What to Expect

You should plan to arrive at the track around 6:45 AM with a full tank of gas to line up at the paddock gates, which usually open at 7:00 AM.  Here, you will sign the track waiver as required by track management and be given a wristband confirming that you are allowed to be in the paddock.

 

Once you are in the paddock, find a suitable parking spot, leaving a generous amount of space between you and your neighbor, and proceed immediately to the registration desk.  Depending on the venue, this will be in the tower or the cafeteria.  Just say good morning to someone and ask for directions.

 

The registration desk is typically open from 7:00 AM to 8:00 AM but you do not want to be late.  Remember that we are all volunteers and that we have lots of students, instructors, and volunteers to get through, so we really need to move quickly and without unnecessary delays.

 

In the registration area, you will be asked to fill and sign a second waiver form, this time for the club, before being allowed to register.  At the registration desk, you will exchange your club waiver form for your registration package.  This package should contain your schedule for the duration of the school as well as your assigned number, instructor assignment, banquet tickets (if any), and a wristband.  Please check your envelope and put on your wristband on your left wrist before leaving the registration area and make sure it remains there for the duration of the event because it tells everyone that your are supposed to be there and that your are permitted to drive. Any guests you bring with you will also have to sign their waivers and get a special wristband. 

 

You should also familiarize yourself with the schedule and keep it handy so you can refer to it for the duration of the event.  Your assigned number is a three-digit number where the first digit identifies your run group and the others your student number within that group.  Your instructor will usually have the same numbers as you, making it easier for you to find each other.  So, if you are assigned number 312, it means that you are in group 3, the beginner group, and that you are car 12.  It also means that your instructor will be driving car 012. This is important because it will help you find them in the paddock.

 

Now that you are officially registered, you need to make your way back to your car and get ready for your technical inspection.  

 

This usually means;

  • Empty your car:

    • If it is not bolted down, it must come out. Just that simple.

  • Install your factory tow hook:

    • This will help avoid damage if your car must be moved quickly.

  • Give your windows a final wipe: 

    • You need to see where you are going.

  • Affix your numbers to the rear side windows:

    • We need to know who you are.

  • Remove any wheel covers: 

    • You don’t want the flying off into someone’s windshield.

  • Check your tire pressures: 

    • You need to ensure that you did not pick up a new puncture.

  • Check the torque of your wheel nuts:

    • You need to know they are tightened evenly to spec.

  • Fasten any unused seatbelts:

    • You don’t want the buckles flying around.

  • Place your signed technical inspection form in your helmet:

    • So you know where it is and it does not fly off.

  • Place your helmet on the passenger seat:

    • So we know where it is and can easily reach it during inspection.

 

Now, you are ready to present your car to technical inspection and get it cleared for duty!

 

Drive slowly to the technical inspection area and join the line, remembering to keep your speed down to a walking pace.  The club’s technical inspection volunteers will review your signed inspection form and proceed with a quick inspection of the car and your helmet in accordance with club guidelines.  This inspection is not intended to replace your pre-event inspection but rather to complement it by catching any glaring problems.

 

If everything is satisfactory, the lead inspector will affix an appropriate sticker to the top left corner of your windshield, clearing your car for entry on track.

 

If your car does not pass inspection, the lead inspector will identify the deficiency to you.  At that time, you are free to have the deficiency corrected and resubmit the car for inspection within the allowed timeframe.

 

Technical inspections are usually run from 7:15 AM to 8:20 AM in order to allow everyone to complete their work and attend the obligatory driver’s meeting.  If necessary, they are run again at lunchtime but this means loss of track time.  So, please be well prepared to ensure your car passes the first time and that you are not delayed.

 

Now, you are ready to drive your car back to your parking spot and make your way over to the registration area or the control tower for the obligatory driver’s meeting at 8:30 AM. Here, the Chief Instructor will welcome everyone and give a quick overview of the rules of the day.  So, relax, listen, and feel free to ask any questions you might have.   This is also the perfect time to reach out to your instructor and agree as to where you should meet before every run.

 

The fun is about to start!

 

At the beginning of your run:

  • Put on your helmet and get yourself strapped in properly.

  • Wait for your instructor at the agreed upon rendez-vous point.

  • On your out lap, take it easy and familiarize yourself with your surroundings:

    • Track conditions change throughout the day …

  • Work your speed up gradually, allowing your tires and your mechanicals to warm up.

 

At the end of your run:

  • When you see the checkered flag, use your cool-down lap:

    • Drive in high gear at reduced speed and spare your brakes to maximize cooling. 

  • As you drive back to your spot in the paddock:

    • Be extra careful because this is a very active time in the paddock with many people on the move.

  • Use a wheel chock to keep your car from rolling:

    • Using the parking brake will cause damage to your braking system by trapping heat.

  • Keep the engine running for a couple of minutes:

    • This will continue to circulate fluids allowing your engine and supporting systems to cool down in a controlled manner.

  • Check the marks you made on your tires:

    • Wear patterns will help you understand if you need to adjust pressures.

  • Check wheel nut torque to ensure your wheels remain tight.

Perform a visual check on the engine bay, the brakes and under the car to ensure that you do not have a new situation developing

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