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I can't help thinking that if these lads had got easier access to motorsport then this tragedy may not have happened. We see plenty of young men and women racing around on the roads, and taking risks for excitement and the pleasure of speed. Condolences to the family and friends of Sam and Shane Nobbs.
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This article refers to taking your own car onto a UK circuit. You can take any type of road car on the track days linked from this page, as long as you have a UK driving licence. For race cars and race licences, you can book "test days" with a circuit. Also note that on some track days, race cars are not permitted (normally means a car showing a race number), or the day is for novice drivers only.
Personally, I avoid track days that are divided into sessions, either categorised by driver experience or car type (race, road, open whee, closed wheel) because I've been on days where most of your track time is wiped out by red flags in your session. Sessions is a common format at certain circuits, such as Lydden Hill (by driver experience) and Brands Hatch GP (by car type). On test days, the session format is also common, for reasons of speed differential and open wheels, so you may have no choice. On normal track days, it is comfortable to run road and race cars together because drivers are severely reprimanded or removed if they follow other cars too closely, overtake on the wrong side, or overtake around a corner.
Your first port of call when booking a track day could be trackdays.co.uk, as they have a comprehensive list of all dates for track days, sortable by date, location, price and format. I've noticed that they offer good prices and give a very reliable follow-through, i.e. you won't turn up at the circuit and find you're not booked. They are a broker however, and if their website shows the venue as sold out, it's worth looking further to see if you can still buy the day elsewhere. Companies like Javelin, RMA or Gold Track may have booked the whole circuit for that day. On the day, you either turn up at track and deal with the organising company, and they run the safety briefings, etc., or you deal directly with the circuit.
If you want to book a trackday that is not available on one website, you can go to another website where they may have spaces available. If a trackday is full everywhere, it's often worth calling the organiser to see if you can go on their reserve list. Generally, if anyone pulls out of the day, a space becomes available. Most trackday bookings can be cancelled and refunded within a certain time window of the event.
Personally, I go straight to the circuit website first, such as MSV Trackdays, although that's not for any particular reason (except with MSV you can get a 10% discount off your next purchase after attending two days and getting your discount voucher stamped).
Here are the most common options for purchasing a trackday in the UK:
- Javelin Trackdays - I've seen them at numerous circuits and have good experience when using them
- MSV Trackdays - as Motorsport Vision owns most of the major circuits in the UK, they have first call on trackday availability, so always check with them if you can't find the day elsewhere, or go straight to them, as they have a good website and good prices based on demand (like an airline ticket pricing model)
- Gold Track - A well-developed product, particularly for aspiring racing drivers, where you can get time on some of the rarer circuits. You can also collect track miles and buy packages.
- RMA Trackdays - Another quality trackday organiser, particularly if you want circuits in mainland Europe such as Spa.
- Open Track - Similar to Javelin, they buy the track from the owner for a day and sell on the track space, doing their own briefings and customer management.
For Test Days, I would go to:
If you're a member of a car club, that's also an obvious option for finding track days, as the club often books a circuit, or a number of slots at a circuit and makes them available to their members.
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The FIA (Federation Internationale De L'Automobile), motor sport's worldwide governing body, runs a campaign called Action for Road Safety, which it launched to support the UN's Decade of Action for Road Safety.
At many motorsport events you will see promotions and fund raising under this initiative, expressing the message that racing is fun, but it's not safe on the road.
The FIA also offers grants for projects about road safety, which may be developing mobile apps, education films, mentoring programmes, etc. How about the Junior Co-pilot game from Romania, for example:
- "A project to enhance road safety by inviting kids travelling with their parents to become co-pilots via the Junior Co-Pilot Game. The game uses GPS technologies, is fully synced with the car, sending warnings whenever the driver is speeding and when STOP signs or a dangerous curve approach etc. The Co-Pilot Game has all road signs and regulations in a language easily understood by kids." Source: FIA Road Safety Grant Programme.
If you have an idea for a project to promote road safety, you could apply for a grant to run the project. Why not have a look at the FIA Road Safety Grant Programme, the Action for Road Safety and the FIA Foundation websites, and get involved: