We all have dreams or ambitions to go to a track day at least once but sometimes the cost is a big issue. Soo, is track day expensive? Well, it depends… It depends on what car you want to track, what track day events you go to, and how much are you willing to spend. Anybody can go to a track day with a budget, you don’t have to be rich or wealthy to be in this sport. We all start off somewhere.
Let start with what car you want to track: people want to track with a track oriented car but sometimes it isn’t the case. With track days, there isn’t really any requirements except for safety and stock cars passes those safety requirements. So who cares if the person next to you has a Porsche GT3, Corvette Z06, or some other fast super car. Just bring whatever car you have becuase its about the joy of being at the track and gaining experience. On the track I’ve seen people drive their base model automatic Mini Cooper around the track and have a blast. Learn with what you got, don’t make excuses “my car isn’t fast”, or my car needs this or that. You’re only limiting yourself when you make excuses.
Now what kind of car you are going to track will also be dependent on maintenance. If you have a more expensive car, then the maintenance and parts will also be expensive. The oil change on my M3, it is around $150ish just for the oil and filter. When I had the Miata I would pay $50 for the oil and filter. As you start tracking more often, the maintenance intervals will be more frequent. Whatever car you decide to take out to the track, also think about maintenance cost. Because a car that isn’t maintained wont run well anywhere.
Next is deciding what track day events to go to. Some tracks cost more than others and some events doesn’t give you as much seat time. Some events offers instructors and others don’t. I usually go to several websites to check out track days. Ill post the links in the bottom of the page. Most track days are around the $355 range like MSR Houston and Texas World Speedway for 4 sessions. Others tracks like Harris Hill and MSR Cresson can cost $150 for 3 sessions. At Circuit of the Americas you’ll pay $545 for 4 sessions. If you stay with an organization and move up to a more advance group then there are usually discounts. In order to move up though, you have to go to several track events so your skill levels will improve to an advance run group. Then if you are good enough to be an instructor, most track events are free or pay a very small amount.
Last factor is budget…Once you factor in the maintenance cost, then you can kinda decide how much you are willing to pay for track events and how ofter you want to go. For me, and thankfully I can afford to tack my M3 once a month. I don’t always go to the $355 track events, most cases I pay the $150 events. Only once I’ve been to COTA. If I did have the money, then I would go there more often. But with the heavy price tag, its a track I could go once a year. To keep my cost down, I buy a lot of used parts. As a matter of fact, most of my mods on my M3 are used. I go on the forums and most people sell their parts at least 50% less than retail. By doing that, I have extra money to attend track days. When Im looking for parts Im very patient, if the budget doesn’t allow it then I’ll pass. Took me over a year before I found a really good deal on seat mounts. Finds ways to save in order for you attend track days.
Of course track days has some dangers like crashing and the possibly totaling your car. Yes most insurance companies will not cover the damage if it happened at the track. But with that danger in mind, do you limit yourself and say no its too risky. Some people do, because of that fear. For me I know about that danger, so the track demands respect. I don’t let the fear control me but Im not YOLO and attack the course balls out. Track days is all about having fun, learning car control and pushing yourself mentally to take your car to the limit in a safe way. This is my golfing. I push myself mentally to go a bit faster each lap, learn the lines, and feel the behavior of the my car.
This what I love to do.