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Old 24th October 2016, 08:41 PM   #1 (permalink)
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First Trackday

I'm looking to go on track for the first time in the next couple of weeks at Blyton Park. I had a ride up there to have a look yesterday and timed it well as I ended up meeting Alex (alexinphuket) and Ian from the battalion group, great guys and clearly proper enthusiasts. Alex very kindly took me round the track in his LM1000 which absolutely blew me away, seriously impressed with how well set up his car was.

Anyways, I wondered if anyone had any advice with it being my first trackday? I haven't got any cooling upgrades and am aware of not letting gearbox temps go above 120 etc and intend to build my pace up rather than go all in on the first couple laps. Should I expect to need new brakes after (I'm still on stock ones) or should I be okay so long as I cool the car down every few laps etc.

Oh and the car is a 2012 Ecutek Stage 4.25!
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Old 30th October 2016, 10:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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My cars done 11k miles, my front brakes and pads were completely done for after 2 days of Spa. I did 2 or 3 laps then did a full cooldown as well.. I didn't really feel like I was overly heavy on them either

Tyres I ran cup 2s.. they are pretty much done for now as well and will see me thro till next summer normal road driving then will need new 1s

My gearbox temp went over 120 which is fine but you need to get it replaced when you get back... think its within 3k miles?

Take it easy, build up the pace, do cooldown laps and you'll be fine. If its your first track day then like me you'll come away realising exactly why you bought the GTR and how awesome it is!
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Old 31st October 2016, 08:03 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Best advice I can give you for your first track day is book plenty of tuition.

Also take it easy, do warm up and cool down laps and check tyre pressures after a few hot laps as they will rise and you may need to let some air out.

Trans oil temps and change requirement will depend upon your trans fluid brand. You're out of warranty so maybe after this track day use a more temp resilient fluid like Pentosin FF-L Racing.

Also change your brake fluid after this track day as it will have deteriorated due to high temps. OEM discs and pads are not up to track day temps and loading so they may require a change afterwards. Go AP racing and pad choice wil depend on how often you track and what "feel" you like on the road (bite, modulation, squeal)
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Old 1st November 2016, 06:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for the advice guys. I've just come back from the track now as the owner very kindly let me take the car round for a few laps to check how loud my car was. Gave me a good feel for the track and how the car behaves, was seriously good fun even if it was short but sweet!

Unfortunately I breached the noise limits twice at 96 and 99dBa with an SVM102mm exhaust so I'm going to have to restrain myself on the first straight. My brakes also stunk afterwards, I believe it's still on its original discs and pads (done 21k so I'm kind of assuming they will be done afterwards even though they look fine at the min).

It's only £20 for 20mins tuition so think I will also book a couple of sessions on the day
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Old 1st November 2016, 07:04 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I remember my first track day in my old R35 was great fun!

Not sure where you're based but think if its stock discs and pads have 21k on them I would be getting someone to give them the once over and if the discs are ok pop some decent pads on it. Seen a 35 run out of brakes on track (running oem) and it was 'emotional' for the owner!
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Old 1st November 2016, 09:14 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I remember my first track day in my old R35 was great fun!

Not sure where you're based but think if its stock discs and pads have 21k on them I would be getting someone to give them the once over and if the discs are ok pop some decent pads on it. Seen a 35 run out of brakes on track (running oem) and it was 'emotional' for the owner!
I had the brakes checked 4 months ago and was told they had plenty of life in them, I also checked them this evening after those 3 laps and my pads have loads left in them and the discs are showing no signs at all of cracking etc so I should be okay, it's a good call though.

As I've never had this before, can anyone tell me what it feels like when the brakes start to get too hot/fade? Assuming you just don't get that bite or feel back through the pedal and less braking force?
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Old 1st November 2016, 09:35 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I don't think I have had any fading issues with the stock pads as they are good.
I would normally limit track time to around 20 minutes though. Don't use cosworth road pads at the ring without a cool down lap though. I had someone point out to me that my pads were on fire as I was unable to cool them down properly.
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Old 1st November 2016, 10:25 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I had the brakes checked 4 months ago and was told they had plenty of life in them, I also checked them this evening after those 3 laps and my pads have loads left in them and the discs are showing no signs at all of cracking etc so I should be okay, it's a good call though.

As I've never had this before, can anyone tell me what it feels like when the brakes start to get too hot/fade? Assuming you just don't get that bite or feel back through the pedal and less braking force?
You can get two types of fade depending on whether it's your pads that exceed their operating temp or your fluid.

Hard normal pedal but no braking = pads

Soft spongy pedal going to the floor with no braking = fluid.

Both can happen on track if you're not careful
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Old 1st November 2016, 10:28 PM   #9 (permalink)
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As I've never had this before, can anyone tell me what it feels like when the brakes start to get too hot/fade? Assuming you just don't get that bite or feel back through the pedal and less braking force?
1) You press the pedal, it feels firm, but the car slows less. So the natural reaction is to press harder and harder to stop, but this makes things worse. After letting the brakes cool down, you may then find there is a judder or vibration when braking.

2) You press the pedal, it feels squidgy or pedal throw is longer than expected. Worst case, the pedal goes to the floor and the car doesn't stop.
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Old 1st November 2016, 11:00 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Just do a check of the discs and pads after the track day.. mine were all cracked very badly around the holes which is why i got them replaced.. the pads were pretty much done for as well

but 2 days of Spa right after the F1 in 30 degrees heat is pretty brutal compared to like a 2 hour session at Brands for example

I dont think i took any life out of my tyres, discs or pads after Brands.. but then it was not that warm, its a small track and it rained half way thro lol
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Old 2nd November 2016, 08:48 AM   #11 (permalink)
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yeah you're gonna have fun as everyone said!

TOP TIP: Remember to leave your handbrake OFF for a while when you come back in off track, to stop you heat warping your brake discs! Obviously make sure the car is on flat level ground.

Tip 2 : Always remember to do a cool down lap or 2 as well!
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Old 2nd November 2016, 04:05 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Handbrake doesn't clamp the rear discs with pads, it operates brake shoes in a drum. Never a good idea to have foot pedal pressed when stationary and hot though
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Old 5th November 2016, 09:55 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Thanks everyone for the advice, much appreciated. I did think the handbrake used shoes so thanks for confirming.

Bloody typical though, the weather forecast for tomorrow has been dry and sunny all week and now it's saying it's going to rain most of the day! In two minds now as to whether to leave it till the next event (a fortnight).
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Old 5th November 2016, 10:13 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Personally I'd say a wet day is more beneficial for you.

Track speeds will be slower and it'll allow you to understand the car in inferior road conditions. Car temps will be lower and it'll be more mechanically sympathetic to brakes and tyres.

Some of my best track days have been in quite biblical wet conditions.

It'll give you a massive boost in confidence for road driving.
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Old 6th November 2016, 10:11 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Here's a link to great website that will help. It covers everything you should be aware of and more.
The Definitive Guide to Track Days - Tips For Beginners

And for all the track day addicts - there is a fantastic link to a full years calendar for track days run by the most popular TDOs. Hopefully this will get updated for next year.
UK Track Day & Test Dates 2016 List - Driver 61

There are also some great tutorials in the website for anyone that wants to develop their skill set a bit further.

All i can add to the advise already given is drive within your limits. It is so easy to get up trying to race somebody or to prove a point. If some one has caught you up, even if you know your car is quicker than theirs, let them passed. You want to be concentrating on what is infront of you not driving in your mirrors. You will get more respect on track if you give it to others.

Oh, one last piece of advice and possibly the most crucial................ enjoy.
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Old 20th November 2016, 03:10 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Here's a link to great website that will help. It covers everything you should be aware of and more.
The Definitive Guide to Track Days - Tips For Beginners

And for all the track day addicts - there is a fantastic link to a full years calendar for track days run by the most popular TDOs. Hopefully this will get updated for next year.
UK Track Day & Test Dates 2016 List - Driver 61

There are also some great tutorials in the website for anyone that wants to develop their skill set a bit further.

All i can add to the advise already given is drive within your limits. It is so easy to get up trying to race somebody or to prove a point. If some one has caught you up, even if you know your car is quicker than theirs, let them passed. You want to be concentrating on what is infront of you not driving in your mirrors. You will get more respect on track if you give it to others.

Oh, one last piece of advice and possibly the most crucial................ enjoy.
Thanks buddy, useful links
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Old 20th November 2016, 03:25 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Just to update this I bottled the track day when it was raining but went yesterday when the weather was great (Very cold but crucially dry and sunny).

In short it was one of the most enjoyable days I've had in a very long time, having the chance to really push the car in a way that you simply can't do on the road was thrilling, I was gradually building up the pace as it was my first track day full stop, never mind in the GTR, but it was extremely good fun! Anyone who has a GTR and hasn't taken it on track - DO IT! I didn't think I would but after yesterday I'm already looking to book my next, I just wish I had done it over the Summer when the weather was (slightly) more predictable! The car is an absolute weapon and you have to go on track to experience what it's capable of.

Thought it would be worth updating the couple of concerns I mentioned earlier in the thread:

Brakes - As mentioned I'm still on the stock discs and pads and I have to say they performed pretty well overall, I had a routine of approx 3-4 laps followed by a couple of cool off laps, I'd then come off for 5-10 mins and go back on. After checking afterwards there is no signs of cracking etc and the pads still have plenty of life. Towards the end of the day during a duel with a C63 AMG it did start to feel like they had had enough as there was a noticeable 'humming' sound under heavy braking (Assuming this was from multiple hard stops from around 125mph). After 3-4 laps of hard driving they also started to feel spongy with less pedal feel so I think the routine above worked well.

Tyres - As with the brakes these were also fine after the day with plenty of tread left (I'm running MPSS all round with the staggered set up). It has to be said that I'm sure a more experienced driver would probably have punished the brakes/tyres more than I did but I've read/heard a lot of horror stories about the consumables being ruined after a track day, I think so long as you respect the car and be sensible you probably can make them last.

I only encountered one issue during the day which I'd appreciate some thoughts on:

The power steering fluid kept overflowing. I can't really fathom why this would be other than it was overfilled in the first place? It was a cold day (5C) and yet it still seemed to boil over, any ideas?

I got plenty of pics and videos too so as soon as I've transferred them to the PC I'll get them up!
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Old 21st November 2016, 06:15 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Glad you enjoyed it!
I'm yet to take mine on track, but will do soon. Good to hear about the consumables. Did you keep an eye on oil and gearbox temps?

Re the power steering fluid - It was probably on the max mark when you started, not necessarily over full. The steering takes a hammering on track so when the oil get hot and expands it will overflow.
Its a good idea to have the brake fluid and power steering fluid at the lower end of the scale before a track day.
In fact on the GTR, There is an 'R' for race on the power steering dipstick for that reason. I believe it also suggests to have the engine oil 10mm below full for a track day.
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Old 21st November 2016, 06:53 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by -SeanS View Post
Just to update this I bottled the track day when it was raining but went yesterday when the weather was great (Very cold but crucially dry and sunny).

In short it was one of the most enjoyable days I've had in a very long time, having the chance to really push the car in a way that you simply can't do on the road was thrilling, I was gradually building up the pace as it was my first track day full stop, never mind in the GTR, but it was extremely good fun! Anyone who has a GTR and hasn't taken it on track - DO IT! I didn't think I would but after yesterday I'm already looking to book my next, I just wish I had done it over the Summer when the weather was (slightly) more predictable! The car is an absolute weapon and you have to go on track to experience what it's capable of.

Thought it would be worth updating the couple of concerns I mentioned earlier in the thread:

Brakes - As mentioned I'm still on the stock discs and pads and I have to say they performed pretty well overall, I had a routine of approx 3-4 laps followed by a couple of cool off laps, I'd then come off for 5-10 mins and go back on. After checking afterwards there is no signs of cracking etc and the pads still have plenty of life. Towards the end of the day during a duel with a C63 AMG it did start to feel like they had had enough as there was a noticeable 'humming' sound under heavy braking (Assuming this was from multiple hard stops from around 125mph). After 3-4 laps of hard driving they also started to feel spongy with less pedal feel so I think the routine above worked well.

Tyres - As with the brakes these were also fine after the day with plenty of tread left (I'm running MPSS all round with the staggered set up). It has to be said that I'm sure a more experienced driver would probably have punished the brakes/tyres more than I did but I've read/heard a lot of horror stories about the consumables being ruined after a track day, I think so long as you respect the car and be sensible you probably can make them last.

I only encountered one issue during the day which I'd appreciate some thoughts on:

The power steering fluid kept overflowing. I can't really fathom why this would be other than it was overfilled in the first place? It was a cold day (5C) and yet it still seemed to boil over, any ideas?

I got plenty of pics and videos too so as soon as I've transferred them to the PC I'll get them up!
Your power steering fluid boiled over because it might have overheated, it's happened to mine quite a few times on track albeit in the summer usually. It may have been overfilled as you say.

Since you noticed your pedal went soft I'd strongly recommend getting that fluid changed out. It's exceeded its boiling point and wont give anywhere neat the same pedal performance now. There's plenty of decent brake fluid you can use and any garage/mechanic can do that for you.
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Old 21st November 2016, 09:57 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Glad you enjoyed it!
I'm yet to take mine on track, but will do soon. Good to hear about the consumables. Did you keep an eye on oil and gearbox temps?

Re the power steering fluid - It was probably on the max mark when you started, not necessarily over full. The steering takes a hammering on track so when the oil get hot and expands it will overflow.
Its a good idea to have the brake fluid and power steering fluid at the lower end of the scale before a track day.
In fact on the GTR, There is an 'R' for race on the power steering dipstick for that reason. I believe it also suggests to have the engine oil 10mm below full for a track day.
I was watching the fluid temps yeah and they never went about 110C, I think this was helped by the fact it was such a cold day. Think I'm right in saying it's 140C before you need to change the gearbox oil?

I didn't know about the R marker on the power steering so thanks for that, I'll check it next time.

Do you have any tracks in mind for your first trackday?
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