Your first visit to the track is a memorable experience, and it’s always exciting to find our what your car can really do, so it’s wise to be fully prepared and equipped to handle any situation that may arise.
We’ve managed to gather some – hopefully useful – information about the track day experience as well coming up on our second round at hosting our own event called Track Attack, maybe you’ve heard of it?
It’ll be happening on May 27th, 2023 at the Sepang International Circuit as part of our larger Speedfest – a morning-to-midnight celebration of speed, car culture, and everything automotive. Click here to find out more and sign up!
Taking your car onto a track is by far the best (not to mention safest) way to truly test the mettle of your vehicle as well as yourself as a driver. Of course, you don’t have to push hard enough to find the true limits, but the closer you can get to that line, the better a driver you’ll emerge from it, and with a deeper understanding of your car to boot.
Nevertheless, there are certain factors that need to be considered before attempting to set a lap record, even just a personal one. Without experience, it’s natural to feel a bit anxious the night before and imagine unlikely scenarios.
However, by taking proper precautions, you’ll be left craving for more after the session and wondering how quickly those hours had passed. It is therefore essential to prepare adequately in advance to avoid any worries later on.
A Little Disclaimer….Kind Of
Disclaimer: We regard these tips be intended for individuals who have some driving experience and sure of themselves and their cars. Secondly, do not encourage driving an unfamiliar car aggressively on the track without first becoming acquainted with its capabilities.
The most effective approach is to spend time at the track and take a few gentle laps to become familiar with the car, even if you’ve owned it for some time. We recommend doing this before making any significant modifications and after accruing some experience.
Though it is necessary to make specific alterations or upgrades to the car to ensure optimal performance during intense track driving, before pushing the car too hard or investing a lot of money in aftermarket parts, it’s advisable to go to the track a few times and test the limits of your car versus how much you’d like to improve.
You could very well be entirely happy with your lap time and contented in the thrills with the car you started with, indefinitely!
Tyres and Brakes
Tyres and brakes are among the most crucial components of a vehicle, Without appropriate tires, it’s difficult to obtain the necessary grip in the corners, and without adequate brakes, it’s challenging to slow down and enter corners smoothly.
This results in slower lap times and accelerated wear of the components, necessitating replacements. While it’s acceptable for beginners to use stock tires and brakes, serious competitors should upgrade to better-quality brakes and tires as the original ones will not endure for long.
It is also worth considering to fit a special set of track-prepared tyres as the rougher, more tractive surface of a race track are most definitely going to eat into any set road tyres. Bridgestone, the title sponsor for Track Attack, and one of the most prestigious tyre manufacturers, has a wide selection to choose from!
Chassis and Suspension
The most expensive suspension system may not always be the most effective one for racing purposes. While coilovers are commonly thought of as the go-to solution for suspension upgrades, the truth is that most coilovers are not well-suited for racing and can actually harm your lap times. Furthermore, improperly installed coilovers without adequate supporting components can be even worse than your car’s original suspension.
The most cost-effective modification is, shockingly, getting an all-around alignment that adheres to the factory specifications. This is your best bet to ensure that everything is in order just as the manufacturer intended it to be.
When you take your car to an alignment shop, they can also inspect for signs of wear or impending issues that might arise during a track session such as faulty wheel bearings, leaking ball joints, and loose tie rods can significantly impact your car’s handling, and they are quite dangerous when on a track.
For most people, OEM suspension components are adequate for a bit of fun now and then. However, those who frequently participate in weekend racing may require high-performance suspension components.
Saving Weight, Adding Lightness
Modern cars have a plethora of features and accessories that are convenient for daily driving or long journeys with family. However, these extra items add unnecessary weight to the car that can slow you down on the track. To improve lap times, it is recommended to remove these items and keep them at home.
The removal process can start with basic things like the spare tire, floor mats, and unnecessary items in the glovebox. Even minor things like air fresheners, USB cables, phone holders can add up and hinder your performance.
Next, if you’re a bit more serious about chasing tenths of a second, you can move on to removing heavier items such as the rear and passenger seats, cabin carpeting, air conditioning unit, and interior panels, which can make a considerable difference in weight.
While it may not be practical to remove these items from a daily driver, getting rid of them is the surest and most straightforward way to shave seconds off your lap times.
Serious racers even think it worthwhile to install lightweight carbon fibre body panels to replace heavier items like the factory spoiler, bumpers, hood, and side skirts, and they make your car look like a race car. However, it’s important to keep in mind that carbon fibre is not suitable for everyone since it can crack and be costly to replace.
Get Inspected, Check All Fluids
Having a healthy engine is crucial to keep your car moving and regular maintenance is the key to prevent potential failures. You should regularly check the fluid levels and use quality oil and coolant to keep the engine running smoothly. It’s also important to inspect the accessory belts and replace any worn ones to avoid any unforeseen breakdowns.
Just as the above paragraph applies to any daily driver, keeping your engine in tip top condition is doubly important if you intend to drive it harder and faster on track where it will be more intensely stressed.
It’s important to note that some tracks have strict rules regarding fluid leaks. You should check your engine bay for any leaks that could compromise the track surface. Also, it’s recommended to have a cover on your positive battery terminal.
To prepare for the track, it’s recommended to complete a full engine and driveline inspection followed by fluid purge and refill in addition to a normal service. This will ensure that your car is in optimal condition for handling the corners and cones.
Get Your Gear In Order
The majority of track events require you to have appropriate safety gear that meets regulation. These may range from full flame-retardant suits to simple helmets. Ensure you understand the safety guidelines at the event you’re attending and plan accordingly.
If a flame-retardant suit isn’t mandatory, it’s best to wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and closed-toe shoes. It’s also recommended to install gauges to keep an eye on your car’s performance while driving it at its highest. Things can go wrong suddenly, which can lead to dangerous driving conditions for others. It’s critical to have your car’s monitoring systems working effectively to avoid any potential damage and prevent accidents from occurring.
Are YOU Ready?
This may be the most important precaution of all – ensuring you are prepared physically and mentally. While it’s important to have a car in top condition for any on-track action, being personally ‘ready to drive’ is equally important. Preparing yourself means taking good care of your body and mind.
Ensure you get plenty of sleep before the track event while maintaining good nutrition and hydration is also important, so avoid skipping meals or consuming fast food, which can lead to fatigue untimely gastric mishaps. You need to be completely alert and ready to handle any situation as soon as you start driving.
CarTell Speedfest Volume II
Once again, if you’re ready to get your feet wet in the track day thrills, Carlist.my will be hosting our CarTell Track Attack Volume II this May 27th at the Sepang International Circuit with prizes of up to RM10,000 in cash up for grabs for the fastest car of the day.
However, don’t worry about being less than experienced as, just like us, the community of driving enthusiasts are always more than welcoming of newcomers to the scene, the hobby, the addiction of weekend track driving.
For 2023, CarTell Track Attack Volume II is also the centrepiece of CarTell Speedfest, a morning-to-midnight celebration of speed, car culture, and everything automotive with something for everyone!