Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ring trip planning

Lap Counter: 166.5

Its been a very busy last few weeks personally, but I wanted to get some new posts on the blog.

Today is about planning for a trip to the ring. My next trip will be in a few weeks.

First and foremost is car preparation. If you are bringing your personal car then here is a checklist.

1. Tire Condition. - I'm running on Michelin Pilot Sport Cups for dry and PS2's for rain. Weather forecasts are never reliable as its very unexpected at the ring. Lately I have been favoring running the PS2's all the time since they work decent in dry and wont try to kill you when its wet like the cups will. Looking forward to when the new Pilot Super Sports are available in sizes for the GT3 RS.

Here is the site I use for checking weather at the Nürburgring. Weather2 Nurburgring Circuit

2. Brake Condition - There is nothing more frustrating than going all the way out to the ring and running out of pads after your first lap....been there and done that. will not repeat. Lately, if the pads look to be about half-way done, I pull them out and measure them. If they are actually halfway done, I just put a new set in. I take an extra set with me as well just in case. Brake pads and of course rotor wear are only part of the equation however. When was the last time you changed your brake fluid? Brake fluid is hydroscopic. It absorbs water over time. water has oxygen in it. oxygen doesn't compress too well in a hydraulic system and this particular system is keeping you from becoming part of the scenery at very fast speeds. I recommend the highest temp fluid you can get your hands on. I'm big fan of Castrol SRF. Motul RBF600 and even ATE Super Blue will do better than oem fluid.

3. Data Acquisition - How do you know you are doing well if you have nothing to measure with? I invested in a RaceKeeper data acquisition system and it has really helped with refining my line, using the throttle evenly, and being smoother overall. I'll post video of a session using this amazing system. Worth every penny! For my system check, I make sure it all works and have my 32GB SD cards ready. The system can be configured to automatically turn on and start recording. Very little work on this item.

4. Gear - Even a tourist day, I still bring my helmet and HANS device. I also pack a pair of sunglasses, balaclava, and driving gloves. Good driving shoes are a must as well. I'm a Piloti fan myself for tourist days. They make heal-toe easy with the padded sole and its easier to walk in them versus thinner and narrower racing shoes.

5. Fluids and Tools - The ring is about 5 times larger than most tracks. Count on needing fluid for yourself and the car. Pack bottles of water to avoid being gouged in the local venues. Drink plenty of water as you can get dehydrated very quickly on the gauntlet run. Make sure to have at least 2 full bottles of oil for the car along with rags. The most important tool you will need every time is a good Tire pressure gauge. I prefer a 60psi range analogue gauge. keep it in the door pocket or glove box.

6. Cash - Cash is still king in Germany. The one gas station within 15km's of the track sometimes has their credit card machine go down. You don't want to make it out there and not have enough money on hand to complete a lap.

7. Maintenance Log - How do you keep track of all this stuff? Well how about a spreadsheet or even notes on your cell phone. Just make sure to keep track of date, mileage, and condition of the things you check. This makes it easy to know when you need to do something. In the end I always manage to work on something late the night before a trip. A good log just helps reduce the unknowns.

Thats it for today. I'll update this soon.

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