Join Date: Jan 2015
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The engine and car must be problem free. No "minor" coolant leak or oil leak.
You do *not* want to leak coolant or oil on the track, or on your rear tires, for obvious reasons.
The cooling system must be pressure tight even if the coolant temperature is very high. With other cars I've seen 226F coolant temperature even on the street (well, mountain road) with the car being pushed hard. If the system can't hold pressure the extra fans and low temp T-stat won't matter. The coolant will flash to steam and the steam blocks coolant flow over the hottest areas and localized engine overheating occurs and kiss the head gasket good bye.
The oil/filter should be very fresh and at the right level. (Be sure to carry extra bottles of oil in case at the track the level drops. Have a friend carry them in his vehicle.)
Other vital fluids should be good too.
The engine should be in good tune. Spark plugs should be in good condition. Better to err on the side of caution and show up with new plugs rather than old plugs. Do not use anti-seize on the plugs.
Air filter and fuel filter (if serviceable) should be fresh.
The brake hardware should have plenty of metal.
Be sure you check pads for uneven wear from every angle. The visible portion of the pads might show quite a bit of pad thickness, while the hidden portions may be nearly to the backing plate. The rotors should likewise not be too thin nor show signs of cracking or other abnormalities.
The brake fluid should be flushed and bled. Brake fluid is hygroscopic -- attracts moisture -- and if the fluid gets hot and it will to state the obvious the water lowers its boiling point. Ain't nothing like coming upon a sharp/slow turn and hitting the brakes and pedal sinks nearly to the floorboard.
Tires should have plenty of tread, be properly inflated and have no slow leaks. They should be properly balanced. Be sure the lug bolts are properly torqued down.
Alignment doesn't have to be anything special but it wants to be in spec.
The car should have nothing loose. No loose underbody panels, no loose exhaust. No leaking exhaust either.
Be sure you run unleaded race gas in a ratio with street gasoline to raise the octane level a few points above what the engine calls for. For instance if the owners manual says to use 91 shoot for 93 or higher. As time passes an engine's octane requirement can go up.
In some cases tests have found pure race gasoline delivers more than just a higher octane to combat detonation the racing gasoline is really blended to burn better at higher RPMs. So the advice is to when race gasoline is available to run this diluted as little as possible with street gasoline. However, some report the high octane "race" gas really appears to offer nothing beyond higher octane. Guess you have to try it diluted and then maybe a lot less diluted and see what it does for your car's engine.
Be sure the car -- cabin, glove box, storage compartments, the back seat, and under the front seats, trunk, everywhere -- is free of any loose items. You don't want something rattling/banging around to distract you. Nor do you want an old stuffed toy to come out from under your seat and get under a pedal or cause you to get your feet tangled up going for a downshift and braking for a hard/sharp turn.
Mirror inside and out should be clean and streak free.
Likewise, glass inside and out should be clean. No streaks which hit by the sun possibly blinding you or distracting you.
Be sure you dress appropriately. The cabin can get quite hot. Drink plenty of water. Stay hydrated.
Bring appropriate snacks to keep your energy level up. Don't OD on coffee or energy drinks. No alcohol.
If you can arrange for a wife, GF, buddy to video your laps for later enjoyment, that's always a good thing. And she/he can drive in a 2nd car so you have a place to stash extra oil, water bottles, your jacket, billfold, phone, etc. (out of sight and the car locked!) while you are on the track.
Be careful in the "pits". You don't want to get run over by another driver not paying attention or still racing even though he's off the course. Keep your eyes wide open and your head on a swivel.
Take a cool down lap and in the pits let the engine idle to shed the considerable heat load the engine develops on the track.
Last but not least be sure you have adequate track insurance just in case.