You love a Sunday drive. That feeling of getting behind the wheel and just heading out; no real plan except for relaxing, enjoying being in the moment, feeling the road unwind beneath you, the roar of the engine, the force of acceleration, the gravity pushing into you around those bends… but there comes a point where you just need that little bit more, that little bit extra. And it feels like a crime to only be using a tiny percentage of that performance dying to be unleashed under the hood. After all, your car wasn’t categorized as ‘super’ for nothing. So, what are your options?
The best option, if your goal is to avoid numerous speeding fines and potential loss of licence, is to attend a track day at your track of choice. There are multiple ways to approach finding the best track and various options available to drivers once a track is selected, depending on their goals, preferences and driving experience.
Here’s our guide to making the leap, plus a sneak peek into the ultimate track car, the Rodin FZED, and how owners of this formula-style supercar have the ultimate perks with exclusive access to one of the best bespoke tracks in the Southern Hemisphere.
Finding a track
Australia is blessed with race tracks and driver training facilities in every state and territory. The most famous is Mount Panorama at Bathurst, but the list also includes Phillip Island (Vic), Sydney Motorsport Park (NSW), The Bend (SA), Queensland Raceway (Qld), Hidden Valley (NT), Sutton Road (ACT), Symmons Plains (Tas) and Wanneroo (WA). And that’s just one example from each location. There are plenty more tracks in Australia and each, even Bathurst, gives you the opportunity to drive there.
Different Track Days
Along with the variety of circuits and driver training facilities in the country, there are myriad ways to be involved in a track day. You can contact the track directly and they’ll help find a suitable day, then there are dedicated track day companies that conduct events at various circuits around Australia, or you could join a club and head to the track. Some manufacturers, including Ferrari, Mercedes-AMG, Lamborghini and Audi, offer their own driving academies for clients, while individual dealers often host track days. Or if you’re super serious, you can privately hire the entire facility for your own use.
Can I get insurance?
Yes, and your current insurance company may even cover you on your existing policy, though this varies though from provider to provider. They may extend the cover for the day for an additional fee, and they will probably increase the excess. If they won’t cover you at all – or you would rather not risk your ‘no claims bonus’ – there are a number of companies who specialise in track day cover.
What happens if someone else drives into me and they’re not insured?
Nothing. You are responsible for your own car, which is another reason to ensure you’re covered for this eventuality. With strict track driving rules, however, this is a very rare occurrence.
How will track driving affect my warranty?
Good question, and a tricky one to answer, especially since manufacturers often appear unsure themselves! Most will honour any mechanical failure as long as these components have not been ‘abused’. The definition of abuse is, it seems, open to interpretation. Check the warranty small print and contact them if you need further clarification.
Can I take my standard road car on track?
Absolutely. There are no minimum requirements beyond roadworthiness, and our advice is to keep the car standard to begin with. After a few track days you’ll start to get a feel for what changes, if any, will make it even more fun. Plenty of performance cars today are track-ready out of the box, and are only a set of stickier tyres away from the real deal.
Do I need to buy a helmet and race suit?
Not necessarily. At many track days you can borrow a helmet, which could be a good idea for a first-time circuit driver. However, if you start to attend regularly, we suggest you buy your own, and you should buy the best you can afford. A race suit is not necessary, although you should wear comfortable clothing (cotton preferably) and your arms and legs should be covered.
How do track days work?
Make sure that you’re on time as there’s paperwork to sign and a driver’s briefing to attend. Take your time, ask questions and don’t worry; most people are just as nervous as you.
Some track days operate with an open pitlane which is great at ensuring maximum track time, but it does mean that you’ll likely be on track with experienced drivers in fast cars. Other track day operators divide the attendees into groups according to their experience and the potential pace of their car, and allow smaller groups of cars out on track in sessions – usually 20-30 minutes. You’ll get multiple sessions per day, but it does mean a bit of waiting around until it’s your turn.
The best track day companies will ensure that novices are looked after and are given extra instruction by qualified racing instructors. Days that run ‘sessions’ are also better for beginners as novices will all be on track together and the more experienced drivers in faster cars will not be driving at the same time.
At the other end of the track day scale are private bookings with one-on-one training from a driving coach. This is the type of service offered by Rodin Cars in its 3-day Driver Training program, designed to familiarise clients with their exhilarating new Rodin FZED and upcoming Rodin FZERO. The programme has been designed by Mark Williamson, accomplished racer and Rodin’s development driver. Mark’s calm, methodical and technical manner is a real asset for Rodin, and he aims to safely get the best out of a driver while highlighting the brilliance of the company’s Rodin FZED.
What’s the ultimate Track Day experience?
Two days at Rodin Cars’ facility near Mt Lyford on the South Island of New Zealand provides that answer. The Rodin Driver Training Programme is provided exclusively to potential clients and starts in a McLaren 570 GT4, before graduating to a Dallara F3 single-seat race car and, ultimately, the Rodin FZED.
After two sessions each in the McLaren and the F3, plus data and video footage analysis, the Rodin Cars team will have you ready for the Rodin FZED. If at first you thought it was a step beyond your capabilities, by the end of this lead in process, you will have all the trust and confidence you need to take that final step into the very top of open-wheel racing – and all the bragging rights that comes with it!
The first few laps in the Rodin FZED are a balance of driving fast enough to maintain temperature and pressure in the pre-warmed tyres, while trying to warm the brakes so that the pedal comes alive with retardation. Even at half throttle, the engine feels ferocious. After a few laps, you can start to push, and within half a lap you will feel the Rodin FZED ‘switch on’. Every aspect of it comes alive with the brakes, tyres, engine and aero all urging more speed from you.
The Rodin FZED punches out of the long, late-apex hairpin of the Rodin Track in second gear with such urgency that it’s an effort to stop the screaming Cosworth from head butting the 10,500rpm limiter. The well of power seems bottomless and Rodin FZED is deep into sixth gear before the kink about two-thirds the way down the 900-metre straight.
The Rodin test track includes a sequence of high-speed direction changes that the supercar attacks like a Scalextric car. Despite the physicality of the driving experience, the Rodin FZED proves to be remarkably easy to operate and provides such pure feedback that you’re actually learning how to drive better and faster with each lap. And beyond the speed, the Rodin FZED is actually fun to drive, missing those intense-workout vibes often anticipated with such sky-high limits.
Getting you ready to drive the Rodin FZED isn’t the end of the process with Rodin Cars. Owners receive a comprehensive and personalised transport, storage and tools package designed so that you can get the most out of the ultimate track car anywhere in the world.
Please note this article supplied by Rodin Cars. The Sydney Harbour Concours takes no responsibility for what happens to you if you go out on the track!