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HPDE prep

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Hi all,

Surprised that a quick search for "track prep" didn't provide results I'd hoped to find, but that could be bad searching on my part.

First HPDE day is coming up, and I'm looking for advice on prepping the Boss. The TracKey flash is done and the rotors are seasoned. But questions remain. Yaw control on or off? Steering sensitivity? (Does the TracKey automatically set that?) Nomex racing suit? (Just kidding.) And is there anything I should take to the track? (Torque wrench?)

Hoping to stand out only due to the Boss's endearingly obnoxious looks + sound, not due to the driver's obvious inexperience.
Have you changed the brake pads to a track pad? Fluid should also be changed to a high temp fluid like Motul 600 or equivalent. As for Stability control, I turn mine off, but I have done HPDEs for 15 years and also instruct. I recommend new students leave it on until they develop some comfort being on a track. There is a lot to take in your first time and it's just one less thing to think about.

As for steering, that is a personal taste kind of thing. I have mine set sport and just leave it be. I would suggest you leave it how you normally drive the car as that is what you will be most comfortable with.

Have fun with your Boss in it's natural environment!
I just went through this a about month ago. Changed my rotors and pads and put in DOT4, removed the dust shields from the rear brakes, installed the cooling ducts, I think the only thing you need to take with you is your torque wrench for your wheel lugs, air pressure gauge, extra oil, brake fluid, full tank of gas, you burn about a 1/4 tank per session, camping chair, camera and lots of water. I took all kinds of crap so I was prepared but all I did was move it around and never used it. That's a good thing. I maybe forgetting something but basiclly thats all you need. Maybe someone else can think of something I may have missed. It's a blast, enjoy!


#LS-378 - So many Porsche's, so little time....
Better pads are not a must have but they will be soon. The DOT4 fluid is a must before you go. T wrench absolutely. Get a lot of rest the night before, you will need it. If rain expected try to prep for that. And get ready to have the best time you've ever had sitting down ! ;D
Basically reiterating what others have said about DOT4 and brake ducts, I went with the StopTech 600 which is amazing IMO, better then stock. Also, not on the topic of prep, but if they have a parade lap try going out and running the course slowly, you'd be amazed at what you can learn by following your line at 50 instead of 100.
Agree with most points above. Stock pads are fine for hpde 1. Dont worry about changing parts until after youve gotten used to the stock feel. Then go from there. T wrench. Oil. Brake fluid. Air pump & gauge.helmet of course. Cotton attire. No need for suit yet probably unless your gonna do this alot. Keep it economical until you get the bug for this then inform all your loved ones of your new obsession.


The stock pads will be fine, just flush brake fluid with DOT 4 as others have said. Make sure to bed those pads prior to track day, look it up for the procedure. Set Advance trac on , do not use the standard traction control unless you feel you must. Here is my list I keep for going to track days, I take everything I need for the obvious maintenance I may need to do at the track like; rotate tires, change brake pads, bleed/add fluid, add air, check air etc.

Sebring track day 5/25/13 tools/supplies/gear:

Race apparel;
My helmet, gloves, lightweight jacket, long pants, Piloti shoes, car numbers

awe, needle nose/regular pliers, small hammer, regular screwdriver, Brake fluid, oil, funnels, bleeder bottle, turkey baster, torque wrench, 7/16" open wrench,13/16" deep socket, breaker bar, 1/2" short socket ext., ir thermometer, air pressure gauge, shop rags, wheel chocks, air tank, race jack, 1 jack stands, 1 2x4" wood, flashlight,

Spray detail, tar remover spray, 3 detail towels, bug sponge, race tape, stock front tire as spare, clipboard & pen, EZ Sheild, 1 cooler, drinks, ice, sun block, chair, hat, laptop, laptop charger, phone/gps/camera charger, paperwork for event, underwear, socks, $120 track fuel, Qstar gps w bracket, helmet camera
PeteInCT said:
Better pads are not a must have but they will be soon. The DOT4 fluid is a must before you go. T wrench absolutely. Get a lot of rest the night before, you will need it. If rain expected try to prep for that. And get ready to have the best time you've ever had sitting down ! ;D
Lap dance??? ;)

Bad Pony you don't mention if you've had any previous track experience. If not the stock pads will be fine the first day but if you do have experience they won't be. I had minor brake fade my first time out on the stock pads and never used them on track again. I always bring my toolbox with me as old habits die hard. Sure enough I used it yesterday but not in the usual sense. I always bring a roll of duct tape with me and I used it yesterday too.
Bad Pony,

You must have read my mind. I am participating in my first HPDE at Blackhawk Farms Raceway on June 12th and will be following this thread religiously. I, for one, have zero track time. But this is why we purchased the Boss, to learn.

Thank you to all that have posted.


Lord knows I'm a Voodoo Child
Exp. Type
W2W Racing
Exp. Level
10-20 Years
Cookeville TN
First track days don't concentrate so much on the speed of the car. Just the basics, check the oil, lug torque air pressure and get all the junk out of the car. Then if you can try and practice on a video game, iracing, Forza, GT5, refactor etc, it gives you a sense of where the road goes so you are not lost when you get out there. You will be amped up with adrenaline so get a good nights rest and eat a good breakfast.

When you get to the track, sign in and get to tech. Ask questions if you are confused, you will be, know where to line up on pit lane, where to meet your instructor and what the schedule is. Classroom is very helpful with all of this so pay attention.

When you get in the car belt in by pulling your seat back, bullet up and pull the belt to lock the inertia reel, then pull the seat up to where you like while holding the shoulder belt locked. This will keep you tight in the seat which really helps on track.
Follow the Marshall's instruction to leave pit road and then follow your instructors on track direction. First session/first laps take it easy and learn the line, warm the tires, brakes and engine.

Your instructor will observe your line and your ability to be smooth with the throttle and brakes. Listen to what he says and try to accomplish it. Always keep your eyes up and look where you want to go. Like on a motorcycle your hands will follow your eyes, so look ahead at your braking points, turn in, apex, track out and start again. As you get comfortable with this rhythm you will find that you are going faster. The good thing about riding with an instructor is he will be watching out for traffic for you. Again be calm and smooth and follow his or her direction. Learning track etiquette is critical to safe driving and learning how to race. Learning situational awareness takes time, know where give a point by or take one, don't feel pressured to pass or be passed if you are not comfortable with the situation.
After you get out of the car after that 25 minutes you will be shaking and your heart rate will be 130. Shut the engine, leave the car in gear and parking brake OFF. If its a warm day pop the hood and let the engine bay cool off. Have a bottle of water and relax for 15 minutes.
Check tire pressures (should be 38-40 psi at this point) if higher bleed off to 40, if lower add air. If really low then there is a problem you need to find.
After 30 minutes check oil level and retourque lugs to 100 ft/lbs.

Get back in line 10 minutes before your session and do it again. At this point either you are hooked or you may decide its not for you. Most likely you're hooked or you would own a Boss. Don't worry about soloing, your instructor will let you know at the end of the day and everyone should run with an instructor for at least their first 2 days and at least 2 sessions at a new track. You can go it alone but will learn so much more from folks that have driven thousands of miles on a track. I have run 1500+ miles at Lime Rock and still stink! My next step is a race school such as the Ford Racing School or Skip Barber.

Anyway after that first day you will be ready to start planning the next event and how you can convince your wife that it's fun for her too to visit exotic locations.
Enjoy it and be safe.
I wish I would have started this thread before I went to HPDE. Steve is spot on from what my first time out was like. The difference is I would have ran my tank dry or killed my car, I didn't want to come back in. I like riding with an instructor for now because I felt a lot of tension when there were other cars around and felt the need to pass them all, and I did, but I think that may have taken away from the learning experience because I didn't focus as much on my line and smoothness. I did learn to look 2-3 sec ahead and not at the car in front, if you do you will follow his line whether it's good or bad, this also helps if you give to much gas coming out of a turn and the back end comes out. Not like did that. :)


#LS-378 - So many Porsche's, so little time....
Well said - there's a video out on YouTube (it's on the Fourm here somewhere) where two Porsche's are following each other on the track. They were experienced drivers and were moving at great speed. The car on front took too early of an apex and went fully off track, the the car on his tail mimicking his every (potentially dangerous) move. I don't recall if they traded paint with each other or an armco, but that's not really the point.

For those starting out - the most important thing to try to accomplish is to fully feel comfortable with leaving your ego at home and understanding that you are not engaged in a race. You are there to learn. Sounds easy. It's not. These previous posts referencing concentration on your line is most important is you really want to learn to drive. And you must start out slower than you believe you can handle. The faster you drive the faster a tremendous amount of information is hitting your brain for the first time. You will not be able to process it that fast nor know how to process it. Some drivers starting out have more natural talent than others, but for the most part if you believe you are an excellent driver and you have never been on a track with high levels of instruction then you are not the driver you think you are. It's humbling to explore how much you don't know. And that's also why it's not easy to leave your ego at home.

One topic I'm not sure anyone has hit on is peripheral vision. This is strongly related to looking 'down track' while driving. You look down track for two basic reasons: 1) you always should be setting yourself up for the next turn. 2) If you look at more of the track at one time your lines and your steering inputs will be smoother. All this is also not easy to do. When we do highway driving, we train ourselves to watch the tail lights in front of us. It's a natural tendency because that's the car you will hit if that car stops short in front of you. If you do this on the track, you give up all view of what's happening in the big picture, 3 to 5 seconds ahead of you. And that's where issues on the track like a spinout are more likely to happen. Also, it is a scientific fact that you respond to your peripheral vision over 100,000 times faster than when you are visually 'locked on' to a moving object. Peripheral vision is mananged by a different part of the brain than normal vision - and is driven by the need to react vs think. Part of learning to drive fast and smooth is that you train your brain to process the information in your "long view" while you rely on your peripheral vision to manage what's directly in front of you. This is not easy and takes time to learn. Years to learn very well. If you know anyone who's driven truly professionally or has flown fighters for our armed forces, ask them about peripheral vision and how they use it to process information.

I mention all of this because the way you learn it all is by starting slow and not worrying about how many point by's you gave or the Spec Miata that you can't catch. If you truly learn to love and respect the sport this will all come to you - just seek out exceptional instructors any time you can. It doesn't matter if you can do 2 events a year or 50. If you're out there just for a high speed run and aren't willing to accept that you need to learn a lot, then you probably shouldn't be out there in the first place.

Last comment: HAVE FUN !!! If you judge your day by what you have learned or have been shown you can learn then you will have fun and will probably have a great day at the track. The guys who have bad days are usually the ones that are angry that a lower HP car lapped them many times and think the solution is more mods to their own car.

Like the old adage goes if I knew then what I know now. But it was great passing 2 vett's, that's something I'll never forget. Love this car! Now I need to learn how to drive it proper. Next time out I will really try to resist the urge of the need for speed.


One thing to remember:
Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.
All inputs (steering, throttle, braking, etc) should be smooth.
Steve, Pete, and all,

For me personally, your words and advice are taken to heart. I have absolutely no preconceptions going into my first HPDE day on being fast. I have reached the age where I want to learn. Learn the etiquette of a hot track, learn the dynamics of what the car is doing and to learn what those dynamics are telling me. To learn greater car control. To learn, period. This is something I have wanted to try for years now. Going in open minded, with the ego checked at the door will benefit myself tremendously and allow me to listen...and learn.

i have just finished reading "Winning" by Matt Stone. This great book chronicles Paul Newman's racing career, and Paul approached his racing the same way I hope to emulate. He went into racing as a newbie at the age of 47. Some say that is too old to start, but he proved everyone wrong. Why you say...because Paul went into racing with the desire to learn and to listen from others whose ability was greater than his. With much practice he became a world class driver. I can only hope that I have the patience and dedication to do the same. I have no grand illusion of becoming a world class driver, but to improve my skills and mindset to where at anytime I am comfortable in the Hot Rod will be a success in my eyes.

Thank you again. And I apologize in advance to Bad Boss, I do not mean to hi-jack your thread.
racered302 said:
Like the old adage goes if I knew then what I know now. But it was great passing 2 vett's, that's something I'll never forget. Love this car! Now I need to learn how to drive it proper. Next time out I will really try to resist the urge of the need for speed.

Don't worry about last time, you had a loose nut in the passenger seat yelling, "GO! GO! GO!", and then cheering like mad when you got by 'em!

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