Motorsports offers a truly unique opportunity to drive your own car on the same tracks that Formula One champions and Indy 500 winners race on. That’s a perk where no other sport can really compete. But it also results in many new motorsports enthusiasts wondering what kind of car is needed to drive on a track.
While it’s true that almost any car could drive on a racetrack, it’s worth taking some time to consider all your options when choosing a track car. You want a car that’s going to be right for you, especially if you’ll be driving your car on a track for organized HPDE events.
In this blog, we try to cover all the typical questions about track day cars and track car requirements for your first day at the track. Here’s what to know.
What Are the Requirements for a Track Car?
The first thing to check when choosing a track car is to find out what is required by track owners and event organizers. The specific requirements can vary, but the basics are usually quite simple.
You can participate in most track day events if you have a vehicle in good working order with:
- No worn or loose suspension parts
- A properly secured battery
- No bald or damaged tires
- Good working brakes
- Working seatbelts
- No major fluid leaks
Certain events may have more specific requirements. For instance, some organizers won’t allow convertibles without rollover protection and others won’t allow vehicles without a fire suppression system, so check the event organizer’s website for details when signing up.
If an event has added requirements your car doesn’t meet, don’t worry. There almost certainly is another nearby event coming up where your car will be accepted.
Do You Need a Dedicated Track Car?
Some motorsports enthusiasts prefer to have a dedicated track car that they only drive on the track. It’s certainly an option, even when you are starting out, but having a dedicated track car is not a requirement to participate in HPDE.
Many folks participate in motorsports by using a daily driver as their track car. Using a stock, street-legal daily driver as your track car can cut down on initial costs, but there are also other perks. Early on, you can learn more about driving and car control with a typical street car.
If you do decide to have a dedicated track car, you may be able to purchase more car for your money and save on the costs of making it street legal. But make sure to leave room in your budget for a trailer and tow vehicle if you’ll only be driving your car on the track.
Note: Whether you bring a daily driver or a car and trailer, make sure you have the right insurance before driving on the track.
Can You Use a Stock Car as Your Track Car?
Car modifications are common in motorsports, but they’re not required to participate in an event. A stock, unmodified car in good working condition is really all you need to have a great HPDE experience.
At your first event, you will focus on creating a solid foundation of high-performance driving skills. A reliable stock car helps you better feel weight transfer and it won’t mask little mistakes as much as a heavily modified car can.
You’ll see a whole range of cars at the track, from $2,000 beaters to $150,000 sports cars. Great fun can be had in any of them, though you may actually have a better learning experience in a stock, lower-performance car.
Does a Track Car Need Modifications?
While you may see some elite performance vehicles and heavily modified cars at the track, expensive car modifications aren’t needed to participate in your first track day.
Some people will wait to do their first event until after they’ve modified their car. However, it’s often better to do the opposite: drive first, modify later. Most drivers realize that they would have made different choices if they had waited until after they had some HPDE experience and knowledge.
If you do decide to do car mods, you will spend your money more efficiently if you start with a stock car and add to it as your personal performance improves, when you can truly identify the shortcomings of your car, and when you can get feedback from peers on the best changes to make. Waiting on mods is a great way to save money while still getting involved in HPDE.
What Are Some Examples of Good Track Cars?
There are lots of options if you don’t already have a vehicle and are looking for a good track car. You’ll see almost every type of car on a track eventually if you participate in motorsports long enough, but you will see some models more than others.
Some of the most common track car choices by enthusiasts include:
- BMW 3-Series
- Chevrolet Camaro
- Chevrolet Corvette
- Ford Focus
- Honda S2000
- Mazda Miata/MX-5
- Porsche 924-944
- Porsche Boxster/Cayman
- Subaru BRZ
- Subaru WRX/STI
- Toyota 86
Of all these options, the most popular are:
These cars typically make great track cars, whether you’re brand new or have years of experience. But remember, virtually any car can be a great track car with the right preparation.
Does Auto Insurance Cover My Track Car?
Whether you invest in a track-only car or decide to bring your daily driver to the track, it’s important to make sure you’re covered in case your car is damaged. HPDE isn’t wheel-to-wheel racing and safety is a key focus. However, most personal auto policies don’t cover driving on a track at an event. Here’s how to check your own policy for exclusions.
If your auto policy excludes HPDE, not to worry. Lockton Motorsports offers HPDE Insurance to protect your car on the track. Our coverage is easy to buy online, up till the minute you drive on the track. We cover modifications you’ve made to your car with our agreed value basis. And if you opt for a dedicated track car, we can also help protect your car and trailer when you’re off the track.
To learn more, visit LocktonMotorsports.com or call us at (866) 582-4957 to speak to our motorsports insurance experts.