Rules and Regulations
ROLL BAR REGULATIONS
As stipulated elsewhere on our website, all convertibles, cabriolets, and open-top vehicles must have rollover protection. Appropriate types of rollover protection include fixed roll bars, fixed roll cages, and roll bars that deploy automatically in the event of a collision or rollover. Removable hard tops are NOT considered structural and therefore NOT sufficient.
The following is a list of the vehicles that we understand to be equipped with suitable factory-installed rollover protection:
- Audi A4/S4
- Audi A5/S5
- Audi TT
- BMW 3 series including M3 (1999‐present)
- BMW 6 series including M6 (2003‐present)
- BMW Z3 if also equipped with factory-optional pop-up roll bars
- BMW Z4
- Chrysler Crossfire
- Dodge Viper
- Honda S2000
- Jaguar XK8/XKR, F-TYPE
- Lamborghini Murcielago
- Mazda Miata (3rd Generation only, 2006‐present)
- Mercedes C class, CLK, S Class, and SLK
- Mercedes SL – current models with pop-up roll bars only
- MINI 2009+
- Nissan 350/370Z roadster
- Porsche Boxster
- Porsche 996, 997, 991
- Saab 9-3 (2004 & later)
- Volvo C70
- VW New Beetle, Eos
If you are using 4-, 5- or 6-point racing harnesses that will hold you upright in the event of a rollover, the top of all occupants’ helmets must fall below the line between the top of the windshield and the top of the roll bar for the roll bar to provide full protection. In motorsport, this is referred to as the “broomstick test” because it is typical practice to rest a broomstick across the top of the windshield and the roll hoop while the occupants are seated in the vehicle to determine whether the roll hoop is high enough. If the top of any occupants’ helmet is above this plane, the roll bar is not going to provide sufficient protection.
Sufficient roll hoop height can also be an issue for tall drivers, in part because the roll hoop is designed by the manufacturer for street use (driving without the additional height of a helmet). It is your responsibility to confirm you have sufficient roll bar height before registering for our events.
WARNING: Please DO NOT deploy pop-up rollover protection without knowledge of where they will end up. In some cases, deployment will puncture the rear window or the cloth roof. In other cases, rollover protection cannot be deployed more than once (meaning it would have to be replaced). Again, it is your responsibility to confirm you have sufficient roll hoop height before registering for our events.
The above is a well-vetted list, but we recognize other cars with sufficient factory or production rollover protection may exist. If you are not certain your convertible, cabriolet, or open-top vehicle meets the above minimum safety criteria, please contact us BEFORE registering for an event.
ALL VEHICLES EQUIPPED WITH A 4-5-6 POINT HARNESS MUST USE A HANS-FHR NECK RESTRAINT DEVICE – EXCLUDING THE SCHROTH QUIT FIT 4 POINT HARNESS.
All participants, passengers and instructors MUST wear a properly certified helmet for ALL on-track activities. This includes open lapping, Time Attack, discovery and orientation laps, testing and tuning, On Track Experience, and lapping behind a pace car.
Minimum Acceptable Helmet Certifications:
- Snell M2010 or later (motorcycle standard)
- Snell SA2010 or later (motorsport standard)
- Snell SAH2010 or later (SA helmet with additional reinforcement for use with HANS devices)
- ECE R22-05 (European motorcycle standard)
- FIA 8859-2015 (soon to be required at all FIA-sanctioned international events)
- FIA 8860-2010 (The current Grand-Daddy of motorsport helmet certifications, mandatory for many professional levels of racing, such as F1, Indy Car & IMSA)
ALL Snell, ECE and FIA helmets bear a rating sticker, typically found by lifting up the helmet liner. You should not need to remove any glued portions of the liner to view the certification sticker. This means if you can’t easily find the sticker, its not certified.
What are the differences between the SA and M standards?
The Snell Memorial Foundation SA standard was designed for competitive auto racing while the M standard was for motorcycling and other motorsports. There are three major differences between them:
- SA standard requires pass a flammability test while the M standards do not. Generally speaking, SA and SAH helmets will have a Nomex lining and a yellow Nomex chin strap.
- SA standard allows for a narrower visual field than the M standard (Some SA certified helmets may not be legal for street motorcycle use).
- SA standards include a rollbar multi-impact test while the M standard does not.
- SA2015 and SAH2015 helmets are required to pass much more stringent low-impact testing than M versions (as well as earlier SA versions).
Open Face vs Closed Face
Open face helmets are preferred in cars with air bags. This is because the airbag inflates into the same space as the chin/face protection on a closed face helmet, which pushes the occupant’s head up and back (ouch!) and lessens the effectiveness of the airbag. Closed face helmets are preferred in cars without airbags due to the additional impact protection they provide.
Changes to Snell 2015 SA helmet standards
Snell 2020 SA helmets are now available in the marketplace (it was a slow start, but they are here now). We strongly recommend updating your helmet to a 2020 due to two significant changes that are incorporated in the Snell 2020 SA standards:
1) Head-and-Neck Restraint (HANS) compatibility across all helmets. This comes in the form of the pre-installed M6 hardware that was previously required only on helmets with a Snell/FIA rating (formerly known as the SAH-rating).
2) New impact testing is being used that mimics FIA-testing. Low velocity testing is now required; as is protection against lower impact points, such as strikes against window frames and other lower structures.
Can I use a DOT helmet?
NO. The DOT standard (meaning United States Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard #218) is considered to be lesser than current Snell Memorial Foundation standards from both functional and compliance perspectives. With respect to function, the DOT standard was developed in 1972 and remains virtually unchanged except for a minor revision to the testing process in 1988; whereas the Snell standard is revised every 5 years and is continually evolving based on new information on how to prevent brain injuries. For example, the latest 2020 Snell standard has significant improvements in low-velocity impact protection and low-lateral impact protection which DOT does not require.
More important, however, is the issue of compliance with the certification standard. Snell independently tests samples of each and every helmet design before providing certification, and then performs ongoing spot-checks of each helmet design throughout its production life. Manufacturers who use the ECE R22-05 standard must also submit their helmets to an independent third-party for similar testing. But with DOT, there is no third-party verification or testing requirements, meaning that companies certify their own helmets. BUT DO THEY? NHTSA conducts random tests on about 40 sample helmets every year for compliance. During the years 2004-2008, NHTSA found 28% of so-called DOT-approved helmets failed performance testing. This is an unacceptable failure rate.
Even without knowing you, we are certain you are worth the cost of a helmet that will actually protect you when you need it.
Generally speaking, any modern sports car, sports coupe, or sports sedan is suitable for participation in road course lapping events … when properly prepared for the rigours of track driving.
Preparation is the responsibility of the driver, including completion of a Self-Tech inspection prior to each event. See vehicle preparation for more information.
Are any vehicles unsuitable or prohibi
Yes … please read the following list of prohibited or otherwise unsuitable vehicles before registering:
Convertibles, cabriolets, and open-top vehicles:
If you plan to bring a convertible to the track, please read the following very carefully.
Convertibles, cabriolets, and open-top vehicles by any other name MUST HAVE structural rollover protection located behind the driver and passenger to be permitted on track in our group. Convertibles, cabriolets, and open-top vehicles by any other name without structural rollover protection located directly behind the driver and passenger are not permitted.
Appropriate types of rollover protection include fixed roll bars, fixed roll cages, and roll bars that deploy automatically in the event of a collision or rollover. Cosmetic bling behind the driver is not enough … rollover protection must be able to support the weight of the vehicle under the stress of impact during a rollover. While we are not engineers, if we believe your rollover protection is not sufficient we have no choice but to send you home.
The height of the roll bar or roll cage hoop must also be sufficient to protect the occupants. If occupants are using 4-,5-, or 6-point racing harnesses, the top of all occupants’ helmets needs to fall below the line between the top of the windshield and the top of the roll bar if the roll bar is going to provide full protection. In motorsport, this is referred to as the “broomstick test” because it is typical practice to rest a broomstick across the top of the windshield and the roll hoop while the occupants are seated in the vehicle to determine whether the roll hoop is high enough. If the top of any occupants’ helmet is above this plane, the roll bar is not going to provide sufficient protection. Sufficient roll hoop height can be an issue for tall drivers, in part because the roll hoop is designed by the manufacturer for street use (driving without a helmet). It is your responsibility to confirm you have sufficient roll bar height before registering for our events.
See our approved convertible list for convertibles that have already been vetted and approved.
If you are not certain your convertible, cabriolet, or open-top vehicle meets the above, please contact us BEFORE registering for an event.
Trucks, vans, SUVs, SAVs, and cross-overs
Safety is our first concern. The safety features incorporated in race tracks, such as gravel traps and concrete k-walls, are designed to contain vehicles that are similar in size and weight to a sportscar or sport sedan. Vehicles with a significantly higher ride height may skim through gravel traps with significantly less reduction in speed. Vehicles that are significantly heavier may overrun the length of a gravel trap, or significantly move a concrete wall upon impact. And of course, the risk of a rollover increases as the centre of gravity rises. All of these factors place the occupants of a vehicle at greater risk, or may put spectators at risk. This increased risk is not acceptable, and therefore production Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs), Sport Activity Vehicles (SAVs), cross-over vehicles, trucks, and vans are not permitted at our events.
Highly–modified street vehicles
Vehicles with significant modifications from stock may not be suitable. In terms of reliability, vehicles with engine swaps or significant horsepower-increasing modifications can be unreliable when exposed to the rigors of track driving, experiencing premature brake fade, engine overheating, and fluid leaks. These reliability issues not only affect the owner, but they can pose a quite significant safety risk to others on the track. Or if you have a blower sticking out of the hood that you can’t see past, we have a different safety issue. Highly modified vehicles require prior approval … please contact us BEFORE bringing a highly-modified vehicle to one of our events.
Vehicles with less than four wheels
Yes, we mean motorcycles. Due to the significant differences in mass and acceleration/deceleration rates, motorcycles and cars do not mix well at a track event. Motorcycle events also require additional safety equipment, such as Airfence soft-wall barriers, that neither Speed Freaks nor Castrol Raceway provide. If you would like to track your motorcycle, we suggest checking out Edmonton Motorcycle Racing Association (EMRA) or Hard NoX Track Dayz. EMRA and HardNoX host events at Castrol Raceway.
Prohibited or otherwise unsuitable vehicles will not be permitted on track. No refund will be issued. If you have questions regarding the above, please contact us.
All motorsport activities are inherently dangerous. The risks to yourself and others include property damage, serious personal injury, and death. Serious incidents can occur for a variety of causes; perhaps one of the most common being insufficient vehicle preparation. The risk of a serious incident can be lessened with proper preparation that begins well IN ADVANCE of each event.
A mechanical inspection must be performed on each participating vehicle IN ADVANCE of each event. Preparation begins by knowing the overall condition of your car; in particular the condition of safety components and wear items that are subject to the greatest stress in track driving. The Self-Tech inspection form outlines these items in detail. In advance of heading to the track, complete the Self-Tech inspection form by verifying the condition of each item as you check them off. Photocopies of past inspections are not permitted.
The following items are particularly important as they are subject to accelerated wear or failure:
Tires: First and foremost, inspect the tread for depth across the entire face of all four tires. Remember you are checking to ensure you have enough tread to finish the upcoming track day AND to safely drive home. Pay particular attention to the shoulders of the tire … a street car running factory alignment specifications at the track will prematurely wear the edges of the tires. Check for tire damage such as cuts, and defects such as separations … these can easily fail under the stress of lateral G-forces.Check and precisely set tire pressures … as a general rule, tires should be inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure as a starting point. Once at the track, you may want to adjust the HOT pressures downward, but this should generally be done in increments as the tires warm.
Wheel Bolts: Check torque of all wheel bolts.
Brakes: Check pad life remaining ON ALL BRAKE CALIPERS. Remember that you are checking to ensure there will be enough pad remaining at the END of the track day so that you do not have to go home halfway through. It is not uncommon for front pads to wear more quickly than rears, and for the pads of the outside wheel (relative to the track) to wear more than the inside wheel, and for traction control to wear the brake pads on one wheel predominantly. Also note that as the pads wear, the heat generated by braking will more easily cause fading … most pads begin to lose their ability to dissipate heat when they reach 50% remaining (about 4-5mm). So consider how much you will need to finish the day with more than 4-5 mm remaining on all wheels.
Brake Fluid: Brake fluid must be less than 6 months old. When was the last time your brake system was flushed and the fluid changed? Brake fluid is hygroscopic, which means it readily absorbs water from its surroundings and holds this water in suspension. This is intended to protect the internal components of the brake system from the harmful effects of corrosion. However, the heat generated by repeated hard braking can cause water molecules held in suspension to boil at relatively lower temperatures and turn to steam. This is referred to as “boiling the brakes,” and results in a sudden and complete failure of the brake system. Although cooling the brakes will generally condense the steam and return the brakes to normal operation, reaching the end of the front straight at speed and being entirely unable to apply the brakes is not acceptable. Luckily, boiling the brakes is entirely avoidable with routine maintenance.
Fluids: Check for leaks of coolant, engine oil, power steering fluid, etc. If these closed systems are leaking, they can cause an unsafe condition for you and for other participants. Your ensuring your vehicle is NOT leaking fluids is essential to the safety of others. Plus if these fluids levels are low under what is arguably the most demanding of driving conditions, it can lead to premature thinning of your pocketbook.
Noise: It is expected that all vehicles participating in Speed Freaks events will have operational mufflers. This is especially important if you are receiving instruction. It is a necessity that instructors and students be able to carry on a conversation at speed. If your exhaust is too loud, carrying on a conversation will not be possible, and therefore instruction will not be possible. Please be aware that if your vehicle exceeds reasonable noise limits, you may not be permitted to continue. No refund will be given if a participant’s vehicle does not meet reasonable sound requirements.
Please note the above is not a complete list of items … only the most commonly overlooked.
Proper insurance coverage for your vehicle is entirely your responsibility. Neither Speed-Freaks nor its instructors carry insurance on your vehicle. The only potential coverage is under your existing automobile policy, or an optional motorsport collision insurance policy (referred to as “Track Day Insurance”). But before you panic, read on …
About Alberta Standard Automobile Insurance Policies
All companies offering insurance for street-licensed vehicles in Alberta are required by law to abide by Alberta Standard Automobile Policy S.P.F. No. 1 (2013). This standard policy excludes coverage where the automobile is involved in a “race or speed test”. If you are running in a timed run group, of course this activity will void your insurance. However, we offer several non-timed run groups, and purposely do not award prizes or rank participants in any of our non-timed run groups. Our legal council advises that running in non-timed run groups DOES NOT exclude you from insurance coverage, and there have been several successful claims over the years that confirm that legal interpretation.
However, we cannot dictate how your insurance company may interpret our events relative to the policy wording … or how long the fight will be if you make a claim.
Plus it is a bit of a Catch 22 — if you ask call your insurer to confirm your coverage, they will almost certainly tell you that your policy does not cover track days. While the Alberta Standard Automobile Policy does not give your insurer this right to deny coverage on an existing policy, once your insurer has told you that you do not have coverage it becomes very hard to go backwards and make a claim. And if you press the issue, it is likely your insurer will cancel your policy. So, and this is the Catch 22, it is virtually impossible to confirm you have coverage.
In addition, some insurers will ask if you intend to drive at the track before writing your policy, and may decline to write the policy if you disclose that you intend to expose them to this risk. However, due to the mandatory minimum coverages mandated by law, the insurance industry has a company of last resort that must provide coverage (referred to as “facility” within the industry). Insurance companies may not tell you this, but a reputable independent insurance broker will.
Insurance in Other Provinces
It is our understanding that standard insurance policies in both British Columbia and Saskatchewan use similar exclusionary wording to the Alberta Standard Automobile Policy. However, we have not had their policy documents vetted by legal counsel. Standard policy documents are easy to find … just Google “automobile insurance policy wording
[BC or Saskatchewan]” and read for yourself.
About Insurance for Track Days
There are specialty insurance products designed specifically to provide collision coverage and liability coverage for vehicles being driven at track days, available in Canada through Stoneridge Specialty Insurance (who also provide Speed-freaks liability coverage). Some of the options include:
1) No-fault physical damage coverage (a.k.a. collision coverage) that will be paid out regardless of how the incident occurs, without affecting your other vehicles, or your other policies, or your future rates. That is, your claim is isolated from anything else you insure.
2) Supplemental liability insurance for track cars, sponsors, and race teams.
3) Off-track and storage insurance for race cars, trailers, and trailer contents.
Speed freaks open lapping events have been approved by Stoneridge Specialty Insurance for this coverage. Stoneridge further advises that their coverage is not void in our timed run groups. For more information on what is covered and the rates, please visit the their website at www.stoneridgespecialty.ca.
What Will You Tell My Insurance Company?
Speed-freaks will truthfully answer any and all questions posed by your broker and/or insurer. You are welcome to refer your broker or insurer to us for questions about how our program works in advance of an event, and of course you know they will contact us to confirm the facts if you make a claim. We are well-versed in what the standard insurance policies say about coverage and will advocate on your behalf; but at the same time, we absolutely will not mislead or hide material facts or commit insurance fraud including that we will disclose whether someone involved in an incident was participating in a timed run group.