Residents of the Bay Area — and Marin in particular — are well-known for their love of performance cars. But driving these sleek machines at high speeds down Highway 101 isn’t the best idea. With local clubs like Exclusive Track Days, anyone can feel like a race car driver for a day — and what better place to get behind the wheel than at the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca near Monterey?
“I went to other track day club events and noticed that it was aimed at having the cheapest possible track days with the least amount of drive time,” says Exclusive Track Days founder, architect and professional race car driver Ace Robey, aka Ace. He started the club in 2014 to give enthusiasts — most bring their own street cars to track events, but rentals and classes are also available — more laps and additional time behind the wheel. With fewer cars at the track, attendees drive a minimum of seven 20-minute sessions, hitting speeds ranging from 70 to 150 mph, during an event day.
“You have people who take the day off work or it’s their weekend and they want to go to the track, drive their sports car, have some fun and meet people with similar interests,” Ace says.
A day at the raceway — whether it be behind the wheel of a Porsche Cayman GT4, Ferrari or McLaren — “is a great stress reliever,” Ace adds. “It’s a great way to do something both physical and mental and have a great time.”
According to Ace, the social aspect — typically around 70 drivers attend each event — is an important part of the experience. “One of the things about track days is you drive for 20 minutes and you have 40 minutes until your next session. You start talking about cars and life — lots of networking happens at our events.”
And drivers love attending events at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. “It’s one of the oldest tracks in the U.S., one of the most historic,” he says. “You can talk to people in any country in the world and they know about Laguna Seca. And it’s a great area, you can go to Carmel or Monterey, have dinner, go wine tasting.”
Upcoming WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca Events
Ferrari Challenge series (Sept. 24–27); MotoAmerica Superbike Speedfest (Oct. 23–25); Exclusive Track Days at Laguna Seca (Nov. 21–22).
Bay Area Track Clubs to Know
Hooked on Driving — NorCal
This school offers instruction on safely driving sporty or high-performance cars during noncompetitive track days.
Porsche Club of America Golden Gate Club
One of the nation’s oldest, largest and most active branches of the PCA, serving San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.
SCCA San Francisco Regional
Wheel-to-wheel, competitive road racing at Sonoma Raceway, Thunderhill Raceway Park and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
A San Francisco club offering events, instruction and track days. Beginners with unmodified cars are welcome.