Page 1 of 5 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 82

Thread: Beginners Guide to Trackdays

  1. #1
    muppet Dr Bob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Doune
    Posts
    8,723
    Rides
    0

    Beginners Guide to Trackdays

    Given the amount of interest in trackdays this year, I wondered if it was worth getting together a basic trackday FAQ jobby for the forum. Feel free to add anything you think I’ve missed or correct any glaring errors.


    Events:

    May be airfield or ‘proper’ track. Airfields invariably have the circuit marked in cones, and are nice and flat with loads of runoff. Especially good for beginners, you can push hard and explore the handling – but the tradeoff will be high wear rates on brakes and tyres. Proper circuits are a lot less forgiving, but much more interesting to drive with variable gradients and more of a general challenge


    Format

    Open-Pitlane or Sessioned. Open pitlane has the bonus that you can go out whenever you like as long as the track doesn’t get too crowded, but there may be a wide skill mix on track, meaning you may find yourself held up a lot. Sessioned days tend to group similar abilities together. In addition, on sessioned events, you will probably experience less wear on consumables as things are less likely to overheat.


    Helmets/clothing

    Helmets are generally available for hire from tracks/trackday companies on the day. Or you can buy your own. You can get a perfectly adequate bike helmet from your local bike shop for about 100. if you value your head more you can pay a lot more for a proper motorsport helmet. Most trackday organisers insist that arms and legs are covered, so make sure you wear a long-sleeved top. Footwear wise you can wear what you like, but a nice flat-soled shoe is probably the most sensible option
    Pistonheads Helmet Guide.
    http://www.pistonheads.com/doc.asp?c=52&i=13304

    Paperwork

    You and any additional drivers/passengers will be required to sign a standard indemnity form on the day. Some tracks may need to see your driving licence – make sure you check before you get there, but if you haven’t got it they will usually phone the DVLA to check for a nominal fee


    Car
    If you're preping your car the day before thats too late. You need time to ensure everything is A1, any new brake pads are well bedded in (500miles) and to test it all out before arriving at the track.

    Ensure all fluid levels are well topped up – you may experience surge due to the abnormal loads generated by track use if levels are too low. Make sure tyres have enough tread to last the day and get you home – spare wheels are a good investment. Tyre fitting may be available - depends on the organiser. Run a few PSi extra in each tyre. They'll wear more evenly in extreme use

    Same goes for brakes. Make sure you have plenty of pad material and keep an eye on pad wear throughout the day. It's worth doing a cool down lap before you stop and never put the handbrake on after coming in from a track session.

    200s are great on track as standard, but to make them better, uprate brakes, suspension, cooling and power in that order. A few gauges to let you know what the engines going through won’t hurt either, and may save you from blowing it up. Some circuits will ask you to tape up your lights so its worth taking a roll of electrical tape and a knife.

    Don't run the petrol tank too empty - you could run into problems if you get fuel surge, and if you run out of fuel and cause a red flag you will not be liked, and may be fined by the trackday organiser. A 200SX uses about 1/4 tank every 30 mins so you need a lot of petrol. Add to that the possibility of petrol starvation on a 1/4 full tank and you need to be on the ball. Be sure to fill up before arrival at the circuit. Some people use Jerry cans also. If you have done your research and found the local SUL station you may be able to pop out at lunch.

    Keep oils and fluids at maximum levels, take top-ups for the day and check everything before you start the car for the next session, between every session.


    Mods for the track

    It’s all budget dependant really. But there are some simple cost-effective things to do which will make the car better on track

    Brakes:
    Fade is the enemy on track, and any standard braking setup will start to fade if used hard.
    First thing is uprated front pads – we generally accept Ferodo DS2500s as being the best pad for fast road/track on here, but other options are available.
    Uprated fluid is a must, and less than 12months old – less prone to boiling with overuse, this can have harsh consequences.
    Uprate the discs when they are due for a change – grooved/drilled dissipate heat better, bigger discs also handle heat better.
    Some ducting won't do any harm

    Tyres:
    As on the road its the only contact you have with the ground.
    Track driving puts much more heat into your tyre than on the road, and may feel different
    Track driving wears tyres much quicker than on the road, and can vary quite a lot track to track.
    Just because a tyre is good on the road dosnt make it good on the track.
    Slicks or Semi slick trackday tyres are suitable but can put much more strain on your brakes, bushes and can lead to fuel/oil surge in extreme use if precations arent taken.
    Concrete airfeilds eat tyres even more.

    Suspension:
    Probably the most cost-effective upgrade is strut braces and uprated ARBs – shouldn’t compromise ride too much.
    Uprated shocks and springs will make things even better.
    To go the whole hog you’ll be wanting coilovers, but the ride on normal roads will be compromised the further you go. Think about what you want to use the car for.
    A car with stock suspension will also eat tyres more quickly.

    Cooling/Gauges:
    Things get very hot on track, and the loads are impossible to recreate in any road driving.
    FMIC is virtually a necessity on a modded 200. An oil cooler is another sensible step.
    Gauges for Water & oil temp and oil pressure are a prudent choice – an alarmed setup is even better.
    Fabricating some ducting/cooling panels in the engine bay will help cooling. Turn the boost down a little for track use. most of us on the standard turbos only run 12-13 PSi on track.

    interior
    A standard seat is fine, even in leather, if not perfect.
    A harness can help you stay in your seat with less effort, and if you can afford it is well worth having.
    Bucket seats can dont cost much, subframes double the cost. Seats can be changed in around 10mins if youdont wish to have it in all the time. Probably only needed if your planning to do a lot of trackdays in a heavily modded car.


    Driving

    Make sure you listen to the drivers briefing.
    It’s all fairly common sense so I won’t go into too much detail – suffice to say observe overtaking rules – invariably on straights only and by consent only.
    Be courteous, use your mirrors, get out of the way of faster cars.
    Its not a race and its more fun trying to keep up

    Flags:
    same system applies on most trackdays, and it's the universally accepted motorsport flags which are used
    -green - track is open
    -red - session stopped, make your way back to the pit - be careful as emergency vehicles may be on the track
    -yellow - there is an incident - slow down and no overtaking until you get the all-clear
    -yellow/red stripes - slippery surface - be careful
    -blue -you're holding someone up, let them past at the next opprtunity
    -black - you are being pulled over for an infringement or problem with your car

    Coning
    often the organiser will set some cones around the track - these serve as a basic guide to braking points and lines through the corners. The most you''ll is a cone on the outside of the straight before the corner - that's your braking point. There'll be another cone at the turn-in point, and another at apex of the corner. And one on the exit at the point you should be at the edge of the track. Not all organisers will lay cones, or all of the above cones, but if you see odd couloured, or tall cones at these points they may be there to help you. Ste mentions cornering techniques below. Initially treat the cones/markers with respect, and learn the basic lines, then later in the day as you learn to judge your car's limits better you can push things a little more.


    A Few Important Bits of Advice

    1. You are not God’s gift to driving, and it’s not a race – just enjoy yourself. If you bear this in mind you are much less likely to break your car or yourself
    2. Limit yourself to 15-20 min sessions– you’ll find you are much easier on brakes/tyres, and less likely to overdo things
    3. Get some tuition – it’ll make you a better driver
    4. Above all, have fun – you have the opportunity to play with a quick car in a controlled environment – it’ll be a blast
    5. Read SteA's tips post 7... http://www.sxoc.com/vbb/showpost.php...51&postcount=9
    6. Read Jez's tips post 13 ... http://www.sxoc.com/vbb/showpost.php...7&postcount=13
    7. Read Mono Phil's tips post 16 ... http://www.sxoc.com/vbb/showpost.php...1&postcount=16


    SM's Edit: Included some of my own thoughts and good points from the comments below.
    Last edited by SM; 04-03-2006 at 12:56.
    power-crazed Head-Mod

  2. #2
    Member alanjuggler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    manchester/bolton
    Posts
    9,828
    Rides
    0
    sounds good - ill be getting myself to at least a few track days this year - current things stopping me are a) finishing mapping and b) my clutch is acting very oddly

    decent sort of FAQ intro thing to it, might want to mention about spare tyres / possibility of tyre fitters on the day? not sure. since ive never been
    white '94 s13 200sx scrapped - mapped to 1.45bar. OS giken box, garrett GT2876R, 950cc injectors, ORC twin plate, nistune. 349bhp/325lbft @ 1.3bar CA18DET
    white '96 s13 180sx - type g with more kouki bits - RB25DET, GTR steel twin turbo conversion, RB26 crank & rods. 2.6L VVT twin turbo, SR20 OSG box, OSG STR twin plate clutch, Z32 ECU w/ nistune.

    current status: 180 a bit broken but to be repaired.

  3. #3
    Guest
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Harpenden
    Posts
    11,556
    Rides
    0
    Being a newbie myself, the more info the better Read most of this already researching previously however it is still good to have everything in one place here in the motorsport section.

    I would have found this thread so useful if it was here a month ago

    Hope to get some good skill going and come up for a trackday near you guys sometime

    Thanks,
    Martin

  4. #4
    muppet Dr Bob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Doune
    Posts
    8,723
    Rides
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by alanjuggler
    decent sort of FAQ intro thing to it, might want to mention about spare tyres / possibility of tyre fitters on the day? not sure. since ive never been
    good point - depends who the organiser is, and they'll usually say if tyre fitting is available. BaT generally have tyre fitting available, and the last trackdays.co.uk day i was on had the facilities too. iirc they know how to charge though
    Last edited by Dr Bob; 16-01-2006 at 17:13.
    power-crazed Head-Mod

  5. #5
    Guest
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    In the garage
    Posts
    3,535
    Rides
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by dr bob
    Car

    Must be roadworthy. Ensure all fluid levels are well topped up – you may experience surge due to the abnormal loads generated by track use if levels are too low. Make sure tyres have enough tread to last the day and get you home – spare wheels are a good investment. Same goes for brakes. Keep an eye on pad wear throughout the day.

    200s are great on track as standard, but to make them better, uprate brakes, suspension, cooling and power in that order. A few gauges to let you know what the engines going through won’t hurt either, and may save you from blowing it up.
    It's worth doing a cool down lap before you stop and never put the handbrake on after coming in from a track session.

    Some circuits will ask you to tape up your lights so its worth taking a roll of electrical tape and a knife.

  6. #6
    Guest SM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Todmorden & Apex.
    Posts
    34,460
    Rides
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by Dr bob
    @Kev - dunno if you were working on something like this already mate - just thought it might be useful for a few trackday virgins
    I was, well in my head, but this is good so we'll use this, and add bits about useful mods / brakes / costs ect ..



    cheers

  7. #7
    muppet Dr Bob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Doune
    Posts
    8,723
    Rides
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by NikB
    It's worth doing a cool down lap before you stop and never put the handbrake on after coming in from a track session.

    Some circuits will ask you to tape up your lights so its worth taking a roll of electrical tape and a knife.
    amended - cheers
    power-crazed Head-Mod

  8. #8
    muppet Dr Bob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Doune
    Posts
    8,723
    Rides
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by SM
    I was, well in my head, but this is good so we'll use this, and add bits about useful mods / brakes / costs ect ..



    cheers
    was thinking i'd probably split the car bit to make it more detailed. feel free to tweak the post wherever you like

    edit - few additions made
    Last edited by Dr Bob; 16-01-2006 at 18:23.
    power-crazed Head-Mod

  9. #9
    Flamethrower SteA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Shrewsbury
    Posts
    7,688
    Rides
    0
    Excellent a lot of effort went into that

    A few tips for driving from my limited experience......

    Its always very tempting on your first lap to push on and keep up with others even if you promised yourself you wouldnt dont , make a point of being disciplined, progressively increasing pace and getting a feel for the track.

    Your brakes last a lot longer if you brake progressively and dont try and brake late. You make up a lot more time learning how to corner properly than pounding your brakes into dust. Remember anything that unloads the car eg going over a dip, the car pitching forward under braking, thus lightening the rear will reduce grip at the respective end.

    Think of traction as being split into different percentages. e.g. Imagine a car goes round a corner at the fastest possible speed whilst maintaining grip without any acceleration or braking as 100%. Now if you add any acceleration or braking you will exceed the grip the car has and loose control. However, if you went round the corner at say 85% of maximum you could accelerate with/up to 15% of your grip and probably get more speed on the following straight.... well you get the idea

    Think about balance under braking, use the engine and heel and toe if you can to best match rpm and speed. I prefer to have done all of my braking by the time I hit the corner and enter with constant throttle then accelerate from the apex using some of my saved up grip

    The best line through a corner is usually the line with the biggest radius.

    Dont under estimate the power of simple mods like ducting, has a massive effect on track The other thing that has a massive effect is sticking to short sessions, that will save you soooooo much money you wouldnt believe.

    When you replace brakes make sure the hubs and brakes are completely free of crap, wont cause problems on the road, but on track you will soon have a fecked pair of disks.

    Get some jerry cans for spare fuel, always useful.

    Hope this helps a little.
    Currently scrabble powered - Leon Cupra 280

  10. #10
    Guest
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Harpenden
    Posts
    11,556
    Rides
    0
    More useful stuff hadn't thought of some of that

  11. #11
    Guest frisbee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Cheltenham
    Posts
    7,318
    Rides
    0
    My limited trackday experience (motorbike):

    Never follow someone who looks like they now what they are doing as they will usually end up in the gravel on the next corner.

    Don't obsess too much on what is going on behind you, concentrate on your own driving.

    Don't blow up your engine as it is far scarier to go around donnington in the back of the van sat on a bike than it is riding it. (this probably doesn't apply to cars)

    You will be shit on your first few trackdays.

  12. #12
    Guest
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Reading
    Posts
    11,471
    Rides
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by frisbee
    You will be shit on your first few trackdays.
    that'll be me, shitting myself that Bren doesn't imbed his motor into the back of mine - as we seem to be sharing track time at Japfest

    Excellent info there guys,

    Rich

  13. #13
    Flamethrower Jez's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Chieveley, Near Newbury, Berkshire
    Posts
    22,379
    Rides
    0
    My advise would be, in addition to the above:
    1) don't hold up or try to out run people behind you if they've caught you up - even if they're in a "slower" car. I've spun before because I thought I was quicker than an MX5
    2) use your mirrors - get out of the way of faster cars - its not a race and its more fun trying to keep up

    Car stuff:
    You engine and brakes will worked harder than possible on the road - regardless of how hard you think you drive on the road. Don't go out with old brake fluid - I've seen at least 1 car in the armco cos the fluid boiled and the driver ended up with no brakes at all - much worse than fade.
    Run less boost than on the road: everything gets a lot hotter, det will be a lot more likely

  14. #14
    Guest
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    cumbria
    Posts
    1,493
    Rides
    0
    This thread is great full of excellent info for a beginner like me

  15. #15
    Guest Yakko's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Holmfirth, W.Yorks
    Posts
    9,410
    Rides
    0
    Thanks for putting this thread together - has been a great read for a noob like me, especially as it looks like i'll be doing 5 or 6 track days this year.


  16. #16
    Guest archenemy.co.uk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Herts
    Posts
    13,008
    Rides
    0
    My Advice

    1. If you're preping your car the day before thats too late. You need time to ensure no mistakes and to test it all out before arriving at the track. This cost me dear last time out with a pair of flat tyres

    2. Learn how to Heel and toe. H&T saves your clutch no end, imagine all that heat building up in the thing as you repeatedly feed it in on the downshift if you don't H&T. Also dumping in the clutch hard on a slippery surface or worse entering a corner could result in the diff locking and spinning you off. I'll put a Phils guide to modding the pedals for it but the rest is down to practise, and I find you can only do that when driving hard.

    3. Brake in a straight line only - common sense that one. And don't use Silicone brake fluid

    4. If somebody comes up behind you they are faster, end of. let them by ASAP, don't try to outdrag them on the straights and then hold them up round the corners FFS

    5. Petrol. My car uses about 1/4 tank every 30 mins so you need a lot of petrol. Add to that the possibility of petrol starvation on a 1/4 full tank and you need to be on the ball. If you're staying overnight somewhere, fill up on arrival. Some people use Jerry cans also. If you have done your research and found the local SUL station you may be able to pop out at lunch. Be aware that many of these circuits seem to be in the sticks and thats not near a SUL supplier

    Last edited by archenemy.co.uk; 17-01-2006 at 10:02.

  17. #17
    Head Mod Scottie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    St. Helens / Snowdonia
    Posts
    16,942
    Rides
    0
    Thread is excellent advice.

    I found an EVO magazine two nights ago that is about 2 years old, and they give very similar advice, did a few pages on trackdays for novices.

    They only thing I can't see covered is petrol. I assume you make sure you have a full tank first, but if you run out during the day if it's multi sessioned, and your car is mapped on Optimax, do you have to leave the circuit to find a shell garage at lunch, or is fuel supplied that is at least an equivalent etc.

    Thanks.

    P.S. Still looking for my trackday car as I'm one of the growing number not wanting to use my 200 on track, at least until more track experience gained.
    2004 - on : 1999 S14a 398bhp 378lb/ft
    2010 - on : 2007 RX8 PZ
    1998 - 2004 : 1991 S13

  18. #18
    Guest archenemy.co.uk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Herts
    Posts
    13,008
    Rides
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by Scottie
    They only thing I can't see covered is petrol. I assume you make sure you have a full tank first, but if you run out during the day if it's multi sessioned, and your car is mapped on Optimax, do you have to leave the circuit to find a shell garage at lunch, or is fuel supplied that is at least an equivalent etc.
    Hmm yes see above

  19. #19
    Guest
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Playing with my AVCR!
    Posts
    909
    Rides
    0
    This is a great thread. Very informative, very helpful.

    Really wanna do my first track day myself but i've gotta re-build the bar steward first! But i will definatley refer back to this once i'm a bit closer to the time!

    Being that i work on an airfield i can hopefully get a bit of practice before showing everyone how slow i am!

  20. #20
    Guest Parker's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Southampton
    Posts
    16,410
    Rides
    0
    People have said about mirrors but it might be worth noting that people will be comming up behind you a lot faster than they do on the road so you need to really keep an eye on them. That's what I found anyway but then I'm rubbish (at the moment )

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •