Track Day Readiness - How to Prepare?

Track Day Readiness - How to Prepare?

Seems like every Spring my buddies get amp’d up to put the finishing touches on their winter track builds, engine-refreshes, suspension revisions, or track-special purchases and the topic always comes up … I’ve got track-days next weekend, how should I prepare for the track.

Every situation is going to be different - different track styles (1/8mi, 1/4mi drag, 1/2mile full mile airport event, local NASA / SCCA, Drift, Time Attack, Spec Series, etc.), each is going to a given distance away from your shop, and each will likely have different durations and time constraints.  

One common factor will be that you need to be prepared and each situation will require a different level of committement.  By no means am I an expert or this is an all-inclusive list but things to consider for your next event.

Flush & bleed brakes, clutch line/cylinders, and power steering system - goes without saying that the ability to accelerate, decelerate, and steer your vehicle should be top priority.

Flush the coolant system (if it hasnt been done recently), ensure it’s purged of air bubbles, your overflow tank, and associated hoses are in top-shape.

Check brake pads - for how inexpensive pads are and how important they are it’s a no-brainer to switch them out prior to the track.  

Wise to swap out transmission fluid, differential fluids, engine oil, and filters - cheap insurance and youre going to have to do it anyways.   

Inspect your tires for abnormalties and tread depth.  Also ensure they are properly inflated to your desired pressure.  Understanding that heated tires will increase air pressure.  It’s wise to check tire pressure as soon as you get off the track.  (If you havent invested in a 12volt air compressor now would be a great time).

Also a smart idea to take a torque wrence and wheel sockets.  Ensure lugs are torqued to spec at the shop, when you arrive at the track, and after each session.  

I also like to take wheel locks off the car for events and use all lugs.  I’ve heard that wheel locks arent the best at snugging the wheel to the hub but ultimately the key socket is one more thing to forget at home and one more thing to worry about if you have to take a wheel off.  I dont think anyone will be stealing your wheels at the event.   

Wise to take anything and everything out of the car that is non-essential.  Most tracks will not let you run with stuff in the trunk, behind the seats, in the glove box / center console, attached to the windsheild.   It’s a safety issues (no one wants to clean up all your stuff when you roll the car) and also a performance inhibitor(to an extent).  

Wise to clean your windows / windsheild / rear glass (inside & out) before and at the track - simple water or windex and paper towels work every time.  

Guys with nicer cars / nicer paint will use blue-painters tape to tape-up their front bumper.  There is suprisingly alot of debris at the track - 15minutes of prep can save your paint.  

Smart to take a piece of heat reflective duct-tape and tape over your adhesive-applied wheel balancing weights.  An abnormal amount of heat will be generated and soaked into the wheels to the effect that wheel weights will melt off, detach, and your wheels will be off balance.  

If you are planning on driving to the event in the race-car ensure you fill up and/or have enough fuel for your event and/or take a fuel-jug.

Feel free to comment on your track-day prep rituals -