The following information is being sent to BMW Car Club of America members on behalf of Lockton Affinity, LLC, a licensed insurance producer. Any recommendation or advice provided is based upon the opinion of Lockton Affinity, LLC and not the BMW Car Club of America.
High-Performance Driving Events (HPDEs) have a sizable emphasis on safety, along with speed, fun, and learning. Even so, some risks, like track hazards, still remain. Encountering the wrong track hazard at the wrong spot could ruin a great track day.
Preparing for the following ten track hazards will contribute to event safety.
Fluids On Track
BMWs are full of fluids that keep their components clean, cool, and well lubricated under demanding conditions. But leaks can be common and there are many points where these systems could fail. When they do and fluids get on a track, it can interfere with tire adhesion. Oil and coolant are the most common, and when you drive over them, they take away almost all of the grip.
Debris on Track
Anything attached to a vehicle may become detached from it while it is on the track. Once it’s off the car and on the pavement, this debris is a hazard to everyone on the track. Some of the most common items include corner lights or turn signals, side view mirrors, parts of bumpers, exhaust components, and more. Hitting debris may cause damage to your vehicle’s body, its tires, or suspension, and trying to avoid it may also lead to an incident.
Sometimes, the track itself can become a hazard to the drivers who are on it. This can happen in different ways. There can be parts of the pavement with little grip. Cracks, bumps, and uneven pavement can unsettle a car during a corner and be challenging to navigate. Some cracks will also weep out water, creating a brief, slippery situation. In each scenario, the damage to the track’s surface can cause a loss of control.
HPDE is generally a fun, friendly, low-competition motorsports activity. Yet there are times when the other drivers on the track may present a hazard. For a variety of reasons, some drivers can be very unpredictable on a track. Excitement, inexperience, distraction, and more can all play a role. The result is that a car in front of or behind you may not do what you think it ought to do when it ought to do it. Avoid an incident by adjusting your following distances accordingly.
Sometimes the issue with other cars on a track isn’t the driver, but the vehicle itself. Another car may become a track hazard for you if it spins near you and you are forced to take evasive action to avoid it. A car that loses control may become a hazard to you, regardless of whether it is in front of you, behind you or to either side of you.
Wildlife on Track
Since most tracks are a bit rural, it’s fairly common to have wildlife encounters on track. Examples can include snakes, birds, turtles, deer, turkeys, and more. Like other drivers, animals can be unpredictable. They may stand still or move into your path, making it a challenge to avoid them. Contact with a large animal may cause significant damage to your vehicle, while maneuvers to avoid a smaller one may cause you to end up off track.
Drivers always hope the conditions will be ideal for a track day, but Mother Nature sometimes has other plans. Weather of all types can pose a hazard at the track. Rain, wind, hail, lightning, morning drizzle, frost, and ice can all happen, depending on the location and the season, sometimes with little warning. Most events happen rain or shine, so you will likely have to adjust to driving in the rain to minimize the risk of an incident.
Fuel is a combustible material that has to be handled very carefully. Outside its controlled environments of the pump, tank, fuel lines, and engine, it’s a hazard. Add the high heat and sparks that can occur on track and a fire is a real possibility. A car that catches fire is an immediate danger to its occupants. However, that car can also become a track hazard for the other drivers around it.
Everyone shows up at the track with a nice firm brake pedal, but the conditions on track can still cause reduced stopping power. Every driver knows the importance of bleeding all of the air out of the lines and using fresh, high-quality brake fluid to prevent brake fade. At high temperatures, brake fluid can boil, introducing air into the hydraulic system and leading to a “soft” brake pedal. However, brake fade can also occur from high temperatures alone. It is possible to exceed the operating temperature of the brake pads themselves, reducing braking performance significantly.
Bald, cracked, or bulging tires aren’t allowed on the track for good reason. They are a hazard that could result in a dangerous tire failure at high speed. Even so, a tire that appears to be in good condition will fail on track every now and then. Usually this occurs by delamination or a blow out. When it does happen, it becomes a real challenge to keep your vehicle under control after the failure when you have only three tires in contact with the ground.
Why Is Track Day Insurance Important?
Even with safe driving and a high level of skill, it’s generally impossible to avoid all track hazards. Accidents outside your control may still happen and your BMW could be damaged.
Without coverage, you could lose your investment in a dedicated track car or your daily driver. Yet many traditional auto policies exclude coverage for vehicles participating in an HPDE event.
Track Day Insurance from Lockton Motorsports is specifically designed to protect your BMW from physical damage while you’re participating in an HPDE event, protecting:
- Street-legal cars and non-licensed track cars.
- Modifications you’ve made to your car.
- Two drivers at each event at no additional cost.
- Any demonstration laps your instructor drives.
You can purchase track day coverage conveniently, either ahead of time or the day of an event, online at LocktonMotorsports.com. Have a question? We’re happy to help! Give us a call at (866) 582-4957 to speak to our motorsports insurance experts.
The Lockton Motorsports Insurance program is administered by Lockton Affinity, LLC d/b/a Lockton Affinity Insurance Brokers LLC in California #0795478. Coverage is subject to actual policy terms and conditions. Policy benefits are the sole responsibility of the issuing insurance company. BMW Car Club of America will receive a royalty fee for the licensing of its name and trademarks as part of the insurance program offered to the extent permitted by applicable law. Not available in all states.