Before you get excited – that is not me in the photo above. It’s a screen shot of a YouTube video! Anyway…
We’re heading into Autumn here in the UK and it’s been a disappointing summer for me – motorsport wise. I didn’t race in any go kart events after the few races earlier I did earlier this year, and I didn’t manage to get my Lotus Exige out on a track day!
Why? Well the Exige needed some serious work back in May/June and that came at a price. Despite spending a fair bit of money on the car, I then still needed to replace the rear tyres as they were absolutely shot – and I also had concerns about how loud my exhaust was for track day use. Let me explain…
I have a Jim Valentine 8×24 GT3 exhaust which is designed for track day use, at least it was, back in the day. But I also have his de-cat pipe placed behind it for some extra noise high revs (yes, yes, boy racer). And it’s this combination of the de-cat and exhaust that makes me think the car will not meet the track day noise limits, which can be quite strict at many UK circuits. This is something I’m going to have to get sorted for next year!
The other weapon: VW Golf R
Luckily I have a second option sitting on the drive way in the shape and form of my VW Golf R. 300bhp / 4WD and ready for some Autumn / Winter track day action!
I’m heading to Brands Hatch on October 17th for my first ever full open pit lane day – this is where shit gets real, if you’ll excuse my tongue for a moment. So just to remind you, I’ve only ever done track taster sessions, lasting no more than 30 minutes each on a circuit. On the 17th, I’ll be out there, all day if I choose, banging in lap after lap, trying to keep away from the barriers.
I’m excited, scared, overjoyed, petrified, enraptured and bricking it all at the same time. It’s quite a party of feelings going on inside me I can assure you. But importantly I feel like it’s my time to get out on the track and do this. Life is ticking by, (I just turned 30 by the way!), and all I want to do is go racing – so I need to get out there and get involved!
There are many risks with track daying, all of them quite obvious. Firstly there’s the battle against yourself – to look for the limit, without going over it. And then there’s the leap of faith you take with being on a circuit with 20+ other strangers. There is no way to know the ability of each of the drivers, you simply have to hope they listen to the instructions in the briefing and stick to the rules.
With me on the day with be my 3 business partners – one of which will be bring his Porsche Targa (1980’s). I wait with baited breath to see how that goes round Brands’ twisty and tricky Indy circuit.
Learning the Brands Hatch circuit
I’ve probably been to Brands Hatch over 50 times through my life. I know the place like the back of my hand. But that’s from a spectators point of view. I’ve only every driven round it once, for 25 minutes in the Exige, and I completely cooked my brakes (so the pedal went flat to the floor).
It’s a highly challenging circuit, one that can catch out the inexperienced if they are not careful. I want to master Brands so have pre-booked some driver tuition, which presumably will be given during my first few laps around the circuit. I am really looking forward to having a pro sitting next to me and showing me the ins and outs of this legendary track!
In the mean time, I’ve been studying this video which is my exact car and has audible tuition. So I’m making a head start and doing my home work before the big day.
I can’t wait to tell you how it went!
This is the track day we’ve booked: click here.