Track days Cardiff – Llandow
Cardiff track days are a brilliant way to experience driving, away from the constraints of speed limits, age restrictions and vehicle style.
The sensation of being thrown about strapped into a car with the specific purpose of getting round a circuit in the shortest possible time is to some almost narcotic in its attraction.
The thrill of experiencing the G force on cornering and acceleration makes the desire to repeat the track days trip almost involuntary.
There are two was to achieve this, one is to use your own car with all the concerns of wear and tear on the vehicle, the other is to sign up to one of many all inclusive track days.
Whichever way you do it, is a far better alternative of sitting on your sofa watching motorsport.
You don’t need to travel far to get the experience if you live in the Cardiff area, Track days at Llandow is only a few miles oput on the A48, an old airfield it has established itself as a venue for track days to experience fast saloon cars and motorbikes!
Track days – Driving your own car
First of all if its your first experience remember that there are always going to be drivers faster than you, this applies even if you are behind the wheel of a “quick” car.
Build up your speed and lets cars that are faster than you slip by. Some cars may look dated or ponderous but many of these have some serious and considerable modifications.
If you can get some instruction it will improve your driving significantly, racing lines into a corner are not always obvious and racing techniques may result in relearning some aspects of driving. It is all in the quest for speed after all.
After enjoying the first of your track days your experience will quickly make you realise that there is always more to learn about driving fast.
If you are taking your own car first of all remember no one cares what car you are driving. They will be looking at your driving and not your car. Drive your own race and don’t be forced by pride to do things you are not ready for.
The car you drive must be road legal to attend most track days and you MUST hold a full driver’s licence to drive a track or airfield event.
Your road car is unlikely to be up to one let alone a series of track days so let us consider the basics.
Your lap times will increase, not through putting your foot down on the straight but by braking and accelerating prudently. Late braking will save you seconds but if you leave it too late, do your extra braking in a straight line before turning in, braking and turning is NOT a good idea at all.
Give yourself room, the braking point of your car will be different, sometimes very different, a rear end shunt will probably give you the “donkey award”, best to avoid that.
Track days – Cornering
This is where the skill comes in, especially when there a combination of corners, watch out for adverse camber, though most tracks will be laid out with conventional corners. If there is an issue this is where you can learn most from the tuition offered at track days.
We have included some basic guidelines on cornering to get you started.
- IN THE STRAIGHT
Brake and change gear.
- AT THE START OF THE CORNER
Turn in, no throttle
- AT THE APEX OF THE CORNER
Accelerate as you unwind the lock
Let your speed take you to the outside of the track
One track mile equals 10 road miles so preparation is really important! For brakes its even harder.
Fill to the mark and top up regularly rather than overfill to compensate, whatever the age o the car you will use a lot of oil.
Fit new brake pads and consider a brake fluid with a higher boiling point brakes will be right at their limit and a set of pads per session is quite normal.
Keep sessions short to allow your brakes to cool.
SAVING MONEY TIP don’t put you handbrake on at the end of a session. If you brakes are hot, they could weld themselves solid !!
Normal practice is to overinflate your tyres a fraction by 2lb per square inch, expect to experience a significamt of tyre wear, heavy braking will certainly take its toll, this will be reduced if the track is wet.
Track days at home – Driving Simulators
As an alternative to wearing your brakes out or spinning off the track there is the option of an alternative to track days via a driving simulator. This is a terrific idea for kids parties or stag do’s and is a high quality experience. You can hire several simulators at he same time and set up time timed practice sessions or even a Grand Prix. If gaming is your favourite passtime then there is a whole range of simulators that are compatable with the gaming platforms.
Hiring a Track Car
If you want to save your own car then you can usually hire a car, and it does not need to cost a fortune.
Hiring a car for your track day can be a great alternative to using your own, particularly when you consider the wear and tear on your own vehicle.
You can start off with something like a WESTFIELD AERORACE for £750. For that you get 160bhp and a full cage, FIA seat, plumbed in fire suppression, LCD Race Technology Dash and adjustable dampers.
Or if you prefer a roof for the same money you can get a hot hatch such as the RENAULTSPORT CLIO 197 as the name suggests you get nearly 200 bhp.
Even though this is a front wheel drive car it is still massively popular at Cardiff track days!
Author Paul Taylor