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Old 04-01-2008, 03:47 PM   #4
WeeAsp
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Join Date: Jan 2007
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What I Drive: 2002 RED SVT Focus

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Just to wade in on the discussion.

Often, a specific "school" isn't required to get your feet wet.

Porsche (PCA) was mentioned earlier, but also consider the SVT Owners Association (SVTOA), Mercedes Benz, BMW Car Club of America (BMWCCA), Car Guys, NASA and regional track days like Friday at the Track (FATT) - run at Summit Point in WVA.

All of these clubs have seasoned and patient instructors that often move between events and clubs to assist and to get seat time.

Some additional thoughts on track days:

You

Get lots of rest before and during the event. Use the week before to eat right, get lots of sleep, stay away from alcohol

If possible, take the day before the event off from work. This allows more time to get ready and packed without having to rush. You'll be a bundle of nerves anyway, why make it tougher. Go ahead and drive up the night before, even if the track is close to you. Most events have a night-before check-in which will make your 1st morning that much more pleasant. You may also have a chance to meet your instructor the night before, hang out with other attendees

At the event, make sure to keep hydrated... preferably with water or sports drinks

Read as many high performance driving guides as possible such as the High Performance Driving Manual from HSR or others

Come to your first track day with an open mind. You may have a very high performance street car, you may have driven it very fast on highway off ramps but that does not make you track driver. Show up and consider yourself a blank piece of paper that you and your instructor will color in during the day. As I've heard at some beginner driver meetings "check your ego at the front gate". You and your instructor will both have a more enjoyable day.

Your Car

Make sure to have any requried safety inspection completed well in advance of the event. If one is not required, do one anyway!

Have normal maintanence done as well (oil, filters, wheel & tire balancing/rotation, radiator check).

Bring with you extra consumables (oil, water, brake fluid, brake pads)

Toss your cell phone in your back pack and forget about it. If you are a doctor on call, your wife is preganant and due at any moment, or you are needed to fend of a pending alien invasion, then spending your time at an HPDE is probably not the best use of your time. Schedule your event where you won't be interrupted.

More importantly, the phone is off of your person. Things can get really exciting in the car if the phone rings at mid-apex. Worse, if you have the unfortunate experience of having an incident, the phone becomes a missile inside the car.

TURN THE RADIO/CD PLAYER OFF (I have stories about this one)

VISUALLY RECHECK EVERYTHING ON THE CAR PRIOR TO EACH RUN - MAKE THIS A HABIT

I'll post more soon.
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