Most people who own some type of fast car have always wanted to “see what it can do”. Of course, on the street this is NOT a good idea! So what options are there to be able to see how fast or how well your car handles at speed? Some people are really looking for a straight line speed that can best be learned at the local drag strip. Some people want to see how their car handles at speed. This is best learned at a local road racing track. Some people may want to drift their car. This also is best done at a local track.
So what options are out there to go fast and, hopefully, be safe in the process? Warning #1 – most insurance companies will NOT cover your car during ANY type of track activity! However, there are companies out there who do provide track day insurance. Be prepared to spend quite a bit on this type of insurance. Regardless of the cost, if you are worried at all that something may happen to your car, get the insurance. Paying a couple hundred dollars vs. many thousands of dollars can sometimes make sense.
Option 1: Autocross – high or low speed courses usually setup in a large parking lot with cones to mark the course. Only 1 car is allowed on a timed run at a time. You compete against the clock. Best time wins. Several of these events run throughout the year. Cost is very inexpensive.
Option 2: Track day at a local track. Road race course or oval. This option is easily available. Cost can run anywhere from $100 to $600 per day. The size of the track determines how fast you can go. Be prepared to slice and dice with many other drivers. Be very aware of your surroundings, other drivers, the flag system, passing rules, and the proper way to drive the track.
Option 3: Drag racing – Multiple options exist for opportunities to see how fast your car is at the quarter mile. Special events, test and tune times, and renting the track are all options. Cost can be anywhere from $3 per run, up to several thousand dollars per day to rent out the track.
Option 4: Gokarting – try your hand at one of the higher-speed karting tracks. Speeds can vary, but some tracks allow you to rent karts that can go over 100 mph. Most public tracks use electric or gas karts that can go anywhere between 45 and 60 mph. Cost can run anywhere from $15 to $60 per a set amount of laps.
If you are taking your car to the track, be sure to learn the rules, learn the track, and take it easy until you are used to the track layout and the way your car performs at speed. Back to the formal question posed at the beginning of the article: should I take my car to the track? The answer is a resounding YES!