Castle Combe Summer Action Festival

Castle Combe Summer Action Festival on the 22nd of July is a little different to some of the other shows in the calendar. As the name suggests, it's all about the action. Most of the shows we're looking at this year feature some track stuff, but with the Summer Action Festival it's the focus. The organisers are describing it as a fusion of track day and car show.

Castle Combe was the location of a WW2 airfield, which was turned into a racing circuit in 1950. Turning airfields into racetracks is a proud British tradition going way back to Brooklands.

We think it's probably got something to do with the open flat spaces and wide tarmacked runways - all perfect for driving on.

There's a mixture of track-time for the general-public, displays of race-cars and drift-cars. Parade Sessions for clubs that want to show off their car without risking anything getting damaged are also on offer.

With so many shows offering you the chance to get on track this year, we thought we'd pick the brains of our motorsport colleagues for advice on the kit you will want if you are interested in driving on track.

Castle Combe Festival

In some ways, getting on track seems like the perfect antidote to our ever more congested roads and ever more vigilant speed enforcement, but as Spiderman once said, with great power comes great responsibility. The higher speeds you can reach on track make safety even more of a concern.

The bare minimum required for a track day is a suitable helmet. The organisers of the event may specify a minimum safety standard of either a BS Kitemark or an E-Mark. It's always worth checking with the event organiser exactly what standards they're accepting to avoid disappointment. We have ECE approved helmets starting from just £57.50. Spending more will see you in a Snell or FIA certified helmet which adds fireproofing to the list of safety features.

It's worth noting that, as with trainers, different brands of helmet have a different fit. It's important that your helmet is the correct fit to make sure that it works correctly. The best way to ensure this is to try before you buy. If you mail order a helmet from us and it doesn't fit, we will swap it out for the right size, provided we get the helmet back in good condition.

With you taken care of, it's worth giving some thought to your car.

It probably goes without saying, but ensuring basic maintenance is all taken care of is probably a worthwhile first step. Ensuring things like oils and other fluids are at the correct levels is very important. The harder you drive your car, the more stress will be put on to the engine and cooling system. Knowing you have the right amount of high-quality oil in your engine is vital peace of mind.

We're always saying tyres are the single most important place you can spend money on a car and this will go double on track. Either a high performance road tyre or one of the growing number of road-legal track day tyres will offer increased grip and stand up to higher temperatures better. Many of these are fully e-marked for road use - ideal if you're not taking a second set of wheels. This type of tyre also does extremely well on dry roads, doubling up perfectly for summer driving.

Castle Combe Festival
Castle Combe Festival

Another area we'd definitely suggest looking at is your brakes. Driving on track places significantly heavier loads on braking systems than driving on road. Usually it's heat generated by harder, later braking that is the issue. The additional demands on the system can see road car brakes cook and start to fade relatively quickly.

We'd generally suggest pads and fluid as a good place to start. Brakes improve all the time, and the most modern track-day pad compounds offer much higher maximum temperatures, whilst still performing adequately from cold. This means that one pad can serve as an upgrade on a road car and be suitable for track use.

Brake fluid can quickly become the weakest link. As brake fluid ages, it absorbs water. This reduces the boiling point. Ensuring you have fresh, correct brake fluid in your system is good, but an uprated fluid is even better.

We've barely scratched the surface here. If you enjoy your experience, there's a huge range of enhancements you can make to your equipment and car as you get more track time. As we've got over forty years' experience of supplying all levels of motorsport competitor, we're ideally placed to help you out.

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