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Old 03-31-2010, 03:35 PM   #1
marchetta070
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Default Want to do a track event- Where to start

So I am interested in possibly doing some form of racing this summer but I have no idea where to start and would appreciate any tips. I have 0 racing experience but have always wanted to do some sort of event.

autox looks okay but i thought it would be more fun to do something on a full track that had something for newbies like myself. I live in upstate New York and was wondering if any one had any suggestions? Thanks a lot!

Location: Upstate New York
car: 2004 sti
21k miles
STOCK SUSPENSION
All season tires
Cobb ap
Cobb TBE
Cobb air intake

** Also would it be pointless to try an event with all seasons? They are very new but I might be able to afford some summer tires. Also besides filling my tires with a little extra air is there anything else i should do to get my car ready?

Any other info you need to help me just ask. Thanks.
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Old 03-31-2010, 03:46 PM   #2
boost junkie
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Take a look at the clubs that have chapters in your area. NASA, SCCA, BMW CCA, Audi Club, Porsche Club, etc. There are lots of them out there now. You might be ok on all seasons for your first event but if you can get some summer tires I would highly recommend it.
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Old 03-31-2010, 03:46 PM   #3
09rexwagon
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Would not be pointless to do track with all seasons. In fact that means you will be easier on your brakes. But on the other hand it means your braking distances are going to be much longer. At min, I'd flush your brake fluid. If it's your first event you'll have an instructor and you won't really be pushing the limits of the car anyway. You'll have to do that a few times before you really get to push the car, which means you'll have time to prep the car further: pads, high end street tires or r comps, maybe some suspension tid bits etc.
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Old 03-31-2010, 03:52 PM   #4
MSP608
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My advice: sell your 04 and get an 05 or newer.

Trust me, if you get hooked on this sport you'll quickly learn how much the 04's suck.

Any seat time is good seat time. I'd say start autoxing before you go out on track. It's really cheap and you won't damage the car if you make any mistakes. Plus it seems anyone who does a track day/weekend before trying autox shuns it for some reason. Those who start autoxing first tend to still enjoy autoxing later on after doing track events.
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Old 03-31-2010, 03:57 PM   #5
thirteen
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here are a couple of places that list track days:

http://www.motorsportreg.com/
http://www.nasanortheast.com/

sign up for a HPDE (high performance driver education) event in Group 1. you will run with an instructor.

flush your brake fluid prior to the event. use high temp fluid like motul 600 or ATE superblue. inspect your suspension, brake lines, wheels, tires, etc when flushing your brake fluid.

The club you run with will require a tech form signed off. someone needs to inspect your car to make sure it's not a hazard to you or anyone else out there...

this is a good checklist i stole this from somewhere but i can't remember where. my props to the original author:
---------------


Required
• Helmet! - a very bad (and easy) thing to forget
• Tech form - Important
• Car Numbers – required on both sides of the car and rear, a minimum of eight inches high (we will have racer’s tape available at the track for this purpose)
• Tow hook installed or tow point established
• Cotton or Nomex clothing ONLY. No leather or synthetics allowed.

Highly Recommended (not strictly required)
• Driving Suit or long sleeve cotton shirt and cotton pants (although we allow short sleeve shirts and shorts, it is highly discouraged and potentially harmful in the case of an accident)
• Fire Extinguisher
• Extra Brake pads
• Brake fluid
• Drinking Water (Speed Ventures provides water but just in case we run out…)
• Engine Oil - bring a quart or two, just in case
• Hat - for Sun
• Sunglasses
• Sun Screen
• Folding chair

Optional
• Duct tape
• Distilled Water - Radiator
• EZ-UP Canopy - Ideally there would be one for every 4 cars or so, because the sun can be brutal. Hopefully everyone who has one will bring one (and it makes you very popular too).
• Windex - You will kill many bugs on your way to the track.
• Brake Bleeder line
• Racing Neck Brace
• Racing shoes
• Camera
• Hose Clamps
• Jack
• Jack stands
• Jumper Cables
• Service manual
• Torque wrench
• Other tools (sockets, wrenches, pliers...)
• Grease
• Hand Soap
• Ice chest
• Map/directions/phone number of hotel
• Map/directions/phone number of track
• Paper Towels
• Rags
• Run Flat aerosol cans
• Tie Wraps
• Stopwatch
• Race tires
• Spare tire - you never know
• Tire pump
• Tire pressure gauge
• Tire pyrometer
• Flashlight
• Funnel for oil
• Gloves – disposable
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Old 03-31-2010, 03:58 PM   #6
marchetta070
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thanks for the advice. how do 04's suck though?
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Old 03-31-2010, 04:00 PM   #7
STi-MAN
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Just go out to a HPDE. done deal.

drive within your limit.
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Old 03-31-2010, 04:09 PM   #8
marchetta070
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Sorry I really know nothing. What is HPDE?
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Old 03-31-2010, 04:17 PM   #9
MSP608
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marchetta070 View Post
thanks for the advice. how do 04's suck though?
sloppy steering bushings
smaller, weaker hubs
hubs have 5x100 bolt pattern, limiting wheel sizes
rear fenders have much less clearance without the flares
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Old 03-31-2010, 04:17 PM   #10
boost junkie
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High Performance Driver's Education.
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Old 03-31-2010, 04:32 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MSP608 View Post
sloppy steering bushings
smaller, weaker hubs
hubs have 5x100 bolt pattern, limiting wheel sizes
rear fenders have much less clearance without the flares
Body panels dent easily against tire walls...

Oh wait..
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Old 03-31-2010, 04:52 PM   #12
09rexwagon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MSP608 View Post
sloppy steering bushings
smaller, weaker hubs
hubs have 5x100 bolt pattern, limiting wheel sizes
rear fenders have much less clearance without the flares
+ brake knockback
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Old 03-31-2010, 05:43 PM   #13
wrxtremeWGN
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EMRAracing.org they have a great first timers promotion!
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Old 03-31-2010, 06:10 PM   #14
cessna152
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrxtremeWGN View Post
EMRAracing.org they have a great first timers promotion!
+1

I run with EMRA. Nice bunch of guys.

http://emraracing.org/EMRAEVEN.HTM <--- Their schedule

Don't worry about the guys saying the '04 is no good. Just get out there and drive. Just make sure your car is in a drivable state, at this point your experience will be the thing holding you back. Not the car.
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Old 03-31-2010, 06:29 PM   #15
vwwanksta69
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I did karting events before I took the suby out on the track...
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Old 03-31-2010, 06:31 PM   #16
cessna152
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vwwanksta69 View Post
I did karting events before I took the suby out on the track...
Go to the events at NJMP. They have a karting facility there . That way you can do both!
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Old 03-31-2010, 08:22 PM   #17
marchetta070
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cessna152 View Post
+1

I run with EMRA. Nice bunch of guys.

http://emraracing.org/EMRAEVEN.HTM <--- Their schedule

Don't worry about the guys saying the '04 is no good. Just get out there and drive. Just make sure your car is in a drivable state, at this point your experience will be the thing holding you back. Not the car.
Thanks man. Yea there are always guys on here cherping up everything. Me not having fender flares and different hubs so I can get wider rims doesn't effect me one bit....because i can't afford bigger rims haha. Im just a broke college kid!
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Old 03-31-2010, 09:11 PM   #18
cessna152
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Hell, its a blast to track a beater.
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Old 03-31-2010, 11:53 PM   #19
wrxtremeWGN
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word of advice... even though you are a broke college kid, pony up some cash for some good track brake pads!
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Old 04-01-2010, 03:12 PM   #20
HoChiMinh690
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My advice (I have done about 10 auto x and 2 HPDE at Pocono).

Start with at least one auto x event. It's cheap and there's no risk and your car will be fine as is. That way you can get a feel for the handling (albeit at below 60mph but you'll still be at the limit of grip) and feel what understeer is like and what will help/hinder in that situation. If you're lucky, you'll get the ass end of the car loose and feel what oversteer is like in a controlled environment.

Figuring out how to correct for oversteer at 90mph is not a good idea, and race tracks have walls or even grass that can put 5 grand of damage to your car in no time.

If you enjoyed auto x but want more head to a track, Pocono is a great novice track, they run schools there and the track has markings on it for the line you should follow. If you want something more serious, there's Watkins Glen which is the closest track to you, check out https://www.trackmasters.com

Bare minimum you should change the brake fluid and ensure it is DOT4 (ATE Blue is cheap and good). Also I'd HIGHLY recommend summer tires, the thick tread on all seasons makes 100+mph feel squirmy and with a stage 2 STi hitting 130mph shouldn't be hard.

Lastly the goal is always to bring the car home in one piece, always drive within your limits. My first track day, at the end of the day, I decided to take the slight right into the infield a little faster. Spun into the grass, didn't hit anything but the grass was just bumpy, $500 in towing and $4500 in damage out of my pocket, and I too am a broke college kid.

Anyway, there's nothing more fun that I've found than tracking a car, and I'll hopefully be at the Glen on May 1st.
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Old 04-01-2010, 03:24 PM   #21
boost junkie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HoChiMinh690 View Post
Start with at least one auto x event. It's cheap and there's no risk and your car will be fine as is. That way you can get a feel for the handling (albeit at below 60mph but you'll still be at the limit of grip) and feel what understeer is like and what will help/hinder in that situation. If you're lucky, you'll get the ass end of the car loose and feel what oversteer is like in a controlled environment.

Figuring out how to correct for oversteer at 90mph is not a good idea, and race tracks have walls or even grass that can put 5 grand of damage to your car in no time.
This isn't necessarily bad advice BUT the better HPDE programs include skidpad exercises for novice drivers to familiarize themselves with the way the car feels on the limit of adhesion before heading out onto the track. One of the problems with auto-x is there is no instruction involved so it's easy to pick up bad habits. HPDE is perfectly safe if you listen to your instructor and drive within your limits.
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Old 04-01-2010, 07:11 PM   #22
HoChiMinh690
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Oh yeah, if you had a skidpad session before going out, then skip the auto x. Also any time I've done auto x in my region, there's always people who are experienced who will ride along and give you pointers. But I completely agree with Boost Junkie.
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Old 04-01-2010, 08:29 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 09rexwagon View Post
Would not be pointless to do track with all seasons. In fact that means you will be easier on your brakes. But on the other hand it means your braking distances are going to be much longer. At min, I'd flush your brake fluid. If it's your first event you'll have an instructor and you won't really be pushing the limits of the car anyway. You'll have to do that a few times before you really get to push the car, which means you'll have time to prep the car further: pads, high end street tires or r comps, maybe some suspension tid bits etc.
While I agree with the first things you've said...there are plenty of aggressive, capable students first time out who will be all over the limits of their tires and pads, at least through the middle of a corner. Especially in a car as easy to drive hard as a WRX/STi.

You get to push the car when you are ready, and your instructor is comfortable. For some, that's 2/3 through the first session, for others it's there 3rd track weekend.

OP, do an event on all seasons, and have decent pads and fluid. See how you like it, and how you do.

The car will be the same from a balance standpoint, and no one cares about a few seconds a lap.
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Old 04-03-2010, 08:57 PM   #24
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Audi Club of North America has a 2-day event in Monticello, NY on June 14-15. New track, should be great. I'll probably be there. Give them a call (www.neqclub.org) and talk to them. They are an awesome group of people. Leave your car as it is for the first event (as long as the pads and tires have life left). But after this, stock pads won't cut it.

And don't listen to any bashing of the '04 STi. I have an '02 WRX and it's been great. We aren't professional racecar drivers. Anyway, you see much crappier cars at these events and they hold up fine.

Last edited by lotarg; 04-03-2010 at 09:03 PM.
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Old 04-05-2010, 08:08 AM   #25
red5001
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Most of what everyone else said is good advice. A good club up your way (I live near Rochester, NY as well) Is the Genesee BMW club. I am doing one of there track days in May at Watkins glen. They usualy hold at least 4 over the summer. There a good group to run with. They hold autocross events as well. Also the finger lakes SCCA has a good novice program for autocross as well but not so much for track days.
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