Taking your Corvette on the Track - Getting On Track

Life Is Good At 150 Mph

Richard F. Newton Dec 11, 2008 0 Comment(s)
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Most groups will let you run any type of car. This team uses the HPDE events as a practice session for racing. You can also get one of these tube frame Corvettes at a reasonable price. Remember, loud is fun.

Brakes
Take a good look at your brake rotors. Either measure them or have a shop measure them to see how thick they are. Remember, the braking system is nothing more than an energy conversion system. You need to know that your brake rotors can handle converting all the mechanical energy your engine produces into heat energy as you slow down for the corners. The mass of the brake rotor is critical to this energy-conversion process. An undersized rotor (too thin) simply can't handle the heat you'll produce at the track. The good part is that GM has already figured the minimum thickness that's necessary for your brake rotor, and any competent Corvette technician can measure them.

Brake Hoses
You need to make certain there are no cracks or tears in your brake hoses. In addition, you should check them carefully for swelling. Brake hoses generally go bad from the inside out. That means the first noticeable sign of a problem will be swelling. When the inner line ruptures, a bubble forms on the outside of the brake hoses. You can check for this by running your fingers along the length of the brake hoses. It's easier to feel a swollen hose than to see the problem. You also need to make sure that the hoses aren't twisted. An incompetent shop, or a weekend mechanic, may have installed new brake hoses with a twist in them. Make sure you check to see that the ribbing on the brake hoses is straight.

There are stainless steel hoses on the market that claim to do everything but take a full second off your 0-60 times. The basic idea is that these braided hoses won't expand when brakes are applied. In reality, they're not much better than brand-new factory hoses. The big advantage is that they're generally cheaper than OEM hoses. If your Corvette is five or six years old, you might want to consider them. On a new C6, you'll never notice the difference. The biggest problem is there's no way to inspect a braided-steel hose. They look wonderful-right up to they minute they break. Race teams replace these hoses after so many hours of use. You might consider doing the same, except maybe on an annual basis. It won't be all that expensive, and it gives you another reason to flush the brake fluid.

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Tape will do a wonderful job of protecting your headlights from stones and track debris. It only takes a few minutes to install and it comes off quickly.

Brake-Pad Thickness
There are two reasons for having at least half of your brake pads in place before you start the day. First, you're going to wear the damn things out. You certainly don't want to drive home with the steel backing plates rubbing into your brakes rotors. Worn-out brake pads can destroy a perfectly good set of brake rotors. The noise you hear will be the sound of your Visa card going through the credit-card machine. You want to make sure that you have enough brake pads to make it through the day and all the way back home. Secondly, your brake pads actually act as a heat insulator. The pad material is actually a piece of insulation between your brake rotor and your brake fluid. When the brake pads get too thin, the heat transfers rather quickly from the pad to the brake fluid. Hot brake fluid is not a good thing.

Many people bring an extra set of brake pads with them to the track, especially if it's a two-day event. Just remember to bring the necessary tools with you so you can change the brake pads in the Holiday Inn parking lot on Saturday night. This might seem a little excessive, but it's not as bad as going home early because you have no friction material left on your brakes.

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