The HPDE community is somewhat divided when it comes to the role of traction control for beginner and novice track day participants.
Some experienced drivers suggest that traction control should be turned off from day one, lap one. The thinking behind this perspective is that traction control fosters and permits poor track behavior and habits. Traction control systems allow the novice driver to barrel into corners, apply excessive throttle that would otherwise send the car spinning, etc. In other words, traction control "covers" for mistakes, which can become habits, and those habits can turn into real problems if/when the traction control is ever disengaged.
What experienced track drivers sometimes forget is just how overwhelming those first sessions as a novice can be. It may take a full track day or more to approximate the racing line, learn flags, develop comfort passing and being passed, become acquainted with high speeds and cornering forces often times never experienced before, and much more. It's a unique novice driver (we've not yet met him) who can do all of this properly straightaway, and then think about just how much of a hindrance his vehicle's traction control is…
The other consideration is that while many drivers can hold five star drifts in Forza or Gran Turismo, a strong minority of beginner drivers can properly execute understeer corrections and oversteer "catches" when they unexpectedly occur on track. The reality is that most novices cannot properly recover from such events. Accordingly, they should not put themselves and fellow participants at risk by disengaging traction control before they're equipped to manage such circumstances.
Our perspective is that traction control should be disengaged only once a fundamental track skillset is achieved, and it begins to impede a driver's progress in predictable, known, and controllable situations.
For example, traction control is perhaps most commonly a hindrance during corner exit. The driver spots his track out point and applies throttle, but the traction control suppresses and disrupts the power to the rear wheels. If the driver is confident that he is able to manage wheelspin and control slip angle exiting the corner, then it may be time to disengage traction control.
However, if traction control is regularly intervening mid-corner (a sign of too much corner entry speed), or active during a high speed sweeper, i.e. keeping the back end from stepping out, then those are probably not signals that traction control should be disengaged.
Before making the traction control off decision, have an honest evaluation of where, when, and why traction control is active. Don't falsely conclude that anytime traction control is active it's slowing you down. It may very well be saving your…
If you're unsure, take an instructor for a ride and get his or her evaluation. Many will be able to tell inside of one hot lap whether traction control is helping/saving you, or impeding progress.
Turning off the "nannies" and gaining full control of a performance car's chassis and drivetrain is one of the most rewarding motoring experiences one can have. But importantly, it's only sweet when doing so permits greater control of your vehicle.
Have fun out there.