As the HPDE junkie becomes more and more involved in his hobby, the collection of track day tools and supplies tends to increase accordingly.
You start off by showing up with your ride basically as it’s driven on the street – maybe you’ve fitted a set of race pads and flushed the brakes. Then with each track day you learn of a new tool or supply that would bring an advantage (imagined or real) next time around. Before long you’ve removed the back seats to fit your track wheels, cooler, tent, and toolboxes, and you spend your nights looking into trailers.
These are items that we consider indispensable, and would highly recommend no matter the experience level of the driver.
1. Tire Pressure Gauge
We left our first ever track day with both rear Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 nearly corded. It wasn’t because we were sliding around like Ken Block, but rather because we had failed to adjust the tire pressures to reflect the on track activity.
General rule of thumb is that your on track tire pressures should match your specced cold tire pressures, e.g. if 36 psi is the specced cold pressure, aim to run 36 psi hot on track.
Adjust the tire pressures by dropping a few psi initially (pre-track), then immediately upon returning to the pits after your first and second sessions to dial in the pressures and preserve your tires. (And maximize performance/grip.)
We monitor tire pressures throughout the day, and before every session as well to make sure we don’t have a puncture. (Absolutely necessary if you’re not running TPMS.)
To accomplish all of this you’ll need a decent tire pressure gauge.
2. Tire Inflator (Vehicle Powered)
Many tracks have air pumps on site, but some do not. After adjusting tire pressure downward for track purposes, you’ll need to re-adjust (inflate) for the road, or pressures can get seriously low on the journey home.
This little monster hasn’t let us down in many years.
For peace of mind and safety, we suggest checking your wheel lugs during the course of the track day. Do so initially before the first session, then after the first session once components have cooled off, and at least one more time before heading back out on track after lunch.
We almost always find some purpose for all. Slight overflow of an engine reservoir, wiping some rubber marks off the windshield, etc. Grandma’s old dish towels do the trick, and let everyone know that you bring both function and style.
And if you need to get anywhere near hot components for some reason, a set of mechanics gloves is must-have.
Yep. You’d be surprised how many tracks lack good places to just… sit… down.
True story: in Florida we once saw a chair-less man sit down in a grassy area, and promptly get attacked by a colony of fire ants. Don’t let that happen to you. (Looks like rapid vine growth up the body, by the way. Fascinating and terrifying.)
We take at least one gallon no matter the season, and more if it’s a hot day. Tracking is deceptively taxing, and dehydration can creep up on you.
Track days are full of distractions, but force yourself to drink water.
7. Change of Clothes
You’ll make the trip home in your sweat drenched, grimy track clothes only once. Learn from our mistake and skip that unpleasantness.
This is certainly an incomplete list, but nevertheless some must-have, starter items that will be of use for every track day participant.
Rear seat removal not required. Have fun out there.