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First Track Day - What you NEED to know!

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Old 06-21-09, 08:53 PM   #1
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Default First Track Day - What you NEED to know!

So I spent the weekend at Carolina Motorsport Park on a track known for being very hard on brakes. Some things you'll absolutely want to know for your track day:

1. You'll need to remove everything from your car that isn't attached with a fastener, including the spare, jack, and anything in the glove box. Bring a container with you to hold this stuff.

2. You'll need to get rid of your locking lugs. You're going to be checking torque on your lugs during the day, if you have locking lugs and somehow you manage to lose your key, your day is pretty much over. If there is another Lexus that took you to the track you can borrow lugs from it (Big THANKS to Dave's LS for contributing at the track!)

3. You will absolutely want REAL track pads. I ran Carbotech XP12's in the front and XP10's in the rear. The fronts got hotter than hell itself, but the rears hardly did any work at all. I'll explain more about this later. The F is a heavy car and it's going to use a LOT of pad in the front.

4. Bring REAL brake fluid. Don't go cheap here, buy Motul, Brembo LCF (that's what I ran), or some other quality fluid. Again, the F is a heavy car and it will tax the brakes when you get some speed up. Speedbleeders or Earl's Solo Bleeders will make this job a LOT easier.

5. Bring a floor jack, 21mm 1/2" drive socket, 1/2" drive breaker bar, 1/2" drive torque wrench big enough for 76 ft-lbs, 16 oz hammer (ball peen works well), a 3/16 pin punch, a 13mm wrench and an 11mm wrench for the front brake bridge bolt and the bleeders respectively. A plastic bottle with a 3/16" clear vinyl hose is also handy for bleeding brakes, but not essential. Engine oil IS essential. I burned a quart in the first 120 minutes on track. Mechanic's gloves are a MUST unless you want to put your dirty brake dust covered hands on your F's leather steering wheel. If you are pitted on dirt or grass, you'll also want a piece of wood/plywood to put under the jack to stabilize it and prevent it from sinking.

6. Study the track map. If there are more right turns than left turns, put more pressure in the left front tire. If there are more left turns than right turns, put more pressure in the right front tire. Your rears will likely be OK at stock pressure +1 or +2 psi. At CMP, I needed +5 psi in the left front to get the wear marks off the lettering on the sidewall.

This should be about all you need to do to prepare. You'll also need driving gear sufficient to meet the sponsoring organization's requirements. It can vary a LOT, so be sure to check on helmet requirements and be sure to bring long pants and at least one long sleeved shirt in case they're particular about clothing.

Once you get your instructor in the car and you're ready to get out on the track - TURN OFF THE VSC!!!! You're learning to drive the car, not compensate for the nannies, so turn them off. Also, when you start getting some speed up, the nannies will be persistently flashing at you which means they're hitting the brakes on the car. This means your brakes will overheat (AMHIK) and you'll be entering a slow turn off a fast turn, step on the pedal and have it sink almost to the floor. Again, AMHIK. When you cook the highest temperature rated pads the manufacturer makes, it's pretty clear the brakes aren't getting sufficient opportunity to cool. This was the case at CMP, and I lost my brakes 20 minutes into the fourth half hour session. The pads were bleach white and the paint on the rotor hats was blistering.

Your oil temp will get very hot. Mine got to within one bar from the top of the scale. Fortunately as I got faster over the two days, the oil temp dropped, but still went to 2 bars short of the top. This is why you want to be sure you have a full load of oil and TOP OFF after the first day of a two day event.

You're going to get between 5 and 6 miles per gallon. Get used to it. I killed a full tank of gas in three half hour sessions.

Finally, remove your engine cover (it retains too much heat) and remove the engine cover surrounding the brake fluid reservoir. It won't change anything with the heat, but it surely will make it easier to NOT spill brake fluid all over the engine compartment when you are adding new fluid after bleeding your brakes. Please DON'T AMHIK.

If anyone else has hints or helps for tracking their F's, let's post them here and maybe we can turn this into a sticky for the track junkies.

I hate to say it, but you guys who think you can drive fast on the street are sadly mistaken, and only taking the F for 1/4 mile runs is a shame for such a capable car. I ran bone stock, down to the air filter, and had no trouble passing LOTS of slower drivers - I was also able to stick with the sole GTR there driving onto the back straight into the kink. The F is VERY predictable, and even with low air pressure in the front, it puts in a respectable showing.

Pics to follow. Sorry, no video cam so no video.

Oh, yeah, the F feels FANTASTIC in 100+ mph turns!
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Last edited by lobuxracer; 10-24-11 at 03:51 PM..
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Old 06-21-09, 09:13 PM   #2
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Great tips Lance. Can't wait to see the pics.
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Old 06-22-09, 10:48 AM   #3
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All really good suggestions.

If you are having trouble with your brakes I think it might be time to run some ducting to the front rotors. I don't know of anyone making a brake duct kit but you can make one yourself pretty easily with some high-temp brak ducting and metal zip ties. Getting some fresh air to the brakes will pay huge dividends in cooling them down.

Maybe we should put one together for you guys.....


Also be sure to take care of YOURSELF on track days.

-Get as much rest as possible the night before

-Eat an energy boosting breakfast, but nothing too heavy. Fruit is a great trackday breakfast.

-Bring LOTS of water, gatorade and ice. You have no idea how much sweat you will lose on a trackday, especially during the summer months. If you don't stay hydrated you will get tired or worse, and that's a bad combination when driving at high speeds on a track.

-Buy a fold out chair, a nice cooler and an e-z-up tent if you have the money. Most tracks don't have shaded areas, and keeping out of the sun is a must.

-Bring lunch, leaving to buy food usually doesn't happen, and sometimes there are no refreshments avaialbe at the track.

-Some events require long pants and a long sleeved shirt, if it's hot, bring a pair of shorts and a t-shirt to change into and out-of in the pits, it will help you to cool off in between sessions.

-Bring a hat, gloves, sunglasess, towels, wet wipes and a huge bin to keep all your stuff safe and in one place.

I always prepare with this stuff before a trackday. Lobux covered pretty much all you will need for tools and fluids. With all this, you should gave a fun trackday, and be prepared for small holdups.
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Old 06-22-09, 11:18 AM   #4
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You say turn off the VSC but doesnt it come back on once you start moving past 20...? How do you turn it off permanently?
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Old 06-22-09, 11:52 AM   #5
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Very informative and entertaining read...so what did the front rims look like after all this?...my guess is either flat black from all the dust, or that freshly sandblasted look from the hot metallic particles burning into the finish...what did you do to protect them?...just curious...
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Old 06-22-09, 01:22 PM   #6
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VSC will stay off...You have to hold the traction button down for about 5 seconds.
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Old 06-22-09, 01:46 PM   #7
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Good stuff to read. Track days are the best!
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Old 06-22-09, 04:36 PM   #8
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Wheels looked like this at the end of the weekend:

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Brakes looked like this:

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Yeah, ducting wouldn't hurt anything. The F's splash shields are actually not too bad, but ducting would be ideal for sure, and it wouldn't be too terribly difficult to put some in.

Everything CircuitMS said is dead on the money. I wore cycling shorts under my pants so I could change from long pants to shorts between sessions without having to find a bathroom. We went through a LOT of sunblock and I still burned my neck (?!?) - the wife says it's my redneck tendency coming out. We had a couple of cases of water in a large cooler with lots of ice, and I had nuun tablets to keep my electrolytes up. I drank water like a fish and STILL felt a little dry on track. Temp was 102 degrees on Saturday. I skipped the fourth session on Sunday because I had been getting a really bad headache all day (probably heat stress related) and I was losing mental focus. Despite the offer of a few solo laps, I opted for caution and decided to call it a day before I did something foolish out of exuberance and exhaustion. Glad to drive home in my car with no new dents, dings, or marks I can't remove with a good wash and polish.

I can't say it enough. Get your F out on the track. You'll REALLY love this car.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 06-22-09, 05:26 PM   #9
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Yeah some kind of short undershorts/bicyle shorts is perfect.

Looks like you guys had a blast, wish I could have been out there lapping an F.

I will see what I can do about getting together a simple ducting kit, nothing too complicated. Maybe at least offer the items necessary for a DIY install.
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Old 06-22-09, 05:51 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the tips!!
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Old 06-22-09, 06:46 PM   #11
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What kind of laptimes were you putting up? Any big elevation changes on the track? I'm guessing looking at the track setup, you are talking about turn 10 when you said F was doing 100mph+ turns, that's kinda misleading. It looks similar to turn 4 at Limerock. It's labeled as a "turn" but you apply little steering inputs and barely lift off let alone brake. It's almost as if the owners didn't want to advertise it as a 13-turn track so they added one more "turn".
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Old 06-22-09, 06:54 PM   #12
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where are tracks and 1/4 strips in ny or nj area?
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Old 06-22-09, 07:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kt22cliff View Post
What kind of laptimes were you putting up? Any big elevation changes on the track? I'm guessing looking at the track setup, you are talking about turn 10 when you said F was doing 100mph+ turns, that's kinda misleading. It looks similar to turn 4 at Limerock. It's labeled as a "turn" but you apply little steering inputs and barely lift off let alone brake. It's almost as if the owners didn't want to advertise it as a 13-turn track so they added one more "turn".
No lap times. It's an HPDE, not racing. I honestly couldn't care less what my lap times were. I went to learn about my IS-F. If I wanted to race, I'd join SCCA and drive a real racecar, not a heavy sedan.

AFA turn 10, you're obviously guessing. After you have driven the track make all the comments you like. Until then you might not want to comment about how it looks in your view from the Internet. It's a turn. It requires braking on entry because the F hits 117 out of 9 and definitely will not complete the turn at that speed on the OEM tires. It has a bump at the apex. Mike Skeen was getting through it in his prepared E36 M3 at 112 mph. It is what it is - a turn at over 100 mph if you've got any speed at all.
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Old 06-22-09, 07:31 PM   #14
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Very nice Lobux, I need to bring my *** out to some of these after the show season is over. BTW, have you pulled your plugs to see how the car performed in that heat? And how long are you going to go on that oil cycle, LOL.
I know its said and scary to say but our dragon trip last year my brakes, and the side of my car were covered with dust like yours. That was after a full weekend of driving tho. Not one day. I know no compairson but still some heavy braking and fun.
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Old 06-22-09, 07:32 PM   #15
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You must be the odd ball out b/c EVERYONE wants to know the laptime whether they drive a bone stock with all season tires or fully prepped car with slicks, HPDE or not. You can learn about how to drive your F while that dude sitting to your right can move his thumb everytime you go through start/finish. It's not that hard.

So you knew you were hitting 117 out of turn 9 and the other dude in prepped E36 were hitting 112 at the same turn yet you don't know your laptime? Yeah ok I believe that....

Quote:
Originally Posted by lobuxracer View Post
No lap times. It's an HPDE, not racing. I honestly couldn't care less what my lap times were. I went to learn about my IS-F. If I wanted to race, I'd join SCCA and drive a real racecar, not a heavy sedan.

AFA turn 10, you're obviously guessing. After you have driven the track make all the comments you like. Until then you might not want to comment about how it looks in your view from the Internet. It's a turn. It requires braking on entry because the F hits 117 out of 9 and definitely will not complete the turn at that speed on the OEM tires. It has a bump at the apex. Mike Skeen was getting through it in his prepared E36 M3 at 112 mph. It is what it is - a turn at over 100 mph if you've got any speed at all.
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