The lure of the race track is a strong one and if you're heading off for a trackday, it's best to go properly equipped. Avon has a range of tyres - specially developed in conjunction with Avon Tyres Motorsport –click here to visit the Avon Tyres Motorsport site that are perfect for circuit work; some are even used as the 'control' tyre for a number of race series.
The ZZR/ZZS range is designed for those seeking the ultimate in grip and handling; they designed specially for trackday use and has the same rubber compound that Avon Tyres Racing employs in its Group N saloon car race tyres. The road-legal ZZR's predictability at the limit makes it ideal for anyone looking to get the most from their car and tyres.
The ZZR range is designed to give maximum grip in dry conditions but offers considerably less grip in wet conditions where caution should be exercised. The ZZS is designed to give maximum grip in both wet and dry conditions.
Anything you like, as long as it meets the circuit's noise regulations, which if it's a road car it almost certainly will. Most people use their everyday car, although some of those who get bitten by the trackday bug go out and buy something to use solely for circuit work. At your average trackday you'll see everything from the most humble hatchback to the sleekest of supercars.
Check that the oil and coolant are filled to their maximum levels, ensure that your brake pads are fairly new and that your wheel nuts are done up tightly, and before you go onto the circuit leave your spare wheel and tyre back in the paddock - it saves weight. Roll-cages and fire extinguishers aren't obligatory, although if you end up doing a lot of trackdays we would recommend them.
A helmet is a must, but at most trackdays you'll be able to borrow or rent one. All circuits require that you cover your arms and legs; lightweight cotton shirts and trousers are best, because you can work up quite a sweat! And though not essential, race-style shoes will give you a feeling of extra control as your feet dance between throttle, brake and clutch.
Firstly, make sure the pressures are right - remember to check them when the tyres are cold, which will be about an hour after you last used your car. Fitting your car with a premium brand high performance tyre, such as the Avon ZZ3, will also add to your trackday pleasure, giving you greater roadholding and predictable 'breakaway' behaviour when you approach the limit of grip. Alternatively, there's the ZZR, which essentially is a race tyre you can also use to drive legally to and from the circuit.
Once you're hooked on trackdays, you might want to consider bringing a spare set of wheels along with you, fitted with specially-developed trackday tyres like Avon's 'road and track' CR500 and ACB10.
For a beginner it's best to choose a trackday where you're split into groups of similar ability; being with other novices helps make your first taste of circuit driving less daunting. We've got to be honest, it takes a while to learn how best to tackle the corners, where to brake, where to keep your foot down. You may not even like the experience at first. But be patient, gradually build up your pace and confidence, pay attention to the marker cones set out to show you where to start braking and where to aim towards the apex of a corner, and you'll have the time of your life.
Many trackday operators provide instructors who you can either follow around the circuit or have in the car with you, but this may involve extra cost.
Good question. The key to being quick around a track is to be smooth; brake early and progressively, go around corners without making the tyres squeal, steer with controlled, sweeping movements, not aggressive jerks. This approach also puts less strain on your car. However, circuit driving is harder on your tyres and brakes than normal road driving.
You will need to ask your insurance company to provide trackday cover and it will cost you extra. If your own insurer can't help, there are specialist brokers; ask the trackday company you've booked with who it would recommend or simply ring around other insurers.