If at all possible, you should attend a school either before, or at your first track event.
However, it does not have to be a $2,000, three-day course. Many of the local racing clubs, car owner's clubs, and SCCA regions have low-cost, one-day schools. The instruction won't be as detailed or as broad, but it will cover the basics, and provide you with an experienced driver to ask questions of, and likely ride in your car while you drive.
Many clubs will have a mandatory attendance of their school or instructional group for your first event. If you can find a club that does this--start with them. A club that doesn't include or require formal instruction sessions will likely have a higher percentage of unskilled hot-dogs on the track. You want to avoid that if at all possible.
The school sessions should include heel-toe downshifting techniques and practice. The basics of cornering technique, the racing line, and car control. You should have several track sessions, start slow in the first sessins and bringing your speeds up as you get accustomed to the track and all of the things you need to think of.
In a school environment, you will be able to get feedback on what you're doing right away. This will help to avoid developing bad habits, and help get you comfortable with the driving the track faster than starting completely on your own.
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