Few things pair better than a cool car and a fun track. But figuring out how to get your cool car onto a fun track can be intimidating when you’re new to motorsports.
Attending a nearby track day is a great way to get started, allowing you to get more involved in your local motorsports community and find out what you and your car are truly capable of. However, track days aren’t free. There are some obvious and not-so-obvious expenses to get your car on the track. If that has you wondering, “Well, what are the costs of a typical track day? — fear not. We have answers to that question and more.
Read on to find out how much a track day costs, what expenses to plan for and why track day insurance is an important line item to budget for.
How Much Does a Track Day Cost?
Like any hobby, motorsports comes with associated costs. These costs can run the gamut, depending on how much you have to spend and how invested you want to become in the sport. Track day events are one of the most popular ways to get involved and learn more about the capabilities of your car. They’re also more affordable than options like intensive racing schools.
Depending on a number of factors, you can expect to pay somewhere between $300 to $3,000 to participate in a track day event, with $1,500 serving as a good ballpark estimate for the overall cost of a typical day. At the lower end of this scale, you are looking at the bare minimum of what it takes to get you on a local track. Higher track day averages include more of the associated costs that you’re likely to incur, even if you’re not currently thinking about them. We’ll break down what those costs are next.
What Track Day Expenses Should You Plan for?
It can be really helpful to think about track day budgeting ahead of time. In general, you will find that motorsports events are a lot more fun when you’re prepared — there are fewer surprises and things to worry about, plus you can give more of your focus to learning and participating. Some key track day expenses to plan ahead for will typically include:
A registration fee of about $200 to 500 per day is standard for most track day events. Registration fees exist to help support the organizing club or track cover their expenses, which can be substantial. For track day participants, the registration fee is a key expense, usually due up front at the time of registration. Note that this cost estimate is for single-day events. There are many wonderful two- and three-day events that come with higher fees.
To participate in some events, you may need to join a club and pay its annual membership fee, which usually runs about $50 for the year for most clubs. While some events are hosted by the track operator itself, many more are hosted by a local car club chapter from such groups as the BMW Car Club of America, the Porsche Club of America, Chin Track Days, Sports Car Club of America or Sports Car Driving Association. Usually, an event hosted by a club will advertise the event day cost and specify whether a club membership is also required to participate. If it is, it’s usually easy to join and pay the fee online at the same time as registration.
Miscellaneous Event Fees
Miscellaneous event fees include other costs you may need to budget for at the event itself and can range from $0 to $250 and up. Many are optional expenses only available at specific tracks or for specific events, such as garage rentals (about $250), second driver fees (about $85), RV parking (about $100) or on-grounds campsite rentals (about $50). However, if you’re new to motorsports, there may be an additional fee of about $100 for one-on-one instruction or coaching of novices at certain events and this fee may be required in order to participate.
Safety equipment of one kind or another is required at most track day events with costs ranging from $50 to several thousand dollars and up. The one piece of safety equipment almost everyone now requires is a motorsports-rated safety helmet. Some event series will rent out helmets for around $50 per day, others expect you to show up with your own. These helmets cost around $250 and up and can last for 5–10 years, as long as they’re undamaged. Fire suppression systems are also required at some events and these can cost from about $300 to $1,000. Many drivers who get deeply invested in the sport will upgrade seats and seatbelt harnesses, add a roll bar and more. These upgrades can quickly add thousands to your budget.
A car at a track can have a voracious appetite, going through consumables like fuel, fluids, brakes and tires much faster than normal, costing participants an average of about $300 per track day. Many tracks have gas on site, but fueling up beforehand is cheaper. Even so, you may need to refill during the day, and that can add up at today’s prices. Fluids such as engine oil, coolant, transmission fluid and brake fluid may need to be topped up after an event or even during the day. Brakes and tires wear much more quickly under the forces on a track. While they should last about 10 track days, that’s a much faster replacement schedule than for highway and city driving.
Maintenance and Repairs
Maintenance costs before, during and after a track day can also add up, with typical track car fixes costing between $300 to $750 per repair. Most track days require you to show up with a vehicle that is already in safe operating condition, so you may need a repair before track day. Things do sometimes break at the track, but more often, they just wear out quicker. This is especially true for items like control arms and ball joints which may need to be repaired when you get home.
Travel and Accommodation
Unless you are lucky enough to live near your favorite track, you’ll likely need to plan for travel and accommodation expenses of $200 or more. Most track days start early, often around 7 a.m., and everyone is expected to be on time. Plus, after a long day out on the track, you probably won’t feel like making a drive home. One or two nights of a nearby hotel, plus gas to get there and back, will probably be part of your overall expenses.
While it’s not typically a big expense, it’s a good idea to set aside $50 to $100 for incidental personal expenses. This can be your meals, but also incidentals like sunscreen or bug spray. Plus, you may need to pick up a storage tote or tarp for your track day. All your supplies will need to be stored outside your car on the paddock while you are on the track.
Track Day Insurance
Last but not least, it’s a good idea to save room in your budget for track day insurance, which typically costs between $150 to $500 per event, depending on a number of factors, like your car’s make, model, modifications and value. There are events where proof of track day insurance is required by organizers and others where it is strictly optional.
Why Is Track Day Insurance Important?
While a hobby like motorsports always entails a few unexpected costs on track day, you don’t want one of those costs to be an expensive repair bill or the loss of your vehicle. Insurance is one of the more important track day expenses to think about because of the risk of an accident that may not be covered by your regular car insurance policy.
Track day events prioritize safety, but accidents caused by events outside your control do still happen. Without coverage, you could be out your investment in a dedicated track car or your daily driver.
Track Day Insurance from Lockton Motorsports is specifically designed to protect your car from physical damage while you’re participating in an event. Coverage is available for HPDE, track day and time trial events and comes with added benefits, protecting:
- Street-legal cars and non-licensed track cars.
- Modifications you’ve made to your car.
- Two drivers at each event at no additional cost.
- Any demonstration laps your instructor drives.
You can purchase track day coverage conveniently, either ahead of time or the day of an event, online at LocktonMotorsports.com. Have a question? We’re happy to help! Give us a call at (866) 582-4957 to speak to our motorsports insurance experts.