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I like Track Night in America because the course they typically run in near me (PBIR in South Florida) is 10 minutes from where the car is kept.  Its really convenient.  Its not the best track for the car but good enough to shake the car down and make sure nobody forgot to tighten the oil filter.

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My team generally jokes/cajoles/insults each other about mistakes/spins/off track excursions.  This seems to give some incentive to not do it again.  Example:

 

Remember that time at the Vegas Chumpionship where we were just about to take the race lead then I get the call:

Driver: I went off the track.  

Pit: Well get back on and keep going we were almost in the lead.  

Driver: I can't, I'm stuck between the fence and the tires.  

Pit: What tires?  This place is wide open, there is nothing to hit here.  

Driver: Nevermind, just go make sure safety is on their way to get me out.  

 

Safety shows up on scene and their first question is, how did you end up over here?  I don't think we can get you out and I doubt anyone will hit your car way over here and the race is almost over.  

Driver: Nevermind how it happened, just hook on and pull me out.  

They pulled him out and he rejoined the race.  I think we finished fifth.  

 

We should have won, this comes up occasionally.  

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Track days.  There is a group that runs some Sunday evening sessions at a track about an hour and a half from us. Cheap, 3-4 hours of track time and no run groups, so pretty easy to test run as we please.

 

Otherwise, if they are available, we have started taking advantage of the test day (Friday) prior to a race weekend.  Generally we take it pretty easy on the car so as not to wreck it before the race, but it helps to sort out any last minute unforeseen issues and gets the drivers some track time to shake the cobwebs out.

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1 hour ago, thewheelerZ said:

Track days.  There is a group that runs some Sunday evening sessions at a track about an hour and a half from us. Cheap, 3-4 hours of track time and no run groups, so pretty easy to test run as we please.

 

Grand Bend?

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Track days / Open Track Days / High Performance Drive Education, etc are all good for getting seat time and working on testing / improving the car.  Autocross is also a good way to work on certain aspect of the car and to hone some driver skill.

 

To get beneficial driver improvement, make sure the OTD/HPDE you pick has some decent instructors available that can help guide you in the right direction.  Or go baller-status and hire a professional instructor to work with your team for a day to at least get a strong baseline established.

 

Remember that practice doesn't make perfect, only perfect practice makes perfect.  Pounding out lap after lap can be fun, but will ingrain whatever actions you take into your subconscious.  Make sure you are making the right actions.

 

 

In your area, I know the AutoInterests group runs HPDEs with solid group of instructors.  They run at PittRace which is probably closest track to you.  

 

 

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Another driving lesson to keep both hands on the steering wheel from my team:

 

We were in second place and just about to get our first podium.  ChumpCar invites the pits to come to the track wall to cheer on the drivers on the second last lap.  My whole team is there jumping and waving to our driver for our first podium as he is about to start the last lap, he waves back....   Yaaaaaaaay.........noooooooooo!!!!

 

He actually misjudged turn one and went off the end of the track into the dirt.  He did gather it up to get back on track and maintain position.  Now when the teams are invited to the track wall we wave to all of the other drivers, when our driver goes by we just quietly nod.  

 

Also occasionally heard during our work sessions sessions on the car, remember that time we almost lost our first podium...

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We go to a local track and have a definite game plan. We work on 1 item at a time with suspension.  This is after we have the motor and driver ergonomics worked out. We keep a note book with all of our set ups, tire pressures etc.

 

Most important is learning the limits of the car and improving our driving skills.

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52 minutes ago, mcoppola said:

Grand Bend?

 

Nope, Either Toronto Motorsports Park or Shannonville.  With these guys: http://touge.ca/track_d.html .  Some of the drivers there can be a little bit sketchy/whacky, but they are nice guys and are pretty convenient sessions that are in the evenings and don't screw up family fun on weekend days!

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29 minutes ago, enginerd said:

If you plan to do any of the above, get plates and insurance. Trailering to day events would be a huge PITA.

 

Huh? Our car can't even make it out of the driveway with the splitter mounted.  Drove it to Gingerman for a track day right after we finished the build -  before it had all the chump stickers, dents, and aero.  Never again.  It was miserable. 

 

Although, it is still plated.  Drive to a few cars and coffees near my house - gets interesting looks rolling through the neighborhoods at 7am on a Saturday.

 

And back on topic, I think we do more track days than races.  Gingerman and Grattan most often, with AutoInterests, 3balls, and track organized. 

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I try to do as much iracing as possible. if i have 15 minutes to spare I jump in and get a few laps in. I find the key is having a rig that is always setup and ready to go, if i have to setup the wheel and update software I wont do it. If i have an upcoming race I try to find some other friends who are also racing there and start a text chain of lap times to encourage even more use of iracing.

Edited by Jamie
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1 hour ago, enginerd said:

If you plan to do any of the above, get plates and insurance. .

 

So on a slight tangent...  YES....   Nothing sucks more than getting to a track day and finding you have some overheating problem, or some lame bearing, ball joint...  bedding brakes, something rubbing...   I like to be able to just take the car down to the local gas station for a fill up, hit some round-abouts and tag some curbing to make sure all my bolts are tight before even spending the money on a track day entry fee... (we would always trailer to an event / track day though, since you never can be sure you will be able to drive it home)

 

 

While I like track days, I find after getting seat time in chump they are less fun...    I always go in with a specific goal in mind...  if you have never run the track before its a good way to get on track before the race, but I Racing can help with that, even youtube... and chump practice days are becoming more common.  Non passing lapping days get very lame...  Without race tires you get your doors blown off in the advanced group, and having to run the intermediate group means you will go slow in the corners...

 

What I do like about the local track days is testing...   we will make a plan, have a couple sets of wheels, or jugs of fuel or aero settings or ride height changes, brake pads, ect..  we go to the track with a couple of us, and enter the same car in multiple heats so we can go right back out after the group changes...  so the car can get run for enough duration to get the test in...  then pull the before and after data...   to me this is the biggest benefit of the track day...  to show an aero change will loose x seconds on the front straight and pickup some measurable lateral g or max corner speed..

 

Well and the other thing we have found... the chump / wrl race represents the cheapest way to get track time...

Edited by Xph
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1 hour ago, Hi_Im_Will said:

Huh? Our car can't even make it out of the driveway with the splitter mounted.  Drove it to Gingerman for a track day right after we finished the build -  before it had all the chump stickers, dents, and aero.  Never again.  It was miserable.

Well it worked for me! (we have more than 2" ground clearance).

 

What we actually do now is use the harbor freight tow bar and light kit for short distance tows and tows where we don't need to bring spare tires / tools / etc.:

http://www.harborfreight.com/5000-lb-capacity-adjustable-tow-bar-94696.html

http://www.harborfreight.com/12-volt-magnetic-towing-light-kit-63100.html

 

This allows us to tow it behind anything.. even a minivan if it has a ball hitch. Super easy if you don't want to keep it insured and drive it (but still an issue if your car has no ground clearance).

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24 minutes ago, enginerd said:

Well it worked for me! (we have more than 2" ground clearance).

 

What we actually do now is use the harbor freight tow bar and light kit for short distance tows and tows where we don't need to bring spare tires / tools / etc.:

http://www.harborfreight.com/5000-lb-capacity-adjustable-tow-bar-94696.html

http://www.harborfreight.com/12-volt-magnetic-towing-light-kit-63100.html

 

This allows us to tow it behind anything.. even a minivan if it has a ball hitch. Super easy if you don't want to keep it insured and drive it (but still an issue if your car has no ground clearance).

Do you lock the steering wheel?

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Just now, trigun7469 said:

Do you lock the steering wheel?

No, just... don't try to reverse, at all ever.. just don't try it!!

Take broad turns. Twice we had the wheels 'lock' to the side and not straighten out to follow the tow vehicle after a sharp, low speed turn (leaving the driveway). Just have to stop, get out and straighten the wheel, and then drive off. It might be a problem for cars without much caster.

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Whenever anyone gives you grief about a driving mistake, just remember: At one of CART's Canadian street races, one of the drivers went down the escape road, got confused, and ended up heading for the Interstate (or Canadian equivalent).

This from the series which was going to crush the IRL in three years.... >;)

 

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