10 Endurance Race Essentials (That They Probably Didn’t Mention in Driver School)

By Staff Writer
Oct 20, 2021 | gear, Safety | Posted in Shop Work , Data & Communication , Safety | From the Feb. 2021 issue | Never miss an article

Photography Credit: Bill Strong

Story by Will Nonnamaker

You’re getting ready to attend your first endurance race, and you think you have everything you need to run the event. The reality is that you probably have everything you need to run the event–as long as it goes perfectly. 

But what did you forget that will solve an emergency or just make the weekend smoother? Here are 10 things to add to the packing list.

1. Deep-Well Impact Sockets

Photography Credit: J.G. Pasterjak

We constantly see teams trying to mount and dismount wheels using a standard socket. At first, yes, a regular, short socket might work, but eventually you’re going to start stripping the lug nuts. And after several torquings, that regular socket is going to crack. Invest in a heavy-duty, deep-well impact socket set for the weekend. Oh, and grab some extra lug nuts, too, because you’re going to lose some along the way. 

2. Shelves

There’s only so much space in the pits, so having a place to store all of your stuff is crucial. We use a shelving unit that features a locking door and wheels. This allows you to pre-inventory your pit items into the shelving, then simply roll it out of the trailer and to the pits. If you don’t have the space in your trailer for this type of shelf, then may we suggest a collapsible, origami-type shelving unit. 

3. Spare Radiator

Photography Credit: Chris Tropea

It’s expensive to invest in big-ticket spares, but an extra radiator is a must. This is the one item that is more than likely to get damaged, even in a minor altercation–and finding a spare at the track is never easy. Our suggestion is to install a brand-new radiator (with new hoses) and then keep the used setup as a spare.

4. Bear Bond Vinyl

Every team carries duct tape to the track, but this old standby doesn’t always work for major repairs. Invest in several sheets of Bear Bond vinyl, the same material you’ve seen NASCAR teams use. It’s perfect for securing broken latches, filling major holes in bodywork, and dealing with triage repairs. 

5. Spare Hood Pins

Photography Credit: J.G. Pasterjak

You’re guaranteed to lose many, many hood pins over time, so it’s amazing how often teams show up to the track without extras. Having spare pins will save you lost time in the pits.

6. Extra Pit Radio

Photography Credit: Chris Tropea

Having an extra radio in the pits can be a very expensive investment for a team, but nothing spells doom for your race weekend like losing communication. You don’t have to invest in a spare headset; just get one additional radio and make sure it’s tuned to your frequency. Before the green flag flies, ensure that it’s charged up, too. 

7. Pit Cart

Photography Credit: Chris Tropea

Get a small cart, but big enough to hold at least four 5-gallon jugs. This will be the perfect size to also tote around tires, tools and the like. The kind with collapsible sides for easy storage seems to work best. Not only will having a cart save everyone’s backs, but your team won’t waste time making multiple trips, especially to the gas pumps.

8. Brake Bleeder

Most endurance weekends are dual events, and after day one–even if your brake pads or rotors don’t need to be changed–you’re going to have to bleed your brakes. Purchase a proper brake bleeder bottle and hose. You don’t want to be the team bleeding brakes at midnight with an empty Coke bottle and surgical tubing from a CVS pharmacy. (Also, before you leave for the track, make sure your caliper bleeder valves aren’t frozen shut.)

9. Pit Board

Take the time before a race to make a simple pit board. This will help your driver find your pit stall, and if radio communication fails, it will become your sole way to reach the driver from the pits. 

Go slightly big with your sign surface; a 2x2-foot piece of cardboard will work. Spray paint it in a very distinctive, bright color, and perhaps add a big logo that will catch your driver’s eye. Finally, attach the sign to a wooden broomstick with two–not just one–wire ties.

10. Cash

Yes, cash, because you never know when you’re going to need it–maybe to buy something from a vendor, from a fellow competitor or from the local salvage yard. Cash always works no matter what emergency you get into.

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View comments on the GRM forums
TR7 (Forum Supporter)
TR7 (Forum Supporter) Reader
1/21/21 1:58 p.m.

Wasnt this one of the boxsters that caused a bit of a kerfuffle in champar? I guess you can add rulebook and protest forms to your list... 

DirtyBird222 PowerDork
1/21/21 3:40 p.m.

Here's a better list:

1) Tools

2) Coolers

3) Spare parts critical to your car

4) Spare wheels/tires

5) Food and Beer

350z247 New Reader
1/22/21 7:54 a.m.

I'd love to see GRM take on the new 4 hour TREC enduros that NASA just introduced. I think it would be fun to see a full breakdown of how sprint racers could transition to enduros. What lasts for 30 minutes may not last for four hours...

Bill Strong
Bill Strong New Reader
1/22/21 1:10 p.m.

In reply to TR7 (Forum Supporter) :

No, it wasn't.

Bill Strong
Bill Strong New Reader
1/22/21 1:14 p.m.
350z247 said:

I'd love to see GRM take on the new 4 hour TREC enduros that NASA just introduced. I think it would be fun to see a full breakdown of how sprint racers could transition to enduros. What lasts for 30 minutes may not last for four hours...

That's a good idea. ChampCar has had a large number of SCCA and NASA sprint racers come over to ChampCar over the past 12 years with good success. Of course, their first races were eye-opening due to many things like speed differential, not using up the tires in the first stint, and not being so aggressive in their passing in corners. But once they settle down, they have done quite well. Nothing beats the seat time though. That's what makes ChampCar so much fun.

HoserRacing HalfDork
1/22/21 1:24 p.m.

Agree with Bill.  That's one of the things that makes the guy that can run consistent & clean lap times sometimes more valuable than the guy that can turn super fast laps...but uses up the car.  Champcar was a great place for me to learn endurance racing and make a lot of friends and contacts.  Their series has evolved over the last few years into a very competitive place to race.  I split my time personally between Champcar and WRL, and can only say positive things about both.  They each have their strong points, but at the end of the day, it's the camaraderie and competition that make both of these great events.  

350z247 New Reader
1/22/21 7:14 p.m.

I'd love to try some enduros, but I like the idea of starting with 4 hours. Plus, the even lower cost loss is nice if the car can't go the distance. ChampCar, WRL, and AER all look super enticing.

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