The UK Trackday Scene in 2022
Author: Tom Magnay / Images: BlendLine Magazine
It's fair to say that the trackday scene we encounter now in the United Kingdom has changed alot in the 12 or 13 years I have been attending and participating in them.
I cast my mind back to my first track session, which was at the - now closed - Rockingham Motor Speedway, all the way back in 2009 at French Car Show.
That was in my 2000 Citroen Saxo 1.4, and many of the cars also taking part were driven by people of a similar age (late teens to late 20s!) and with similar cars. Obviously very French tin-can based: Lots of Clios, 106s, the ones to beat were the Megane 225s...
Admittedly, being attached to a show did mean that you had a wider range of drivers - and driver skill sets - in attendance. I mean to do nobody an injustice there, but I vividly remember at turn 2 (coming off the oval on to the infield) the driver of a 206 GTI missed the corner and went straight on toward the oval and entered the grass area at speed, much to the distaste of the onlooking marshals and indeed recovery crews.
Throughout 2010 and 2011, I attended, along with friends, many trackdays and drove at alot of them as well. I covered Castle Combe, Llandow, Silverstone, Donington amongst others, and we would get used to the cars which attended being of a similar ilk. Often in those days, tri-podding RS Clios were a very regular sight, as were S2000s, Civics, Fiestas, Focus STs, 106 GTIs and Astra VXRs. Back then, we'd all drive to the circuits, often in a little gaggle, leaving home at silly o'clock, trying to keep the exhaust notes muted until we got on the open road, and drive toward the sunrise as we awaited a day of adventure.
As I have spent many of my days at race circuits between that "era" and the present day, one thing is very noticeable:
Fast forward 10 or 11 years to 2022 and this year so far I've been to two trackdays at Donington Park this year. Trackdays and test sessions seem to have merged into one, and now the greater majority of participants in these days now arrive with the car either in on, or in, a trailer of some sort. Our friends at Tuthill Porsche were at one of the days, with a full race trailer-transporter towed by a HGV tractor unit. Inside were six 911 2.0L Cup cars prepared by them, and they were using this trackday as a shakedown for both the recently re-prepped cars, and the drivers too. Bossman Richard Tuthill was lapping in a beautiful 911 which the Oxfordshire based company had been busy working on, and he was doing a marvelous job of it too!
Manthey Racing, the Nurburgring based Porsche tuning specialists and factory car builder had a number of cars there to not only test but also show off as well. A personal favourite for me there, turbofans!
Another company was busy doing a full geometry set-up on a Ferrari 488, talking to one of the guys involved, he stated it was all part of their service - to come to the customer at the track and they can immediately test the improvements out on the circuit. A customised green GR Yaris was also making the most of the dry weather spring weather, and in the garage next to him was a yellow, 6.5 litre, 700bhp Aventador. You see where I'm going with all this?
The landscape of trackdays has changed folks! Cayman GT4s, track prepped Caterham 7, Ginetta G40, E46 M3 also made appearance, but my mind was cast back to the trackdays of the early 2010s, where the fastest thing on trackdays I was on, was a highly tuned Megane 225!
Tom Magnay: @tommagnay01
BlendLine Apparel: @blend_line
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