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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey gang,

Pretty much I want to get into racing.

I will not race the Lotus because I cannot afford an "off". I have an Integra I will be prepping for track, as well as a CRX. CRX has an Integra swap, and the Integra has a built LS/Vtec.

What Im interested in is finding out what safety gear is REQUIRED and what is good to have. Then things such as tires, classes, instructors, roll cages, etc... I have never been on a road course and I do not count the drag strip as track. I have done quite a few karting sessions though :evil:

What I am mostly interested in is running with an instructor and/or by myself.

Thanks in advance
Alex

EDIT: I am located in Sacramento. Im near Infenion, Laguna, and the track in Reno.

EDIT2:When I said racing, I actually meant track days. Sorry for the confusion. Lots of help and its greatly appreciated.
 

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Hey gang,

Pretty much I want to get into racing.

I will not race the Lotus because I cannot afford an "off". I have an Integra I will be prepping for track, as well as a CRX. CRX has an Integra swap, and the Integra has a built LS/Vtec.

What Im interested in is finding out what safety gear is REQUIRED and what is good to have. Then things such as tires, classes, instructors, roll cages, etc... I have never been on a road course and I do not count the drag strip as track. I have done quite a few karting sessions though :evil:

What I am mostly interested in is running with an instructor and/or by myself.

Thanks in advance
Alex

EDIT: I am located in Sacramento. Im near Infenion, Laguna, and the track in Reno.
Not to insult you, but the first thing you need to do is get your competition license, so you can practice, at Laguna or wherever. I'm sure you know this, but I couldnt tell for sure when you asked about safety gear. So, license is first... to get your license, you can attend a pro school (I did) or an SCCA school. This can get expensive so plan ahead and do what you can to minimize the cost.

Good info here, including links to accredited schools > SCCA - Sports Car Club of America

The car is secondary - good drivers can drive anything well. And safety gear is a helmet, gloves, a quality suit of course, racing shoes, nomex socks at a minimum. You may need a balaklava, additional visors, undergarments. But w/o a license you won't need this stuff! :)
 

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If you search for posts by Fishguy he has been very forthcoming on his experiences moving away from the Lotus platform and into wheel to wheel racing. Also in the Safety Equipment sticky there is lots of info as well.

If you are asking about "racing" racing and not track dates I would say at the very least you would need:

proper helmet
some kind of neck restraint, Hans/R3 and other variants
rollcage
external/internal battery kill
external/internal fire suppression
window net (some use arm ties too)
FIA approved seat
5/6 point harness
fuel cell (I don't know the specific rules on this)
there's more...that's just off top of my head
obviously a license that you start off at approved schools, Skip Barber, Bondurant, SCCA, Fast Lane, etc. plenty of great choices at all price points around for this

HPDE/Track days (not racing):
the more of the above the merrier I would say, people have varying opinions based on if you track the car only and trailer or if you have to retain some streetability. I would say at the very least proper harnesses and helmet, Hans or similar, fire extinguisher, and then the list is wide open after that beyond the obvious hardware like rotors/pads/lines/tires/fluids, etc. The more dedicated you can make the car the safer it will be. Many of us that track are somewhere in between, like I don't have a cage in my car.

If I were to wheel to wheel seriously, I would do that in a kart, or get a Spec Miata. Hope you have fun! Tell us how you are doing when you get into it, it's always great info to hear first hand.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies.

Kaz, thanks for bringing this up. Mostly Track days is what I am referring to.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
is a license required for that? Or license is for "racing" racing as you stated? :)
 

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No license needed for track days.

Your post said Racing...sorry if I misunderstood. Racing is racing! A track day is not comparable. Altho I'd still strongly recommend a 1 dayer at a pro school or proxy.
 

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After you get your racing license try some arrive and drive racing. The great thing about some of the arrive and drive programs is that you can focus more on the "racing" part of the sport then the prepping of the car. Most of the arrive and drive programs will take care of all of the car's needs for the race (tire pressure, gas, sometimes track data) which is good for a first time racer. All you need to do is show up with full driving gear and your racing license and your off racing! The Jim Russell Racing School has an arrive and drive racing series at Infenion that you might want to look into. Skip Barber also has a racing series that has some races at Laguna. There are also lots of arrive and drive programs that can help you in SCCA, NASA, and other racing series. Get a few races under yourt belt before you go out and build a car. I have seen a lot of people build a car then burn out of racing after just a few races. In my opinion make sure you like and enjoy wheel to wheel racing before you build or buy a race car.
 

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No harm is getting started the right way with a race school, but it's not a requirement. I would poke around your fellow NorCal Lotus owners they can point you to a good track day program to start off on. I think the right way would be to at least get some seat time in autocross, then a race school, or at the very least lots of good seat time at Hooked on Driving or something similar.

Also there is track insurance for your car (any car) if you search on the forum you can get some different quotes. So don't feel like you can't track your Lotus.
 

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Skip Barber now has Exige S's for it's high performance driving school. If your primary interest is in track days and not w2w racing that is a great (but not cheap) way to get excellent instruction in a great car. If you just want general instruction that can apply to either HPDE or w2w racing do their 1 day introduction to racing course and decide which way you want to go from there. That course is about $700. I wouldn't spend alot of money modifying my own car until you are sure what you want to do. It's also nice to learn technique in someone elses car where your financial liability for mishaps is limited. If you have specific questions about Skip Barber feel free to pm me. Fish (and several others here) are great resources for info on owning and racing your own car. My personal opinion is that HPDE and W2W racing are 2 totally different experiences and I like them both. Enjoy!
 

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I did the Skip Barber high performance driving one-day course in December at Laguna Seca. It was ~$1300 after discounts, only seven of us with three instructors (all pro racing drivers - one of whom drove the 24hr Daytona this past weekend). We drove Exige S's, 911's, and others. Beyond getting the basics of car control, it was one heck of a fun day. Highly recommend it for whatever goal you have.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Skip Barber now has Exige S's for it's high performance driving school. If your primary interest is in track days and not w2w racing that is a great (but not cheap) way to get excellent instruction in a great car. If you just want general instruction that can apply to either HPDE or w2w racing do their 1 day introduction to racing course and decide which way you want to go from there. That course is about $700. I wouldn't spend alot of money modifying my own car until you are sure what you want to do. It's also nice to learn technique in someone elses car where your financial liability for mishaps is limited. If you have specific questions about Skip Barber feel free to pm me. Fish (and several others here) are great resources for info on owning and racing your own car. My personal opinion is that HPDE and W2W racing are 2 totally different experiences and I like them both. Enjoy!
Im not concerned about messing up the Integra or the CRX. They are both fairly fast cars, although the CRX needs the suspension to replaced with something track friendly.
 

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Well if your interested in doing track days (not racing) and never have been on track. First step would be to get your feet wet. A few local track days, to get started.

For NorCA- Sears Point has way too many walls that form the edge of the track or little run off and lots of blind turns. A blast to drive but not a good place to get started. Laguna is fun, they redid it several years ago more for the bikes that race there. Run off areas are more like sand traps. There are some walls to hit and more often then not someone will try to save a off and end up hitting the opposite wall. BTW- was there last month, the Skip Barber Schools have Exige's. Best place to start would be Thuderhill (and pretty close to Sacramento and cheaper to run then the other two). Groups for a novice would be someone like Hooked on Driving or T.E.A.M., Trackmaster is pretty good as well. They are all have instructors to work with novice drivers.

From there coaching and a school would certainly help. But early on seat time with a instructor and HPDE to get started.

Safety equipment for a novice- pretty much a good helmet and 3 point seat belt is all that is needed to get started. From there the more advance groups you get into the fire resistance gloves/ suits, 5-6 point harness, Head and Neck restraints should be added to the list with the harness. Full roll bar, in general is only required if you are wheel to wheel racing. Of course the more you have the better your chance if it comes to that.
 

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For track days, a big thing is if you have to drive the car to the track or you plan to trailer it.

If you are trailering, I'd suggest, before doing to the cars you have, looking at what race-prepped cars are out there. There's more than one good Spec Miata available that might not win a national championship, but would be great for track days (and has everything already done) for fairly low money.

Heck, there's a guy trying to sell an older Renault Alliance Cup car that's been raced recently (so recent tech, etc.) And he's asking $2,995. While that sounds like a strange car...it's not as crazy as it seems as the suspension, etc., is what's in a Spec Racer Ford (like mine) and thus there are replacement parts around and easy to source for the suspension), and Rebello here in the Bay Area can do engine rebuilds, etc.

Another choice is the Datsun 510. I've seen decent ones for that $3,000 price range...

Or you can go 'whole hog' (which is still way under 20 grand) and get a Spec Racer Ford. :) More money up front, but if you are just having fun on track days, it'll have very low running costs. And you could decide to go racing competitively if you want (we get 30-40 car fields here in the SF area).

Again, these are just thoughts. I hate to see folks re-invent the wheel. :)

Steve
 

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1. Driver's instruction
2. Start HPDE track sessions to learn
3. Equip with helmet, fire safety

go from there
 

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go hpde with NASA or some other (reputable)organization in your area.
SCCA will not allow you out, as its racing, not hpde, unless they are doing the PDX thing in your area.

get a good SA05 helmet, so when you get hooked(which you likely will), you already have your helmet for racing.

You are a smart man not using the lotus, i am glad at least a few have listened, you will be really glad when you go over your limit and go through the dirt, or into a wall, that it was done in a durable
$h!tbox of a car, and not the lotus.

also, i have always found it cheaper to buy an already built car with all the stuff needed than to build your own, keep that in mind as far as safety gear for a "built car goes"


any questions you have i will be happy to help and steer you in the right direction.
you can Pm me if you want my phone #.
fishguy
 

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Instructor Seat time

After teaching several high speed lapping days & beginner track driving classes, I have learned that track driving really isn't for everyone. That is not to discourage you, but just to warn you not to jump in too deep before you ever get on a track.

If you're just starting out buy only one thing: A properly sized helmet with a SA2005 rating. Make sure that the helmet is not an "M" class helmet as this is meant for motorcycles and most tracks/clubs will not allow them worn inside a car. Also, do not buy your first helmet online. Yes, online might be less - but a proper sized helmet is way more important than a cheap helmet.

Next thing is to go to either a HPDE track day or a local car club track day which offers beginner classes with an on course instructor. Be sure to ask the organizers if you will be getting both. If not - don't bother going no matter the price or how many cars will be there.

I highly recommend that you DO NOT go to a multi-day (3+ day) high priced driving school for your first time on a track. This is like playing 36 holes of straight golf your first time ever playing golf. You will be over-loaded and too tired after your second lunch hour.

I disagree with Fishguy on the next point:
When you go to the track for the first time, take the Lotus. Really. The car is easier to learn high speed driving in then your Honda AND you will not push it too hard if you're scared of an off. The goal of your first day should not be speed but smoothness and learning what the brake, turn-in, apex, and track out points are.

Go slow, focus on being smooth & learning the track, and drive at your own pace. You'll end up loving it.

Enjoy,
 

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I always recommend my friends and others interested in driving on the track to first take a real racing/driving school that allows you to build a solid foundation of fundamentals and techniques... I may be biased (since I work for the company and started my racing career there) but I highly recommend ANY Skip Barber program. This will make you have a solid idea of what to do when you do take your car out on track.

Then go with some pro coaching by yours truly at the local track events like HOD, Speedventures, TEAM, etc... :D

You should come join us for the GGLC Winter Karting Series in Feb: http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f203/norcal-gglc-winter-karting-series-66800/
 

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Im not concerned about messing up the Integra or the CRX. They are both fairly fast cars, although the CRX needs the suspension to replaced with something track friendly.
I think alot of us here have grappled w/ this fact: a dual-purpose track and street car will always be a compromise. It wil always be inferior to a real race car on the track and more difficult to live w/ than a normal car on the street. Think about this before you spend alot of money modifying. Take a driving school and do some HPDE's before you spend any $$ modifying any of your street cars. It's pretty easy to spend $10 K+ modifying a street car. $10 K will buy you alot of seat time in someone elses race-prepped car and professional instruction. Fact is is, there is no cheap way to race, just ways that are less expensive than others.
 

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As many have said, Skip Barber has a great 3-day school at Laguna Seca (I did my 3-day there in 1997). It's not cheap, but the instructors are generally very good, and you'll learn a lot. You'll also learn a lot about how willing you are to push your personal limits... safely...
 

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If you live within a 100 miles of the track, get AAA premium and skip the whole trailer idea. AAA will tow you up to 100 miles for free with the premium pack and its only 85 bucks a year.

Get a good helmet, then sign up for HPDE with NASA or whomever you can and give it a try.

Keep it easy till you get out there and get a chance to try it.

Have fun and be safe,
Adam
 
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