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4 things to not go cheap on


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I have driven in maybe 7-10 cars now in races and have found 4 things that we should not skimp on and make the experience a lot better.

 

Seat Belts- I have used the cheap ones with the old school latch and link and camlocks. I am now spoiled as I did research and had a long thread on FB page about the best belts and why and got really good ones. I now go into cars with belts that are not good and wish they had them. Go with really good ones and if FIA then it will be good for 5 years. You will not regret having really good belts. Walk around the pits and ask teams to try out the belts and get in the cars. Do not be shy as I bet 99% of the teams would be more than happy to let you. I have the schroth enduro ones now and come over and try them out.

 

Seat- The seat is ultra important to have one that fits and works for you. Being a short guy (I now Bill will chime in and make fun) I have issues fitting in seats so I like a good fitting seat.  I am not a fan of the kirky ones as I have yet to have one that fits me good as I float in them or they stick in my sides. I think a kirky with a custom made foam insert might be good, but have not had that yet. The OMP I have now fits sooooo nice. I would suggest trying different seats to see what you like and what fits you best. Walk around the pits and just ask people to sit in the car and feel them out yourself.

 

Race Suit- Try them out and get a really nice one. I have had three now and difference are really amazing. I tried on a bunch at OG racing and spent like 2-3 hours and found the one that fit me best. It breaths so good and keeps me cool. I almost do not need a cool suit, almost. Maybe when it is cold out.

 

Cool Suit- I know it seems odd, but it really is a must to keep yourself comfortable and alert long term in the car. Fatigue makes a huge difference long term and you get out the car feeling like total crap and overheated or you get out ready to tell each of your buddies every pass you made at every corner and how epic your driving was instead of sitting in the chair ready to die.

 

Any other ideas on what not to go cheap on?

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Agree with your 4 100%.  I've cheaped on all of that and regretted it.  I run Schroth Profi IIs and its a night and day difference to the cheaper belts.  I'm not sure if there are a nicer set, maybe Willans, but they're even more $$$$.

 

I'll add a couple:

Radios.  Get a good professional setup and never look back.  Definitely one of the best investments we've made for our team.

 

Fluids, especially trans/diff.  I'm still on only the 2nd transmission after 7 years (first one went at the first race).  The Nissan guys know how amazing that is.  Get full ester synthetics and make sure they're the right type.

Edited by Bremsen
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1 minute ago, Bremsen said:

Agree with your 4 100%.  I've cheaped on all of that and regretted it.  I run Schroth Profi IIs and its a night and day difference to the cheaper belts.  I'm not sure if there are a nicer set, maybe Willans, but they're even more $$$$.

 

I'll add a couple:

Radios.  Get a good professional setup and never look back.  Definitely one of the best investments we've made for our team.

 

Fluids, especially trans/diff.  I'm still on only the 2nd transmission after 7 years (first one went at the first race).  The Nissan guys know how amazing that is.  Get full ester synthetics and makes sure they're the right type.

I had bad radios and upgraded a few years ago and totally forgot about that as I took it for granted, but yes on radios for sure.

 

What fluid brand and type?

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10 minutes ago, MR2 Biohazard said:

What fluid brand and type?

 

We run Redline MT90 in the trans/diff right now, but the big thing is to make sure they are full ester synthetics and the right grade/type/weight.

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It's a good list.

To be honest, I think anything that you're adding to the car should be good quality and skimping on parts now will just cause regret (or worse) later. 

A Sparco Pro-Circuit 2 seat was one of the first things we bought for our rental 626 and we insist that at races like Sebring all of our renters need to wear a cool shirt. 

S. 

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Helmet. Well really any safety gear. Don't buy the cheapest option, but also don't necessarily buy the most expensive either. If you can, go to a shop and try on gear to find what works best for you.

 

Otherwise, I think your 4 options + radios are pretty critical.

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Steering wheel. 

 

I bought a fake ultra suede steering wheel on ebay. The wheel  was $17 and looked legit. 3 years later 2 of the 3 spokes broke while a driver entered turn 12 at Road Atlanta. 

 

I now run a $28 steering wheel from ebay made of fake leather. 

 

 

Edited by red0
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agree with all of the above.

 

seat-went from a Kirkey with some foam padding stuffed underneath the cover to a Cobra Sebring pro...we don't want to get out of the car now...very comfy and supportive.

 

radios- had cheap Cabelas handhelds for a couple races and chucked them for a whiteboard at one race...now have proper set-up from sponsor Sampson radios....some static at the far corners of some tracks but otherwise perfect-picked up a couple spare batteries online so if one dies during the race it is a 15 sec job to swap a battery.

 

brakes-for us we started with Hawk hp-plus..progressed to blue and then dtc-60...currently only running Raybestos st-43...last forever and easy on rotors...actually saves money over the hawks before they need replacing and they have no problems with this type of racing.

 

suit-I use an old Raceimage preowned suit..Simpson nomex...works great-looks like hell...wicks away sweat nicely...my co-driver just last race went from his old Ge-force winter parka to a Pyrotect pyrolite suit...he couldn't believe there could be such a difference in race suits...treated cotton is not good for long stint racing.

 

also...not sure if this fits here....spares...get some spare parts...even if it is a back-up from a pick and pull...compile a bin of suspension bits-an off track excursion may do some damage...knuckles pre-built with new bearings just in case...alternator,starter dizzy hoses and belts...we usually roll a spare motor and trans as our closest race will be about 4 hours away...have replaced both at the track in the past....it is an expense over carrying nothing but it may allow you more track time than trying to find the special part on a Sunday morning with no parts stores open

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1. Always recommend eBay sold gear to your competition. Always. use legit links to eBay sales. AliExpress is another top-shelf speed shop. 

 

2. Don't believe what real engineers tell you. Especially when they are pointing, and laughing, and not trying to hide their laughter while pointing at something on your car, while at the same time posting pictures of what they just saw to their fancy engineer message board or chat list. Stay away from guys named James. They just end up costing you shitloads of money. Usually, because they are right.

 

 

 

 

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Lights for night races. Rented a seat with cheapo tractor lights and it was terrible. Lumen's rating don't tell the whole story. 

 

I disagree with the Radio comment. The racing poop is ungodly over priced. I am a big fan of BaoFeng UV-5Rs they are powerful enough to cover 95% of all tracks and they are cheap enough that you don't cry when someone drops them. I think 99% of the issues with radios is the poop helmet sets most of us run. 

 

I do think spending $$ on a good helmet, visors for different conditions, and having built in headset/mic is totally worth it. I have a Stilo with a visor for race, visor for night, and a visor for day, its amazing. 

 

I also think its worth it to pay for a iracing account and rig. We are shelling out so much money to race, doing some practice before hand to learn the track is totally worth it. So many teams are trying to solve driver issues with vehicle mods. 

 

 

Edited by Jamie
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Jamie, my radio comment was to go with UHF (not the FRS/GMRS/camping stuff) and good quality car harness/helmet kits.  I don't have any experience with the BaoFengs, but I imagine most of the 5w UHF radios will have similar performance.  And to be 100% legal you'll need a FCC license.

Edited by Bremsen
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29 minutes ago, Bremsen said:

Jamie, my radio comment was to go with UHF (not the FRS/GMRS/camping stuff) and good quality car harness/helmet kits.  I don't have any experience with the BaoFengs, but I imagine most of the 5w UHF radios will have similar performance.  And to be 100% legal you'll need a FCC license.

 

you can run them in 2w mode on GMSR legally 

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3 hours ago, Jamie said:

I also think its worth it to pay for a iracing account and rig. We are shelling out so much money to race, doing some practice before hand to learn the track is totally worth it. So many teams are trying to solve driver issues with vehicle mods. 

 

This! Nothing has made me faster or confident in traffic than iRacing. The level of online racing is extremely high once you get to the upper echelons of any series (I prefer the mx-5 cup car as it's the closest to a "chumpcar"). I spend a considerable amount of time on iracing before a race both practicing the actual track as well as competing in as many online races without qualifying as I can, trying to fight my way to the front (cleanly). Sim racing is a HUGE competitive advantage that lots of people overlook and there is nothing that can come close to the practically unlimited "seat time" you get for relatively small money.

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48 minutes ago, gr1vlet said:

 

This! Nothing has made me faster or confident in traffic than iRacing. The level of online racing is extremely high once you get to the upper echelons of any series (I prefer the mx-5 cup car as it's the closest to a "chumpcar"). I spend a considerable amount of time on iracing before a race both practicing the actual track as well as competing in as many online races without qualifying as I can, trying to fight my way to the front (cleanly). Sim racing is a HUGE competitive advantage that lots of people overlook and there is nothing that can come close to the practically unlimited "seat time" you get for relatively small money.

If I only had that kind of time. Race car life.

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57 minutes ago, MR2 Biohazard said:

If I only had that kind of time. Race car life.

 

It only takes 30 minutes to do 30 minutes of testing in iracing. 

Edited by Jamie
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9 hours ago, red0 said:

Steering wheel. 

 

I bought a fake ultra suede steering wheel on ebay. The wheel  was $17 and looked legit. 3 years later 2 of the 3 spokes broke while a driver entered turn 12 at Road Atlanta. 

 

I now run a $28 steering wheel from ebay made of fake leather. 

 

 

Joe's.

 

Good wheel for around 60.

 

No faux leather however... Beemer boyz will not be impressed.

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2 hours ago, Jamie said:

It only takes 30 minutes to do 30 minutes of testing in iracing. 


I consider myself to be supremely busy but it's easy for me to find 5-10 hours in the few weeks before a race to turn some laps.

Back on topic...

 

Seats: We have a really nice OMP RS-P.T. in our e30 but I've also used one of the Bimarco containment seats in a Mustang and I found it to be nearly if not as comfortable as the OMP.

Gloves: No one mentioned this yet, I had a pair of cheap gforce gloves that would always come off if I was trying to correct a slide. This was extremely frustrating and no matter how tight I made them they seemed to stick to the wheel in a "fast hands" scenario.  I switched to a nicer pair and it's one less thing to worry about.

Tires: Since most of us run one of the top-tier 200tw tires I won't speculate on what option is "the best"— but running new, recently produced tires is a benefit.  I've run on used, heat cycled and/or inadequately stored tires a few times on a few different cars and the difference it can make is pretty wild.  If you've had tires for 3-4 years you haven't used and they've been sitting in a trailer/barn/garage for that time they're not going to be nearly as good as they once were.

Predictive Laptimer: Being able to see how much faster/slower you are to the teams best lap is a great learning tool and helps greatly with consistency. Some people think it's distracting but I think its another huge competitive advantage that costs zero points.

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