Motorsports To Go! October 30, 2020

Jack Baruth

Welcome to Motorsports To Go! Each week, we will take a look at an upcoming event on We will tell you everything you need to know in order to participate. It’s the easiest way to get out of your recliner and into the driver’s seat. We’ll be covering everything from $25 autocrosses to million-dollar “gentlemen racer” opportunities, all of them explained in simple English via the same basic set of questions. Let’s get started!

What is it? Summit Point’s “Friday At The Track” — register at MotorsportReg.

Well, what is it? It’s a chance to drive your personal car at one of America’s most challenging racetracks. No cops, no photo radar, no speed limit.

Where is it? Summit Point Raceway, just about an hour south of Washington, DC. There are three tracks at Summit Point; this is on the “Main” course, which is the fastest one.

What’s it cost? $290 bucks if you use your car — but $800 if you want to use a Mazda Miata provided by the track. That’s a deal.

What kind of car do I need? The car rules are here. No SUVs, minivans, or pickup trucks. If you have a convertible, you’ll want to make sure you have a rollbar of some sort. You can contact Summit Point and ask them about your particular car; many cars with factory roll protection like Mercedes SLs and recent Boxsters are good to go.

What kind of personal equipment do I need? A valid driver’s license. Long sleeves, long pants, and a helmet with SA2010/M2010 or higher rating. Loaner helmets are available in limited quantity, but your local motorcycle shop should also be able to get you a Snell M2015 rated helmet for under a hundred dollars.

How long will it take? You should plan to be there by 730am and you can leave whenever you’ve had enough driving — 5PM at the latest.

Will there be someone to answer my questions at the event? Absolutely. This is a novice-focused event and they expect some participants to have literally zero experience. You’ll be assigned an instructor for the entire day.

Can I damage my car or get hurt? Yes to both, but the risks are very low if you follow your instructor’s advice. As always, Hagerty offers trackday insurance for these events, and you can sign up on the morning of the event if you feel nervous.

Why would I bother to do it? There are few thrills to compare with running at triple digits down Summit Point’s front straight. If you’ve been wondering whether or not trackdays are right for you — or if you’re just interested in exploring the performance limits of your car without police supervision — it’s worth a shot.

What’s the hot setup, if I have time and money to prepare? A Camaro ZL1 1LE, the warp-speed ponycar that makes heroes out of mortal men. Speaking more reasonably, a fresh set of performance brake pads and a set of Michelin Pilot 4S tires will put you in a position to have a good time rain or shine.

Give me two tips or tricks to really shine. Ross Bentley’s Ultimate Speed Secrets will teach you most of you what you need to know to enjoy yourself — although much of the advice won’t make sense until you’ve actually been on a racetrack. Regardless of how you prepare, make sure you don’t wrap your thumbs around the spokes of your steering wheel. The pros know that a sharp curb impact or low-speed spin with wrapped thumbs can make for a few very painful weeks of smartphone use afterwards!

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