Track Day Information

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#Car Preparation
#Things you will need
#Out on Track / Etiquette
#Warning Flags
#Things that can help
#Final Thoughts

Reproduced with kind permission of Mike Rainbird
Original source here: R and B Motosport

Don't forget this is NOT for hardened track day veterans, but for novices....

Please remember, motorsport can be dangerous - be prepared and most of all, safe.

Car Preparation

1. New oil and filter before event.

2. Check ALL fluid levels are correct.

3. Fit new brake pads all round (or bring a set of spares, as you won't want to cut your day short due to running out of brakes - I would personally use a harder compound for the track, but that is up to you).

4. Have your brake fluid checked before the event to make sure it hasn't got too high a water content (brake fluid absorbs water and should be changed every 2-3 years), as any water content will allow the fluid to boil at a lower than normal level (pedal to the floor and no brakes - not nice).

TIP: Most Fast Fit type place actually offer the brake fluid test free of charge. Change if necessary and I would personally recommend Castrol SRF or similar (forget off the shelf Dot 5.1s, it HAS to be a track orientated fluid from any of the known brands).

5. If you have adjustable road dampers, turn them to the hardest setting before you venture out on track (unless it is wet, then experiment with settings, as in the wet you WANT weight transfer to help load the tyres for better wet weather grip).

6. Buy a set of part worn tyres (a brand that is known for being hard wearing rather than grippy would be best, as track driving will quickly overheat soft tyres within a few laps), have these fitted on your wheels before the track day or if finances allow, buy a set of wheels with them already fitted and take them to the track.

Part worns can be had for as little as £60 a set and saves you forking out for a set of new tyres for the car straight after a track day. Obviously you need to examine any second hand tyres very carefully.

7. Ensure all wheel bearings are okay.

8. Check all wheel nuts are done up correctly before venturing on track.

9. Make sure the engine is fully up to temperature before you go out on track.

10. Run on Super-Unleaded petrol whilst on track, unless you're in a diesel, obviously.

11. Check your oil / water / tyres / brakes after EVERY session (obviously once you have given the car time to cool down).

Things you will need

1. Driving licence (you won't be allowed out on track without showing that you have a current valid licence).

2. Crash helmet (although most tracks have a supply, they soon run out, especially if passengers are allowed).

3. Gloves (optional, but preferable), as when the adrenaline starts pumping, you'll be amazed at the places you sweat, and this way your hands won't slip off the steering wheel.

4. Lightweight shoes / trainers so you get better feel of the peddles.

Out on Track / Etiquette

1. Allow the tyres to get up to temperature (will take at least one lap) before you go ballistic, or you will "fall off" on the first corner.

2. Use your mirrors!

3. Indicate and pull over to the right if someone is coming up fast behind you (as overtaking is ONLY allowed on the left at most circuits). If someone catches you up, that means they are FASTER than you, so allow them to pass, rather than trying to "race" them.

4. NO overtaking on bends.

5.Drive at your own pace and build your speed up gradually.

6. Enter corners slowly until you are sure you know the line to go in faster.

7. Drive smoothly and progressively and you will be faster than if you erratic with the controls (and less of a liability to other track users).

8. Keep and eye on water / oil temps and when things start to get hot, indicate and pull over to the right of the track and do a cooling down lap before either coming in to the pits or resuming the fast pace. If you do not follow this cool down procedure and just come straight in, you will suffer from horrendous heat soak from the engine and more importantly the brakes, which can even catch fire (can't they Danny).

9. When in the pits and stationary, turn the wheel on full lock, which will stop the car from rolling away (or if on steep incline, use something to "chock" the wheels). Do NOT apply the handbrake, as the discs/pads will still be so hot, that putting the handbrake on will thermal shock and warp the discs. Leave the engine running with fans / interior heating on full to help remove some heat from the engine. Only switch the engine off once you are satisfied that the temps have cooled down sufficiently to do so.

10. Do not leave your keys in the ignition with the car unattended, as this is how many have been taken. When it is cooling down, stay with the car until you can turn it off and lock it up.

Warning Flags

1. Waved yellow means that you are about to encounter an incident of some description - slow down, do NOT overtake.

2. Held yellow means that the track is still under yellow flag conditions, remain at slow speed, no overtaking.

3. Waved blue flag, someone is coming up behind you fast, pull over and let them through.

4. Black flag plus point at your car - slow down, come into pits, you have either done something wrong or have something wrong with your car.

5. Red flag - session has been stopped, slow down, be prepared to come to a DEAD stop if indicated to do so, proceed with caution back to pits (unless instructed differently by marshalls).

6. Chequered flag - indicates end of session, use this lap to cool the car down.

Things that can help

1. Playstation games can help to give you an insight into the layout of a track you have never been to.

2. Use any instructors available, as they can show you the correct lines to take.

3. Follow someone round the track who you know as previous experience of it (but stay within your own limits).

4. A calm attitude - top stop your day being ruined because the marshalls think that you are too dangerous to be allowed out with other people.

Final Thoughts

1. Try and insure the car with a company that covers track days.

2. Bring tools, oil, spark plugs etc. in case you need to carry out any repairs / top oil up etc. A small selection of spare consumable items may stop your track day fun coming to an early end.

3. Have mates along that can help bail you out of any unforeseen emergencies.

4. Bring a tow rope.

5. AA/RAC etc. breakdown recovery.

6. Pay attention in the drivers briefing session.

7. Remember, motorsports can be dangerous - be safe!