Track Day Checklist: Be ready for high speed driving

Automotive enthusiasts enjoy the adrenaline rush of a track day, where they push their cars to their limits and experience high-speed driving in a controlled environment. Proper preparation and safety measures are essential for a successful and enjoyable experience.

This comprehensive track day checklist guides you through the steps to prepare your vehicle and yourself for the ultimate driving adventure. It covers pre-checking your car’s vital components and packing essentials. It also provides tips for on-track safety and post-track maintenance to keep your car in top shape for future events.

Get ready for an action-packed ride and equip yourself with the knowledge and tools to embrace the exhilaration of high-performance driving.

track day checklist

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Before track day checklist

Track day checklist: Car preparation

Overview

  • Suspension and road handling Components
  • Tires and wheels
  • Brake system
  • Fluid levels
  • Engine
  • Track regulations

Suspension and road handling Components

The suspension system plays a pivotal role in maintaining stability and handling on the track. Before the track day, meticulously inspect all suspension components for any signs of damage, wear, or leakage.

Addressing potential issues beforehand can prevent instability during high-speed maneuvers and ensure a smoother, more controlled driving experience.

Tires and wheels

Check the condition and tread depth of your tires. Consider using dedicated track tires for better grip and performance. Ensure that all wheels are properly balanced and torqued to the manufacturer’s specifications to avoid any vibration or handling issues during high-speed driving

Brake system

Assess the condition of your brake pads, rotors, and brake lines. Replace worn-out brake pads, and consider upgrading to high-performance brake pads and fluid if you plan to do frequent track days.

Fluid levels

Check all fluid levels, including engine oil, brake fluid, coolant, and transmission fluid. Top up any low fluids and address any leaks before hitting the track.

Engine

Ensure your engine is running smoothly and without any issues. Check for abnormal noises, vibrations, or warning lights. Perform routine maintenance, such as an oil change, if needed.

Track regulations

Every track day event comes with specific regulations and safety requirements. Take the time to familiarize yourself with these rules and guidelines provided by the track event organizers.

Ensure your vehicle complies with all the mandated regulations, including safety equipment and any vehicle modifications, to participate safely and responsibly on the track.

Adhering to track regulations is not only a matter of safety but also demonstrates respect for the track and fellow participants, contributing to an enjoyable and harmonious track day experience.

Track day checklist: Necessary items

Overview

  • Personnel electronics & chargers (Phone, Laptop, GoPro/Camera)
  • Insurance Papers (Health & Car)
  • Portable generator
  • Racing Equipment (Helmet & Head Sock, Racing glove and shoes, Racing Bodysuit)
  • Appropriate Clothing
  • Tools
  • Extra Fluids (Oil, fuel, etc.)
  • Track Tires
  • Extra Brake Pads
  • Filled Gas Container
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Chairs
  • Snacks/Lunch & Water (With Cooler)
  • Cash
  • Ibuprofen
  • Lap Timer
  • Sunscreen & Hat (Bug Spray If Necessary)
  • Rain Gear

Personnel electronics & chargers (Phone, Laptop, GoPro/Camera)

Bringing your personnel electronics such as your phone, laptop, and GoPro or camera is essential for a productive and enjoyable track day. Your phone serves not only as a means of communication but also allows you to access track day apps, use GPS navigation, and have emergency contacts readily available.

A GoPro or camera is indispensable for capturing your on-track experience, enabling you to review your lines and driving skills later, or even share your thrilling laps with friends and fellow enthusiasts.

With a laptop, you can analyze data from your track sessions and make informed adjustments to your driving technique, review your camera footage or more.

Insurance Papers (Health & Car)

Before heading to the track, don’t forget to pack your insurance papers for both health and car coverage. While we hope for a safe and incident-free track day, accidents can happen. Having your insurance papers readily available is crucial in case of any medical emergencies or car-related incidents.

Portable Generator

Bringing a portable generator can significantly enhance your track day experience by ensuring you have access to power when needed. Whether you need to charge electronic devices, run electric tools for minor adjustments, or power other equipment during the event, a portable generator comes to the rescue. It will provide a convenient and reliable source of power.

Racing Equipment (Helmet & Head Sock, Racing glove and shoes, Racing Bodysuit)

Safety is paramount on the track, and for the majority of tracks having proper racing equipment is a non-negotiable.

  • Helmet, Gloves & Shoes: First, no well organized track day event will allow you to race without a helmet. A helmet with a head sock is very important to protect your head and neck in the event of an impact. As for racing glove and shoes some tracks may require it, but not all. However, they are recommended.
  • Racing Bodysuit: Lastly, wearing a racing bodysuit is very important to protect your skin from any broken glass or even fire caused by an accident, however not all track requires it. Make sure you have the necessary equipment to comply with track regulations.

Appropriate Clothing

  • Off-track: You want to be comfortable throughout the day. Therefore, choose lightweight and breathable clothing for hot days to prevent overheating. For cooler weather, bring warm layers.
  • On-track: However, if you do not have racing gear it is very important you have a pair on pants, a long sleeve shirt, and closed toes shoes to race on the track. Many track day events will not let you race without these clothing items.

Tools

A basic toolkit is essential for performing minor repairs or adjustments to your vehicle during the track day. It can help you address any unexpected issues that may arise.

However, if you can here is a list of recommend tools you should bring with you:

  • Battery impact gun
  • Jack, Jack stands & Wheel Chocks
  • Torque wrench
  • Wrenches, Ratchets & Socket Sets
  • Screwdriver & Plier set
  • Safety Glasses and Gloves
  • Hammers
  • Zip ties & Duct tape & electrical tape
  • Funnels
  • Flashlight
  • Tire Pressure Gauge
  • Tire Inflator
  • Temperature Gun
  • Shop Rags
  • Brush

Extra Fluids (Oil, fuel, etc.)

Track driving will put additional strain on your vehicle’s engine and consume more fluids than regular driving. Carrying extra fluids like oil and fuel is essential to top up and maintain your car’s optimal performance throughout the day.

Regularly monitoring fluid levels and replenishing them as needed ensures your engine stays well-lubricated and cool, minimizing the risk of potential problems during track sessions.

Track Tires

High-performance track tires play a crucial role in improving your driving experience and safety on the track. These tires offer superior grip and handling, allowing you to push your car to its limits with confidence.

Their enhanced traction and responsiveness provide better cornering abilities and shorter braking distances, contributing to a more thrilling and controlled driving experience during the event. (1)

Extra Brake Pads

Track days can be demanding on your vehicle’s braking system due to frequent heavy braking at high speeds. Carrying extra brake pads ensures you have replacements available if your current pads wear down significantly during the event.

Filled Gas Container

Next on the track day checklist is about bringing a filled gas container. It is a practical measure to avoid running out of fuel during the track day, especially if the track facility is far from gas stations. Track driving can consume more fuel than regular driving, so it’s wise to be prepared with additional fuel to keep your sessions uninterrupted and enjoy more time on the track.

Tape and Zip Ties

Carrying a supply of tapes and zip ties can be a lifesaver and is an essential on your track day checklist. Duct tape, electrical tape, and painter’s tape can be used for various purposes such as securing loose items, temporarily fixing minor vehicle issues, or marking important reference points on your car.

Zip ties are versatile and handy for securing cables, fastening parts, and providing quick fixes to unexpected problems.

These simple but effective tools can be invaluable in situations where a quick, cheap and temporary solution is needed, allowing you to continue enjoying your track day without major interruptions.

Chairs

Bringing folding chairs adds comfort to your track day experience. During breaks between track sessions or downtime, having a place to relax and rest allows you to recharge both physically and mentally.

Snacks/Lunch & Water

Staying hydrated and nourished is vital for optimal performance on the track. Pack a cooler with snacks, a nutritious lunch, and plenty of water to keep yourself energized throughout the day.

Cash

Carrying cash is practical for track days as some facilities may have limited card payment options or vendors that only accept cash. Having cash on hand allows you to purchase items from vendors, pay for services, or handle any unforeseen expenses that might arise during the event.

Ibuprofen

The physical demands of track driving can sometimes lead to muscle soreness or discomfort. Packing some Ibuprofen provides relief in case you experience any mild aches or pains, allowing you to remain comfortable and focused on the track.

Lap Timer

Adding a lap timer to your track day checklist is very valuable for any racing enthusiasts. It allows you to record and compare lap times during each session, helping you track your progress and identify areas for improvement.

Analyzing lap times can aid in refining your driving techniques and optimizing your performance on the track.

Sunscreen & Hat (Bug Spray If Necessary)

Sunscreen is crucial for protecting your skin from harmful UV rays during extended outdoor exposure. Wearing a hat provides additional sun protection, shielding your face and head from the sun. If the track day location is known for insects, bug spray helps prevent bug bites and discomfort while on-site.

Rain Gear

Weather conditions can change unexpectedly, and rain gear is essential to stay dry and comfortable during sudden showers or adverse weather.

During Track day Checklist

Car Monitoring

Throughout the track day, it’s crucial to maintain constant vigilance over your car’s vital components. Regularly check fluid levels, including oil and fuel, to ensure they remain at appropriate levels.

Monitor tire pressure between sessions, as hot track conditions can affect tire pressures significantly. Keep an eye on brake pads for wear, and if necessary, replace them with the spare set you brought.

Regularly inspect other critical components such as belts, hoses, and suspension to catch any potential issues early and prevent them from escalating.

Taking Notes

Take the time between track sessions to write down notes about any problems or issues you encounter with your car or broken parts. Note any unusual noises, handling inconsistencies, or performance concerns.

These notes will be valuable for troubleshooting and addressing and fixing issues after the track day. Additionally, write down observations about your car’s performance and your driving experience.

Record your lap times, areas where you feel confident and your car performance was good, and aspects where you think improvement is needed. These insights will assist you in refining your driving technique and car performance with tuning or future mods.

Staying Safe while Still Having Fun

Safety should always be the top priority during a track day. Drive within your skill level and comfort zone, gradually pushing your limits as you gain experience and confidence. Pay attention to track flags and signals, and follow track rules and guidelines.

Stay aware of other drivers and maintain proper spacing to avoid potential collisions. Additionally, stay hydrated, take breaks when needed, and be mindful of fatigue.

Remember that having fun on the track goes hand in hand with being safe. A positive and enjoyable track day experience comes from striking the right balance between pushing your limits and staying within safe boundaries.

After Track day Checklist

Once the exhilarating track day comes to an end, it’s essential to take proper care of your vehicle and yourself. Following these steps will help ensure your car remains in top condition and you recover from the demanding driving experience:

Cool Down

  • Allow your vehicle’s engine to cool down: After the final session, avoid turning off your engine immediately. Allow it to idle for a few minutes to help dissipate heat gradually.
  • Park in a shady area and open the hood: Find a shaded spot to park your car and pop the hood. Allowing the engine bay to cool down in the shade.

Post-Track Inspection

  • Inspect the vehicle for any signs of damage or mechanical issues: Conduct a thorough visual inspection of your car, paying close attention to the body panels, undercarriage, and wheels. Look for any signs of damage or loose parts that may have occurred during the track day.
  • Address any fluid leaks or abnormal noises: Check for any fluid leaks under the car and address them promptly. Additionally, pay attention to any unusual noises that may have emerged during the day, as they could indicate potential issues.
  • Clean debris and rubber buildup from the tires and wheel wells: Use a brush or a high-pressure washer (if possible) to remove any debris, rubber, or stones stuck to the tires and inside the wheel wells. This will prevent potential tire damage and maintain optimal tire performance.
  • Check brake pads and rotors for excessive wear and replace if necessary: Inspect the brake pads and rotors for signs of wear. If they are significantly worn down, replace them to ensure effective braking performance for future track days.

Summary

In summary, a successful track day experience requires thorough preparation, adherence to safety regulations, and proper post-track care. Regular vehicle maintenance, including suspension, brakes, and fluid checks, ensures a safe and enjoyable track day.

Additionally, prioritizing your well-being by resting and rehydrating helps you maintain peak performance and enhances your track day adventure.

Additional Tips

For track day enthusiasts looking to take their driving skills to the next level, consider these additional tips:

  • Enroll in a high-performance driving school: Professional instruction can help you hone your driving techniques and improve lap times.
  • Learn from experienced drivers: Seek advice and feedback from seasoned track day participants to gain valuable insights into improving your skills.
  • Gradually increase your pace: As you gain confidence and experience, gradually push your limits rather than attempting to set a record-breaking lap time on your first track day.
  • Consider track day insurance: Some insurance companies offer specific policies that cover track day events, providing an added layer of protection for your vehicle.

Remember, track days are about learning, having fun, and pushing your limits in a controlled environment. With proper preparation, safety measures, and a willingness to improve, you can make the most of each track day experience.

conclusion

In conclusion, as the excitement of a track day wears off, it’s crucial to reflect on the experience and the journey. Proper preparation and safety measures are essential for a successful and safe track day.

Ensure your car’s suspension and pack essentials to create an unforgettable adventure. Track days are not just about speed and adrenaline; they offer opportunities to learn, improve skills, and foster a deeper connection with your car. Embrace each track day as a chance to fine-tune your driving techniques, gain valuable insights, and immerse yourself in a vibrant community of like-minded enthusiasts.

With this track day checklist, you’re well-equipped to tackle any challenge the track throws at you. Go forth with confidence, respect the rules, and enjoy every moment of the exhilarating journey. Remember that the true essence of a track day lies in the joy of driving and the pursuit of excellence. Stay safe, have fun, and may each track day be an unforgettable adventure on the road to mastering the art of high-performance driving.