Not to shatter your dreams or anything but if all you've done was 4 track days and you're still in novice group, you probably shouldn't be thinking about racing at this point. On the other hand, don't gage yourself based on MotoAmerica guys...they're at a whole new level that most of us will never have to worry about because most of them are too good to even want to take part in club racing. But even though technically you could race as an amateur even now, my advice would be to not do it. If you're going to be the slowest guy on the grid by a fair margin it won't be fun for you and it'll frustrate the guys that will be lapping you in the race because you'll be in the way. Racing is only fun if you got other people of similar skill level to race against. If everyone blows you away in the first couple of turns and then you're on your own for the next 5-6 laps until you get lapped by the leaders, what fun is that really?? That's basically like a track day when there's nobody out on track
Wait until you can comfortably ride in the advanced group at track day. Even then it's pretty amazing in the difference you'll see. One of the fastest guys at my local track who always sets the fastest times of the day and wins most of our amateur non-sanctioned races went up to Road America with a few of us this year to race with CCS and he got his ass handed to him. He's on a BMW HP4, and that's a big power track and there were amateurs that were slightly faster than him on 600s even! He was like 6-7 seconds a lap slower than the guys winning the amateur races in his class on 1000's!
Now regarding camaraderie...again, don't look at MotoAmerica or other pros. We're talking club racing here. Where most people know they'll never win yet they still do it for the fun. The top experts are really the only ones that are taking it very seriously, but even between them there is great camaraderie. I found people to be even more helpful than at track days because the thought is usually that missing a race for whatever reason is a bigger deal and much more disappointing than missing a track day session, so people are more willing to help each other out as best they can. A great deal of us don't even have sponsors so nobody's pressuring for you to be #1, aside from maybe yourself. YOU will most likely be your biggest enemy/rival. Nobody's really against you until the green flag is up. In the pits it's more of a friends and family feel. You also get to meet more people and make more friends from battling out on track regarding the position you're fighting for. Most people enjoy a good scrap regardless of whether you took them in the last turn on the last lap or whether they beat you. Sure there will be a few exceptions that are taking it way too seriously and they'll be pissed at you because you took that 11th place for them
...but for the most part it's all in good fun. Every time I've had a good on-track battle with someone during a race I always stopped by after the race and chatted with that person and talked about how fun it was, no matter if I won that battle or he did. At track days I rarely do that because it's a track day...I don't get into "on track battles" lol
I agree, however I'll add that most people tend to get faster by actually racing, not just track days. I started racing last year and I was kind of a bottom-end advanced group level or maybe top intermediate level. I had sort of reached a plateau in that I was improving VERY slow with each track day, just fractions of a second at a time, or some days I wouldn't even improve. Then I did a few races and right away I started shaving 1.5-2 seconds off my lap times and continued to improve. Then I got a different bike (my zx6r and cbr500 this year), so I kinda had to start from scratch but this year I've improved every single time I've been on track! And all my best lap times came during races. For example in my last race of the season at my home track, before the race my best time was 1:37.8. During the 8 lap race, I ran like 5-6 laps that were faster than that, with 2 of them being high 1:35s. I think I've yet to run a single lap on that track under 1:38 during a track day session! I don't even think I've ran under 1:39 actually in a track day! lol