Choosing racing parts for your car can be an intimidating process, especially if you are just starting out on the track. Fortunately, most of the things you’ll need to ensure that those first few laps or drag passes are good ones are actually common-sense items more related to maintenance than improving horsepower.
Check out these five parts that will help make your first track day a safe and enjoyable one.
1. Brake Fluid
Although racing parts catalogs are filled with all manner of big braking systems, chances are your stock braking system is all you need to get started on the track. However, the same can’t be said about your brake fluid, which isn’t designed for the high temperatures associated with racing.
Stock fluid can evaporate while driving at these temperatures, introducing gas or air into your brake lines and making your pedal feel spongy while also reducing your stopping power. Fortunately, picking up a race-oriented brake fluid with a higher boiling temperature is a simple way to avoid this problem. Remember to bleed out all of the existing fluid in your system before you add the new fluid to avoid mixing the two together.
2. Brake Pads
Although your stock brake pads might last a few laps, it’s unlikely they’ll make it through an entire track day. High-performance brake pads are essential racing parts and are a direct replacement for your stock pads. You can either buy a set of pads that have a dual street/track application and put them on at home, or install racing pads when you get to the track itself. If you’d rather stay stock — or you have a sports car with excellent factory pads — it’s always a good idea to bring an extra set in case you wear out your pads during the day.
3. Impact Wrench
If you’re going to be changing brake pads at the track — or doing any other type of maintenance that might crop up — you’re going to appreciate a tool that will help you get your wheels on and off as quickly as possible. A battery-powered impact wrench is a huge time-saver; it simply makes sense to throw one in your trunk.
4. Floor Jack
If you’re going to be taking wheels on and off your car, you’ll need a way to lift the vehicle up off of the ground. A low-profile floor jack is a must-have at the track, and you can throw in a set of jack stands if you’re going to be underneath the car doing any form of work. Make sure that the jack you purchase is slim enough to fit under your car, especially if it’s riding on a low suspension system.
5. Torque Wrench
You never want to torque your wheels too tight with an impact wrench. Instead, you should use a torque wrench and torque them by hand when putting the lug nuts back on, so you make sure that they’re snug at exactly the right pound-foot rating for your vehicle. This is typically in the 75- to 100 lb-ft range. And while you are there check your tire pressure for good measure.
These five racing parts will make each track day pass that much more smoothly — and ensure you have a safe and fun time without sweating the small stuff.
Check out all the maintenance parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on racing parts, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photo courtesy of Flickr.
Having been bitten by the car bug at a young age, I spent my formative years surrounded by Studebakers at car shows across Quebec and the northeastern United States. Over ten years of racing, restoring, and obsessing over automobiles lead me to balance science writing and automotive journalism full time. I currently contribute as an editor to several online and print automotive publications, and I also write and consult for the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.