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Thread: FAQ for first timers: Doing an open track day at HPR (High Plains Raceway)

  1. #1
    Platinum_Member Evo of Doom EGbeater's Avatar
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    May 2008
    filling your mirrors

    Default FAQ for first timers: Doing an open track day at HPR (High Plains Raceway)

    I get a fair number of questions regarding open track days. I decided to put this together to cover most of people's questions. If you have a question that isn't covered (please read them all through carefully; I've covered A LOT) then feel free to post it.

    Please keep in mind that some of this information (obviously, the costs) are specific to HPR, and won't apply to open track days at Pueblo, for example.

    What is an "open track day"? Is it "racing"?

    An open track day at HPR is an opportunity to drive your car on a real live racing track, on one of the best (in terms of fun, safety, challenge, and size) road courses in the country. An open track day is NOT "racing" (for the record, neither is Time Trials, since that's not wheel-to-wheel competition, but that's a different topic). Open track days are open to the general public. You do not need to be a member of any competition sanctioning body or car club to drive in an open track day at HPR.

    Why should I pay money to drive at HPR when I can go fast on the street for free?

    An open track day is the best way to test the limits of your car—and your abilities as a driver—in a SAFE environment. It is much better than a spirited mountain drive for many reasons:

    * it's a closed course, not a public road (with oncoming traffic!)

    * the entire road surface has been inspected and cleared of sand (unless some goes off and puts dirt on the track, but if it's significant, it gets cleaned off)

    * there are no large animals like deer that can jump out in front of you

    * you get to do dozens of laps on the SAME course, so you can build your confidence and practice your line and technique on the same features over and over

    * there's an ambulance on site ready to respond in the unlikely event of injury, plus the track staff are there to respond in case of fire, or to tow you back to the pit area if your car stops on track

    * there's ZERO chance of you getting a ticket while driving on HPR (there are cops on the two-lane highway getting out to HPR though)

    * Oh, and if you think drag racing is pretty exciting? Driving on a road course is a totally different animal. In fact, once you're driven on a road course, you MIGHT decide drag racing is boring.

    Do I need to have my car inspected before I go?

    No. But read on.

    What are the absolute basics that I have to have in order to drive at HPR?

    As stated in the HPR Lapping Days Policies here:

    •Anyone who enters the racing surface as a driver or passenger must wear a helmet. Helmets must be designed for car or motorcycle use, no other standards are required to be met – it’s your head, it’s up to you to decide which helmet is best to protect it. HPR does have a limited number of open face helmets for rent ($25) on days for cars only. Helmet rentals can be reserved on our website when you sign up for the Open Lapping Day. Because they are open face helmets, these rental helmets are not available to motorcycle riders.
    •While there will be no formal tech inspection required, HPR management reserves the right to inspect any vehicle and require correction of issues of concern.
    •All vehicles must be in good general operating condition with acceptable tire tread depth and brake lining thickness.
    •Vehicles must be free of fluid leaks and all body work and other accessories must be securely attached. Battery must be securely tied down.

    Additionally, I would recommend that you should ensure that you have at least 32 psi (cold) in all four tires, ESPECIALLY the front tires. You can always bleed tires down at the track, but without a compressor or bicycle pump, it's going to be hard to raise them. Make sure all of your lugnuts are properly torqued. This is very important because the cornering forces on the track tend to loosen lug nuts.

    Make sure your crankcase is full of oil. Running half a quart over full might not be a bad idea, as this minimizes the chance of oil starvation to the head and the turbo during sustained cornering (with the Evo, it's the righthand turns that cause starvation, since the oil pickup is on the righthand side of the car, and the oil sloshes to the left side when you're turning right).

    Your tires should not have any bald patches that are ready to cord. You should NOT attend an open lapping day on snow tires, even if they don't have any metal studs. The soft tread and sidewall construction of most snow tires is wholly unsuited to track day driving, and you'd likely destroy them in just a couple sessions. Most importantly, it's unsafe. And when we're talking about safety at track events, it's not just you—it's the safety of everyone else on track with you as well.

    If your front brake pads have about half or less left, I'd recommend replacing them with a new set before a track day, just so you won't have issues with running out of friction material and possibly destroying your rotors too, if you accidentally get down to the backing plates. Also, your brakes will overheat significantly quicker when the pads are at half thickness as compared to 2/3 or 3/4.

    If you would like a qualified shop with techs who understand intimately what cars go through at a track day, I recommend SCR Performance in Loveland or Mac Autosport in Parker. You can have them do an official NASA or SCCA tech inspection on your car, which will cost you $40; however, your car will then be "signed off" for either NASA HPDE (High Performance Driving Event) or SCCA PDX (Performance Driving Event) for one year after the inspection. For more information on track events sanctioned by the SCCA or NASA, please visit these websites: (for events in CO, look at "Rocky Mountain Region")

    My Evo has a wastegate dump/really loud exhaust. Is that a problem?

    According to the track rules:

    - there is a sound limit of 103 dBA. Here's the exact wording:

    The HPR sound limit is 103 decibels on the A scale, as measured at any property line by track management. Vehicles in violation will not be allowed to continue use of the track without correcting the situation. Any vehicle causing a violation will be immediately black flagged and not allowed back on track until corrective measures have been taken. Any vehicle found to be in violation a third time on any day will be excluded without refund from further participation in the event.

    In my many, many visits to HPR over the last several years, both during open track days and sanctioned race events, I have never seen anyone being approached about their car being too loud, nor seen anyone booted off the track for blowing sound. I've also witnessed many vehicles I thought were earsplittingly loud (typically fully built road race RX-7s and 911s) that were so loud just in the pits and flying up the front straight that I almost wished their motors would blow up, so I wouldn't hear them anymore. None of these cars' drivers were spoken to about their sound levels (to my knowledge).

    I suppose if you have a giant wastegate dump out the hood, and your Evo was RIDICULOUSLY loud, like the loudest Evo on the face of the earth, it could potentially be an issue. But based on my experience, I really, really doubt it.

    On HPR's policies/rules pdf they have on their website, it says "Please insure that the front of your car has a readily accessible tow point." If my car doesn't have one, do I absolutely need one of these or no?

    No, it's not absolutely required. However, Glenn and the HPR track staff's first priority is ensuring the safety of the track, not just for you, but for everyone else. That means clearing the track of any immobilized cars as quickly as possible. They will be careful in towing your car, but any damage that occurs due to your car not having a properly accessible tow point is not their fault.

    That being said, if your car has a front strut tower brace (OEM or aftermarket), they can and will use that to tow you from. I've had this done on my Evo twice, and it didn't damage anything.

    What's the likelihood of damaging my car at HPR?

    Overall, the odds are fairly low. The vast majority of people who take their street cars out to an open track day at HPR come home with them 100% intact, and it's by far the most fun and most rewarding experience they've ever had behind the wheel. The track is specifically designed to minimize the chance of damaging your car if you should slide off the paved surface (i.e., there are absolutely no trees at HPR, and the tire barriers and concrete walls are as far away as possible). Everyone who will be on track with you will have attended the same safety/track conduct meeting you will, so in theory, everyone is on the same page in terms of what is allowed/expected.

    Also, consider the fact that absolutely nobody that you'll be on track with will be distracted by their kids in the backseat, texting, or drunk—all very real and normal risks to our cars we take every day, driving on the street. HPR does allow asian people on the track though.

    Is it possible to damage your car at an open track day? Unfortunately, yes. And if you do somehow damage your car at HPR, it's not going to be covered by your car insurance, unless you claim that it happened somewhere on a public road. Life has risks and rewards. I'm a strong proponent of the idea that the rewards of doing an open track day at HPR, at least ONCE, far outweigh the potential risks. That decision is ultimately yours however.
    Last edited by EGbeater; 08-13-2014 at 12:25 PM.

  2. #2
    Platinum_Member Evo of Doom EGbeater's Avatar
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    How much does an open track day cost at HPR?

    As of summer 2014 (the following info is straight from HPR's lapping info page:

    •For participants who register and pay in advance via online signup the cost is $160 for a full day and $100 for a half day.
    •For participants who do not register and pay in advance the cost is $170 for a full day and $110 for a half day, payable at the track via check or credit card only – no cash, please.
    •Half day is either from 8:00am until 12:00, or 1:00 until 5:00

    Thursday Nights
    •For participants who register and pay in advance via online signup the cost is $100.
    •For participants who do not register and pay in advance the cost is $110, payable at the track via check or credit card only – no cash, please.
    •No half day option

    •For participants who register and pay in advance via online signup the cost is $110 for the day
    •For participants who do not register and pay in advance the cost is $120 for the day, payable at the track via check or credit card only – no cash, please.
    •No half day during winter hours

    For perspective, a Test and Tune night at Bandimere costs $30, and if you show up after 6pm, you'll likely only get three or four passes down the strip. An autocross event with the SCCA costs $40 plus a weekend temporary membership for insurance reasons. An autox event with BMWCCA costs $45, plus the required $48 annual club membership.

    Obviously, an open track day at HPR gives you BY FAR the most seat time per dollar of any driving event.

    Do I need to be a member of SCCA, NASA, BMWCCA, or another sanctioning body in order to drive?

    No. You must be 18 or older, and have a valid driver's license.

    Do I have to prepay online in order to drive at an open track day at HPR?

    Not during summer season. During the winter season, yes; because unless they get a decent number of people committed to coming out and running, they'll cancel it because it's not worth their time to open the track, hire the ambulance/EMTs, etc. for less than 10 people. Note that you'll pay $10 more if you don't register the night before online:

    For my first time out, do I need to get track-specific wheels or tires?

    No. Like I tell people who are wanting to try autocross, do one open track day with your car as-is to see if you want to do more; then you can start thinking about spending money on wheels or tires or modifying the car. As stated earlier though, I do not recommend you run an open track day on snow tires, and you cannot run on tires that are corded or worn so badly that they're likely to cord while at the track.

    If you've never had your car aligned, I WOULD recommend you get an alignment done. Have the car set up with zero toe in the front, an 1/8" total toe-in in the rear. Unless you have coilovers with adjustable camber plates, you won't be able to make big changes to the camber settings.

    What tires are good for track, and can also be used as daily driving summer tires, without breaking the bank?

    All of these tires are unbelievably sticky street tires that are still suitable for street driving. (summer only!) They're also great tires for autocross:

    BF Goodrich Rival
    Bridgestone RE11 or RE71R
    Dunlop Direzza Z2 Star Spec
    Falken RT615-K
    Hankook Ventus R-S3
    Nitto NT05
    Toyo R1R
    Yokohama ADVAN AD08R

    Are these tires dirt cheap? Unfortunately, no. Real performance tires cost real money. And do they wear fast, compared to all seasons? Yes they do... just like with brake pads, grip = wear. But in the case of the tires listed above, if you're really going to drive hard at the track, they're worth every penny. If you've never had true performance tires, you'll be astonished at how much grip these tires will give you.

    NOTE: most "high-performance Z-rated low-profile" tires are not suited for track driving, and are NOT going to "stick like glue." Really? Yes, really. Don't believe the hype. But, like I said above, come out with what you have first... then decide if you want or need to upgrade.

    Do I need any special aero parts for track driving?

    No. But if you've removed your OEM wing, I'd suggest reinstalling it. It does add a touch of downforce and stability at the higher speeds you'll see at HPR.

    I've seen you post before about how important brakes are for track driving. Do I need to have track brake pads, racing brake fluid, or brake cooling ducts just to try a track day?

    No. However, Evos are heavy cars, and the OEM Brembo brakes are simply not up to the task of beating on the car at the track, even at stock power levels, IF you're pushing the car hard. If you're driving the car at 6 to 7/10ths of its potential, as would be a sensible idea for your first time out, you should be fine with just a freshly bled brake system and OEM or OEM-replacement pads. Would upgrading the brake fluid to Motul RBF600 and the front pads to Hawk HP Plus (NOT the Hawk HPS or "Ceramic"; those Hawk pads are for street use only) be a good idea, just to give your Evo's braking system a bit more capacity? Yes, it would be.

    Should I "bed" a new set of track-oriented brake pads before going out to HPR?

    YES. Bedding pads properly before track driving takes more than street driving (unless you get your pads SMOKING HOT during normal street driving, which I don't want to hear about):

    A much better description of the process:

    An explanation of why this is so important:

    Speaking of brakes, should I use my parking brake after I come off the track?

    NO. Leave your car in gear, and leave the e-brake off. Why? because your brakes are hot, and clamping the brake pads down onto hot rotors could cause uneven cooling that could warp the rotors slightly.

    I see that newbies are required to attend the informational class about rules, etc. Is this really important?

    YES. Glenn will go over the flags, the locations of the track entrance, the track exit, passing, etc. It's essential information for a first-timer to have fresh in their minds before they get on the track. I've been to HPR many times and done lapping days for two decades, and I still like to attend the driver's meeting if I have time... it's a good refresher of all the things I should be keeping in mind.

    What should I bring to an open track day at HPR?

    Bare minimum: a helmet, your driver's license/wallet/money, a tire pressure gauge (avoid a stick gauge, as they're often highly inaccurate), a lug wrench or torque wrench to check your lugs, a fuel jug with fuel in it (at least 5 gallons), a quart of motor oil

    Good idea: A floorjack, at least one jackstand, lots of hand tools (you never know what might happen), zip ties and duct tape (no, I'm not kidding), water/food, sunscreen, a jacket if it gets cold/windy, more fuel/E85/oil

    During summer open track days, the concession stand should be open, so there will be food and drink available for purchase. During winter days, it's typically closed. There are portapotties on-site of course (and running water/flushing toilets/showers during the summer).

    About fuel: there's race gas for sale at HPR, but it's hellafied expensive, and there's no E-85 for sale anywhere near HPR. The closest gas station (aside from the race gas pumps at HPR) is in Byers, which is a full half-hour drive away. The best plan is to bring more fuel than you could possibly imagine using.

    Keep in mind that you will burn fuel MUCH faster than on the street. With an Evo, I would show up with a tank topped off at the Sinclair in Byers and at least one full five-gallon jug... two five-gallon jugs would be much better. If you're running E85 and planning to do a full day of lapping, obviously you'll need to bring even more.

    What are the most common problems people have with stock Evos at HPR?

    From my direct experience:

    * heavy wear on the outer edges of the front tires (running more negative camber up front will minimize this)
    * overheated brakes / boiled brake fluid (keep in mind that heat will also cause the bright red finish on your front brake calipers to fade, turn brown, or even turn black after enough track days)
    * LICP popping off (the engine movement from cornering can cause problems, even if the pipes are beaded and you're using T-bolt clamps)
    * engine or turbocharger damage (due to running with insufficient engine oil)
    * oil coming out the EGR port on the back of the valve cover, IF it's been modified to relieve excessive crankcase pressure

    How do I "prepare" to drive at HPR for my first time?

    There's no substitute for actually being on course, behind the wheel. If you have the opportunity to ride shotgun in-car with someone with track experience at HPR, that could help you to see what the proper line is, and how much grip/speed is possible through each corner. Otherwise, watch some videos on YouTube and see what it looks like.

    Here's just a few of mine: (my line through T8 is horrible on this lap... pushed way too wide on the exit) (this is the short course, but the comments I make/lines I take in T1, T2, and T3 still apply)
    Last edited by EGbeater; 09-04-2015 at 08:31 PM. Reason: added new trackworthy tire

  3. #3
    Platinum_Member Rickerman Tuning chetrickerman's Avatar
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    Awesome info. Thank you for putting this together.

  4. #4
    Platinum_Member EpicEVO rodent's Avatar
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    Once again Hsun, great write up!

  5. #5
    Platinum_Member Evo of Doom EGbeater's Avatar
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    What's a "Point-by"?

    A point-by is when a driver makes a hand signal to a driver behind him to indicate that he's aware that someone's behind him, and that he'd like for that car to pass; and it indicates which side of him he's expecting you to go by. Just because a driver gives you a point by doesn't mean you HAVE to pass, but it does indicate that he'd like you to either go by (safely) or to back off. See "How do I pass a slower car?" below.

    How do I pass a slower car?

    At HPR open track days, point-bys are not necessary in order to pass (unlike most sanctioned events, like those run by SCCA or NASA). The assumption is that most drivers are skilled and experienced enough to make correct assessments of when it's safe to make a pass. What is or is not safe varies tremendously on your abilities/experience, your car's abilities (both in terms of grip, power, and braking), and how experienced/aware the driver you're attempting to pass is.

    As a general rule, for beginners, and for maximum safety, only attempt to pass at the beginning and middle of the back straight (after T3), immediately after T6, and at the beginning of the front straight (i.e., immediately after T15). And, when in doubt if you have enough room to complete a pass before the next corner, BACK OFF! No matter how frustrated you may be by some assclown who's impeding you, it's not worth wrinkling your (and his) car over.

    Another way to get "around" a slower car is to simply exit the track at the beginning of the front straight, drive very slowly down the pit row, and then re-enter the track properly via the track entrance on the outside of T2. This will usually give you enough space to the car you were stuck behind to eliminate the issue.

    How do I let a faster car by?

    As Glenn with make very clear during the driver's meeting, stay on the line you're on; DO NOT move to the left or the right to try to move out of the way. The reason for this is that your well-intentioned movement could be counter to what the passing driver is expecting, and you'll cut them off instead of helping. Give a point-by out the window to the left, or over the roof of your car to the right (if you feel comfortable doing so; point-bys aren't required), and don't brake hard. Just stay out of the throttle until the car's safely by, check your mirrors to make sure there aren't any other cars waiting/wanting to pass, and then continue your lapping session.

    Will I be on track with pros and superfast cars?

    Possibly. It's an "open track day"... lots of racers use these events to test their setups, get additional seat time to improve their driving, etc. If Glenn feels it's warranted, based on the number of cars and the disparity between the speeds/abilities of the drivers, he'll mandate "slow" and "fast" groups, and then each group alternates each half hour. As he says at the meeting, if you find yourself passing nearly everyone in the "slow" group; move yourself up to the "fast" group; and if if you're constantly getting passed in the "fast" group, move down to the "slow" group.

    Also, don't be intimidated if you're on track with a Porsche 911 Turbo or a Ferrari... generally speaking, the more expensive and exotic the car, the slower/less experienced the driver.

    DO be very aware of how fast race cars can come up on you. It's also possible that an experienced racer may make an aggressive pass going into a corner, if they feel they have the momentum, grip, and brakes to safely pull it off. Remember: DON'T move off your line or try to "make room" for a passing car. Stay on your line, and back off the throttle a little if appropriate (e.g., the passing car is much faster than you in the corners, but has half the HP you do).

    What are the things I should keep in mind every time I head out onto the track, especially as a first-timer?


    Every chance you get, check your mirrors. You would not believe how quickly a superfast car like an open-wheel car, a Radical SR8 (, or even a raceprepped low-HP car like a Spec Miata can come up on you. If you're always mentally prepared for this, you're less likely to be startled by it and do something bad—like freak out and try to move out of its way, and cut it off and get rearended instead.

    Note the locations of ALL of the manned corner stations during your first session, and make a point to glance at them as you go by them, on EVERY lap. You need to do this to stay apprised of potentially dangerous track conditions, like dirt on the track (or much worse: oil or coolant), or worst of all, a car stopped/broken on the track.

    Watch the track surface for dirt, oil, or coolant CONSTANTLY. Cars dumping fluids onto the track is not exactly rare, and when it happens, it's SUPER DANGEROUS. The only effective way to prevent an accident caused by slick track surfaces is to be vigilant for them, and avoid putting your tires into it.

    Check your temp gauge occasionally. If it goes up at all, BACK OFF IMMEDIATELY but keep lapping to let the car cool off.

    Be aware of what your brake pedal feels like. If it starts dropping closer to the floor, or feels soft, BACK OFF IMMEDIATELY and come off the track. On an Evo, a soft pedal is a warning sign that you're about to boil the fluid. When the fluid boils, you'll have ZERO braking force. Not kidding. And yeah, it's just as scary and dangerous as it sounds.


    Work on driving the correct line through the entire course before worrying about how fast you're going. Even once you're comfortable with the track and have the race line memorized 100%, you still need to prioritize placing the car on the correct line above increasing speed. The hard part, of course, is keeping the car on the perfect line while maximizing velocity and not exceeding the tires' grip. Good luck! I've been doing this for a LONG time, and I still suck at it.

    Brake before each turn, gently lift off the brakes as you turn into the corner, then feed in throttle as you unwind the wheel and exit the corner.

    Keep your eyes up, and look ahead. Focus your attention on where you're going and where you're going to be in a few seconds, not where you are now (there's not much you can do about where you are now anyway; you determined that by what you did two seconds earlier).

    If in doubt as to what gear you should be in through a corner, 90% of the time the higher gear is the right choice.

    If in doubt as to what the best line through a corner is, 90% of the time the shortest line is the fastest line.

    If the car becomes unresponsive to steering input (understeer), the solution is NOT to turn the wheel more. The solution is to either back off on the throttle, or unwind the wheel, until the tires catch again. Obviously, if you've grossly miscalculated how much grip your car has, and you're at the edge of the track, there's really nothing you can do to get it to turn more. Avoid this situation by GRADUALLY working up to the car's limits in the corners so you don't suddenly find yourself way over them.

    Enter each corner from the outside edge of the track, place your inside tires right at the edge of the asphalt surface at the apex, and smoothly move your car to the outside edge of the track again as you exit the corner (this is called "tracking out"). Basically, try to straighten every turn out as much as possible in order to carry as much speed as possible through it. When you gain more experience and confidence, you can straighten out the line even further by putting your inside tires onto the concrete curbing in most of the corners, like T1, T3, T4, T5, T10, T13, and T14. However, hit the curbing TOO hard, and you may upset the car enough to lose grip (depending on your shocks, tires, available suspension travel, etc).

    Make your control inputs (that's your hands and your feet) smooth but deliberate. Avoid jerky steering movements. Don't be afraid to use the brakes HARD; then get off of them ASAP to help them cool. Still, there's a fine art to engaging the brakes smoothly to control the weight transfer, and getting off of them smoothly. Just like everything else with performance driving, it's conceptually simple but difficult to execute.

    Okay, I've read everything above, and I think I have a basic understanding of what an "open track day" is at HPR. But I'm still nervous about the whole idea, especially since I've never done any sort of track driving. After that class, do they just expect you to know everything, and it's "sink or swim"?

    Yes and no. As a willing participant at an open track day, you're expected to know the rules, and take your own safety and the safety of others very seriously. That being said, Glenn and the other track staff have always been very polite and courteous to me, even after I've accidentally done something wrong. If you have questions, ask them or another experienced driver.

    If you're really nervous at your first open track day, find someone to take you out with them before you drive a session yourself. The elevation changes at HPR can definitely be disconcerting and intimidating your first time out (you can't see where the track goes heading up T7 and into T13), and riding with someone before you drive it yourself will help a lot.

    If you read through all of this, pay close attention at the driver's meeting, drive at a level that's below your car's limits until you get comfortable with the track, and remember to watch your mirrors and the flagging stations, you'll do fine.

    Here's a small version of the HPR track map, for referencing the turns I mention (a much bigger version is available here):

    Last edited by EGbeater; 04-23-2015 at 10:08 AM.

  6. #6
    Platinum_Member Evo of Doom EGbeater's Avatar
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    filling your mirrors


    What's a "decent" lap time in my Evo VIII/IX/X with XYZ mods?

    Can't answer that for you. Lap times depend as much on the driver, the tires, and the brakes as the suspension or the power mods. For the average person, with an average street-tuned Evo, I wouldn't expect to be faster than 2:15 your first time out. You may even run in the 2:20s if your tires are crap and you're being cautious not to exceed the limits of your vehicle and driving ability (not a bad idea).

    However, Jim M. ("hammerEVO") was able to crack the 2:00 mark in an stock block, stock turbo '06 Evo9, on Moton Clubsport coilovers, R-comp tires, and with aero, but with "only" 370 WHP and 385 WTQ. In my Evo, which was somewhere around 500whp, 3150 pounds w me in it, and was also on R-comp tires (i.e., DOT-approved race tires like Nitto NT01s or BFG R1Ss), my best lap in the Evo was 1:55.51 (hammerEVO did a better job of driving fast than I did, considering our respective builds).

    My fastest lap at HPR in my 165whp, 2300-lb. Civic (uncorrected whp is only 134) was 2:11.08 on Hoosier R6s. In my '03 Honda S2000, N/A, with just header/HFC/exhaust, KW V3 coilovers, and good street tires (Bridgestone RE-01Rs), I ran a best lap of 2:10.991. On stickier R-comps (Hoosier R6s), I've run a 2:08.68 (officially: and a 2:07.1 on BFG R1Ss (unofficially, timing via Racechrono timing app + Qstarz 818XT 10-hz external Bluetooth GPS).

    Here's a link to NASA Time Trials track records, to give you some more data points... keep in mind most of those records are held by serious, track-dedicated cars though:

    Are X brand of coilovers good for track driving?

    I won't make any specific recommendations on brands, since I have a sponsor for suspension and don't want to come off as biased. However, I will say that you can tell how suitable a set of off-the-shelf coilovers are for track use by the spring rates of the springs they come with. For an Evo application, anything under 400 #/in. is really too soft, especially for the X (the X is significantly heavier than the 8/9 and needs more spring rate). The spring rates for the rear springs should be HIGHER than for the front springs in order to maintain the car's ability to rotate and turn in.

    Purchased new, expect to spend at least $1200 for a set of entry-level coilovers if you want them to perform significantly better than the OEM dampers and springs at the track. Coilovers that sell for less than $1200 new aren't really much good for anything other than lowering your car, having the ability to corner-balance the car (by adjusting the ride height incrementally at each corner of the car), losing some weight as compared to the OEM dampers, adding negative camber up front, having the ability to induce oversteer upon corner entry by increasing the damping stiffness in the rear vs the front, and hard parking at car shows.

    Okay, I've done a track day at HPR. I want to go back, and go faster! What performance parts should I buy?

    I would recommend you NOT start buying parts to go faster at HPR, but rather to consider buying a specific set of tires for track use, and if you haven't done this already, to get your car aligned for better handling.

    Beyond that, you need to do some serious thought about what you're trying to achieve with further modification, do a LOT of research to see what a good track setup really involves, and then decide if you're willing to spend the money to do it.

    If you are wanting to get involved in actual timed, competition track events (for example, NASA Time Trials) down the road, you need to think about and research the rules to see what mods are legal for what class, and what class you want to prep your car for, so you won't waste time and money doing mods that make your car illegal for the class in which you want to compete.

    A very important note: for the average beginner with very little previous experience in track driving, spending money on going back to the track to work on your driving technique (or paying for an instructor to help you improve your driving) will make you much faster than spending the same amount of money on go-fast parts.

    Honestly, this is a topic that far too complicated and outside the scope of this "first timer's track day FAQ" thread to address here.


    It would be smart to also bring a couple bottles of fresh brake fluid, a bleeder bottle, and the necessary tools to bleed your front brakes in case you do boil your brake fluid while at HPR (floor jack, jack stand, lug nut wrench and/or torque wrench, 11mm box wrench, paper towels, etc).

    Once you've put air bubbles in your brake lines by boiling the fluid, your brake pedal will be mushy and your brakes ineffective until you bleed the lines and get the bubbles out. If you are too aggressive with your brakes during your first session and boil your fluid, and you don't bring more brake fluid and tools to bleed your brakes with, you'll be done driving for the day, even if you paid for a full lapping day (no refunds once your car has gone out onto the track) unless you want to drive back home, bleed your brakes, and come back.
    Last edited by EGbeater; 04-23-2015 at 10:21 AM. Reason: updated info
    The Evo of Doom's best lap times: 1:28.9 @ HPT (2.1M "NASCAR" config), 1:31.9 @ MPH, 1:35.9 @ PMP, 1:55.5 @ HPR

  7. #7
    Traitor Joshsevo's Avatar
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    Mar 2008


    Ya very nice write up.

  8. #8
    Traitor Joshsevo's Avatar
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    Mar 2008


    I do see every now and then that Robi from Robi Spec comes out to CO and from rumors around the forums and what not that he is the best at setting up the suspensions. So keep an eye out for him coming back and doing suspension setups if you want to get done by the best.

    But I'm sure that there are many people that do a fine job...Like Hsun.

  9. #9
    Platinum_Member Evo of Doom EGbeater's Avatar
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    May 2008
    filling your mirrors


    Quote Originally Posted by chetrickerman View Post
    Awesome info. Thank you for putting this together.
    Quote Originally Posted by rodent View Post
    Once again Hsun, great write up!
    Quote Originally Posted by Joshsevo View Post
    Ya very nice write up.
    Thanks guys. I'm thinking it should be helpful. It turned out way longer than I intended, but I tried to make it as succinct and clear as possible.

  10. #10
    Platinum_Member Shocker pistolpete59916's Avatar
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    Jul 2010


    Im assuming most of us have testpipes, so do people get pissed/annoyed when you smoke them, literally?

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