I did about 15 open track days in Mondello before the VIP days came along.
The VIP days are normally totally open pit lane, and are much preferable but generally these need a pretty fast car to qualify, and you are supposed to need a fair bit of experience before you can get to join.
That said I really enjoyed the open days too when I was starting out ..
I haven't done an open day for a good while but in my day the cars are supposed to be graded by experience, value, and performance.
It normally would be rare for a bucket to mix with more expensive cars.. Hopefully this hasn't changed?
The VIP days would probably be a bit scarey for a rookie so I wouldn't rush to try and enter even if possible, the standard of driving normally is much higher, but many of the participants are race drivers and machinery is very high performance (probably up to 20 seconds a lap quicker than a 3.2v6 159 is capable of! )
I never had any problems at open days but you do need your wits about you. A "closed day" such as Octane.ie started doing might be the easiest way into it if you join the site etc, I believe its a relatively genteel outing.
Whatever type of track day you do really its a matter of watching your mirrors and giving room to ANYBODY who catches up with you.
If they are behind you they ARE faster, get out of the way as early as possible and dont hold them up needlessly ..
Help them overtake you on the straights, dont tempt them to overtake you on corners, which generally they arent supposed to do - but if you have held them up for a lap they will get tempted..
Occasionaly there is a real plonker on track who doesn't provide sufficient track space , you should spotted them fairly quickly
and just avoid being on the same part of the circuit as them. Let them pass you at the first opportunity - its not a race, you want to be sensible and have fun.
Most drivers in the higher classes (i.e. not buckets) were very well behaved when I did open days, the main problem wasn't aggressive overtaking - it was folks not pulling over to allow passing on the left.
Again just fall back and get your own space and it wont be a big deal.
If somebody misbehaves - DO complain to the organiser - they WILL have a word with the driver.
There should be loads of photo sites that show representative photos from open day sessions, if you are curious about what machinery would be present.
Tyre wear shouldn't really be a problem, I can get 3 full track days out of a set of PS2's with a supercharged GTA (4 with a standard GTA).
If folks are destroying their tyres in one day its most likely due to incorrect tyre pressures or incredibly rubbish tyres.
If you have Q4 you should be fine, except that the 159 is pretty heavy but it certainly wont spin its wheels too much.
If the tyres are scrubbing senselessly to the point where steering does nothing it generally means you have tried to take a slow corner way too fast, slow-in fast out is the way to go.
Do increase your pressure by 10% before taking to the track, and then cap at a level that keeps tyre wear on the sidewall limit.
Do NOT start with low pressure and wait for it to get high, that just superheats your tyres
Your Irish insurance generally will not cover anything to do with track days..
Once you approach things sensibly though the risk is primarily in your hands.
Upgrading the brake fluid for your car, due to its weight would be a good idea, you dont need a Dot 5.1, a racing Dot 4 would be more appropriate.
Hope this helps,
Anyone done of these before i.e. with their own car rather than the racing school days? Was hoping to put the 159 through its paces this summer but wanted to know how much it wears out your tyres, how many cars do they let out at a time/is there much chance of getting a bump, what the story is with having to bring your own helmet - where do you get one, how much should it cost, etc.
Any help appreciated!