Your first 3 Track-Prepped Mods
Whether you are looking to take your stock daily driver to the track, or you just purchased a dedicated track car, here is a list of the first three upgrades that can give you the most bang for your buck.
Before we get into it, a good starting point would be an extensive vehicle inspection to ensure everything is in order and functioning as it should (fresh fluids, no seized caliper sliders, loose hardware, hair-line cracks etc.). Having a safe, properly functioning vehicle is a must before doing any mods whatsoever.
1. Brakes – There are a few things you can do to improve your braking system:
a. Brake Fluid – The VERY FIRST THING you should do on your brake system is replace your brake fluid with a high-quality racing fluid (such as Motul RBF-660 for example). Tracking your car exerts significant heat on the entire braking system. The stock brake fluid was designed for road use, not repeated extreme braking applications, and therefore has a much lower operating temperature range. By utilizing a track-focused fluid, you will be increasing this optimal range to be consistent with on-track usage and get increased performance from your braking system.
b. Brake Pads – Depending on how you are tracking your car, whether it be a few hot laps, a 45-minute sprint or even a lengthier endurance stint, you will want to opt for a pad designed for your type of use. It will ensure you get the right balance of performance and pad life.
c. Cooling – One of the most overlooked items is cooling. You will want to see what options exist for cooling down your brakes – primarily the fronts since they capture the most kinetic energy. Some cars have stock venting in place in the lower bumper, which you can improve upon with larger inlets and direct-ducting. Others have no venting whatsoever, so the introduction of such vents in the lower bumper can go a long way in cooling the brakes and improving performance.
2. Tires – These 4 contact patches are what connects your car to the ground, so as you can imagine, this is rarely the area you want to skimp on. A strictly-summer Ultra High Performance (UHP) tire, such as a Michelin Pilot Sport 4S, or comparable is a good starting point. Once you continue to improve your driver skill and find you drive past the limit of your tires, you can look into “Competition” rubber with a treadwear rating 200 or lower such as Michelin Cup2R or Pirelli Trofeo R.
3. Seat and Harness – While it may not be ideal to keep removing and reinstalling a fixed-bucket seat and harness, you may be able to significantly improve your lap times by just replacing these 2 pieces of hardware in your car. In your stock setup (with stock seatbelt), you will find that you spend a lot of your time (and energy) trying to brace yourself in your seat (using your left leg on dead pedal, thigh against bolsters, etc.) so that you can focus on driving. By having a proper seat and harness, you will stay planted and able to truly focus on maneuvering the car around the track. In my opinion, it was the best upgrade I did on my car as it allows me to focus on my driving.
There you have it, the first three things you should do to any stock car to get excellent gains on the track. Are there any others that you can think of that should be done as part of the first three things?