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Old 06-11-2009, 12:15 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Gravter View Post
So, is the brake flush/bleed absolutely necessary?
Just called up my regular auto service garage and does not have time to do it before Saturday.
Also, if someone can tell me if my tires will handle 300Km's of track time?
Like I said, they are OEM tires (P06's) and are close to the wear bar, about 1 to 2mm max.
I don't want to arrive at the track and not able to pass tech inspection and / or have problems at the track.

Brake bleeding is a must. You mention 37k on the brakes, would that be the last time the fluid was serviced? Most carsí brake fluid looks like Coca-Cola when it should look more like Ginger Ale. I bleed my fluid before each track event and never experience any form of fading or a soft pedal.
Novice drivers are normally slow at their first track event and may not heat the brakes enough to have issues with old fluid. On the other hand most novices tend to over use the brakes at the slower speeds and do experience a soft pedal and non responsive brakes by the end of the session/day.

All you need is an 8mm? wrench, a ~2 ft. length of tubing to fit over the bleeder nipple, an empty plastic beverage bottle, a small bottle of brake fluid and a spouse to push the pedal. A $.99 cent turkey baster is useful to remove some of the old fluid in the reservoir so there is less to flush. If you are skinny you may not even need to jack up the car or remove the wheels. Giving each corner four or five pumps should be fine.

As for the tires check the tech sheet from the group running the event as to what they require. Personally, if it is not going to rain your tires will be fine. Driving on track for a day will not wear them. Street tires tend to like a little more pressure while on track; just pump them up to ~35-36lbs front and ~30-32lbs rear before the event. Then check after the first run to see if they are rolling over onto the sidewall. If the sidewall shows wear add pressure accordingly and recheck after the next session.

As for driving on track, all you are trying to do is place the weight of the car on the appropriate tire for the situation to maximize grip, nothing more.
Brake in a straight line before a corner to slow the car, if necessary, but also to place the weight on the front tires to maximize grip at turn in.
Do not brake or lift off the throttle abruptly while in a turn, bad things can happen in a FWD car, like the rear end coming around.
Keep shifting to a minimum; at most tracks third and fourth will be fine. Novices tend to shift at every opportunity and then fail to do it properly. Down shift before the corner while under braking, just before turn in, not while in the corner. Think about the gear you are in and the gear you want to be in. I canít count the number of times a student will shift two or three times for one corner. Students get so wrapped up in down shifting that they often under brake or sail off into a corner with the clutch depressed or in neutral which means the car and physics gets to chose where the weight will go and not the driver.
Pay attention to the corner workers and the flags, they are your friend and the only source of information on track conditions ahead. Wave to them at the end of the session and acknowledge any flags with a wave as you pass by so they know you saw it.
Be courteous while on track. There will be a wide variety of cars in your run group, many, if not all of them, will be capable of much higher speeds than your Focus. The limiting factor will be the driver. A stock Focus is very easy to drive on track and you may be quicker/faster early on than someone in a supercharged Cobra or a Corvette. Remember that everyone learns at a different pace and your pace may be faster than the other drivers. That may change by the last session and your Focus may then become a moving chicane. Follow the passing rules the group indicates during the drivers meeting and in the classroom so everyone can enjoy their track time.
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