Performance Tuning | One Part of Your Track Prep
So, you’ve spent a fair amount on performance tuning for your car, and finally your pride and joy is ready to show you what it’s made of on a track. All you have are hazy visions of finally putting pedal to metal (after all, it’s a bucket list item you’ve never been able to tick off until now!), free of limits, knowing that your car has the performance and modifications necessary to leave bystanders whistling their approval.
The question is, are you really ready for the race track?
The fact is your car isn’t going to drive itself. It will require a driver that is prepared and knowledgeable of the precautions necessary to make a track day exhilarating and safe, without the kind of ending that a Koenigsegg One:1 driver recently endured.
Worry not, because we’ve put together a checklist for track-day first-timers.
If You Can’t Stop Properly, You Can’t Go
At the high speeds attainable on a track, it’s a non-negotiable that your brakes should be working perfectly. In the majority of cases, the brake fluid that comes as standard on your car won’t be suitable for use on a track, making it vital to substitute the standard fluid for high performance fluid, which will have a higher boiling point of around 600 degrees. It just makes sense, if you’re planning to increase your car’s performance, to concurrently upgrade the braking system – the faster you can go, the more pressure your braking system will be under, which is why a Porsche 911 Turbo comes standard with huge, 380mm-diameter discs!
Get Your Tires On Track
Of course, your tire pressures should be adjusted for track conditions. The correct pressure will differ from car to car, so be sure to chat to your mechanic or someone in the know about what will work best for your car. Oh, and are your tires worn? Don’t even think about using them on track until they’re replaced.
Give Your Insurer a Call
Only a few insurers will automatically cover you for track day exploits, but most won’t. By calling ahead, and likely paying a small, additional premium for the day, you’ll give yourself just that extra bit of peace of mind to really relish the experience.
What About You?
While any type of clothing is fine, don’t underrate the importance of being comfortable for conditions that can be mighty taxing on your body. Shoes are particularly important, and if you don’t have dedicated driving shoes, make sure that your footwear is comfortably light to aid rapid operation – and good feel – of the pedals.
Staying hydrated will always count in your favor, and if you have a choice of race tracks, selecting one that is closer to home means you can save your energy for where it’s really going to count: on the track itself.
You’ll need a helmet, and most track day companies will hire one out to you. Rules (and there are a number of them) are in place for your own safety, so long before arriving, make sure you familiarize yourself with the dos and don’ts for your specific track location. A final piece of advice: driving on the road is nothing like driving on a track, with aspects such as your braking technique and hand position on the steering wheel significantly altered from what they’d ordinarily be.
With just a few precautions, you can help to make sure that your first track day is an experience to remember, and your sore arms (when it’s all done) will be the only price you’ll need to pay!