Preparing F430 for its first track day...

Discussion in 'Tracking & Driver Education' started by Corsair66, Nov 14, 2017.

  1. Corsair66

    Corsair66 Karting
    Silver Subscribed

    Mar 14, 2016
    207
    Clermont, FL
    Full Name:
    Ken
    The subject line says it all. This will be the 430's first track day and my first time on track in a street car (all track experience to date in the Skip Barber formula cars).

    A few questions:
    • Should I mount some more track-focused tires for the event? I'm currently running a set of Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires with about 800 miles on them.
    • If I use the 4S tires, should I expect them to be trash after the session and plan to replace them directly?
    • Is it worth switching to track-optimized brake pads (steel rotors)?
    • Is it worth switching to track-optimized brake fluid or simply flushing with more of the DOT4 usual?
    Is anyone else concerned about running at speed with only a street-config, 3-point inertial reel seatbelt or do folks just make a decision to accept the increased risk of not having a proper five or six point harness? I'm already going to feel exposed without my Hans...

    What else should I be considering?
     
  2. Mr Turbo

    Mr Turbo Rookie

    Apr 1, 2012
    23
    Sebastian, FL
    Full Name:
    Jim H.
    Ken,
    Welcome to a wonderful way to enjoy your car! A word of caution: There has been many an enthusiast who has been drawn in to the track day brotherhood...unable to escape.
    First and foremost you should be thinking about safety. Fresh brake fluid is imperative as well as making sure that your brake pads have enough meat on them before you arrive trackside. If your tires are as new as you state, they should be fine. Understand that you won't and shouldn't be trying to set fastest lap times on your first outing. Your time will be best spent learning your smooth and consistent driving line, and "feeling what the car is telling you". For that reason, I tell my students in the classroom not to rush into DOT track tires, because your street tires can give you valuable feedback by "talking" to you when you are asking the car to do something that perhaps it doesn't want to do (abrupt inputs). A brake pad upgrade will be in your future once you get hooked on the hobby.
    Go to the track and have lots of fun. Be safe and courteous to your fellow drivers. It is a great way to enjoy your car with fellow enthusiasts in a safe and controlled environment. Start slow and learn the track. Hopefully you will be paired with a knowledgeable instructor for your first few events who can get you dialed in and accelerate your learning curve. Speed will come as a result of being smooth and relaxed.
    Did you do Skippy at Sebring? Since you live in Florida, there are some pretty sweet tracks to choose from!
    Best,
    Jim H.
     
  3. Corsair66

    Corsair66 Karting
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    Mar 14, 2016
    207
    Clermont, FL
    Full Name:
    Ken
    Hi Jim,

    All good advice; much appreciated. Rest assured that I won't be putting the proverbial cart before the horse, speed-wise. I've got enough track time under my belt (yes, the Skippy formula car seat time was at Sebring - 3-day racing school, 2-day advanced, and multiple lapping days) to know better. I've also put my time in as a flight instructor and am all too familiar with the ways in which ego can take the place of common sense and self-preservation. That's never been the case with me, in any context, and I won't be starting here. No worries.

    Sounds as though I'll be replacing the brake fluid, but sticking with my current street tires for this first outing. If I decide to continue tracking the 430, I'll probably pick up another set of wheels and mount more appropriate tires as my comfort level expands.

    Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.

    Ken
     
  4. bupilot

    bupilot Karting

    May 3, 2016
    68
    China Spring, TX
    Full Name:
    Jason Anderson
    Hey Ken,

    I did a track event last year in my 430 and besides service being up to date including fresh brake fluid, I just took the car and had a blast! Tires survived just fine (Michelin PSS's). Have carbon ceramic disc brakes so no knowledge on how the steeley's perform but my guess is they will do just fine if the sessions are short. Came away thinking if I really wanted to go with a more dedicated track setup, I'd just invest in a track only car, not bother with touching or changing anything on the 430. I absolutely want to go and track in it again though, definitely a bonding experience with the car and great fun with the other participants. Oh yeah, and don't go easy on her in the sense of it's a Ferrari and it might break. She can take it and dish it back out!

    Jason
     
  5. Corsair66

    Corsair66 Karting
    Silver Subscribed

    Mar 14, 2016
    207
    Clermont, FL
    Full Name:
    Ken
    Hi Jason,

    Good info on tire survival; thanks. I don't want to make major changes to my 430's setup, though I suppose I could pick up another set of wheels for more track-optimized tires should I want to make tracking the car a regular event. I'm not too concerned that the car will break catastrophically, though that'll still leave with me a few concerns: street belts, paint chip damage, and extremely pricey track day insurance.

    I'm a great believer that one shouldn't drive anything on the track (especially W2W more so than HPDE) that one isn't prepared to watch burn to the ground without much stress. Sort of like bringing cash to the casino - if you're not prepared to leave it there and happily call it the price of your entertainment, then you should probably be playing golf instead. :cool:

    I'm with you on the dedicated track car idea. Currently thinking about running ChumpCar next year with a buddy...

    Ken
     
  6. LVP488

    LVP488 Formula Junior

    Jan 21, 2017
    566
    Enjoy it - having already experience with track driving will certainly help you, I guess you are prepared to "deflate" the tyres, it's important because they warm up a lot during track driving and with too much pressure they have no grip.
    A dedicated track car is more efficient but there is a nice feeling in being able to drive to, on and back from the track in the very same car.
     
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  8. 95spiderman

    95spiderman F1 Veteran
    Silver Subscribed

    Nov 1, 2003
    6,957
    ny
    Have the car inspected by shop for safety. Most hpde groups require an inspection form anyway. As far as modifications, do nothing. Tires and brakes will be fine. Your previous experience is good in that you know the jargon like brake point, turn in, apex, track out, point by. Buts that's about all its good for. Consider yourself a complete novice, listen to instructors advice, dont worry if guy in junker passes you, etc. Its just for fun and you will love it. Way better than any school event by far.
     

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