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Signed up for Sebring…..help!

Discussion in 'Tracking & Driver Education' started by wthensler, Dec 7, 2021.

  1. wthensler

    wthensler Formula 3
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    Apr 27, 2015
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    William
    So, I got a slot for the Novice course through Chin Racing for Sebring at the end of January. I recently completed the Corso Pilota at Concours Miami a few weeks back, so I have some track time in the F8.

    What will I need equipment-wise to participate? I have a (stock) STO that has recently been wrapped in PPF, but maybe I need better protection? I’m going to put some mikes on it between now and then to fully break it in.

    I don’t have a helmet or HANS device, but can order them (birthday present from wife, lol). And what about
    Communication?

    What should I expect in terms of track time,,number of cars sharing the track, etc?

    Not out to kill it, I just want to have fun and experience the car under better conditions.
     
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  3. FerrariCognoscenti

    FerrariCognoscenti Formula 3
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    Jan 19, 2021
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    All great questions. I presume you’re in the novice instructed class. Hope this helps:

    1) equipment: it is always preferable to have your own.

    You should not order a traditional HANS because it is not compatible with a 3-point belt and instead requires a harness. As a result, the ONLY authorized head and neck restraint available on the market that is compatible with a 3-point seatbelt is the Simpson Hybrid S. For the “post anchor” option I recommend sliding.

    https://www.simpsonraceproducts.com/products/simpson-hybrid-s

    You will also need to buy separately the helmet hardware which includes the sliding post anchors, ensure you choose the “SA” option in the drop down box:

    https://www.simpsonraceproducts.com/products/simpson-post-anchors-pair

    For your helmet, I recommend either the Stilo ST5 full carbon in full carbon. You want full face. The full carbon version is $2k and the composite version is $1k. No difference other than weight. I have the carbon version. You’re driving a STO so I presume money isn’t a major factor here, and it’s your head, so buy the best you can and get the full carbon ST5. The best helmet on the market, IMO.

    https://www.stilohelmets.com/products/stilo-sa2020-st5-fn-carbon-racing-helmet

    https://www.stilohelmets.com/products/stilo-sa2020-st5-gt-composite-racing-helmet

    I also strongly recommend good high quality racing gloves. Your hands will get sweaty and it’s important for safety to have a solid grip on the wheel. I recommend OMP or SABELT, but any racing gloves from a top tier company like Simpson, Sparco, etc will be fine.

    Lastly on equipment, try finding a local racing shop that stocks everything to try on gear for size and buy. Always better than the Internet when something may not fit.

    2) communication: for all HPDE organizations, it is the responsibility of the instructor to provide a comms microphone for the student. Don’t worry your instructor will hand you an earpiece and microphone you can slide into your helmet. The Stilo ST5 helmet has a communications port, but there are so many different types and adaptors it’s not necessary to buy a comms device right now.

    3) for car protection, I recommend Track Armour. It is about 40 bucks on Amazon. It is twice as thick as PPF and will protect your car. Just stick it on the morning of the event when you’re at the track. It’s not pretty but it works. It is easily removable unlike PPF, but be careful when removing it and go slowly so you don’t also peel up your PPF.

    https://www.amazon.com/TrackArmour-TA6X100-6-100-Temporary-Protection/dp/B07F3DW4TQ

    4) track time: you will probably have between 4 and 6 sessions on track with each session being between 20 and 30 minutes. Make sure you give your car a break between sessions and open the engine bay to cool when the car is resting. Chin is notorious for running really great events, so you should have maximum track time with minimum possible traffic.

    5) if you don’t like your instructor after 2 sessions and your personalities don’t mesh, ask the Chin chief instructor for a new instructor. The only thing worse than an accident on track is having a bad instructor. Don’t wait until the end of the day to ask for a new instructor.

    Have fun and let us know what other Qs you have.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  4. mdrums

    mdrums Formula 3

    Jun 11, 2006
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    Ahh my home track since 2005…thousands of miles there.

    Chin is awesome…hours of track time. Sessions are 30 min each. Chin runs a tight ship no waste of time. You’ll have around 25-30 cars in your group. Instructor will ride with you. Instructor will provide communication too. My Stilo helmet has built in communication and I run a removable headset/mic to my students helmet.

    since you had instruction already at the Ferrari school things will even be better when you hit Sebring. I suggest you study and watch a lot of track videos on YouTube. Chin has a few on there website. If you want to talk through the track call me up I’d be happy to help.

    You will need a helmet obviously but Chin has them for rent too. Wine Country Motorsports is right at the Sebring track with a huge selection of helmets if you want to get there Friday afternoon and try some on and buy. Just email Chin to let them know if you want to rent one of there helmets.

    Go flush your brakes and get some Motul rbf660 in there. Sebring is extremely hard on brakes. How do your brake pads look? I’d have those looked at. If your in the new Lambo STO I know it’s new so you’re good to go with brakes.
     
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  5. wthensler

    wthensler Formula 3
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    Apr 27, 2015
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    Thanks so much the detailed information. The STO is currently at the detailer getting a PPF wrap and I will speak to him about the extra protection for the high impact areas. The helmet, gloves and accessories tips are a big help.

    Looking forward to having a great time with the attitude being you can’t own a car like this and never see a track. And I’m great with more coaching as I sharpen my skills, learn the track and the car’s capabilities.
     
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  6. wthensler

    wthensler Formula 3
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    Apr 27, 2015
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    Just to update, still on for Sebring. I decided to bring the 458 for my first time there, as I’m much more familiar and comfortable with this car. In preparation, I hired a full time instructor who will guide me, and the car goes in next week for new Cup 2s, a more track focused alignment, fluid changes and new brake pads.

    I ran it hard at The Firm this past Monday and it did well, albeit stickier tires won’t hurt.

    I experienced a fair amount of brake fade, so short of running TC off, I’m pretty much doing what I can to prep the car (I mostly ran in Race Mode) It was a very tight track and top speeds were a little above 120mph just to give everyone an idea. I know Sebring will be even harder on braking, and the 458 falls short in active cooling unfortunately.

    I’ve been warned about the bumps, probably not much I can do about that one except pick a line and hang on, lol.

    And I got an awesome Bell Helmet and driving gloves which I already wore Monday, so really comfortable with that setup.

    And arriving Saturday late AM to watch the day’s festivities and get a good night sleep in at the 7.
     
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  8. FerrariCognoscenti

    FerrariCognoscenti Formula 3
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    Jan 19, 2021
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    If you insist on keeping Race mode on and not going up to CT OFF, then I would focus very hard on driving the car as smoothly as possible with gentle application of the throttle out of the corners while monitoring the dash board and trying as best as possible to drive smooth enough to wear the TC is never activated while in rade mode.

    If you have an instructor with you, then on session two after you’re warmed up, goto CT OFF at least for a few laps and just take it easy as you learn the car.

    The 458 is a completely different car with CT OFF than it is in race mode. The car sticks VERY well in CT OFF and it is a lot harder to break traction in CT OFF than you think.

    Driving CT OFF will make you a much better driver.

    If you’re driving in race mode and the traction control is engaging coming out of every turn, then you’re making a lot of mistakes and not applying the throttle correctly or smoothly at the same ratios as your steering input. These are things you can only really learn, feel, and experience in CT OFF. Your improvement in driving will plateau very quickly in race mode and you’re likely already developing bad habits on track that you won’t ever notice until you drive in CT OFF.

    If you’ve been through Corsa Pilota and you have some track time under your belt, and you hired a full time instructor, then I think you’re at a point where you can safely bump it up to CT OFF and let your instructor guide you.


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  9. wthensler

    wthensler Formula 3
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    Apr 27, 2015
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    William
    @FerrariCognoscenti, thanks for the advice. I’ve had two days with the F8 Tributo at Concours and one at The Firm with the 458. I understand Sebring is a much faster track, and a bit bumpy, but I agree there will come a time for CT off. Having the instructor drive my car with me as passenger was a huge help, as I could observe how he was approaching the lines, hand movements, braking, and of course unwinding out of turns.

    I am certainly improving and enjoying it as I learn. Getting better with trail braking and throttle up as the wheel is straightened. Paying attention to the flag men and learning the track so each turn is not a mystery. The FIRM isn’t too hard, I’m sure Sebring will be a bit more challenging. My instructor will be there for the day.

    Amazing how sensitive these cars to driver input!

    I hope this doesn’t become a habit, lol……

    Again, thanks for the advice.
     

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