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Old 11-18-2010, 12:55 AM   #1
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Default First track day? Read this...

The miata (any year) bone stock is a great car to take to the track. There are however a few items that need to be added to insure your safety and a good time. The first item is a hardtop or rollbar. Most places are going to require that you have a rollbar. You can get those from place like boss frog or hard dog. Some events only require a hardtop, this is up to you. The hardtop is not a saftey item and will not protect you in a crash.

http://www.bossfrog.biz/

http://www.bethania-garage.com/why.htm

Next is a decent helmet, most hpde groups will let you run a motorcycle helmet (m2005), an auto racing helmet is accepted everywhere (sa2005/sa2010). The nice thing about a sa rated helmet is that you can use it later if you move up to time trial or wheel to wheel racing. Make sure it is comfortable, so you might want to try it on first. If not they can be ordered from many places like...

http://www.saferacer.com/

http://www.racedaysafety.com/

The easiest way to ruin a track day is failing tech. Make sure your car is in decent condition for the track. Most org's will have their tech sheet up on their website.

http://www.pdadrivingschool.com/down...TECH_SHEET.pdf

The next easiest way to ruin a track day is to have crappy brakes or fluid. Make sure the temp rating on the fluid is higher for track duty like Motul or ATE. Make sure to do your clutch fluid while your in there.

http://949racing.com/motulrbf600.aspx

http://www.tirerack.com/brakes/acces...tail.jsp?ID=21

Brakes are also very important, there are many choices out there that will normally fit the bill. Stay away from pads that offer little benefit over something from autozone ie ebc green stuff, hawk hps, etc. Some pads like Cobalt Friction XR will work fine with rotors that have old pad material on them making it cheaper to just switch them before the track day. Some offer very little rotor where or corrosive dust and can be drivin on the street like Carbotechs XP line, though they do require fresh rotors. Don't cheap out on pads or fluid, it will bite you later.

http://thmotorsports.com/cobalt_fric...shoppingengine

http://949racing.com/carbotech-miata-brakes-94-05.aspx

Rotors might be required if yours are in bad shape or if your running something like carbotech pads. The cheapest rotor is fine for 99% of the guys going to the track. Pick them up locally from any autoparts store.

http://www.partsgeek.com/gbproducts/...ek+Google+Base

The next weakest link will be the tires you are on. There are many opinions on which is best for what. Most hpde type groups won't let new guys on the track unless you have decent tread. If you do decide to take your all seasons or low end tires out there just remember that they will probably only last 1 track day before they are toast. If you want to put a tire on that can serve dual duty street/track look for lower tread wear ratings and larger blocks of tread. Some examples of these might be Hankook RS3, Bridgestone RE-01, Kuhmo XS, Federal 595RSR, Dunlop Star Spec, Nitto NT05, etc. Try to stay away from more aggresive tires like Hoosiers, Toyo RA1, Nitto NT01 until you have a decent amount of track time under your belt, you'll know when your ready.

These items will make your track day a blast without breaking the bank. Getting on track is the next part. Go to youtube and watch videos of people running the track your going to. After picking someone to run with that has a beginners group. Make sure you bring some basic tools for rotating tires, checking psi, tightening hoses, etc. Bring lots of water, snacks, sunscreen, long sleeve cotton shirt and jeans, and good shoes. Also make sure that you run very little if no antifreeze at the track. You will ruin everyones day if you dump it out due to a blown hose on one of the corners. There are also some things to remember so that people don't hate you after your session.

full tank of gas
grab an instructor
listen to the instructor
check your mirrors
give point bys quickly
drive in your limits
no red mist
be humble, no one likes a cocky newb

Last but still very important, use the search function on this forum. Almost any question you have has been asked and answered 35 times in the last year. You could build an entire podium finishing race car without posting a single question if you read enough. 99% of you will not have anything ground breaking to offer. Make sure to update your lap times in the sticky and post youtube footage for critique.

Last edited by curly; 05-23-2011 at 06:10 AM.
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Old 11-18-2010, 12:59 AM   #2
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Sticky?
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Old 11-18-2010, 04:59 AM   #3
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Another suggestion I have is for beginners is to try and learn the flags before a track day. Though whichever track day organization you are going through will go over the flags briefly, learning them before the track day when you are not as excited and anxious about getting on track will probably stick in your head more. Make sure you pit when you are black flagged and make sure you pit when you are checkered. If you miss the pit when your group is checkered, the next group will have to wait until you make it around the track one extra time before they go out. The schedule is tight and you don't want to screw the other groups out of the time on track that they paid for.

http://www.scca-chicago.com/pdx/track_flags.html
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Old 11-18-2010, 09:03 AM   #4
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Quote:
be humble, no one likes a cocky newb
And NEVER ask to go solo with only 2 or 3 track weekends under your belt... sure you might be able to then, but there's still so much to learn from good instruction - even if you have years of track time - there's always someone better, or you'd be a pro.
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Old 11-18-2010, 12:13 PM   #5
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Sticky?
Done, but we're keeping it on topic, sorry Hustler. Good thread jacob300zx, although I'd edit the part about helmets to add that most clubs rent helmets for ~$10 a day. I'd rather have that than a bunch of newbs in their dirt bike helmets.

Everyone, let's keep it clean and on topic please.
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Old 11-18-2010, 12:22 PM   #6
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Look, Listen, and Learn... I don't care how fast you think you are. There's always someone faster. Lots of free info to be had from the veteran's, use it.

Last edited by Machismo; 11-18-2010 at 12:35 PM.
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Old 11-18-2010, 12:29 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by GeneSplicer View Post
And NEVER ask to go solo with only 2 or 3 track weekends under your belt... sure you might be able to then, but there's still so much to learn from good instruction - even if you have years of track time - there's always someone better, or you'd be a pro.
At the same time I think it's good to get a little seat time with you alone in the car since it'll handle different without 200 lbs of sweaty man in the passenger seat. I was amazed at the difference, I had to add another shift in on one of the straights at Mid Ohio once I was on my own for a session.
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Old 11-18-2010, 12:47 PM   #8
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Finding a youtube/vimeo video of the track helped me immensely to know what to expect at the track as far as layout goes. You'll still be pretty lost out there but I think it helped me get a hang for which turns were where.

Dammit someone post a good VIR Patriot video....
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Old 11-18-2010, 01:02 PM   #9
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Old 12-24-2010, 06:41 PM   #10
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My quickie advice for the first few track days, besides finding an instructor you like, worry more about learning the racing lines, proper shifting and braking points than trying to go fast! Driving the right lines smoothly is huge. If you TRY to go fast you likely won't. The old adage "slow is smooth and smooth is fast" applies completely.

Last edited by curly; 12-26-2010 at 01:14 AM.
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Old 07-17-2011, 09:05 PM   #11
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no red mist
What means this?
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Old 07-17-2011, 09:27 PM   #12
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What means this?
Road rage, losing control due to anger, etc.
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Old 07-22-2011, 01:00 PM   #13
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Default First Track Day

This is a great post with a lot of useful information. I've been coaching DE's since 2006 and agree with everything said. A couple things I would like to add:

1) Get plenty of rest the night before. Don't drink any alcohol the night before either.

2) Make sure your car is ready to go before you get to the track. It's not any fun having to work on it at the track.

3) Pace yourself on track. You're not going to break any track records, so learn your lines, brake points, turn-ins, apexs and track outs. The speed will come.

4) When giving a "point by" you need to lift off the throttle to let the car pass you. Too many times to count that a Vette or Viper gives me a point by and never lifts. My 1.6 Miata is not going to out horsepower you in the straight, but I'll be on your tail within a couple turns or in the brake zone. This also applies to the lower HP cars as well. Two Miatas going down the straight . . . one may need to lift to let the "faster driver" by.

5) Ask your instructor if they have a communicator (headphone & mic for helmet to helmet communication). Some organizations offer these for rent, but they are cheap enough to buy (less than $100) and will make your driving experience better. You will be surprised at how much wind noise there is traveling at higher speeds and the windows down. Worse case if no communicator . . . work out some basic hand signals with your instructor prior to getting on track.

6) Last and certainly not least . . . HAVE FUN ! ! ! !

I'll offer my coaching to anyone on this forum if they plan on going to Sebring Raceway (short or long course), Roebling Road (Savannah, GA) or Daytona Speedway. These are the track I do most of my coaching and the organizations I work with are Chin Motorsports, PBOC, PCA & SCCA-PDX. Just PM me if you plan on going to any of these track in Florida or south Georgia and I'll check with my schedule.

Thanks for reading!
~ Chris
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Old 04-15-2012, 09:23 PM   #14
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first track day?

bring plenty of patience and enthusiasm. few things not touched on very often. ask questions and trust your instructor that being said, you should feel comfortable asking why this line, that line? many turns have "workable" lines, playing with different lines is a good thing and helps improve track awareness, especially if something goes "wrong". people who feel you need to stay on their "line" at all times may not be as a adaptable to variable conditions.

This is not meat to take away from the importance of building consistency. if are not consistent you cant be taught to be faster need to slow down and figure how to build consistent at all costs.

if you are lucky enough to be one of the few that "get it" quickly understand a couple things.

alot is going on, some people dont pick it up as quickly. the guy who wont let you pass might not be trying to be a dick, he might just be overwhelmed. you can always pit to get away from a slow driver, try not to get upset, dealing with slower traffic is part of the deal so get used it it.

its not a contest to get signed off fast. many good instructors do ride alongs and have other instructors drive with them for fun and to get critiqued. something can always be improved. even if you are doing everything right, you can still work on something and your instructor can can be a valuable resource.

if you don't get along great with your instructor you should speak up. the event should be fun. however some of the hard *** instructors have the most to offer and will teach you the most if you do what they tell you. their job is to keep you safe and they are getting in a car with a noob on a race track. take a second to consider the potential risk they open themselves up to just to help tech you skills. they deserve respect. now if something does not seem right after a few sessions, speak up, ask your instructor to do a session with someone else, for comparison. good instructors will help arrange this for you and will not feel offended by your request. good instructors do not get asked this very often so it is not a big deal.

in 10 years I only had one student that was scary and would not listen to instruction. I had to get pretty aggressive, pull him off the track and demand he do as I say or he would be asked to leave the event early. this was for his safety and mine. after this little talk he was fine and learned alot. point is at a track like mid ohio, or any track, safety is key so if an instructor gets heated try to relax and do what they say.
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Old 01-23-2014, 12:42 AM   #15
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Randomly...

--it's not a race
--take out your floor mats so they don't bunch up under your pedals
--consider buying a seat belt tensioner to better hold you in place
--bring lots of water or drinks with electrolytes, sunscreen and a folding chair
--check your tire wear at the edges to see how much tread you're using. It could be you, or you might just want to drop some air pressure to get max tread use. Someone on the forums or at the track can give you a good baseline.
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Old 09-27-2014, 08:49 PM   #16
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Do you guys normally take out your floor mats, empty the glove box, spare tire, and jack for the track? All that crap weighs at least 50 lbs.
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Old 09-27-2014, 09:17 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Godzilla View Post
Do you guys normally take out your floor mats, empty the glove box, spare tire, and jack for the track? All that crap weighs at least 50 lbs.
I take out the floor mats for safety. I leave everything else in because I am not racing competitively and the extra weight doesn't really matter.
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Old 09-27-2014, 09:19 PM   #18
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Do you guys normally take out your floor mats, empty the glove box, spare tire, and jack for the track? All that crap weighs at least 50 lbs.
most clubs require you to remove that (on the east coast at least).
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Old 09-28-2014, 01:24 AM   #19
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Floor mats can slide forward and impede the pedal movement...not good. If anything else can break free in the cabin or trunk during hard driving, take it out.

I can feel the weight difference with all the "stuff" removed from the trunk.
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Old 01-21-2015, 07:59 PM   #20
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Floor mats can slide forward and impede the pedal movement...not good. If anything else can break free in the cabin or trunk during hard driving, take it out.

I can feel the weight difference with all the "stuff" removed from the trunk.
Wha's usually in your trunk?
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