Trip Planner

As Soon As Your Spot Is Confirmed

  • Reserve a hotel room for the night before the event; see How are we getting there?
  • Decide whether to buy or rent a helmet if you don't already have one; see What should I bring?
  • Schedule a service appointment for your car prior to the event, leaving enough time to perform any service items. Refer to the tech inspection checklist for a list of things to consider. You can complete tech inspection yourself if you know what you are doing, or bring your car to a qualified mechanic to do it for you. EDGE MotorWorks in Mountain View and Z Car Garage in San Jose have performed tech inspections for our events for all makes & models; be sure to mention Droids & Friends. See the list of other member-recommended shops who can help with tech inspections.
  • The most common problems are worn tires and/or brake pads. Be sure to have your tires and brakes inspected well enough in advance of each event, so you have time to order replacement tires and pads and have them installed prior to showing up at the track.

Learn About Track Driving

We offer a class for beginners prior to the first on-track session at each of our events, but you can get a head start by watching this awesome annotated video showing the proper driving line around Thunderhill. You may also want to review these slides prior to the class.


Last-Minute Checklist

Did you remember to pack...

  • ...the completed paperwork (tech sheet, Thunderhill waiver, and Droids & Friends waiver)? Get them hereYou won't be allowed on track without these.
  • SA2010 or SA2015 rated auto racing helmet, or $35 in cash to cover helmet rental at the track? You won't be allowed on track without a helmet.
  • ...suitable clothes: cotton shirt, cotton pants, cotton socks, and closed-toe shoes? Long-sleeve shirts and long pants are safest, short-sleeve T-shirts and shorts are OK.
  • ...a towel? To quite the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, "A towel [...] is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have."
  • ...sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat? Willows gets pretty hot in the summer, with temperatures in the 90s or even the 100s.
  • ...bottled water and energy bars or other snacks? You'll definitely want to avoid becoming dehydrated, and you'll get surprisingly hungry.
  • ...a tarp or picnic blanket? You'll need to remove everything from your car prior to your first session, and leave them at the paddock.
  • ...a tire pressure gauge? You'll need to adjust your tire pressure after your first on-track session.
  • ...a torque wrench? Beginners can safely skip this, but intermediate drivers who are starting to push their cars to the limit may want to ensure that their lug nuts remain torqued to spec between sessions.
  • ...a camera and/or camcorder? Fun fact: all photos on this website were taken by Droids & Friends participants at our past events.
  • for incidental expenses, including change for the soda machine?

The Day Before

  • Decide when to take off from the Bay Area. Traffic on I-80/I-880/I-680 is worst between 3 PM and 6 PM, so if you can't leave by 2, you may as well not leave until after 6.
  • Allow 3 hours for the drive to Willows (map). CHP and local police know about track days and will be on the prowl, so watch your speed!
  • Meet fellow drivers & guests for drinks and dinner at Casa Ramos restaurant (map) in Willows between 7 PM and 9 PM. Look for the largest table...
  • Get a good night's rest--you'll need it!

Track Day

  • 7:00 AM: Gates open. The entrance is on Hwy 162, about 7 miles west of Willows (map). There is a 55 mph speed limit on Hwy 162, so don't get carried away.
  • 7:00-8:00 AM: Drivers arrive. Leave time for renting a helmet at the gatehouse (map marker A on the facility map; see below) or at the Pro Shop (open after 9 AM). Park under either of the two canopies (map marker B), and remove all loose items from your vehicle. Breakfast will be served in the clubhouse (map marker C).
  • 8:00 - 8:15 AM: Mandatory drivers' meeting in the clubhouse. You won't be allowed on track if you miss this.
  • 8:45 - 9:30 AM: Beginner group class. Beginners won't be allowed on track if they miss this.
  • 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM: Morning sessions.
  • 12:00 - 1:00 PM: Lunch in the clubhouse. Don't forget to check your fuel and fill up your tank!
  • 1:00 - 5:00 PM: Afternoon sessions.
  • 5:00 - 5:30 PM: Wrap-up in the clubhouse. Gates close at 6 PM, so everyone must pack up and leave before then.
Those who stay for the entire day often decide to meet up for dinner afterwards, either in Willows or on the way home. Either way, allow 3 hours for the drive home, and watch your speed!

Click to enlarge. Printable version available here.