Good point on the ride along. My instrcutor grew up right down the road from the track, and has driven there nearly his whole life. Needless to say, he knew the track very well.
I didnt read though everything yet so I applogize if this has been convered.
- When doing your cool down lap, actually cool down. Drive at a slower pace and really concentrate on hitting the proper apex during this time. Shift the car into high gear so you are running around 2-3000 rpm and keep it in that gear. High performance driving is most taxing on the car in terms of thermal management. Brakes will get very very hot in additon to the engine and trans. This cool down period will let the components cool at a natural rate. When you get to your pit area do not apply the parking brake!!!! You will warp/heat stress the rotors. Pop the hood of your car and let it idle in neutral for about 5-7 minutes to circulate fluid and disipate heat.
- After you pull off the track drive slow around the pits. I usually drive in 2nd gear (to help cool the car) at around 5-8mph. Even though your blood is pumping stay focused, there is lots of people and equipment around and I cant recall the number of times I had close calls with someone backing out or running over to fix a car infront of me.
- DO NOT TAKE OFF YOUR BELTS OR HELMET UNTIL THE CAR IS STOPPED IN YOUR PIT!! You never know what is going to happen around you and its better to remain buckled in your car than to take your helmet off and a out of control car at the track hits you.
-If instructors are around ask them to ride along and have a good conversation to your instructor about you experience level and what you would like them to help you on. The are not mind readers and do not know what abilities or comfort level you are at. Like wise if they dont feel comfortable in the car and ask you to back down LISTEN TO THEM. They have the experience to know when the car is getting close to being out of control more than you do so listen to their advice before you end up balling up your car or being asked to leave an event. In HPDE's YOU ARE NOT RACING, your there to be safe, have fun, and learn.
- Give people the point by if they are faster, it make the event more fun for everyone. Dont make it an ego thing. Nothing frustrates drivers more than when someone slower has a train of cars behind them because they are either not not paying attention to the cars around them or are to stuborn to give a point by. If you let them around try to follow them and watch their lines and braking points, you might learn something from them. But DO NOT let the driver infront of you drive YOUR car. Stay alert!
- Be Safe
- Ask questions
I just wanted to say great advice guys and keep it coming. I really want to go to some track events and learn how to drive on the track and just have fun. Keep this thread alive and keep the info coming. Look forward to hearing more. If possible maybe you can help people learn how to find such events because i know im having a little trouble finding events on the east coast.
If youve never done a track day before this would be a perect event for you. Registration opens 2/15 for non R32 VW drivers and then 3/1 for everyone else. Its at Summit Point in WV so its not too far of a trip. There should be a lot of VWs there so come on out and join the fun. IIRC its $325 for registration, and that includes 2 days of track time plus an instructor. Im sure well get a t shirt as well. At the last one VWoA brought out the mk5 R32 to show off (in a spiffy new color too) and there are some other activites planned so youll have a great time. Hopefully well see you there!!
Quote, originally posted by epk5150 » If possible maybe you can help people learn how to find such events because i know im having a little trouble finding events on the east coast.
lunch both days too...
One way I found events was to check the event calendars at the tracks nearby. That's how I found the Hype-R-Drive mini-HPDE's at Hype-R-Fest (Summit Point) as well as Friday at the Track, Car Guys Inc, and ultimately the Audi Club.
I've also found trackpedia.com which is a track-oriented wiki for drivers of all skill levels. They just passed their first birthday and the site is growing daily.
most everything has been said
so i'll add couple little things,
get to the track early, to get a nice paddock spot
and to prep the car, don't want to rush working on the car, wrong time to make a mistake
also, if your driving more than 2 hours to get to the track, get there a day early and get a hotel
get plenty of rest, driving tired is very bad
trust me you will be tired from sensory overload by the end of the day
another thing, is not all instructors bother to buy an intercom
so buy one yourself, the chatterbox is probably the best, but also a bit expensive
you can buy an inexpensive Nady Intercom
it can be difficult to hear your instructor, wtih a helmet on, and an exhaust, while your engine is reving, and the windows are all the way down
an intercom setup, is nice because you can converse at a normal voice, instead of screaming at each other
My one piece of advice is make sure you know exactly what your insurance situation is regarding track events. Many insurance companies have excluded any and all damage that results from participating in a track event. You should either make sure your insurance will cover it, purchase track-day insurance, or have the financial resources to cover both damage to yourself and any damages you may cause to others (up to the point of causing another's car to be totaled). If you cannot say with certainty that you can commit to one of these three, you should not participate in a track event.
You are the only one responsible for your car on track. If someone totals your car its your responsibility to fix it, not the person who hit you. Hopefully the person will admit they made a mistake, apologize, and maybe lend a hand in fixing the car, but they are in no way obligated to do anything at all. Im not saying I wouldnt be mad if someone totaled my car, I just wouldnt exepect them to fix it.
Quote, originally posted by swartzentruber » or have the financial resources to cover both damage to yourself and any damages you may cause to others (up to the point of causing another's car to be totaled). If you cannot say with certainty that you can commit to one of these three, you should not participate in a track event.
Sorry, but this is absolutely untrue, at least for my insurance. For all driving events that I participate in, the driver is expected to have insurance, and must make a claim to that effect (what insurance they have). You are naive to think that you are not obligated to repair someone else's damage, if your direct action caused that damage (ie, your car drops oil, causes me to spin; you make an unsafe pass and hit me). My insurance company covers me on a track, and would be obligated to cover damage to someone else's vehicle if I cause that damage. If someone else damage's my vehicle, and doesn't have insurance, they can expect to be sued, exactly as if they were driving on the road and weren't carrying insurance. If you cause damage to someone else's car that is severe enough to require an insurance claim, then the most likely scenarios are either your insurance will cover it, will cover it but bill you, or decline coverage and then that person's insurance will come after you personally. Also, the main track I drive on has cameras covering almost the entire track, so it wouldn't be that difficult to determine fault.
Quote, originally posted by NOVAdub » You are the only one responsible for your car on track. If someone totals your car its your responsibility to fix it, not the person who hit you. Hopefully the person will admit they made a mistake, apologize, and maybe lend a hand in fixing the car, but they are in no way obligated to do anything at all. Im not saying I wouldnt be mad if someone totaled my car, I just wouldnt exepect them to fix it.
Also, keep in mind that what I'm referring to is for Performance Driving Schools, not actual racing events (as far as I know, no regular insurance covers racing). I know this forum cover's both, so if it's a race you are participating in, then I would agree that it's your personal responsibility.
Modified by swartzentruber at 5:37 PM 4-24-2007
what track is that? I just want to know where not to take my car.
edit- Iw asnt go to say anything because I dont want to scare newbs away, but I got to thinking about this and your attitude will be the end of DEs. If you cant afford to push your car off a cliff leave it at home. You are voluntarily putting your car in a high risk enviornment and therefore you are the only one responsible for it. This weekend a friend was tagged by a 911 turbo exhaust tip. Luckily the car is fine, a little dent and some scratches, but he didnt even think about finding the driver to get him to pay. Once you start assigning blame, getting insurance involved, you will be the end of DEs. I enjoy driving on track too much to let that happen. If you want someone else to cover damage to your car drive it on the interstates. If you want to drive on a track understand that if anything happens at all you will be footing the bill. Do you think all of those race cars at DEs carry insurance? Of course not, so what if they wreck you? Are you going to sick your insurance company on them and end the fun for all of us? I said it earlier, and Ill say it again. If you cant afford to drive your car off a cliff leave it at home.
Modified by NOVAdub at 6:46 AM 4-25-2007
That would be the first I heard of someone able to make a claim against someone else for fluid dropped on the track. Given that if someone is dropping fluid a debris flag should be out and cleaning planned if its bad enough then its your fault for spinning knowing there is something causing loss of tracktion on the track.
Also where do you run that people are even allowed in a DE event to make a pass in a corner? Tell me so I never instruct there!!!
If your insurence will cover damage at an HPDE then you good to go, but I know many other policies that wont even cover someone backing into you at a paddock because it happen 'on a race course.'
Quote, originally posted by swartzentruber » For all driving events that I participate in, the driver is expected to have insurance, and must make a claim to that effect (what insurance they have). You are naive to think that you are not obligated to repair someone else's damage, if your direct action caused that damage (ie, your car drops oil, causes me to spin; you make an unsafe pass and hit me).
This type of "logic" is horrifying and spells the end to Drivers Education events as we know them today. With the threat of insurance claims, lawsuits and the like, most tracks will either shut down due to skyrocketing insurance claims OR they'll turn the events into "no fault" events which will become a free-for-all (which road races are today for the most part).
I'd like to echo my friends statements above. Worries about insurance for driving events are the responsibility of each driver, but they should not be yet another excuse for avoiding track events. I would like to mention that a majority of policies will not cover even the newest newbie's bling bling wheels when he/she prangs the curb in a snowstorm; an easily avoided move with half a day's 'green group' car control skills mastered.
Insurance is a business of making and keeping money by charging premiums and paying only the smallest of claims. Drivers who are humble enough to admit their inabilities and brave enough to come to a DE ought to be -rewarded- with lower premiums for increasing their skill. I'd prefer to keep the insurers out of the picture until they choose to truly serve their customers who are better drivers not just lucky enough not to have been in an accident or stopped for speeding. A lack of claims or close encounters with Officer Friendly are -not- indicators of lower risk.
They aren't, but yet it does happen. Maybe your track events are so well run this type of situation never happens, but I've seen it at mine. If someone does something against the rules, and it causes a accident, then you can bet I'd ask my insurance company to go after them. The "dropping oil" isn't as good of an example, because you are right that typically a debris flag would get dropped, but I've also seen situations where a driver will repeatedly get on a track knowing there car is or has a high potential for leaking fluids, which is more of a grey area of responsibility.
Quote, originally posted by jamesb » Also where do you run that people are even allowed in a DE event to make a pass in a corner?
Too many drivers get out on the track, and "hope" it will never come back to bite them. You are absolutely right that many ins comp won't cover anything on a track. That doesn't mean that it automatically ceases to be your responsibility. Suppose through your direct action you cause a life threatening injury to someone out on a track. Do you honestly believe the family of that person isn't going to sue you, if your insurance company declines coverage?
As I stated above, if you are out on a track knowingly without insurance coverage, and no means to take responsibility for your actions, then you are a threat to your and every other driver's (who is on the track with you) financial well-being. If you deliberately get out on the track without being certain of your insurance coverage, then you are taking a huge financial risk.
Everyone above is concentrating on the minor things that can happen, and that's absolutely not what I'm talking about. It's not just damage to cars to be concerned with. My old insurance also excluded the life insurance portion of auto (what your family gets if you die), and the health insurance (covering hospital bills if in an accident). Those represent very rare events, but they certainly can happen. After my insurance company specifically changed coverage language to exclude HPDE type events, I stayed off the track until I found a company that didn't exclude it, because I considered it to be to much of a risk to my financial well-being participating in these events without knowing I'd be covered.
Quote, originally posted by swartzentruber » They aren't, but yet it does happen. Maybe your track events are so well run this type of situation never happens, but I've seen it at mine.
Track events that allow "accidental" passing in the turns are track events that I'd avoid like the plague. If that happened in one of my events, I'd send that person home and ask them to NOT RETURN. There is no excuse for that kind of aggression or stupidity at a track event - if you're seeing that at the Drivers Education events that you've attended, then you need to find another sanctioning body that is interested in Safety and Education. In all the years that I have been associated with Drivers Education events, I have NEVER seen a pass in a turn, period!!
In keeping it on topic yet dousing the flames, a new driver would be smart to make sure they are not -excluded- from coverage for any damages at a track. Policies are worded cleverly nowadays such that even autocross is considered "racing."
A new driver would also do themselves well to find a reputable event sponsor to sign on with. I've been fortunate to have driven with a variety of very well organized groups with extremely low tolerance for uninvited passing nor vehicles unfit for track driving. If you're reading along and this discussion on liability and unsafe conditions frightens you, it should. Not a one of us here is interested in leaving our cars at the track in a wad or series of small chunks. We're not afraid of it, but we're also not driving so carelessly that we'd cause it to happen.
We're very in tune with our cars; the noises they make, the vibrations they produce, smells, attitudes, even what some parts taste like. This stuff didn't just magically appear in our psyche but it grew there through experience, time, talking to other drivers, and yes, sometimes having stuff break.
Fear of the unknown is a perfectly natural thing. In fact, I just sent in an editorial to 'vortex for consideration all about fear and why it ought not keep any driver away from higher driver training. Allowing fear to keep us from moving forward is what isn't healthy. Fear of the track, fear of the insurance man, fear of not being ready, fear of being the new guy who's really slow... nonsense. Face your fears with just a little bravery and you'll see there isn't much to be scared of afterall. Not even the insurance man.
Heck, you might find your insurance company will give you a discount for completing some schools like accident avoidance or winter driving.
I recommend looking for experienced drivers near you too whom have been there and done that. They started out where you are now and often a face to face over a coffee does more than reading some entusiastic strangers on an Internet forum.
Quote, originally posted by joe@vwvortex » Please try and keep this on topic - provide help and tips to track day noobs. Please start new threads on side discussions. Thanks!
Will do - If any entrant in an SCCA PDX event in the Washington DC Region takes it upon him or herself to pass in a turn, that entrant will be summarily ejected and permanently banned from any SCCA events. Furthermore, that person's name will be circulated to other clubs holding Drivers Education events to keep that person from wreaking havoc at other clubs.
This is to reassure new track event attendees that such stupidity MAY happen BUT IT WILL NOT BE TOLERATED. As was stated early on in this thread, Drivers Education events (also known as PDX, HPDE or simply Track events) are to LEARN, not race.