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I'm just messing. :)

I recently purchase an Elise and wanted to take it to the track but have absolutely no idea what to do? I've been searching around the forum and found some info here and there but can't seem to piece it all together.

* Should I take a class first before taking it to the track?
* Do I need to purchase tires for it?
* I read some where that an oil change or something is needed to prepare the car?
* Are there any good tracks around SoCal?
* What's the cost of taking the car to the track?
* Do I need to purchase a helmet?
* Are there any critical things I should be aware of so I don't kill myself?

Sorry for being such a newb on tracking the car and thanks for the help.

:shift:
 

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I don't think so...

Can a Lotus get you laid?

No, but it can probably get you killed if you're not careful! :eek:

Do a search in the Track sections for info on prepping a car and recommendations on safety equipment (fishguy is the safety guru here ;)), courses and other important stuff.

Single piece of advice: DON'T LIFT!!, at least not until you know what to expect.

Helmet? Absolutely, at any level of track, performance or Auto X driving.

Welcome and enjoy.

Regards,
Wayne
 

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* Should I take a class first before taking it to the track?

No, simply go to an event that has a beginner's group. They will have instructors there for you.


* Do I need to purchase tires for it?

Only if yours are in bad shape.


* I read some where that an oil change or something is needed to prepare the car?

In an ideal world, I would change my oil both before and after a track event. You (or a mechanic) will need to go over your car before an event. You will probably have a tech form to fill out showing that all the vital systems have been checked.


* Are there any good tracks around SoCal?

I'll let the SC folks answer that one.


* What's the cost of taking the car to the track?

It varies widely. I've paid $600 for a 2-day, timed event with the local Viper Club....or about $200 for a one-day event.



* Do I need to purchase a helmet?

I would. A few tracks have loaners, but who wants to put their head in a smelly, sweaty helmet someone else has been using? Plus, if you buy your own, you can get one that fits perfectly.



* Are there any critical things I should be aware of so I don't kill myself?

Like they said, never lift. Also, if you go to a track where there are things you can hit.....walls, Armco, trees, fences etc, I would highly consider a HANS device.
 

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I'm just messing. :)

I recently purchase an Elise and wanted to take it to the track but have absolutely no idea what to do? I've been searching around the forum and found some info here and there but can't seem to piece it all together.

* Should I take a class first before taking it to the track?
No, you do not need to take a class. Dealers often sponsor track days at local tracks. Check the SCCA and/or NASA (not the space agency:no:) sites for upcoming track days. Look for an HPDE (high performance drivers education) event and you will be sponsored by SCCA and NASA. You will be paired with an instructor at the event.
* Do I need to purchase tires for it?
NO!!!-eek- Big time no. The stock Neova's are more than enough for your first time at the track. Stickier tires will just give you a false sense of security and make you go faster in the corners than you should be given your current skill level. No offense.
* I read some where that an oil change or something is needed to prepare the car?
No, you do not need to change the oil. Hardcore track rats might say you do, but you are not going to be racing that hard your first time. You might also read that you need to change to high temp brake fluid (DOT4). Again, your first time out you will not be driving the car so hard. You will have plenty of breaks between sessions to let the brakes cool.
* Are there any good tracks around SoCal?
Can't help you with that one. I live in GA, but I'm sure there are.
* What's the cost of taking the car to the track?
Depends. $200-400.
* Do I need to purchase a helmet?
No, they generally have loaner helmets. Depends on the club. Check before you go. A helmet is a good investment. $200-300.
* Are there any critical things I should be aware of so I don't kill myself?
Know you limitations. That car is very fast. You are probably not. At least not yet. My first time at the track I took out my brand new 600+hp be vette and slammed on the gas, spun into the infield and nearly flipped. Just because you are on a race track, does not mean you are a race car driver.

Sorry for being such a newb on tracking the car and thanks for the help.

:shift:
I recommend starting out doing autocross. It is MUCH cheaper and infinitely safer. In my opinion, it is also more fun. Unless you bought the car solely for racing, on a track you will always be nervous about wrecking. At least I am. Let face it, race cars get wrecked. You do not have to fear that in autocross.

After one or two autocross events you will also have a MUCH better feel for the cars handling and will be more comfortable on a track.

Here is a link to the SCCA autocross page.
SCCA - Sports Car Club of America

Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.
 

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So, I haven't tracked my car yet, but I've prepared it for a track day soon, and I'll tell you what I've done. Hopefully the experienced members on this forum will tell me if I missed something. I'll go point by point.

* I am going with a driving club, T.E.A.M. Racing. I signed up as a newbie, and they will provide an instructor. I'm also going to participate in track days with Hooked On Driving, who also provide instructors for newbies.

* I think the tires the Elise comes with are fine for a newbie's track day. My Advan A048's had plenty of tread, but they had really crappy traction, so I replaced them with Toyo R888. It's your call though. You can use any tires that are in good shape. If you look at the websites I linked above, the organizers explain what condition your car must be in.
* I'm preparing my car according to this checklist. After the track day, I will change the oil.

* Sorry, no clue about SoCal tracks

* The two clubs I listed above charge approximately $300 for a day with an instructor included in the price. Track time is somewhere around two and a half hours for the beginner groups.

* You absolutely need a helmet. Different clubs and tracks make their own suggestions, but they all require Snell certification. Get a Snell 2005 certified helmet. Snell 2010's are coming out in a year, but these tracks and clubs let you have a helmet that's one spec revision older.

* I'll let you know, I haven't been to the track yet. I'm counting the days until I go :D

I'm just messing. :)

I recently purchase an Elise and wanted to take it to the track but have absolutely no idea what to do? I've been searching around the forum and found some info here and there but can't seem to piece it all together.

* Should I take a class first before taking it to the track?
* Do I need to purchase tires for it?
* I read some where that an oil change or something is needed to prepare the car?
* Are there any good tracks around SoCal?
* What's the cost of taking the car to the track?
* Do I need to purchase a helmet?
* Are there any critical things I should be aware of so I don't kill myself?

Sorry for being such a newb on tracking the car and thanks for the help.

:shift:
 

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Tracks in Socal:

1. Streets of Willow - good beginning track for the Lotus....technical and tight.
2. Big Willow - "fastest track in the west" ... need cajones to run good times on this track - it's fast!
3. Auto club speedway with ROVAL - super fun track combining a tight interior with the oval bank that Nascar runs...on the oval you can push up to 130+ in your Lotus.
4. Buttonwillow - overall great track, both technical and fast...with a variety of configurations.

As far as cost on track, once you track regularly, you will burn through tires in a matter of a few track days. Most of us, for example, run toyo r888's on track which you can burn through in 2 to 3 days - cost of r888's are around 800 a set .... ugh!
 

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If you're looking for ways and places to save money, I don't think a helmet is the place to start......unless you don't use your head for much of anything.
 

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If you're looking for ways and places to save money, I don't think a helmet is the place to start......unless you don't use your head for much of anything.
A while back when shopping for motorcycle helmets I saw a quote that said if you have a $10 head get a $10 helmet. It was perhaps the most effective quick advertising sales message to me ever. I bought a $5 helmet. rotfl
No just kidding, I spent a ridiculous amount on the best Shoei helmet on the market at the time, an X-11. Fortunately I havn't had to test out it's noggin protecting capabilities, but it is much more comfortable, lighter, quieter, better ventilated, nicer features (removable washable liner, toolless visor changes, etc) than a couple of the el cheapo HPC and AGV helmets I had before it. Worth it at twice the price.
 

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* Should I take a class first before taking it to the track?
* Do I need to purchase a helmet?
* Are there any critical things I should be aware of so I don't kill myself?
My opinion is in sharp contrast to many of the previous replies.

First, while it is possible to go to a track day and have no experience, the level of instruction can vary from event to event. In any endeavor having knowledge of what to expect and what to do is always a good thing. If you are going to put your car, your life, and everyone else's (who are on the track with you) cars and lives at risk, any instruction you can get prior to going on the track is worth every penny. I highly recommend at minimum a high performance driving school and even better a 2 day racing school.

Advice previously given and agreed with multiple times to Not Lift is misleading. Lifting in a turn can induce oversteer and cause a spin, especially in an Elise/Exige. But lifting in an understeer situation is the proper correction, as it is in a situation where you obviously need to slow the vehicle. This goes to the reason why you should get instruction, whether it is before or during your first track experience. You need to learn the dynamics of car control or you will get yourself in trouble.

Of course you need a helmet. You can not go on the track without one. As to buying one, they are expensive. If you plan to track a car on a regular basis, then buy one. If you take a formal school they will have a loaner. Most track days will not supply them. If you have a friend of the same head size you can borrow it.

Also you should change the name of the thread. I'm sure you would get a lot of good advice if the thread was properly named.
 

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The biggest thing you need to do before heading to the track is make sure you are financially prepared. There is a saying regarding cars taken to the track, "There are those that have been wrecked and those that are going to be wrecked". Don't take it to the track unless you are financially prepared to push it off a cliff and walk away. You insurance company will most likely not cover it if you put it into a wall or worse yet, somebody else puts you into a wall. Some have even had their insurance dropped for asking their carrier if they cover the car on the track. The other option is to purchase track day insurance. Do some searches on this and you will find some options. Don't be ignorant and think I won't be pushing that hard so I won't wreck. The last laid back track day event I did in the Elise, 4 yes 4 cars blew their engines on the track at different times. If the guy in front of you blows and engine, busts a coolant hose, etc, etc. in a corner you are going to go for an uncontrolled ride. Cross your fingers it is a large grass runoff area in front of you, but what if it is an armco or worse yet, a concrete wall.

Next thing to do is the minimal safety gear. You need more than just a Snell certified helmet, it has to be a Snell SA helmet preferably 2005. A Snell certified motorcycle helmet is not acceptable at some events. SA helmets are "special application" i.e. racing helmets and are designed to take impacts with objects typically found in race cars like roll bars. I would recommend a full face helmet, especially if you are going to run with the top off. Some prefer open face, especially for autocross as they can be a bit more comfortable, but they don't protect you eyes from debris.

The next thing to consider is restraints. Many track day companies will allow you to run with the stock 3 point harness. Doesn't mean it is a good idea, but it comes down to your personal level of acceptable risk. Personally I wouldn't run anything less than a 6 point harness, but I'm self employed so I tend to error on the safe side. Don't be ignorant and ignore the issue. Research the facts, the costs of the equipment, and the costs of the consequences and make a good informed decision on what is acceptable to you.

Head and neck (H&N) restraints are another very good idea. If you decided not to go with a harness, you are extremely limited but there is at least one option. The R3 device is designed to work independently of a harness system. This is the device that I own, although I chose it for its comfort level when I was looking at safe and effective H&N restraints. If you decide to go with a harness, there are many options such as Hans, Defender, etc. Do some research and better yet, find a local dealer and drive the car over there with your helmet and try them on the car. You will find some fit better than others with stock seats. I don't think the Hans will work at all with stock seats so do some searching on here for options.

Fire resistant suit, gloves, socks, and shoes and very uncommon at a track day event. Being production cars, they are much less likely to go up in flames compared to a race car due to mechanical issues other than a wreck, however it has happened. Again it comes down to personal level of acceptable risk. At a minimum, wear 100% cotton long sleeve/long pants clothing. Synthetics are called shrink wrap in a fire and you do not want any part of that. I would buy a pair of racing shoes as an entry level pair just isn't that much money and you need to get driving shoes anyway. I would also throw in a pair of CarbonX or similar socks as most socks are going to be synthetic. Personally I wear a firesuit, but I also own a formula car so I have to wear it anyway.

There are many threads on the technical aspects of prepping the car so I won't get into that. Just do lots of reading and go over the car with a fine tooth comb, primarily suspension fasteners, brakes, and fluids.
 

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My opinion is in sharp contrast to many of the previous replies.

First, while it is possible to go to a track day and have no experience, the level of instruction can vary from event to event. In any endeavor having knowledge of what to expect and what to do is always a good thing. If you are going to put your car, your life, and everyone else's (who are on the track with you) cars and lives at risk, any instruction you can get prior to going on the track is worth every penny. I highly recommend at minimum a high performance driving school and even better a 2 day racing school.
It doesn't necessarily have to be a professional level school, but I probably wouldn't do a club track day as my first one. I would lean towards a company run track day as they tend to be more picky on who they use as instructors since it is a direct reflection of their business. You can still get very good instruction at a club day event, but you are more likely to get a mediocre instructor compared to a company run track day. Make sure you let them know you are a first time student when you arrive so they pair you with a good instructor. Also, see if you can go out as a passenger with your instructor during his run session. It is a fantastic learning tool.
 

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If you have some cash and want to have a lot of fun and learn how to drive on the track, attend the 2 day Lotus Driving School outside of Vegas. You get full time instruction, lots of track time and you use their cars. :coolnana::coolnana:
 

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One of the big advantages to a racing school as opposed to just getting instruction at a DE event is a basic course on vehicle dynamics: i.e. contact patches, friction circles, weight transfer, understeer, oversteer, etc.

There are good books on the subject too (i.e. "Going Faster"), but most people would really benefit from a classroom session or two...
 
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