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First time at the track, any suggestions?

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First time at the track, any suggestions?

Old 01-17-06, 12:36 AM
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First time at the track, any suggestions?

Alright well going to willow springs on 01/28/06 and wanted to know if you guy's have any preday prep?

Only thing I have done so far is Bleed my brakes using Super Blue brake fluid. Using hawk HP+ pads with about 8mm left.
Also fluished my coolant with a 30/70 mix of antifreeze/water, and changed my oil.

Car in question is a S5 N/A FC. Mods are intake, Tien Springs, KYB's adjustables. Tires have about 8k on them and have plenty of meat left.

So would like know what you guys recommend me doing to prep for the track to prevent down time.


Also what are the usal stuff that brake while at the track so that I could take spares? Goign to take two spare full size tires, vac hoses.. but dono what else?

I'm also thinking about gutting my car a bit. Wanted to take all the under foam from the capet, bins.. But would the 50-100lb be noticed? Would it make any difference? Or should I just leave that stuff there save the trouble? Already have AC and PS removed.

Bought a neck support for my helmet as I know it can get tiring with a helmet, race go-karts alot.

Well any information or suggestions would be really appreciated. This is going to be my first time road racing and I'm very excited. So don't really want anything to go bad.


Thanks alot for your time.
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Old 01-17-06, 05:33 AM
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Originally Posted by trainwreck517
Alright well going to willow springs on 01/28/06 and wanted to know if you guy's have any preday prep?

Only thing I have done so far is Bleed my brakes using Super Blue brake fluid. Using hawk HP+ pads with about 8mm left.
Also fluished my coolant with a 30/70 mix of antifreeze/water, and changed my oil.

Car in question is a S5 N/A FC. Mods are intake, Tien Springs, KYB's adjustables. Tires have about 8k on them and have plenty of meat left.

So would like know what you guys recommend me doing to prep for the track to prevent down time.


Also what are the usal stuff that brake while at the track so that I could take spares? Goign to take two spare full size tires, vac hoses.. but dono what else?

I'm also thinking about gutting my car a bit. Wanted to take all the under foam from the capet, bins.. But would the 50-100lb be noticed? Would it make any difference? Or should I just leave that stuff there save the trouble? Already have AC and PS removed.

Bought a neck support for my helmet as I know it can get tiring with a helmet, race go-karts alot.

Well any information or suggestions would be really appreciated. This is going to be my first time road racing and I'm very excited. So don't really want anything to go bad.


Thanks alot for your time.
A quick reply; forget about any performance enhancing mods until you've run your car on the track a few times. It's better to concentrate on improving the driver before the car.

Brakes. Your brakes pads are too thin. Change them before you go or be prepared to change them at the track. Always carry spares. The track is very hard on brakes. Like they say, you don't have to go, but you MUST stop.

At the track make sure your tires are properly inflated.

I assume this is a driving school, so you probably have a tech inspection form to fill out. Make sure everything on the list checks out.

On track, listen to the instructor.
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Old 01-17-06, 08:15 AM
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Old 01-17-06, 08:42 AM
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If you've raced karts you'll know the general rule on the track is not to drive over your head or get stupid

Above all make sure the car is mechanically fresh. I agree with adding fresh brake pads. Even if 8mm lives through the day it will boil the brake fluid more easily. Are all the belts and hoses on the engine fresh? For spare parts I would bring water (coolant), brake fluid and basic tools at a minimum. Don't forget a jack and jackstands.

Don't worry about gutting or modding the car. Just drive it.
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Old 01-17-06, 03:44 PM
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Arcwelder and Damon both beat me to it.

Take extra brake pads, they are consumed MUCH faster than you will expect. Check them after EACH session. If you start to get even a slightly spongy or long pedal - IMMEDIATELY reduce speed and come offtrack for a check. Depends on the health of your braking system, but it might only warn you once - then you are at the next corner with <ZERO> brakes and WS is not called the "Fastest Road in the West" for nothing. Super Blu is an EXCELLENT choice though, as that is the ONLY fluid that I have tried so far that I haven't ever boiled. Some of that is maintainence though, becasue Brake Fluid doesn't stay in my car long - I like to stop!

Air - get an air tank, or make sure you will have access to air. Check your pressures carefully, then check periodically through the day. Make sure you are following manufacturers specs for things like max pressure. Take a little bottle of white shoe polish with you and put a couple of dits on the corners of your tires so you can see if you are rolling over onto the sidewalls. Tire failures are no more fun than brake failures!

High rev running has a tendancy to use more oil, so make sure it stays topped. Long G loads can push all of the oil to one side of the pan and away from your oil pickup. This can be made worse by not having it full. Rotaries are just like piston motors in this regard - big penalties for even short periods with no oil pressure!

HEAT KILLS ROTARIES - make sure coolant is topped and you take a deep breath every time you get on the front straight, shake out your hands one at a time and remind yourself not to grip the wheel so hard, relax and do a gauge scan. Oil pressure - check, temperature - check, not too much tension in my neck, arms, and hands - check. Having fun? - check! Do it without fail every lap, so that it becomes a habit you practice without even knowing it.

That first step - making the effort to go out the first time is a big leap, and not usually an easy one. You are about to join a pretty exclusive group that has some great personal rewards. Biggest modification you can do to improve the car at this point is the driver. Good luck, and remember - more than anything, it's about having fun!

Last edited by Boswoj; 01-17-06 at 03:49 PM.
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Old 01-17-06, 04:34 PM
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Bring your OE pads along with you, just in case, and be sure to bed your new HP+'s in properly once you get them. I ran a track day a few years ago in my car with the only mods being a cone filter and a full exhaust and the car was fine. I had some fairly new hard all season's on there and they were just fine (Pirelli P3000's and P400's, with wear ratings of 600 and 400!). They never even got very warm. I've used HP+'s and Ford DOT 3 fluid (550F boiling point) at 2 schools where the car had 2 drivers and I never had any problems or fade.

Be sure that all your hoses and belts are in good condition, that there aren't any suspension problems and that your brakes work well. Keep your eyes on the guages to make sure you have proper oil pressure and water temperature.

Don't work on going faster, work on being smooth and driving the right line and your speed will increase on it's own. I've personally seen someone crash on the first session of the day because he was going way to fast too soon and was trying to chase down a faster car. BEWARE OF THE RED MIST!

Don't do any more mods, it can come back to bite you while on track due to unreliability or some unexpected tendancies. The stock suspension is very predictable and extremely forgiving, changing things can ruin that, but with what you've got it's pretty close to stock, so you'll be fine.
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Old 01-17-06, 05:29 PM
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I wouldn't concern myself with the brake pads. The set you have will last the weekend at Willow Springs(If you have the extra cash replace them). I would bring water for the driver, some food, shade, a chair to sit and relax on, and an open mind to learn how to drive on the track. Willow Springs is not hard on the brakes at all. It is a very fast rack with only a few braking points and lots of straight aways to cool the brakes. it is hard on tires, the surface is alot like a cheese grater, so if using street tires make sure they are in good shape. Might want to check the alignment specs as well to prevent premature tire wear and or failure. don't worry about any performance or gutting mods, you won't notice them at all. Be sure to attend the driver meetings and if your in the school then take advantage of the instructors. They will help you get around the track quickly and safely. most of all have fun and resist tweeking on the car while your at the track. do the prep at home and drive at the track.
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Old 01-17-06, 09:48 PM
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Thanks alot for the replys guys, boosted my confidenence a bit and getting me excited. :-)

I've drive my car hard every other weekend at the local cayons, so I'm used how the car reacts under hard corning. I also raced go-karts alot.. 125cc shifter carts so I know about track rules and being smooth.

But you guys have made great points... I forgot all about taking food and drinks for myself, hehe.

Also going to check belts and inspect coolant hoses. Also going to get my alignment checked out.

THANKS ALOT GUYS!

If anyone has any more suggestions, please post them up.
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Old 01-17-06, 09:56 PM
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Your cars shortcomings are going to really show up, your upgraded brakes and springs are going to feel way too soft so as previously said, have fun and do not overdrive the car, the best track day is the one you can still drive home from.

Make sure your seat belt is in good shape, no rips, locks cleanly, remove all the upconnected crap from inside the car, leave as much at home as you can, bring your driver's license, check your balljoints and tie rods for wear and do you have a legal helmet or do they supply helmets?

If you do any suspension or tire pressure adjustments, record them in a note book so you remember what works, and record the outside temperatures.
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Old 01-17-06, 10:45 PM
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I have a Simpson Speedway RX helmet wich is SA2005 legal.

The springs might be a tad soft for the track, but it is my daily driver so it will have to do for now.

And good idea about recording tire pressure/suspention settings to figure out the best combination.
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Old 01-17-06, 11:08 PM
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Man - you were doing SOOOOO good there until the end. Go kart experience is great, it gives you a good dose of vehicle dynamics and trains fast reflexes. On the other hand, you DON'T know what your car does at the limit because you driver your car hard "every other week-end" at the local canyons. As someone who races LEGALLY many times a year, I think I am adequately qualified to say that if I drove at racetrack speeds on public roads I would be dead several times over, and probably have taken some nice people that were minding their own business along with me. If you are DUMB enough to drive at those speeds on public roads, then I take back all the nice things I said.

You may just be a nice kid who has fallen into the trap of wanting the instant acceptance of your track driving and racing peers. Do yourself a favor and don't tell people stupid crap like that becasue it accomplished the opposite of what you wanted. Most of us here that really race respect drivers of any age who are respectful of safe PUBLIC roads, and eager to learn in a proper environment. I race a full schedule of sprint and endurance races, plus instruct at several race schools and high performance driving events every year and I still learn something nearly every time I get in the car - sometimes from absolute green novices out for their first experience. Telling race drivers how good you are becasue you are at the limit on public roads doesn't impress them, it pisses them off.

Rant over - good luck anyway.
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Old 01-18-06, 12:43 AM
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track use

For basic aligment look for 0" to 1/8" toe in for rear and 1/8" toe out for front.
Tire pressures will be higher than you think. Start at recomended pressure on tire and go up from there based on tire roll under.
Your karting experience will be very helpful. Remember that the car will turn in much slower than the kart. WSIR is an easy track to learn, not too many turns.
Ditto on the pads, bring extras if you have them.
The stock water pump pulleys are not designed for sustained high RPM use. They will cavitate and slow circulation. Pay attention to the temp gauge or short shift.
Take it easy in the first session. Find the right tire pressure. Check gauges every straight. Try to relax.
But most of all have fun.
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Old 01-18-06, 09:50 PM
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Someone else mentioned it, but I'll emphasize it - bring lots of water to drink and drink it every chance you get even if you don't feel thirsty. Driving hard on the track is the most dehydrating thing I've done in a lot of years. Maybe you won't be running that hard, but be prepared.
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Old 01-19-06, 12:04 AM
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good discussion, guys. I will remember to keep these few tips in mind when at the track.
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