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Going racing at the End of the Month - Suggestions

965 Views 9 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  cord4530
Hey guys, I'm going to Putnam park at the end of the month for my 1st track day.
Other than DOT 4 oil, checking the pads, and torquing the lug nuts is there anything I should think about prior to heading down there?

Crazy Excited!

Also what tire pressures do you guys run?
I'm running Toyo T1R's 265/295's.
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Keep the boost down and I would get an oil temperature gauge. Monitor them because while roadracing, it skyrockets!
Get a good tire pressure guage and check the pressure each time you get off the track. Pressure can rise quite a bit once the tires get heated up.
For your first track day, if your car is in good basic condition just relax and enjoy the learning experience. Try to be well rested and stay hydrated (not on beer). Try to be as smooth as possible, don't do anything too sudden or jerky. IMO/E at BPU you have to push the car pretty hard to worry about oil temps, and most "beginners" won't drive hard enough to worry about it.

That's a good street tire, so I would start at about "normal" tire pressures, something like 36psi cold; then as Kurt said, check them again as soon as you pull off the track after a few laps or after your first session and add or subtract to keep them in the recommended range.
The sticky at the top of the road racing section: what have you learned about road racing, veterans chime in or something like that contains a butt load of good info both supra specific and general information. I would recommed that you read the whole thread:
what day are you going im heading down for the last nasa event
Do not forget to breathe.

I am not kidding.
Bring a bottle of engine oil/brake fluid and bleeding tools just in case. If there is instructor sitting besides, follow his instructions. If not, follow the lead car and learn the line. I remembered my first one, and Barry was sitting in my car, I was nervous as hell. Yes, do remember to breathe :)
Thanks a'lot fellas. My track day i am going down sept 29/30 w/ forgeline motorsports. Two days!

Thanks again, if you all have any other suggestions keep them coming. I will read the other thread.
Some general tips:
- Try to stay calm/loose. Keep a light grip on the wheel, not a death grip.

- Keep your sessions short (25 minutes or less) and pull off if you start getting sloppy - in two days you'll get more track time that you can really digest anyway. Take a notebook or something to write down useful things after each session.

- Stay hydrated!! Drink twice as much water as you normally would in a day, and use the restroom before your sessions. Drinks like Gatorade/etc are good too. I would stay away from "energy drinks" though. The last thing you need is a lot of extra energy.

- Don't worry about finding the cars limits or impressing anyone. Whenever a *real* driver operates my car, I know *I* will probably never find the limits of the car. You mostly don't want overstep the limits of the driver. Find your limits gradually (from below) and do it in 1-2 safe spots on the track (a low speed turn, or someplace with lots of run-off).

- Smooth steering inputs. Drive like you have an enormous steering damper installed. Gradual turn-in, hold the line, gently roll on the throttle and slowly unwind the wheel.

- Once you learn the lines, don't follow random cars in front of you. A FWD or AWD car often take different lines, and you can't trust that random drivers will be taking good lines anyway. Be aware of the cars around you, but don't let them effect where you put your car (unless of course is a chance of contact!).

- Don't push your limits trying to keep up with a faster car that just passed you.

- Keep an eye in your mirrors for faster cars coming up from behind. Be aware of passing conventions used for that particular event. Most are pass by point-by only, and some will have dedicated passing zones.

- Be patient of slower cars/drivers. Most of us have been/are one of those too.

- What brake pads are you running? If it's a mild street pad, it could go from new ---> gone in two open track days. I always bring a spare set of pads just-in-case.

- Since you're BPU I'm guessing you are still running the OEM SMIC. This is good. The temp gauge in the car is not very acurate (ie: anything between 160-240°F reads at the same location on the gauge), but at BPU levels you should be fine. If you have room, bring some extra distilled water in case you do overheat a little and leak some fluid out.

- Bring some glass cleaner and paper towels. You're going to kill a lot of bugs, and a clean windshield is always nice.

- Bring extra engine oil, brake fluid, and PS fluid. If you are able, bring some tubing/jar for bleeding the brakes (if you end up boiling the fluid....unlikely, but possible).

- Consider taping (painters tape) or at least re-waxing the front bumper and hood between the headlights. Bugs, tiny rocks, etc. will all hit your fascia pretty hard.

- An assortment of zip ties and some duct tape can go a long ways for an emergency repair.

- I run with the traction control off. The switch on the console partially disables the TRAC system (IIRC the ignition timing can still be retarded, but the brake & throttle actuators turn off). Try your first several sessions with the traction control on and see what you think. I found it to be a little clumsy/clunky when it kicks in.

- Bring a folding chair, a hat, and some sunscreen. Chat with others parked around you. Most people are more than happy to talk about their track experiences.

- If allowed, ride along in some of the other's cars while yours is cooling off between sessions. I've learned as much as a passenger of an experienced driver than I have as the driver.

- Give the car (and yourself) an honest warm-up lap. And definitely give the car a nice cooldown lap as well (you'll have plenty of time to cool down)

- Keep an eye on the fuel level. Our cars don't get very good fuel economy running on the track. I usually fill up after I see 1/4 tank during the session. This is often somewhere ~100 miles +/- 25 miles

- Be prepared to spend a lot of money going to future HPDE's. And spending money on the car as well. You may not care to modify the car but you'll still be spending money on brakes and tires at least.

- Have fun and come back with yourself and the car in one piece.
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