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Getting Your Car Ready for the Track

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Now that you've signed up for a track day with MVP Track Time, you need to prepare your car. The first course of action is to review the "Tech Inspection" form to gain a clear understanding of what our inspectors will be reviewing to make sure you car is fit for the track.
     
The technical inspection for a track day are common sense reviews to assure us, the other drivers and yourself your car is in proper working condition.  In the event you are unsure of your steed's condition, any good repair facility can help you determine if any work is necessary before a track event.                                                                                                                              
Wheels and Tires:
     There are only four small patches of rubber in actual contact with the track surface.  Doesn't it make good
     sense to have the best possible rubber on the road?  Your tires should be in good condition with no cords
     or belts showing.  The treads, assuming you use street tires, should not be down to the wear indicators. 
     Track tires or slicks too should be in good shape.  If you've had a flat repaired with a plug or patch, I'd
     suggest yo consider replacing the tire as these can fail under the loading and heat of a tack day.  Wheel
     covers, beauty rings and center caps should be removed so we have no flying guillotines flying about the
     track should they decide to part company with a wheel. 
                                                         
Suspension & Steering:
     The steering should turn easily with no binding as you turn from lock to lock.  There should be no 
     excessive play in the shock or strut mounts, trailing arms, roll bars or other suspension pieces.  Grab
     each wheel with the car elevated to make sure the wheels don't move from to side indicating a loose
     wheel bearing.  If you have loose suspension pick up points, worn suspension bushings or bad bearings,
     you car will not handle and drive properly.
 
Engine:
     There should be no leaks from the engine (or any other part of the car for that matter) allowing liquids to
     fall onto the track surface, endangering yourself and fellow drivers.  Please make sure you car is not 
     leaking.  Make sure your battery is properly secured with a strap or harness and make sure the battery
     posts are covered.  Not only will this prevent a battery from arching should it roll over and touch a metal 
     surface, but a flying battery can be deadly.  Keep in mind how much a battery weighs.
           
Brakes and Fluid:
     Most non-car people ask "How fast does your (FILL IN CAR NAME) go?"  My concern is
     often how fast can it stop.  Your brake system should be in good working order with no
     leaks.  Brake lines are often made of rubber and rubber degrades over time.  Make sure your
     lines have no cracks.  A good set of DOT approved braided steel brake lines go a long way to pedal feel.
     Fluid should be new throughout the brake system.  I've seen clean brake fluid in the reservoir
     only to help owners bleed the old fluid from the lines.  A brake fluid flush is inexpensive and
     can save your life.  Brake pads need to be at least 50%.  Like the tires, these are the only
     things truly stopping your car.  Track specification pads are not necessary but recommended.
     Talk to others with similar cars and track experience to determine what may work for your
     car.  Brake lights need to be properly functioning as well. 
                                               
Safety Equipment:
     How much is your head worth?  A good helmet is an absolute must whether you intend to do
     just one track day or many.  The minimum helmet requirements are an SA2010 helmet.  An
     SA rated helmet is Nomex lined to keep you head from catching on fire if the car should go 
     up in flames.  Yes, an SA helmet is more expensive then an "M" helmet but it offers the added
     fire protection.  Do not show up with an older SA (pre-2010) or M helmet expecting to
     drive. You will not be allowed on track with a helmet not meeting these minimums.       
 
     A fire resistant racing suit is not necessary but recommended.  You must have long pants and
     long sleeve cotton clothing on while on track.  This offers a modicum of protection in the
     event of a car fire.  Like an SA2010 or newer helmet, the investment in a racing suit is initially
     a little high, but amortized over several years and track events becomes trivial.  Closed toe
     shoes are necessary as well.  Those with a rubber sole are a good choice to keep one's feet
     from slipping off pedals.  Of course good racing shoes are acceptable as well.                      
  
     Ideally your car would be equipped with racing harnesses but they are not required.  We
     do require your factory seat belts function properly.  A seat belt lock, like CG-Lock, to hold
     your seat belt snug is an inexpensive way to secure your driving position.     
                             
The Devil Is In The Details:
     When it comes to safety at a track event, the more the merrier.  Make sure all loose objects
     like floor mats, jacks, garage door openers, CDs, cassette tapes, etc. are removed from your
     car.  A gym bag makes a nice additon to hold all this while you are on track.                        
 
     Thoroughly clean your windows as the sun can be blinding and I'd prefer you not run into any
     other drivers including your's truly.  Clean windows allow you to see your turn in points better
     as well.                                                                                                                               
 
     Check tire pressures before, during and after a track day.  Most cars will need higher
     tire pressures then when driving on the street.  Check you owners manual for any references
     to pressures and speak with other owners of similar cars with track experience.  You can
     tweak there tire pressures throughout the event.                                                                   
 
     After you come off the track from a session, let your car idle for a few minutes, possibly
     with the hood up, allowing the car to cool.  Do not use your parking brake as the heat
     from the pads/rotors may warp your brake rotors. 
    

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