|What Should You Do To Prepare For A Track Event?
Front of Car:
Remove the spare tire and two black rubber end caps on rack, as well as all wing nuts, washers, etc.
Remove, clean and tighten battery post terminals, and make sure battery hold down is tight.
Bleed your brakes. Use a high temperature fluid like Castrol SRF or Motul 600. Have the ABS system flushed once a year as well (the dealer has a special tool to do this correctly). Make sure the reservoir caps are tight.
Empty the windshield washer reservoir by removing the hose connection on the passenger side front, put it in a bucket and run the squirter until its empty. If you don't, this fluid can come out the cap vent and spray on your windshield while you are out on the track.
Remove the tow hook cover, or place a piece of duct tape over it to keep it captive should you take a little trip off the track.
If you own an auto bra, put it on. You can also cover the leading edges of the nose, headlights, mirrors and side ducts with colored duct tape, and make sure to cover your blinker lenses as well. Tracking a car WILL take paint off, and add neat little chips to your windshield. Know this in advance.
Rain-X your windshield as everything comes off the windshield easier.
Remove all loose objects from car. This means anything that isn't bolted down. Bring a box that you can throw everything in when you empty the car. This includes floor mats, radar detector, garage door opener, tapes & CDs, everything in the glove box, everything in the center console, anything under, beside, behind or in front of seats.
Clean the inside of all windows.
Keep the driver side window up while driving, regardless of what the track rules are or how hot it is. That glass can keep your arm inside the car if you should roll or hit a wall. Safety first.
Have a Halon fire extinguisher 2-1/2 pound or bigger mounted correctly inside the car. The best place is on a mount in front of the passenger seat on the floor, or on the roll cage if you have one.
Check the safety belts/harnesses for fraying, check the mounting points for tightness on after market 4/5/6 point setups.
Adjust the mirrors. Set the rear view as normal. Driver side: put your head against the window and adjust out until you can just see the side of your car. Passenger side: Move your head to middle of car and adjust out until you can just see the side of your car. You have now eliminated your blind spots. Use this technique on the road as well.
Radio off, AC off, vent open.
Depending on your driving ability, leave the ABS and TCS on. Late braking and throttle steering will require them to be off. To do this, pull up on the parking brake just until the brake light comes on in the dash. Drive slowly for a few seconds until the ABS and TCS lights come on. Put the parking brake fully down and go fast.
Put in a clean air filter or service your reusable filter.
Check your fluids! Fill your oil about 1/8" over the full line.
Remove trunk mat, CD disc cartridge, all elements of the factory tool kit, and anything else in the trunk.
Remove any center caps on your wheels. The plastic ones will melt and fly off, the metal ones will come loose and fly off.
Put on metal valve stem caps. The plastic ones can fly off.
Use tape weights inside the rims, not clip on weights, which can fly off.
Torque your lug nuts to 85ft/lbs. If you didn't put the lug nuts on, or didn't use a torque wrench when you did, loosen them, then retighten to 85ft/lbs.
Use Z or better rated tires and make sure they are in good condition! This is the most common cause of failure during extended high-speed runs, and when a tire goes, control is lost. Typically it is recommended that you put 300-400 miles on the tires before taking them to the track (assuming you're not using shaved tires).
Remember that a new tire with full depth tread blocks WILL feel squirmier than worn or shaved or race tires.
Tire pressure should be set when COLD at the factory 32 front, 40 rear for street tires. If you are running race tires, 32 front, 34 rear should be a good place to start. The best way to set pressure is to use a pyrometer to look at the surface temp of the tires. Specific manufactures have different air pressure requirements for their products. Check in advance, don't guess!
If you buying tires from TireRack, have them Heat Cycle the tires ($15ea) for you so you can get them and run them at top speed right away without worrying about breaking them in.
Out on the track:
Take it easy for a few laps, warm up the car, the tires and your skills. Start at about 65%, and start building up to your limits. Learn the track, the braking zone, turn in, apex and track out for each corner. It can take some time to get it right, so don't try to run fast laps right away.
Do everything smooth. Apply brake smoothly, and let off of it smoothly. Push on the gas the same time you are letting off the brake, again, smoothly. Do nothing that will abruptly change the balance of the car.
"To Bring" Checklist
- Track info, course map and rule book
- Clothing-Cotton is best. Cotton long-sleeved shirt or jacket is better than any synthetic in case of fire.
- Shorts, T-shirts etc. for non-driving sessions.
- Wear comfortable sneaker-type flat-soled non-slip shoes and socks.
- Bring a tarp to put things on/in. The paddock may not be fully paved, which can mean mud if it rains.
- Rain gear - rain suits, umbrellas, boots, change of clothes. If it is raining and you get wet changing pads, etc. then dry clothes and shoes are REALLY nice.
- Sunscreen lotion, a hat, sunglasses, bug spray.
- A fire suit, five point harness, and helmet can ease your mind. Some or all of these items are required at some events.
- Pens and pad for notes.
- Camera and film don't forget the batteries!
- Aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen--you can get a headache and you can't take anything else at the track.
- Overnight kit
- Membership cards, check books, credit cards, cash, license
- Wet ones! (Great for a quick hand cleaner after changing wheels, brake pads, etc.)
- Cooler full of non-alcoholic beverages and a can cooler for walking around
- Folding chair
- If you and a buddy are interested in doing some timing, a stopwatch, clipboard, and pens.
For The Car:
- Duct tape-the all purpose tool.
- Air pressure gauge and air compressor and jack, which are part of NSX toolkit.
- If possible, an air tank. There may only be air hose and there is often a line.
- Torque wrench and breaker bar. Also, don't forget your wheel lock adapter if you have them!
- Extra brake pads (front and rear) and tools for changing them. If you don't know how to do it, someone there should be able to help you.
- Window cleaner and paper towels.
- Car cleaning supplies. Clean your windshield between each round.
- Shock adjustment tools (if you have adjustable shocks)
- Full fuel can. Gas may be available at the track, but often only for part of the day. It may also be racing fuel and cost several times more then regular gas. It is not unusual to go through a full tank of gas during the day
- Brake fluid (high temp) and brake bleeding gear
- Engine Oil, Mobil 1 Tri-Syn 10w30 or equal, and an oil drain pan.
- Service manual (if you're driving something other than an NSX)
- Tires (if you're driving an NSX)