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Jerry
Jerry UltraDork
4/5/16 9:13 a.m.

I finally did it. I finally committed to getting out on a track, in my own car. I paid my $125 (using the Koni $25 discount) and the date is on my calendar.

I have to admit I'm slightly nervous about being on a track, wheel-to-wheel so to speak. Yes, I'm sure it's quite different from real club racing, etc. but there's still a chance of contact greater than any SOLO/rallycross. Not so much worried about my own driving, especially with an instructor sitting next to me. If I were out on my own...I'd be more concerned. Forza 6 is pretty forgiving if I hit a wall, the Abarth not so much.

But I have to trust my abilities, and the other drivers. The program sounds like it's pretty safe, but there's always that chance. Yes, I know people say don't track it if you can't afford to stuff it and walk away. But I have to think there's room for someone like me.

So here goes nothing. So far at least one SOLO friend is going to the same event, hoping to convince a few more. Depending on what shows up, I might not be passing very many in the Abarth but I'll still have a big smile on my face.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
4/5/16 9:21 a.m.

You will have fun.

Some quickie advice:

Keep things within your own limits: The Formula 1 teams are likely not scouting that day.

Breathe: Remember to occasionally wiggle your fingers and take some deep breaths.

Look ahead: The car will go where your eyes tell it to go.

Have fun.

calteg
calteg Dork
4/5/16 9:21 a.m.

Success is how you define it. HPDE's are not races, no one gets on podium afterwards. For you, success may be going home with your limbs and car intact afterwards. Trust me, the adrenaline dump after your first track day will have you feeling like a champion regardless.

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
4/5/16 9:22 a.m.

These events are well run, and very safe. Stay within yourself, listen to your instructor, and have fun! These events were designed with people like you in mind--- so enjoy!

akylekoz
akylekoz Reader
4/5/16 9:26 a.m.

HPDE's place you in run groups based on experience. You will be running with like minded individuals. Everyone is in the same boat , no one wants their car wrecked. The only time you get close to another car is in designated passing areas and even then you can only pass after given the point by the other driver, on a straight section. From my experience the only way to damage your car is if you are driving way above your skill level. Track days are not racing they are learning experiences. Take it easy until you learn the track, then take baby steps. It a lot of fun first and foremost.

mapper
mapper Reader
4/5/16 9:39 a.m.

Jerry, I'll be doing my first one this month also and I have the same concerns but from what everyone has said it should be very safe. I did go ahead and spring for the insurance through Lockton. My car is too new not to have a fallback.

JohnRW1621
JohnRW1621 MegaDork
4/5/16 9:59 a.m.

Which event and where?

The Q45 needs someplace to stretch out and continue to amaze.

paranoid_android74
paranoid_android74 Dork
4/5/16 10:05 a.m.
Jerry wrote: I finally did it. I finally committed to getting out on a track, in my own car. I paid my $125 (using the Koni $25 discount) and the date is on my calendar. I have to admit I'm slightly nervous about being on a track, wheel-to-wheel so to speak. Yes, I'm sure it's quite different from real club racing, etc. but there's still a chance of contact greater than any SOLO/rallycross. Not so much worried about my own driving, especially with an instructor sitting next to me. If I were out on my own...I'd be more concerned. Forza 6 is pretty forgiving if I hit a wall, the Abarth not so much. But I have to trust my abilities, and the other drivers. The program sounds like it's pretty safe, but there's always that chance. Yes, I know people say don't track it if you can't afford to stuff it and walk away. But I have to think there's room for someone like me. So here goes nothing. So far at least one SOLO friend is going to the same event, hoping to convince a few more. Depending on what shows up, I might not be passing very many in the Abarth but I'll still have a big smile on my face.

I'll be living vicariously through your experience!

I'd love to do this this year, but I don't know if I will be ready, much less my car

Don't get me wrong, the desire is very much there. But it really is a pretty big deal. Maybe it's just a matter of taking a deep breath and taking the plunge!

Jerry
Jerry UltraDork
4/5/16 10:07 a.m.

In reply to JohnRW1621:

We went with Putnam Park in IN for the July date, 19th I believe. That and June were the only two we matched schedules and the June weekend before is my birthday, already taking off the two days prior.

I did the Abarth Driving Experience year before last, got someone ELSE's Abarth on the track in Joliet IL. It was great fun, but I knew it wasn't my car.

I plan to be the dutiful driver and student, and have a berkeleying great evening.

iceracer
iceracer PowerDork
4/5/16 10:08 a.m.

I had run track days for 12 years at 5 different tracks. I can recall seeing two wrecks, both from overdriving. Never saw any contact.

My race was always with me, learning the track and how to drive it. On familiar tracks such as Lime Rock I just enjoy the day of driving fast and seeing if I can improve.

All of the guys above give good advice. You are not racing anybody. Have fun.

JohnRW1621
JohnRW1621 MegaDork
4/5/16 10:18 a.m.

Putnam Park in IN.
5 hour trip for me. Not likely. I was hoping it was somewhere between you and me.

KyAllroad
KyAllroad UltraDork
4/5/16 10:27 a.m.

Shoot, browser ate my response.

"Night" is a little bit of a misnomer. July between 3pm and 6pm will be berkeleying HOT! Be aware that three 20 minute sessions will be enough to boil you and your car. Tires will get greasy, brakes will get spongy. Expect that going in so you aren't surprised. It's not a bad thing, just something to be aware of. The prize at an HPDE is driving home unbent.

Nothing wrong with the novice group first time out.

If you're used to autocross, TNIA is more casual, more relaxed, and more responsibility is on you to take care of yourself. You do your own tech. You get yourself to the grid at the right time. You decide if you've had enough track time and call it quits early. The training wheels are definitely off.

Have fun, it's a blast!

Jerry
Jerry UltraDork
4/5/16 10:41 a.m.

In reply to KyAllroad:

Definitely signed up for the novice group lol.

I'm curious about the insurance. The link won't give me a $ without completing including VIN which I drove Subarust today. Anyone have a ballpark? I'd consider something cheao like $50 for peace of mind, much more than that I'll go with my ability to not overdrive and pay attention.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
4/5/16 10:43 a.m.

Look at it this way, it's safer than driving on the street. The most dangerous part will be going to and from the track.

DeadSkunk
DeadSkunk UltraDork
4/5/16 10:51 a.m.
JohnRW1621 wrote: Putnam Park in IN. 5 hour trip for me. Not likely. I was hoping it was somewhere between you and me.

Are there no track sessions at Mid-Ohio? Or, you could try a open track day at Waterford Hills. I'd come watch/instruct.

WildScotsRacing
WildScotsRacing Reader
4/5/16 11:54 a.m.

I'm going to chime in with car prep. New pads and rotors (Stoptech Sport pads with Centric 120 series solid rotors should do very well for you. !00% flush, or have flushed, the brake fluid with a good track oriented brake fluid such as ATE Type 200, or Stoptech STR-600 (probably the best deal). Flush every fluid on the car and refill with 100% new. Done.

JohnRW1621
JohnRW1621 MegaDork
4/5/16 12:27 p.m.

In reply to DeadSkunk:

That's a great offer!
This program is not at MidOhio but others are.

I'll look deeper into Waterford.

paranoid_android74
paranoid_android74 Dork
4/5/16 12:58 p.m.
DeadSkunk wrote:
JohnRW1621 wrote: Putnam Park in IN. 5 hour trip for me. Not likely. I was hoping it was somewhere between you and me.

Are there no track sessions at Mid-Ohio? Or, you could try a open track day at Waterford Hills. I'd come watch/instruct.

I'd be in for Waterford Hills too, spectating of course.

Danny Shields
Danny Shields Reader
4/5/16 12:58 p.m.

More advice: Fresh brake fluid and a good brake bleeding. It is very unsettling when the pedal hits the floor.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
4/5/16 1:00 p.m.
Danny Shields wrote: More advice: Fresh brake fluid and a good brake bleeding. It is very unsettling when the pedal hits the floor.

With DOT4 or DOT5.1...once you start doing any kind of performance driving, you should consider DOT3 to be obsolete.

WingZombie
WingZombie New Reader
4/5/16 2:32 p.m.
DeadSkunk wrote:
JohnRW1621 wrote: Putnam Park in IN. 5 hour trip for me. Not likely. I was hoping it was somewhere between you and me.

Are there no track sessions at Mid-Ohio? Or, you could try a open track day at Waterford Hills. I'd come watch/instruct.

I run Mid-Ohio with AutoInterests. They are a solid bunch. Jason and Sarah run a tight ship with good instructors. I'll be running with them in June and September. Come run with us Mini's, we love having other "little guys" on the track with us. http://autointerests.com/

I should add that they run a cool "Acclimation" program for new folks. It's only $75 and while you aren't running at full speed, it teaches a lot. Since it's only a partial day, you can add track time onto for the second half of the day if you want. If you're on this site, most of it is stuff you probably already know, the theory, but it gives you a chance to see it and apply it on a racing surface.

BlueInGreen44
BlueInGreen44 Dork
4/5/16 2:45 p.m.
WingZombie wrote: I should add that they run a cool "Acclimation" program for new folks. It's only $75 and while you aren't running at full speed, it teaches a lot. Since it's only a partial day, you can add track time onto for the second half of the day if you want. If you're on this site, most of it is stuff you probably already know, the theory, but it gives you a chance to see it and apply it on a racing surface.

That sounds like exactly what I'd want to start with.

I'm looking forward to the day I'm nervous about my first track event.

mapper
mapper Reader
4/5/16 6:11 p.m.

In reply to Jerry: Re. Insurance: For my agreed upon value, which I set pretty high to cover the replacement of my new car, plus having a limited amount of track experience, it came out to around $150. That probably sounds like a lot to most folks but I factored it in to the total price of "fun" time and made sure I had the money saved to cover the whole thing. I sure as hell don't want to use the insurance but I think I'll be more relaxed not worrying about the worst that could happen the whole time I'm there. If I was using a car that was not my daily driver or the financial hit would not be bad if I wadded it up, I would do without.

mazdeuce
mazdeuce PowerDork
4/5/16 7:21 p.m.

The biggest difference with track driving is that you have a lot more stuff to pay attention to. The track is the easy part. You also have to watch the flag stations, the start line flagger, the people in front of you, and for the love of all that is holy, the people behind you. All of this is happening while you have an instructor trying to talk you through things. It can be overwhelming is the same way that your first autocross was overwhelming.
It's a blast.

Trackmouse
Trackmouse Dork
4/5/16 7:38 p.m.

Overfill the crankcase a bit for sustained G's, oil starvation sucks.

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