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Discussion Starter #1
I'd like to get peoples experiences on track days and what the potential for damage to the car is..

I'm not so concerned about big damage (Collisions etc, I hope these can be avoided !!!) I'm more concerned about stone chips etc to the front spoiler etc. Has anyone any experiences about this sort of damage as a result of a track day? I'm considering purchasing the clear "stone shield" that gets applied to exposed areas of the car, so I'd also appreciate any feedback as to how effective this is.

Thanks

Dermot :ugh:
 

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Stone chips is normal. In fact you should expect it. Cars in front will for sure kick up sand and you're bound to hit these micro missiles. Be prepared to send the car to the body shop to respray your bumper - it's only the bumper and the wing mirror that's pitted.

The other minor mishap is running into the kitty's litter. The best way to avoid this is to go around the track with an experienced guy and let him show you the correct lines. Then go out by yourself and run "slow" for a few laos. Get the feel of the car, get your braking points and then then get bolder. Once you feel confident, you can shorten the braking points and push the car.

Most drivers think driving on track is similar to driving on the road. It's toatlly different. For one there is no marker for you to gauge your speed i.e no other cars beside you. You don't know how fast you're going. This is true becauise the rev counter is your only friend. It tells you when to change up and indicate when you change down. The speedo is oblivious when you're driving with your trottle right on the floor. The distance marker is your only guide to the corner. Your eyes are quite inadequate in trying to judge the correct distance. So it is totally different from road driving, unless you just want to cruise. A lot of drivers get disorientated and thet's when they make mistakes. So be warned.

Rule of thumb - Run a maximum of 5 laps and come in on a "cooling lap" on lap 6. Cool the brakes and then repaeat the same. The Ferrari brakes may be good but on the track, the usage is so savage and so severe that it will after 5 laps. That's why a lot of novice track drivers get into trouble after the 5th laps. The more often than not get into the "kitty's litter" because the brakes fade.

The best investment you can make on your 360 is to reapalce the plastic brake hoses with the steel braided hoses. These allow you to run more that 10 laps without fade. It's cheap and it's worth your effort. Don't forget to bleed a bit of your brake fluid after you've done your track day. The fluid nearest the caliper normally get "overheated" and change their property, so bleed and discard that bit.

Enjoy you track day.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Stradale, great advice.. Sounds like you have experience in track events. I'll check the brake hoses, I had no idea they might be plastic, I'm assuming that's done to prevent corrosion etc...

Dermot :-?
 

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Wow! Excellent post stradale! Your words want to make me go out and give it a try!

Dermot,
Actually, the braided stainless steel brake line is better because it won't expand like the rubber one. You want all the brake fluid pressure going to the caliper's piston, not hose expansion. I believe the fluid in the 360 is "DOT 5" synthetic. (I could be wrong, check the owner's manual). It boils at around 500°f. The gases in the brake system will decrease braking efficiency because they can be compressed. That's why stradale suggests bleeding some off after your event.

As for your paint worries, couldn't you just apply some masking tape the the front of the side mirrors and front bumper prior to your track runs? After racing the car you just peel off the tape and drive home with clean, shiney, chip-free paint. Just an idea.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Pete04222 said:
Actually, the braided stainless steel brake line is better because it won't expand like the rubber one. You want all the brake fluid pressure going to the caliper's piston, not hose expansion. I believe the fluid in the 360 is "DOT 5" synthetic. (I could be wrong, check the owner's manual). It boils at around 500°f. The gases in the brake system will decrease braking efficiency because they can be compressed. That's why stradale suggests bleeding some off after your event.

As for your paint worries, couldn't you just apply some masking tape the the front of the side mirrors and front bumper prior to your track runs? After racing the car you just peel off the tape and drive home with clean, shiney, chip-free paint. Just an idea.
Pete, that makes sense. I wonder why Ferrari does not fit stainless steel brake lines as the default given the performance expected from such a car. I think the tape comment is a good one, I'm trying to find out if anyone has any experiences with the clear stone shield that you can apply to the front of my car.. Its not cheap ($500-$800), but I'm happy to pay this to protect the paint as long as it works. I imagine its ok for everyday driving, but I question if it can be effective on the track. Any comments?

Thx

Dermot
 

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I took my 2002 360 to the Cavallino Classic in Palm Beach and raced at Moroso racetrack in late January. I was in the "sport" class and to my surprise, I was the only street car. I have the plastic bra and it worked perfectly. I was racing with Challange cars, an F40, and an Enzo. I drove 205 miles at full blast and do not have a scratch. The tires and brakes took a beating, but the paint is fine, thanks to the bra.

Thom...
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thom360 said:
I took my 2002 360 to the Cavallino Classic in Palm Beach and raced at Moroso racetrack in late January. I was in the "sport" class and to my surprise, I was the only street car. I have the plastic bra and it worked perfectly. I was racing with Challange cars, an F40, and an Enzo. I drove 205 miles at full blast and do not have a scratch. The tires and brakes took a beating, but the paint is fine, thanks to the bra.

Thom...
New York
Well, that sounds like a good testamonial for the clear bra. Sounds like it does its job well. And sounds like you had a blast out on the track!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Rosso said:
thom360 said:
I took my 2002 360 to the Cavallino Classic in Palm Beach and raced at Moroso racetrack in late January. I was in the "sport" class and to my surprise, I was the only street car. I have the plastic bra and it worked perfectly. I was racing with Challange cars, an F40, and an Enzo. I drove 205 miles at full blast and do not have a scratch. The tires and brakes took a beating, but the paint is fine, thanks to the bra.

Thom...
New York
Well, that sounds like a good testamonial for the clear bra. Sounds like it does its job well. And sounds like you had a blast out on the track!
I think I'll make the investment based on the feedback.. Sounds like good value for money!

Thanks for the advice

Dermot
 

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Dermot said:
Thanks Stradale, great advice.. Sounds like you have experience in track events. I'll check the brake hoses, I had no idea they might be plastic, I'm assuming that's done to prevent corrosion etc...

Dermot :-?
I had gone to the track since I had my 328, then my 355 and now my 360. I only knew about the braided hose from other friends who actually race. But I found it the hard way though. That was when I had my 355 and on a track day, I drove no-stop for maybe 6 laps and on the 6th lap when I braked at the same point and the brakes just faded and I was in the litter bin. But I had the presence of mind to quickly put the gear into nuetral and keep the engine going, so I just engaged 1st gear and slowly crawled out of the litter bin. That was when I was advised to change the brake hose.

All Ferraris come with the standard plastic hoses. Only those with Fiorano package come with braided hoses. Even Porsche fit only the plastic hoses, even to the GT3 cars.

I have attended 2 Porsche driving courses, in Brisbane and Mt Cotton Austrlia and 2 Ferrari Pilota courses, the Basic in Mugello and the Advanced in Fiorano. I am like most of you a car buff. I also own a Porsche GT3 and I love to push the cars to the limit. :D
 

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I hate to disagree with the braided hoses, but I've never heard of them affecting brake fade. Fade comes from overheating the fluid, and the type of hoses doesn't affect that. The hoses are typically replaced because they expand under brake pressure, reducing the amount of pressure applied to the brake pistons, where you'd prefer it. So with braided lines you'll have a stiffer pedal and more effective braking, but if you're going to fade your brakes, they'll fade with either type of brake line.

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #11
tracknut said:
I hate to disagree with the braided hoses, but I've never heard of them affecting brake fade. Fade comes from overheating the fluid, and the type of hoses doesn't affect that. The hoses are typically replaced because they expand under brake pressure, reducing the amount of pressure applied to the brake pistons, where you'd prefer it. So with braided lines you'll have a stiffer pedal and more effective braking, but if you're going to fade your brakes, they'll fade with either type of brake line.

Dave
Dave thanks I'm looking into getting the break lines replaced anyway.. Any other thoughts/recommendations for a relative novice on tracking the car? - What else should we look out for, ie: Tire wear, driving style etc

Dermot
 

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Dermot, if you don't mind a bit of self-promotion, we put everything we can think of for open tracking and education on our NCRC site, and have quite the "getting ready for the track" page at http://www.ncracing.org/logistics.html

That said, if you're new to the track, I'd remind you that the first 95% of the performance on the track is from the driver, not the car. So you're likely to be passed by more experienced Miata drivers and such - don't worry about it. So your car is most likely far more prepared for the track than you are. Make sure the tires are inflated a couple PSI higher than street recommendations, your brakes are in good order, and your car is ready to go. For you, be prepared to learn a lot. Make sure you have an instructor, you listen to him, and check your ego at the front gate. I'd also recommend going to Thunderhill several times before trying any of the other Northern CA tracks - it's much safer.

(edit) Whoops, I just noticed you're planning on driving at Infineon at the Challenge weekend. Just be careful - lots of walls at the track.

Dave
 

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We attended an Autocross event out of state, and we saw a Corvette Z06 that was covered in shrink wrap. You know, like when they stack a bunch of boxes on a pallet to load on a truck with a forklift. It was thick and nasty looking. He had cut holes in it for the cooling ducts.

We kept looking at it and laughing about it. Until we started running. Apparently this guy had been there before, and he knows that there was LOTS of loose gravel on the surface. We had gravel bouncing off the hood. We were in a coupe with the windows down, and I got hit in the helmet with rocks. We wern't laughing at the Corvette anymore when we got out and got a good look at the car.

The moral: Shrink wrap=Ugly but cheap and effective protection.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks Dave/Mike, really appreciate the advice and the web site is excellent. I'm booking myself some lessons with the Skip Barber school before going on the track with the 360 - Seems like a good investment!!! :lol:

Regards

Dermot
 

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Dermot said:
Thanks Dave/Mike, really appreciate the advice and the web site is excellent. I'm booking myself some lessons with the Skip Barber school before going on the track with the 360 - Seems like a good investment!!! :lol:

Regards

Dermot
Well, you've got about a week and a half to do it now, huh? Should be great!
 
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