Shift Up: Track to the Future

Motoring with Lee Kahl.

Ever taken part in an organised track day? You should, because they’re jolly good fun!

My office is probably the same as most people’s. There are some people that view cars like a cheap DVD player or mobile phone and it doesn’t matter what make/model it is because its simply their means of getting from A to B.

There are people like me at the other extremity of the scale, that like the idea of an aftershave that smells like a petrol station’s forecourt and spend an unhealthy amount of time/money on their cars because it’s not only an interest or a hobby but a life long passion.

Then there are those in the middle and most people would fall into this category.

They like cars and some of them are fortunate enough to be able to afford to buy the cars they are really interested in.

That may range from something like a classic Mini Cooper, to a Alfa Romeo Spyder or even a super saloon like a BMW M5. But isn’t it bit of a shame to have these cars and not just for once drive them like they’re designed to be driven?

Track days are an ideal opportunity to have some fun with your car in a safe environment.
You can go as fast (or as slowly) as you are comfortable with and everyone (like you) is looking to go home with their cars in one piece at the end of the day.

Plus there are qualified trainers on hand to give you tuition if you want to improve your skills, photographers taking pictures of you in your car while you go round (which reminds me, I need to order some more picture frames…) and there are also novice-only days at some tracks where they’ll put you out only with other first timers.

It’s a great way to spend a day and a perfect opportunity to really enjoy your car without the risk of a £100 fine and three points on your license.

It’s probably a lot cheaper than you think too. I always go for what’s called an “Open Pitlane” track day, which means from the car park you can go on/off the track as much as you want.

These tend to start from as little as £99 for a full day and all you need to take with you is your car and a driving license.

A helmet can always be hired if you don’t have your own.

They’re held everywhere too.

The southeast is full of them. Brands Hatch, Snetterton, Goodwood, Lydden
Hill … and, of course, if you are happy to drive a bit further there are some big names like Silverstone, Castle Coombe, Donnington and a personal favourite of mine; Anglesey which is right on the edge of the coastline so the views are spectacular.

But I’ll warn you, track days become addictive. You’ll want to drive every UK track there is. Before you know it you’re in Germany driving around the Nurburgring; which you should do by the way because it’s awesome.

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