What Kind Of Brake/Tire Wear Can I Expect?
[KS] I find that track miles are roughly the equivalent of four times as many street miles. You’ll probably put 150-250 track miles on your car during a two-day event. So figure that means the equivalent of up to 1,000 street miles. Plus the miles there and back
I get approximately four two-day drivers schools to a set of front brake pads, and more than that for the rear pads.
Oil changes? If you’re changing it every 3,000 miles (or 3,750 like I do) you should be fine.
Does Anyone Have Any Other Tips?
Practicing Control In A Slide
[GM] To get a feel for how the car will handle when it starts to slide, here is an old driver’s school trick: Find a large empty parking lot on a wet day. Drive around slowly spreading A LITTLE BIT of dishwashing detergent on the pavement. Start having fun! Actually this is a good way to learn what the car feels like as it starts to slide, but at a much lower speed than dry pavement.
[NM] From Car and Driver magazine: "NSX had best 1/4 mile time by turning off the TCS, revving to 4000 RPM and
(hold your hand over children's ears) dumping the clutch."
To avoid embarrassment and to the expensive windshield scratches that can result from dragging the wipers over dry, dusty glass), remove the windshield-wiper fuse before your run. If you're on the track with other cars that might be passing you, you'll probably want to keep your turn signals (it's a lot easier to wave other cars by with the turn signals than with frantic arm-waving, especially if you're in a closed car and the other vehicles are single-seat racers or whatever). If there won't be any passing, though, you should also pull the turn-signal fuse. There's nothing more ridiculous-looking than a car circling the track with a blinking turn-signal.
Using Stock Belts
[AWN} Installing a set of five- or six-point belts will keep you tightly in your seat of course, but if you want to keep the stock belts, try one or both of these solutions:
1. Sit in the car with the seat positioned normally and buckle your seat belt. Make sure the lap belt is down around your hips, not across your waist.
Grasp the belt where it threads through the buckle (to keep the buckle from sliding along the belt) and release the seat belt latch. Now, still preventing the buckle from sliding along the belt, give the belt a twist or two as close to the buckle as possible. This does NOT mean that you should hold the belt taut and just rotate the buckle through the loop created by the lap belt, shoulder belt, and door pillar. Instead, you should pinch the lap and shoulder belts together about six inches away from the buckle, then twist the two belts together between that "pinch point" and the buckle.
Exhale and sorta scrunch down into the seat (since the belt will have been shortened by twisting it), then re-insert the buckle into the latch. Voila… The lap belt is now very tight, and it’s prevented from losening (more or less) because it and the shoulder belt are twisted together down by the buckle. Your ass is now held securely in the seat.
This trick is really only good for autocrosses — the lap belt WILL loosen over the course of a long track event – but for long track events, you’d be stupid to drive with anything less than a 6-point harness anyway. Note that you really shouldn’t twist the belts this way for normal city driving. The technique is ONLY for holding you in your seat; twisting the belts will make them less effective in a crash. Also, the twisted belt won’t do anything to keep your upper body in place, so…
2. Buy a wide canvas or nylon belt. Sit in the car, wrap the belt around your chest (just under your arms) and the seatback, pull it taut, and buckle it.
There are only two problems with this:
a. It's not all that easy to remove a belt from around your chest in the event of a fire.
b. It looks pretty stupid... Like you're strapped to a gurney.
Fortunately, the chance of a fire in an autocross is EXCEEDINGLY low, and since you’ll be a relative beginner driving a relatively-slow (for autocrossing) car, your lap times will be low enough that people will have more to laugh about than your chest-strap. Besides, at least one company already sells chest-straps specifically for autocrossing, so you might not be the only one there wearing one.
Removing Items From The Car
Free weight reductions: You can remove the engine cover, tools, spare wheel, and floor/trunk mats.
[KS] I never used to bother to remove these items. However, I will always remove the spare tire from now on. I've had repeated problems with the hold-down items for the spare (the large wing nut and those rubber bumpers) coming loose. This time I found that the bolt holding the top of the vertical cross-member (the one the spare is bolted to) to the bulkhead was missing. (Now on order from my dealer, 65 cents, what a deal, maybe I could save 13 cents from ordering from Hoehn?) Anyway, I'm convinced these items came loose because of the weight of the spare being thrown around the track, so from now on it stays in the pits.
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