My RX-8 is beyond the break-in stage for the rebuilt motor and I am now looking to start doing a few track days with it. However, I am a complete novice to track days other than the odd "drive a Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc. for 3 laps around a small circuit" experience days. Also, prior to this car I had never really owned anything that could turn that well (Mustang, Buick Grand National) so I focused on 1/4 mile drag racing. I have no false beliefs that I am anywhere even near an average driver in a track environment. As a matter of fact, I am still learning how to heal-toe downshift with my size 11.5 feet properly in this car! Having introduced my naivety, I would like to hear the community's suggestions about what I should do to prepare for a track day, what I should bring with me to a track day, how I should drive on a track day, and anything else useful to a complete novice.
What I should do to prepare for a track day?
- Helmets. The prices range from relatively inexpensive to insanely expensive but the safety standards also range according to price as well. I assume the more expensive the safer the helmet is likely to be but what is a good minimum that should be spent on one when you aren't driving a Formula 1 car and are in a car that can be out accelerated by a hot hatch?
- Specific shoes? Do you want to be wearing specific shoes to improve heel-toe downshifts and the like?
- Is it necessary to get instructions from a place like Car Limits High Performance Driver Training prior to going to a track day? Obviously, this would probably be recommended and I really want to do at least 1 training day with them in the future.
- Do I need track day insurance? These cars aren't really worth much and I would like to think I won't be driving like a dumbass the first few times but I suppose there is a real possibility of a collision with another driver either due to my own mistake or the other drivers mistake?
- Is there anything else in particular that I should do to prepare either myself or my car?
- I assume it is wise to bring a bit of extra oil, a mobile tyre pump and psi gauge, perhaps some brake fluid, coolant, some jack stands and a small toolbox, at least 2 litres of water and some sandwiches for myself. Is there anything else in particular related to the car that I should bring?
- Considering the above, where do you store this stuff while you are out racing? Do you need to rent a garage space and hope no one nicks anything?
- When not out racing does everyone just hang out near their own car sitting in a lawn chair with an umbrella in case it starts raining? Lol, I'm serious about this. I would imagine sometimes there isn't a nearby club house or place to get food and chat with other people.
- I am going to assume most of you would recommend leaving the DSC fully engaged? I think so too...Maybe after a few laps I would be confident to partially disable it on my first track day.
- Several cars will be faster than me so how do I let them know it is ok to pass? I would presume that you never let them pass in a corner but on a straight you get out of there way. Do you signal with a blinker?
- If by some miracle I am going faster than a few other cars how do I signal that I would like to pass?
- When on a cool down lap do you drive with your hazards on so everyone knows?
- Is there anything else I am missing that is useful to know aside from driving techniques in terms of hitting the apex correctly, accelerating once at the end of the turn, etc.?