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      08-24-2012, 02:47 PM   #1
Jonjt
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Preparing for my first track day!

Let me preface this by saying that though this is a 1 series forum, I drive a 3 series. I'm not looking for tips that are specific to my car.

Anyway, I'm going to my first track day in 2 weeks and, I'd like to get a list of tasks to complete before I go. I've compiled a list myself but, I'd like to see what the collective experience of 1addicts.com can add.
  • Check Tire Pressure
  • Check Oil Level
  • Check Coolant Level
  • Check Transmission Fluid

Any other general tips related to car prep?

Do you have any suggestions dealing with etiquette for my first day? I was involved with FSAE during my school years but, I've never been to a track day with a street car so, I'm not exactly sure what to expect.

Thanks guys!
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      08-24-2012, 03:05 PM   #2
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Just check your tire pressures cold and hot, monitor after every session, and make sure your wheels are torqued to spec, 92 lbs is good. Other than that they say if you have a perfectly functioning car you should be fine.
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      08-24-2012, 03:10 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonjt View Post
Any other general tips related to car prep?
Nope, you're good.

Quote:
Do you have any suggestions dealing with etiquette for my first day?
Yes, absolutely: Have fun!
Really, that's it.

You don't say what organization your track day is with. If you can, get an instructor to ride with you. Instructors are absolutely invaluable and will make your experience much more informative and exciting.

Don't worry about times, speeds, passing etc. just enjoy yourself and soak up the information you get and the excitement of driving at those speeds. You'll have a blast.

Do check your mirrors and give point-by's in accordance to the event rules. But then again, don't stress/freak out if you don't see a car right away or "hold up" a fellow student for a turn or two.

Oh, and don't be afraid to admit when you're tired/exhausted and take it easy. The worst things happen on the last session of the day/weekend when drivers are more tired than they care to admit. Don't be that guy.

Otherwise, as said - have fun!

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      08-24-2012, 03:16 PM   #4
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The best bang-for-the-buck mod is investing in the driver. Good choice!

Have fun!
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      08-24-2012, 06:36 PM   #5
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check your brake pads and fluid before anything else or have it checked by a mechanic. when you're all buckled up sitting on the grid waiting for the flag to drop, just relax, start slow and don't over drive the car. listen to your instructor, learn the lines and just have fun. afterwards you'll get hooked and spend a whole bunch of money on your now new best hobby
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      08-25-2012, 11:55 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonjt View Post
Any other general tips related to car prep?
Switching to racing brake fluid is a good idea, for the extra safety margin. I use Motul RBF600. Also, I've noticed with my car a tendency towards extreme shoulder wear on the front tires with the factory alignment, so increasing negative camber on the front is worth considering if you intend to track regularly. I use camber plates along with the M3 tension rods/wishbones.
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      08-25-2012, 12:22 PM   #7
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LISTEN - to your instructors... a lot of men don't take to their driving being criticked.
DRINK - plenty of fluids... its easy to get dehydrated.
BREATHE - this might seem funny but lots of people hold their breath while cornering... after so many laps they can get light headed. Breath on the straights.


Also... bring some motion sickness pills, some people get ill while driving or going for a lap or two with an instructor driving.
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      08-26-2012, 06:13 AM   #8
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Most clubs require new brake fluid within the last year and at least 50% remaining brake pad.
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      08-27-2012, 07:01 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sauce View Post
Just check your tire pressures cold and hot, monitor after every session, and make sure your wheels are torqued to spec, 92 lbs is good. Other than that they say if you have a perfectly functioning car you should be fine.
Great. Thanks for the advice!
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      08-27-2012, 07:03 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by int2str View Post
Nope, you're good.



Yes, absolutely: Have fun!
Really, that's it.

You don't say what organization your track day is with. If you can, get an instructor to ride with you. Instructors are absolutely invaluable and will make your experience much more informative and exciting.

Don't worry about times, speeds, passing etc. just enjoy yourself and soak up the information you get and the excitement of driving at those speeds. You'll have a blast.

Do check your mirrors and give point-by's in accordance to the event rules. But then again, don't stress/freak out if you don't see a car right away or "hold up" a fellow student for a turn or two.

Oh, and don't be afraid to admit when you're tired/exhausted and take it easy. The worst things happen on the last session of the day/weekend when drivers are more tired than they care to admit. Don't be that guy.

Otherwise, as said - have fun!

I'll be driving at Grattan speedway in Michigan, in an event organized by 3balls racing. I'm not sure if instructors will be available but, I certainly would be willing to drive one. That's a great suggestions.

How are point-by's performed?

Thanks for the tips!
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      08-27-2012, 07:03 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Dan@UnitedBMW View Post
The best bang-for-the-buck mod is investing in the driver. Good choice!

Have fun!
Will do, thanks!
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      08-27-2012, 07:05 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pixelblue View Post
check your brake pads and fluid before anything else or have it checked by a mechanic. when you're all buckled up sitting on the grid waiting for the flag to drop, just relax, start slow and don't over drive the car. listen to your instructor, learn the lines and just have fun. afterwards you'll get hooked and spend a whole bunch of money on your now new best hobby
Ahhh, yes. Brakes. I don't know why I forgot those. I'll have a mechanic check pad thickness and just make sure everything is mechanically good. Thanks!
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      08-27-2012, 07:10 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IS+1 View Post
Switching to racing brake fluid is a good idea, for the extra safety margin. I use Motul RBF600. Also, I've noticed with my car a tendency towards extreme shoulder wear on the front tires with the factory alignment, so increasing negative camber on the front is worth considering if you intend to track regularly. I use camber plates along with the M3 tension rods/wishbones.
I've been thinking about installing coilovers with camber plates eventually. I will definitely look into increased negative camber. Any settings you would recommend?


Have you experienced any brake fade with stock fluid? Just curious. I will do an oil change and a fluid flush before I go to the races.
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      08-27-2012, 07:12 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dackelone View Post
LISTEN - to your instructors... a lot of men don't take to their driving being criticked.
DRINK - plenty of fluids... its easy to get dehydrated.
BREATHE - this might seem funny but lots of people hold their breath while cornering... after so many laps they can get light headed. Breath on the straights.


Also... bring some motion sickness pills, some people get ill while driving or going for a lap or two with an instructor driving.
Great advice. Thanks!
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      08-27-2012, 10:26 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonjt View Post
I've been thinking about installing coilovers with camber plates eventually. I will definitely look into increased negative camber. Any settings you would recommend?


Have you experienced any brake fade with stock fluid? Just curious. I will do an oil change and a fluid flush before I go to the races.
The most negative camber I am able to get on the front with the M3 wishbones/tension rods and the Dinan camber plates is -1.8 degrees. Ideally even more would be better, but my car is also a daily driver so I
didn't want to go with anything more aggressive than the Dinans. I'm sure there are guys here running upwards of -2.5 degrees.

I'm also running 0 toe in the front (the factory spec is slightly toe-in; toe-out will give better handling but I was told it will also make the steering more sensitive/track less straight in daily driving).

I actually ran two full track days with my stock brake fluid last year and had no fade at all, however this year I switched to racing brake fluid as an added safety precaution.

One more helpful hint: It's very easy to get carried away out there, so remember these two words which one of the instructors at the club I do lapping with tells us to always keep in mind whenever we're out on the track: "GOOD JUDGEMENT"!!!

Have fun and stay safe!
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      08-27-2012, 11:44 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pixelblue View Post
check your brake pads and fluid before anything else or have it checked by a mechanic.
This is overlooked by so many. At an autocross, this won't be as critical, but at any road course, this can turn a fun day into a crappy one really quickly.

Have fun, and let us know how it went if you don't mind.
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      08-27-2012, 12:33 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonjt View Post
Let me preface this by saying that though this is a 1 series forum, I drive a 3 series. I'm not looking for tips that are specific to my car.

Anyway, I'm going to my first track day in 2 weeks and, I'd like to get a list of tasks to complete before I go. I've compiled a list myself but, I'd like to see what the collective experience of 1addicts.com can add.
  • Check Tire Pressure
  • Check Oil Level
  • Check Coolant Level
  • Check Transmission Fluid

Any other general tips related to car prep?

Do you have any suggestions dealing with etiquette for my first day? I was involved with FSAE during my school years but, I've never been to a track day with a street car so, I'm not exactly sure what to expect.

Thanks guys!

The group you are doing the track day should have furnished a tech inspection sheet. If it's the first track day you're doing and are unfamiliar with some of the inspections, take it to a local garage and have them look your car over. They'll make sure there is no obvious damage that could become an issue on the track.

The one thing they don't mention is that you should wash your car and make it pretty. A lot of times photographers come out, and you'll want your car in it's Sunday best!
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      08-27-2012, 01:54 PM   #18
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Quote:
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The one thing they don't mention is that you should wash your car and make it pretty. A lot of times photographers come out, and you'll want your car in it's Sunday best!
like your mama said "always wear clean underwear"
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      08-27-2012, 03:29 PM   #19
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The one thing they don't mention is that you should wash your car and make it pretty. A lot of times photographers come out, and you'll want your car in it's Sunday best!
This probably doesn't need to be said, but I'll say it anyways.
One thing you don't want to make pretty is your tires - don't put any type of tire dressing on them because if that stuff gets anywhere near your tread, your grip will be compromised.
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      08-27-2012, 08:22 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonjt View Post
I've been thinking about installing coilovers with camber plates eventually. I will definitely look into increased negative camber. Any settings you would recommend?


Have you experienced any brake fade with stock fluid? Just curious. I will do an oil change and a fluid flush before I go to the races.
You will boil the stock fluid at Grattan. You will likely hit 130 MPH in the front straight and will need to brake to about 50 I recommend Castrol SRF which lasts the entire season. I changed my oil after my two-day event at Grattan. I recommend this as well.

There isn't much shade at Grattan. We brought a tent, chairs, and a cooler. Be safe. There are 5 blind turns and do not lift off too early when letting somebody pass on the front straight. Complete your turn and then let them by! An M3 lost it there, flew in the air, and nailed a portapotty.. something to keep in mind.

Here's a video of me at Grattan (my first event ever):


Finally, I had such a blast at Grattan and you will too. Have fun!
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      09-10-2012, 05:06 PM   #21
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Thanks for all the tips, guys. Took the car to Grattan yesterday and had a great time! I had the fluid flushed for DOT4 the Friday before and, experienced absolutely no fade, even after braking from around ~133 on the front straight through 5 sessions!

I'm now addicted. I may well not modify my 335i and pick up an e36 or and e46 M3 and build myself a track car.
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      09-14-2012, 11:39 AM   #22
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e46 m3 is very nice to be a track car! I was driving it to track with just upgraded shorter final drive and the car is flying already!! If you are thinking e46 m3, 4.1 final drive is a must!

for going to the track, check your brake fluid and pad, make sure if you have enough. also check your engine oil level, other than that, just keep your eye on the water and oil temp and you will be fine.
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