SHELBY GT 350 Member
Joined: Jan 2011
Location: Central Massachusetts
Track days are a blast, the only problem is they are very addicting!
I think maybe the biggest thing for the first one is to relax and don't try to be the fastest car on the track; accept that you will not be "competitive" the first time out (or many times after that) and just focus on learning and having fun. If you try to push too hard right off, it can get very frustrating and also dangerous. They will teach you about the flags and passing procedures; do pay attention to the flaggers and "check and clear your mirrors often" (meaning, if there is a faster car behind you, let them pass using the correct "point by" that they will teach you)
Regarding the car -- good basic maintenance is all you really need. A fresh synthetic oil and filter change is not a bad idea, but if it was changed recently I would not worry about it. I use 5W-30 Mobil 1 EP for track days in the summer. Fresh brake fluid is a good idea also; high temperature DOT4 (like Motul 600) is what the track guys use, but a good fresh synthetic DOT3/4 flush is good enough. Valvoline synthetic DOT3/4 is not bad and readily available. Clean and re-oil or change the air filter, if that has been a while.
Regarding the brakes -- when you say new brakes, do you mean pads or the whole thing, like a big brake kit? Brake pads are important -- obviously they need to be fairly new so they don't wear out, and a semi-track oriented pad is a good idea. I have had pretty good luck with Stop Tech "Street and Performance Pads" ; true track pads are great on track but annoying on the street (very dusty and noisy). Be aware that the brakes might fade when they get real hot, it usually takes a few laps to get them that hot, be aware toward the end of a session, if it feels like the brakes are not working as well as they were earlier in the session, it is real, they are fading.
Check all fluids and make sure they are at the right level
Make sure wheel lugs are properly torqued; some guys bring a torque wrench and retorque between sessions
Bring a tire pressure gage -- check tire pressure cold (before session) and hot (after session) to see how much it goes up. See if you can find the roll-over marks on the sidewalls of your tires and how to read them. Correct tire pressure is trial-and-error so for now you just want to pay attention to it, bring paper and/or a clip-board so you can write it down.
Helmet must meet the right specifications -- I think SNEL 2010? The organizing organization can tell you what they require; if you don't have a helmet that meets the spec, you might be able to borrow one from the organization or another driver
Bring a pop-up tent and a chair if you have one . . . there is a lot of waiting in the hot paddock (parking lot). Be prepared to take everything out of the car that is not attached -- floor mats, everything in the glove box, spare tire, etc. . . . a bin to put it in comes in real handy.
Don't worry that you don't know what you are doing, the people at every event I have ever been to have always been very friendly and helpful and understanding of novices, both the organizers and the other participants.
Remember the goal is not to "WIN" -- it is to have fun and drive home after!
| 2010 GT coupe | Daily Driver with some Steeda and GT500 take-off stuff for the occasional track day