12 Tips for Endurance Racing Success
Written by The Staff of Motorsport Marketing
From the May 2015 issue
Posted in Features
Wayne Presley, owner of VeryCoolParts.com, has some must-do tips for any endurance race team.
1. Talk with your drivers and remind them that two hours of fast laps are wasted with just one spin, black flag or wreck.
2. Use a checklist to make sure you don’t forget any parts, pieces or tasks.
3. When you arrive at the track, the car needs to be ready to roll off the trailer and onto the circuit. If it needs anything more than that, you are not ready to compete and you should not have made the haul to the track.
4. Put a real fire system in your race car. A handheld fire extinguisher satisfies the rules, but we’d rather be safe than sorry.
5. There’s no excuse for not wearing safety gear. On our team, every driver wears an SFI-rated head and neck protection system or they do not get in the car.
6. Corner-weight the car so you don’t constantly lock one tire under braking. The resulting flat spots cause that wheel to shake and are a source of blow-outs.
7. Have a pitstop plan that spells out what every person needs to accomplish, and remind everyone before each stop.
8. Have real time communication between the pits and the driver. Radios let the driver know when to pit, what lap times they’re running, what the competition is doing, and what hazards await. The drivers can tell the pits if they need to come in, if they’re out of gas, or if the car is behaving oddly. It’s also good for drivers to hear the voice of reason in their ears when things are not going well.
9. Have a backup plan if the radios quit working. Tell each driver when he or she needs to pit, and where the pit board will be displayed if necessary.
10. At a minimum, have a spare set of calipers, rotors, wheels and tires–with tire pressures set–plus any other known failureprone parts for your specific car. You’re already driving a truck and trailer to the track, so why not fill it with spares to keep your car racing?
11. Quick-fill jugs, like the Hunsaker USA products we use, will allow you to spend less time in the pits and more time doing everything else the car needs during a pit stop.
12. Every driver should have a Coolshirt or similar cooling system. Overheated, dehydrated drivers make poor decisions and drive more slowly, even if they don’t exhibit any symptoms of heat exhaustion.
A few additional tips for an overnight race.
Test your driving lights and window tints/shades ahead of time. Don't waste time at the track setting this up. At a 25 Hours of Thunderhill, there was a mad rush to the local Walmart after the night practice. Also, our 4 big driving lights exposed our weak alternator, which we had to change.
Get some unique marker lights for you car ahead of time. All the cars look alike in the dark and it helps your crew track you if you have a unique light on the roof or on the side. Just don't use colors that look like emergency vehicles and nothing flashing.
Having a dedicated cook/food preparer is great. One of our team cooks for a hobby and kept food available for the entire race. Very handy to get a hot meal in the middle of the night when you are dead tired and cold.
I drove in a 10 hr enduro once.
Drove the car to the track. Put my helmet on and ran practice.
Ran the entire race. I drove a total of six, my co driver ran four.
About half way in the race, changed the front tires.
After the race, drove the car home.
Any guesses when and where that was ?
1) Bring a grease board to track things (driver line ups, pit stop responsibilities, anything else).
2) Bring a note pad, take notes on setups for the track, and let each driver write notes about the car. They can tell you something right after they get out of the car; but, you may forget.
3) Bring coolers filled with water, gatorade, and sandwiches. Even if you do have a dedicated cook sometimes they get to drunk and pass out during the whole event. Sandwiches are great alternatives.
4) Have a sense of humor.
5) Don't get the red mist. (The great Mental taught me this)
6) Don't be a dbag driver. If a slower car waves you by on the left, go on the left.
7) Have a plan for everything.
G) refer to rue #4 - remember we're all out there to have fun.
Eat bananas not prunes
Tip: a layer of 95% window tint on the -outside- of the hatch works well for night racing (I forget, did I use two layers of 95% tint? note: get a log book). You need to apply it at least a day before the race, it takes a while for the moisture to drain from under the film. If you do not pre-apply, the tint will peel off even if all the edges are covered with racer tape. It is very easy to remove the tint up to a week after the race. Eventually it bonds and gets a little difficult to scrape off. But if it's on the outside of the window, it is both easier to apply and easier to remove.
Iceracer - I can't guess where or when your race was, but are we starting "can you top this?".
My friend got over enthusiastic with lightening his race car so he removed the front bumper core. He drove his racecar to the event and flattened the front of his Integra to the headers in the morning's sprint race (oops - now he knows why bumpers are a good idea). He used a come-along and a tree to pull the front back into "car shape", installed a spare VW Golf radiator, and moved the one surviving fog light to the center of the hood to balance the lone surviving headlight. He proceded to run the 6 hour enduro solo and then the following day drove the car home from Summit Point to New York.
After that they changed the rules to disallow solo driving for the 6 hour enduro.
Sorry, I don't remember how he placed in the enduro but I was very impressed with the come-along body work and the frankenstein cooling system with no radiator cap (The VW radiator had no cap or filler).
Anyway, a come-along can be a surprisingly useful tool that does not take up that much space in the tool kit.
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