We’ve been getting this question quite a bit in the comments on our YouTube videos, so in the interest of making your first lapping day that much more enjoyable, here’s a list of what we usually bring with us to a track day or Time Attack event. You can, of course, bring more or less than we choose to, but in general we drive our cars to the track so try to pack the essentials and not much else.
For starters, we always bring a lightweight jack and a jack stand or two, because more often than not we find ourselves needing to crawl under the car to adjust the compression settings on our shocks, adjust the alignment, or check for that mysterious clunking noise that suddenly appeared after ripping a few hot laps. The rubber puck is a Canadian modification to protect the chassis jacking point, plus it comes in handy if a hockey game spontaneously breaks out.
Of course there’s no point in bringing a jack and jack stands if you don’t bring some tools. Tops on that list should be a torque wrench and a socket for your wheel nuts, since torque checking those after you’ve put a bunch of heat into them on the first session out on track is always a good safety precaution. Lug nuts have a tendency to back off as they heat up and expand, especially if you’re using cheap aluminum “tuner” nuts. We always use steel lug nuts since they don’t expand as much and they’re far less likely to strip threads too. Project Kics R40 steel lug nuts are our favourite since they have a free moving seat that doesn’t scratch the wheels and they’re lightweight, strong and good looking. Kinda like us.
We also bring a cordless impact gun, since this makes rotating the wheels and tires much faster and less tiring. That’s right, I’m old enough and out of shape enough to find rotating the wheels and tires a workout.
Zip ties and duct tape are also great additions to your tool kit, since they can be used for a variety of trackside repairs, from refastening a damaged bumper cover or wheel well liner to closing off an air leak between the bumper cover and splitter.
We also bring an cordless electric tire pump to the track with us. It’s a lot more compact than an air pig and does a great job adding pressure to our tires at the track.
We always bring oil and check the level throughout the day, since you’ll be amazed how fast the engine burns through the stuff when you’re ripping at wide open throttle for long periods of time. We only bring a gas jug if there’s no nearby gas station, but in most cases there is so we leave the big, stinky red container at home whenever we can. The foam mats we always bring, though, since we inevitably end up working on the car and it’s cleaner and more comfortable to kneel or work on our backs with these el cheapo kiddies mats laid out on the ground.
Speaking of staying clean, bring some work gloves with you, because there’s nothing worse than working on your car and then getting in your car with filthy hands and getting your leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob (or worse, your expensive aftermarket suede-wrapped racing wheel) covered in dirt and grease.
We always bring a high quality tire pressure gauge with us, since setting tire pressures accurately makes a huge difference both in terms of tire grip and tire longevity. Obviously you don’t need a high-end Stack pressure gauge that reads to two decimal places like ours does (though we love being able to set pressures with this level of precision), but we do recommend you at least invest in an accurate needle gauge with a large face so you can easily tell what your pressures are set to.
We also have our probe-type tire pyrometer with us at every track day, since this is really the best way to determine if your tires are getting up to full operating temp or are being overheated. Knowing what’s going on with your tires is a huge part of optimizing grip level at the track, so learn to use one of these and you will go faster. Check out our Just The Tip video on how to use a tire pyrometer if you’re not familiar with this tool.
A basic multi-meter is also a great tool to have handy, since electrical gremlins have a way of popping up at the race track. Heat does bad things to wiring, and nothing generates heat like ripping at the race track.
We often bring toe plates like these ones from Longacre and a camber gauge too, especially if we know the car’s alignment is going to need some sorting out.
Going to the track without a lap timer is probably not a bad thing when you’re first starting out, since timing might actually mess with your head. If you’re the kind of person who’s likely to push harder and harder in pursuit of a lap time before you’ve fully sorted your car and your driving out, leave the lap timer at home. But once your car is dialled in and you feel like you’ve got the self-control to use in-car lap times and data acquisition to your advantage, something like our AiM Solo is a super value tool.
Ya, sometimes we don’t wear helmets when shooting our videos, but that’s just because it’s hard to get good audio when wearing a helmet and we’re willing to risk our lives to bring you badass videos. You will notice we have our helmets on when we get serious about going fast, just like you’ll see with other online and TV auto journalists. Still, at the risk of sounding like a total hypocrite, please always wear a helmet when you’re ripping at the track. It’s just the smart thing to do and chances are you aren’t trying to make a video or TV show.
Racing gloves are a nice addition to the safety gear when going lapping, since they take up no space (I store mine in my helmet) and they’ll make you look like a pro while giving you a better grip on the wheel and shift knob and will also protect your hands in the event of a fire or even if you just need to pop the hood in a hurry. I also bring my Alpinestars racing shoes to the track, since I find heel & toe downshifts in bulky running shoes less precise and the last thing you want to do is mess up a downshift on an otherwise perfect lap, right?
Plus the Astars shoes make me look double-pro when paired up with the gloves. The sunblock I always forget to put on, but it’s a great idea to have with you at the track, as is some bottled water or sports drinks to help keep you hydrated.
We normally bring a bunch of camera gear too (but not the vintage GoPro Hero above…that’s just for illustration purposes), and you’ll probably want to consider bringing a GoPro or some other type of action sport camera since it’s a great way to review your driving and learn from your mistakes out there, not to mention it’ll make you a social media superstar. Lay some in-car data over the video using a program like RaceRender and you’ll really acceleration your learning curve.
This may sound like a lot of gear, but most of it packs up easily into a duffle bag and the bulkier items can fit in just about any trunk, even our S2000’s.
I hope this list helps you think about what sort of gear you should bring to the track with you. Please leave a comment below if you think we’ve forgotten anything important.