The Best Open Track Days in the United States and Canada [2018 Edition]
If you’re the type that enjoys making performance-geared modifications to your vehicle, you’ve probably wondered how your beloved ride would fare on a high-performance track. But while there are race tracks all over the United States and Canada, they’re often reserved for professional race car drivers and highly publicized pro racing events. So in most cases, you can’t just show up to the race track and expect to be able to drive your own car onto the checkered line. That is, unless you find an open track day event.
At an open track day you can you can take your personal performance vehicle out for a spin to see how much power you really have under the hood. Though the experience can seem intimidating to outsiders, drivers that have learned the ropes often keep coming back for more and driving far and wide to experience as many track days as they can.
We here at AutoAccessoriesGarage got curious, just what insights do you learn after you have a few track days under your belt. Is there a best track? An ultimate track day vehicle? The absolute most must-have mod? So we asked as many track day enthusiasts as we could about their race track experiences and we’d like to share our research in the infographic below.
Anyone’s first time at a track day 1 is likely to be filled with mistakes and missteps like not bringing enough sunscreen or water. 2 However, once you have a lay of the land it’s hard not to become a regular. So you’ve got your ride, your helmet, and you’ve learned how to handle on a race track thanks to driving school 3 or a novice track day event – now you probably want to try out as many tracks as you can!
Generation X attends more track days than Millenials and Baby Boomers combined
Our research found that of all the track day enthusiasts we polled, the average Generation X driver has attended more individual track days than their Millennial or Baby Boomer counterparts. Millennials represent the median data point of 23.2 average track days with Baby Boomers bringing up the rear with 19.6 each. Gen X leads the pack by participating in almost 50 track days on average.
Why does Generation X take the lead?
This trend might suggest that members of Generation X are currently in the ideal position to have the interest to participate in track days coupled with the available income to not only pay admission to these events, but to make the necessary modifications to their vehicles. In fact, some of our research showed that the most common modification made by Millennials was the addition of a sway bar, which can often retail under $200. To contrast, Baby Boomers who took our survey stated their most common modification was a set of performance tires which (depending on the brand) might cost upwards of a thousand dollars for a full set.
Gen X loves the open road. Millennials, not so much.
Another explanation could be that, as some research has shown, members of Generation X are more likely to go on long road trips. 4 This willingness to hit the open road can greatly expand these drivers’ opportunities in finding good track days. In fact, as seen above Gen Xers are willing to travel over 440 miles for a good track day, while Baby Boomers tend to call it quits at around 377 on average. The average Millennial stays closest to home, not wanting to venture much further than 270 miles.
Stopping power is racing power
However most respondents agreed regardless of generation, that good tires and brake pads top the list of the most valuable modifications you can make to your vehicle. This is likely because, as conventional wisdom has told us, the ability to stop is as important (if not more) than the ability to go. 5
Which mods matter?
Therefore, not surprisingly, when we asked track day regulars what they viewed as the most important vehicle modifications, tires and brakes were followed by driver experience, suspension components, and brake fluid. The interesting thing to note is that none of these items directly increase the vehicle’s speed, but rather increase the handling capabilities – an absolute must if high-speed driving is the goal. 6
What do you think?
We hope you enjoyed taking a look at our research. If you want to take a look at the survey itself and throw in your two cents, click here. If you haven’t ventured out to a track day yet, remember there are few adjustments more valuable than simple seat-time and experience – and there’s only one way to gain experience. So stay safe, have fun, and get out there!
- Track Day Wikipedia
- First-Time Track-Day Attendees’ Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them Car and Driver
- 10 great racing schools and high-speed experiences USA Today
- Move Over Gen X: Millennial Families Are Traveling Now More Than Ever Forbes
- Why Your Suspension and Brakes Matter Just as Much as Your Engine Road & Track
- The Right Car Handled the Right Way Can Drive You up the Wall Scientific American