Track days can be both exhilarating and nerve-wracking, or for some even a very stressful experience. Typically, there is a fair amount of preparation that needs to be done before hand to ensure there are no catastrophe’s on the day of the event.
Upon arrival at the track (around 7am) drivers would normally unload their tools, race tyres, trolley jacks, chassis stands, fuel cans, chair’s (sometimes back seats) and any other loose items in the vehicle. Registration and scrutineering are the first formalities of the morning before a mandatory drivers briefing around 8am. Drivers and crew then start preparing the vehicles for their first session or for the familiarisation laps which is open to all. If you make it through all of that you are just about ready to get the adrenaline pumping as you push your car to the limits. Below are eight tips from Whiteline to help ensure you are well prepared to get the most out of your day at the track:
1. Fire Extinguisher - Ensure the fire extinguisher is within its service date, is securely fastened and can be easily removed in the case of an emergency. Removing the safety pin prior to the day can save valuable seconds if required just remember to replace it after each event.
2. In the engine bay - Check the condition of the engine oil fluid well prior to commencing a track day and again on the morning before starting the car. Ensure your radiator is full but make sure the radiator overflow is not overfull. Make sure the battery is securely fixed with the clamp and terminals are tightly fastened and clean of corrosion. Check under the car for any leaks.
3. Tyre setup - Tyres all have a desired workable operating pressure that optimises their efficiency, what you’re looking at here is finding that starting cold pressure, no hard and fast rule here this all comes down to experience, location, tracks, setup, etc. and practice, generally as rule of thumb you want the tyre to be somewhere in the 30-34Psi range HOT and yes there are variables that will account for the change
4. Wheel nuts - Preferably using a tension wrench or wheel brace ensure the wheel nuts are tight BEFORE you go onto the circuit, never trust the electric impact guns that they will be right. Never hurts to go around twice as all too often we can get easily distracted.
5. Chassis stands – Safety is everything, the last thing you want to have happen is somebody to get hurt because your hydraulic jack seal catastrophically failed. Place stands under the chassis rails or sub frame and ensure the vehicle weight is taken by the stands and not the jack!
6. Recording key data – have somebody assist you to record tyre pressure and temperatures after your session. This will help determine how your setup is, the quicker you can get the tyre face temperatures the better as the heat will tend to soak through the tyre fairly quickly. Ideally you’re looking for even heat distribution across the face of the tyre with the tyre pressure in its optimised window of efficiency.
7. Fuel - Make sure your vehicle is full of fuel prior to starting a track day or alternatively if you’re testing with specific fuel quantities, bring surplus fuel with you. Most track days you will get away with a tank of fuel and this is a great way to feel the difference in handling characteristics as the fuel load burns off during the day.
8. Respect – We’re all out there for the same reason, because we love what we do. So remember above all else to respect others on the circuit and drive safely!