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Planning on road racing for the 1st time.. help!?

Old 07-22-03, 02:43 PM
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Planning on road racing for the 1st time.. help!?

I've searched the forums to research what setup people are using and what to expect first time road racing. Sorry for the noob questions, but I figured this was the best place to ask...

I plan to race sometime in the fall, maybe Lime Rock, Watkins or Pocono depending if there are public events...

I'm just not sure what I need to be prepared... I know i've read that for first timers... street tires and street pads would benefit being I won't be going all out my first time... here is my setup so far...

Engine/Turbos
- Ported motor
- non seq
- intake/DP/ResoMP/catback
- 2 row FMIC
- taking A/C condensor out for the event(since there is no freon)
- stock rad - temps currently at 88-92 deg

Suspension/Wheels/Tires
18x9 front 245/40 S02 pp
18.9.5 rear 285/35 S02 pp
APEXi T-Max Shocks
Eiback pro-kits
Kirk roll bar - possibly

Brakes
stock


My concern is my:

Radiator -


Will my radiator hold up... I'm worried about overheating... I see some people get by w/ the stock rad.. don't think it's a good idea to take that chance..

Wheels/Tires -

My S02s are at about 50% right now and thinking of getting new rubber, maybe the same or S03s... but would running 18s be alright being I don't have my stock wheels or any extras... I typically see people using stocks or 17s..

Brakes -

I plan on changing to Motul 600, get braided brake lines and pads... but what pads.. I've read and read, but I see so many different suggestions... What about rotors... stock/slotted/drilled and slotted?? I'm not ready to get bigger brakes at this time but in time, I may have the funds for it...

I really want to be somewhat prepared for when I go, I know there is a checklist of things to bring which I'll have before I go...

What can I expect when I first show up? Does an instructor go with you the first time? How much does it cost at.. let's say Lime Rock?

Again, sooo sorry if these questions are repetitive, I'm just so eager to start racing.. been waiting to do this for a very long time!!!

TIA
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Old 07-22-03, 04:11 PM
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From the sound of your post it sounds as if you will be hot lapping, not road racing. There is a world of difference between these two types of events. For your first time on the track make sure your vehicle fluids are topped up, you have 50% or more on your brake pads and your tires are in good condition. This is in addition to a basic safety check. As for modifications, don't worry about it. It'll be a long, long time coming before the limitations on your speed are coming from your car and not you. Just go out, have fun, and above all do not kill your instructor.
-Matt
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Old 07-22-03, 05:20 PM
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Originally posted by 88GTU
Just go out, have fun, and above all do not kill your instructor.
But don't be afraid to make him soil his underwear a little ... ... just kidding.

I'd be wary of the radiator. If it's real old, it might be a liability. Your call. Sounds like money is no object to you ... so, I'd upgrade it, just for peace of mind.

You will probably chew up your tires. Probably not to chords, but there won't be a lot left afterwards. But there's no sense in buying brand new tires just for the event. Wear these down and spring for new ones later. The 285/35 18 rear is a little tall ... if you don't have any rubbing issues now, you will after the track event.

It's always a good idea to have fresh brake fluid before a open lapping event. I would suggest a less expensive brand than Motul ... you won't reap the benefits unless you just happen to be the next Juan Pablo. I recommend using a higher grade brake pad (EBC Greens, Hawk HP+, PFC 93), just so you have some pad left at the end of the day. Leave your rotors alone ... again, it's unlikely that you'll see the benefits on your first time out.

Otherwise, just make sure everything else is running ship-shape. If you have a small problem, it will make itself very evident out there. Hot lapping/road racing is probably the hardest thing you can do to your car ... make sure your ride is up to the task. And get ready ... this stuff is extremely addictive.
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Old 07-22-03, 08:25 PM
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Thanks for the response and info!!!!

What's the difference between hot lapping and road racing? Is one more instructional versus competitive racing?

What's an alternative to Motul?

Yes money is a real big issue for me being I just had twins 3 months ago... but the radiator will definitely be replace w/ maybe a koyo...

As for pads, I think I'll be looking into the Hawk +... but I'm concerned about my rotors... they look like they need resurfacing... should I just get the slotted/drilled.. I hear stocks are more beneficial for more contact and less pad wear...

I also don't understand about the rear tire being tall... and worrying about rubber as it wears down... I'm confused there...

I really do appreciate all the suggestions and comments!!
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Old 07-22-03, 09:41 PM
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The 3 main divisions of track driving:

Hot lapping = non competitive event in which drivers are on the track (mostly untimed) and lap at the speed they are comfortable with to better themselves as drivers and have fun. Suitable for street cars...
Time trials = competitive event in which cars compete for the fastest time around the track but are not head to head at the same time. Both street cars and track prepared vehicles compete.
Road racing = Cars race side by side with whoever reaches the checkered flag first winning. These cars are track ****** only; fully prepared and not suitable for daily driving duties.

As an alternative to Motul I recommend to my friends Castrol GT-LMA. Decent boiling points and a low price make it easy to deal with.
Cross drilled rotors, leave them alone...
They will lessen your braking ability and increase the danger of rotor failure greatly.
-Matt
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Old 07-22-03, 11:17 PM
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looks like 88gtu covered the hotlapping vs competition question. besides, FD's do not classify well in SCCA or NASA. you end up in ridiculous high end classes where even pros can't pull it off, think GT1 or 2, or NASA SU. while i can turn similar lap times as many of these guys, i don't have the support infrastructure to actually compete at that level.

reliability mods are your best bet at this point. can't go wrong with the radiator, but also check all the other stuff that can easily fail... hoses, belts, etc. put a REAL water temperature gauge in and pay attention to it. i find that using straight water with redline water wetter lowered my average temps about 7-10 deg F.

clean, fresh fluids are a good idea....oil, coolant, brake fluid. at least check the tranny and rear end levels (i'd change them).

i think the previous post referring to rubbing may have implied that the taller tire may rub during the event. even as a novice you will tax the anti-roll capability of the stock suspension and you may touch during high g turns.

run the tires you have for the event. they'll be fine for your first time.

i'd upgrade the pads, perhap hawk hps or hp+. if you learn quickly, you may begin to fade stock pads after a couple of sessions.

don't worry about the rotors unless they're totally shot. there's a lot of hype about drilled vs slotted vs solid. i work my brakes really hard, and haven't had problems with solid or drilled as long as they are good quality. if in doubt, use stock rotors. all rotors crack if overheated.

use a high temp brake fluid.


your differential tire sizing will surely result in understeer, not much you can do about it at this point, and at least it safer than terminal oversteer. don't worry about the wheel diameter at this point....if you get into it, you can worry endlessly about the advantage/disadvantage of all the different wheel sizes. for reference, i run 285/30-18 on 18X10's all around on my track only FD.

pay attention to tire pressure at the track...ask around and see what others are running with a similar tire.

do all your car prep before you go, then when you get there work on the driving!!! you will be the limiting factor for many events, as long as your car is reliable.

check your ego at the door.....you WILL be passed my cars with half the horspower and looks of your car.

oh yeah.....you're gonna have fun.....so ENJOY

good luck
fabian
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Old 07-23-03, 08:45 AM
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since your up north i don't see a problem with radiator. i run the stock rad here in louisinana in the summer and never have a problem. after 20 minute main events temps are still good. our summers get up to 95.
just make sure the car is as prepared as possible and have fun. best advice i can give is bring a friend to help out in the pits. you never know and it makes your down time easier knowing someone is looking out for the car and you can just think about what needs to be done on track.
i'm not sure of your skill level but it is possible to ruin your street tires. i run falken tires for practice days and there cheap and work very well. there not a full race tire but handle much better than a pure street tire. if you have a spare $200 and exstra rims go for it. you will have way more fun.
the most important thing is to have fun...................
good luck
robert
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Old 07-23-03, 08:59 AM
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Since it's your first event I would merely change the brake pads (probably the fronts only) and then ensure that airflow can not pass your radiator on the sides (use duct tape, etc.). Based on what you said, I would run a late September or October event since you do not have an upgraded radiator and you have lots of mods.

Another interesting point revolves around the track you chose for your first event. This is HIGHLY dependent on your ability to keep your ego in check. If you think this might be a problem I would definitely stay away from Watkins Glen and Limerock for your first event. Watkins Glen is FULLY surrounded by guard rail which is unforgiving and Limerock has two fantastic turns that seem to screw novices up all the time (ever see that video of the Subaru flipping over--and I believe he wasn't a novice).

You mentioned Pocono. I did the East course (I think) and that was ok. It was a slower course and thus I didn't get any great benefit from airflow. I believe it was a 2 and 3rd gear track--not great when your cooling isn't optimal. Not really an issue. Just make sure you have an aftermarket temp guage.

Finally, my recommendation would be to do the www.mazdadrivers.com event at Virginia Intl Raceway on Sept 20-21. I go down there twice a year and it is a great and safe track--lots of run off if you need it and no guardrails. It's a long drive but completely worth it. Plus, you will meet the other RX-7 owners who track their cars on the East coast. If you a serious interested act quick because last time I checked they were 85% full.

Ramon
NJ (as well)
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Old 07-23-03, 09:03 AM
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BTW, I just noticed you have a FMIC. From all I've read and heard that isn't the best option with a stock radiator. Like I mentioned above make sure you have a water temp guage.

R
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Old 07-23-03, 09:05 AM
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Once again, thanks for the info...

I'm looking to attend the event at Lime Rock on November 7th...

http://www.scda1.com/schedule/

Thanks Matty for the info!!

By that time, I should have my pads, fluids, radiator, brake lines and helmet...

also my S02s will probably be replaced already... I'm figuring the tires won't last by the time Nov comes around... I really love my S02s but i'm noticing that they are discontinued now and I'd have to go w/ the S03s or similar.. probably move to 285/30 18 in the rear...

I will probably be running HPS on the street and HP+ on the track... I did ONE high speed run on the highway and roasted my stock pads... whoa..

As for brake fluid, anyone know where I can get high temp DOT 4?

What about a helmet... any recommendations? Sites where I can purchase one?

I also have a water temp gauge running between 86-88 deg C on the street and around 88-92 deg C in heavy traffic... pfc to kick the fans on at 89 deg C... But I'll try the water wetter too...

Since it's a club event, I've been told that it is "time trials" along with some instructors for amatuers... I'll be going w/ a bunch of new timers like myself, so I'm sure it'll be fun...
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Old 07-23-03, 09:14 AM
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Ramon,

I'd love to go to VIR... been wanting to, but it's too far for me at this point... I can't really leave my new borns... maybe I can hit poconos firsts then lime rock in november... i want to go at least twice this year..

where can I get info on club events at pocono?

I'm sure I'm going to have to put my ego behind me in the beginning, it's more about improving my skills and learning proper techniques in handling my FD... I know, I try to learn on the street.. taking the apex, heel toe'n every turn.. etc..etc.. I just need to learn w/ an instructor and in a much safer environment...
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Old 07-23-03, 09:28 AM
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Originally posted by foko
check your ego at the door.....you WILL be passed my cars with half the horspower and looks of your car.
i couldnt understand what was going on...guys with late 1980s bmws were all over me. Experience is the key!
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Old 07-23-03, 09:47 AM
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Originally posted by JSpecRZ
I'm looking to attend the event at Lime Rock on November 7th...

http://www.scda1.com/schedule/

Thanks Matty for the info!!
i will probably see you there.
Ramon...you coming too?

I am going to upgrade to the hawk hps for street and track. I dont have the extra money for two sets. I only plan to run one or two events a year, anyways. I am also looking to mount my camera in my car for this event.

I found heat to be a huge issue at our last event. it wasnt even too bad out. Maybe low 80s. I had to pit several times b/c i was seeing 110c water temps. I plan to duct up the rad this time. I hope it helps.
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Old 07-23-03, 09:51 AM
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Hey Matty... get the IO camera mount...

I just picked one up on ebay for 65 bux..

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...tem=2424790695

I hear this is one of the popular ones...
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Old 07-23-03, 11:22 AM
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Yeah, IO mount is good.

Matt,

I was thinking about the Limerock event but there is also a 2-day event at Summit Raceway on the new long track (again I think it is a www.mazdadrivers.com event). Summit is only 4 hrs away from me so it's a no brainer, plus it is a course I have never been on. I liked the previous Limerock event though. Not sure what I will do. The Limerock event is on Friday, so it depends on work. If I only do one day (Sunday) then I won't have to take time off for the Summit Event.

In the meantime get those numbers on the excel spreadsheet so we can compare

later,

Ramon
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Old 07-23-03, 08:45 PM
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Listen to Ramon. He knows what he's talking about
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Old 07-23-03, 09:21 PM
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Whatever you do, don't do this!

http://www.s2ki.com/forums/showthrea...71#post1889571

This was at Gingerman Raceway...

Had there been an instructor in the passenger's seat, s/he would not have survived...

Last edited by SleepR1; 07-23-03 at 09:24 PM.
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Old 07-24-03, 02:55 PM
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Listen to Ramon. He knows what he's talking about
All learned from great instructors

Hope "Speed Sauce" is kicking butt at Putnam park. Now that your car is reliable again I trust that I will see you at VIR in the Fall or Spring at the latest. If not I will be venturing out to Mid Ohio next year with the ARPCA group.

BTW, noticed you have no PM option, too many people asking you about offsets, tires, rim sizes, etc. still

Be good.

R
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Old 07-24-03, 03:17 PM
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Originally posted by rceron
All learned from great instructors

Hope "Speed Sauce" is kicking butt at Putnam park. Now that your car is reliable again I trust that I will see you at VIR in the Fall or Spring at the latest. If not I will be venturing out to Mid Ohio next year with the ARPCA group.

BTW, noticed you have no PM option, too many people asking you about offsets, tires, rim sizes, etc. still

Be good.

R
I'll try for spring '04 VIR. Yep all is well for now...BTW, I plan to do Road America again with the Badger BMWs in Oct.
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Old 07-25-03, 01:33 PM
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Brake Fluid; Helmet

For brake fluid, I use ATE Super Blue, about $10/qt at
www.raceconcepts.net/
it's great and they have blue and yellow so you can tell when you've completed flushed the system.

Another good choice is the Ford High Performance Brake Fluid. It's like $3 at any Ford dealer and has boiling point of 550 degress. It's an old endurance racer secret. i use this for my tow vehicle.

For the helmet, good prices can be found at:
http://www.racerwholesale.com/

but you may want to actually try one on and make sure you like the fit.
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Old 08-06-03, 07:14 AM
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Here's what I've learned..............I've now run about 6 road course events..........5 at Sebring and 1 at Road Atlanta.

1. The GT-LMA Castrol brake fluid works fine.
2. I run the HP+ pads; work great at track and squeak way too much on the street.
3. You have Eibachs, and you WILL have rubbing problems in the front, since they lower your car 1". The solution is to install the Racing Beat Antisway bar up front............ I also installed the reinforcement bracket they sell. Without this, the FD has WAY too much body roll...........with it, the car flattened out unbelievably.
4. For your first event or two, you will definitely have to have an instructor, and they are invaluable. Everyone thinks they can drive like bad-asses...........I thought so too until I was passed, and passed, and passed, by Spec Miata's............sure you can blow them away in the straights, but they will take big ole sweepers going 95 where your car will spin at anything over 80..........that's where they can kick your butt.
5. Tires. I ran my street tires for my first several events, then I came across a set of Hoosiers dirt cheap for my event this past Saturday. My lap times dropped from around 3:02 to 2:48. It's incredible what tires will do for you, but you should learn on street tires. They give you a lot of feedback before they break loose, whereas racing tires are like stick, stick, stick..............Oh ****!!!!!!!!!!!!! and you're spinning.

Check your ego at the door, and you are about to have the time of your life. Addicting? Heck yeah. Can't wait til my next event!

And the best of all................your twins..............I have twin boys and they are the best.............

If you want to call me sometime I'd be too happy to talk to you about road racing, twins, etc..............

Good luck.

David
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Old 08-07-03, 08:52 PM
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^^^^^^^Excellent Advice!^^^^^^^

We instructors work hard to keep students safe, but at the same allow them to have some fun too...
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