My last trackday on 22nd May was the Traction Circle Club trackday, and it was pouring, with the rain letting up for an hour in between before continuing to pour til the end of the trackday. With the sun coming out only when the trackday ended!
Personally I do enjoy some wet trackdays, of course it completely sucks if I’ve towed my track car down to the circuit and all I have to drive on are ‘full slicks’ or the ‘towing tyres’.
Anyway during last saturday’s 22nd May trackday, I met some newbies who were visibly shaken up by tracking in the rain, mentally exhausted from the few white knuckled laps that they managed to squeeze out.
many more were out in the back of the paddock, puffing away, swapping horror stories of near misses and spins. I figured I’ll try to share some tips I’ve learnt along over the years, to survive these wet trackdays.
How to survive a wet trackday.
- keep your tyre pressures high, – dont let out so much air, in the wet your tyres wont generate much heat thus not expanding much, thus it’s not necessary to release so much air. 2ndly, keeping the tyre pressures higher or higher than your normal hot trackday temps will keep the tyres nicely rounded and this will help the tyre evacuate water quicker.
- Leave the Air-con turned on, – normally most of us would turn off the air con inside our cars to save the air con compressor from burning out during a warm dry sunny trackday. Also our cars will regain a few lost hp too!
but in the wet, normally we’ll leave it on for a few reasons.
- Defogs the windscreen: in our climate, the windows WILL fog up if u’re driving in the rain without the aircon turned on. Turning on the aircon will therefore help to defog the windscreen.
- Reduces driver fatigue. -this is true even on the Hot days as well, sometimes, on my warming up or cooling down lap, when I’m keeping my engines revs relatively low, I’ll turn on the aircon, Heat is a major source of driver fatigue, leading to loss of concentration and therefore making mistakes. In the rain, it’ll help to dry your wet foot pedals too!
- make sure your pedals are dry, -occasionally I’ll keep an old rag in the car, for general purposes one of which is to wipe the soles of my shoes dry before jumping into the car. Nothing’s scarier when u’ve missed a couple of downshifts,because of a slippery brake/clutch/ throttle pedal and wishing that you had wiped your shoes dry.
- Also there isnt a fear of burning out the air-con compressor as usually in the wet I dont go charging up to redline, before changing the gears. which leads me to my next point…
- Change up to the next gear early and use a taller gear (ie higher number gear) and if you find 2nd gear for some corners (especially turns 2 & 9 ) causes too much wheel spin, use 3rd gear. This keeps your RPM lower and producing less power and therefore less wheel spin. This also applies in the dry when your tyres are shot/overheated.
- S2000’s and vtec. Something I noticed this past trackday, that even on stock S2000 Ap2 2.2, where u cant hear the vtec transition, its good to pay alittle attention to when the vtec point is, Especially on Turn 3 of sepang, the moment the car hits about 5900rpm which is where i think the vtec point is, the slight bump in power output was just enough to step the tail out slightly, needing me to make alittle steering correction.
Phew! that’s a long entry, ok I’ll take a break and I’ll continue more in Part 2.
some things, I’ll be mentioning in Part2
- good wipers
- braking early
- different lines in the wet and dry
- driving with minimal steering input, reducing the tyre slip angle