Originally Posted by mamadub
Here' another side note/question about me tracking. I was very ready to buy a set of Volk wheels for my baby
(This way I figure if I screw up at the track, at least my car will look good while I'm doing it) which would require new tires as well. I still have good life on my current tires. I thought I'd hold off on the new wheels and tires until I have a few track sessions under my belt. This way, I can use the rubber still left on my stock tires and not burn up rubber on my new wheels yet. Does that make sense?
Originally Posted by llis
Definitely makes sense. You can also get a better sense of the kind of setup you want. For example, I always preferred the square 18" setup with 275s, but to do that comfortably you need camber plates (which in the end will help your track tires last longer anyway). But you'll want better brake pads for tracking first before you give your tires more grip, making your brakes work even harder. (I used Hawk DTC-70s, which are very kind to your rotors but have great stopping power, even when baking hot late in the session.) It's all kind of a set of improvements.
Beyond that, best investment is in you in terms of seat time. Mod the driver before you mod the car! (And have fun!)
Good advice. Do some searching on here for basic track preparation. At the very least, go to the track with a good tire gauge, a torque wrench for your lugbolts (can be borrowed from a friendly fellow driver in the paddock), long pants and long-sleeve shirt, your shiny new helmet, and water/snacks. Also good idea to have your brake fluid changed over to something higher-temp and track-worthy, such as Ate Super Blue or Motul. Any decent speed shop should stock this fluid and be able to change it over for you. This is a basic, first safety step that you should do prior to getting into upgraded brake lines, pads, camber plates, etc.
As far as tires go, you have a lot of options and several ways to approach it:
1. Just go to the track on your stock wheels and tires, which works fine for starting out. Many people do this, especially at the beginning. Gives you a chance to see whether or not you like tracking and want to continue with it before you spend $2500+ on a set of track wheels and tires. I'm assuming you currently have something on the car that falls in the high performance category, like Michelin Pilot Sports or Continentals or Pirelli PZeros. I wouldn't recommend doing this on all-seasons.
2. Buy a new, dedicated set of track wheels and tires like the Apex ARC-8s or new EC-7s and Yokohama AD-08s or Hankook RS3s. If you know you're going to be going to the track with some regularity, this makes sense. This way you're not destroying your street tires on the track. Also, I think it's safer overall. We all end up getting a nail in a tire on the street from time to time, and we often just get the hole patched/plugged. This is perfectly fine and safe for street use, but I would NEVER use a tire that has been patched/plugged on the track. The speeds and stresses on the tire are just too great on the track for this to be safe. So with a dedicated set of track wheels/tires, you never have to worry about this. If you get a nail in your street tires and have them patched, fine. Your track tires are still intact.
3. Variation of above--get a new set of track wheels, but take your existing street tires off of your car, assuming they're of the high-perf variety, and have them put on the track wheels. Use this for your track setup, assuming the tires still have some tread left on them. That way you can learn on the used street tires. You would then buy a brand-new set of quality tires for street use to put on your stock, street wheels.
A caveat--when starting out, don't get fancy R-comp tires for the track. They grip really well, but they don't slide easily or break away gradually. They grip grip grip and then all of a sudden start sliding, which is a bad scenario when you're first learning. You need to learn how to slide and how to recover. Start with a quality street tire instead, like the Yoko AD08s or Hankook RS3s or Nitto NT05s.
And, another bit of advice--you'll find it's a very fun, supportive community at the track. People love to talk about their cars, ask you about your car, and offer tips and advice. Take it all in, but do your due diligence as well. Much of the advice you will get will be spot-on, but some things won't. Some people have some pretty wacky ideas, so if something seems silly or not right, don't listen. Research it more.
Listen to your instructor and have fun. This shouldn't be a problem, since most instructors say that women are much easier to teach than men. In this arena, women tend to listen to instruction much better and are overall much smoother with the controls. A lot of novice men come into this with a hot-shot, know-it-all attitude and frustrate their instructors.
They also tend to be rough and ham-fisted.
Have a blast! I think you'll love it.