Drivers education checklist

From Trackpedia

Jump to: navigation, search


Dont spend a dime modding the car except for safety equipment.

Roll cage, cool. 6 pt harness, cool, better brake pads, cool. Stop there. You will definitely be the weakest link. A stock 996 is absolutely super fast car. It is not the limiting factor. Better suspension/tires etc will only mask problems with your driving. Stay stock and spend the money on drivers education or a school like Skip Barber. Plus, I can't think of a more dangerous scenario than driving poorly at faster speeds due to more horse power, better suspension and tires. When you screw up in that case, you're probably walking home if you're lucky... I've also been reading that many instructors are thinking of switching back to non R rubber/tires because it's harder and is better for technique than running racing rubber all the time.

Get the car teched and safe

All organizations that offer bring your own car track days or drivers education require a technical inspection form to be completed by a mechanic for your car. It usually asks the mechanic to check the car is working correctly, brakes, shocks, tires, engine etc.

Most dealers or racing shops will do it. If you're not sure just ask the organizing body (like PCA etc) to recommend someone they will accept it from.

Change your oil before and after the event.

The cheapest insurance for your engine there is.

Change your brake fluid before the event

I use ATE brake fluid, better safe than sorry...

Bring a big plastic box with a water tight lid for your stuff in case it rains or is windy

The car has to be empty on the track so usually your stuff is in front of your parking slot.

Have a good tire gauge.

I bought one from Apex SPG for 80 bucks. Big guage, easy to read, automatically corrects for atmospheric pressure variations, half pound accuracy. 80 bucks sound a lot? Your tires will cost you 1200 bucks every year, 80 bucks is peanuts. Buy a good one.

Cordless Compressor for tire inflation.

I have a Campbell Hausfield one I bought at Walmart for 50 bucks. It's a cordless 230PSI compressor thats about as but as a cordless drill. I wouldn't bother with one with an air tank. This does the job and it's a lot smaller.

Have a torque wrench to check your wheel lugs

I have a sears one which was like 90 bucks. I would also add, you will need the correct size socket for your wheel lug nuts!

Bug/Tar removal wipes and squeegee, keep your windscreen clean

You'll observe bugs doing unnatural things striking your windows at large speeds.

Wheel Cleaner wipes

There will be a lot of brake dust, I just like to clean em at the end of each day.

Bottles of water.

You'll sweat a lot.

4 quarts or Mobil 1 0W40 or whatever your car needs.

I couldn't find any around the track. Bring it with you. Why 4? Just to be safe. Put it in a plastic bag as I've have new bottles leak on me. Try to keep the oil level at 3/4s or better. I used 750ml (3/4 quarts ish) in 3 days.

Driving gloves especially if you have leather steering wheel

My hands sweated a lot and it's uncomfortable. Gloves fixed that. I have Sparco gloves that I bought from Apex SPG for 120 bucks.

Helmet and neck restraint.

Get a good helmet and buy a neck restraint The well known HANS devices start at 865 bucks. One of its competitors, the R3, starts at 995. Your tires are 1200 bucks, think about it. A lighter helmet (Bell M2 Pro) is a very good idea if you don't have a head and neck restraint. See Head and Neck Restraints for more information.

Insulating tape in a contrasting color to your paint to make numbers on the car

Towels are nice to wipe up after the session

Figure out the FM frequency of the track announcements for your radio

You can listen to these easily when on the track then.

Turn off air conditioning on the track (16bhp in a 996)

Plus, it doesn't like being spun at 6k+ RPMs.

Don't wear red/yellow or black sweaters/t-shirts

These are flag colors and you won't be allowed on corners wearing them. Try white or blue.

Make your first lap a medium one with generous braking.

Make sure everything is working. Start slow, speed up as the session goes on, small steps in terms of increasing speed.

Drive slow and first and stay slow for a few sessions.

If you whack your car then you aren't getting any better. Drive within your ability focusing on line, turn in, braking etc. Don't give in to speed up until the last day. The fastest people seem to be the ones going slowest for longest.

Abuse your instructor.

Use them as much as you can. Listen to them, ask questions, slow down when they tell you to, they really are better than you. There is a reason that they are in the right seat and you aren't.

Ride with the instructor.

Very good for the line and how the car feels when the line is right. Ask questions (at appropriate times) as you complete lap after lap.

OBD II reader.

I bought mine at Walmart. It's handy if the light does come on just to see what it is. Goto and get the code to text page so you'll know what the codes mean.

Find an auto shop with a racer.

I use Apex SPG when I can. Jim Bryant is great and gives very good advice. It's worth paying a little more for that advice and knowing you got the right stuff the first time.

Get track insurance just in case.

Your normal insurance may cover you but I got explicit track only insurance which covers me on the track and the paddock for non timed, non competitive drivers education events only. It cost me 600 bucks for 40k agreed value for a year, unlimited events. Deductible is 20%. Money well spend if something happens. It won't cover legal/liability etc, just the car.

Spare Brake fluid

Bring a bottle of your brake fluid with you. Walmart won't have racing brake fluid.

Spare brake pads and tools to change them

Bring spare pads with you in case the pads on the car have a problem. Walmart won't have racing pads either.