Prior to your HPDE/track day emphasis will be placed on the mechanical readiness of your car, and rightfully so. The last thing you need, anyone needs, is for some avoidable mechanical issue to surface on track.
But what's often underemphasized is the psychological component of the equation. In the pre-track day driver's meeting the organizer may remind participants that "it's not a race," but there's more to be said, and more prep work to be done.
Most of the incidents on track are not strictly mechanical, but rather psychological; driver error. Pushed it too much, didn't listen to the car, ran out of luck, ran out of skill, etc.
So take the following under advisement. Psychological preparation for your track day will pave the way toward a successful first HPDE, and a lifetime of unparalleled fun.
You're about to enter into a world where up is down and right is left; where R8's and Z06's are passed by Miata's, McLaren's can't keep pace with well driven M3's, and that Lamborghini once enshrined on your bedroom wall struggles to maintain forward orientation. Don't expect a certain track day status or result based upon what you're driving, or what others are driving.
It's easy to fall victim to the "that car shouldn't be passing me" mentality, but that will only lead to trouble. Your potential during your first HPDE, and your car's potential are likely two very disparate things.
Unlike with other high adrenaline activities where 100% commitment is required and circumstances are non-negotiable, track days thankfully allow for an incremental, measured approach.
Welcome that. Prepare to start slow and gradually increase your speeds.
Listen to your car.
If you go into the HPDE with the presupposition that your car is eminently track worthy, then you might not heed warnings of possible trouble.
Consider the pre-track mechanical inspection a starting point. Don't consider it a license to dismiss mechanical concern for the track day.
We're not telling you to be paranoid. Just allow for the possibility of mechanical issues, and respond prudently. Basically no one concludes a track day feeling like they got shorted on track time. If you think something might be amiss, take 5 minutes to visit the pits and check it out.
That will come later if you are so inclined. For your first HPDE you should have no interest in lap times. You'll have enough to consider, we promise.
If you must, then keep the timing equipment out of sight and use it only as a reference point for your learning the track.
Prepare to be passed.
Welcome the pass. If you get a hint that the guy behind is faster (yes, even if he's in a Miata), then wave him or her by. Not everyone is a "nemesis."
Ego on track is like gasoline on the fire. There are risks inherent to HPDE, and those are amplified with unchecked egos. Nothing about an HPDE is a competition. HPDE does not equal race.
If you get the hint that someone is interested in measuring themselves against you/your car, then the point by is your friend.
The "I'm a good driver" myth.
Yep, and before playing pickup at Rucker Park you might have thought you could ball too. It's a little known fact that 'Murica has more armchair race car drivers than any other country.
As compared to John Q. Public you may very well be a good driver, especially if you reside in Florida (good grief). But lane discipline and the ability to negotiate adverse road conditions and keep it out of the trees doesn't translate to track day prowess.
You may have passed your driver's test first time out, but HPDE driving and driving on the road are two different things.
It's not as easy as it looks.
Your television has lied to you. Go into the HPDE expecting to be overwhelmed. If you're not, then good for you, but it's potentially hazardous to approach this new venture expecting mastery from the first session. When it doesn't arrive that can lead to frustration and unwarranted risk taking.
Don't ever think that you "should" be faster. Do only what is well within your comfort zone. Do things right and that comfort zone will steadily expand.
You're about to be set free, on a race track, with your car. Life doesn't get much cooler than that. Live in the moment. Take it easy, pace yourself, and look to maximize your fun and enjoyment.