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  Home >Past Events > Deserve

Does Your MG just beg to be driven?

 If you're an MG Rover enthusiast and you're interested in taking your car on track what do you do?  Well, you could book in with one of the many companies now running track days. However, these are expensive and you're probably going to have the only MG Rover there.

 Fortunately, there is now an alternative - called "MGs on Track"  (MGoT).

 Most of you will probably be aware that I have a certain penchant for track days.  With the proliferation of safety cameras and increased enforcement on our roads, track days offer a safe environment in which to be able to fully explore the capabilities of both car and driver.  They give an opportunity to take your car away from the public road, and drive your MG quickly and in the relative safety of a racing circuit or airfield track. 

 

There are no speed cameras or hidden police officers with speed guns.  There are no caravan-induced traffic jams, and there is no traffic coming in the opposite direction!  Just you, your car, and like-minded enthusiasts on a challenging length of twisting tarmac. It is worth noting that track days are in no way, shape or form, competitive events.  For competitive driving, get a motorsport licence, and compete in a speed or race championship!  On a track day, organisers take a predictably dim view of any participants obviously racing each other, or timing their laps. These are fun events!  It's about driving quickly, but with due care and consideration for those around you.  As the old MG motto goes: "Safety Fast!"

 MGoT was formed by a group of MG Rover enthusiasts who decided to try a bit of self-help. Many of the group did the odd track day, but found them too expensive to do as often as they'd like.  They also enjoyed the day more when they could chat with fellow MGR enthusiasts in between track sessions.

 Although now formally a branch of the MGCC, MGoT remains inclusive of anyone who owns an MG and is interested in track days.  The essential philosophy remains - outside of generating enough funds to cover running costs, MGoT aims to break even and help MG Rover owner enthusiasts to enjoy track days in safety, at the best possible price and with fellow enthusiasts. 

So how are they days organised I hear you ask?

 Typically, track days are organised into one of two formats: sessions or open-pitlanes.   In both cases, only a limited number of cars are allowed on the track at any given time.  This is to avoid excessive traffic. 

In a sessioned track day, all the participants are divided into 3 or 4 large groups - so usually you'll be with people with similar performance vehicles and with similar levels of experience.  Each group goes out, one by one for a 'session', usually between 15 and 30 mins, and then returns to the pits all together.  Then the next group will go out etc etc.  Generally speaking the days I have experienced give 3 x 20 minute sessions every hour.  In a typical day you might therefore get 7 x 20 minute sessions, which has got to be good value for money.  Over two hours of track time - longer than the average grand prix!  It is also a good, sociable format, as it allows everyone in the same session to get together and compare driving notes!

 An open-pit lane day has no sessions. You can go out when ever you like, and stay out for as long as you like. The marshals will only allow a certain number of cars on the track at any given time, so you may have to queue to get back onto the track. This format is good fun - but  the longer you stay out on the track, the hotter your tyres will get, the more wear your brakes will receive and the more of a roasting your engine will get - so don't plan to spend the WHOLE day out on track - there's no 'in-flight re-fuelling'! 

Track days really are great fun.  At the last one I did at Silverstone (early April) there were about 60 cars split into three sessions, the session make up being 'experienced old hands', 'novices' and those not falling into either of the other categories!  And yes, your classic MG is absolutely perfect for track days!  Many MGA's, MGB's, MGC's and Midgets are seen harassing more modern machinery on tracks up and down the country, and I was certainly overtaken by two Midgets at one point on Monday (not sure what was under the bonnet)!   Given the age of these cars, additional care and attention needs to be invested in their preparation, and checks on engine health, brake performance and safety areas, but apart from that they do have fun!  

I do run uprated discs and pads on my MGF, and so far brakes have never been a problem for me either on or after a track day.  However, I had said beforehand that Silverstone would finish my rear tyres off and I've got to say that they blistered quite badly towards the end of the day!  Not a problem I've experienced before with Bridgestones, but they're replaced now (after only 10,000 miles, but including 2 track days!)

 So, does it take your fancy?  If anyone would like any further information then please do talk to me about it or take a look at the MgoT website http://www.mgs-on-track.com/.  It's great fun, and I'd love to see some local faces!

 Mike Hall

 (With thanks to Dave Livingstone and the guys at MgoT, for allowing me to use some material from the website).

 

 

 

 

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