From the end of October to March, most of us are in Track Day Limbo and there's not much we can do about it. So, how can you use the time efficiently doing useful things to get ourselves and our cars ready in the best possible way for the upcoming start of the season?
We sat together and thought about some of the stuff we do to prepare in order to avoid unpleasant surprises once we hit the track for the first time.
Please feel free to comment and tell us what's your process in order to get the best out of your track day season start!
Many of the non-racetrack drivers don't understand, but it's a physically challenging hobby. Driving fast on track requires the highest possible level of concentration for an extended period of time. G-Forces and relatively high temperatures will wear your body out quicker than you think, and with your body usually goes your concentration. Even a slight moment of abstraction may lead to you making a mistake or even going off track.
You don't need to go overboard, a little cardio such as going for a 45min run a couple of times a week and some core training will do just the trick to avoid you getting exhausted too quickly on track.
In any way, getting in shape and working on your overall stamina in the runup for your track day season does not only benefit your performance on track but believe it or not, contribute to your overall health ;).
Visualise and practice in the virtual world
We cannot stress enough the benefits of visualising the tracks you want to drive on by watching onboard videos on Youtube and the likes or even giving the track a go in your favorite computer or console simulation (if available).
The best racing sims out there like Assetto Corsa, iRacing or Race Room will offer you extremely close recreations of the tracks and very accurate driving physique to prepare you for your days on the circuit. As a result, you will come to the track prepared and able to find your way around safely significantly easier than someone who has not visualised it beforehand.
Take it Slow
Once the season commences, chances are that it's been a while since you sat behind the wheel of your car on track. Take it slow once you get on the circuit for the first time - even if you feel you're already up to speed!
Although it might not seem like it, you will need some time to get a feel for your car again and find your rhythm. Just remembering that will significantly decrease the likelihood of you overdriving, damaging or even binning your car on the first outing.
Discuss with fellow Track Day enthusiasts
Nothing is better than being able to draw on the experiences of other likeminded people who enjoy driving on track as much as you do. The GP Days Track Day Community is consistently growing and the perfect place for you task all the questions you have ahead of starting your 2020 season!
Just click this LINK and join our Facebook group. You'll be able to speak to track day enthusiasts from all over Europe!
Alternatively, please feel free to contact us if you have any questions regarding the preparation of your car etc.. Our team is always more than happy to help!
II. Your Car
There is nothing more frustrating than experiencing a technical failure on your first day out - trust me, I had many of them! So take the following into mind to avoid any mishaps right at the beginning of the season!
Brakes & Tyres
Arguably, the brakes and tyres will experience the most stress during a track day due to much higher operating temperatures than usual. Making sure that both are in good shape before hitting the track, will reduce your chances of suffering a technical failure significantly!
Regarding your brakes, there are a couple of things you definitely have to consider and check upon:
- Brake Disc Thickness
- Visible Damages or Cracks
- Brake Pads
Let's start at the beginning, the minimum Thickness of your brake discs varies depending on your car and manufacturer. However, if you run your fingers around the outside of the brake and can feel a considerable edge, it's usually a sign that you should have a closer look.
Any Visible Damages or Cracks are usually a sign that your brake discs need to be replaced. While some surface cracks are common when your car experiences frequent track use, brake discs should be exchanged if the cracks reach the edges of the discs or join together.
Regarding your Brake Pads, you need to take an important point to heart (if you don't use a trailer to transport your car). They need to last for the way to the track, several fast laps as well as your way home! So similar to your brake discs, make sure they provide enough material to last the entire day.
Your Brake Fluid shouldn't be older than 12 months by the time you hit the track. Over time, it might have absorbed water which will start to bubble up at the high temperatures your brakes will be experiencing on track. In our opinion, it's best, if you get the Brake Fluid changed right at the beginning of the season to be on the safe side.
As with your Brake Pads and Discs, your Tyres shouldn't so any visible damages. As long as you only bring one set of Tyres to the Track Day, you need to make sure they are in good enough shape to bring you home again! Remember the minimum tread depth over er the central three-quarters of the tyre is 1.6mm in the EU!
It's always good to thoroughly check your car or get your car checked professionally ahead of the season. This should include a complete at least an annual wheel-alignment to ensure that you won't encounter any unusual usage patterns of your tyres or any other suspension parts throughout the season!
Other Parts to Consider
Every car is different and we made the experience that it's always helpful to check up on your car's weak spots online in different forums and communities. You will quickly find out which parts need regular changing in order to make the car as reliable as possible. In the end that's exactly what we want right - there is nothing worse than being excited for a Track Day only for it to be cut short buy some unnecessary technical failure of the car!
Alternatively, you can always draw on our fast-growing Track Day Community or simply message us in case you need advice or some tips on how to improve your own Track Day Preparation!