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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The new track season is growing near so here are some hints for new track people:

First of all, I'm not an expert, but have some good advice, and I'm sure all the hardcore track junkies will ( hopefully ) ADD to this !!....

First of all....you have to have fun. It's NOT a race. Don't have that attitude......if you want to have that attitude, go buy a muscle car, and get to a drag strip.

Don't drive beyond YOUR limits...... The car handling will probably well exceed your driving skills in most cases. You will eventually get to the point where you can find the limit on these cars as your skill level gets better...but when you get there, don't push it, or your car will be on a flatbed instead of you being able to drive it home.

Remember...if you follow the rules, you minimize the chances of getting hurt or hurting your car. Be humble. If there's someone who needs to pass point them by. ( It's not a race; remember ? ) If you feel everyone is doing a lot better, request to be in a lesser run group. If you haven't been on a track in a while, start in the intermediate or beginner groups and work your way back up.

ASK Questions. Yeah, there are some macho @$$42!&$ out there, but track people for the most part will want to help you out as long as you have sensible questions.

Make sure your car is safe. Most track rules require a tech inspection, some allow you to do your own. If you are not sure what you need to do, get a qualified mechanic to do it. In addition to the tech inspection ( because it may be done before the track day ).... and at a minimum; check tire pressures and wheel torques FREQUENTLY !!! ( like after each session ! ) And of course the usual rules apply.. no cell phones ( yeah I saw a guy talking on his cell phone once ON the track-- unbelievable ) laptops or anything that can turn into a projectile in the event you come into something that is stationary ( crunch ) Nothing in the boot. ( Yep, that torque wrench weighs a lot more at 1 + lateral G's and will possibly go through the side of your clam, under someone else's tire and cause THEM to crash ) ( ok, dramatic, but you get the idea )

Do some research ( consult the Uberthread and the owners manual ) If you don't know what the wheel torque should be or track tire pressures, look it up. ( I could give them to you, but then you wouldn't do the research )

Did I mention you have to have fun ? ( OH, and it's NOT a race. )
 

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Yeah I am pretty excited about my first school. All of this info helps! I find myself on youtube more often looking at track videos. Thanks for the info
 

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Don't do a hard lift on the gas in a turn! Most common error. It will take a lot of fun out of your day. Could cost a lot as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

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Study a track map or watch an in-car video of the course that you'll be driving... once you get out on the track, learn the racing line and memorize the corners <b>before</b> trying to go fast.

Use the first lap of every session to test your brakes and get your tires up to temperature, and the last lap to cool everything down (but don't go ridiculously slow... 80% of your best speed is good).

Make sure you understand what the corner worker's flags mean (that means attending the driver's meeting for newbies).

Once you've stopped in the paddock, <b>do not</b> use your parking brake, just leave the car in gear and shut off the engine.
 

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Don't lift

Late apex until you are familiar with the track. It's slower but safer that way.

If you early apex and run out of track at exit, don't pinch in to try to stay on the track. Putting two wheels off is safer than spinning while trying to save things.

Check your ego at the door and don't be scared of letting "slower" cars pass you. At a track event last year a Ferrari with an inexperienced driver didn't want to get passed by "lesser" car and ended up in the guard rail trying to stay ahead.

Fill your tank with gas before you get there.

Don't do anything on the track or paddock that you wouldn't want done to you.

And don't lift.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the input Andy.....all great advice
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

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From a newbie: My best track experience.

Was very eager to get behind the wheel and tear it up after being so limited driving on the street. I could tell the car would be awesome at the track. Got behind the wheel and totally sucked. I mean took corners way to hot. Had no idea where to brake and set up for the next corner.

So after sliding and skidding the car around the track. Pretty much convinced that this is not going to be fun or easy! Then my instructor who tried to tame me on that first go around saw that I was not in the car the next round and asked would I want to be a passenger. Sure. He had a Cobra original. That was a blast. I ended up being a passenger for two more rounds in different cars Miata, Twin turbo Esprit. Had a blast.

Then decided to get in back behind the wheel. Completely different experience. I was paying attention as a passenger but mostly just having fun. But I subconsciously picked up a ton of how it should feel. That was the key for me. I still think if I go to a new track that I would start as being a passenger. Think it helps me visually to see where the car is supposed to be on the track. Where to brake and when to accelerate.

Thanks for reading this far and I hope this helps somebody!
 

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Also, watch your mirrors. Watch the corner station flags. If you are getting supprised by a car showing up in your mirror you are not watching your mirrors enough. knock it down a notch so you have some brain left for situational awareness. Do not drive to 100% of your ability, drive at 95%. leave that extra 5% for when you get yourself in trouble. You will need it.

If someone is on your butt let them pass. It’s not a race, even if it’s a stupid Miata. Tuck in behind and watch his line.
 

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From a newbie: My best track experience.

Was very eager to get behind the wheel and tear it up after being so limited driving on the street. I could tell the car would be awesome at the track. Got behind the wheel and totally sucked. I mean took corners way to hot. Had no idea where to brake and set up for the next corner.

So after sliding and skidding the car around the track. Pretty much convinced that this is not going to be fun or easy! Then my instructor who tried to tame me on that first go around saw that I was not in the car the next round and asked would I want to be a passenger. Sure. He had a Cobra original. That was a blast. I ended up being a passenger for two more rounds in different cars Miata, Twin turbo Esprit. Had a blast.

Then decided to get in back behind the wheel. Completely different experience. I was paying attention as a passenger but mostly just having fun. But I subconsciously picked up a ton of how it should feel. That was the key for me. I still think if I go to a new track that I would start as being a passenger. Think it helps me visually to see where the car is supposed to be on the track. Where to brake and when to accelerate.

Thanks for reading this far and I hope this helps somebody!
Something that I aways do with the new guys is take them for a few laps with me driving. I will run a few laps on the racing line then I will run a bad line in each turn so they can see what it looks like when its wrong. All of my students say it helps them out to see it both ways. Then once they take the tack for a few sessions I will drive them around again. The second session seems to sink in much more.

The new guys on track for the most part do very well. It's the group in the middle that tends to have more issues.
 

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I will run a few laps on the racing line then I will run a bad line in each turn so they can see what it looks like when its wrong.
I really, really like that. I've never done that before, but I think I might try it in the future.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Something that I aways do with the new guys is take them for a few laps with me driving. I will run a few laps on the racing line then I will run a bad line in each turn so they can see what it looks like when its wrong. All of my students say it helps them out to see it both ways. Then once they take the tack for a few sessions I will drive them around again. The second session seems to sink in much more.

The new guys on track for the most part do very well. It's the group in the middle that tends to have more issues.
Great Idea ! especially at Waterford !
 

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Have your instructor show you the proper line, don't just follow the car in front of you. With that said, keep your line of sight up, looking ahead and through turns. It is so easy to just look at what's in front of you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Yea, At waterford I will even take you for a trip over the gators to let you feel what thats like.
Ya gotta have a lotta respect fer them gators ! ( Well, Waterford in general ! --but it's my favorite track ) They've claimed more than a couple Elises !
 

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Quick hands in the slow sections, slow hands in the quick sections. High eyes, look down the track, what's right in front of you is to late to fix. Turn your mirrors out, the side of your car isn't going anywhere. Squeeze on throttle with your toes, don't stab the gas. Breathe. Don't grip the steering wheel like you were choking the mother in-law. Give the point by, it's not a race. Be ready for the point by, and if you get one and don't feel comfortable completing it within the passing zones don't take it. When you do take it don't swerve back onto the racing line, pick it up naturaly. If you want a point by and don't get one then you have to wait patiently for it. NO PASSING WITHOUT A POINT BY! If it is a real problem then pull off the track and talk to one of the organizers. Be courteous, be professional and don't get into into "it" with the other driver. If you drop a wheel don't jerk the car back onto the course, get control and ease back on. Oh and DON'T LIFT!!
 
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