Track Day Newbie

  1. hkbarista

    hkbarista Member

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    I have got a few question for you track pros/veterans.

    I have my first "track session" (HPDE) in a couple weeks, I'll have an instructor with me in the car.

    I bought the car in June 2019, I have about 7000ish miles on it so far. This is my daily but I have spare car if something catastrophic happens..::fingerscrossed:::drive:

    I have done almost all performance mods so far
    • hondata
    • flexfuel
    • RV6 catless DP
    • Acuity stage 2
    • PRL intake
    reading all the track threads and everyone's build thread on here, I should have gone with upgrading my rims/tires to 18s, cooling mods, and more cooling mods.

    I am hoping since this will be my first time around the track I won't be running the car as hard as most of you on here and overheating won't happen, and weather down here in TX is not bad right now. I can run the heater as well just to alleviate some of the strain hopefully that works..?

    There will be 4 sessions 20mins each for the whole day, looking at the schedule I will have 2hrs in between each session for cool down.

    what i'm looking for is what kind of stuff should I be doing/preparing?
    what are things should I also be looking out for that I should be aware of?
    I'm driving the car to the track do I need to watch out for anything?

    so far I will be doing the following before the track day
    • Brake fluid change to ATE 200 DOT 4
    • Hawk Performance 5.0 brake pads, I also learned that I have to bed the brake pads something new I've never heard of.. and not engage the parking brake after each session to prevent warping rotors.
    • Amsoil Engine oil change, I just got my first oil change on the car with 80% left. Not sure if that is needed but better safe than sorry?
    I will be running on stock tires i have about 60%-50% tread life left on them, I will be bringing 2 additional oem wheel just in case anything happens.

    Any advice is appreciated!!
     
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  2. Code Monkey

    Code Monkey Member

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    An open mind, a positive attitude, and listen to your instructor.... Which organization are you running with?
     
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    hkbarista

    hkbarista Member

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    NASA pro racing
     
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  4. fatherpain

    fatherpain Senior Member

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    #4 fatherpain, Jan 10, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2020
    With any luck I’ll be in the same boat soon. Good idea for the instructor. Will be doing the same. I would suggest going in with good condition tires and pads... Watching this thread ;)
     
  5. spyder57

    spyder57 Senior Member

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    1 - Hawk 5.0s don't do that well on the track but might suffice for HDPE. I'd recommend something with a little more bite and fade resistance.

    2 - You're going to need a tow hook. On the back, this is straightforward but on the front it's a little more involved. The cheapest option is the USR tow hook for about $165.

     
  6. fatherpain

    fatherpain Senior Member

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    Is a rear tow hook or strap mandatory?
     
  7. CWNole95

    CWNole95 Senior Member

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    #7 CWNole95, Jan 10, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2020
    This is great advice.

    Regarding your car prep, you have it covered. No performance mods are needed and in my opinion, novice drivers get nothing from them on a track anyway.

    Good luck and be safe. And to echo the above, above all else, trust and listen to the instruction, both in car and in the classroom (if they still have the classroom instruction).

    Edit to add:

    Started my track driving experience with Carguys back in 1997, then began running and instructing with NASA in 1999. Began road racing in 2000 in the Honda Challenge with an Integra Type R and stopped in 2006 due to embarking into parenthood and career responsibilities getting in the way. Still miss it.
     
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  8. roflitzjinno

    roflitzjinno Member

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    I have been tracking for a few years now (did time attack for a few years in this), and now I instruct in my area in the UMW local grassroot events. I was tracking out in SoCal for a bit as well.

    Addressing some questions you have. I personally think bringing the car as is, is totally fine. I think those that are new to the sport think you need an all modified car to run on the track. That's rarely the case.

    what i'm looking for is what kind of stuff should I be doing/preparing? Prepare the car, making sure there's enough brake pad, fluids are topped off, checking oil, making sure wheels are torqued. If the group you're running with has a self inspection checklist, utilize that to mark off things you should check prior to your track day. Mentally, make sure you're listening to your instructor, be open to constructive criticism. You are a student whose learning, and your instructor is guiding you on how to improve and on how they do things.
    what are things should I also be looking out for that I should be aware of? Be aware of the limit of your car. Limits on streets is far from the limit on the track IMO. Again listening and taking instruction from your instructor helps a ton. Be aware of what's around you and happening on the track. Other vehicles, looking ahead (turns, straights, braking zone), looking and checking corner stations. Flags, what each flags mean. I feel most of this is discussed during your drivers meeting during the track day though. Most organizations I have run with, even the ones I instruct for explain most of these things.
    I'm driving the car to the track do I need to watch out for anything? See answer above. Similar answer.

    Brake fluid change to ATE 200 DOT 4 I personally don't think this is necessary, till you start getting faster and feel the fluid needs to be changed. I have ran on OEM fluid. The car doesn't weigh a ton. But then again personal preference. First day I would say this could be skipped, maybe by 3rd to 5th day it could be changed based off feel.
    Hawk Performance 5.0 brake pads, I also learned that I have to bed the brake pads something new I've never heard of.. and not engage the parking brake after each session to prevent warping rotors. Pads I would've personally used OEM. Expendables are expensive, but if you have the money go ahead buy brakes. I am sure you can find information on bedding in brake pads. It's normally to apply the material onto the rotor, for better stopping power. Yes, please do not engage parking brake after sessions. Park the car in gear. The brakes will heat up on the track, when the parking brake is engaged after being at a certain temp, could essential weld the rotor and pad together.
    Amsoil Engine oil change, I just got my first oil change on the car with 80% left. Not sure if that is needed but better safe than sorry? Oil change is fine, it's personal preference. I normally change my oil based my oil analysis. But make sure to bring extra oil with you to the track, just in case. I normally check my oil after every session to make sure I am within proper range on the dip stick.
    I will be running on stock tires i have about 60%-50% tread life left on them, I will be bringing 2 additional oem wheel just in case anything happens.Good idea here. Never know what will happen. I personally have AAA towing just in case I need a tow home.

    Everyone will be different as far as what they do and how they prepare. Everyone has their own way of doing things. You do things that will give you peace of mind IMO. Personally for me I would bring the car as is to the track. When I bought my current used S2000 stock, all I did was brake pads, brake lines, brake fluid flush, and oil change. I ran on 500TW tires. I had a blast learning the car again. Legit only modifications were brakes. I personally think best mod is driver mod. Improve your skills as a driver before you start modifying a car IMO. I normally bring a jack, stands, simple tool kit with wrenches and sockets that are common, brake fluid, oil, pads, rotors. I have friends that come with me to the track so I started bringing less and less. Everyone I have met has been so helpful at the track.
     
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  9. ipeefreely

    ipeefreely Senior Member

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    Tow hooks are mandatory with all the groups I have ran with here in Cali. You should have a stock one inside the car that you can hook up to the rear.

    Behavior tips:

    1. Listen to your instructor - not sure who's instructing you but most of these guys have a decent amount of experience. Listen to them.

    2. Drive slow, learn fast - If this is your first time on track, focus on braking zones and lines. Car awareness and track etiquette is also very important. Speed and fast lap times will come as you get more seat time. So don't worry about going fast in the beginning.

    3. Drive within your limits - You don't win any money for being the quickest in the beginners group. You're there to improve your driving, so approach it with that in mind. Don't over extend yourself beyond your comfort just because you have someone faster than you. Oftentimes I see people trying to chase their faster friends and that's when bad stuff usually happens.

    Car tips:

    1. Overheating - The car will only overheat when there are high ambient temps present and aggressive driver input. If this is your first time tracking, no offense but I think you'll have issues pushing the car to its overheating range.

    2. Brakes - It seems like you're intending to upgrade the brakes. Good. Just keep an eye on them. Remember, inner pads wear faster than outer ones.

    3. Tires - Get a tire gauge and air out your tires as you need to. Nothing scarier than driving on overheated tires with no grip.

    4. Fuel - The CTR's fuel gauge, like many other Hondas, sucks ass. You will also realize that when the car is at the track, it basically gets like 3 miles per gallon. Combine these two things and you'll have situations where you will head out on track with 40% fuel and run out of gas by the 5th lap. Remember to keep an eye on it. My advice is to put a little bit more in there just in case.



    I can't think of any other tips other than just have fun! Being at the track is actually really safe if you just respect it.
     
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  10. JESFromASC

    JESFromASC Senior Member

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    Um, relax, have fun, bring a folding chair, snacks, a cooler of water.
    You could run this car straight off the showroom floor for a first time track day - don't go throwing money at it quite yet.
    A few cones are a good idea so your stuff doesn't get run over.
    Take everything out of the car - glove boxes, inflation kit, floor mats, dog, everything.
    Don't get caught up in too much gizmo crap - you have enough to worry about.
    If you must bury it and look at it later.
    Print out the run groups and have a watch handy.
    It's weird but you will probably be pretty nervous and that is natural and actually a good thing.
    80 on the highway doesn't feel like much - 80 on the track - well you'll see.
    Consider a Chatterbox if you plan on doing it often. Be nice to your instructor!
    Tell the instructor how you like to be coached - zen like o-b-won stuff or brake-turn-gas-drift right-go-go-go.
    Don't stand on the brakes or hit the parking brake when you get off the track - park in gear only until they cool.
    Don't passenger unless you are 100% you won't get motion sickness - don't say I didn't warn you.
    You'll see some scary sh*& so even with the instructor keep your eyes and ears open.
    DO watch the tire temps.
    And again - relax and have fun that is what a track day is supposed to be about.
    There is always someone with more money and more horsepower so just be yourself.
    The stench of testosterone can get a little overwhelming sometimes.
    Usually some great people and cars too!
     
  11. Code Monkey

    Code Monkey Member

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    NASA's emphasis is on time trials and club racing, and I always found their HPDE program lacking. I am sure you will have a good time, but also run with The Drivers Edge and Chin Track Days to compare.
     
  12. dan_in_japan

    dan_in_japan Member

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    Lots of good advice. Look after car, fluids, tire pressure, keep and eye on the groups and time, listen carefully to course rules, keep hydrated, don't be hungover, remember suncream (most circuits are quite exposed), get a decent CAR helmet, you only have one brain... and don't worry about how fast others are going.. I have personally witnessed people in much faster cars try to keep with people who go the track regularly and end up in a wall.. The track is very different to the road.. but its to enjoy.

    Each to their own but I think a lot of people over modify cars before going to the track the first time. The CTR in stock form (perhaps except on an extremely extremely hot day and those stock tires are expensive to replace) will be more than enough car for a first time out.

    Lately I don't go as much but used to go nearly every weekend to the track or motokana, I first started going in a automatic Accord SiR Station wagon.. but it taught me so much about handling the weight shift, how to manage body roll, then over many visits changed to better tires, brake pads and fluid and could tell how it improved the car.. if I had changed it all the first time I wouldn't have been able to learn what mid range sport tires feel like after 5 laps (very squirmy), see the wear from the softer suspension and so on. When I got myself into a DC2R same thing, started mostly stock and slowly modified to cover the areas where there was consistently an issue, but to be honest with possibly maybe 40 track days in that car I probably never reached the cars full potential.

    The lesson is a great idea, I remember being resistant at first but its an eye opener.. oh you brake that hard that late, wasn't expecting that line!

    Don't over drive either, thrashing your car like you hate it isn't fast, smooth is fast, I remember the first time I really got it.. "OH I'm going around that corner nearly the same speed on the cool down lap" need to rethink.
     
  13. PEPSIFLAME

    PEPSIFLAME Senior Member

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    Let me know how it goes. I'm in DFW. Been thinking of getting mine to a novice track day.
     
  14. Gansan

    Gansan Senior Member

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    Lots of good advice above. As JESFromASC said, relax and have fun. You have absolutely nothing to prove, and work on your skills and don't worry about what to mod next on your car. Your skill will have a lot more to do with how fast you are than anything. It's like 80% skill, 20% car.

    One of the best parts of track days is the cool people you meet. Nowhere else would I ever get to ride at speed in a GT3 RS owned by someone who worked for Porsche Motorsports or get to talk about airplanes and Mustangs (the car) with Marine pilots who happened to pit next to me!
     
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  15. JESFromASC

    JESFromASC Senior Member

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    Interesting - reading between the lines - are there actually groups that let a 100% newbie run without an instructor?
    Never heard of such a thing.

    Generally you have to "earn" solo and then of course "earn" intermediate.

    Heck even after 20 track days and SCCA racing I still want an instructor the first time I go to a track.
    You cut your learning curve in half or better.

    And last thought - if they insist on "class" I guess just suck it up but don't expect much. Just another shi$#y meeting the devolves into nonsense. Most groups have dropped them I think? I'm pretty sure all have for Int. and above?
     
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