Trackdays are organised events where you can take any road legal / race legal car that has covered wheels onto a racing circuit with no speed restrictions. There is no need for a racing license but you do need a full road driving license. You should treat a trackday as a social event - enjoying your car with a load of other petrol heads!
Trackdays have specific rules and are non competitive. Overtaking is controlled - Usually only allowed on one side, on straight sections of the track and with the consent of the driver being overtaken. Overtaking in braking areas is not allowed.
These rules help to prevent drivers making mistakes and trying too hard to pass. If followed properly they rule out the possibility of car to car contact during overtaking.
Driving standards are closely monitored and people ignoring the rules are prevented from returning to the circuit. All drivers have to attend a safety briefing which sets out the rules for the day. Whilst some operators vary the rules below are standard across all of the operators that I have used.
Removable towing eyes must be fitted before going onto the circuit
Helmets of a suitable standard must be worn, fit correctly and done up
No hand held cameras - video cameras must be fitted with a secure professional mount
Full length trousers and shirts must be worn (some organisers allow short sleeve shirts in 'closed top' cars)
Windows open no more than 50% in closed cars
No rear seat passengers
No loose objects in the car (a coke can going under brake pedal would not be fun!)
The normal format for a trackday is to arrive at the circuit, have your license checked and sign the relevant paperwork. Most venues will then require you to noise test your car. All drivers will attend the mandatory briefing. Most organisers use stickers for your car and wristbands on drivers / passengers to show you have signed on and been briefed. These will be checked by circuit staff each time you go onto the circuit.
A lot of organisers now start the day with mandatory sighting laps behind a 'pace car'. Usually 3 laps, take this time to look at the condition of the circuit and remember where the pit exit and entry are!
Once this has been done the day will run in its format:
Sessions: your group (normally based on experience gets an amount of time each hour on track. e.g 3 x 20 minute sessions - Novice, Intermediate, Experienced.
Open Pit Lane: You can enter and leave the circuit whenever you like during the day.