Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. It’s an overused cliché, but that doesn’t mean there’s no merit to the phrase. There is a particular significance when the phrase is used in the context of track day preparation, where the consequences of failure can be catastrophic. So it is better to be prepared than sorry. In this post, we’ve put together a list of the basic car parts you must have to be both safe and competitive during the race.
1. Motorsport Fluids
While you may have the correct amount of oil in the engine before heading to the track, it’s always a good idea to have extra fluids and only use High performance engine oils. Some gearbox oil, brake fluid, and engine oil will come in handy if you run the oils low. If you track often, consider switching to fluids with a higher boiling point.
- Track Tires
Your car tires are the only point of contact with the race track. It therefore extremely important that you carry an extra one in case of a problem. Also, take care of the tires and prepare them properly. Make sure that the wheels are balanced. Perform a visual inspection to ensure that they have enough tread to last the day. Also, check that the sidewalls are in good condition.
- Tire Pressure Gauge
Your tires take an absolute hammering on the circuit. And as you break, corner and accelerate, your tires heat up, increasing the air pressure. An overinflated tire reduces grip and increases wear and tear. Having a reliably accurate gauge as part of your kit will help you set your tire pressure correctly before the race.
When making a purchase, avoid pen-sized tire pressure gauges as they aren’t very accurate and can be hard to read. We recommend spending a few extra pounds and getting yourself a good gauge that’ll last you years.
- Motorsport Helmets
If you have a factory car with no interior modifications or performance car parts, a solid helmet is a must-have. Most track day organizers loan helmets out to participants. You may consider hiring a helmet or buying one. If you purchase your own helmet, make sure it has the required certification as this varies from club to club. Also, don’t cheap out on the helmet or be tempted to use a bike helmet.
5. Gaffer Tape, Masking Tape or Duct Tape
Tapes are a critical tool in the arsenal of a track day driver. They can be used for a variety of quick-fix repairs including fixing a broken tail light, broken hoses, cracked windshield, reattach rear view mirror and broken fan belt to name a few. Tape can also act as bandages, slings, and can be used for splints.
Additionally, many clubs will require numbers to identify drivers. You can use tape to make numbers on your car.
6. Torque Wrench/Wheel Brace
Keeping your wheels tightened up correctly and fixed firmly to the vehicle is one of the most essential aspects of making it around a circuit safely. Make sure that the wheels are properly torqued (not over-torqued) and check the nuts before every session.
7. Mechanic Socket Set
The most likely kind of fiddling you’ll do at the track is changing brake pads. So be sure to have a socket and wrenches to get the job done.
8. Racing Brake Pads
Along with tires and gas, brake pads are another main consumable. Be sure to carry extra pads and learn how to change the pads efficiently. Steer clear of pads advertised as “street/track-capable” – they don’t always live up to expectations. You may want to go for platform-specific pads that are track tested.
With the wide amount of choice of brake pads on offer you can quickly get lost in searching and can become very time consuming and confusing though, which is why we always recommend that you use a dedicated performance parts search engine such as Compare.Parts.
9. Glass Cleaner, Paper Towels and Wipes
A glass cleaner is another essential you’ll need on the track day. If the car in front sprays you with dirt or if your car is covered in bugs and rubber boogers, you’ll need to wipe it. A glass cleaner and some paper towels or wipes will help you do the job.
10. Racing Gloves
Gloves are a bare minimum safety measure. In the event of a wreck, you’ll need to have hand protection to keep yourself safe from broken glass. It also helps other participants see you give hand signals which is important for on track cooperation.
11. Jack Stands and Axle Stands
Jack stands and axle stands are important pieces of equipment if you need to inspect the underside of your vehicle. You can purchase a lightweight, compact and easy to use jack or axle stand for around £100. Just be sure to check it often because they break down easily when not in use.
These essential items will not only make your time on the track circuit more entertaining but also make you a more efficient driver. Another essential you’ll need is a tool bag containing zip ties, screwdrivers, cutters, rubber mallet, and pliers.