View Full Version : Prep for driving school

07-24-2003, 12:20 PM
I'm heading to the Buttonwillow driving clinic this weekend (27 July). This will be my first foray onto a real track and I'm not sure what to expect. I'm sure it'll be hellish hot in the central valley this weekend, so I went and changed the oil to 15w50 yesterday just to be safe. Is there anything else I should be doing to prep the vehicle and myself? Any advice'll be apperciated!

07-24-2003, 01:02 PM
How are your brakes? What Kind of brake pads do you have?

There is another post around here somewhere that details all the "stuff" you need to take.

#1.. WATER.

07-24-2003, 01:04 PM
Brake pads and fluid. CRITICAL.

Lots of rest, lots of fluids. Also CRITICAL.

Everything beyond that is optional, but nice to have.

07-24-2003, 02:49 PM
My brakes pads are pretty new, changed to Metal Master pads last month.

The cooling system was last flushed in Feb. Coolant looks clean. Should I add water wetter? I heard it needs to be premixed with the coolant, otherwise it might bead out of solution and clog things up... any experiences?

Bring water... water... more water... gotcha! I might be too excited to get the rest I need the night before though! :aw:

07-24-2003, 03:19 PM
Don't worry. If you've got fresh pads, and fresh fluid your fine. You might be looking to upgrade after this first event ;) but you'll be fine for now.

Don't change anything. Download the tech sheet if they have one, and go over it before you leave.


Meet your instructor as early as possible. Even before the drivers meeting if you can. Definately before your first session.

The #1 thing you should be concentrating on is Track awareness (i.e. Corner stations, Flags, Passing Rules, Where you are in reference to others, etc.). The line, and technique will come. Make sure your driving safe

Very important to remember: LISTEN TO YOUR INSTRUCTOR. Do exactly what they say without hesitation. They are your key to having a fun, safe, and productive weekend.

Remain humble. If you think your doing good in a section, ask your instructor what he thinks. Don't just assume you can try to go an extra 2-3 mph faster than last time.

btw - What orginization are you running with?

07-24-2003, 03:20 PM
Metal Masters.. ehhhh, they'll feel pretty soft by the end of each session on track. You won't have NO brakes but you'll be glad the session's over. Good street pads, though.

High temperature brake fluid is important. Ate, Motul, or Ford HD. I ran standard DOT3 for my first event and I boiled it.

07-24-2003, 06:55 PM
Originally posted by AKADriver
I ran standard DOT3 for my first event and I boiled it.

i know this is a little OT, but ive never really heard what actually happens to different things when it boils, and how do you know its happening?

am i right in assuming that there is a lot of air that gets into the system, i mean look at water when it boils?...i know im a moron, but humor me...lol

07-24-2003, 07:29 PM
For brake fluid, I have some DOT4 synthetic stuff from Kragen (forgot which brand) in the lines. I hope it holds up.

So the Metal Masters aren't worth much on track huh... :doh: Guess I'll try the Carbotechs next time (based on other discussions on board)

I'd venture to guess that fluid fade would make your pedal go soft like theres air in the lines, and pad fade would make the brakes feel like they've turned into a hard greasy sausage patty. Referenced from one of Carrol Smith's books.

07-24-2003, 07:36 PM
And thanks for the advice sykikchimp. Of course, being a male 23yr old adolescent, I'm sure my ego wouldn't present too much of a problem! :D

The school is organized by the track itself. http://www.buttonwillowraceway.com/clinic.htm

07-26-2003, 12:23 AM
Just a few more tips. Your instructor is going to tell you to try new things and things that you will think won't work. For the most part listen to what they say. But, if you get into a situation where you're not comfortable with, tell them! They need to know your comfort level with what they're trying to teach you.

Also, if you ever feel your brakes getting soft (you'll know), tell the instructor. They'll help you adjust your driving to work around the brake fade.

07-28-2003, 02:56 AM
Thank you everyone for your help and advice. I just got back from the Buttonwillow event, and what a blast it has been. I ended up going out for 6 sessions of 15-20 minutes each. By the end of the day, both my car and I had all the driving we could take for a day!

Braking, as predicted by many of the posters here, was a problem. The pads started to lose some of their bite on the second or third session. They were still usable with increased pedal pressure. But then on the last session the brake fluid faded (good call AKA) and the pedal went completely to the floor! (Does anyone on pit road have a spare pair of pants?)

Another problem was overheating. This is the first time I've ever witnessed the temperature gauge read anything higher than 3 notches up! It didn't become a problem until some run groups got combined and the car didn't get enough cool down time before the next run.

We ran clockwise on the track for the entire day, and by the end, my left front tire was close to complete destruction. I also underestimated fuel usage (got about 8-10 mpg) and so had to buy at the track ($2.79/gal).

All in all, it was a lot of fun, and a wonderful learning experience. I found myself often over eager in the turns and carry too much speed on entry. I learned quickly to calm down after several dramatic sideways excursions. To think, it would just simply be insane to learn such consequences of over driving the car on anything other than on a race track!