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Track Prep

2LowPony

TMO Beginner
7
2
Columbus, IN
HPDE
Under 3 Years
I'm new to this and I am doing a track day on Oct. 3rd. Need some advice on track prep for my car, I have a 2015 Mustang GT.
Any recommendations you have would be greatly appreciated. I already have the DOT brake fluid, still need to get the oil that I am going to run, which brand and viscosity do you guys recommend? This is my first ever track day so aside from the check list that was provided after signing up I'm going by what I have been finding in FB groups and stuff like that.
 

67GTA

TMO Race
249
230
SoCal
Welcome to the site - you’ll find lots of good advice here from a lot of very experienced track rats.

This thread linked below is a good read for overall HPDE track prep and a great place to start. I noticed you posted this under the S550 section, so maybe you’re looking for info more specifically about that platform - again, a lot of experienced folks on here running S550’s that can definitely help answer any questions. Take 15 minutes to fill out a vehicle profile - that will save a bunch of back and forth questions understanding where your car sits today, etc. Again, welcome to the site and I’m sure you’ll enjoy your new addiction!!

 

TMSBOSS

Epic Contributor
5,273
2,219
Illinois
HPDE
5-10 Years
Welcome

Definitely flush the brake fluid. Inspect the pads and rotors. You should not need race pads or rotors on your first day.
What you will need is a good instructor and an open mind. Listen to good advice and absorb.
The two things which will help you improve the most are tires and seat time. Driver mods (seat time) are critical. Great parts will help you once you can drive up to the capabilities of what you have now. So for now forego the parts swap urge and learn. Once you are hooked, we will be more than happy to help you spend money.
 

JP X

TMO Beginner
7
8
Raleigh, NC
HPDE
Under 3 Years
67GTA pretty much covered it. That is a great post. Something that I would add...myself being a newer track guy...for between now and then:
1. Concentrate on spending less time in your mirrors. Not less frequency, but shorter looks. Check them quickly and then process what you saw while you are looking at the road ahead. You don’t want to “drive your mirrors” even though it is important to know whether someone is behind you and let them pass with a point-by.
2. Practice smoother steering inputs and without moving your hands unless absolutely necessary. Hands at 9 and 3. Some instructors vary. I had one who wanted lower than that, almost 8 and 4. I’m not an instructor so if he / she contradicts me, listen to them.
3. Ask lots of questions and don’t be afraid to not know something. I asked what seemed like pretty stupid questions but am glad I did.

Have fun!
 

2LowPony

TMO Beginner
7
2
Columbus, IN
HPDE
Under 3 Years
Welcome to the site - you’ll find lots of good advice here from a lot of very experienced track rats.

This thread linked below is a good read for overall HPDE track prep and a great place to start. I noticed you posted this under the S550 section, so maybe you’re looking for info more specifically about that platform - again, a lot of experienced folks on here running S550’s that can definitely help answer any questions. Take 15 minutes to fill out a vehicle profile - that will save a bunch of back and forth questions understanding where your car sits today, etc. Again, welcome to the site and I’m sure you’ll enjoy your new addiction!!

Yes, i drive an S550. Just filled out the vehicle profile. Definitely looking forward to hearing from different people in order to improve with time.
 

2LowPony

TMO Beginner
7
2
Columbus, IN
HPDE
Under 3 Years
Welcome

Definitely flush the brake fluid. Inspect the pads and rotors. You should not need race pads or rotors on your first day.
What you will need is a good instructor and an open mind. Listen to good advice and absorb.
The two things which will help you improve the most are tires and seat time. Driver mods (seat time) are critical. Great parts will help you once you can drive up to the capabilities of what you have now. So for now forego the parts swap urge and learn. Once you are hooked, we will be more than happy to help you spend money.

Definitely getting ready to do my maintenance on it so I have enough time to prepare. From what I have heard of a friend that does HPDE he mentioned that the instructors have been leading in separate cars at the track we are going to, with the whole covid situation. I'm definitely looking forward to learning more and improving. Currently running Nitto NT555 G2, Barely have ~10k miles on them hopefully no issues arise. Is there any specific oil brand and viscosity you would recommend?
 

2LowPony

TMO Beginner
7
2
Columbus, IN
HPDE
Under 3 Years
67GTA pretty much covered it. That is a great post. Something that I would add...myself being a newer track guy...for between now and then:
1. Concentrate on spending less time in your mirrors. Not less frequency, but shorter looks. Check them quickly and then process what you saw while you are looking at the road ahead. You don’t want to “drive your mirrors” even though it is important to know whether someone is behind you and let them pass with a point-by.
2. Practice smoother steering inputs and without moving your hands unless absolutely necessary. Hands at 9 and 3. Some instructors vary. I had one who wanted lower than that, almost 8 and 4. I’m not an instructor so if he / she contradicts me, listen to them.
3. Ask lots of questions and don’t be afraid to not know something. I asked what seemed like pretty stupid questions but am glad I did.

Have fun!

I'm looking forward to the day, I want to gain more experience and do more track days. It is something that I have been thinking about doing for a while but never pulled the trigger on it. It will be a fun experience, I'm going with 2 friends so I won't feel out of place.
 

2LowPony

TMO Beginner
7
2
Columbus, IN
HPDE
Under 3 Years
67GTA pretty much covered it. That is a great post. Something that I would add...myself being a newer track guy...for between now and then:
1. Concentrate on spending less time in your mirrors. Not less frequency, but shorter looks. Check them quickly and then process what you saw while you are looking at the road ahead. You don’t want to “drive your mirrors” even though it is important to know whether someone is behind you and let them pass with a point-by.
2. Practice smoother steering inputs and without moving your hands unless absolutely necessary. Hands at 9 and 3. Some instructors vary. I had one who wanted lower than that, almost 8 and 4. I’m not an instructor so if he / she contradicts me, listen to them.
3. Ask lots of questions and don’t be afraid to not know something. I asked what seemed like pretty stupid questions but am glad I did.

Have fun!


Are you running 5w-20 in your car or what oil viscosity did you switch to for track?
 

Dave_W

Cones - not just for ice cream
73
72
Connecticut
Autocross
20+ Years
Oil brand is personal for some people. Just use a brand-name full-synthetic in the weight recommended in the owner's manual for the temperature you'll see (probably 5W-20).

Also, just to be clear for a novice, "brake fluid flush" is not the same as "bleeding the brakes." Bleeding is removing any air bubbles that may have formed in the calipers. Flushing is replacing all the fluid in the braking system with new -- from master cylinder to calipers. Use a dedicated turkey baster to suck out most of the old fluid from the master cylinder and fill with new before pushing out to the calipers; keep an close eye on the master cylinder every few pumps so it never runs dry - keep topping it up as you flush each caliper. Flush with DOT4 or DOT5.1 (NEVER DOT5!!!) at the start of the season, then bleed before each track day. Bleed after a track day if the pedal feels soft. Depending on number of track days (more than 10 per year?) and how hard you use the brakes, you may want to flush again halfway through the season.

The Beginner's Guide linked to above is good. I'll emphasize looking ahead and through the turn. Novices can have a tendency to focus on the apex and stare at it until it goes by their fender. Target fixation. And then they get surprised when they look up at the corner exit and they're off line, or they're closing on a slower car, etc. Anything closer than 0.5 seconds in front of the car is generally too close to do anything about - don't look at it. Eyes up! Look ahead... no further ahead.
 

2LowPony

TMO Beginner
7
2
Columbus, IN
HPDE
Under 3 Years
Oil brand is personal for some people. Just use a brand-name full-synthetic in the weight recommended in the owner's manual for the temperature you'll see (probably 5W-20).

Also, just to be clear for a novice, "brake fluid flush" is not the same as "bleeding the brakes." Bleeding is removing any air bubbles that may have formed in the calipers. Flushing is replacing all the fluid in the braking system with new -- from master cylinder to calipers. Use a dedicated turkey baster to suck out most of the old fluid from the master cylinder and fill with new before pushing out to the calipers; keep an close eye on the master cylinder every few pumps so it never runs dry - keep topping it up as you flush each caliper. Flush with DOT4 or DOT5.1 (NEVER DOT5!!!) at the start of the season, then bleed before each track day. Bleed after a track day if the pedal feels soft. Depending on number of track days (more than 10 per year?) and how hard you use the brakes, you may want to flush again halfway through the season.

The Beginner's Guide linked to above is good. I'll emphasize looking ahead and through the turn. Novices can have a tendency to focus on the apex and stare at it until it goes by their fender. Target fixation. And then they get surprised when they look up at the corner exit and they're off line, or they're closing on a slower car, etc. Anything closer than 0.5 seconds in front of the car is generally too close to do anything about - don't look at it. Eyes up! Look ahead... no further ahead.

I've had a couple people say to switch to 5w30 if I'll be doing the track day but haven't seen a consensus on that. I have just been going with the manufacturer recommended.

I just noticed that I didn't specify the brake fluid, I got Motul RBF 600 and have planned on flushing the system in the next few weekends. I broke the turkey baster i was using last time i flushed the system on my truck. Still not sure how many track days i will be doing on the car, with getting into motorcycle track days too I will be alternating between the 2.

I glanced through the list lightly, and will do it when I get off work. Definitely going loving the advice, much better than having to deal with people on FB that tend to be trolls.
 

JP X

TMO Beginner
7
8
Raleigh, NC
HPDE
Under 3 Years
Are you running 5w-20 in your car or what oil viscosity did you switch to for track?
I’ve been running 5w20, Mobil 1 full synth. I change it before every event (4-6 per year). I also use the Napa gold or platinum filters. Don’t use that Fram junk.

Another thought...don’t go out with less than 1/2 tank of fuel. Your tank is designed so that the fuel will slosh around and at times starve the fuel pickup and sensor. At VIR last week I had that happen with just a hair under 1/2 tank when I went out.
 
Last edited:

ARDrummond25

TMO Intermediate
62
20
San Jose
Welcome

Definitely flush the brake fluid. Inspect the pads and rotors. You should not need race pads or rotors on your first day.
What you will need is a good instructor and an open mind. Listen to good advice and absorb.
The two things which will help you improve the most are tires and seat time. Driver mods (seat time) are critical. Great parts will help you once you can drive up to the capabilities of what you have now. So for now forego the parts swap urge and learn. Once you are hooked, we will be more than happy to help you spend money.
On my last track day I had an Alfa Romeo 4C fly in front of me as I was about to turn in for the Andretti Hairpin at Laguna Seca because he hadn't checked his brake fluid and he last his pedal coming down the main straight. Luckily he stopped about a foot short of the wall after skidding through the gravel trap and was fine, but he spent the next 5 hours with his car on jacks taking off under panels to get all the gravel out instead of lapping on the course. The 4C should have been a perfect car for Laguna, so short story long, check you brake hardware and fluids.
 

byronj

TMO Addict
1,945
747
Bay Area
Assuming your car is already set up and inspected this also helps me out and was given to me by another TMO member. I have tailored it to me but it's a good starting point for all the basic stuff you might need at an event.

After I do my maintenance I use torque stripe on almost all the nuts and bolts on the suspension and other areas for a quick visual inspection. That way I dont have to check the TQ on each on after an event.

Gear Bag ToolsNotes
1Tire Gauge
2Temp Gauge
3Torque Wrench
4Lug Socket w/Extension
5Tape
6Flash Light
7Impact Gun
8Motor Oil and Funnel
9Brake Fluid and Funnel
10Screw Driver Set
11Tow Hooks
12Work Gloves
12Rubber Gloves
14Shop Towels
15Misc Tools
Driving GearNotes
1Helmet
2Hans
3Gloves
4Harnesses
5GoPro and gear
6Hat
7Jacket
8Sunglasses
9Driving Suit
MiscNotes
1Window Cleaner
2Paper Towels
3Event Documents
4Numbers
5Ice Chest w/Water and Food
6Tarp
7Reading Glasses
8Sunscreen
9Knee Pad
10Chairs
11Air Tank
12HOD Card
13Business Cards
14Clean Inside/outside of Windshield
 

ARDrummond25

TMO Intermediate
62
20
San Jose
Assuming your car is already set up and inspected this also helps me out and was given to me by another TMO member. I have tailored it to me but it's a good starting point for all the basic stuff you might need at an event.

After I do my maintenance I use torque stripe on almost all the nuts and bolts on the suspension and other areas for a quick visual inspection. That way I dont have to check the TQ on each on after an event.

Gear Bag ToolsNotes
1Tire Gauge
2Temp Gauge
3Torque Wrench
4Lug Socket w/Extension
5Tape
6Flash Light
7Impact Gun
8Motor Oil and Funnel
9Brake Fluid and Funnel
10Screw Driver Set
11Tow Hooks
12Work Gloves
12Rubber Gloves
14Shop Towels
15Misc Tools
Driving GearNotes
1Helmet
2Hans
3Gloves
4Harnesses
5GoPro and gear
6Hat
7Jacket
8Sunglasses
9Driving Suit
MiscNotes
1Window Cleaner
2Paper Towels
3Event Documents
4Numbers
5Ice Chest w/Water and Food
6Tarp
7Reading Glasses
8Sunscreen
9Knee Pad
10Chairs
11Air Tank
12HOD Card
13Business Cards
14Clean Inside/outside of Windshield
definitely echo the chair, window cleaner and business card recommendations. Those are the things that I underestimated the need for my first day
 

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