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So I just signed up for my first track event...

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Old 10-18-12, 09:27 PM   #1
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Default So I just signed up for my first track event...

My car has over six years and 67K miles on it, and I've been wanting to track it since around two years and 20K... Finally happening. It's a performance driving course with eight 25-minute track sessions.

Anyone have any tips for me? Especially car maintenance tips. Should I expect my tires (only 4-5K miles on all four) to be shot by the end of this? I'm thinking I'm probably going to go there with mostly factory components as far as brakes, coolant, oil, etc go. Speaking of brakes, I think my rotors are probably within about .4mm (~15%) of needing replacement. I hear this track (Motorsport Ranch here in North Texas) isn't too hard on brakes, though. I'm also really hoping to get the F-Sport sway bars installed before I do it, too. At least the rear.

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(It'll be the long version, ~3.1 miles)
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"Extras": Sapphire Black AME Tracer FS-01's, 18x8.5" & 18x9.0" | Tein CS coilovers with EDFC | F-Sport Sway Bars | FIGS 90-durometer front LCA bushings | HKS Hi-Power exhaust | Joe-Z intake pipe | GFX front lip | Red-out tail lights | Huper Optik 30% all around | Vaistech SLI iPod integration
Next up: Just some paint and body work, and then she is COMPLETE

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Old 10-18-12, 11:52 PM   #2
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Here you go:

http://www.clublexus.com/forums/road...d-to-know.html

CLIFF NOTES:

BEFORE EVENT:

Check tires, brakes, rotors. Replace brake fluid! Make sure your car doesn't have any leaks.

DAY OF EVENT:

Bring essential fluids (oil, brake fluid, coolant), tools
Bring extra brake pads and/or rotors
Food, drinks, chairs, EZ up tent for shade
Have fun!

AFTER EVENT:

Check brakes, tires
Replace Engine, tranny, diff oil
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Old 10-19-12, 08:17 AM   #3
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Thanks for the info. Hmmm... I don't see any mention of diff or tranny oil in there. Also, I don't think the IS even has any tranny or diff fluid changes in the maintenance schedule and doesn't make it very possible/easy to make those changes. Are you sure that's necessary? And do I not need to also replace brake fluid after?
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"Extras": Sapphire Black AME Tracer FS-01's, 18x8.5" & 18x9.0" | Tein CS coilovers with EDFC | F-Sport Sway Bars | FIGS 90-durometer front LCA bushings | HKS Hi-Power exhaust | Joe-Z intake pipe | GFX front lip | Red-out tail lights | Huper Optik 30% all around | Vaistech SLI iPod integration
Next up: Just some paint and body work, and then she is COMPLETE
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Old 10-19-12, 08:46 AM   #4
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do the organizers make you do an inspection at an SAE mechanic? I know for Driver's Edge in TX they have a form which has a checklist of what they want you to check and have signed off by an SAE mechanic. Lof of what you mentioned would be covered.
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Old 10-19-12, 08:52 AM   #5
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You should get a Go Pro to record your laps or just put your phone in between your headrest and seat.
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Old 10-19-12, 08:53 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SRTGS300 View Post
You should get a Go Pro to record your laps or just put your phone in between your headrest and seat.
Yeah, I think I'm going to be borrowing a friend's Go Pro HD Hero 2... Although his battery is starting to lose capacity.


Quote:
Originally Posted by 4TehNguyen View Post
do the organizers make you do an inspection at an SAE mechanic? I know for Driver's Edge in TX they have a form which has a checklist of what they want you to check and have signed off by an SAE mechanic. Lof of what you mentioned would be covered.
Driver's Edge is actually the program I'm going through. They haven't yet mentioned anything, but I think they send an email with more info about a month before the event (which is kind of BS since if you want a full refund, you have to cancel a month before).

Have you done one of the HPDE's with Driver's Edge before? At that track by chance?
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Factory options: Luxury Package | Nav & ML
"Extras": Sapphire Black AME Tracer FS-01's, 18x8.5" & 18x9.0" | Tein CS coilovers with EDFC | F-Sport Sway Bars | FIGS 90-durometer front LCA bushings | HKS Hi-Power exhaust | Joe-Z intake pipe | GFX front lip | Red-out tail lights | Huper Optik 30% all around | Vaistech SLI iPod integration
Next up: Just some paint and body work, and then she is COMPLETE
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Old 10-19-12, 09:14 AM   #7
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I did it at Texas World Speedway in College Station. I really enjoyed it, learned a lot, a ton of cars show up also. My IS had only 7k miles back then so they exempted me from the inspection. I replaced my tires at 15k. So during this even I probably lost about 10k worth of life. They are going to tell you this at the track but the biggest fundamentals to pick up on are smooth control of the wheel, and do not brake during a turn. If you start jerking the wheel around the car will not respond well and if you brake in a turn instead of before you will definately feel a loss of control and grip. At TWS after going 120-130 on the main straight, I braked in a turn and the whole car started to shake violently. It was frightening. Luckily I just let go of the brake and the car stabilized. Instructor told me "see, this is why you dont brake in a turn" I was there in June/July of 07, its been a while.

tech inspection form:
http://www.thedriversedge.net/lib/pd...eet%202010.pdf
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Old 10-19-12, 11:47 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RocketGuy3 View Post
Anyone have any tips for me?
I took my IS F to a High Performance Driving Event (HPDE) at Sears Point (now called Sonoma) Raceway north of San Francisco on August 3 through a company called Hooked On Driving (HOD). This amounted to five 25-minute sessions with a coach riding along. Hereís some stuff I learned that might be helpful to you.

Mechanical Safety
HOD did require a certified safety inspection of the cars. If a car starts spewing fluids or nuts and bolts and parts all over the track, very dangerous conditions are created for the cars behind. They also donít want you to crash because of worn tires or brake pads.

My car had 15,400 miles and had just completed the $15K service / inspection at Lexus. So I knew (documented) the factory tires and pads were still at about 90%. The day before the event, I checked fluid levels and set tire pressures evenly and about 2 lb. above normal. I also replaced the locking lug nuts with a normal ones (so I could more-easily check and re-torque the lug nuts as needed between track sessions) and checked that all the lug nuts were torqued to the correct value with evenly-matched torque settings on all nuts (to prevent warping of brake rotors.) Lug-nut torque should be set with the weight off the wheel (i.e. jacked up).

With my inspections and the Lexus $15K service report as back up, I self-certified my car and they accepted that.

I brought a bunch of brake fluid and engine oil and kept on eye on everything after each of the sessions. I did not use any of it and took it all back for a refund.

A Skip Barber instructor suggested that a track day like this is equivalent to about 1500 miles of normal driving. Not sure how true that is.

Since this was my first track day in my own car, I took it bone stock (right down to the brake fluid) to the track to establish a baseline. Based on this, I could determine what mods may be needed for any future such events. The only problem I had was headroom with a helmet on. Iím 6í 3Ē and with the helmet, I had to recline the driverís seat quite a bit to fit. (The coach even mentioned that I was not in the optimal sitting position.) Not sure what to do about that but an upholstery shop suggested replacing the seat bottom cushion with thinner, higher density foam to get a couple more inches. So far, thatís the only mod Iím considering. (I could maybe replace the entire seat, but I really like the seat in the IS F.) Maybe sticker tires at some point. YMMV.

Insurance
You should understand your liabilities in case of a problem. If you put your car into a wall while driving on a track, your normal insurance may or may not cover the loss and may or may not drop you. Iíve even heard stories of people losing their insurance just for asking their agent if track events are covered.

HOD is careful to call this a HPDE and not a race. They do not allow racing (they have strict passing rules that vary by your level of experience) and even frown on timing your laps. I assume this is for insurance purposes and to keep everything sane and under control.

For my HPDE, I purchased one-day track insurance from an independent company. For my $60K Lexus, this costs about $375 for the day. The HOD HPDE itself was $350, so this doubled the expense.

How to drive at the limit
Presumably youíll be coached on this at the event. Prior to (and after) you might want to read up on the subject. I recommend Going Faster! Mastering the Art of Race Driving by the Skip Barber Racing School. Also, you might check this web site: http://www.drivingfast.net

Have Fun
Remember this is not a race. Have fun, get better on each lap and bring you and the car home undamaged.

Video
I have a ways to go before I start worrying about track timing, etc. so I did not rent the video equipment. I did buy some the professional pictures, though.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 10-19-12, 01:33 PM   #9
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Besides the brakes and engine oil, you probably don't have to worry about the car all that much--although the tips everyone has already given are good ideas. Your car is still pretty new. Look what I used to go out in:

Click the image to open in full size.


7000 RPM--135MPH--no windows--hoping nothing breaks!!!

Click the image to open in full size.


That was the most fun I've ever had with my pants on.

Do bring lots of water and Gatorade--hydration is crucial. I used to drink at least one bottle of each immediately after each session, and drink even more as time allowed between sessions. And you will be EXHAUSTED at the end of the day. I was lucky that my wife was willing to drive the truck/trailer home--I think I passed out 15 minutes after we got on the highway.

Man, I can't wait to get my car back on the track.

Hope you have fun,

Mark
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Old 10-19-12, 01:38 PM   #10
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^^^
Thanks for the tips, Mark and Terry! The insurance issue is something I was thinking about... I'm skeptical that Geico would cover this.

If this was the equivalent of only 1500 miles, I'd consider that pretty good. I was thinking it'd be more like ~5000 miles. As TehNguyen pointed out, he may have lost about 10K in his tires (although those and the brakes are probably the two hardest-hit parts).

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4TehNguyen View Post
I did it at Texas World Speedway in College Station. I really enjoyed it, learned a lot, a ton of cars show up also. My IS had only 7k miles back then so they exempted me from the inspection. I replaced my tires at 15k. So during this even I probably lost about 10k worth of life. They are going to tell you this at the track but the biggest fundamentals to pick up on are smooth control of the wheel, and do not brake during a turn. If you start jerking the wheel around the car will not respond well and if you brake in a turn instead of before you will definately feel a loss of control and grip. At TWS after going 120-130 on the main straight, I braked in a turn and the whole car started to shake violently. It was frightening. Luckily I just let go of the brake and the car stabilized. Instructor told me "see, this is why you dont brake in a turn" I was there in June/July of 07, its been a while.

tech inspection form:
http://www.thedriversedge.net/lib/pd...eet%202010.pdf
Thanks for that link, I'll check it out.

The brake-before-turning thing is something I learned a long while ago from my extensive Forza racing experience. It's really a pretty good rule even for day-to-day driving. I suspect it's a mistake I might instinctively make once or twice on the track before I learn better, though.
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Factory options: Luxury Package | Nav & ML
"Extras": Sapphire Black AME Tracer FS-01's, 18x8.5" & 18x9.0" | Tein CS coilovers with EDFC | F-Sport Sway Bars | FIGS 90-durometer front LCA bushings | HKS Hi-Power exhaust | Joe-Z intake pipe | GFX front lip | Red-out tail lights | Huper Optik 30% all around | Vaistech SLI iPod integration
Next up: Just some paint and body work, and then she is COMPLETE
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Old 10-19-12, 06:41 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RocketGuy3 View Post
Thanks for the info. Hmmm... I don't see any mention of diff or tranny oil in there. Also, I don't think the IS even has any tranny or diff fluid changes in the maintenance schedule and doesn't make it very possible/easy to make those changes. Are you sure that's necessary? And do I not need to also replace brake fluid after?
If you boil your brake fluid during the track event, I suggest you replace it. If you don't, I wouldn't worry about it until suggested maintenance.

When my friend used to autox regularly, he would replace his tranny/diff oil after 2-3 events. He is a little more OCD than me. In autox, you rarely go more than 60 sec per run. You're doing 8 x 25 min sessions of high rpm driving, which can degrade the oil quicker.

I use synthetic gear oil in my tranny and diff, and I've only done autoxes lately, so I can get away with replacing it once a year.
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Old 10-19-12, 07:02 PM   #12
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Ah, I see. Well thanks for the tip.

One other thing I just remembered that I was a bit worried about is the offset on my wheels. They're not stock. The rear wheels are offset about 19mm wider than stock IIRC, and the front about 3 mm narrower than stock. Could that cause problems?

... Man I was so pumped when I registered for the course, but now I keep thinking of all these little things I'll have to worry about, heh.
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Factory options: Luxury Package | Nav & ML
"Extras": Sapphire Black AME Tracer FS-01's, 18x8.5" & 18x9.0" | Tein CS coilovers with EDFC | F-Sport Sway Bars | FIGS 90-durometer front LCA bushings | HKS Hi-Power exhaust | Joe-Z intake pipe | GFX front lip | Red-out tail lights | Huper Optik 30% all around | Vaistech SLI iPod integration
Next up: Just some paint and body work, and then she is COMPLETE
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Old 10-19-12, 10:25 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RocketGuy3 View Post
One other thing I just remembered that I was a bit worried about is the offset on my wheels. They're not stock. The rear wheels are offset about 19mm wider than stock IIRC, and the front about 3 mm narrower than stock. Could that cause problems?

... Man I was so pumped when I registered for the course, but now I keep thinking of all these little things I'll have to worry about, heh.
This kind of track event will seriously stress your car, so there are a lot of details to think about. I am assuming that you are doing this because you want to drive as fast as possible, so...

My advice is to take care of all the details you can think of(within reason) between now and the event. Whether or not they will actually help is not important--if it will ease your mind, then do it. You need to have faith in your vehicle, because you need to be thinking about what you are doing on the track--and not be distracted by thoughts of things breaking or wearing out. I don't think you will be pushing your car hard enough at your FIRST track event to break anything, but IF you are planning to really push yourself (or if you think you are Sebastian Vettel), then you have to accept the (very slight) possibilty of towing your car home, if you cannot accept this possibility--don't even go. Or go and just be content to drive at 5/10ths for now, then if nothing breaks push harder next time.

Remember, the point is to have FUN. Do whatever you have to to keep it FUN.

Mark
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Old 10-19-12, 10:48 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RocketGuy3 View Post
Ah, I see. Well thanks for the tip.

One other thing I just remembered that I was a bit worried about is the offset on my wheels. They're not stock. The rear wheels are offset about 19mm wider than stock IIRC, and the front about 3 mm narrower than stock. Could that cause problems?

... Man I was so pumped when I registered for the course, but now I keep thinking of all these little things I'll have to worry about, heh.
Without really seeing your setup and just going by what you printed, your car might push, or understeer (front end plows), more in corners.

This is OK because you can let off the throttle and it will bring the front back in line.

Oversteering (loose rear end) is a little more tricky. You have to be ready with the steering wheel.

Just remember to have fun!
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Old 10-20-12, 08:23 AM   #15
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Yeah, Mark, I understand. Problem is I tend to be a bigger worrier than most... while simultaneously being lazy. It's a bad combo.

Maybe I should get a professional mechanic/tuner to install my sway bars rather than doing it myself since I've already noticed it's going to be difficult for me to reach some of the bolts and torque them properly... and I'm probably going to want everything torqued to spec if I track my car.

At least the good news is that in these 6+ years, Xandra has never given me any real problems whatsoever (knock on wood) that I didn't cause myself. I take good care of her, and it certainly doesn't hurt that Lexus knows how to build a damn solid car. So hopefully I should get through the weekend fine.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxNine View Post
Without really seeing your setup and just going by what you printed, your car might push, or understeer (front end plows), more in corners.

This is OK because you can let off the throttle and it will bring the front back in line.

Oversteering (loose rear end) is a little more tricky. You have to be ready with the steering wheel.

Just remember to have fun!
Iiintursting... I was wondering more about if it could cause excessive stress on bearings/joints since the wheels were not at the factory offset. In terms of handling, I figured the wider track in the rear would help me out. I did think the slightly narrower track up front could cause issues, but not significant ones at all since it's just 3 mm.

EDIT: As for my setup:

Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.
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2007 Matador Red IS 350
Factory options: Luxury Package | Nav & ML
"Extras": Sapphire Black AME Tracer FS-01's, 18x8.5" & 18x9.0" | Tein CS coilovers with EDFC | F-Sport Sway Bars | FIGS 90-durometer front LCA bushings | HKS Hi-Power exhaust | Joe-Z intake pipe | GFX front lip | Red-out tail lights | Huper Optik 30% all around | Vaistech SLI iPod integration
Next up: Just some paint and body work, and then she is COMPLETE

Last edited by RocketGuy3; 10-20-12 at 09:37 AM..
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