Usually, driving in circles is a bad thing. But when you're on a real, honest-to-goodness racetrack, doing laps can be fun!
: Even in a controlled environment, driving at high speeds can be extremely dangerous. Follow all regulations and safety precautions, and study with an accredited driving instructor before you race.
Step 1: Get to know your vehicle Familiarize yourself with everything. Your race car should come with a reclined seat; a thin, strong shell; a quick-disconnect steering wheel; a shift lever; and a dashboard with oil pressure and water temperature gauges, and a tachometer.
TIP: Some cars come with paddle shifts. These modified shift levers on the back of the steering wheel allow you to keep both hands on the wheel at all times.
Step 2: Get the gear Racing is a sport with its own specialized, flame-retardant safety getup. You'll need a driver's jumpsuit, full-face helmet, racing gloves, and racing shoes. A driving school may have gear for you to use, or go on the Web to purchase your own.
Step 3: Start 'er up Once you're strapped in, put the car in neutral, flip the kill switch on, and press the starter button. Once you warm up the oil and water, you're ready to leave pit lane and head onto the track.
TIP: Your brakes and tires will give you far greater traction and stopping power if you give them a little time to warm up.
Step 4: Get out there Put the car into first gear and slowly pull onto the track. Take your first lap at an easy pace and get your head into the game. Remember to stay calm and keep alert.
Step 5: Accelerate and brake Upshift and accelerate into the straightaways, and heed the brake markers – the numbered boards on the side of the track that tell you when to begin braking and downshifting into a turn.
Step 6: Straighten the curves At each turn, lift off the throttle, apply the brakes, and quickly downshift. Find the middle ground between the inside track and the outside track. It has a flatter radius, meaning that you can drive through it without sacrificing much speed. Release the brakes just before you turn in.
TIP: Start and end each turn at the opposite side of the track from the direction you're turning. For a right-hand turn, start and end in the the leftmost lane, and vice versa.
Step 7: Power out of the turns As you come out of the turn, accelerate and add power.
Step 8: Take a class If that first run left you wanting more, take a class or work with an instructor who can show you the full rules of the road.