Skills and Knowledge
Track Day and HPDE FAQ
Some commonly asked questions we get about going to the racetrack for the first time:
Will I be racing other cars?
- Outside of go karting, anything you can sign up for as a beginner, such as track days and HPDEs, is not wheel to wheel racing. There is no track day winner. You will not be competing for first place, so you shouldn’t be driving with race-level aggression. Track days are for fun and learning, and at the end of the day everyone wants to go home safely in an undamaged car.
- Many time their laps with their phone or a data logger to set personal records and track their driving improvement. Some orgs will host time trials and autocross where you can formally compete against other drivers for the fastest times.
- If you want to race wheel to wheel, there are racing leagues available for more advanced drivers, such as Club/Spec, Lemons, and Lucky Dog.
What if I’m competitive and I want to win?
How fast do I need to go?
- Always drive at the speed that you are comfortable driving and can control your car safely. That being said, it is a racetrack where many cars can reach 100+ mph. There will be others cars on the track going fast, so it's dangerous to go much slower than the expected speed (such as 60mph or less on a long straight). This makes it all the more important to select the right run group that matches your skill level.
- Safety first, then fun. Track days and HPDEs are not wheel to wheel competitions.
What brakes, tires, or oil do I need?
- For your first time, you do not need specialized equipment for your car. Driving a stock car makes it easier to find the limit and work on your base driver skills first. However, make sure that your stock equipment is in good condition (enough tire tread, enough brake pads, fresh brake fluid, and fresh oil). Take a look at andPreparing your carfor more info.Top Products for the Track
- Generally you want a good summer tire to utilize the performance aspects of your vehicle. Do not use tires that are not recommended for high speeds, like winter tires.
What run group should I be in?
- Many track orgs offer a novice run group which is perfect for your first time. This usually has a lead follow session and classroom instruction to go over technique and track etiquette.
- If you have a few days of experience, you may want to consider the next run group level, but the novice group can still be useful if you’re visiting a new track.
- Run groups are usually separated by lap times and passing rules (point by vs. open passing, and where on the track you’re allowed to overtake).
- It is important to know run groups are different from org to org. One advanced group may be comparable to an intermediate group with a different org. If you feel that you are in the wrong group at an event, make sure to discuss with the organizer so you can move to a group that best suited for you to be safe and have fun.
Can I use a motorcycle helmet?
- It depends on the event rules and org, but in general you want a SA-2015 or 2020 approved helmet. Many groups will not allow usage of a motorcycle helmet (M-rated).
What clothes should I wear?
- We recommend you wear long sleeve clothing and closed-toed shoes. Some event organizers require 100% cotton for safety in case of a fire. No need for a full race suit, but you’re welcome to wear one, but they do get warm on hot summer days. Typical outfits usually consist of a T-shirt, jeans, and sneakers. Go to for more info.Equipment
What else should I bring?
- Take a look at to see what gear you should bring to the track.Signing up for your first Track Day or HPDE
- Bring lots of water and snacks as motorsports does take its toll on the body! Don’t forget a comfy chair to sit in between sessions as well.
Do I need a sports car?
- Bring whatever car that you have and ready to have fun in. We have seen everything from Honda Accords to race-built Ferraris at the track. Read to learn more. If you are interested in renting a car instead, there are companies that let you rent a track-prepped car like a miata or Porsche.Best track day and autocross cars
- Convertibles may require roll over protection if it’s not included from the factory.
- Trucks and SUVs are generally not allowed due to roll over risk.
If you can’t find the answer to your question here or on the Track Manual, try asking our community on Discord.