All motorsport activities are inherently dangerous.  The risks to yourself and others include property damage, serious personal injury, and death. Serious incidents can occur for a variety of causes; perhaps one of the most common being insufficient vehicle preparation.  The risk of a serious incident can be lessened with proper preparation that begins well IN ADVANCE of each event.

pre-track-inspection

20 things to check *IN ADVANCE* of going on track

A mechanical inspection must be performed on each participating vehicle IN ADVANCE of each event. Preparation begins by knowing the overall condition of your car; in particular the condition of safety components and wear items that are subject to the greatest stress in track driving.  The Self-Tech inspection form outlines these items in detail.  In advance of heading to the track, complete the Self-Tech inspection form by verifying the condition of each item as you check them off. Photocopies of past inspections are not permitted. 

The following items are particularly important as they are subject to accelerated wear or failure:

Tires: First and foremost, inspect the tread for depth across the entire face of all four tires. Remember you are checking to ensure you have enough tread to finish the upcoming track day AND to safely drive home. Pay particular attention to the shoulders of the tire … a street car running factory alignment specifications at the track will prematurely wear the edges of the tires. Check for tire damage such as cuts, and defects such as separations … these can easily fail under the stress of lateral G-forces.Check and precisely set tire pressures … as a general rule, tires should be inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure as a starting point.  Once at the track, you may want to adjust the HOT pressures downward, but this should generally be done in increments as the tires warm.

Wheel Bolts: Check torque of all wheel bolts.

Brakes: Check pad life remaining ON ALL BRAKE CALIPERS.Remember that you are checking to ensure there will be enough pad remaining at the END of the track day so that you do not have to go home halfway through.It is not uncommon for front pads to wear more quickly than rears, and for the pads of the outside wheel (relative to the track) to wear more than the inside wheel, and for traction control to wear the brake pads on one wheel predominantly. Also note that as the pads wear, the heat generated by braking will more easily cause fading … most pads begin to lose their ability to dissipate heat when they reach 50% remaining (about 4-5mm).  So consider how much you will need to finish the day with more than 4-5 mm remaining on all wheels.

Brake Fluid: Brake fluid must be less than 6 months old. When was the last time your brake system was flushed and the fluid changed? Brake fluid is hygroscopic, which means it readily absorbs water from its surroundings and hold this water in suspension. This is intended to protect the internal components of the brake system from the harmful effects of corrosion. However, the heat generated by repeated hard braking can cause water molecules held in suspension to boil at relatively lower temperatures and turn to steam. This is referred to as “boiling the brakes,” and results in a sudden and complete failure of the brake system. Although cooling the brakes will generally condense the steam and return the brakes to normal operation, reaching the end of the front straight at speed and being entirely unable to apply the brakes is not acceptable. Luckily, boiling the brakes is entirely avoidable with routine maintenance.

Fluids: Check for leaks of coolant, engine oil, power steering fluid, etc.. If these closed systems are leaking, they can cause an unsafe condition for you and for other participants. Your ensuring your vehicle is NOT leaking fluids is essential to the safety of others. Plus if these fluids levels are low under what is arguably the most demanding of driving conditions, it can lead to premature thinning of your pocketbook.

Noise: It is expected that all vehicles participating in Track Junkies events will have operational mufflers.This is especially important if you are receiving instruction.  It is a necessity that instructors and students be able to carry on a conversation at speed.  If your exhaust is too loud, carrying on a conversation will not be possible, and therefore instruction will not be possible.Please be aware that if your vehicle exceeds reasonable noise limits, you may not be permitted to continue.  No refund will be given if a participant’s vehicle does not meet reasonable sound requirements.

Please note the above is not a complete list of items … only the most commonly overlooked.

The Self-Tech inspection

The self-tech inspection is an important aspect of your personal safety AS WELL AS THE SAFETY OF ALL OTHERS ON THE TRACK.

This inspection requirement is not meant to be onerous or cost-prohibitive for the average motorsport enthusiast … the term “self-tech” means you may perform the inspection yourself if you have the required knowledge and tools. However, being able to self-tech is also a privilege.  If you do not have the skills or time or inclination to properly check every item on the form, take your vehicle to an Alberta-licensed Automotive Service Technician familiar with the rigours of track driving to have it professionally inspected.

Your signature at the bottom of the Self-Tech inspection form is your legal attestation that you have checked each and every item on the form prior to the event the form is being used for, and determined that the vehicle is properly prepared for the rigours of track driving.  If you have not checked every item on the form, do not sign the form.

Track Junkies reserves the right to re-inspect any vehicle at any event at any time and deny participation if a vehicle is deemed unsafe or improperly prepared. No refund will be given if a participant’s vehicle is not properly prepared.