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Track Day FAQ v0.3

Old 04-01-2008, 01:51 AM
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Default Track Day FAQ v0.3

S2000 Trackday FAQ


You've probably seen the meets and the post and people smack talking about the track. Well the S2000 on track is ace. It doesn't matter if you're not the next Hamilton, Senna, Schumacher, Stig or Chilled it's something everyone with an S can enjoy.

The S2000 really comes into its own on the track, whether you have an original 99 JDM, a VSA'ed 08 or a highly modified S. It requires NO modifications, just a little care and attention to visit a track day. However, once the bug has bitten you, you may find a few mods that will help your day. Most mods are out of scope of this FAQ, but I proffer a few pointers at the bottom.

Newbies read this first
  • Track days are fun
  • they aren't scary
  • they won't damage your car
  • they can be done cheaply
  • you don't need insurance
  • you should get instruction on your first track day
  • it WILL end up a proper hobby
Read through all of the following. And if you have any questions, feel free to PM me.

  • I'm scared, help me make my mind up
  • OK, I've made my mind up, how do I go about it
  • I've booked my track day, I'm excited. How do I prepare the car and myself?
  • Right, I've done my first track day, what next?
  • Advanced Driving Tips
  • Exhausts
  • Tracks
I'm scared, help me make my mind up

Will a track day damage my car?

The short answer is no. The long answer is, it will put a bit of wear and tear on it. Usual suspects are petrol, oil, brakes, tyres. All of these vary depending on how you drive. But you WON'T get through a new set of tyres in one day. Keep the oil and petrol topped up, and leave plenty of time for your brakes to cool and you'll have a great time without damaging your car

Do I need insurance? Should I get insurance anyway?

No, you don't need insurance (except the ring but that's different)
You can get insurance, and it tends to work on something like £200 for £10,000 coverage for one day. It's very expensive to get the insurance and so most people don't take it. A fair few take it for their first track day for peace of mind, but when they realise how safe a track day is (assuming you drive within your limits) that the insurance isn't necessary.

I'm scared, the faster cars will intimidate me and distract me.

They shouldn't. If any do, complain to the track day organiser, they will deal with it promptly by speaking to the people concerned. Everyone is there to have fun. As long as you let people by at the next opportunity, everything's good. Remember, everyone was a first-timer at some point.

I'm scared that I'll be holding people up.

If you're really bothered about that you may want to consider a sessioned event. However as long as you keep an eye on your mirrors you'll be fine.

What if I'm rubbish?

So what? You're not there to achieve anything. You will have lots of fun. And if you're particularly worried, get some instruction. All track day organisers have instructors available at reasonable rates. Some even guarantee to make you quicker.

I have a noisy exhaust, is that a problem.

If you're stock you will be completely OK on every UK track that I know of.
That depends: different tracks have different noise limits. Bedford and Donington are really strict, Cadwell and Oulton tend to be not strict. If you have an iNvidia you're going to struggle.
If you get black flagged, most track day organisers give you a couple of attempts to fix the noise if you can show that you have made a physical modification to the car to make it quieter.
For examples, HKS with cat at Donington will probably be fine, HKS with decat and aem may struggle if it's foggy.
There's a lookup table lower down that shows how particular mods have fared.

Ok, I want to do a track day, how do I go about it?

How do I choose a track?

Ideal first time tracks: Airfields (ie Elvington, Dunsfield, North Weald etc) with lots of run off are great for inspiring confidence with nothing to hit. Next up are the tracks with very little to hit: Bedford and Donington.

If this is your first time, an easy way to start is an s2ki track day. Check the meets and events forum, they tend to be held 2 times a year with 20+ s2ki's attending, and there are plenty of people around to help, guide and reassure you. It's always good socially too. Alternatively there are plenty of us doing track days throughout the year and you're welcome to come along. We're always willing to help. This will make the choice of track much easier.

But I want to go to the Nurburgring!

Check the Nurburgring section lower down in the tracks section.

How do I choose a track day company?

There are various track day companies out there: Bookatrack, Goldtrack, MSV, Easytrack. Most if not all are well run. The s2ki days go with bookatrack and are my personal preference, although I have also had good experiences with other organisers.

Open Pit Lane or Sessions?

Open Pit lane is where you're free to go out on track for as much or as little of the day as you would like. The advantages are lots and lots of track time if you want, less queues and the ability to schedule the day as you want to. Disadvantages are all abilities mixed out on track, the tendency for people to stay out too long and cook their brakes.
Session is where a track day is split into ostensibly skill level sessions. So, novice, intermediate and expert. Each group is only allowed on its own, in theory no skill mixes. Advantages, can relax nervous first timers. Disadvantages, skills are decided by the attendees, and are not always correct. A queue to go out on track at the start of the session time. 20 minutes is arguably too long for a session in an S2000.
I realise this comes out biased in favour of open pit lane, but sessions really can work well for a first timer who's particularly nervous.

I've booked my track day, I'm excitied. How do I prepare the car and myself?

What do I need to take with me to a track day.

For yourself: You need a long sleeved top to cover your arms, trousers to cover your legs and comfy driving shoes. A coat is worthwhile as you're outside all day and the weather can vary. Bring drinking water too. You'll get dehydrated. You also need to bring BOTH parts of your driving license. A race license won't do as it isn't a test day. A signed indemnity form is useful although there's usually spare copies at the venue.

For the car: a top up oil container, and make sure the towing eye is in the car. Useful items include a tyre pressure gauge and a tyre inflator.

What about a helmet?

If you have a motorbike helmet that will do. If you don't have one and are not sure, most track day organisers will hire helmets. Advice on buying helmets further down the faq.

What should I do to the car before the track day?

Make sure all fluids are topped up: oil, petrol and washer bottle. Make sure you've got more than 3mm of tread on your tyres if there's any chance of rain. Check your tyre pressures. if you don't know what they should be, 32psi will probably do.

People keep bleating on about brakes, what's important to know
The S2000's main weakness (ignoring the curious S2000 specific diesel spill locator built in) is it's brakes on track. They're brilliant on the road, and they're brilliant on track for a short while but can overheat.
So before you go on a track day, make sure you have plenty of meat on your brake pads, both front and rear
If you need to change them, make sure they're properly bedded in as per manufacturers instructions. But 250 miles of normal driving will normally see to that. If you don't bed them in, they can disintegrate quickly and you'll end up needing new pads again before going home. For more information, read the brakes section (TBC) below.

How should I prepare before a track day?

Go on youtube and watch video laps of the track. It will help speed up learning the track. However it won't take long once you're there. If the track is available on a game you have, that will help, but is not IMHO as good as watching a video.

What should I do when I get to the track day?

Park up, sign on, attend the drivers briefing, install towing eyes, remove as much as possible, final fluids check and away you go. Check your brake pads again. And do so throughout the day. pay particular attention to your rears. If you're OEM and expecting to hear the wear indicators if you're a bit low, be warned you won't hear them on track, or whilst wearing a helmet.

I was going around a corner and a big plume of blue smoke came out the back

Seriously, if you've been cautious and kept the oil topped up, oil surge can cause oil to get into something and causes the blue smoke. It's nothing to worry about. It's most likely to happen around McLeans at Donington.

My engine stuttered going around a corner. Have I farked it?

Does the fuel gauge read 1/3 full? In which case you're nearly empty and need fuel. I think it's around left hand bends, but if you're low on fuel and cornering hard, the car will stutter briefly as a warning that you need fuel ASAP. Get ye to a petroleum dispenser forthwith. It's a 50l tank. I've filled up with 49.5l

How should I run the car on the track day?

If on open pit lane, keep the stints short, the only thing that's fragile on the S on a track day is the brakes. It's a heavy car. So keep sessions to 10-15 minutes or go easy on the brakes. Do at least one cool down lap without touching the brakes before coming into the pits. When you park up DO NOT put the handbrake on. leave it off and put it into gear. This will help prevent your brake disks from warping. Leave the car (more accurately the brakes) at least 20 minutes to cool.
Keep an eye on your fuel guage during the day, and make sure you check your oil at lunch time.
Also keep an eye on your brake pads. If you get fade at any point, you should particularly keep an eye on your rear pads, if the fronts fade, the rears take the stress and they can't cope as well, and can wear away quickly. This probably won't be a problem, but definitely something worth keeping an eye out for.

Any simple driving tips to get the most out of the S?

Of course. The S is a tail happy RWD car that isn't the best drift car due to the engine not being torquey enough. It benefits from a smooth style, and as such needs to be driven, not manhandled around the track.

Chilled's Top Ten Track Driving Tips
  • Be smooth
  • Really. Be Smooth
  • with ALL inputs, brakes, accelerator, clutch and steering
  • I'm NOT kidding around with the be smooth stuff
  • concentrate on getting your line correct before getting your speed correct
  • Slow in, fast out.
  • it's better to be a gear to high than a gear too low
  • be.... ah... you get the smooth point don't you
  • do all of your braking before the corner
  • if you've start accelerating out of the corner and you have to lift slightly, then you started accelerating too early
Anything to do before I go home from a track day?

Remove the towing eye, put all your crap back in the car and drive off. Make sure you've got fuel! Other than that, away you go. You may find your drive home reasonably sedately as you've got the fast driving out of your system.
Make sure you have tread left on your tyres. 4 bald tyres if you get caught can lose you your license and get you a HUGE fine. It's rare for this to be checked, but better to be safe than sorry.

How fast do other people go. What times do they get?

I'm going to make this VERY clear right here. THERE IS NO TIMING ALLOWED ON A TRACK DAY. None at all, no exceptions. You will be kicked off without warning if you are timing. If you feel compelled, as many do, to compare performance on track, discuss corner entry speeds, apex speed, gear selection. This is perfectly fine and acceptable and these figures will help you know what can be achieved. A lap time is a meaningless figure on a track day.

Right, I've done my first track day, what next?


The 3 best ways for going faster are
  • instruction
  • instruction
  • instruction
Most track day companies provide instruction ranging from £20 per £20 minutes, up to hiring a race driver for the day. No matter how quick you are (even me!) there's always something to learn.

modifying options

After you've got instruction. You have HAD instruction haven't you? Well after those loads of sessions you may want to start to get track specific modifications. Please note most of these won't let you have more fun. But they may enable the fun to last for longer, or just get that bit extra speed.

Main options
  • Tyres
  • Brakes
  • Wheels
  • bracing (more for feel/confidence than performance)
  • Anti Roll Bars
  • weight reduction
  • coilovers
  • exhaust/induction
  • engine
It's out of scope to cover all of these here, but I'll briefly cover the ones I think are most important to the track day enthusiast

The best option for going quicker around the track is track biased tyres. They're worth several comparative seconds a lap. I'd recommend Yoko A048R's. But they're better off on a second set of wheels. Which is another mod I'd recommend. If you just want a cheap set of wheels, Rota's are fine. If you're looking for performance (ie lighter) then Mugen or Volks are the way forward.

For the cautious, especially if you're running stickier tyres, a baffled sump is a potentially wise investment. However a bad system is MORE likely to cause problems than a non-baffled sump.

Coilovers or ARB's are my next recommended route. But it's against the forum rules to get a coilover setup without discussing it for a few months first Remember most of you will spend 99% of your time on the road.


What, brakes, again?


If you had pedal fade on a track day it's worth replacing your brake fluid, or at least bleeding it as you've boiled the brake fluid. Pedal fade is where your foot goes to the floor and no real braking happens.
If you had pad fade on a track day, you either need to be more gentle on the brakes or upgrade your brakes. Pad fade is where the brake pedal moves its normal distance but nothing happens. Upgrades are anything from different brake pad compound, to a big brake kit or just air ducting to cool them.

My recommended route to upgrade would be.

Ferodo DS2500 pads front and rear and change your brake fluid with Motul RBF600 or equivalent.

If you warp your front disks, you can replace your front disks with BDA 4000 series disks (talk to lower) or you can replace the lot (pads and disks F+R) with Dixcel. These are proven combinations. The next step is a BBK. Tar'ox 6pots, whilst a pain to fit, are VERY good. Kartophilos runs them (PJL's old car). I myself run a dixcel setup or pagid/ferodo combination.

Your fluid should be changed every 2-3 track days.

Advanced Driving Tips

Heel and toe

When hammering into a slow corner from a high speed straight, when changing down, the rear can feel unsettled as the engine and rear wheel speeds attempt to match, by revving the engine. This is caused by the drag of the engine effectively causing the rears to be braking harder than the fronts.

To settle the car a bit better you can utilise the Heel and Toe technique. What this consists of is when approaching a slow corner from a fast straight, as you go down through the gears, you dip the clutch with your left foot, brake with your right, but also blip the throttle with your right foot also to rev match so the engine is at the correct speed for the selected gear and car speed. If you're used to double-declutching, the principle involved is the same, but the reason for doing it is different.

The name "Heel and Toe" can be a misnomer, depending on the set up of the pedals. Personally I use the left side of the ball of my foot on the brake and roll my foot onto the accelerator. Practice on an empty road with nothing behind you. there's also plent of instructional vids on the t'internet.

Left Foot Braking

Please note, this is definitely not a road technique, it's a track ONLY technique in the S. If you need it on the road, the you're either and the nurburgring or on the Isle of man. You should not be pushing hard enough to need this on the road.


Certain corners, mostly the hairpin before the main back straight at Bedford GT circuit and the "chicane" onto the banking on the Rockingham International Super Sportscar circuit can benefit from left foot braking. These are complex corners where you're trying to maximise exit speed possibly at the expense of speed through other parts of the complex.

The principle behind LFB is to transfer weight, and therefore grip to the front tyres allowing a better turn in. Essentially and anti-understeer technique. AS you turn in, just a gentle dab on the brake does this and gets a better turn in at the same speed.


Track: noise limit: exhaust: cat?: intake: vented bonnet: weather : comments

Donington: 98dB: stock : stock : stock : stock : foggy : passed
Bedford : 93dB : stock : stock : stock : stock : foggy : passed
Cadwell : 103dB : stock : stock : stock : stock : cloudy/cold : passed
Oulton : 103dB : stock : stock : stock : stock : rainy : passed
Anglesea : 103dB : stock : stock : stock : stock : rainy/foggy : passed
Donington: 98dB : craig : no : craig : stock : foggy : failed without and with cat
Bedford : 93dB : amuse Dual : de-cat : mugen cai : vented bonnet : shite weather : failed
Bedford : 93dB : stock : stock : stock : stock : foggy : passed
Castle Coombe : ?dB : stock : stock : stock : stock : ? : passed
Silverstone : ?dB : stock : stock : stock : stock : ? : passed
Castle Coombe: 94dB/100dB: stock: stock: stock: stock: cold/dry: none
Rockingham: 103dB: stock: stock: Mugen CAI: stock: hot/dry: none
Donington: 98dB: Buddy Club Pro spec 3 with bungs: J's Racing: Mugen CAI: stock: rainy/foggy: Blacked flagged when I went over 8000rpm
Thruxton: 95dB: stock: stock: Mugen CAI: stock: cloudy / showers: none
Llandow: ?dB : HKS HiPer Silent : stock : stock : stock : ? : passed
Bedford: ?dB : HKS HiPer Silent : stock : stock : stock : ? : passed
Donington: ?dB : HKS HiPer Silent : stock : stock : stock : ? : passed
Rockingham: ?dB : HKS HiPer Silent : stock : stock : stock : ? : passed
Brands Hatch (Indy) : 105db static : 5Zigen singe exit exhaust : cat on : spoon snorkel, also passed with air box lid off. : stock bonnet: weather : overcast to sunny.
Lydden: 105: Tanabe Medallion?: Cat: Mugen: Vented: overcast 7deg: Reading 93dB static
Brands Indy: 105: Tanabe: De-Cat:Mugen:Vented:Sunny 5deg: Reading - 99dB static
Brands indy:105:comptech:decat:Injen:yes:sunnyass
Brands idy:105:Spoon:decat:injen:yes:Sunnyass static but warned about driveby limit coming close. Ran this set up about 6 times in same weather.
Goodwood:105:Spoonecat:Injen:yes:Sunny: Had to run bung and lift on back straight by microphone
Silverstone GP:noisy day:Spoon:decat:injen:yes:rainingass
Silverstone GP:Noisy day:Spoon:decat:injen:yes:sunnyass
Snetterton: 105dB: stock : stock : K&N FIPK: stock : sunny: passed


Pistonheads wiki is as good a start as any. I'll add S2000 notes as and when I can be bothered.

Donington National

nail it, forget what gear to take the first right in, miss the apex. Nail it, keep it nailed, think "musn't lift" for craner. Lift anyway. ****, brake really hard for old hair pin, tail out. Nail it. wave at the spitfire, wave at bluebird. remember to go left. Go straight on if it's raining. Right. Wonder what he **** all that smoke is behind the car as you go off the edge of the rumble strip. Up the hill, shit that's blind! Slowly unwind the right. Remember not to unwind that much next time! Nail it, keep it nailed, brake too early, power through the chicane, over cook it on the exit and smash into the pit wall.

Donington GP


nail it, forget what gear to take the first right in, miss the apex. Nail it, keep it nailed, think "musn't lift" for craner. Lift anyway. ****, brake really hard for old hair pin, tail out. Nail it. wave at the spitfire, wave at bluebird. remember to go left. Go straight on if it's raining. Right. Wonder what he **** all that smoke is behind the car as you go off the edge of the rumble strip. Up the hill, shit that's blind! Slowly unwind the right. Remember not to unwind that much next time! Nail it, keep it nailed, brake too early, left, right, wonder why you have no brakes for the hairpin, drift it around to audience applause, brake, try drifting this hair pin. Smash into pit wall.




Keep foot in for crowds on pit wall, brake too late miss right hander apex, nearly hit car coming out of pit lane. Nearly hit someone up the back as they brake too early for the left hander at the bottom of the hill. Take too much left hander kerb. Left. Nail it. Flat. Flat. Brake where you might turn right, left. brake for the banking. Wheeeee! I'm at the ring. Nearly flip the car coming out of the banking. steady it. Nail it. Brake. left. lots of kerb. Right lots of kerb. Left lots of kerb. Over the hill and far away. Stamp on the brakes. Realise you have NO brakes. Panic. right anyway. Left, oversteer. Right, avoid gravel. Nail it. OVer crest. Hug left. brake too early. Right. Right. flat. Under bridge. Prepare for scary corner. Brake. Brake a bit more. Brake again. No really, I mean it. Brake. Right, over crest. Be tempted to be a hero and nail it before crest. Get out of shape. Recover. Smell pants. slight left. Recover before waving to pit wall again.

Cadwell Park

Nurburgring Nordschliefe

flat, flat, flat, flat, BRAKE! right left right, missing arnco by millimetres. up hill, cross whiteline on the right, big long left, flat downhill, dab brakes for right, flat, straightline the left and brake HARD, right right left right left, avoid arnco. brake, right left, up hill confidence brake over crest, right, right, flat flat flat, don't go over left side of crest, wuss out of fast left, brake hard, right, under bridge. flat all the way downhill and through compression. Brake, down a gear, left, down a gear, right down a gear, left or go over grass, right, flat. Get scared of next two lefts. Sharp left and right, down hill, right, avoid arnco. left right, try to remember if it's MHM or HMH. forget about next corner, then remember, scream. right left, screw line up completely. Down hill, brake, left, wave to crowd, hit car coming on. right up hill. Do it too slowly and avoid the bike that's inevitably down. Point out it's where the 4 second ring vid was taken. flat through the kink. brake. Slide about whilst pointing out Lauda was BBQ'ed here. Press loud pedal and keep it down for ages. left left left left right right left, confidence brake, left left right. Realise there's no right line, don't go up the hill straight ahead and go right. up hill, drop into banking. Hit the brakes, flip out and hit arnco. flat up the hill, left, down a gear, right, turn in earlier than you think, right again. left, left right, left, right down up right, down left left, right, wave to crowd, right, left, go over grass, flat, brake for jump, right left over crest, down up wuss out taking second crest flat, forget to brake, panic, slight right, left, ignore mini banking, right right right, now take the opportunity to pass that ferrari, as the clio passes you.

Brands Hatch





North Weald


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al_p (11-30-2016)
Old 04-01-2008, 02:00 AM
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Great work and worthy of a FAQ

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Old 04-01-2008, 02:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Bassoctopus,Apr 1 2008, 11:00 AM
Great work and worthy of a FAQ

Good work mark.
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Old 04-01-2008, 02:04 AM
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I'll be updating it over the next few days to flesh it out. But I keep seeing the same questions over and over. And whilst I could point to any one of a number of track day faqs, I think an s2000 specific one will reassure some people.
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Old 04-01-2008, 02:07 AM
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Great write up, as a "novice" S2000 driver it hit the spot perfectly. I have been toying with attending a track day, but feel really intimidated by the whole thing. This has made up my mind to do one this year
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Old 04-01-2008, 02:15 AM
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Perfect timing!!! Thanks
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Old 04-01-2008, 02:15 AM
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AS per PM here you go!
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Old 04-01-2008, 02:16 AM
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Originally Posted by schofs,Apr 1 2008, 11:15 AM
Perfect timing!!! Thanks
It was replying to you that made me realise I'd done this a thousand times.
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Old 04-01-2008, 03:40 AM
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I've passengered with some first-timers and have some additional advice for those who find themselves going slower than most.

Firstly, everyone knows the rules regarding overtaking and apart from a tiny minority of idiots, they are obeyed.

If you find yourself with a car rushing up behind you, don't worry or panic, they are happy to wait until the next straight to overtake. Finish off your corner, then indicate and pull over on the straight to let them pass you.

If you can indicate mid-bend to let them know you've seen them, and that you intend to pull over on the next straight, it can help.

If a queue of 3 or 4 cars has built up behind you, ease off the throtle and let them all pass before moving back onto the racing line. If there is not enough stright for them all to get past, indicate that you are going to rejoin the racing line and move slowly back across.

The key is not to hold other cars up for long periods of time, it's fine to hold someone up for a couple of corners if there is no suitable overtaking place. As soon as there is a place/straight, then move over as above.

If you can drive with the roof down, then do so, it's much easier to see what's going on behind you.

In this video, you can see how things should and shouldn't be done.

The two blue S2000s, the silver S2000, the Silver A4 (and me) show how things should be done. However, the red Elise shows exactly how not to do it, holding up 2 much faster cars for the best part of a lap. Also note that, despite being faster on the straights than the MX-5, I actually backed off to make sure it stayed in front due to his much better cornering speeds. It was a useful way to learn from a better driver.

The most important thing for first-timers is to "Get some instruction". It really is invaluable and will enhance your enjoyment of trackdays immeasurably.
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Old 04-01-2008, 04:23 AM
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How about some links to Youtube vids?


Rockingham (International Long)
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