The thrill of speed is fun but can end with tragedy or some flashing lights in your mirror. For those who like speed there are safe alternatives that will allow you to put the pedal to the metal.
Track Days are when anybody that has the need for speed can get all they desire without the worries of police intervention or major accidents. There are several forms of track days but the most common (and probably the cheapest) is drag racing.
Drag racing is a simple point-to-point race usually over a quarter-mile track. There are also longer mile-long tracks and shorter one-eighth of a mile tracks. A person can drag race their own car at the track whether they are humble Civics or pavement-chewing Corvettes. All you have to do is get to the starting line, wait for the green light, and then step on it.
The rules are simple: first one across the finish line wins. To find out if your local strip has street-legal days, a simple online search will help you. Depending on your location, the cost can range anywhere from $10 to $20.
For the more adventurous person there are High Performance Driving Experience days, or HPDE. These are events that push you and your car to the limit. These are usually run on race tracks such as the Mazda Laguna Seca located in California, but there are plenty of other tracks around the country.
Any person with a valid driver’s license and a car in good working order can participate in these events through companies that offer them, such as speedventures.com. These events are fun because they push you as a driver to put your skills to the test and it’s interesting to see people drive all types of different cars.
By checking with your local car clubs, doing an online search, or contacting the local Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), you’ll be able to find out about events in your neck of the woods. Costs range anywhere from $120 to $200.
For those that like precision driving there are the Autocross events. AutoX is usually set up in open parking lots. AutoX tests a driver’s skill as they navigate a course made up of cones and try to get the best time. AutoX is very fun even if you don’t have a modified car. It’s all about the driving skill and not all about the car. Even the mighty ZO6 corvette can be outrun by a little Miata.
And for those that like to get sideways there are Drift events. Drifting is probably one of the most exciting types of driving activities you can participate in. The object of drifting is to get your car around a track with lots of corners by breaking the rear wheels loose and going around the track. Probably the best example is watching the movie Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift. Check local websites or clubs to find out how to get into drifting.
Before you decide to do any of these activities, be sure your car is safe and in working order. There is nothing worse than driving all the way out to a track only to fix a flat tire or not be allowed to race because your seatbelt doesn’t work.
Also, remember that cars are not toys—they are dangerous and can cause serious harm if you’re not careful. Driving lessons can be a benefit to any driver that decides to partake in any motorsport and we highly recommend you do so before hitting the pavement.