I think the phrase ‘Track Day’ gets a bad rapp in some of the Aston Martin forums. If you are worried about your depreciation value more than enjoying your car, your reading the wrong blog.
We own beautiful cars that are technical mastery. What’s the point of owning it if you aren’t interested in taking it out for a romp once in a while? Just staring at it in the garage is only one third of the fun. Sitting in it and fondling it is another third. Taking it for a spirited drive is the last third.
I’ve taken my car to six (6) track day events total – five (5) Aston Martin Owners Club (AMOC) organized events and one HPD (high performance driving) event. I can tell you I very much enjoyed the AMOC events, and disliked the generic HPD event (too many testosterone kids with muscle cars not respecting the other drivers).
The AMOC organized events are attended by other Aston Martin owners – with the exact same worries as you. “I am not a professional racer and don’t want to race some other yahoo” and “I don’t want to screw up my car”. The AMOC knows this, and structures the event to address it. My AMOC USA Section West events are awesome (thanks to George Wood and Guy Simpson). About 40 cars turn up, we are split into two groups (novice and experienced) and we run a 3 mile track for 30 minutes on and then 30 minutes off. Organized like this, you rarely are running anywhere near anyone else, and passing is only allowed when you are waived by in safe manner on a long straight. Drive your car within your limits, be safe and have fun.
Imagine a bunch of civilized men and women driving their fast cars swiftly in a well controlled manner (with GIANT grins on their faces).
I would strongly encourage any Aston owner to join the AMOC and participate in at least one AMOC organized track day event. You get to meet other like minded owners, spend a day talking cars with them, you get to see a lot of other pretty Aston’s. Best of all you can experience YOUR Aston at full throttle on a long straight (engine roaring) without risk of a ticket!. Well worth the price of admission.
Check out my Post on how to prepare your DB9 for a Track Day.
Here is a little something about each of the years I’ve attended.
Aston Martin Owners Club Track Day 2019
AMOC Section USA West had it’s annual track day January 13h, 2019 at Thunderhill Raceway Park yet again. It’s a great venue for this. Thanks again to George Wood for organizing the outing. We got a gloriously clear day of Northern California winter weather with a high in the low 60’s. We lucked out between two large weather fronts that soaked the area the week before and after.
We had a terrific turnout this year. I put some effort into promoting the event here on this blog, on the Aston1936 YouTube channel and in two popular Aston Martin FaceBook Groups. I had hoped to entice 20 Aston’s to the event, and we got exactly that, 20 DB9’s, Vantages, DB11’s, Rapides, a Superleggerra and more. We also managed to coral the entire group for a photo on the main straight over lunch!
My cousin Emil made his Track Day debut with his Porsche Macan Turbo. Yes, and SUV on the track. This thing hauled ass albeit a little tall in the corners. Emil, the Macan and its tires all survived the day.
My friend Ray came along again with his 1999 Porsche 996. Last year we had some calamity when I spun it on the first lap of him letting me drive it. To top that this year he managed an unforced error and spun the car into the muck at the exit of Turn 2 (nearly rolling it) ending his day and packing his wheel rims with some prime California clay. As luck would have it he had a high tech Rylo 360 degree camera on the roof, so check out the spin in all its glory here.
Aston Martin and Los Gatos Luxury Motor Cars brought out a series of cars again this year and sponsored the lunch (thank you!). A new DB11, Vantage and an DB11 AMR along with ProDrive driver Geoff Reeves. I was fortunate enough to get to driver the AMR for a lap, and then be terrified by Geoff in two hot laps showing me what a real race driver can do. It was AWESOME! If you have the means definitely check out the AMR.
Was a great event this year. Several followers of Aston1936 turned up and it was great to shake hands and meet everyone in person. I hope you all join me again in 2020! Here’s a little YouTube summary of the cars that turned up.
Aston Martin Owners Club Track Day 2018
We were lucky and got a mostly clear California winter day. Cool (about 60°F). The second session of the day was delayed by Tule fog, but we hit the track again by about 10:30am. About a two dozen Aston’s turned out for the event, one of the best turn outs in years!
My 19 year old son Angus made his track debut this year (driving the DB9). His pace and confidence improved all through the sessions. Teaching your son to drive on the street in a used Mini is one thing, teaching them to drive on a track in your DB9 is another. Puckered up a few times, but overall was great.
My friend Ray came along with his 1999 Porsche 911 for his first track day. He certainly seemed to have a great time and was pushing the limits through the day. He managed a spin in Turn 3 and an ‘off’ at Turn 15, but came back smiling each time! He let me out for a few laps (my first time on a track in a 911) and it only took me 2 laps to spin it coming off the crest at Turn 5. Sorry Ray :<( Fortunately the car and my ego are fine. Of course, Ray managed to have a GoPro in car facing us at the time, here is a silly clip of our faces during the lead up to the spin and aftermath.
Aston Martin brought out a pair of DB11’s to the event (a V12 and a V8) and offered Track Time to AMOC members in the V8. Wow! With that they kindly provided an AMR Race Driver ‘Jeff’ to show you the full potential of the car. I went for a 3 lap ride. More Wow – sideways in most of the corners deliberately. The car appears to be very predictable and manageable at the limits of the Pirelli tires. Maybe someday. Many thanks to Aston for bringing out the fun!
Aston Martin Owners Club Track Day 2017
This year my sweetie Karen was able to join me, and she brought along her new bright red 2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI to track it! [Making her Daddy proud]
Although California has been in the grips of torrential rain for a couple of weeks, we were lucky and got a glorious clear sky California winter day. Cool (about 50°F) but sunny and dry. The first few hours of the day were delayed by Tule fog, but we hit the track by about 10:30am. About a dozen Aston’s turned out for the event.
I tried to raise my game yet again with the GoPro footage and cut together the video below showing some of the event and one of my laps from different views. Check it out!
Aston Martin Owners Club Track Day 2016
AMOC Section USA West had it’s annual track day January 18th 2016 at Thunderhill Raceway Park again. Sadly my wife Karen was sick with a bad cold, and couldn’t come play as in the previous years. Next year sweetie.
The weather vexed us for the second year in a row, and it was a wet session all day. Damp and drizzle. During the drivers meeting we were told …
“You will learn more about the handling of your car today than any day in the dry”
They were right!
The car worked great through the event, and even in the wet it was enjoyable.
I was more industrious with the GoPro this time around, and managed to shoot from various angles. Sorry the work isn’t up to Top Gear standards, but for the production crew I travel with (me, myself and I) it’s not terrible.
Aston Martin Owners Club Track Day 2015
In January 2015 I had my second outing with the AMOC club to Thunderhill Raceway Park. The weather was a little more dodgy, but we eventually got a dry line going. There was a DB5 in attendance as well (and he tracked it)!
I am no race driver, but I do enjoy being able to stretch the car a bit and not worry about a ticket. This year I stuck a GoPro in the cabin with me. Below are 2 laps that were interesting (at least to me). In the first I am catching up a friend of mine in a Lotus. The second lap shown is my fastest of the day (notched about 130 mph and felt good about ‘the line’ I was taking). There is even a real rock star sighting as I roll out of the pits. Enjoy if you have 5 mins to spare…..
Aston Martin Owners Club Track Day 2014
My first time on a Track in a road car. At the beautiful Thunderhill Raceway Park in Northern California in January 2014. About 30 Aston’s out for a fun day. Karen & I had fun taking turns at the wheel.