Matt Prior: Is it too much to ask to make noise on a track day?

Ferrari 488 Pista

There aren’t too many neighbours to annoy near Anglesey Circuit

You can’t burn rubber on roads but do it on a track and you could face noise complaints. Drivers can’t win

Have you tried driving a car as absolutely fast as it will go? On the road, I mean? No, me neither. At least, not since I was stupid years old.

The trouble is that cars go so incredibly fast, so if you try it, a bystander – ideally before you’ve had the accident and preferably not in a uniform that necessitates you reply with ‘officer’ – will point at you and tell you that this isn’t a race track.

Which, of course, it isn’t. The good news is that race tracks do exist and, if you wish, you can take your car to one.

They’re a much better place to exploit the handling and performance of cars, because there’s nobody coming the other way. And, given that you’re no longer driving fast on the road, you would think this would be a solution that suits everyone, wouldn’t you?

This being life, it doesn’t. You’re not haring past somebody’s front door any more, which is terrific, but, on a race track, there is a slight chance you will be haring relatively near somebody’s back garden. And if there’s one thing people don’t like, it’s being made aware that other people are having fun when they’re not. It seems there’s nothing people dislike quite as much as hearing other people enjoying themselves. Yes, even if they willingly bought a house near to a race track in the first place, thereby increasing their chances of this awful FOMO.

I understand that noise can be irritating. A gliding club local to my house recently got kicked off the airfield it used and, in place of basically silent objects in the sky, there’s now the more frequent engine noise while Baron von Oxfordshire attempts a motorised triple salchow. I notice this more than I do the gliders but, for one, I quite like planes and, for two, if it were going to bother me, I probably shouldn’t have bought a house three miles from an airfield. I would feel much the same about a race track.

It’s unfortunate that not everybody thinks similarly, though, because that a plaintiff ‘came to the nuisance’ isn’t typically a valid defence against a local resident’s noise complaint. Circuits and banger racing and speedway tracks have collectively had to spend millions of pounds fighting complaints like that. And they’ve had countless hours cut from their legitimate business operations as a result, too.

So there’s the pickle. You have people telling drivers to go and play on a race track and then insisting they stop it immediately. Meanwhile, cars aren’t going to get any slower or tyres any less grippy, and both are quite loud.

The only answers, as I see it, are to build race tracks miles from where anyone lives, which seems similarly unlikely; or to design performance cars that, instead of being incredibly loud, are incredibly quiet, at least on the outside, so that while you’re enjoying yourself, nobody realises.

Imagine a race track in a convenient location that can run to whatever hours it likes on as many days as it likes, while nobody else quite knows or cares that it’s doing it. All it takes is for a V12 that only the driver can hear or a for a tyre to be made that doesn’t squeal. How unrealistic is that?


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Source: Autocar

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