How we drove a Porsche on the high banks of Daytona for free

Close your eyes and picture nighttime at Daytona International Speedway. There’s a Porsche in there somewhere, right? They’re simply two brands that make an iconic, everlasting pairing.

Recreating that scene was easy because we already owned the Porsche, our own 1984 Carrera. It was recently serviced–more on that coming soon–and runs so smoothly.

But wait, you say, you don’t have a Porsche. No worries, you can do this with your own favorite machine: Ferrari or Ford, Maserati or Mazda. SUV? Sure, bring it.

So, how to get in those free laps? Bring your car, yourself and your cheery disposition to the next SCCA Track Night event. Our local track is Daytona, the World Center of Racing, and the Track Night in America program usually visits two or three times per year for a pair of back-to-back evenings.

Track Night in America offers track events across the country that are a little different from the norm: The vibe is rather chill, and the events take place in the evenings.

Passing zones tend to be limited to the straights. Drivers are broken up into three groups depending on skill level, with novices getting instruction.

Entry fees tend to be on the lower end of the spectrum, too. At Daytona, it cost SCCA members $235 for three 20-minute sessions. We’ve been running with Track Night in America presented by Tire Rack since the SCCA launched the program several years ago.

The free part that’s not on everyone’s radar: The Track Night in America schedule almost always includes free track touring laps for all in attendance. Free. Laps. Everyone.

Yes, these track touring laps are paced and, yes, there’s no passing allowed, but free is free, right? (No charge to get into the track, either, so this really is free.)

Use it to experience something new, introduce a friend to the track or just sneak in some extra seat time.

That’s how we had our Porsche 911 on the high banks of Daytona for free last week. The timing worked out perfectly, too, as we hit the pavement just as the sun started to fall behind NASCAR Turn 1.

We got three laps, so close to 10.5 miles. (Pro tip: Grid toward the front for less traffic.)

Whether you’re at full speed or not, there’s something special about the sensation of running the high line at a superspeedway. It’s you and all that pavement filling the windshield.

You can now tell your friends that, yeah, you’ve done that.

Your Track Night in America experience doesn’t have to be limited to Daytona, either, as the program runs coast to coast: marquee tracks like Daytona, Sebring and VIR plus club-level facilities like Harris Hill, Pitt Race and Carolina Motorsports Park. It operates nearly year-round, too.

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David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
9/28/23 4:42 p.m.

Hopefully more people take advantage of Track Night in America, either the open touring or the full-speed track laps. It’s a chill way to get some track time. 

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