Light and easy remain keywords for the SCCA program designed to make track time easily accessible
SCCA Track Night in America started as a way to get people cheap and easy track time. Conducted usually on weekday afternoons and/or evenings, it was designed to be convenient and not require high levels of commitment. As a result, the program’s popularity has continued to grow.
“We hit a 92 percent event occupancy rating for August of this year,” says Heyward Wagner, Director of Marketing and Experiential Programs for the Sports Car Club of America. “Traditionally, this is a program that starts the year off around 82, 83 [percent] and dwindles to 70s in the hotter months. This year, as far as occupancy rate goes, it kept climbing and climbing. This is a really important metric to us, because it shows the popularity of the program.
“From that place, we are viewing this program as having reached a mature status,” Wagner adds. “It has a dedicated staff to keep it running, it has long-term partnerships that have been incredibly valuable and important to launching it, that are now being used to continue to improve the product [and] continue to improve the experience. It has a really strong following coast to coast.”
Because the program has reached that stature, the concentration for 2019 is not about big changes, but rather refinement and steady improvement.
“We’re focusing on fine-tuning the experience,” says Wagner. “For 2019, we are focused on event staff training and development, making sure that all our staff is really getting the support they need. Now that we’re out of the startup phase, it’s really about training a nationwide staff that can employ these events at a very high level.”
The maturity of Track Night has allowed SCCA to launch a Time Trials program. It’s a step above Track Night with a competition element, and SCCA recently held its first Time Trials Nationals at the National Corvette Museum Motorsports Park. MazdaMotorsports.com will take a look at Time Trials and how it compares to Track Night in the near future.
Many of the people who compete in Time Trials will have come from Track Night. Indeed, Wagner says that of people who have become new SCCA members in recent years, 22 percent came through Track Night in one form or another. That doesn’t necessarily mean they participated in an event, but that they created an account at TrackNightInAmerica.com.
“We’ve had people that started at Track Night race at the Indy Runoffs,” Wagner explains. “We’ve seen people from Track Night get involved in region leadership, Flagging & Communications [and there’s] a lot of evidence that people have done autocrosses.”
It’s easy to see why SCCA Track Night in America has taken off. “It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s inexpensive and you can do it in your street car,” says Wagner. And for Mazda owners, there’s additional incentive: participating in track events gives drivers access to Mazda’s Team Support Program and many of the benefits that come with it. That includes the ability to buy stock and competition parts at discounted rates, receive technical support, and even get a discount on the purchase of a new Mazda. That may be one reason that Mazda is the most represented brand across Track Night in America’s history.