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Preparing a road car for track day use


Joker

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  • General Member
 "Ronin" said:

Interior:

Remove anything inside the car that is loose and has potential to slide around under cornering loads. You dont want things smashing around the car while you are driving, and worse, you dont want things getting jammed under your pedals as that could get VERY bad. Take all the crap out of the boot as well – spare wheel, jack etc…

Rules seemed to have tightened up recently, and even for open track days some now require a fire extinguisher to be fitted in the car. Best place to mount this is in front of the passenger seat. Extinguishers MUST be housed in a metal bracket, and BOLTED solidly either through the floor, or to a solidly mounted bracket (this can be made easily by simply getting an appropriate sized piece of steel which mounts between the front seat mounting bolts, which the extinguisher bracket then attaches to). For further info on mounting extinguishers and the type of extinguishers required to meet MSNZ rules read this:

http://www.motorsport.org.nz/Pdf/LiveMM34%20Book1%20App2%20Sch%20A.pdf

This is Schedule A, which, if you want to start competing in club level events, you car must meet the standards as set out in here. Dont let that scare you off though! Basically, it sounds more serious than it actually is.

Brakes:

This is most likely the main area that will show its weakness at the track.

Standard road pads will not last very long out there before they start to fade. This is because the standard pads & fluid are not made to handle the high tmperatures which your brakes will experience doing lap after lap and braking at higher than road speeds.

A good idea is to flush out your old brake fluid with some new, higher performance brake fluid – Motul RBF600 or 660 seems to do the job nicely, and can be got from your local BNT or Mag & Turbo store. Get 2 x 500ml bottles and that will be plenty to re-do the whole brake system.

Getting anew set of higher performing brake pads would also be a good idea. Something that can handle the heat, but will still be suitable for daily drive duties would be your best bet (rather than going to full race pads). Examples of these would be Mintex M1155 or or Ferodo DS2500. I am sure others can chip in with their recommendations of good all round pads as well.

Tyres:

There is no point going out and buying a set of slicks or semi slicks for your first time at the track. My advice would be stick with normal road tyres until you have explored the limits of them and then move up to a semi slick.

At least make sure your tyres are in decent condition, cos they will get quite a work out on the track.

Tyre pressures are also quite important, but to be honest I could not tell you what a good starting pressure is for a road tyre, as it has been a long time since I have driven on any! From memory, I think I used to use around 32psi cold??? Again, hopefully some other guys will chime in with what has worked for them on road tyres.

With the semi slicks I have used, the ideal hot pressure is around 30-32psi. Depending on the day and track temp, you will need to start your cold pressures at around 26-27psi, then check the pressure again once you come in after your first session. This will give you an idea of where you are at. If the pressures are way over 30, adjust them back down and that should give you a good starting point as the tyres cool between runs, and you should be good to go for the next session with the pressures coming up to where you want them.

One thing to be aware of if/when you move to stickier tyres is that Subarus tend to have a problem of running bearings when cornering at high speeds aided by sticky tyres. So, if you intend to use sticky tyres, make sure your oil is slightly over filled before each track day or if you are thinking about getting more serious, invest in a decent baffled sump.

Safety gear:

You will require a helmet for pretty much every track event these days. Again refer to MSNZ Schedule A: http://www.motorsport.org.nz/Pdf/LiveMM34%20Book1%20App2%20Sch%20A.pdf

for explanations on suitable standards for helmets.

Sometimes you will also be required to wear overalls. Don’t worry, you wont need fancy expensive 3 layer fire proof ones! Cotton overalls are considered fine for most events. You will however need to have the wrists and ankles tight fitting, so you can either wrap tape around them, or get your mum to sew some elastic banding on the insides of the cuffs

General Maintenance:

It really goes without saying that you need to make sure your car is in decent enough condition to last the hammering you will give it on the track.

Check that you actually have oil (and over fill it slightly if you are worried about the big end bearing issue).

Make sure your coolant levels are all good.

Go over the whole car and spanner check it.

Make sure your shocks are in decent condition.

Consider getting a wheel alignment that will make the car handle a bit better on the track – just don’t go too nuts, and make sure the car is still sweet to drive on the road without killing your tyres in a week cos you are running massive amounts of negative camber! Go to a reputable alignment place and I am sure they will have some suggested settings which they can dial up on your car.

Driving:

Don’t just get out there and fang it straight away. Cruise around and take note of the track and what the corners are like. Try and get behind one of the more experienced drivers and see what kind of lines they are taking. Slowly build up your pace, and go as hard (or slow) as you are comfortable with. The more laps you do, the more you will get the hang of it and things will start to click.

One of the most important things, especially if you are with a mixed group of cars, is to always hold your position. DON’T panic if you see a faster car rearing up on you in the rearview mirror – just hold your line. It can get very confusing, and end in disaster if you panic and try and move out of the way, and the car behind has already made their move to avoid where you were a split second ago!

That’s about all I can think of at the moment. I am no expert, and some may not agree with what I have written, so feel free to add other bits to it if anyone thinks I have missed anything or made mistakes.

I guess the most important thing is to get out there and have some fun – you don’t have to have the fanciest $10,000 suspension and 5000hp. A sensibly modded Subaru is a very capable car, and experience is more valuable than adding horsepower, so I would say get out to the track as often as you can.

I am still learning things, and it is always good to talk to some of the other guys at the track who have been around for a while. Most of them are happy to answer questions and offer help with things like car set-up, driving techniques etc..

A good idea is to join your local car club, you will find that a lot of members are more than willing to help the newbies and encourage participation in events.

shamelessly lifted from another forum-or-two, many thanks to its contributors and Author!

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  • 2 weeks later...
 JoKer said:

and in case it wasnt in there - please turn your turbo-timers OFF while on the track..

nothing like a car that you cant turn off in the event of an "event"

+1

mind u sidecutters to a battery cable will fix that :)

And as I may be doing the "rescue" please turn them off :)

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  • 3 weeks later...

most road tyres like 40psi cold (try it , I didnt believe it either) , also expensive gear oil saves gearboxes , also watch this space for good deals on 2 layer overalls (less than $400 , will post in for sale section when I confirm details)

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That was RE001s at the road and track series last year. I did the Port Rd street sprint two weeks ago, and drove to work today, all on the same set of tyres =]

I would recommend nitrogen fills for competing too - $5 a tyre is cheap and it's good for wear.

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i've run road tyres at 40psi for the track with good results. depends on the tyre of course but track noobs tend to be very skeptical about this advice. since their car handles well on the street they think it'll be fine on the track

unfortunately these same people sometimes go home with a ruined set of tyres :(

speaking of sidewalls, i'm used to toyo R888's for track/street (reinforced sidewalls) and tried my brothers newish toyo proxy 4's. wow! even 215/40/R17 i couldn't believe how much sway these tyres introduced into my cars handling - felt like i had loose bushes.. turn into a corner with any aggression,,, wait for it,,, oh now we're centered up again

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 DRFVDR']

[quote name='JoKer said:

and in case it wasnt in there - please turn your turbo-timers OFF while on the track..

nothing like a car that you cant turn off in the event of an "event"

/quote]

+1

mind u sidecutters to a battery cable will fix that :)

And as I may be doing the "rescue" please turn them off :)

anyone know how to turn it off on an AVS intergrated alarm system?

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 R RAYTD']

[quote name='JoKer said:

and in case it wasnt in there - please turn your turbo-timers OFF while on the track..

nothing like a car that you cant turn off in the event of an "event"

/quote]

+1

mind u sidecutters to a battery cable will fix that :)

And as I may be doing the "rescue" please turn them off :)

anyone know how to turn it off on an AVS intergrated alarm system?

It shouldnt be an issue with the AVS system as the turbo timer only works when the handbrake is on.... well on my old car with the AVS alarm & t/timer function it did, unless they have changed something these days?

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  • General Member

main aim is in the event of an incident and we need to turn the car off, it will go off, if you happen to have a major off, I doubt you will take the time to apply handbrake once motion has ceased

that has never occurred to date and is purely a precaution

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ok so here is the low down from AVs... not looking good at all :(

 AVS Car Security']

[quote name='funkytown said:

Hey there.

As you may well know, a few of us hit the track from time to time, and lots of us run the builtin turbo timers. Its considered fairly unsafe to have the turbo timer on during such an event, given if we arse off the car needs to be shut down immediately.

My question to you is, how can we turn the TT off when out at the track, i have done some "googling" and come up with nothing. Can you give me some instructions so that we can do this ourselves on the day please. I konw there are lots of other "programming functions you are able to perform, so figure this is just another one.

Any help would be awesome.

Funky

/quote]

Hey

There is only one way round this and that is to program instant turbo timer kill so that you can shut it down from your remote with one press of the button Most installers do this anyway but otherwise I can let you know how to do it :)

Brad

mine has been programmed to do this. I was more hoping to turn off the turbo timer function. and be able to "turn on" that function again after the track day.

Those of us with the AVS alarms are going to have BIG issues otherwise :(

Hey

There is no way of doing this without re wiring the alarm. The shortest run time you can program it to is 10 seconds due to the way the alarm works. As far as this being a problem, it is no different to any other turbo timer in the car and if the safety guys at the track make a fuss, tape a remote to your car with an electronic kill switch arrow pointing to the kill button.

Brad

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further info.. looks like you can get a minimum auto 10sec switch off with key removed.

 
Ours does have an off mode but this is the 10 seconds due to the way an alarm needs to operate the immobilizers. The key, as normal will need to be off to shut it down, if you make it obvious for immediate shut down to press it there should be no problem. Have you had problems with this before?
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sorry guys , speaking as a licenced msnz scrutineer your car should turn off imediately with ignition or kill switch , I am sure many of you will have been slipping through as its not commonly checked , I will look into getting mine wired through the handbrake so turbotimer only operates with handbrake on cause that seems the smartest compromise , any idea who the best guy in auckland is for avs work ?

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 tim13 said:

sorry guys , speaking as a licenced msnz scrutineer your car should turn off imediately with ignition or kill switch , I am sure many of you will have been slipping through as its not commonly checked , I will look into getting mine wired through the handbrake so turbotimer only operates with handbrake on cause that seems the smartest compromise , any idea who the best guy in auckland is for avs work ?

Interestingly my car can be turned off completely with the kill switch, yet a licensed MSNZ scrutineer wrote into my log book that I had to *remove* my turbo timer, not just turn if off when racing.

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 tim13 said:

sorry guys , speaking as a licenced msnz scrutineer your car should turn off imediately with ignition or kill switch , I am sure many of you will have been slipping through as its not commonly checked , I will look into getting mine wired through the handbrake so turbotimer only operates with handbrake on cause that seems the smartest compromise , any idea who the best guy in auckland is for avs work ?

Wouldn't a simple option just be to install a battery kill-switch somewhere in the interior? Within reach of the driver when fully belted up etc etc as the rules say. This is not necessary if your ignition performs the same function, but if you have a turbo-timer then i guess your ignition doesn't, right?.

And to keep the stewards and the scrutineer even happier you could always wire in an external kill-switch too so they can turn you off from the outside.... not necessarily a good idea on a street car though, in case a pedestrian decides to get smart with you at the lights! :D

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