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Donating Mem..car fanatic
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OK...this is not an advertisement of any kind, but there seems to be alot more interest in performance driving events on this site than I would have imagined. I must get 1 to 2 PMs a week (generated by my signature pics I suppose), from guys asking how they can get there Preludes on track.

I have mentioned in previous posts that I should start a thread...finally getting off my ass and doing it. So, here is the story...I have a tendency to get a bit wordy about performance driving (I've got a real passion for it), so don't hold that against me. There are several ways to get on track. This type of event has several names it is commonly referred to by (e.g., "Track days", "Open Tracking", "Driving Event", "High Performance Driving Event [HPDE]", and probably a few others), they all pretty much offer the same style of experience. These events are designed by automobile enthusiasts - for automobile enthusiasts - in order to provide a SAFE (relatively) and controlled environment to maximum perform your car and improve your driving ability (plus it has the added benefit of letting you drive the piss out of your whip with a huge grin on your face and not having to check your mirrors for flashing lights...just faster cars coming up from behind)!

I personally have a motorsports background (20+ years of Karting, and several stints in the SCCA in various open wheel classes of competition), so I do know a thing or two about this type of thing (not tooting my own horn...just telling you where I am coming from). However, you do not need to have any racing/performance driving experience to participate at an entry level. I personnaly feel like NASA (National Auto Sport Association) offers the best bang for the buck...here is the link to the national website ( http://www.nasaproracing.com/ ). From that site you can jump to several regional sites depending on your part of the country. There is way more info about their HPDE events on that site than I could type here...so if you are interested, check that site out.

Now, how do you get on track for free (and how much does it cost if I'm not willing to put in the work to do it for free)? Here in NASA Southeast (NASA-SE), they have a "work for drive credit" program. The region always has an issue with getting corner marshalls for the race events. So in that interest, they have developed a program where you get a free entry fee (about a $350 value) if you agree to work 2 full race weekends (4 days of investment...that works out to about $87/day for your time in track credit). That entry fee credit gets you a registration reservation at the HPDE of your choice at any track NASA-SE holds a race/HPDE. Those tracks this season include Road Atlanta, Roebling Road, Rockingham, and Carolina Motorsports Park...usally 2 events at each of them. You get fully trained and paired up with an experienced marshall during the events...plus you get a GREAT SEAT for all the races (and free lunch/after party).

I must be honest when I tell you that I have never taken advantage of the work for race credit deal (I'm a little more "seasoned" in years and income level than most of the young guys on this site, however). This program is by far the best way to get on track for not much money/time investment. Once you sign up for an HPDE, you are usually guaranteed of about 6 seperate 20-25 minute sessions of track time at speed over a 2 day period...usually adds up to 100+ miles of on-track, at speed time (with some sort of passing restrictions and rules to follow). You'll have an instructor in the passenger seat with you and mandatory classroom sessions to attend. Then in the small ammount of time you have to relax, you can check out all the other cool cars and watch a few races before you are TOTALLY exhausted for the ride home (it's the coolest freakin' thing you will ever do with your Prelude).

There are a few guys on this site that Track their 3G Preludes (I'm sure there are others in the 4/5 Gen boards...but I never look at those TBH). I know for a fact that 88SE does his fair share over in the UK, and probably a few others here in the states. I have personaly seen another 3G guy at a few NASA-SE events. There are added costs invloved in tracking your car. It MUST be in great mechanical order (which requires more investment), and you'll find yourself constatly looking to improve you car for track specific purposes (which requires more parts...and the money to get them)! Other than that you need an approved helmet (which many organizations usually have loaners for first time participants) and the willingness to be open minded about how much you DON'T KNOW about driving fast. Trust me...driving fast down some mountain road is NOT the same as quickly attacking a closed circuit road course (and it is a bit crazy too).

There are certainly other organizations that hold Open Track days...just google "open track events", or check out links to TracQuest or Chin Motorsports ( http://www.tracquest.com/ )for example. I just think that NASA-SE might be the best for the low-funded Prelude enthusiast. I'm not sure if other regions of NASA do the sam thing...just jump onto their message boards or call them to find out. If they don't, encourrage them to look into the NASA-SE program as a model to do so.

Maybe a few others will give it a shot...you won't regret it.

Cheers!
 

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hmm need quite a few more mods before i can track my lude. but id definitely love to and gonna look into it
 

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Nice work there cidgrad :emthup:
Agree with al lof that and the reasoning for your post.
Especially the bit about not knowing how to drive lol Thats' what I tell them over here, until you've really driven your car on track you'll never know just how good the car can be and how bad/good your driving is.


scyclone said:
hmm need quite a few more mods before i can track my lude.
TBH that is absolute nonsense.
I think 99% of people think exactly that.
And as long as your car is in good health there is absolutely no reason why you can't use a completely stock car.
In fact making my car more track focused was the worst thing to do as far as having fun is concerned.
It's all about enjoying yourself and your car, how fast you are compared with anyone else is totally missing the point IMO.
I actually enjoy driving cars that are supposed to be slow/crap etc...
But obviously if you enjoy it then you will want to sort the car as well.

Cidgrad as just given you all a good shove in the right direction.
Go and try it, you may just like it !!!
 

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Excellent thread Cid. :emthup:

Im going to inquire more about this...
 

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No need to set up a car for track if it is your daily driver, I have done this, and it is uncomfortable as hell to drive on bumpy roads with. And now I don't have time to adjust it back. If you get a chance to drive your car on a track whether it is stock or modified, do it. It's tons of fun and you learn exactly how your car reacts and when it loses grip.
 

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Good post 'cidgrad' !!

Your points are well thought out, and right on point. I am also from a motorsports background, in karting, vintage racing, and magazine "tuner shootouts" with my street/track prepared Audi S4.

Taking your car to a driver's school/track event/HPDE etc. is the perfect venue for people to really learn their capabilities and their car's capabilities, as the fastest route around a track is on the edge of control.

I would also recommend that people "run what they brung", in other words, take your Prelude in good working order without modifying it in preparation for the track. If you like driving on a track, the natural progression of adding what is needed (tires,brakes,pads harnesses,etc) will follow.

Thanks again cidgrad !
 

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I do need tires, though. There's no real educational value to flogging bald tires, especially if one blows and puts you in the gravel :(
 

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Yes, make sure you have decent tirs on the car, or find some usable track tires that you can thrash so you don't end up in the weeds for the wrong reason.
 

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88SE Lude said:
Nice work there cidgrad :emthup:
Agree with al lof that and the reasoning for your post.
Especially the bit about not knowing how to drive lol Thats' what I tell them over here, until you've really driven your car on track you'll never know just how good the car can be and how bad/good your driving is.



TBH that is absolute nonsense.
I think 99% of people think exactly that.
And as long as your car is in good health there is absolutely no reason why you can't use a completely stock car.
In fact making my car more track focused was the worst thing to do as far as having fun is concerned.
It's all about enjoying yourself and your car, how fast you are compared with anyone else is totally missing the point IMO.
I actually enjoy driving cars that are supposed to be slow/crap etc...
But obviously if you enjoy it then you will want to sort the car as well.

Cidgrad as just given you all a good shove in the right direction.
Go and try it, you may just like it !!!

heh i guess our right .
just got back home few mins ago . while i was out i had to give somone a ride all the way 100miles east in the outskirts of phoenix right over some mountains.
i finally for the first time got a chance to take the lude for some serious cornering. LOVED IT such a adrenaline rush is unbelivable 70+mph in some areas normally required to slow to 35mph.
no traffic / high beams and flying through the corners.
 

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thanks for the info. i will for sure look into it more, they do have a new road track opening up in newton soon. so hopefully next year they will have some track days i can attend rep for cidgrad.
 

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nice info
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
SquishyPanda said:
I do need tires, though. There's no real educational value to flogging bald tires, especially if one blows and puts you in the gravel :(
Having an extra set of track wheels/tires is something that comes with time and level of commitment to tracking. In the meantime, if you are planning on tracking your car in the near future, you can certainly lean towards a tire that will serve both street/track duty as a compromise. (I have found that the Falken Azenis RT615 is a great compromise tire)...can get a couple of track weekends out of them and about 8-10K of normal street driving before replacement.

For all-out track tires...well there are a variety of choices for some really good R-compound track tires (Khumo V700s are some of my favorites). Kind of depends on your wheel size and wallet size. A great way to score some "good" R-compound tires is to purchase "take-offs" from a racer (a set of decent ones will get someone through a track weekend). Usually they still have some life to them 1/32 to 2/32 of tread life...just too many heat cycles for a race participant who is trying to squeeze every last 10th of a second out of the car. Don't be embarassed about asking some guy if you can buy his tires at the end of the weekend...he probably would like the cash, and you get some good tires for track use.

My personal opinion is that a rookie track-day participant should stick to DOT street tires for the first 5-10 track events. R compound tires can make you feel like a hero, but won't let you learn as fast as a less "grippy" tire. Then, once you progress to the point where you are max performing the street tires, you should switch to R compounds and really appreciate the difference. As a matter of fact-some sanctioning bodies won't let the rookie competitors even use R-compounds...so don't think you MUST have them. The slower the car is (e.g., low-horsepower/hard tires), the more it will teach you about car-control when you really push it to the limit.

My suggestion to someone who is considering tracking for the first time is to take your car to the track with safe street tires (not necessarily new) and not to worry about who you pass or who passes you...just learn the ropes and enjoy it (because it is over too fast-like so many of life's best moments)!!!

Cheers!
 

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Cidgrad, can I just leave you to put any posts up for me in future? Save me having to type LOL :emthup:

Sound advice there.

I know a lot of people who spend lots of money on parts for their cars (usually far quicker/better than my 3G as stock) ansd are still slower around a track. Mostly because they have never got accustomed to the basic behaviour of the car as it was stock. They think improving the car is where it's at. It's not, the driver is where it's at.
Learn the stock car first and that will see you through for life, modifying the car first will alway have you playing catch-up to the car and finding it's limits becomes very difficult and quite oftenyou find those limits at the same time as having your first major track accident.

Tyres are a good one as well, As Cidgrad said, using stock tyres or less grippy ones will teach you far far more about the car and it;s balance than you will learn from getting sticky tyres in an attempt to be fast.
Besides, less grip equals more fun as long as you're learning and not racing.
 

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i really wanna try this now.....it looks sooooo fun
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
88SE Lude said:
Cidgrad, can I just leave you to put any posts up for me in future? Save me having to type LOL :emthup:
You would be missed too much...I think-:devil:

I could never match that witty, distinctly British humor:)...plus I get a kick out of reading you "brow beat" the guys who type their responses before thinking!

Cheers!
 
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