How To Pass A Track Day Tech Inspection
Feb 17, 2020 – By John Van Buskirk
Florida track days are awesome, because you can track all year round! If you are new to Florida, new to coming out on track, or just new to Open Track Days at The FIRM – Welcome! We’ve put together some helpful information to help you pass your track day tech inspection.
Getting ready for a track day at The FIRM (or with any track day group such as NASA, Chin, Just Track It, etc.) starts with getting your car prepped and ready for track. As a first step, we highly recommend having your car inspected by a professional. Some people have the knowledge to inspect their own cars, but it never hurts to have a pro look it over too. Our goal is to ensure you understand what is safe, and that we are here to ensure every car meets basic safety requirements, but we are not licensed or experts with every car to provide anything “official”.
Some organizations like Porsche Club of America (PCA) require all cars to be professionally inspected before they are allowed on track. We do not require sign-off by a professional, but we provide a checklist on our Technical Inspection Form that covers the bare minimums that need to be inspected.
While it is not part of an inspection, it is good practice to make sure all of your fluids are fresh. It’s highly recommended to change your oil, transmission, and differential fluid.
Once at The FIRM, we will have someone verify you have gone through the check list and look over your car prior to being allowed out on track. Most people have track ready cars, but occasionally we’ve had to turn drivers away for things like cracked windshields, loose batteries, or no rollover protection on a convertible. There are other less obvious tips that are beneficial to all to learn about! This is why we make sure to visually inspect every single car before it goes on track, so you know each person has met the basic safety requirements.
Prepare for a Track Day Tech Inspection
These are the track day tech inspection items The FIRM looks at:
Check that your wheels and lug nuts are tight.
If your lug nuts aren’t tightened to spec prior to a race, you can lose a wheel and cause an accident. Remember to tighten your lug nuts before getting on track and check them between sessions.
Check the tread wear on your tires.
Do you have enough tread wear on your tires to last the day at higher speeds, pushing your car to the limits?
How safe are worn tires? My grandfather used to call them “may pops”. Tires that have less than 30% tread are called “may pops” because they may pop at any second! This is especially true on track where you are going at speeds and causing more heat and quicker wear. Other hazards include a lack of vehicle control and dampness turning your tires into skis that hydroplane you right off track!
Check your battery tie downs.
Make sure your battery isn’t loose. If it is, replace and/or tighten the battery tie downs. This is one of the most common issues with older cars that will prevent you from passing tech.
Check your brake fluid.
Make sure your brake fluid isn’t black and old! If it’s old fluid (more than 1 year), we recommend a brake fluid flush. You should consider upgrading to high performance brake fluid like Motul RBF 600 or Castrol SRF. We could, and probably will, dedicate an entire blog post to brake fluids and pads, but that is for another time. For now, just trust us when we say to upgrade your stock brake fluid!
Check your brake pads.
Just like your tires, they wear out and should be checked. You want to be sure to start the day with at least 1/3 of your pads remaining.
Check the engine bay.
Make sure nothing is loose in the engine bay and ensure there are no signs of oil or fluid leaks.
Clean out your interior.
Floor mats should be out of the car (this can be done at the time of tech inspection) and you should ensure there are no loose objects in the car. If you have aftermarket seats or steering wheel, check to make sure they’re not loose as well.
Do you have the right helmet?
At the time of this post, a SA2010 or newer helmet is required. Please ensure you have the proper helmet prior to the event. (The FIRM offers helmet rentals and sales on site). M rated helmets are not acceptable and will not pass track day tech inspection.
No junk in the trunk.
Just like the interior of your car, make sure there are no loose items in the trunk of your car. Double check your spare tire that it is secure!
The FIRM hosts open track days most Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. We want to provide a fun track day experience for everyone with safety in mind! So we even require first time track day attendees to participate in a 20-minute private instruction session to get started
Once you’ve been on track and get the “bug”, ask about applying your track day purchase toward a Driver’s Club Membership. With a membership, you’ll be able to get on track throughout the year for any FIRM hosted track day based on the membership level you choose.