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MattyM3CSL 01-14-2010 03:03 PM

Track Day Setup Advice
Iím planning on doing some track events this upcoming season at summit point and wanted to get some input on a good set up. The car is basically stock with 80k miles and original suspension and brakes. I need to address the shocks and brakes no question. There are several things I would like to do, but the budget says otherwise. Iím pretty much set on the brake setup. I was going to use centric rotors with Hawk HPS or HP+ pads and flush the system with ATE Superblue fluid.

As for the suspension I was trying to decide between getting the replacement SVT shocks or going with the popular FRPP Dynamic kit. I know the stock svt handles well but i just cant get over the fender gap in the rear.

The other main issue I have with the car are the tires. The car came with Nexen N5000s and I am not a big fan of them. For everyday street driving in all weather I think they are decent. But I think they lack ultimate dry grip and I have a feeling these tires will be very frustrating to deal with on track. The tires are about 50% worn and have some life still left in them.

The tires I had in mind were Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1. The only issue I see with these tires are there tread life for street driving. Ideally I would like to get another set of wheels and run these tires during the summer and track and keep the nexens for winter. But again were talking more $$$.

So I guess the question is do I invest the money into upgrading the suspension or replacing the tires.

Thanks in advance for your opinions and advice

wrc_fan 01-14-2010 04:21 PM

You may want to do complete check of you car to make sure everything else is sound too (maybe you already have). Make sure the wheelbearings are all still good and check for the common wear issues in the Focus (clutch master cylinder comes to mind).

A complete brake fluid flush with new rotors and pads is a good plan, and you have some good choices there. Your brakes will get a workout on the track!

Regarding the tire/suspension delima, if you're still rolling on the original shocks, replacement's a good idea. If you're looking to save money I'd put in some new SVT shocks and struts and keep the SVT springs. Next, burn through your current tires at your first event, then slap on some *specs for your next one, and be completely amazed :D Once next winter rolls around, pick up some used focus 16" wheels with all season tires for your second set of wheels.

Now with this near stock setup, you can work on driving fast, with the right lines at the track. Once you get to the point where you can be fast at the very limit in a stock SVT, you can take full advantage of any future upgrades you do. At the track ask questions and keep an open mind about your driving, good luck!

RickB 01-15-2010 03:05 PM

the star specs are a very durable tire and will last long even under track abuse. For the track go with the HP+, the HPS might not be enough

wrc_fan 01-16-2010 12:35 PM

The HPS, may be good for low key track days, but the HP+ are a good pad too. The HP+ are noisy and create a lot of dust, but they haul you down in a hurry!

I guess it depends on the total time on the track and how agressive your are. It wouldn't hurt any thing to go the HP+

RickB 01-16-2010 02:27 PM

the HPS and the HP+ have similar optimum operating temp range, but from my experience ive come to notice the HP+ is a much more stable and predictable pad when over heated then the HPS, and of course has better intial bite, hence why i recommended it over the HPS

Schroeder02 01-17-2010 12:09 PM

Nice to see another MD Track enthusiast.

Being your just getting started, your brake upgrade is a good idea, my personal Preference in Brake pads are Carbotech AX6’s for a beginner. You’re never will run out of brakes you’re first few years on track. The do dust and squeal but all good pads do. Brake fluid I would go with Motul RBF 600, you can pick that up at most motorcycle shops.

For you Suspension if your stock shocks are in good shape then stick with them and get a dedicated track tire and rim. If not then I would get the Dynamic kit it’s a very nice setup for dally driving and weekend track use.

As for tires the Direzza Starspec is a very good choice if you getting a dedicated set of tires. I got about 12 track days out of mine and maybe around 5000 road miles, but that’s not bad for a sticky street tier. As far as track performance the Dunlop does very well they are very consistent once they get hot, though I feel the cold to warm grip is a little better. But they are consistent and don’t get overly greasy towards the end of the run.

If you really interested look for any mid Atlantic GTG and try and make it out, I tray and make as many as I can. And would be happy to talk to you, if I know your coming I’ll bring out My SVT Trackcar you may find a little inspiration to get out and have some fun with us. We need to get some more focus’s back out on the track it’s been a little lonely out there the past two years.

MattyM3CSL 01-18-2010 01:06 PM

Thanks everyone!…as suggested i'm going to go with the HP+ pads…from the track days I have done several years ago I can remember brake fade is not fun.

As for the suspension, the stock shocks are worn and need to go. I’m still debating on the stock shock or just getting the dynamic kit and be done with it. Luckily I have a little time before the season kicks off.

I’ve also been noticing several people use a 16” wheel and track tire setup instead of the stock 17’s. I’m guessing that removes a lot of rotational weight and (depending on size) is a shorter tire for a little better gearing.

Schroeder - thanks for the offer….I will try and make it out to some GTG’s soon. I would love to see your track car up close and talk w/ you about it. I think I actually spotted your car over the summer riding through Westminster.

mozerman 01-28-2010 01:53 PM

I would also agree with the brakes getting attention first. I noticed brake fade after doing 10 min of track driving. I ended up backing off a lap or two which inst very fun. I would also keep street tires the first few times you hit the track so you learn when your tires are losing grip. Usually better tires hide where your losing time.

SVT_CLARITY 02-07-2010 10:23 PM

wow mozerman, that's really good thinking concerning the street tires.

MattyM3CSL 02-09-2010 10:35 AM

Agreed regarding better tires hiding where technique can be improved. I have done several drivers schools in the past just not with this car…or anything front wheel drive for that matter. I did however do an auto-x with the focus over the summer and noticed quite a bit of understeer probably due to the worn suspension.

My list of things “to do” is getting longer and longer before the season gets underway.

I just wish it would stop snowing so I can do some work on this car! haha

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