Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Track Day Tips

Below are the Track day preparation tips for your reference.
Track Day Tips

The golden rule for track days:
Enjoy yourself and drive (not tow) your car home afterwards.
With that in mind, let's see what we need to do:

Pre-Event checks
a) Make sure the car is in a well maintained condition
-Check your hoses, and wear and tear items, make sure they are good.
b) Check ALL fluid levels
c) Replace the brake fluid if not changed at service specified interval
d) Check the condition/pressure of all your tyres, make a note of the pressures
e) Check your brake pads for condition/thickness, preferably put new competition pads on the front and rear, better still, fabricate brake ducting to direct cold air towards the front brakes, this dramatically reduces brake pad wear
f) Remove any accessory that is moves around, e.g., the little sponge bob thingy you hang on your rear view mirror!
g) Check the speed rating of your tyres, make a note of this and never exceed it on track
h) Remove any floor mats from the drivers footwell
-A lot of people could not get the clutch fully depressed due to the floor mat, you get the idea...
i) Remove the spare tyre if you have secure storage
j) Take some basic tools with you, enough to change brake pads at least
k) Take at least one axle stand for when you change the pads
l) Take some rags, old t-shirts, or dry hand cleaner for cleaning your hands etc.
m) Fill up with SUL (super unleaded) even on standard spec engine, you wont get more performance, just gives the engine more protection from detonation. If you run on SUL normally, then put 1% octane booster in for safety.

Spares to bring
a) One set of brake pads at least, front and rear
b) One 5 litre can of oil
c) Some tape to cover your light lenses
d) A helmet
e) Some thin-soled sports shoe’s, aids with pedal feel, don't wear a pair of Crocs and attempt left-foot-braking!

Pre-track checks
a) Recheck your tyre pressures, if one is down you may have a slow puncture which could blow at high speed
b) Increase the tyre pressures by 4-6psi higher than you would normally run on the road
c) Tape up your headlights
d) Ensure you understood the driver briefing, if you are not sure about anything, ask for clarification. Ensure you understood the passing rules in particular!
e) You brought a helmet, right? Now put on your helmet, don't just leave it on the seat!

First lap on every run
a) Never thrash the car on the first lap, speed up gradually bringing the oil/water temperatures to normal working parameters
b) Gently bring the brake temperatures up to temperature
c) Use this lap to get familiar with the track, test the brakes, make sure they work!
d) Try and give yourself space front and rear, don’t be tempted to follow the car in front too closely as you will be concentrating on him/her and not learning the track
e) Get used to checking your mirrors before and after each corner, you will be amazed how quickly some cars will catch you if you are a track novice.

The Rest of the laps
a) Bring up the speed gradually if you are a novice, you will learn more
b) Gradually start to test your limits, note where can you brake a little later, and where can you accelerate a little earlier
c) If you experience brake fade/boiling (spongy brake pedal that needs to go all the way down to stop) and you don’t think it will go away before the next corner, slow down, it is very likely to be worse the next time
d) If you feel a power loss coming out of a tight bend back off, don’t keep the throttle planted, you are probably getting the first sign of fuel surge, if you keep it planted you are risking detonation due to a weak mixture. return to the pits and refuel. This can happen with half a tank of fuel on board, don’t get fooled into thinking it can’t be happening already, it can.

Last lap in
a) Do a slow last lap in
b) Try to avoid using the brakes at all to give the disks/pads some chance to cool down
c) Don’t stop looking in your mirror, there might be someone still on max attack
d) Remember to raise one hand out the window, signaling your exit from the track

Entry to pits/stopping
a) Enter the pits slowly, look out for kids/spectators
(This is to stop the pads from being destroyed by the heat sink effect from your red hot brake disks, in addition, it prevents rotor warp, just stop on a level surface in 1st gear and off your engine).
c) Let everything cool before you check the following

Post run checks
a) Check the brake pads for wear, you will be amazed how quickly they are used up
b) Check ALL fluid levels, you may never use oil on the road, you are almost guaranteed to do so on a track day run
c) Check your tyre pressures, if one has dropped you may be on the way to a blow out
d) Check the tyres for wear/cuts

Hope this helps!


kenken said...

thanks for the tips.. so you guys want me to bring some tools or not? hehehehehehe i got jack and jack stands also.

Koh said...

if you bring it then better lo... as i only hv standard spare tire jack....