The Mustang Forum for Track & Racing Enthusiasts

Taking your Mustang to an open track/HPDE event for the first time? Do you race competitively? This forum is for you! Log in to remove most ads.

  • Welcome to the Ford Mustang forum built for owners of the Mustang GT350, BOSS 302, GT500, and all other S550, S197, SN95, Fox Body and older Mustangs set up for open track days, road racing, and/or autocross. Join our forum, interact with others, share your build, and help us strengthen this community!

1st time at the track

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.

Any recommendations for a 1st time tracker ? Not looking to break records but would like to push it when I feel comfortable

I'll be needing a helmet and some protection for bumber/lights etc apologies for being a track noob but I have 2 tracks very close to me and im ready to run
checklists would be good and I dont need the best of the best out there for the 1st few times

Thanks !!

#1 Go with a club that has good instructors
#2 See #1

Sunscreen, hat, water, shade, jack, basic tools (ratchets), tire gauge (keep stock tires to 41 hot max), torque wrench (I do lugs every couple sessions, wait until they are cool, don't use your parking brake after coming off the track, use a chock or put it in 1st if it is level... I'm sure there is more. Dot 4 brake fluid.

If you follow #1 and #2, you will probably be surrounded by good people who will be able to help you out. I have never been unable to borrow a tool I needed at the track, but best to not be a mooch. Just have fun, talk to people and ask about their cars if you like them, and know the flags and passing rules. Remember that you are not racing, so if someone pulls a dick move on you just let it go. When you get good, you can do the same to them later ;D

What tracks? Someone might have particular advice like what to avoid at the lunch counter
Moved this here for better advise from the guys that have been tracking. Everyone has to start somewhere and many of us started recently in the Boss so feel free to ask away. There is also a lot of good general info in this section on how to get ready for you first time out.
You guys are just cool period !!!

I plan to goto Atco Raceway and Englishtown in New Jersey. Im starting to get my stuff together like a set tools and #1 like you said I plan to get courses in first
Anyone can do burnouts and powershift but i want to learn how to drive on a track. and i have THE perfect tool to do it with.

I learned a great deal from this site but need to step out the front door :) I may even change the oil myself and punch a hole in my man card haha
I am not sure if drag racing rules are different then road course but I got my SA2010 helmet from Discovery parts in GA. Check out the site for some of you needs, they are very helpful and will spend time on the phone getting the correct things you need.
DOT 4 brake fluid and brake cooling ducts at a minimum. For your safety and the others on the track with you. ;D. After that it's a cash black hole. Have fun out there.
LP Heaven said:
Anyone can do burnouts and powershift...

Not cool! That's your opinion, not eveyone's, thank goodness. We all do with our Boss's what excites us, and competing on the drag strip is not as simple as you make it out to be. :mad:
SoFlaBoss said:
LP Heaven said:
Anyone can do burnouts and powershift...

Not cool! That's your opinion, not eveyone's, thank goodness. We all do with our Boss's what excites us, and competing on the drag strip is not as simple as you make it out to be. :mad:

Sorry you got offended not the intention dude - reason why i hate the internet is text interpretations - That wasnt refered to 1/4 folks at all in fact I want to try that out as well. I guess what i meant was anyone can do burnouts and stuff on the street but not anyone can do it correctly on the strip or track ? 8)

So far I got the breakfluid and Downs ford motorsports is going to install brake ducts for me and a beginners course with instructor on the 22nd @


Rob, if you're pretty sure you'll track a few times a year, put the tranny cooling scoop on too--4 bolts on and off, and about $100.
So big picture before track day #1:
DOT 4 fluid (ATE Super Blue is highly used here)
Track pads if you've got track experience. If none, the stock pads will work for the first day.
Tranny cooling scoop
Snell SA2010 helmet
Driving gloves--keeps sweat off steering wheel, and improves feel

If this is your first track day ever, you can most likely get by w/out brake cooling ducts. But if you know you'll get hooked, installing them for day 1 will be good too.

Hit the track, and drive the Boss the way it was meant to be. You'll have a great time.
What if you have track experience but only plan on putting your Boss on track once or twice over the summer just for the experience? Should you change out your stock pads?
Thanks !!

I am going green of course as this is my very 1st time on a real track but i do plan on pushing some turns a bit as i want to feel the way this car hooks up sans street
I am really freakin excited and i do believe that i have one of those personalities that once i like somthin im hooked all the way !!
I even have a couple of friends coming with me and are as excited as i am - just wish ANY of my friends had some automotive skills :)
LP Heaven said:
Sorry you got offended not the intention dude - reason why i hate the internet is text interpretations - That wasnt refered to 1/4 folks at all in fact I want to try that out as well. I guess what i meant was anyone can do burnouts and stuff on the street but not anyone can do it correctly on the strip or track ? 8)

I clearly took your words the wrong way..sorry. Thanks for clarifying. :)
Read this .I hope you find it helpful
Best regards and have fun Ron AKA Roketman
Objectives for Beginning DE Participants

The DE program is designed to impart a solid foundation of knowledge to the student. The key notions taught form the basic, building blocks upon which all driving skills are developed. Students are taught safe-driving skills on an enclosed, track under an instructor's supervision. At a minimum, students will be taught the following:

* How to drive the proper line of the track;
* How to utilize Turn-in, Apex, and Track-out cones as landmarks for navigation;
* Proper braking, shifting, and cornering techniques;
* Proper seating, grasping of steering wheel, use of mirrors, etc.;
* Use of your vision (ocular driving), to look ahead, behind, etc.;
* Passing zones and no-passing zones;
* Proper use of passing signals and your responsibilities in both passing a car and being passed;
* General vehicle dynamics and car control;
* The numbers and names of corners and straights of the track;
* How to pre-visualize driving a proper lap;
* Motorsport park safety and corner-worker techniques and sponsibilities; and
* How to have fun and learn while meeting some very nice people.

The correct line

The safest and most efficient way around a track is known as "the line." It is also the shortest way around the course and uses the entire course surface from one side to the other. It is vital to know where to place the car on the line so each turn can be consistently driven safely and smoothl

The turn-in, apex, and track-out cones are key elements in the learning process which help you master proper cornering technique. Once these skills are mastered, you should be able to find the proper line around any course in two or three laps without the need for markers. Knowing "the line" and driving it properly every lap is the key to safe, smooth driving both on the track and public streets and highways.

Basic Notions of Track Driving

Acceleration, Braking, & Cornering, the three basic elements of driving.

A vehicle has only 100% capability. If you are using 100% of its capability for braking, you have 0% left over for either acceleration or cornering; if you are using 80% of its capability for cornering, you only have 20% left for acceleration and 0% for braking or 20% left for braking and 0% for acceleration.

Steering Wheel Position
Hands should be at 9 and 3 o'clock and in contact with the wheel at all times (except when shifting).

Turn-in, Apex, Track-out Points
Use turn-in cone as a reference to begin turn, the apex cone marks where the car should be at the mid-point in the turn, and the track-out cone as the target as you unwind the turn.

Braking and Shifting
All braking and downshifting must be done in a straight line. All braking should be finished be-fore a turn is initiated. Upshifting should be done after exiting turns with the wheels straight.

Never lift off the throttle while in a turn; use maintenance throttle, or smoothly increase the throttle through the turn.

Use of Steering Wheel
Use smooth, firm motions to minimize wasted use of the wheel.

Use brakes to slow down; do not use the transmission to slow the car. Make all transitions smoothly When moving from throttle to brake, brake to throttle, entry to, or exit from a corner, all ac-tions should be smooth and decisive. Avoid any actions that could possibly unsettle the car.

Never Coast
Either be on the throttle (even maintenance throttle) or on the brake — never coast!

Proper Cornering Sequence
Safe cornering requires a conscious and repeatable sequence of driver actions to properly enter and exit turns. This sequence must be smooth and flowing and requires regular practice to make it a habit. The sequence is as follows, assuming turn entry from a straight section of the course:

While driving in a straight line and looking ahead, smoothly lift off the throttle.

Smoothly and progressively apply the brakes in a straight line. Not all turns require use of the brakes.Squeeze and ease is the technique

Using heel-toe technique, downshift to the appropriate gear to maintain torque to provide for acceleration out of the turn. Not all turns require downshifting.

Off the Brake
While looking ahead to the apex and beyond, smoothly release the brakes when you're ready to turn in.
Breath & Turn-In
breath all the time ! Practice ocular driving.Look where you want to go.Never look where you are. Always look ahead to the next point by physically turning your head. Slowly and smoothly turn the wheel to initiate the turn. Let your hands follow the eyes and use progressive steering.

After initiating the turn, smoothly apply maintenance throttle, then progressively increase the throttle as you pass the apex and begin to track out to the track-out point.

As you pass the apex, smoothly and progressively open the steering wheel. Let the car unwind to the track-out point. This is not always needed. Your instructor will explain when and how.
Talk Yourself Around the Course

An excellent way to learn a track at any point in your driving career is to talk yourself through the course. This is also a good technique when you haven't driven a session as well as you might. For a corner, for example, think and visualize the following:
BREATH ALL THE TIME This keeps you relaxed and focused
* Lift off the throttle.
* On the brake.
* Downshift.
* Off the brake.
* turn in.
* On the throttle.
* Track out.

Post-Run Routine

At the end of the run group, as you slowly and safely turn to the paddock, review the session with your instructor. Identify areas and skills with which you feel comfortable as well as turns and skills you need to improve.

Be absolutely sure you have the course memorized turn by turn, in order.

Use the course map to relive the session and talk yourself through each turn over and over. Lift, brake, downshift, off the brake, breath and turn in, on the throttle, track out. Visualize every turn in order and include any improvements needed. Visualize and memorize one perfect lap after another. Recognize mistakes but do not dwell on them. Always end by visualizing a perfect lap.
ATE Super Blue is not road legal in Florida, and some other states I don't remember, because it is blue. ATE amber 200 is the exact same fluid but without the dye. On my track car, I alternate between blue and amber so I know for sure I have flushed all the old fluid out. Also, the blue will stain the lines and mc so it will still be a little blue even after you flush to amber.

I have a fair amount of track experience, and with stock pads/no ducts and ATE amber I was not able to brake hard at all and boiled the fluid in the clutch line ( I didn't have a vacuum adapter to bleed the clutch so it still had a lot of dot 3 in it). In a car this heavy, you have to always be aware of the brakes and watch for fade, at least on any pads I have tried. But on your first day, you will probably not be braking hard enough to have issues. This is a VERY easy car to drive on the track, for a RWD car, but make sure you check the hot temps on the tires and keep them to 41 max. Higher than that, they were hopping and had no grip. Another trick is to use a grease pencil (I get them at Ace Hardware) and put a little line at the edge of each tire then it will rub off while driving on the track. Adjust pressures until they scuff to the right point. You will likely have different pressures on each wheel because front/back heat different and side/side due to tracks being round-ish so more turns one direction.

Ford Dot 4 is also very popular here, especially with the P car people as there is a rumor of ATE turning to gel and plugging calipers. I have only seen it gel when left out for months with the top off.
If it isn't too personal, how much does it cost? The alternative is to bribe the safety crew to drag the car out into the street a bit down from the track, but that is not exactly legal.

TMO Supporting Vendors