How to ready your Caterham for a track day
23 January, 2015
Car track days can be great fun. It’s a fantastic opportunity to get your Caterham out on the track, and put its speed and handling abilities to the test. But first, preparation.
Let’s first have a look at some basics. You’ll need a driving license of course, and a crash helmet. Don’t worry too much if you don’t own one, most events will have some for hire.
You won’t need to turn up on the day looking like Lewis Hamilton or Jenson Button. By this, I mean you aren’t required to wear any overalls. But be sure to dress in something comfortable.
Preparing your Caterham
One thing you should certainly make sure of, is that there are no loose objects in the vehicle that might fly around when you’re on the track. Also, if you intend on using any kind of video camera/GoPro, it must be securely mounted. At many events, it’ll be necessary to sign a disclaimer form that states the footage you film is only for private use.
As long as the car drives smoothly and properly, it’s unlikely you’ll have any issues. Just try to make sure everything is in working order.
Insurance and MOT
A frequently asked question for track days, is “does my car need an MOT?” If you are driving it to the venue, the answer is yes. However, if the vehicle is being towed or transported in any other way, then no, it won’t need an MOT. The car will need to be of a good, safe standard though. This means no leakages or runs. Also, the rear lights must be in working condition.
The main question is, will your kit car insurance cover you on a track day? The answer is probably not if you’ve just got a standard policy. You should call your insurer and check. The last thing you’ll want to happen is to damage your (or someone else’s) pride and joy out on the track. It’s worth being prepared before going out.
Passengers and extra drivers
At most events, there is an option to pay a little extra to take additional drivers and passengers. This can be great fun, for days out with your fellow car enthusiasts.
Don’t have a clue what the flags mean? Don’t worry, you will be given a thorough safety briefing on the morning of the track day, where the marshals will give a full explanation. Here’s a quick run through what each of them mean for those who want to be extra prepared:
- Yellow: This means there is danger ahead. Slow to half speed. No overtaking is allowed until you have passed the incident. May be followed by a green flag to indicate all is now clear, at which point you can go back to normal speed.
- Red: Again, danger ahead. The same rules apply; slow to half speed and no overtaking is allowed. However, this time the flag refers to the whole circuit. If you see this flag, you must return to the pitlane immediately.
- Black: Return to the pitlane immediately and report to the organisers. If you see this flag, it might mean there’s something wrong with your car, or your driving.
- Blue: This is indicating that a car behind you is going faster and wishing to overtake, so when you see this, mover over when next on a straight.
- Chequered: This indicates the end of session, drive slowly to the pits.
Now it’s time for you to take your Caterham to the tracks!