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Old 05-21-2012, 05:24 AM   #1
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Any feedback on my first track day?

My first track day and racing experience. No passing was allowed but I was driving as fast as I felt capable.

I shaved off at least 33 seconds off my laptimes throughout the day after driving about 17 laps total. I improved my time after every lap. There was no lap I took that was slower or equal from the previous lap.

I loved it and now I am addicted. For those of you who have experience, please give me some constructive criticism on how I can improve and where I was making mistakes on the track.

My First Track Day
^Video here. Click on the Second Video. Part 2.

My car has exhaust, bypass pipes, Eibach Springs, street tires, and intake. No additional weight savings.

I was reaching 105-110 on the straightaway. I was making the sharp turns at 50mph and the moderate turns at 60-70mph. You think I can go faster?

I got a ride in a Cayman S with Hoosier racing tires. The driver was turning 20-30mph faster than I was at every corner and was going 25mph faster on the straightaway's.
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Old 05-21-2012, 06:09 AM   #2
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My first track day and racing experience. No passing was allowed but I was driving as fast as I felt capable.

I shaved off at least 33 seconds off my laptimes throughout the day after driving about 17 laps total. I improved my time after every lap. There was no lap I took that was slower or equal from the previous lap.

I loved it and now I am addicted. For those of you who have experience, please give me some constructive criticism on how I can improve and where I was making mistakes on the track.

My First Track Day
^Video here. Click on the Second Video. Part 2.

My car has exhaust, bypass pipes, Eibach Springs, street tires, and intake. No additional weight savings.

I was reaching 105-110 on the straightaway. I was making the sharp turns at 50mph and the moderate turns at 60-70mph. You think I can go faster?

I got a ride in a Cayman S with Hoosier racing tires. The driver was turning 20-30mph faster than I was at every corner and was going 25mph faster on the straightaway's.
... constructive criticism on your driving it would be better for me to have seen you, not the road ahead.
You seem smooth and fairly consistent but I'd like to see how you sit and hold/maneuver the steering wheel and also look at your footwork.
Next time out try to position your camera so that we can see those things and you'll get a lot better feedback.
In our Gold Coast PCA Region we have beginners (green group) go out with an instructor always, but we allow passing with point-by in restricted areas of the track.
Advanced (blue group) still ride with an instructor and still can pass with point-by only in restricted areas.
Solo (yellow group) ride by themselves with no instructor and can pass using point-by in the restricted areas of the track..
Super Solo and Instructors have no restricted passing areas and may pass in any section of the track, but must still point-by.
Happy Boxstering
Pedro
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Old 05-21-2012, 06:58 AM   #3
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... constructive criticism on your driving it would be better for me to have seen you, not the road ahead.
You seem smooth and fairly consistent but I'd like to see how you sit and hold/maneuver the steering wheel and also look at your footwork.
Next time out try to position your camera so that we can see those things and you'll get a lot better feedback.
In our Gold Coast PCA Region we have beginners (green group) go out with an instructor always, but we allow passing with point-by in restricted areas of the track.
Advanced (blue group) still ride with an instructor and still can pass with point-by only in restricted areas.
Solo (yellow group) ride by themselves with no instructor and can pass using point-by in the restricted areas of the track..
Super Solo and Instructors have no restricted passing areas and may pass in any section of the track, but must still point-by.
Happy Boxstering
Pedro
They had me sit closer to the steering wheel. They wanted me to sit close and have the air bag facing at my chest. Shifting wise, I did not shift very fast like you would in a drag race because I cannot afford to replace a synchro.

But track wise, was I taking the right lines, braking too early, etc? It is the closest track to me(1 hour, 20 min drive) so it will likely be the only track I drive on.

My ultimate goal is to break the 1:40 mark for a lap time.
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:16 AM   #4
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Don't forget NJMP has 2 tracks to choose from. Pocono and Summit Point are also within 2 hours.
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Old 05-21-2012, 10:00 AM   #5
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I agree with Pedro that it's difficult to judge without seeing your feet and hands. BUT... There were several (quite a few) places where it sounded like you were off the gas in the corner...ie coasting. (I can't really tell from the video but that's what it sounded like anyway) If you were doing that, DON'T. That is a big no no and will become quite dangerous once you get a little faster. Other things were apparent, but since this was your first outing, it looked pretty good. Yes you were braking too early (the brakes on our cars are incredible...use them) Yes you were not hitting the apexes (but not THAT bad for a first timer) Yes you were late in accelerating from the apex (simply a lack of experence in knowing where the apex is probably) All those are typical first timer mistakes, all of which I would expect from a first time driver. No big deal really. A good teacher will help you correct them in short order.

I'm surprised your instructor didn't answer your questions while you were there. You have the same questions almost all newbies have, which is why I always make it a point to hang around Saturday and Sunday afternoon and just talk to my students if they want to. We also talk about what they're doing after every session and what I want them to think about between sessions and work on during the next one. Your goal initially should be smoothness (heck your goal forever should be that) and hitting the lines...speed will come once you have those at least somewhat under control.

I gather from your other post, that you didn't have an instructor for the entire weekend. That's too bad. Learning on your own is virtually impossible, and more than a little dangerous as you gain confidence and pick up some speed. As someone else said, you should try to get to a PCA event and have a certified instructor sit with you all weekend. It's fun, it's safe, and you'll be amazed at how quickly you progress.

Oh yes..and about that Cayman S you got a ride in...don't even think of trying to keep up with him. More hp, track tires, probably a lot more experience. I bet that ride was a blast!!!

Have fun, be safe

Bob
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Old 05-21-2012, 10:08 AM   #6
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I agree with Pedro that it's difficult to judge without seeing your feet and hands. BUT... There were several (quite a few) places where it sounded like you were off the gas in the corner...ie coasting. (I can't really tell from the video but that's what it sounded like anyway) If you were doing that, DON'T. That is a big no no and will become quite dangerous once you get a little faster. Other things were apparent, but since this was your first outing, it looked pretty good. Yes you were braking too early (the brakes on our cars are incredible...use them) Yes you were not hitting the apexes (but not THAT bad for a first timer) Yes you were late in accelerating from the apex (simply a lack of experence in knowing where the apex is probably) All those are typical first timer mistakes, all of which I would expect from a first time driver. No big deal really. A good teacher will help you correct them in short order.

I'm surprised your instructor didn't answer your questions while you were there. You have the same questions almost all newbies have, which is why I always make it a point to hang around Saturday and Sunday afternoon and just talk to my students if they want to. We also talk about what they're doing after every session and what I want them to think about between sessions and work on during the next one. Your goal initially should be smoothness (heck your goal forever should be that) and hitting the lines...speed will come once you have those at least somewhat under control.

I gather from your other post, that you didn't have an instructor for the entire weekend. That's too bad. Learning on your own is virtually impossible, and more than a little dangerous as you gain confidence and pick up some speed. As someone else said, you should try to get to a PCA event and have a certified instructor sit with you all weekend. It's fun, it's safe, and you'll be amazed at how quickly you progress.

Oh yes..and about that Cayman S you got a ride in...don't even think of trying to keep up with him. More hp, track tires, probably a lot more experience. I bet that ride was a blast!!!

Have fun, be safe

Bob
Yeah the instructor was only with me for 3 laps. But he told me to hit those apex's before he left and he told me when to brake and turn in(there were also cones and signs on the side of the track to tell you when to do that). I was trying but I still need practice. I drove for 35-38 minutes total. The rest of the track time was for the intermediate, advanced, and pro groups.
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Old 05-21-2012, 05:21 PM   #7
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You only had 35 minutes total track time????? wow. From your other post I see it cost $200...and you got 35 mintues and three laps with an instructor. hmmmmmm I think I'd find another venue for exploring the track. I'd definitely look up your local PCA chapter and find out when and where their next DE event is. You'll get, usually, 20-25 min per session, four sessions per day, for two days (not counting class time for novices). AND you'll get an instructor for the whole event. I think you'll be much happier..and at the end of the weekend, a better driver too.

Bob
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Old 05-21-2012, 06:42 PM   #8
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Ditto th what Bob said above. PCA is the only way to go.
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Old 05-21-2012, 09:31 PM   #9
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Very nice! Great job for a first time out. Your line is fairly clean and obviously you could only go as fast as the cars in front of you. And yes, I am sure that you can go much, much faster!

As you get more experience, drive in a little deeper into the corner and then turn harder and dive for the apex. Then get back on the throttle immediately and unwind the streering so the car rolls out wider on turn exit to use all of the road. This will let you carry much more speed though a turn.

Great job and I hope that you had fun!
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Old 05-22-2012, 04:59 AM   #10
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Thanks for the advice everyone.

I am saving up for Hoosier tires and a set of used lightweight O.Z.'s so I can turn harder without worrying about my street tires since I DD the car. A set of Hoosier tires themselves are $1300-$1400.

The race car instructor said that at the speeds I might reach with my car, the Hoosier tires should last me about 20 track days, maybe as low as 15 as I get better and drive harder. I was planning on 4 track days per year so that seems good.
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Old 05-22-2012, 01:37 PM   #11
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Thanks for the advice everyone.

I am saving up for Hoosier tires and a set of used lightweight O.Z.'s so I can turn harder without worrying about my street tires since I DD the car. A set of Hoosier tires themselves are $1300-$1400.

The race car instructor said that at the speeds I might reach with my car, the Hoosier tires should last me about 20 track days, maybe as low as 15 as I get better and drive harder. I was planning on 4 track days per year so that seems good.
My advice is not to jump to Hoosier's any time soon. You didn't mention what brand/model tires you have now, but ask yourself if your track driving is ready for a tire with tons more mechanical grip that reqiures you to push the car fairly hard to get enough heat in it to grip in the first place and a fairly abrupt limit that will let go without much warning in the second place.

An alternative is to learn your track driving skills on street tires until your driving skill is better than the tires - THEN upgrade. The time to go to Hoosier's is when you are driving hard enough to get the tires up to temp; know how to manage tire pressures based on the track, your driving, and the weather; and are comfortable sliding the car around at 80+mph and recovering from such a slide without drama.

So rather than pop for a new set of Hoosier's, buy a set of Kumho Ecsta XS or Hankook RS-3 ($800 and can be driven on the street and the track) and use the extra money to pay for more track days to improve your driving skills.
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Old 05-22-2012, 02:08 PM   #12
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My advice is not to jump to Hoosier's any time soon. You didn't mention what brand/model tires you have now, but ask yourself if your track driving is ready for a tire with tons more mechanical grip that reqiures you to push the car fairly hard to get enough heat in it to grip in the first place and a fairly abrupt limit that will let go without much warning in the second place.

An alternative is to learn your track driving skills on street tires until your driving skill is better than the tires - THEN upgrade. The time to go to Hoosier's is when you are driving hard enough to get the tires up to temp; know how to manage tire pressures based on the track, your driving, and the weather; and are comfortable sliding the car around at 80+mph and recovering from such a slide without drama.

So rather than pop for a new set of Hoosier's, buy a set of Kumho Ecsta XS or Hankook RS-3 ($800 and can be driven on the street and the track) and use the extra money to pay for more track days to improve your driving skills.
+1
Street tires and stock suspension for the first year. When you are the fastest guy in a stock Boxster, it's time to buy sticky tires. Save the Hoosiers for National PCA TT Championships when 1/10th is the difference between 1st and 5th place. Remember that Hoosier R6s are dead after 1 weekend of use. One big spin in your first run session on them and they are hopelessly flatspotted and useless. It's a real fast way to burn a lot of Benjamins.
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Old 05-25-2012, 12:53 AM   #13
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Driving position is key, the first thing I do with all of my students is "pull the seat forward, and seatback very vertical" (picture any race driver, i.e. Nascar, F1, Indy, Rally, etc and they are almost hugging the steering wheel).

+1 with waiting on tire upgrades, etc. Learn to drive the car with stock suspension/brakes/tires, and when you are the fastest guy compared to everyone with the "goodies," then upgrade. This will usu take you 1-2 years of good seat time (once/mo probably).

Personally, I didn't move up to R-compound tires well into my 4-5 year of tracking, and for me, there wasn't a huge difference between say the Goodyear EAGLE EMT and Toyo R888. You hear of folks saying, "Wow, a huge difference once I switched tires, 6-7 seconds off of my lap times!" Well, truth is they didn't really LEARN how to drive their cars properly yet. Wring out what you have first, then the upgrades will really pay off.

Btw, you really need to get with PCA or any other club for that matter (and there are lots of them), that offer ~5 20-25 mins sessions/day, along with full time instructor sitting next to you for ~same amount that you paid.

Just my $.02. Hope this helps.
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Old 05-26-2012, 08:38 PM   #14
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The guys above nailed it, PCA = better instruction and more skill using basic equipment.
When you're the fastest in your run group, think about adding better tires to the mix.
Plus, junky tires in skilled hands make for great drifting fun.
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Old 05-29-2012, 04:44 AM   #15
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Driving position is key, the first thing I do with all of my students is "pull the seat forward, and seatback very vertical" (picture any race driver, i.e. Nascar, F1, Indy, Rally, etc and they are almost hugging the steering wheel).

+1 with waiting on tire upgrades, etc. Learn to drive the car with stock suspension/brakes/tires, and when you are the fastest guy compared to everyone with the "goodies," then upgrade. This will usu take you 1-2 years of good seat time (once/mo probably).

Personally, I didn't move up to R-compound tires well into my 4-5 year of tracking, and for me, there wasn't a huge difference between say the Goodyear EAGLE EMT and Toyo R888. You hear of folks saying, "Wow, a huge difference once I switched tires, 6-7 seconds off of my lap times!" Well, truth is they didn't really LEARN how to drive their cars properly yet. Wring out what you have first, then the upgrades will really pay off.

Btw, you really need to get with PCA or any other club for that matter (and there are lots of them), that offer ~5 20-25 mins sessions/day, along with full time instructor sitting next to you for ~same amount that you paid.

Just my $.02. Hope this helps.
They had me sit as close as possible. But when I put my helmet on, I did not fit. My head was hitting the roof. I am 6 foot tall. They let me move my seat back a bit so I can fit but my head still hit the roof frame everytime I took a sharp corner. It was pretty annoying.

I had an open face helmet so I was not allowed to drive with the top down. We had to have the windows down too, which really slowed me down in the straightaway.
I got to buy a closed face helmet.
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Old 05-31-2012, 10:34 PM   #16
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They had me sit as close as possible. But when I put my helmet on, I did not fit. My head was hitting the roof. I am 6 foot tall. They let me move my seat back a bit so I can fit but my head still hit the roof frame everytime I took a sharp corner. It was pretty annoying.

I had an open face helmet so I was not allowed to drive with the top down. We had to have the windows down too, which really slowed me down in the straightaway.
I got to buy a closed face helmet.
Lol! It sounds like top down would suit you better.

Windows down is a requirement for all DE's, the only exception is if it is raining so hard that you can barely see a thing, then at that instance, it is just better to bite the bullet and not go out on your run at all.

You now officially have the "track" bug and enjoy!
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Old 06-04-2012, 02:18 PM   #17
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I have to agree with what others are saying about tires and your learning. I would not personally buy super sticky tires for my car until I felt I really needed them. Tires like that will, as my autocross instructor from this weekend put it to me, "hide your sins", and won't break loose on you until you're in a situation where you need to be damn good to recover and also stay on the tarmac. I'd rather have good summer tires that will be grippy without making me think I'm gonna give Schumacher a run for his money. Better to get good at learning how the car is when mostly stock since you've only changed the springs, and then get better tires when you start outperforming the street ones.

Another thing with those extremely sticky tires is you'll likely be pulling more g-forces than the car can handle in stock form, and given that our engines already get just enough lubrication to survive (despite 9 friggin' quarts of oil), you don't want to create a situation where you'll starve parts of the engine of oil from hard cornering. I know how you feel about not wanting to pay to replace synchros, and this would hit your wallet in an even bigger way.

It was also heavily recommended to me by more than one person on this forum to get the underdrive pulley upgrade done before going on the track to prevent boiling over the power steering fluid, and I think it makes sense to invest the money into that for what it helps to prevent. So it looks like Lime Rock will have wait a little bit longer before I get on it. I also want to do more to cool the car, like the 3rd radiator and an S bumper, lo-temp thermostat, water pump replacement, and S oil cooler. After all that, and a set of wheels with good summer tires, I'll be going to the track for sure with a lot less concern for the car's ability to get me to the track, on the track, and back home.

I haven't checked out your video yet, not that I'll be able to give you any advice...I'll just be watching for the cool factor of someone I sorta know who got to run on a track, and be jealous.
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Old 06-04-2012, 06:45 PM   #18
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It was also heavily recommended to me by more than one person on this forum to get the underdrive pulley upgrade done before going on the track to prevent boiling over the power steering fluid, and I think it makes sense to invest the money into that for what it helps to prevent. So it looks like Lime Rock will have wait a little bit longer before I get on it. I also want to do more to cool the car, like the 3rd radiator and an S bumper, lo-temp thermostat, water pump replacement, and S oil cooler. After all that, and a set of wheels with good summer tires, I'll be going to the track for sure with a lot less concern for the car's ability to get me to the track, on the track, and back home.
I suggest the "take it one step at a time" approach. If you're not having any problems with high temps at the track, then the center radiator and S oil cooler can probably wait. Same for the under drive pulley. A few DE's at the entry level isn't likely to cook anything but as you get more experience and drive harder and faster then you'll want to address some of those concerns.
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