How To Prepare Your Car for a Road Racing/Autocross Event There are tons of how to's and FAQs on installation or upgrades or tuning, but there has not been one on preparation of a car for a race. After all, what is the point of upgrading our cars if we are not going to race them? This how-to guide is meant for legal and sanctioned racing in a close circuit or course. I do not condone street racing since it is chaotic and the people who do street racing typically race at the drop of a dime, therefore no prep is needed for that :wink wink: This guide operates to prepare and inform the novice road racer to make sure they obtain the optimum level of fun, safety, and consistency in their High Performance Driving Event (HPDE). This guide is not meant to improve or guarantees better lap times. This guide acknowledges racing as a dangerous and life threatening sport that can result in serious injury. Please always drive safely and be aware of other drivers on the course. The most important thing to any sanctioned body of racing is protective head gear. A good helmet will last you a long time, given it never serves its built purpose (protecting your head in a crash). Most sanctioning bodies will require a Snell approved helmet, ask your local event manager/supervisor which is the most current Snell approved helmet. Helmets range from $200 upward to $2000. The rule of thumb is to buy the best helmet you can afford, it is after all your head. A decent helmet from Bell will run you a good $500. A closed face helmet is always a safer bet than an open face helmet, although open face helmets are cheaper, they are again, open. A typical closed face helmet provides a Snell rating, a fire retardant substance in the helmet, and a tested and approved crash safety material. Closed helmets protect not only your head but your face. With a good closed face helmet, you get a visor which makes it easier to protect your eyes from dust whilst driving at a good 100MPH. Most sanctioning bodies require long sleeve shirts and long pants to protect you in case of a fire. The best bet would to purchase an entry level driving suit. A good Bell or Sparco racing suit with an SFI rating of 1 will run about $100-$300. The higher the SFI rating, the more expensive the suits. Find one that suits your needs, looks, style, and fit. A tighter fit is better because in case of an emergency you do not want a suit to get caught in anything. Find yourself a good pair of driving shoes. A good driving shoe will have a thinner sole allowing you to better feel the pedal for pulses and vibrations. Puma makes many good driving shoes around $100 a pair. These shoes will feel awkward at first, but you will enjoy and feel your vehicle much more than with typical sneakers. Moving onto the vehicle, remember to remove EVERYTHING from your car, including your floor mats. You do not want loose parts to turn into projectiles at high speeds. Some people believe leaving on the spare tire in the car is fine so long as it is tied down. I personally remove it because when I am road racing, I want the maximum benefits of performance from the car. The race track paddock is the safest place in the world. Do no t be afraid someone is going to steal your stuff. I typically leave a pile of my stuff somewhere out of the way and near where I will park my car when I exit the track. People at the paddock are too concerned with their own vehicle preparation to bother stealing your stuff. Obviously keep your wallet on your body, but anything else is fine. I’ve seen cameras, laptops, and tool sets left in the open and no one even cares to take a peak. The paddock is the safest place. Your fluids are another crucial area for inspection. Make sure you have fresh fluids. A good functioning fluid will keep your car running smoothly during high intense driving. Make sure your brake fluid is clear and not burnt. Make sure there is no debris in it. Also, be sure your brake lines have no air and are firm. Another fluid to check is your clutch fluid. Make sure there is no dirt in the clutch fluid preventing you from performing a smooth shift. It is always good practice to change your brake fluid prior to a road racing event. DOT 4 or above will suffice, although the higher end brake fluid will provide a more firm pedal feel. Make sure your tires are in good condition. Check the tire pressure and make sure they are at the proper PSI. Remove any center caps as they may come loose during the course of racing. Tighten and retighten your lug nuts prior to moving into the pits. You would not want a lug nut to fall loose while taking a corner at 60MPHs. Once you have done your run, it is good practice to let your car cool off. Park your car, leave it in first gear, but do not pull your hand brake. Your brakes are very hot and can meld together if you leave your e-brake on. Pop open your hood and prop it up. Leave it this way until your next run. Opening the hood allows the hot air to flow out of your engine bay and lets your engine cool faster. You want to give your car sufficient time to cool down before your next run. Remember, racing puts a lot of strain in your car. It is doing work it normally does not do. Do not kill it by keeping heat in. Remember, prop your hood up after every run and do not pull your e-brake. To review: -Buy the best closed-face Snell approved helmet you can afford -Wear long sleeve shirt, long pants, and good shoes. -Check your clutch and brake fluid, replace if necessary. -Make sure your tires are at proper PSI. -Prop your hood up and let it cool off after every run.