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Old 11-19-2023, 08:23 AM   #1
SSm1LEn
 
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Is tracking worth it? - answered

I tried tracking the car (HPDE road course) and documented the experience in this video. Hopefully it will help someone else make the decision on whether it is worth trying.

2:20 - event preparation
4:55 - cost
6:30 - experience (mental)
9:20 - experience (physical)
10:55 - wear and tear on the car
12:15 - experience (social)
13:30 - so was it worth it??
[15min long]

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Old 11-19-2023, 08:56 AM   #2
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This was a very detailed and informative summary, thank you.

I'll only track my car when there are no other cars on the track, which means probably never Don't want to race random cars, I just want to drive mine, learn and enjoy, not having to constantly look out for a million other drivers faster than me, and pay thousands for the experience. But that's just me and my chicken nature, no need for roasts, I already know what y'all think.
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Old 11-19-2023, 09:11 AM   #3
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Great video, thanks for sharing your experience! I like that there was no frill about it, not trying to “build a channel”, just straight to the point

I hope one day to do the same and take my car to the track! From preliminary research on cost, I believe it’ll be a bit more expensive with a ZL1 1LE, but hopefully not much more than what you ended up paying

Geoff
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Old 11-19-2023, 11:39 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arpad_m View Post
This was a very detailed and informative summary, thank you.

...that's just me and my chicken nature...
You are welcome. Not that my opinion matters but FWIW - I don't think there is anything chicken about it. There is inherent risk in driving a car on track and the behavior of other drivers is a difficult variable to account for. I think your concerns are warranted/healthy. I will say that, in my experience, the event organizer made an obvious effort to mitigate the risks as much as possible. Safety was a big emphasis item.
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Old 11-19-2023, 12:16 PM   #5
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Good video, I personally don't think track drivers pose much more of a risk to you on the track than they do on the road. Only accident I've had with my Camaro was someone driving into the side of me while I was cruising down the road at 35 mph lol. My car has about 10k miles and about 7k of those are on track.

He was waiting to pull out from a parking lot into the main road and while looking down at his phone just drove forward into me while I was driving down the main road. I even swerved to avoid him but that 18 year old kid was out to get me I guess.
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Old 11-19-2023, 12:24 PM   #6
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That was an excellent video. It's the best one I've ever seen on what to consider and to expect from your first HPDE. I'd also say that it's nearly 100% accurate in terms of what you'll feel mentally and physically when you are out there for the first time. Glad you gave it a try and that you had a good time. Can we make this video a sticky?

I've just completed 3 years and 22 track days (individual days) and thought it would be helpful to point out a few small edits/caveats to your post in order to help others who are considering trying HPDE:

- Tire life consumption per event will depend on a lot of factors, biggest of which (assuming alignment is appropriate) are nature of the track (all turns vs mix of turns and long straights) and how hard you drive the car. For your first event, I know you were driving a curvy/demanding track (AMP, way to go!!), but I'd guess you didn't consume 20% of the tire life because you are a novice and likely driving below the very high G limits of the 1LE.

- The feeling of "being overwhelmed" by all the mental tasks you have do behind the wheel is standard for someone just starting but does get considerably easier with subsequent track days. As you learn the track line and get in the habit of constant situational awareness (flag condition at each flag station, where are the cars around you and what are they doing) your brain starts to do these things automatically and that allows you to focus more on other, more rewarding aspects: 1) learning the limits of car and increasing your pace towards that limit. 2)Positioning the car exactly where you want it. 3)Taking other lines through corners ("off-line" if you are making a late pass, etc) 4)Having fun doing coordinated passes with other cars in places other than the straight aways (as you move up to higher HPDE run groups).

-Cost per event, while being accurate to what you said for the first event, will be lower for subsequent events you do in the same year. Why? Because you don't need to do track alignments very often, fluid changes can be done once year (oil likely twice) and cost averaged across all track days, and you already purchased your track gear (helmet, +/- gloves, chair). Having said that, brake pads and eventually tire cost will start to enter the picture with repeated events and add back toward your "per track day" cost.
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Old 11-19-2023, 01:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SSm1LEn View Post
You are welcome. Not that my opinion matters but FWIW - I don't think there is anything chicken about it. There is inherent risk in driving a car on track and the behavior of other drivers is a difficult variable to account for. I think your concerns are warranted/healthy. I will say that, in my experience, the event organizer made an obvious effort to mitigate the risks as much as possible. Safety was a big emphasis item.
A big part of it is indeed me, for example, despite being a software engineer and a computer enthusiast, I never enjoyed multiplayer online games either, always wanted to play either by myself or against computer/AI enemies. However, there is hardly any way I'll ever be able to justify the cost of renting a racetrack for myself, or maybe me plus a buddy or two. But let's not deviate from the topic on my account, heh.

One other thing that resonated with me is your description of how much farther the actual limits of the 1LE are than what you had imagined based on "pushing" the car a bit on public roads, because it's so very true.

A few months ago fellow forum member Jim (L78toLT1) allowed me to ride shotgun with him at AMP in his built 2SS that is close to a mechanical twin of mine (we're both in the 700-750 rwhp range, though he has an M6 with a few more suspension mods and a 3rd party driveshaft against my A8 with the BMR cradle lockout kit), and man, was that an eye opener as to what the car is actually capable of.

We both have 1LE wheels and tires, he has ZL1 brakes (vs my 1LE setup), and he is also a pretty good driver, which matters the most, I think. He runs in the "upper intermediate" class, and both the sheer straight line performance as well as cornering speeds and agility his car displayed was f**king unbelievable, I thought I was ready to puke a few times, seriously
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735 rwhp | 665 rwtq

Magnuson TVS 2300 80mm pulley | Kooks 1 7/8" LT headers | JRE smooth idle terminator cam | LT4 FS & injectors | TSP forged pistons & rods
JMS PowerMAX | DSX flex fuel kit | Roto-Fab CAI | Soler 95mm LT5 TB | 1LE wheels | 1LE brakes | BMR rear cradle lockout | JRE custom tune

1100 - 1/30/18 | 2000 - 1/31/18
3000 - 2/06/18 TPW 2/26/18
3400 - 2/19/18 | 3800 - 2/26/18
4300 - 2/27/18 | 4B00 - 3/01/18
4200 - 3/05/18 | 4800 - 3/14/18
5000 - 3/16/18 | 6000 - 3/19/18
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Old 11-19-2023, 03:23 PM   #8
SSm1LEn
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N Camarolina View Post
...thought it would be helpful to point out a few small edits/caveats to your post in order to help others who are considering trying HPDE:

- Tire life consumption per event will depend on a lot of factors, biggest of which (assuming alignment is appropriate) are nature of the track (all turns vs mix of turns and long straights) and how hard you drive the car. For your first event, I know you were driving a curvy/demanding track (AMP, way to go!!), but I'd guess you didn't consume 20% of the tire life because you are a novice and likely driving below the very high G limits of the 1LE.

- The feeling of "being overwhelmed" by all the mental tasks you have do behind the wheel is standard for someone just starting but does get considerably easier with subsequent track days. As you learn the track line and get in the habit of constant situational awareness (flag condition at each flag station, where are the cars around you and what are they doing) your brain starts to do these things automatically and that allows you to focus more on other, more rewarding aspects: 1) learning the limits of car and increasing your pace towards that limit. 2)Positioning the car exactly where you want it. 3)Taking other lines through corners ("off-line" if you are making a late pass, etc) 4)Having fun doing coordinated passes with other cars in places other than the straight aways (as you move up to higher HPDE run groups).

-Cost per event, while being accurate to what you said for the first event, will be lower for subsequent events you do in the same year. Why? Because you don't need to do track alignments very often, fluid changes can be done once year (oil likely twice) and cost averaged across all track days, and you already purchased your track gear (helmet, +/- gloves, chair). Having said that, brake pads and eventually tire cost will start to enter the picture with repeated events and add back toward your "per track day" cost.
That all makes sense. I am sure there are several shortcomings in the video because "you [I] don't know what you don't know". Thanks for the addendum.
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Old 11-19-2023, 03:31 PM   #9
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@ Arpad, yeh the limits of the 1LE are way above what you can safely do on the street.

On the track, it can pull 1.3G around many corners, even higher under trail braking. But there are too many uncontrolled variables on public roads (surface traction availability, obstacles immediately beyond the road surface, etc) to make it worth driving the car near it's limit. Thus why the track is so appealing to the type of person who finds reward in pushing a machine (car, go-kart, whatever) to it's limit of control.

If you are that kind of person (I fully understand many are not), then I can offer you a slightly different way to view HPDE that might be more appealing to your "introverted tendancy:"

HPDE is all about you as an individual learning how drive a car on the track and to slowly work up towards it's limit (or however close you are ultimately comfortable going). It's not about racing other drivers at all (though some find it fun to catch and pass others). But because there are others out there on the track at the same time, trying to do the same as you, there is an added element of learning safe track etiquette and developing a comfort level with having other cars near you out on the track. And because all cars are lapping at different speeds, there is a need to learn how to safely pass (or be passed). All of these skills (driver skill development and safety around others) are core to the (instructor led) teachings of any good HPDE organization.

There can be a social aspect to HPDE events while drivers are not actually driving around the track, but there is no mandate for it, and everybody is different. Some guys keep totally to themselves and everything still works out just fine.
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Old 11-19-2023, 04:45 PM   #10
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Everyone here has some really good points to learn from. I have had Camaros as long as I have been driving (starting with 3rd gens). I have done drag racing with them, auto cross sessions, and HPDE track events. I must say that the track events have by far been the most fun I have ever had in these cars (and I have done a lot of stuff with them)!
Though I have yet to put my 6th gen on the track, I am really looking forward to getting to eventually. Track day insurance will be a big cost compared to the 3rd gens I have been running. I also worry about someone hitting me on the track, but considering the way people drive on the roads these days, there may not be that much more of a risk...
Another expense one can consider when doing track events would be a trailer. I bought a car trailer for the main purpose of hauling my cars to the track. The trip to the track I have been running at is just over 4 hours away. Consider I have been running one of my 3rd gens that has over 200k on the original motor, I figured I may be pushing my luck on making it back home. There are many events out there and some are way more affordable than others. I have enjoyed SCCA's Track Night in American events.
Use the track events to learn your car and refine your driving skills as well as defensive driving skills to better prepare yourself in case you have to make an evasive maneuver. It can help you better learn how your car could react as well.
These cars are made to be enjoyed. We all have different opinions on what that may mean. Could be just staring at them in a garage, car shows, just cruising, or going all out on a track!
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Last edited by fireball451; 11-19-2023 at 04:47 PM. Reason: typos
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Old 11-19-2023, 05:08 PM   #11
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Some insurance covers HPDEs as long as a timed competition isn't involved. USAA said they'd cover it and they also offer 25% off Goodyear tires, so those lucky enough to have USAA insurance get a big discount on track expenses.

Some clubs are relatively inexpensive too, BMW and Porsche clubs do autox and HPDEs as part of their promotional activity, so costs are subsidized by that and a lot of volunteers. You also get in-car and classroom instruction.

Also, for those hesitant, maybe try autox first. It'll teach you car control skills in an environment with less risk and is a ton of fun as well. Don't worry too much about other idiots on track. It can happen but seems like more of an issue on open lapping days than HPDEs with BMW, Porsche, NASA, etc.
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Old 11-19-2023, 05:14 PM   #12
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Great video!
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Old 11-19-2023, 05:59 PM   #13
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Great video, I really enjoyed and appreciated your perspective. Not only was it informative, but your humble and very honest.

I wish I lived in an area (with nice weather all year long) near a nice track or two. Maybe in the coming year or two. I’d definitely like to meet people that are more knowledgeable / race competent then myself (wouldn’t take much) Your video reinvigorated that long held thought process. Thanks for posting this…
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Old 11-20-2023, 07:27 AM   #14
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Nice video! Thanks for sharing your HPDE experience. Although I've done autocross events I've never done a track event. I could see how it would be a lot of fun.
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