mrhappy
mrhappy HalfDork
6/3/13 9:42 p.m.

So how do I go about finding a good one? What should I expect to pay for an event? Do you have to have a sa rated helmet or will an m class work?

Do I need to do anything to the car besides make sure its running right and better brake pads and fluid?

Anything else I'm missing?

Thanks

Swank Force One
Swank Force One MegaDork
6/3/13 9:45 p.m.

Usually need SA helmet.

grafmiata
grafmiata SuperDork
6/3/13 10:02 p.m.

Depends on who you're running with, but as a minimum... No visible fluid leaks, properly secured battery, no play on the wheels due to worn bearings... Throttle return spring should also be checked.

Oh, and no loose crap under the seats or in the trunk that may have been forgotten about... A couple old french-fries would be acceptable, but an empty Monster can would not.

Gearheadotaku
Gearheadotaku UltraDork
6/3/13 10:22 p.m.

Check NASA and the calender for any track you'd like to drive. Once you know where/ when you're going, contact the organizer about rules/ regs. There are no bad questions. Most groups will have a novice meeting in the morning in addition to the regular drivers meeting.

codrus
codrus Reader
6/3/13 10:41 p.m.

In my experience, there are a few groups that require SA, but Snell M is good enough for most of them. The major difference between them is the fireproof liner, which isn't all that helpful if you're not wearing fireproof gear elsewhere.

Event price varies with the track it's at, I've seen them between $100/day to $350/day.

You want the car to be fully up to date on maintenance. Shocks that aren't blown, good pads, rotors in good shape, fresh brake fluid, ideally something synthetic and high-temp (ATE, Motul, etc). Flushing the coolant and changing the oil before the event is a good idea. Tires should have plenty of tread left on them. Beyond that it kind of depends on what car you're bringing and what track you're going to. A big heavy car with lots of power at a heavy braking track might need something more in the brake department, some other cars might need cooling upgrades, etc.

LopRacer
LopRacer HalfDork
6/3/13 10:57 p.m.

You have some choices in the SE as to group and track choice. Find either the track you want or the group you want to run with and cross reference their schedules. The basics have been covered, make sure your car is solid and up to date on maintenance. Get a decent helmet, an SA rated helmet can be had for less than 300 from most vendors. I cannot speak for all groups but I know NASA-SE has some loaner helmets available although a good helmet in a good investment. Sign up, show up and have fun.

Driven5
Driven5 Reader
6/4/13 1:48 a.m.

Codrus has some good insights. And if you already happen to have a relatively current Snell M helmet, just make sure to sign up with one of the majority of clubs that need nothing nothing more than a Snell M helmet. They'll generally have a list of requirements on their web site available that you can review. That way there would really be no reason for you to rush out to spend the extra money on a Snell SA helmet before your first event. Off hand I can't name an organizer that requires SA, but I'm sure there are a few. When you're ready to start buying dedicated track equipment (rotors, pads, wheels, tires, etc.) a Snell SA helmet starts becoming more easily justified.

I believe a lot of tracks will actually have track days listed on their full detailed calendar as well, and will tell you who is putting on any given event. Most organizing groups will have the information and requirements for the event posted on their web site. Beyond that look at schedules for your local SCCA and NASA chapters, brand specific clubs (which often don't require you to be driving or even own a car from that brand), and other local sports car clubs that may or may not also be affiliated with a larger club. Just about all of the information you should need can generally be found with a little effort online. I would see if any have instructors available as well, sine that could be fairly beneficial.

What a track day will cost is going to depend pretty heavily on the specific track in question, as well as the group hosting it.

ddavidv
ddavidv PowerDork
6/4/13 5:03 a.m.

90% of your answers here: NASA HPDE.

Biggest tech fails we see are battery tie downs. As an instructor, I want to see the same safety gear provided for me that the driver has (seat, belts or harness). I want a student that listens and checks his ego at the track entrance. Famous instructor quote before entering the track: "If you're trying to impress me, you won't. If you're trying to scare me, I already am." Our desire is to help you improve your skills; with this comes increased speed. Trying to do it the opposite way won't get you solo'd but will probably get you a bent up car.

Be aware that once you do it, you'll be hooked into a downward spiral of spending lots of money and spare weekends doing this for the rest of your days.

CGLockRacer
CGLockRacer Dork
6/4/13 6:58 a.m.

Don't be this guy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7iUKaPlBl8

Oldie but still awesome!

wbjones
wbjones PowerDork
6/4/13 8:01 a.m.

all good suggestions ... NASA-SE is a good place to start. they have multiple events through out the south-east, and are great to learn with...

not much from the SCCA in the "upper" south-east .. little Talladega being the exception ( http://forum.etrscca.org/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=7998 )

Jon does a great job with Seat Time ( http://www.seat-time.com/html/main.htm )

and a GRM advertiser ... TrackDaze also do an excellent job ( https://www.trackdaze.com/ )

bcp2011
bcp2011 New Reader
6/4/13 9:12 a.m.

If you haven't found it yet, http://www.motorsportreg.com/ is a great site to get a schedule of the events in the tracks near you. Everything else has pretty much been covered by others.

motomoron
motomoron Dork
6/4/13 10:58 a.m.

NASA, SCCA, Track Daze and most marque clubs - BMWCCA, PCA - are OK w/ a current Snell M helmet.

As an instructor, the most common problems I see are brake related. A Motive pressure bleeder and liters of ATE 200 gold/Super Blue are your friend.

pinchvalve
pinchvalve UltimaDork
6/4/13 11:08 a.m.

FWIW, I ran with NASA a while back, and they had a work/run offer. Work as a track volunteer one day and get 1/2 off running the next. Great way to spend a weekend.

The only comment that I got about car prep (besides what has already been stated) is that I had 5-point harnesses for myself, and when the instructor got in he asked "where's mine?". The passenger seat still had stock seat belts. He was kinda kidding, but it really would have been a nice thing to do.

z31maniac
z31maniac PowerDork
6/4/13 11:18 a.m.

^See I was under the impression you HAD to have equal protection for the instructor. Which is why I didn't mess around and went straight to a pair of fixed backs and harnesses.

docwyte
docwyte HalfDork
6/4/13 3:15 p.m.

Most organizations mandate equal restraint for passenger and driver, so if you have a 5 point, the passenger needs one too.

wbjones
wbjones PowerDork
6/4/13 4:18 p.m.
pinchvalve wrote: FWIW, I ran with NASA a while back, and they had a work/run offer. Work as a track volunteer one day and get 1/2 off running the next. Great way to spend a weekend. The only comment that I got about car prep (besides what has already been stated) is that I had 5-point harnesses for myself, and when the instructor got in he asked "where's mine?". The passenger seat still had stock seat belts. He was kinda kidding, but it really would have been a nice thing to do.

lots of organizations actually require the same level of protection for the instructor as the driver has

edit: docwyte beat me to it ... should have read the rest of the posts before answering

codrus
codrus Reader
6/4/13 4:19 p.m.

Random other thoughts for your first track day, on the "what to bring" topic:

Be prepared for it to be hot, and you're probably going to be standing around in direct sunlight in the paddock for most of the day. Bring sunscreen, lots of water, and a hat! Having a folding chair is convenient as well.

OTOH, it may rain, so bring a jacket. You'll be taking everything out of your car while it's on track and putting it on the ground, so you probably want a tarp to put under/over it to keep it dry.

Consider bringing a spare set of brake pads and a bottle of brake fluid, and whatever tools you'd need to do that. Along with the jack/jackstands, you probably want something to set them on so that they won't sink into sun-heated soft asphalt. Small squares of plywood or sheet metal work well for this. Some other spare automotive fluids might be useful, maybe a quart of oil or some coolant. A tire pressure gauge and a 12v pump for adjusting pressures are a good idea. If you're running street tires, you probably want the pressures higher than they would normally be, to provide some protection against destroying them.

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