Day of the Event
Be sure you know how to get to the track. Arrival time should be right as the gates open, or about an hour before the morning driver's meeting. Check the event page to see when these times are. You'll typically be stopped on the way through the gates and asked to sign a waiver. The waiver restricts your rights on the track, and protects the NWARC and track owners. Once through the gates you'll want to find the pits. This is where you'll park for the day and unload your stuff. Typically there is only one event going on at the track, so if you've got the right day you'll find us. Yes, we've had folks show up on the wrong day. Once you're parked, the first order of business is to check on registration and the morning driver's meeting. Our registration should be open and you will want to get that done with right away.
Our registration process is fairly quick and easy. You must pre-register on-line or else you won't be driving. We no longer accept day of the event registrations. We'll check you in, correct any outstanding paperwork problems, give you a Safety Check Sheet (you need this for tech), schedule, track map, instructor/student assignment, car numbers, lunch ticket, and a wristband that will let you get on the track. If you require helmet rental this is the best time to get it done. You can also purchase Nomex or leather driving gloves at registration if you forgot yours. You and any passengers will also be required to sign an NWARC insurance waiver at this point if have not done so at the front gate.
Safety Inspection (Tech)
Once you've registered, begin to get your car and safety gear ready for inspection. Safety Inspection is held right next to main bleachers at turn nine for Pacific Raceways and in the pits for Bremerton. For Pacific Raceways tech we typically have two to three lanes set-up to get keep things moving. DO NOT prop open your hood at PR you will be constantly moving until it is your turn at Safety Inspection.
Before you come to Safety Inspection remember to remove everything loose from the inside of your car. This includes radar detectors, hand held cameras, tool kits, fast food bags, everything from the trunk, etc.
If you want to get through Safety Inspection quickly, please have all of these things done before you get in line.
- Safety Inspection Sheet (registration form) read, filed out and signed. Present this to the safety inspector when it is your turn.
- Place your helmet, gloves and eye protection on your passenger seat or roof. (Remove them from their bags before hand.)
- Pop your hood and trunk before hand. It wastes a lot of our time fumbling to get some of your car's hoods open.
- Apply your preassigned numbers to on your side windows before you get in line or while you are waiting.
- Make sure you cleaned all of your stuff out of your vehicle before you get in line.
You know you have PASSED Safety inspection when you get a big white Safety Inspection sticker pasted to your windshield. If you don't pass then you need to rectify what ever issues caused you to FAIL and get back into line.
The driver's meeting is a mandatory meeting for all drivers. You can register after the driver's meeting if you're running late, but you MUST be at the driver's meeting. We'll run through the logistics of the day, discuss safety and rules, have a talk on the flags, talk about passing zones and the different run groups. You'll also meet the Corsa officials, Track Steward, Instructors and other folks coordinating the event. The schedule will have 2, 3 or 4 run groups, heading out to the track at alternating times throughout the day. You need to know which run group you're in, because that determines exactly when you're on the track. After the driver's meeting, we'll connect any students with their instructors for the day. Keep in mind your group may not be heading directly to the track after the driver's meeting (see your schedule) so it's likely you still have time to set up your car or complete your registration process.
Driving the Track
This is what you're here for! Typically, you should be ready to enter the track about 5 minutes before the schedule shows. The run group will be announced in advance over the PA system, and when you're ready, get in your car, with helmet on, gloves on, harnesses belted, ready to drive. If you've got instruction, make sure you've got the instructor with you. Head down to the "pre-grid" area, where folks will line up, waiting for the Track Steward to let you onto the track. As you pull up and stop next to the steward, he'll ask you (and any passengers) to show your wristband before you enter the track. Your first couple of lap will be a warm-up lap, the yellow "no passing" flag will be out. After that, you're up to speed.
Keep an eye on the flaggers and obey all the rules that pertain to your group, and certainly any flags that are shown. Pull into the pits if you feel tired or lose concentration - you don't want to make a mistake on the track!
Have a good time, and be safe! That's the main point and it probably goes without saying. Keep yourself hydrated. Especially if you're new to HPDE, to keep an eye on how your brain is working. It's very easy to get mentally worn out, and to find yourself making small mistakes on the track. If you find you're missing braking zones or turns, putting a wheel or two off the track, or losing your concentration - come in for a break! These signs are your advance warning that you need some rest, and you want to do it before something worse happens. Skip a session if you feel particularly worn out, there's plenty of track time.
End of the Day
Hopefully you'll end the day with no damage to the car, and all you need to do is pack up and head home. Please leave your pit spot free of any trash, as this is our "home" and we need to maintain a good relationship with the track owners. If you do have a car problem during the day, you'll want to call a tow service quickly so you can get working on getting your car out of the track facility. They'll generally lock up after the event is over, so you need to have the car out. Tow trucks are very familiar (unfortunately) with the tracks, and should know where the track and pits are. We will have a tow truck run by the track, and that's used only to get cars off the track surface itself, and bring them back to the pits.
Drive carefully on the way home. You'll be used to driving very fast, but the speed limits haven't changed. Typically tracks have a touchy relationship with their neighbors, and we don't want to cause the track some local trouble by speeding down the community roads.
Things to think about when you get home
There will be a certain amount of maintenance required after each event. Listed below are some common items you will probably need to address.
Cleaning up the Car
Your car is likely to be a mess after a track event, especially if you had any spins off-track. A good car wash, and vacuuming of the interior will help, and will give you an opportunity to examine the body of the car. You'll have a lot of brake dust on your wheels, which should be removed quickly, and if it gets wet (e.g. it was raining at the event) should be removed immediately. Do not get brake dust wet and then leave it on the wheels, or it will eat into the surface of the wheel. Bug & Tar Remover is great stuff for removing rubber, goo from racer/duct tape, and other markings from the car. Car numbers and tech stickers can be easily removed with your fingernail but you may also need to use a razor blade.
Some mechanical service is typically required as well. You should accelerate your oil change schedule (the hotter your engine runs, the sooner the oil degrades), possibly changing it after each event. The brakes should be bled after an event, and the rotors and pads checked for wear and cracks. Check your wheels and suspension for bolt tightness, stress cracks or other damage. Check your wheel bearings as well. Check your tires for wear, and reset pressure back to normal street pressures.