The average modern-day car has been designed for the road. If you put a regular old automobile out on the track without any preparation, you must be prepared to shell out hundreds (or possibly even thousands) of dollars to get it back to road standards. Unless your regular old automobile was designed for the track, of course.
BMW cars, however, are special. While most manufacturers offer a special performance version of their vehicle that is track-worthy, almost every car BMW produces is a solid choice for the driver who needs daily transport as well as a track car at the weekends. By carefully choosing your car in the first place, it’s possible to get the best of both daily driver and race car worlds without too many compromises.
In this guide, we will look at the main steps you should to take for race car preparation before you turn up for a track day.
Race Car Preparation 101
Brake Discs and Pads – Before you hit the track you should ensure you have close to brand new brake disks and pads. With this being said, they should have been bedded in for at least 100 miles (longer for some brands, be sure to check the box if you go with after-market pads) before you take them to the track.
Tires – Of course, tires matter at the track. If you’re carving up the corners, a good tip is to increase your tire pressure by 10% to decrease the wear when on the track. If you’re looking for maximum grip at the drag strip, and if you don’t mind a little tread wear, decreasing tire pressure is a good way to help them ‘hook up.’
Engine Oil – ‘Road friendly’ oil is not the best to use on a track. Your engine will be at higher revs for longer periods of time when it is on the track. Therefore, it is a good idea to change your oil to one that can deal with increased temperatures…something synthetic like Royal Purple or Mobile 1 is a good choice. It’s also a decent idea to bring a full bottle of this oil with you to the track, just in case your engine burns a little bit of.
Suspension – Never go to a track day with poor suspension. Your suspension will be tested more than ever before. Therefore, it is a good idea to make sure your bushings are tight, your shocks are operating at spec, and that you don’t have any weak components that could break at the wrong time. If you’re not sure how to check these things, head over to the local mechanic and pay for them to take a look.
Remove Loose Items – Items like empty beer bottles (kidding), that spare blanket and survival kit you keep in the trunk, all the junk floating around in the glove box, etc. should all be removed. At high speeds, these items can become intrusive…or worse. Ever been hit by a Kleenex box doing 55mph? Not fun.
Tool Kit – Bringing a small tool kit with a tire pressure gauge to the track is a good idea. Furthermore, having a fire extinguisher is always a benefit, and depending on the event it may even be a requirement.
Fuel – Too much fuel will prohibit your performance, but on the other hand, if you run out of fuel, your session is over. Remember, you will not get the same MPG on the track so prepare yourself for this before you reach the track.
Using Performance Parts
Performance parts are essential for any track day. Buying BMW performance parts for your BMW, for example, will ensure that your car is much better on the track. Furthermore, if you make alterations to improve the car, you could be increasing the value of it as well.
Race Car Preparation is essential before any track day, but there are plenty of other points you need to consider. If you are racing your everyday car on a track, then you should limit your speed and try not to go too wild. While it may be fun to try and get 140 MPH out of your BMW 3 series with BMW performance parts if you need to use it to get to work the day after, it may not be the most sensible idea.
This post was written by Crispin Jones on behalf of DMS Racing, who can provide a race car preparation service for your car. Crispin is a keen motorist and enjoys writing about all forms of transport.