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Discussion Starter #1
This is my first post to this forum and after scouring the net on what seems to be every site and forum out there, I wanted to try and get some information and advice tailored specifically to my needs.


Basically, I've always wanted to take my car onto a race track and see what both myself and the car can do. I'm trying to decide whether or not HPDE events are right for me, and if so, what recommendations some of you may have so that both myself and others in my position can head in the right direction.


Background:
-no 'racing' experience but I am in an indoor go-karting league.


Car:
-2014 Ford Mustang GT 5.0 6spd
-H&R SS lowering springs with caster/camber plates up front
-rear panhard bar(adjustable)
-CAI and Bama 93 octane race tune
-Full synthetic oil @ every change
-Staggered 255/35/20 front 285/30/20 rear Nitto Invos
other exterior styling non performance things not worth noting...
Also, I already have an SA2015 full face helmet


My car is my DD also and I plan to use it once or twice a year for HPDE type track events.


Track to be driven:
-Daytona International Speedway (3.56 mile Rolex course)
-high speeds but not as technical and basically 5 braking zones/turns
(I'm not counting the high-bank corners as "turns")


Things I'm considering/need to become more "track ready"....this is where I'd sincerely like some direct input please...


-Nitto NT555 G2 tires or Nitto NT05 or Continental ExtremeContact DW (tires need to be both street and track drivable)
Also, what is your take on Nitto Invos on the race track!!?
-SS brake lines/SS clutch line with Castrol SRF Brake fluid/flush
-Hawk HT-10 track specific pads
-Rear adjustable LCA with bracket and UCA with mount
-Brake duct cooling kit
-Full required pre and post inspection + track and car tools


A few other things that concern me are tire wear and car wear. I don't plan on running full out and abusing my daily ride..just looking for some extra fun, and another hobby to share with other racing and mustang enthusiasts.


Feel free to chime in with info if you find it to be relative and useful.
Thank you all. Sorry for the long write up..haha! geek.gif
 

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I am a novice / intermediate so I went through what you are going through about a year ago. There are more experienced people on here, who hopefully will chime in. Here are my thoughts, take them with a grain of salt as they say:

I think you will be fine with your car the way it is. Remember this is not a race and you don't need to be the fastest car out there. The first time(s) you are learning the limits of your car and your driving so don't push the limits too hard and you should be fine.

Brake fluid flush, with high temp fluid; make sure pads are nearly new, at least half life remaining; oil change if it has not been done recently; and make sure all the fluids are topped up and you should be good to go.

Your stock brakes likely will get very hot and might fade. You won't know until it happens . . . so don't push the braking zones.

Also be prepared to take EVERYTHING out of the car, that is not attached. This includes things you might not think of like floor mats, trunk mat and spare tire, and CD's in a visor holder. Either remove it from the car before you go, or bring a bin or something to put it in at the track. You can leave the bin in your parking spot, it should be fine.

You should be able to get the pre-inspection check sheet before you go. So you can go over all that stuff at home and take your time, rather than feeling pressured when you are in the inspection line at the track.

Upgrades like brake cooling, better tires, etc. can come later.

Yes you will chew up your tires. Might as well chew up the old ones, instead of buying new ones just yet. If you get into it, you will want better tires, and none of the ones you listed are real good track tires; but they'll all do fine for a casual track day.

Probably the most important safety tip: DON'T try to keep up with the other cars, just focus on your own driving, your own line, your own car's feedback. Let others pass instead of trying to stay in front of them.
 

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Tires

Run a square setup, something like 285/35 in your choice of diameter (18 preferred, 19 if you need the additional 1/2" brake diameter clearance up front). Run them on wheels no less than 10" wide (preferably 10.5", with 11" being better still if there's any chance at all that you'll get hooked on this activity and start looking at wider tires than 285's). Staggering the tires is not the hot tip for a normally aspirated front engine RWD car, as it will understeer (which tends to get worse as the (relatively) overworked front tires gradually overheat over the course of a session).



I'd pick Michelin's Pilot Super Sport over any of the tires you listed, especially where it comes to wet weather performance.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6brVFxPSPw





Tune

Hopefully your tune isn't one of those tunes with a lot of early throttle response to make the car feel like it's got lots more power, as those can be trickier to modulate as you're rolling through the middle of a corner. Worse if it's wet.



Brake pads

HT10's will probably get you through a few introductory track days, but you may well outgrow their 1300° temperature rating. Carbotech's XP10 carries a higher temperature rating (~1600°) and is much gentler on rotors than any of the track-rated Hawk pads.



Brake fluid

Motul RBF600 is entirely adequate beyond the usage you're envisioning. Keep in mind that you should be bleeding any dark colored fluid out of the system before each track day.



Rear control arms

This isn't drag racing where you're chasing solutions to wheel hop. That said, carefully choosing just the LCAs can improve rear axle accuracy in its 'steer' effects (yes, it steers slightly as the car rolls in a turn and in response to hitting bumps).


Norm
 

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Discussion Starter #5
@JBert:
Thank you for your quick and informative response. Happy to hear from someone who has been in my shoes somewhat recently. Yes certainly not out there to break any records or raise eyebrows (in both a good or bad way..lol). I see that your mustang is also a DD/occasional track day car as I intend mine to be, so I'm curious what tires you choose to run for DD/track, and also which track-day specific pads you support. I currently drive my car pretty hard around time and on roads, and so far I'm pleased with how my Invos are wearing after 12k miles on them. Great suggestions also about basic car prep, etc!

@Norm Peterson:
Thank you also for your deep insight into some of the specifics. If you don't mind, I want to explore a few things a little deeper..

Tires: The Michelin Pilot Super Sports seems to be a great choice and highly reviewed everywhere I've looked..a bit of a higher price point, but if they last and not burn up quick it could be worth the investment. Would you happen to have another recommendation? Also, I plan to (at the moment) not get a dedicated set of wheels/tires for the track and I'm currently stuck running a staggered setup.

Tune: The tune is punchy and quick, but doesn't run hot and seems stable and predictable.

Pads: I see the Carbotech comes well backed by many, but I can't seem to find it available for my 2014 GT with the stock brakes (non-brembos). Rotor-friendly is also awesome!
If I can't get the Carbotechs, would EBC or the Hawk DTCs be a good second option?

Fluid: Yes it seems my decision would be between Motul and Castrol ( also with SS brake lines).

Control arms: If I went with just new LCAs, I'd probably get an adjustable set from BMR with the relocation brackets since I'm lowered.


Thank you both for the quick response and your experienced insight. If you can't tell, I'm trying to do these mods right the first time. Keep firing away everyone..Thanks!:grin:
 

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All good responses. Might I suggest the simple approach since this is your 1st time. Get into HPDE, take it slowly and progress at your speed, there's a lot to learn. As for car prep. take that slowly too. Take the car as it is, changing the brake fluid (Motul or whatever brand works for ya) and brake pads (many to choose from) and see how it goes. Most of the cars and drivers in HPDE use street tires (High Performance or better) and do just fine. As your skills and experience grow, so will the needs of the car, but a little at a time. In my beginning, I ran Cooper RS3's, for DD & Track and went with Hawk HP+ pads. Ran that set up for years till it was time to improve.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
@pikapp: Thanks for offering up your thoughts! I certainly want to ease in cautiously and I like the idea of seeing what I have(car and myself) before modding into the sunset. Lol. I guess the fact that I have a good bit of time to prepare and enhance the car before the actual track weekend later this year, it makes me feel inclined to enhance a few weak links. I kinda hurt myself too in the fact that I moved up to 20s when I started tricking out my ride, so unfortunately my tire choices become a little more limited, with also being a bit more pricey. What is a brief summary of your current track day setup? (Pads, tires, fluid, etc etc). And what is your take on Nitto tires?
 

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Tires: The Michelin Pilot Super Sports seems to be a great choice and highly reviewed everywhere I've looked..a bit of a higher price point, but if they last and not burn up quick it could be worth the investment. Would you happen to have another recommendation?
At this point, I have 8 track days and 2500-ish street miles on my 285/35-18 PSS, and there is still more than 1/2 tread left most everywhere (I just measured 7/32", and they start out at 10/32").


I really haven't been at tracking a car all that long either. I'm probably an intermediate-level driver, though my home track has been running me with the advanced drivers and instructors and I am driving hard enough to keep the tires singing through several of the turns.


I do need to swap my track tires front to rear and vice versa (the 18x11 wheels have different f & r offsets), as the outer shoulders of the front tires are wearing slightly faster. I'm at about -2° camber, have Strano bars, Koni yellows, Currie rear LCAs, and still on the car's OE springs.


I got 6 days and maybe 20,000 miles out of a set of the original Goodyear Asymmetrics in 255/45-18 (on 18x9.5 wheels). Almost as much camber. These are no longer available that I know of, and I don't know enough about the Asymmetric 2 to either recommend or discourage them.


Of the tires you did list, I'm hoping that the G2 Nitto is as much better than the plain NT555 as they're billing it to be, but I have nothing solid either way. The NT05 looked more like a tire for drifting in Nitto's own video a few years back (when I was researching that tire for possible inclusion to my short list), and the Contis have been picked on over a lack of precision.


Also, I plan to (at the moment) not get a dedicated set of wheels/tires for the track and I'm currently stuck running a staggered setup.
Keep a log of tread depth used while tracking if you're going to use the same tires for everything; it'll better let you estimate what's left in them . . . and give you something to work with for the decision to keep a dedicated track setup. FWIW, I always bring two of my "3 season" wheels/tires with me just in case I damage up to two track tires. I'd rather rely on foresight and maybe not need it than use money to pay a tow bill that could have gone toward that second set of tires & wheels.

Tune: The tune is punchy and quick, but doesn't run hot and seems stable and predictable.
The tunes that provide impressive reponse on the street are the ones that can give too much response on the track. Be careful and consciously slow with your right foot.

Pads: I see the Carbotech comes well backed by many, but I can't seem to find it available for my 2014 GT with the stock brakes (non-brembos). Rotor-friendly is also awesome!
If I can't get the Carbotechs, would EBC or the Hawk DTCs be a good second option?
Carbotech can and will make up pads to suit. All you have to do is call them and discuss your needs. I just got through doing this for one of my other cars for 1521/Bobcat pads. I have no experience with EBC.


Control arms: If I went with just new LCAs, I'd probably get an adjustable set from BMR with the relocation brackets since I'm lowered.
Maybe give your LCA bushings a good inspection for signs of cracking or other deterioration, and replace them if you find anything. That's really the only reason I swapped mine - when my car was in the shop for something entirely unrelated, the technician pointed this exact situation out to me. I went with an adjustable spherical/poly set from Currie (not one of the common names), and they've been quiet the whole time they've been installed. I did do a little tweaking on the poly ends, though.


Sorry about any formatting weirdness, but it seems this site doesn't always play nice with IE.

Norm
 

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@pikapp : Thanks for offering up your thoughts! I certainly want to ease in cautiously and I like the idea of seeing what I have(car and myself) before modding into the sunset. Lol. I guess the fact that I have a good bit of time to prepare and enhance the car before the actual track weekend later this year, it makes me feel inclined to enhance a few weak links. I kinda hurt myself too in the fact that I moved up to 20s when I started tricking out my ride, so unfortunately my tire choices become a little more limited, with also being a bit more pricey. What is a brief summary of your current track day setup? (Pads, tires, fluid, etc etc). And what is your take on Nitto tires?
All good questions. When I was ready to upgrade the car, as my experience grew (moving from HPDE 1 to HPDE 3), I began running Nitto NT01's. I asked a lot of more experienced drivers for advice and the NT01's were often recommended. I ran them for years and really liked them. As for upgrading the pads, after talking to a Hawk Brake Pads Rep and providing lots of details about the car and my driving, it was recommended I go with the DTC pads. The car, at that time weighed around 3750 and would reach speeds of 150+ at some tracks. I've been running the DTC 70 up front and 60 in the back and they have yet to fail me. I go thru the front pads about a set every3-4 events. Rears will last almost a whole season (70% of my braking is in the front). Brake Fluid, I used Motul RBF 600 up until last year, switching over to StopTech STR 660. Better Dry and Wet Boiling Points. All of these upgrades came over time as the driver improved and became more experienced and started pushing the car harder and harder. As you progress thru HPDE, you'll do the same and see your skills and experience grow.
 

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CT1463 is the carbotech part number for non brembo fronts for 2011-2014 cars
 

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Discussion Starter #11
You guys are all great...information for days!

@Norm Peterson:
I'll definitely keep the Michelin Pilot Super Sports in mind as a top 3 choice when it eventually comes time for new tread. I'm also hoping that the new Nitto NT555 G2s are better than the previous version as well, because then those will be another top choice due to both performance and treadwear. Both the G2s and the Super Sports having 300 or greater treadwear rating and equal other specs is nice to see too.
Yes my tune is punchy, and i'll just have to ease into the gas out of corners because it's always ready to run! lol
Carbotechs are certainly my first choice for pads, and I'm glad to see so many people backing them and claiming the rotor friendliness. I know you previously recommended XP-10s, and would you run those both front AND back or use a different compound out back?

@pikapp:
The Nitto 01s look sick for road racing, and if I remember correctly, you said this setup for you now is a specific to track day, not a split DD/track setup. I really hope I get interested enough in it to have a distinguished set of tires/wheels that are track specific. I'm sure that makes the experience even more awesome.
Hawk pads are something I definitely researched a bunch into as well, specifically the DTC compounds, and that 70/60 split seems to be the best track combo for Hawks. Thanks and I'm curious to see where all of this progresses as well.

@csamsh:
I looked up those Carbotech pads you suggested, thanks for that, because that's just what I was looking for. Would you suggest the XP-10 compound as Norm did, or do you have a different suggestion?


Also, do you any of you guys use brake duct cooling kits? And do you think the higher price tag for Vorshlag's SS brake lines are worth the extra up-charge over Russell, etc..?
 

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As you can see, we're kinda into this stuff . . . since the tracks are closed now, the next best thing is to post about it, LOL!

And like you I probably did more mods to my car than I really needed to get started, but that's half the fun.

. . . I'm curious what tires you choose to run for DD/track, and also which track-day specific pads you support. I currently drive my car pretty hard around time and on roads,
So far I am not super happy with my tire choices. I had some Goodyear Eagle F1's that I got with my GT500 wheels, that were OK but noticeably mushy when hot. I looked around at replacements for those, got the same recommendations that you have been getting, also heard about Bridgstone S-04 pole position which are about $200/each instead of $300+ and I went with those . . . and pretty disappointed. They seem even worse when hot than the Goodyears were, but I haven't been able to compare lap times on the same track yet. If I was going to do it over, I would spend the money for a set of Forgestar 18x10" wheels and PSS tires right up front. Or get two sets, one for street and a dedicated track set.

I have the Brembo GT500 brakes with the 14" front rotors. That is a real cost effective upgrade by the way, about $1,150 complete (new) including pads and braided lines front and rear (no rear rotors or calipers, use the stock rears). The brembo pads were OK for me for most of last year. Then I got a set of Stop Tech Street Performance pads; they are a bit better when hot and still OK for the street. The thing about track pads, is they don't work very well when cold, so you don't really want them on the street. Then you get into two sets of pads; and then they need to be compatible or you need two sets of rotors; or you use the carbotechs and they get expensive. The Stop Techs are a good compromise for me right now, and are not limiting me yet. But they tell me I need to learn how to brake . . . .

I also went with the Stop Tech 660 fluid, which is probably overkill, but can't hurt.

One more thing to remember: if you spend your money on car mods, you can't spend it on track time. Track time is better.
 

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You guys are all great...information for days!

@Norm Peterson :
I'll definitely keep the Michelin Pilot Super Sports in mind as a top 3 choice when it eventually comes time for new tread. I'm also hoping that the new Nitto NT555 G2s are better than the previous version as well, because then those will be another top choice due to both performance and treadwear. Both the G2s and the Super Sports having 300 or greater treadwear rating and equal other specs is nice to see too.
Yes my tune is punchy, and i'll just have to ease into the gas out of corners because it's always ready to run! lol
Carbotechs are certainly my first choice for pads, and I'm glad to see so many people backing them and claiming the rotor friendliness. I know you previously recommended XP-10s, and would you run those both front AND back or use a different compound out back?

Also, do you any of you guys use brake duct cooling kits? And do you think the higher price tag for Vorshlag's SS brake lines are worth the extra up-charge over Russell, etc..?
I'd run the XP10's at both ends - I was able to put cracks even in the rear XP8's when I had 8's all around. My rotors are (still) the 12.4" & 11.8" that was OE GT in 2008, which may have been a factor.


About the time I moved up to 10's all around I added nozzles to the dust shields up front and aimed some tubing I had on hand at them without actually connecting things together. Seems to be helping.





Norm
 

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Discussion Starter #14
@JBert :
Haha yes this is a very active crowd and I'm lucky for that. Also, no time like the present to talk it up, and this will not only help me but other people in the future that can use this invaluable information!
You're right, modding the car never loses it's fun-factor, especially seeing it and driving it thereafter.
I'm curious to see what my evaluation is of my tires later this year, and there's another vote towards the Michelin PSS tires. As I was saying above to Norm, I'm really curious to see what the Nitto NT555 G2 is all about once people get their hands on it, because it seems like it's supposed to be a competitor to that PSS(by the specs at least) for DD/track.
The Brembo front brake package is definitely what I'd love to get my hands on, but right now with a wedding and such a year away, it wouldn't bode well in the home camp. That being said, I wish I had just bought the damn car originally with all the extras and such, but that's neither here nor there.
Seeing that I'm sticking with stock brake systems front and rear, I think having an OEM DD set of pads and the Carbotech track specific pads is my best bet, and only tracking once or twice a year, I think the Carbos will last and make it worth the increase in cost over other sets. Your take on that?
I'm right there with you on the overkill part for fluid..I'm leaning towards the Motul RBF660 and SS brake lines and calling it a day!
Yes track time needs to be my first and foremost thing under consideration, but my time until event is making me want to tackle the whole project before I roll out onto the track.

@Norm Peterson :
Okay great I'll look into having XP-10s on both ends of the car. Shouldn't have any rotor issues swapping between OEM and Carbotechs correct? Just the bedding in process?
Nice work with the brake duct cooling! It's not even noticeable really...I had to look for it. lol. I was seeing the kit from Vorshlag and it looks pretty awesome(for down the road).


For all, I guess my camber values for my front alignment are a curiosity of mine too. I'm running -1 degrees Camber in both fronts with 7.5 degrees of Caster and a touch of positive toe...is that a good starting spot for DD/track?
 

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Thanks and I'm curious to see where all of this progresses as well.
....

I looked up those Carbotech pads you suggested, thanks for that, because that's just what I was looking for. Would you suggest the XP-10 compound as Norm did, or do you have a different suggestion?


Also, do you any of you guys use brake duct cooling kits? And do you think the higher price tag for Vorshlag's SS brake lines are worth the extra up-charge over Russell, etc..?
XP10's front/XP8's rear or XP12's front/XP10's rear is what I'd do. Either setup will work well...maybe go with the less aggressive ones to start? There is such a thing as a pad that's too aggressive, or one that can make it difficult to get the entire rotor evenly up to temp. I liked the stagger on compounds...that will depend on your driving style and how you like your brake bias to feel though.

Definitely cool your brakes. Use this kit and it will be invisible from the front and will fit well.

Vorshlag 3" Brake Inlet Cooling Kit for 2013-14 Mustang GT/Boss302 - Vorshlag LLC

I used the Vorshlag lines- the rears are slightly longer to avoid the kink in the line that you get when you let the rear axle hang with stock-length lines. They also use the OEM fittings so everything goes together perfectly.
 

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For all, I guess my camber values for my front alignment are a curiosity of mine too. I'm running -1 degrees Camber in both fronts with 7.5 degrees of Caster and a touch of positive toe...is that a good starting spot for DD/track?
not....really...... you want 2.5-3 degrees of camber. Leave your caster alone so you can max out your camber. For track use I liked zero toe. For autocross I went a hair toe'd out.
 

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. . . . and there's another vote towards the Michelin PSS tires. . . .
Seeing that I'm sticking with stock brake systems front and rear, I think having an OEM DD set of pads and the Carbotech track specific pads is my best bet, and only tracking once or twice a year, I think the Carbos will last and make it worth the increase in cost over other sets. Your take on that?
. . .
My thinking on the PSS tires is mainly based on prior input from Norm and csamsh, plus tests on Tire Rack, etc. . . . no original thinking here.

The catch with track and street pads, as I understand it, is that you need to bed them in when you change them over; and there can be problems with bedding-in incompatible pad compounds. Carbotech does sell street pads that are compatible with those track pads, but they don't come cheap . . . . I think you are looking at about $600-800 total for the two complete sets? That's why I cheaped-out and went with one set of street/track pads.

Also, about tires: there is a school of thought that says you should learn on tires that are not the stickiest. They will be noisy to give you feedback on when you are getting close to the edge; they will break loose relatively gradually; and they will break loose at relatively low speeds. This allows you to learn how to slide around a bit without getting into too much trouble. This was the thinking that lead me to the Bridgestone S-04's . . . . but like I said, I'm not sure I am happy with that choice. I think I'll do my best to eat them up over the course of a few events and then think about it again.

On the extreme other end of the scale, you have true track tires -- slicks or near slicks. The do not make any noise to let you know when they are about to slip. They hold to higher cornering forces, but then let go more suddenly . . . . maybe not the best for a novice.

The PSS are probably somewhere in between, probably a real good choice if you can handle the price tag.
 

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@Norm Peterson :
Okay great I'll look into having XP-10s on both ends of the car. Shouldn't have any rotor issues swapping between OEM and Carbotechs correct? Just the bedding in process?
Nice work with the brake duct cooling! It's not even noticeable really...I had to look for it. lol. I was seeing the kit from Vorshlag and it looks pretty awesome(for down the road).
Honestly, I haven't bothered to swap pads. At least for the temperatures I typically experience (a few miles east of Philly) I'm still getting initial bite as good or better than I did with the OE pads. I'd keep my swaps all within the Carbotech family though, as full compatibility is claimed.


I'm currently at XP12/XP10, not sure I like it any better than all XP10 except that I did crack the front 10's. I might try all 10s with a swap to 14" SVT/GT500 front brakes next.

For all, I guess my camber values for my front alignment are a curiosity of mine too. I'm running -1 degrees Camber in both fronts with 7.5 degrees of Caster and a touch of positive toe...is that a good starting spot for DD/track?
Not nearly enough camber. I'm at the absolute limit of camber adjustment with my Steeda HD strut mounts (out around -2°, maybe a hair beyond), and that's not enough any more. Fully warmed MPSS tires are good to somewhere beyond 1.2g and I have the datalogs to prove it.


Norm
 

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Lots of good advice mentioned above. First have fun and don't push too hard at first, don't want to wreck car. Torque lug nuts, check all fluids, bring some with you, coolant, oil, steering fluid, etc. Extra gas too if they don't have any there, I bring 5 gallons and use it, mileage won't be good on track.Tire pressure gauge, might want to bump up pressures a bit, chalk mark on side wall will show how much tires are rolling over. Tires will be fine at your level, I ran cheap all seasons that got through 4 track days before tread started chunking off. May have issue with brake fade if your hard on them, I put some higher temp pads on mine, not good for street use cause they need some heat in them, if you do change pads be sure to follow bed in procedure. Changing alignment will help on track but not real good for daily driving if you go too far with it. Your car will be fine as it sits to get started, only chassis changes on my old fox was lowering springs, upgraded shocks and pan hard bar. Still have stock brakes with rear drums. Best thing is get some seat time before going farther with car.https://youtu.be/ldrDFD59NQU
 

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@pikapp :
The Nitto 01s look sick for road racing, and if I remember correctly, you said this setup for you now is a specific to track day, not a split DD/track setup. I really hope I get interested enough in it to have a distinguished set of tires/wheels that are track specific. I'm sure that makes the experience even more awesome.
Hawk pads are something I definitely researched a bunch into as well, specifically the DTC compounds, and that 70/60 split seems to be the best track combo for Hawks. Thanks and I'm curious to see where all of this progresses as well.
Car became a dedicated track car a year ago, once some upgrades were made that made it no longer a street car. -3 camber will be where you want to end up, but I think for your first outing, you'll be fine with what you have. As you get better, you'll pick up on speed and braking later. That's when you'll be watching brake pads and brake fluid closely, and start looking at adding cooling ducts and maybe consider upgrading the brakes. I'm running 3" ducts and probably need to be running 4". Will be taking caliper temps again this season to see where I'm at. Heavy car, late braking, all adds up to needing max air. You'll learn a lot about the technical side in HPDE and as you do, you'll see what and when the car needs upgrades. Good luck with it all and have fun!
 
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