If you’re just discovering motorsports for the first time, you may have questions about Track Days. It’s a hobby that seems simple at first — having fun driving a fast car around a racetrack — then you realize it’s a bit more complicated. But not to worry. Today, we’re answering all your questions.

Here are your top 10 track day questions answered by our experts at Lockton Motorsports.

What Exactly Is a Track Day?

A track day is an organized event where ordinary drivers are allowed to drive on a racetrack. It’s a unique opportunity where you can improve your driving skills, learn more about the capabilities of your car and drive on the same tracks that famous racecar drivers race on.

Track days are non-competitive, with drivers using the track individually or in groups of similar skill levels. Both street-legal cars and dedicated track cars are allowed. Events are often structured into informational sessions, coaching sessions, track sessions and more. Track day drivers can expect to learn about safety and self-improvement in a fun and supportive environment.

How Long Does a Track Day Last?

Each track and track day organizer does things a little differently, but in general, a track day is an all-day event held on a Saturday or Sunday. Check-in and registration takes place early, around 7:30 a.m. in the morning on the day of the event. Informational and safety meetings follow, with one or two track sessions before lunch. Then after a break, drivers will have one or more afternoon track sessions. Things on the track usually wind down about 5:00 p.m., though social events may continue well into the evening. Most events last a single day, but some will have two or three days of structured activities.

Are Track Days Dangerous?

Whenever a motor vehicle is involved, there’s always some risk of accident or injury. However, many participants at track days say they are safer than public streets and highways, and there are a few reasons why that is.

  • Track events put a heavy focus on safety and learning as well as speed and fun. Every track day starts with a driver meeting that goes over the event’s rules and safety procedures.
  • Track cars are often in better mechanical condition than cars on the road. Many events conduct their own tech inspections to confirm your car is safe before letting you on the track.
  • All track day drivers receive instruction from driving coaches and instructors during the event. Novice and intermediate drivers may even be required to work with an in-car instructor for added safety.
  • Safety equipment including seatbelts and Snell-rated motorsports helmets are required at virtually all track events. Some also require your car be equipped with a fire extinguisher.
  • Track day sessions are typically grouped by skill level. Novice, intermediate and advanced drivers will each have separate sessions, reducing the risk of accidents for everyone.
  • Event workers are stationed at every turn around the track. They use motorsports flags to communicate with drivers about issues such as track hazards, mechanical problems and more.

What Should I Bring to a Track Day?

Your packing list for a track day should contain everything you’ll need for your comfort, safety and logistics for a full day at the track. In general, plan on bringing these items to the track:

For car care and light maintenance: paper towels, window cleaner, basic hand tools, jack, torque wrench with a socket for wheel lug bolts/nuts, tire air pressure gauge, and spare bottles of coolant, engine oil and brake fluid.

For the event itself: full-length pants or coveralls, long-sleeve shirt, close-toed, rubber-soled shoes, driving gloves, Snell-rated helmet, any other track and safety apparel requested by the event organizers, driver’s license, proof of insurance, binoculars, clipboard, pen and paper, garbage bags, duct tape, and storage bins or a waterproof tarp.

For comfort and convenience: water, cooler, snacks, sunscreen, first aid kit, bug spray, ear plugs, sunglasses, hat, umbrella, rain suit or poncho, extra change of clothes, folding chair, camera and extra battery, cellphone, charger, wallet and keys.

See more about packing for an event.

What Are Track Day Cars?

A track day car can be a stock car, a modified car, a daily driver or a dedicated track-only car. As for make and model, truly almost any car could drive on a racetrack, but some are better suited to the task. Some of the most common track car make and model choices 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 BMWs, Miatas and Porsches. These cars typically make great track cars, whether you’re brand new or have years of experience.

See more about choosing a track car.

How to Book Track Day Events?

Booking a track day event to participate in is easier than you think. Every year, hundreds of different track events take place all over the country, from about February through November. If you search online, you’ll likely find there is a track nearby hosting events you can get involved in.

A number of dedicated organizations host track events around the country, including:

Another option is to search event listings on a platform like Track Rabbit. Once you find an event that interests you, read the details, make sure you meet the requirements and then sign up online. It’s a good idea to search for events a couple months ahead, since spots are limited and many events fill up quickly.

Which Is the Best Track Day Experience?

Most drivers say it’s hard to pick a favorite track or event. Each one offers unique challenges and learning opportunities. The best track day experience is personal, but the right approach can help you have a great time at any track day event.

Focus on these four basics:

  • Safety
  • Fun
  • Education
  • Speed

A safe event is going to be more fun for everyone involved. Plus, don’t forget to step back and enjoy what you’re doing — driving on a world-class track in your own car. Use track days to pick up skills you can take with you anywhere, enjoying the process, being patient with yourself and focusing on step-by-step improvements. Speed is the natural result of practicing and improving your skills — enjoy it.

How Much Does a Track Day Cost?

Like any hobby, participating in track day events costs money. However, how much you spend depends a lot on what the event involves and how much you want to budget.

Track days involve a range of typical expenses that can add up:

  • Registration fees may cost from about $200 to $500
  • Membership fees may cost $50 per year
  • Miscellaneous event fees can add $250 or more to your costs
  • Safety equipment costs can range from $50 to several thousand dollars and up
  • Consumables including fuel, fluids, brakes and tires can cost $300 per event
  • Maintenance and repairs can cost between $300 and $750 per repair
  • Travel and accommodation can add another $200 to your costs
  • Personal expenses may cost $50 to $100 per track day
  • Track day insurance typically costs between $150 to $500 per event

In all, you can expect to spend somewhere between $300 to $3,000 per event, with $1,500 serving as a ballpark average for the overall cost of a typical track day.

See more about track day costs.

How Much Is Track Day Insurance?

Car insurance is one of the costs you’ll likely want to factor into your track day budget. While your daily driver may already have coverage for the road, track driving generally isn’t covered. Specialty track day insurance is available to protect your car from damage at a cost of about $150 to $500 per event. The cost you pay depends on a number of factors, including your car’s make, model, modifications and value.

Is Track Day Insurance Worth It?

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 with Lockton Motorsports

Track days are better with Track Day Insurance from Lockton Motorsports. Our coverage is specifically designed to protect your car from physical damage while you’re participating in an event and it includes:

  • 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.

Along with Track Day Insurance, we also offer Off-Track Insurance to protect your track car when it’s not on the track, Auto-Cross with Off-Track Insurance for autocross enthusiasts and more.

You can purchase track day coverage conveniently, either ahead of time or the day of an event, online at LocktonMotorsports.com. Have more track day questions? We’re happy to help! Give us a call at (866) 582-4957 to speak to our motorsports insurance experts.