Track Prep: take these steps to make track days a breeze
Driving your car at a track day is always a mad time, just as Marty and MOOG have shown in their recent episode where they took the BRZ and WRX to Sydney Motorsport Park for a fast fang. If you haven't seen the episodes check ou MOOG's laps here:
and Martys here:
Before you rock on down to your local race track and have at it, you need to thoroughly prepare your car and yourself, as it will make the day go much more smoothly.
Firstly, several days before the track day you should check the car's fluids (oil condition and level, coolant, and brake fluids), tyre pressures and condition, and basic things the scrutineers will check like making sure your battery tie-down is secure, there are no major oil leaks or con rods hanging out of the sump. If you do this the week before the track day it gives you time to fix up any issues long before you hit the pit lane.
Even if you're driving the most reliable car on the face of the planet, you should take some tools with you just in case you (or one of your mates) has an issue. This includes a trolley jack, at least 2 chassis stands, a basic socket set/screwdrivers/pliers, and a tarp or blanket to lie on when you're under the car. Having a tub or container to keep them in while you're out on the track will help keep them neat and tidy, too.
We worked out pretty early on that the 18" wheels and tyres on the WRX were going to scrub city on the express line if the stayed on for the hard cornering that the track would have us do, so he grabbed a set of second hand wheels and tyres off the internet and punished them. They were purchased 2 days before the track and sold 3 days afterwards, total cost? $100.
You should probably wash your car, too, so it looks its best at the track day. But, a clean car is also easier to work on when you're checking oil levels or sniffing around underneath looking for where your brakes have gone after 10 hot laps in a row. The scrutineers will also look more favourably on a car that looks like it is cared for rather than something that looks like it was smuggled out of a garbage dump.
While it is important to keep an eye on your car's fluids, you also need to watch your own fluids so take a couple of water bottles. Marty and MOOG are well-known snack addicts so they take a sandwich or 2, some fruit or another healthy snack to keep you alert and running as well as your car.
Finally, remember to take a folding chair with you and something that can provide a bit of shade (or warmth in winter) so you can enjoy a bit of down time in between mad thrash sessions. Race tracks are often very hot, cold or windy and half the fun of the day out is hanging with other car enthusiasts who are just as keen on tracking their nuggets as you are!
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Tires (or tyres) are probably the most important factor on the track. They can make a huge difference in cornering and breaking. Investing in a nice set of track rubbers will be well worth it.