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HPDE advice

Old 11-05-02, 12:01 AM
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HPDE advice

well, i will be going to HPDE at sears point november 23rd. my first time, looking for some advice. been driving honda accords all my life (i'm 26) so got no experience whatsoever. got an 94 rx-7 about 5 months ago, haven't really driven it much since then. anything i should know to

- not look stupid
- not crash

i'll be driving on brand new tires and i'm not sure if i'll be able to break them in before the 23rd, you think this will be a problem?


thanks a lot
tinou
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Old 11-05-02, 03:21 AM
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Work on being smooth before you push for maximum speed. The temptation to drive beyond your skills will be large, but you'll probably be faster and much safer if you drive at speeds that are less than what you think you could do. Concentrate on getting the line right and being smooth and you'll have a fun and exciting day without getting into trouble and crashing your car. Restraint is key.

Make full use of the instruction and instructors. Pay attention to the safety rules and the racing line in the classroom and get as many instructor ride-alongs as you can. Be as smooth as you possibly can with the steering and throttle inputs and concentrate on driving the line. After you've got that down, start increasing your speed. Don't be surprised if it takes all weekend to drive one good lap. Approach the weekend as a learning experience and don't try to set the fastest lap of the day at your first event.

As long as you go for at least one good drive to get the tires warm and then let them cool completely before the event, that is about all you need to do.

Bring a spare set of brake pads to get you home if you burn through the ones on the car.

-Max
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Old 11-05-02, 09:12 AM
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Slow down! To go fast, you must first slow down. I know, sounds wierd, but it's true. Listen to the instructors explain the line, and pay close attention to the instructor who rides with you (I assume you signed up for group 1).

Don't stress about the tires, Max is right, drive on them on the street for a bit and let them cool, and you're fine.

Sears Point is a very fun track, I think you'll enjoy it, just don't expect to come anywhere close to your car's capabilities for some time. Relax, be smooth, slow the car down properly, and you'll be just fine.

Look me up when you get there, I'm driving the #28 PS-1 RX-7 (2nd gen)

PaulC
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Old 11-06-02, 12:25 AM
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thanks guy. btw, how much time do you actually get to spend on the track? and yea, i'll look you up paul, i'll be blue 3rd gen.
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Old 11-06-02, 01:02 AM
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80 minutes total, 4 20 minute sessions.

You'll be dead tired at the end Doesnt' sound like much, but the strain of concentrating and trying to get the car to go where you want it to is exhausting..

PaulC
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Old 11-06-02, 02:20 AM
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One thing i've noticed is novices ussally are very tired by the last run session of the day, and if you push yourself bad things happen.

If you are feeling tired or worn out after the 3rd (or 4th sometimes) run group, don't force yourself back onto the track for that last couple laps. Just call it a day and head home a little early. Although it shouldn't be as bad this time of year, 2 hours on the track can be a killer in the heat-
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Old 11-06-02, 03:42 AM
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Three random bits of advice come to mind:

1. Try asking the organizers to tell you in advance what flags they'll be using. Memorize them before you go, so that you don't have to try and do that in the space of 20 seconds at the driver's meeting. The same flags are not used the same way everywhere, but there are some common ones that you'll get used to seeing.

2. Check and fix/maintain your car before the event. It sucks to pay the $$, show up, and then spend the rest of your day fixing the car. There are lots of checklists floating around on the net. Your event organizer will probably send one to you as well.

3. Check your ego at the track gates. Since you're asking for advice here, you probably don't have a problem following rules and taking instruction, but some folks just don't want to listen to the instructors or anyone else. Heh, here's one tip-- if there's a guy at the driver's meeting, who interrupts the meeting by asking, "Hey, what are the passing rules when someone slow is holding me up?", try to grid *away* from him. The event organizer will be going over this information at the meeting, so you've just seen the guy who has announced that (1) he's never been to a HPDE before, or he would know to wait for the info, and (2) even though he has no experience, he knows that he's faster than everyone else in the room. [yes, I've seen guys like that more than once, and no, it wasn't me ]
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Old 11-06-02, 09:50 AM
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My $0.02

1. Buy your own helmet (if you plan on making HPDEs a regular thing). SA2000 is the standard you want (some groups allow M2000, but not all do). It'll be more comfortable and probably not smell like wet dog.

2. Check your brakes NOW. Jack the car up, pull off the wheels, and make sure everything look ok. If the rubber lines are dry, replace them. Install a good track pad. I'm partial to Carbotech Panther+ for a streetable (barely) track pad - it' streetable enough so you can drive it to/from the track and swap back to normal streets at home. Flush the old brake fluid and use a good high temp replacement (ATE SuperBlue, Motul, AP 550, etc).

3. Do your first several events on street tires. They are much safer than R compounds. They make more noise at the limit and are easier to catch when they let loose. They will also keep your speeds down a bit.

4. Change oil, trans fluid, diff fluid. Use a high quality synthetic (Mobil One, Redline, etc) for the trans and diff. I use Castrol Syntec Blend in my 12A.

5. Flush your radiator. Make sure your cooling system works well.

6. Properly torque lugnuts. It helps prevent brake rotors from warping or cracking.

7. You are at the track to learn and have fun, not to race or show off. Have fun.

The advice given above about skipping the last session is good. If you are tired, just go home (or better yet, catch a ride with an instructor). Accidents seem to happen most in the 1st session of day 2 (for 2 day events) and the last session of the weekend (regardless of number of days).
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Old 11-06-02, 10:57 AM
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great advice from everyone .....

i'd just reiterate the ego thing......accept the fact that you will be one of the slowest guys there. you will be slower than many cars with half the horsepower. there's nothing to prove!!

believe me, everyone is a full blown green horn novice at some time. just accept that, learn as much as you can from the instructors, and you will have an absolutely incredible time.

good luck
fabian
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Old 11-07-02, 11:35 AM
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thanks guys for the info...unfortunately i think i'm going to have to cancel the 23rd event and reschedule for maybe dec or next year...traveling for work and have a boost leak.
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Old 11-07-02, 03:12 PM
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Originally posted by ttb
thanks guys for the info...unfortunately i think i'm going to have to cancel the 23rd event and reschedule for maybe dec or next year...traveling for work and have a boost leak.
thats a bummer, but the above was good advise

mike
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Old 11-08-02, 11:41 AM
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Great advice above.

I've tracked a '93 MR2 Turbo for 3 years. I sold it and just bought a modified 1980 RX7. Can't wait to try it out on track! (I've owned RX7's years ago, never taken one on track though...)

One thing I'd like to clarify with the above advice is this:

Almost everyone mentioned things like "don't try to go fast, don't over drive your limits, etc"...

Do NOT get the impression that you will be driving SLOW. You will NOT! Just because you've dialed yourself back a notch and are driving smooth, don't think that you'll just be cruising. You will be going FAST.

This is a good thing!! Even dialed back a notch, you will be driving FAR faster than you ever have on the street. You will realize that all those times on the street when you thought you were cornering fast were just play time. THE TRACK IS WHERE YOU WILL FIND OUT WHAT GOING FAST IS ALL ABOUT!!

Again, that is a good thing!!

Ever since I started driving on track, I've driven slower on the street. Despite what any numbnut riceboy thinks, you can't drive nearly as fast on the street as you will on track.

And here's a warning: once you drive on a real track, you will forever be ruined. YOU WILL BE HOOKED. Say goodbye to your money now... (and tires... and brakes...)

Have fun! I'm sure you will!!
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Old 11-11-02, 03:22 PM
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And here's a warning: once you drive on a real track, you will forever be ruined. YOU WILL BE HOOKED. Say goodbye to your money now... (and tires... and brakes...)
Jason, don't warn them like that.

LOL

PaulC
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Old 11-14-02, 06:36 PM
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Warn him?! Why not?

All it took for one of my friends to get hooked was to just RIDE on track with someone else driving!!
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Old 11-15-02, 08:01 PM
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Exactly.. The more we hook, the more participants we get, and the cheaper track time eventually becomes.

I've already hooked two, one's looking at a ex IMSA Firehawk Trans Am for Camaro Mustang Challenge racing..

PaulC
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Old 11-15-02, 08:05 PM
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i've been warned
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Old 11-15-02, 09:11 PM
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One more thing.............

Keep saying....."slow hands, slow hands, slow hands"

hope you get on track soon!

db
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