Track Day Guide for Beginner and Experienced Model 3 Owners

How many times have you been on a race track?

  • 0

    Votes: 21 51.2%
  • 1-5

    Votes: 4 9.8%
  • 5-10

    Votes: 3 7.3%
  • How dare you question me :) 100+

    Votes: 13 31.7%

  • Total voters
    41

MountainPass

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#1
Track Day Guide



With our years of building, racing and driving in top-level sports car racing series in North America, we’ve learned a lot – and we can help give you the simple, useful information you need to make your track day a success. I love the fact that an article like this is not only a good idea, but that it is almost needed at this point. There are so many Model 3’s hitting the track these days and we keep getting asked a lot of really awesome track related questions, so I wanted to take some time to prepare a guide for all of you. Whether this is your first time going to the track, or if you’ve been lapping for many years, this guide is worth reading.

We’ll discuss how you can prepare your car for the track before the event, what you should check on your car at the event, tips for you the driver, and setup advice that you can apply to your car to improve its performance. This page will likely be updated and refined over time, so be sure to bookmark it and check back from time to time.

Due to the formatting not copying over here well, please look at this link!

Track Day Guide

-Sasha
 

Wooloomooloo

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#2
I've never done it, but there's a track in NJ I've been eyeing up and I am planning to take a beginner class this spring.
 

JeffC

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#7
Thanks Sasha. The guide looks excellent.

The main thing I would add is that, in my opinion, no one should get on a track without first going to a racing or high performance driving school. And in fact many tracks won't allow people to drive on them without passing the first couple all day classes. Fortunately most tracks also have schools associated with them. Look for an excellent school.

The schools typically start at only a few hundred dollars for the first level, and IMO anyone who doesn't take a class first or read a racing textbook or two and get coached by an instructor probably won't be safe or reasonably quick on a track.

It is possible to teach yourself high performance driving/racing, but it's much safer and more effective to take a good class. (Same is true of flying, sailing, diving, mountain climbing, skydiving, etc.)

Yes, you will not be winning Le Mans immediately after taking the first couple classes, but they're an excellent baseline of knowledge to start to learn to go faster. Ultimately it's also much more effective and faster to take some classes to learn the basics than trying to learn on your own.

P.S. Something like autocrossing / gymkhana is an excellent way to start to get some performance driving experience before going on a track.
 
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MountainPass

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#8
Thanks Sasha. The guide looks excellent.

The main thing I would add is that, in my opinion, no one should get on a track without first going to a racing or high performance driving school. And in fact many tracks won't allow people to drive on them without passing the first couple all day classes. Fortunately most tracks also have schools associated with them. Look for an excellent school.

The schools typically start at only a few hundred dollars for the first level, and IMO anyone who doesn't take a class first or read a racing textbook or two and get coached by an instructor probably won't be safe or reasonably quick on a track.

It is possible to teach yourself high performance driving/racing, but it's much safer and more effective to take a good class. (Same is true of flying, sailing, diving, mountain climbing, skydiving, etc.)

P.S. Something like autocrossing / gymkhana is an excellent way to start to get some performance driving experience before going on a track.
Sasha and I both started off doing autocross and gymkhana exactly like you said! They are a great, low risk way to learn car control skills.
 

Lovesword

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#9
Thanks Sasha. The guide looks excellent.

The main thing I would add is that, in my opinion, no one should get on a track without first going to a racing or high performance driving school. And in fact many tracks won't allow people to drive on them without passing the first couple all day classes. Fortunately most tracks also have schools associated with them. Look for an excellent school.

The schools typically start at only a few hundred dollars for the first level, and IMO anyone who doesn't take a class first or read a racing textbook or two and get coached by an instructor probably won't be safe or reasonably quick on a track.

It is possible to teach yourself high performance driving/racing, but it's much safer and more effective to take a good class. (Same is true of flying, sailing, diving, mountain climbing, skydiving, etc.)

P.S. Something like autocrossing / gymkhana is an excellent way to start to get some performance driving experience before going on a track.
But what if I’ve just watched one of the Fast and Furious movies AND stayed at a holiday inn recently. Mic drop! I’m gonna track it up tonight!!!!

I’m jk of course...I have a 3oz foot according to @FRC
https://teslaownersonline.com/threads/0-deg-f-efficiency-numbers.10563/post-193378
 
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#14
Great write up! I'm not sure if this is the right thread to post this request or if I should start a new thread but can anyone who has tracked/DE'd their model 3 chime in on mods? I'm planning to get back into HPDE's and have started digging into what wheel/tire combo to do and would love some input from people who have been on track!

So far my plan is 18"x9.5" wheels with 265/40/18s, some level of track pads (need to research what is available for the 3), and flush the brake fluid with ATE. Has anyone had any trouble with the stock seat and staying in place on track?

Another interesting thing I was thinking is if using the stock aero wheels with covers will be better for high speed aerodynamics and if I should just get comp tires for the stock wheels. The mechanical grip from 265's will be pretty nice.
 

Klaus-rf

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#15
Another interesting thing I was thinking is if using the stock aero wheels with covers will be better for high speed aerodynamics ...
Most tracks will require you to remove hubcaps (such as aero covers). They tend to be dangerous flying objects.
 

Klaus-rf

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#17
I've been an SCCA Tech Inspector and Solo Safety Steward for 40+ years. We always require [removable] hubcaps off even at auto-x. It's a safety issue, Enforcement may vary depending on region and/or venue. Most drag strips that I've been to also require hubcap removal. "Club" track events vary depending on the rules of the track and the group hosting the event,.

YMMV. ( I suppose we could change that to YKwMV ??)
 

JeffC

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#18
Great write up! I'm not sure if this is the right thread to post this request or if I should start a new thread but can anyone who has tracked/DE'd their model 3 chime in on mods? I'm planning to get back into HPDE's and have started digging into what wheel/tire combo to do and would love some input from people who have been on track!

So far my plan is 18"x9.5" wheels with 265/40/18s, some level of track pads (need to research what is available for the 3), and flush the brake fluid with ATE. Has anyone had any trouble with the stock seat and staying in place on track?

Another interesting thing I was thinking is if using the stock aero wheels with covers will be better for high speed aerodynamics and if I should just get comp tires for the stock wheels. The mechanical grip from 265's will be pretty nice.
I'd need to check the specifications, but I'm not sure a 265 mm tire would fit on the stock 18 Aero wheel. A wider wheel would generally be better. Also while the Aero wheel is the best wheel for long road trips, etc., due to the possibly 10% greater energy efficiency, particularly at highway speeds, the Aero wheel probably would not cool the brakes as wheel on a race track as a more open wheel.

And as others have pointed out, wheel covers generally are not allowed at high performance driving/racing events due to the safety issue if they come off. Due to high cornering forces on wheels, wheels can flex (bend) a bit in turns and move the retaining clips on wheel covers causing them to come off. Wheel covers can and do come off, even from normal highway driving, with potentially fatal results on a race track. That's why they're generally not allowed.

But your general plan is sound: performance tires, racing brake pads and high temperature brake fluid are typical modifications for light track use.

If I track my car much I'll probably start the same way, but I was looking at 19 x 9.5 wheels and 265 tires since there seemed to be a much larger selection of racing compound tires available in 19s than 18s or 20s. 19 inch x 265 mm seems to be the most common soft compound tire size for Model 3-compatible sizes.
 
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SD_ENGNR

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#19
Great write up! I'm not sure if this is the right thread to post this request or if I should start a new thread but can anyone who has tracked/DE'd their model 3 chime in on mods? I'm planning to get back into HPDE's and have started digging into what wheel/tire combo to do and would love some input from people who have been on track!

So far my plan is 18"x9.5" wheels with 265/40/18s, some level of track pads (need to research what is available for the 3), and flush the brake fluid with ATE. Has anyone had any trouble with the stock seat and staying in place on track?

Another interesting thing I was thinking is if using the stock aero wheels with covers will be better for high speed aerodynamics and if I should just get comp tires for the stock wheels. The mechanical grip from 265's will be pretty nice.
9.5" wide with a 265 tire is a perfect size for track day fun. I like the grip of the RE71R for both full track, and autocross. I don't see which car you're running, but definitely give some love to the brakes (fluids/pads). That's really all you need to have fun. Other upgrades definitely play a part in being faster around the track, but aren't required if you're just getting back into it. I mean, I ran stock suspension with upgraded brake fluid and the RE71R tires at a local autocross event and was second fastest out of quite a few heavily modded cars. The faster car? A P3D+ with a driver who saw where my weakness was, and took advantage of it to edge me out by about 3/4 of a second - my launch off the start was weak because I was afraid of messing up right out of the gate... d'oh!

And no, aero's with their covers will not be allowed if you have tech's that are paying attention.
 
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#20
All good points and I was planning to do 18"x9.5" Enkei's since they might be closer to my price range but I don't they they sell 19"x9.5" rims. Any suggestions on good ones? Being track tires, I'm not looking to spend a lot on rims but I also want ones around the same weight as my aeros if possible.

Has anyone had any luck with finding pro car take-offs around the right size? I've always been terrible at tracking down pro-racing tire resellers.

Also, has anyone had any trouble with staying put in their seat or any other issues with the car on track? How does the traction control like cornering at higher speeds?