Typically, when you go to a racetrack to watch a professional race, there are places you can park and places where you most definitely cannot. When you go to a NASA event to run your first or your twenty-first HPDE event, you can park almost anywhere. Almost. The grid is off limits, as are the hot pits, but almost anywhere else will do, depending on the track.
However, not all paddock spots are created equal. The best paddock spots for HPDE drivers have three elements in common. They are as follows: close to a bathroom, near a loudspeaker and near a trash can.
The quality of being near a bathroom is self-explanatory. When it’s time to head to grid and you’re running late, a quick trip to the bathroom is better than a long one, and it’s better than having to drive there.
Being near a loudspeaker can keep you from being late to grid, because you can hear all the announcements as they happen, 10 minutes to grid, five minutes to grid and so forth. It’s a huge convenience you might think about until there are lots of loud racecars rumbling past during announcements.
The trash can is the least important, but it’s still a matter of convenience. You can always drag one closer to your paddock space, if necessary. Being within three-point range of a trash can, you can easily throw away oil cans, dirty paper towels, etc., so you don’t have to walk far to throw something out.
Finding a spot with these elements will make your weekends just a bit smoother, and might even give you the head space to focus more on your on-track activities. Maybe even a bit faster?