Track days are a guaranteed adrenaline buzz. Whether you’re driving one of the circuit’s supercars or your own pride of joy, it’s a chance to hit speeds that are illegal on the road and push your vehicle to its limits.
The more comfortable you feel in the car, the better your track day experience will be. While it might be tempting to go for the car with the most horsepower, the more expensive it might be to take out track day insurance. Also, you might have a better time getting behind the wheel of something a little slower; that way, you can really put it through its paces.
To help you make your mind up about what type of vehicle you should strap yourself into, we’ve compiled the most popular track day cars, based on research from Auto Express and the TrackDays website…
The top five most popular track day cars
There’s no definitive way of telling what cars do the most miles on Britain’s race circuits, but it’s fair to say that these five cars have proved popular for track days in the last few years, and for good reason…
- Caterham 7
Chances are, if you were to go to any UK race circuit, you’d find a Caterham 7 whizzing around the track. That’s because it’s the perfect car to learn the ropes of track driving in and it’s cheap to run every day, too.
The Caterham 7 160 can sound pretty unspectacular on paper. Packed with a three-cylinder 660c Suzuki Jimny engine (and gearbox), which has had a new sump added to it, the 160 has a power output of just 80bhp. But because it only weighs 490kg – giving a power to weight ratio of 163bhp per tonne – you’ll be surprised just how hard it pulls, especially once the turbo kicks in.
- Honda Civic Type R
If you’re a fan of the British Touring Car Championship, you’ll know that Honda Civic Type R is usually at the front of the grid. That’s because Honda consistently produces VTEC performance engines that deliver their best hit of power at the top end of the rev range – perfect for track driving.
The latest Honda Civic Type R comes packed with a 2.0-litre VTEC four-cylinder engine equipped with a meaty turbocharger, which yields an impressive 316bhp, meaning it can crack 0-62mph in 5.8 seconds and hit a top speed of 169mph.
According to Honda, the Type R can complete a hot lap of the Nurburgring faster than a Lamborghini Gallardo. Time to put that claim to the test?
- Hyundai i30 N
Staying with the hot hatch category, the Hyundai i30 N is this list’s surprise entry. Even we were shocked to see it get so many recommendations from the experts. But don’t judge the i30 N on appearance alone.
Although based on the standard car, the i30 N performs nothing like it. This is thanks to a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo which produces 247bhp or 271bhp if you opt for the Performance Package. That equates to 0-62mph in just over six seconds. There’s even a ‘track only’ N mode to try out for size…
- Ferrari 488 Pista
Right, let’s rev things up a bit. What’s a track day list without a Ferrari in it? But not just any Ferrari will do. The mid-engined V8-powered 488 Pista feels like it’s been built for track days, coming in at 90kg lighter than its predecessor, pushing power up to a whopping 710bhp.
There’s plenty of torque too (770Nm), matched with a F1-style twin-clutch gearbox which delivers the fastest shifts yet from a Ferrari road car. If you can get your hands on a 488 Pista steering wheel, you won’t want to let go.
- McLaren Senna
We know that most people won’t be able to get within 50 yards of the McLaren Senna, let alone drive it. But, just like the man it’s been named after, the McLaren Senna is special. For £750,000 a pop, you’d hope so.
If you have the money to buy one, the Senna can be legally taken out onto the road. But, driving a 789bhp supercar like this on the roads is a waste. Even on the fastest track, it’s difficult to do the Senna justice. But it sure is a lot of fun trying.
What’s the best cheap track day car?
That’s a good question, and it depends on your preference. While there’s a huge track day following for VW, Fords and the traditional minis, there’s only one winner: the humble Renault Clio. In the right hands, the Renault Clio can compete with the best of ‘em (supercars aside). Front wheel drive, nimble, lightweight and with plentiful modifications available, it ticks all the track day boxes.
The Clio has something of a cult fanbase, too – tap into the community for advice on how to the most of it. With the lost purchase price of the Clio, you might have some money left to make those modifications – that’s half the fun of owning a track day car.
A final bit of advice…
Before you take to the track, make sure you’ve got your track day insurance sorted. Track day insurance will help to mitigate the financial consequences should anything happen – meaning you can let loose without constantly fearing the worst.
Some circuits may insist on seeing proof of track day insurance cover before giving you the green light to race. And unfortunately, track days aren’t included in most standard car insurance policies.
As one of the UK’s leading specialist motorsport brokers, Reis Motorsport Insurance has partnered with Equity Red Star to offer you comprehensive track day insurance cover.
Just like regular car insurance, the cost of track day insurance cover depends on the car you want to insure (including any modifications made to it) and your experience on the track.
Once you have your track day insurance policy in hand, it’s time to get racing.
So what are you waiting for? Get your no-obligation track day insurance quote today.