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Nik

Nik

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I wrote the below eons ago and posted it in a few places, it's a fairly basic guide on how to prepare for your first lapping/track day. May help some folks looking to take up the hobby.

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It's summer time which means for the lucky few of us taking our rides on the track. I'm putting this together primarily for the novice though may help the odd seasoned track junkie. It's good to have a list as we all tend to forget things in the heat of the moment. Some of it is a mild form of OCD so take it lightly
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though some club events I've been to are downright ugly from an organizational perspective so this may help you.

This is a very general guide, applicable for cars involved in high performance driving events whatever they may be. It is NOT a comprehensive guide by any means and I look forward to inputs from the seasoned track pros. It is also not meant to replace the rules and regulations your club/class may impose. It's for casual lapping events.

Note, some of this is anecdotal, some are my preferences, some is somewhat common sense.

Driver Prep

Helmet
Even if your event does not require a helmet I'm thoroughly recommending you bring and wear one. Full face or open DOT approved works. You can pick one up in lots of places including Crappy Tire of all places though if you're doing this frequently I recommend you spend time and invest in one that is comfortable (and not a last minute purchase). Motorcycle helmets work well for this purpose.

Important: Check you and helmet fit properly in the car when you're sitting in the driver seat BEFORE you go out. If you're a tall guy/girl you may have clearance issues with your head bumping up on the roof liner.

Clothing
Light, comfortable clothing. Preferably cotton, less of a fire hazard. You don't need a full fire retardant body suit for casual lapping events.

Shoes
Best driving shoes you have. Comfortable flat soled non-slip light shoes help. Closed toe, rubber soled for example.

Car inside:
Ensure you clear the inside of your car of any junk that may get loose. This includes: non-fixed gps units, crap dangling off your mirror, garage openers, phones etc.
Lock glove box or better yet empty it in case it flies open.
Secure your video camera really well if you have one.
Check your spare if any, jack and cargo compartment. Ensure everything is secure.
Do not bring dead bodies, your Loblaws weekly shopping, telescopes etc in the trunk with you

Car outside:
Wheels/Tires

Check tires are in good working order, no patches, have some tread, not rubbing fenders
Remove center caps, spinners, tuner lugnuts or anything that could come off your wheels
Tire pressure is subject to experimentation, typically I run 4psi higher all around to avoid rollover, firmer ride on extreme loads
Check torque on wheels

Suspension
If you have adjustable coilovers I assume you know what you're doing. Check perches are tight, shocks are setup to your needs etc.
Check suspension components are tight

Fluids
MANDATORY: Check ALL fluids and top up as required

Optional (good to replace especially if you've not replaced it before). I'm not going to get into good aftermarket replacements but will list a few I've used:

Coolant - flush/replace

Transmission - replace with Royal Purple Synthetic, Redline D4 ATF, Mobil 1 ATF or other high performance tranny fluid

Rear differential (if applicable) - if you want to go all out replace with thicker stuff i.e. I use 75w-140 (oem is 75-90). This helps reduce diff temperatures a bit if you're not running a diff cooler. Add friction modifier as per OEM if needed.

Brake fluid - ideally should be flushed, bled and replaced with high temp fluid. I run DOT 4 fluid full time and it helps. A cool off lap always helps with heat soak. Check brake lines for cracks. If you see any replace immediately. Braided stainless steel brake lines are not required but really help with fade.

Power steering fluid - good to replace with high temp equivalents. RP or Red Line are good replacements.

Clutch - as above.

Oil - good to change before and after. Some debates on this. I typically overfill by 1 qt at least to account for gravity and possible increase in consumption. Oil type is basically ANY oil that maintains good pressure at your highest rpm (thick or thin depending on your engine/needs). Some folks will run thicker oil but it's not necessarily for everyone. If you want to feel suicidal you're welcome to read up on oil properties here: http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/motor-oil-105/

Rules
Check your club or event rules before you signup. This is important as you may not qualify. For example some clubs don't allow convertibles on the track. Others have strict rules regarding modifications, may not let you run nitrous bottles in the car and so forth so it's very important you check ahead. Nothing worse than turning up to an event to discover you don't qualify.

Mechanical
Its really good practice to take your car to a shop and inspect the following:
1. Engine bay - no oil leaks, everything secure
2. Battery - secure and doesn't move around
3. Brake pads - 50% minimum, racing pads recommended but not required
4. Brake lights NEED to work
5. Seat belts need to work
6. Clean windows inside and out. Put some rainx on if you suspect it'll be raining.

Pro tips
1. Coloured tape stuck on at 12 o'clock on steering wheel so you know when it's centered and know where you're point to
2. If your car supports it, switch to MPH (from kms per hour) trust me on this, helps psychologically (170mph sounds less scary than 280 doesn't it
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)
3. Seat as low as possible
4. Sunroof closed
5. Radio off, windows down (my preference as I enjoy the wind but adds drag), some events mandate windows up
6. Run a bit of extra oil (I run a quart over) - helps avoid high G oil starvation a little
7. Your club will tell you this but don't put your parking brake between runs, warps rotors. Keep car in gear or with blocks.
8. Don't run AC as it robs you of a bit of HP and adds heat
9. If you're overheating badly you can run your heater at full blast to aid cooling
10. If you do this often invest in a fire extinguisher and mount it under the front seat
11. Bring a handheld temp meter to check brake temps


What to bring with you
Bring a duffel bag with the following:
1. Extra fluids - couple of quarts of oil (more if you know your car drinks it), coolant, brake and power steering
2. Tire gauge
3. Basic tools: torque wrench
4. Paper towels, window cleaner, duct tape in case your crack a window, small tire air compressor, rhino ramps if you have any - helps to get under the car quickly, water for yourself. Food if your event isn't providing anyl

On the day
1. Use your laps wisely, have a warm up lap (not full blast) to get engine up to temp, temp in tires and very important a cool down lap (last lap) which you should drive gently to cool off the car
2. Fill car with 3/4 or full of highest octane gas and never let it go less than 1/4 empty. High G turns can starve your fuel pump if there's not enough gas in there.
3. Pop the hood in the pits to help with cooling
4. Eyeball your fluids and check oil and top up if needed
5. Check for leaks under car after each run, check tire condition, make sure they're not falling apart. Check tire pressures and make sure they're not overly high or low. Check rotors for cracks.

ETIQUETTE
1. Don't be a c**k on the track.
2. Take an instructor whether you're new or old to this. Always helps to get a refresher. Follow their advice, they know better than you.
3. Follow your club rules and flags especially rules on when you're permitted to overtake.
4. Did I mention look out for flags
5. Lapping events are not races so don't treat them as such
6. Be courteous and let others pass you, happens to the best of us. The fact that a kid in a Golf is about to lap you in your Z06 doesn't mean his/her car is better, it means he/she is a better driver. Accept this and let them through, and learn.
7. HAVE FUN and make friends

Things to avoid
Crappy stuck on body kits that'll fall off
Exhausts that hang a mm off the ground, you will be leaving parts of it behind
Ebay race lugnuts that split open
Crappy rotors that crack.
Crappy pads that glaze over in an instant
Camera equipment that you've not secured properly, you will lose it
If in doubt buy OEM
 
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LSXtasy

LSXtasy

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You covered everything here Nik! Awesome post! As much as I try there always seems to be one or two things I forget or forget to do. This is the most thorough pre race check list I have ever seen. I hope that you don't mind but I'll be printing this off and posting it on my whiteboard in the garage.
 
Nik

Nik

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You covered everything here Nik! Awesome post! As much as I try there always seems to be one or two things I forget or forget to do. This is the most thorough pre race check list I have ever seen. I hope that you don't mind but I'll be printing this off and posting it on my whiteboard in the garage.

Print away buddy, glad it's helping.
 
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Black 03 Z06

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Great list Nik. I am sure it will be helpful to anyone thinking of these lapping days. Very good.:thumbs:
 

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