Like many couch-potato racers, you've watched Formula One or NASCAR on TV--and whispered to yourself, "I could do that." Well, it's time to get your butt off the love seat and go for it. It takes no more than a car, a helmet to get you zooming around a real racetrack, chasing those Michael Schumacher-inspired dreams.
Open-track events provide a fun, safe environment in which to learn the limits of your car, perhaps evaluate recent performance modifications, and, most important, improve your abilities and defensive-driving skills. There's no sanctioning body for this type of action; a promoter rents a track, you pay a fee to play, sign the liability release, and that's that.
A typical open-track day starts out with a mandatory drivers' meeting. Run groups generally are divided by the driver's experience. There are groups for every comfort level: beginners to advanced and levels in between. Each run group usually gets between 20 and 30 minutes of track time per session. Expect four to five drive sessions in a day. That translates to more than enough track time for you to be thoroughly exhausted from the level of concentration, the rush of adrenaline, and the wear your body will take handling g-forces it's not used to dealing with.