Some insurance companies allow participation in a limited number of club organised track days each year for a small additional premium (£25-£50), although they are likely to increase the excess for the day (typically £1000-£3000).
My road going insurance doesn't cover me, what are the options?
There are a number of specialist companies who offer insurance cover for one-off track days and you can buy as much cover as you feel sensible just for day. If you are not insured, then clearly you take the risk that you will have to pay for anything that happens to your car. This is true even if the damage is caused by someone else as insurance policies typically don't cover damage to third parties.
Some people do take this risk. This isn't quite as bad as it sounds as driving around a track is actually much safer than driving on the road. There is no oncoming traffic, no junctions or distractions etc. The rules of track days are well laid out and policed by marshals. Anyone who drives discourteously or dangerously is black flagged and taken off the track.
If you wish to arrange insurance cover, the following contacts may be helpful:
Competition Car Insurance
Tel: 0115 941 5255
MOtorSport Race&Rally Insurance Services
Tel: 020 7709 9559
Where can I get more information?
We hope you found this FAQ useful but if you would like any further information you can post your questions in The Pitlane where other members will be only too glad to help.
Additionally, if you have more questions or can let us know any way we can improve this section please email us at email@example.com