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Old 08-09-2012, 09:27 AM   #1
Pinarello Rider
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HPDE in Focus?

I just got my 2012 Focus SE and I'm hoping to get to an HPDE in the spring here in lovely VA. I got the sport package so the rear brakes are of a disk orientation, but I plan to add a set of 17's with a track oriented tire (probably some kind of high perf summer tire). Are there any other considerations I need particular to this car? I have had a couple of days with other higher perf cars on the track that were already set up for track time, and want to make sure I don't damage anything. I know enough to know that I'm not a very good driver (20 minutes in the passenger seat of a Noble with an experienced driver can open one's eyes pretty effing wide)

Do I need an alignment, or anything like that? Anything guaranted to break after 15min of hard driving? Any recommendations like "track pads would be good, but not necessary"?

Thanks in advance. I'm really interested in info from people who have track experience because there is no substitute for it.


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Old 08-09-2012, 09:56 PM   #2
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Dot 4 brake fluid and hawk, or equivalent, brake pads. A good set of tires would help a lot. I would recommend a dedicated set of wheels/tires. I also wouldn't mess with the suspension right away unless you are having issues. Get started and make changes as your experience dictates.
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Old 08-10-2012, 07:35 AM   #3
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Good idea on the brake fluid. I figured brake pads and wheels/tires - on top of the OBVIOUS stuff like go-fast stickers and a sub in the trunk. I'm good picking out tires, but the rims is what gets me. I don't want to spend a ton of money on dedicated rims, but finding the right offset and boltpattern is greek to me. And I don't speak Greek. I know the tirerack is a great place to shop, but I'd prefer used.
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Old 08-10-2012, 07:48 AM   #4
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See if you can find some used stock focus rims, that may be the cheapest , also I would consider 16” rims. 16” tires tend to be less expensive.
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Old 08-10-2012, 08:04 AM   #5
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Will previous generation Focus rims fit? I suppose I should use the search function for that.

I'm thinking I might go up an inch for the handling gains. I'm all about saving money, but I'll appreciate the difference. That being said, if I can find a set of rims for a song and a dance, that might be the deciding factor.

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See if you can find some used stock focus rims, that may be the cheapest , also I would consider 16 rims. 16 tires tend to be less expensive.
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Old 08-10-2012, 09:44 AM   #6
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If you make sure the car is in good working order beforehand, just go out there and have fun; be safe and set some time aside afterwards to do fluid changes and go back over the car.

If you plan on beating on the car, fresh fluids and faster change intervals are going to prevent/prolong internal wear from extended driving with overheated or dirty fluids.
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Old 08-10-2012, 10:43 AM   #7
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I'm a stickler for maintaining my things, so I am positive it will be going to the track in good order.

Given my previous forrays onto the track, I expect to be expending more energy trying to drive smoothly than anything else, but going back over the car afterwards is good advice. Good rubber and driver education are probably the two most important "go fast and go safe" improvements one can make, I suppose. I've always thought the best modification a driver can make with $500 is a day at the track with an instructor.

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If you make sure the car is in good working order beforehand, just go out there and have fun; be safe and set some time aside afterwards to do fluid changes and go back over the car.

If you plan on beating on the car, fresh fluids and faster change intervals are going to prevent/prolong internal wear from extended driving with overheated or dirty fluids.
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Old 08-10-2012, 12:47 PM   #8
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The previous gen Focus rims won't fit. The Bolt pattern is different. Find a good tire shop that sells used rims. The bolt pattern of some previous gen Lincoln, Ford, Volvo, and Jaguar fit the MKIII Focus (5X108). I used Volvo (S40) rims for my winter wheels.

I wouldn't worry about the 16's vs 17's unless you are planning on upgrading the rotors to ones that won't fit on a 16 inch wheel. If you are going to go through rubber, smaller wheels are better. They should be lighter too. If you pick a good tire, I wouldn't worry.
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Old 08-11-2012, 10:33 AM   #9
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also depending on how hot it is you might want to switch out your power steering fluid. i havent raced the focus on a road course but in my mustang after about 15 minutes in 90+ heat my steering started getting pretty damn heavy bc the fluid was boiling
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Old 08-11-2012, 04:23 PM   #10
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HPS pads, Ford Heavy Duty brake fluid (if you're going to be changing fluid requently might as well save a couple of bucks), and SS brake lines (not needed right away, but make a big difference, at least on older cars).
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