rico750sxi_2
rico750sxi_2 New Reader
1/26/19 2:42 p.m.

So, I'm sitting here watching the 24hours of Daytona and figured I'd share my adventure into starting to do HPDE's with my car and how I got there. The beginning of this whole story will be a little long winded but as I mentioned, I'm watching the beginning of the 24@Daytona and I've got a lot of time on my hands.

The beginning and how I got the fast car I'm attending track days with:

My wife came home from work one day and announced that she wants a pick up truck. She would like something with 4WD and need to be a crew cab for the kids. That leads us to shopping around and us ordering a 2016 Colorado Crew Cab which we trade her 2012 Accord in on. 7 weeks later we pick this up:

This meant that we now had two pickups in the house as I had a Silverado Crew Cab at the time. She did not want to DD mine though due to the size and 6.2L fuel economy she would have to deal with. At the time of delivery of her pick up our salesmen inquired what we were going to do with 2 pickups (I've purchased several vehicles from him) to which I turned around and gave a glance to the ZO6 sitting on the showroom floor. He immediately laughs and then quickly notices my wife is not laughing in the least. When he asks her why she didn't find it funny her response was something along the lines of "he'll be back within two weeks to order something"...

She was right, I ordered a white ZO6, MN7 with some other options and traded my pickup truck and my 2002 ZO6 in for the new ZO6. Eight weeks later I was back at the same dealer dropping these two off and picking up this one:

A year passes with the new car with me saying multiple times that I want to get it to a track but never following through with it. That is until July of 2017 when I attended my first track day at New York Safety Track. I cannot say enough about my instructor who was awesome all day long and helped me make huge gains all day long. Holy cow was I nervous at first but he made me feel a lot better right in the first session. It was a blast and I was hooked. 

And here is a video from my best lap from that day, as you can hear from the instructors comments he was just the right amount of encouraging, forceful, and funny. 

One more trip to New York Safety Track in September of 2017 was all the events I did for that year. 

What I realized though was that I was going to chew through tires (and other items) quickly with this car. My solution? Another set of wheels and tires, one set for the track, one set for the street.

Have I mentioned that my wife is a saint?? Oh and what happens if I damage the car in any way at one of the events? So... next came this:

Of course, then I asked whether the Colorado would tow the car and trailer okay even though it tows our 5200lb. boat just fine. Couldn't chance it though so that led to this:

Which means my wife is back to driving a car and hating it. Let me say though that she was quite happy getting rid of her truck payment. We weighed the pros and cons of this swap greatly and her keeping money in her wallet was a big factor. Plus she switched jobs and her commute went from 18 miles one way to 4 miles one way. When it snows she now takes the full size truck and if you ask me I think she likes driving it more than she leads on to. 

For 2018 I had May and June events planned for Pocono and NJMP but an unfortunate meeting with a tree on my dirt bike in April forced me to postpone those. I did make it to Pocono in July to drive on the Mega course. For one session...

A little too aggressive at corner entry and clipped the beginning of the corner curbing... Boy, good thing I have that trailer now.

Some other pics from that day:

The tire splitting along with the stock wheels being easily bent ( four repaired so far)  and the expense of replacing the stock size tires led me to look for 18" wheels that I can mount Pirelli scrubs on. 

After my ill fated trip to Pocono I made it to NYST in September and a great event at NJMP in October with NASA. My good buddy and I shared my car with him being in novice and me being in level 2. We each had a blast and it was a great day. 

A couple things I'll get out of the way: Yes, I should've started with a lower powered car, I know that but I didn't buy the car planning to track it. I planned to attend track days because I have the car and it begs to be on the track. Yes, the car's nannies are saving me and are preventing me from learning all I need to about car control. As I get better and more comfortable I dial them back. Finally, yes, I'm slow. Again, I'm learning and I'm having a blast. I'd rather be slow than be a guy who drives over his head and is a danger out on the track. 

I will continue to update this as I go to more days.

Various event pics:

 

LanEvo
LanEvo HalfDork
1/26/19 8:48 p.m.

Looks like you’re having fun out there. And your wife seems quite a bit more accommodating than mine!

rico750sxi_2
rico750sxi_2 New Reader
1/26/19 11:00 p.m.

She is accommodating to say the least, she awesome and amazing and always tries to take an interest in things I enjoy doing. She rides a four wheeler now even though she never had even thought of it before we were together. I also try to do things she likes which are a lot of day trips to interesting sites. I always map out a good route of winding roads though to get us there. I don’t do much otherwise, never out with my buddies at the bar for football or anything like that. For me it’s my family, things with engines, and work, many hours at work. Here’s my wife, daughter, and me on a recent ride.

rico750sxi_2
rico750sxi_2 New Reader
3/16/19 12:38 p.m.

First track day of 2019 scheduled, New York Safety Track, April 28th. Track prep post to come in a few weeks. Oil change, brake pad change, rear diff fluid change, brake fluid flush, and track wheel install. I think I enjoy the prep about as much as the track day, except maybe the rear diff fluid change. Tight access usually means I wear some gear oil and I hate smelling it for the next three days. 

kernymi
kernymi New Reader
4/12/19 11:57 a.m.

Awesome cars and awesome family, what more can you ask for? You made great choices with these cars. In case you will decide to swipe with a new car in the future, you'll likely make another great choices! I wish you more fun and hope you'll continue to share your adventures here in GMS.

rico750sxi_2
rico750sxi_2 New Reader
4/20/19 4:29 p.m.

Thanks, my family is amazing and very supportive.

So, before this season I decided to add the GM secondary radiator that comes on '17 and up cars. I have never had temperature issue in the car on track but I did it to see if I could source the parts for the kit GM sells separately and save some money. I started gathering parts and in two weeks (and with the help of a member of the CorvetteForum) I had everything I needed. Best part, the kit costs anywhere from $750-950 depending on the source and I was able to buy the parts and do the install for $410. I didn't buy the rubber coolant lines that come with the kit because I made my own and I didn't by the bolts and reinforcements (plate steel with two nuts welded on) because I sourced stainless nuts, bolts, and washers from my local hardware store. I didn't take too many pictures of the installation but here are a few:

I could've done a better job cutting out where the radiator goes but it turned out okay. The GM kit comes with a template for the cut and that would have helped I'm sure. It didn't help that I cut it out the opposite way where the fittings go and had to correct that by making two BIG openings. 

 

rico750sxi_2
rico750sxi_2 New Reader
4/20/19 6:53 p.m.

Fluid changes have started for the new track season. 

I figured I'd get the one I hate the most out of the way first, the rear differential. I hate it mostly because the smell but also because of the tight access on this car. I always struggle to get the fill plug back in afterwards.

A lift sure would be nice. I wrap the rear subframe crossmember in aluminum foil to try to direct the fluid down right into the drain pan instead of all over the crossmember and then spilling out of it's various holes.

Magnetic drain plug doing it's job.

This is the fluid after 5 track days, about 25 sessions. 

Engine oil was next, even fewer pictures of this because, well, it's an oil change. The worst part is dumping the 5W30 Mobil 1 that has very little mileage on it (due to car being away for the winter) to put the 15W50 in. I used a brand new tub to drain it into so I could save the oil to use for my work car. 

I had some other things to get done so that is as far as I went. Next is brake fluid flush, brake pad swap, and then swapping onto the Pirelli DH slicks. The wheels and tires aren't until the day before the event though so I can still drive it on the street until then.

 

 

rico750sxi_2
rico750sxi_2 New Reader
4/23/19 7:17 p.m.

I think my buddy that went to NJMP in the fall caught the bug that day( although he’s always wanted to be on track), he just picked this up and plans to join me at more track days this season. New 2018 1LE 2SS Hyper Blue Camaro, it’s so sharp!! 

rico750sxi_2
rico750sxi_2 New Reader
4/26/19 10:50 a.m.

With being on vacation it has made it very easy to pick and choose when I knock out tasks for prepping the car for the track. A couple days ago I chose to continue (and complete) track prep by swapping brake pads, changing the brake fluid, and putting the 18" wheels and Pirelli scrubs on. 

I've acquired a couple of tools over the last few years to make all of these steps easier, one of which is the RaceLogic lug extenders, they make it a lot easier sliding the wheels on and off. 

For now I am still using the stock brake pads for track days as they are still plenty strong enough for me. However, due to the amount of dust they create I don't run them all the time thus the need to do the pad change. Pad changes are so easy on this car having to just drive out the retainer pins in the rear and having to unbolt the caliper stiffening stud (I'm sure it has an actual name... but that works) and drive out the pins. 

I love my Power Bleeder, all of the work I do is always by myself so any tool or device I can use to make things easier is worth it for me. I just empty the master cylinder or the old fluid, add new fluid to the master and power bleeder, pump it up, and work my way around to each side. 

After all four sides are bled the Pirellis go on and the TPMS relearn is done. 

And my reward for another job completed!!

A couple random pictures comparing tires:

rear stock Michelin vs. Pirelli scrub:

front Michelin vs. Pirelli scrub:

Current street tires vs. my first set after 3 track days, thus the reason for much cheaper 18" Pirelli scrubs.

rico750sxi_2
rico750sxi_2 New Reader
4/26/19 10:19 p.m.

Yesterday’s project, I added some posts to the front of my trailer to carry a set of wheels on so I could free up bed space in the truck:

rico750sxi_2
rico750sxi_2 New Reader
4/26/19 10:23 p.m.

Eventually this thread will turn back into adventures at the track but it won’t be this weekend. My track day for Sunday was rescheduled due to the forecast calling for 1-3” of snow Sunday. So my next scheduled day is May 19th at Pocono With Hooked On Driving. It’s the Mega course which is 3.51 miles. I’m looking forward to it a lot. 

rico750sxi_2
rico750sxi_2 New Reader
5/23/19 7:17 p.m.

Finally got on track again, first time for this season, with Hooked on Driving at Pocono on May 19th. It was actually a very fun weekend overall and the track day itself was the most fun day I've had thus far. The layout for this track day is what is referred to as the Mega Course which combines the the various different layouts to make one large 3.5 mile track.

My wife came with me and we chose to make the three hour drive the afternoon before so we could get to the track nice and early the next morning. The hotel that is close to the track has nothing near it for restaurants or any type of entertainment so we decided to explore a little bit. We  had nothing but time to kill so we tried to make the best of it. We are vacationing in PA on Lake Wallenpaupack in July so we first tried to take a drive around the lake to see the sights. Towing a car trailer didn't make for the best sight seeing vehicle so we abandoned that rather quickly. It looks like a beautiful lake from the small bits we saw though. 

I had remembered that there was an outlet mall near by so the was our next stop which made my wife very happy. We shopped for a couple of hours until it started getting dark and then we set off to find some food. On the way to the outlets we had passed a brew pub/restaurant so we doubled back to that and grabbed a quick bite before taking off to the hotel for the evening.

Which, finally, brings us to the track day!! I'm still slow but I did improve seven seconds throughout the day which means I went from bad to merely mediocre by the end of the day. I had the most fun when I let a faster car by then pushed myself to try to keep with them. This helped me a lot and I feel led to a lot of improvement. I also tried to focus on braking later and trusting the brakes more. I felt I improved a lot in this regard too but still feel I can brake even later once I can more comfort/confidence. Also, after viewing some video footage I need to work on using more of the track and getting on the throttle sooner. I wasn't planning on heading back to Pocono again this year but am now thinking about the July event so I can continue to work on the items mentioned above. 

The only downside to the whole weekend is the drive to and from home to the track. The first two hours are cake on the highway but the last hour (or first when leaving PA) are on the absolute worst two lane roads I think I've ever driven on. I absolutely HATE this portion of the drive. I find myself stopping to double check the straps on the car trailer because of all of the potholes and dips I hit. It really is that terrible. But worth it in the end because the event is a lot of fun. They even let us run the full tri oval at the end and if I was in a higher group it would have been unrestricted.

Some pit pictures, I love seeing all the cars in the pits:

Jake and Jack's Mustangs, an awesome father/son pair that were set up next to me.

and this!!! oh my!!

My wife brought her nice, fancy camera to take some actions shots of me on the track:

Hmmmm...

She got these though and many more great shots:

Screen captures showing my progression throughout the day:

And a link to the video of my best lap of the day:

 

I also had a GoPro mounted on my helmet for this session:

 

Again, overall, a great weekend which would not even be possible without the support of my amazing wife!! I even got her out on the track as a passenger but it was just for the sighting laps. 

My next track day is June 28th at New York Safety Track which is much closer to me (little over an hour) but this ride also includes the last bit being on terrible two lane roads!! 

imgon
imgon HalfDork
5/26/19 7:17 a.m.

Nice write up. I was just at Pocono at the end of April, you are 100% correct, PA highways are awful. If you want to have some real fun with your car, try Watkins Glen, it will let the car stretch it's legs. Pocono is so flat and has such slow corners (except for Nascar sections) that I always feel like I am driving on public roads with permission to drive aggressively. I looked up your profile and it looks like you are just outside Albany. We have so many great tracks nearby now, try different clubs to run with and sample local tracks. Watkins Glen is a bit of a drive but so worth it, it is a true road course, not a hybrid track like Pocono. Lime Rock is in your backyard, again a true road course but short, Palmer/Whiskey Hill in Palmer MA is probably 2-3 hours from you and a road course, lots of elevation change, bit of a tight track for high power cars but really fun track. Thompson CT isn't far, it is a hybrid like Pocono, also a little flat but fun still and way closer than PA. I run mostly with COM Sports Car Club (www.comscc.org) and do some events with EMRA, Eastern Motor Sports Racing (www.emraracing.org), NASA does a lot of the local tracks around the Northeast also but I have not run with them. I have shared tracks with HOD and think other clubs may have instructors that are even better and may take you to the next level of HDPE /Time Trials a bit quicker. The other clubs seem better at grouping similar drivers/cars together but sometimes require a bit more safety equipment for the car and driver. Seems like you have already started down the slippery slope of becoming a track oriented car as opposed to a street car you could take on a track.  Sounds like you are having fun and enjoying the car, that's what it is supposed to be about. Stay safe. If you want more info feel free to PM me. 

rico750sxi_2
rico750sxi_2 New Reader
5/26/19 1:01 p.m.

I would LOVE to run Watkins Glen and I will someday, the walls make me nervous though. LIme Rock is so damn expensive to go to and with their sound restrictions there are few days I can attend but again, I plan to go there someday. Right now my plans are NYST at the end of June ( highly recommend it) and NJMP in the fall with NASA again. I may try to hit something in between there too. Palmer is having a track night in america soon that my buddy and I had talked about trying to go to. Thanks!!

rico750sxi_2
rico750sxi_2 New Reader
6/17/19 7:12 p.m.

Imgon- with comscc do you have to do both days? I’m looking at their event at WGI but I don’t think I can do a two day event. 

Tberg
Tberg New Reader
6/19/19 8:32 p.m.

Reading your post reminded me of how long it's been since I've been to the track.  I plan on going some time this year as I want to explore the new parameters of my newly restomodded '72 De Tomaso Pantera with an extra 200+hp over it's original power.  I have enjoyed Hooked on Driving events in the past because they allow you to make more decisions with respect to which groups you want to drive with.  Plus at Buttonwillow Raceway, they eliminate a curve just before the long back straightaway that allows for some very high speeds based on your confidence in your brakes to stop and make a V shaped turn from nearly a stop.  My guts chickened out at about 140mph when I was driving my Jaguar XKR a few weeks after I purchased her and was not yet used to braking abilities.  I must say though one of my best track experiences was when I foolishly took the Pantera to Sonoma, went out on a wet track, spun it twice, and decided that I would never take the Pantera to the track again.  I headed over to the nearest rental car place by our hotel, rented a 6 cylinder Mustang, only to find once on the track that it had a governor on it that kept the rpms under 4000.  I learned more driving skills that day than any other day I've been to the track having to keep the revs up to get any type of speed and learning to drive more smoothly to be quick.  Glad you are having a great time with the Vette and good luck on the future track days. 

rico750sxi_2
rico750sxi_2 New Reader
6/21/19 10:41 p.m.

Thanks Tberg, I have upcoming days at NYST on June 28 and Lime Rock Park on July 12. Very sharp looking Pantera. 

rico750sxi_2
rico750sxi_2 New Reader
7/7/19 12:42 a.m.

Last Friday I hit the track again with a very fun event at New York Safety Track which is the track I have the most experience on. I usually take the day before an event off to make sure everything is prepared and packed so I don't forget anything but wasn't able to do that this time. That meant I did without a tire pressure gauge, winch controller, and winch power cable. Luckily, someone is always willing to help and let me borrow a tire pressure gauge and at the end of the day one of the guys in the pit next to me helped guide me onto the trailer. 

I really love driving this track, every corner has some degree of camber to it which makes it a challenge. I worked all day on corner entry speed, overall speed through the corners, and braking later and harder. In all of my trips to this track I have never been able to match my PB which I achieved the very first time I drove this track with an instructor. This day however, I beat that time and eventually went on to set an new PB that is 2.9s better than before. 

One other great thing about this event is that you get 7(!!) twenty minute sessions on track. This is the first time I have driven in all 7, perviously I always felt too tired to drive at the end of the day or had to be home for a school event or such.

I didn't take a single picture at this event so I can't share any cool car pictures but here are the screen captures of my best laps and my progression throughout the day:

Heading into lunch I was ecstatic that I just broke into the 39's and set a new PB. Let's see if lunch slowed me up or made me tired.

Whoa, dropped another second. Not sure if I believe this time though because watching the video it seems slower than the 39's I ran in other sessions. 

Uh Oh, getting tired!! I was considering packing up at this point. Instead though I drank a bunch of water and had a granola bar and decided to go out for the final session for at least a few laps. I figured if traffic got too bad I would pull off and pack up and head home. I wound up staying on track for a little more than half of the session. I didn't set a PB or maybe I did if the 1:38.2 is bogus.

Here are the videos of my two best laps so you can be the judge if the 1:38 was legit or not:

1:38.2:

 

I also tried a little picture in picture video editing to add my helmet camera GoPro view along with the PDR footage. It was a bit of a challenge getting the two videos sync'd up but I think it came out pretty good. In past attempts I have never been able to get it right(see NJMP video for reference).

and here is the 1:39.5:

 

I have also started using the Cosworth Toolbox software a little more and discovered you can compare two laps from different sessions to each other. 

My next event is with NASA at Lime Rock Park on July 13. I do not have the day before off again and I have a work event the evening before but I have a checklist I will work off of and will be fully prepared and packed Thursday evening. Thanks for reading everyone!!

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