Top Products for the Track
How to start racing cars
Terminology and Lingo
Signing up for your first Track Day or HPDE
Best track day and autocross cars
Preparing your car
Track Inspection Guide
Racing Sim Setup Guide
Handling emergency situations
Skills and Knowledge
FWD vs. RWD vs. AWD
Understeer and Oversteer
The Racing Line
Knowing your car
Thunderhill Raceway Park
Laguna Seca Raceway
Buttonwillow Raceway Park
Willow Springs Raceway
Auto Club Speedway
Chuckwalla Valley Raceway
Orgs and Clubs
Handling emergency situations on the racetrack
When you go off track
- When you lose control and are about to go off track, try to straighten your car and go off in a straight line instead of trying to get your car back on track. This way, if the run-off area is muddy or bumpy, you won’t risk the side wheels catching and causing your car to flip.
- When you are re-entering the track, make sure there is no incoming traffic in sight.
- If you go fully off track, you’ll likely get black-flagged and have to exit to the pits and meet with the track official. Even if you’re not in view of a flag station and don’t get black-flagged, you should still go to the pits for a quick debrief and see if there is any damage.
- If you go two wheels off track, you may still get black-flagged, otherwise, it’s generally fine to continue driving. Just take it easier your next few laps.
When your wheels lock up
- Locking up happens when you are braking but the tires cannot grip the pavement. In this situation, the brakes stop the wheels from turning, but the car continues sliding.
- To recover from a lock up, release brake pressure quickly but smoothly to regain traction. You shouldn’t release your brakes completely because you may upset the balance of the car. When you find traction again, re-apply the brakes. Repeat quickly as necessary to regain full control of your car. Read more about braking here: .Braking
When you start sliding (and you don’t mean to)
- Don’t step hard on the brakes, that will shift the weight of the car and upset it, which may reduce your grip.
- Turn your wheels into the slide (countersteer) and then gradually turn them back to neutral as the car straightens out. If countersteering causes the rear of your car to swing out in the other direction, countersteer in the opposite direction.
- Don’t panic and overcorrect. While unintended sliding is alarming, realize that sudden movements can upset the car. Smooth controlled inputs will help you recover faster.
When you suddenly see debris on the track
- Lift off the throttle and look for the safest way to navigate around the debris. Avoid jumping on the brakes immediately as there may be another driver close behind you.
- If you have time, raise your fist outside your window to show that you are changing your driving pattern. This alerts the drivers behind you that something is happening and you might have to slow down.
Someone is tailgating you
- Tap your side mirror to let the driver behind you know that you see them and will point them by at the next passing zone. They will usually back off a bit once they see your signal.
- If they continue to tailgate you and do not observe your point by, exit to the pits and report to the organizers. Track days should be a safe experience for all and are no place for reckless drivers.
Someone is too close or contact is made
- Always prioritize your own safety, whether that’s moving off the line or going off track to avoid a serious accident.
- It’s best to give aggressive drivers a point by as soon as possible. This isn’t a race, but there will always be a small minority who treat it like one.
- Report dangerous incidents to the organizers and discuss it with the other driver. This isn’t confrontational as much as it’s understanding what happened. Sometimes both parties are at fault.
Directly after an accident or something is wrong with car
- Keep helmet and seat belt on and do not exit your car, unless it is on fire. The track is still hot so someone might accidentally hit you.