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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Can you have fun on a road course with stock brakes? (UPDATED WITH VIDEO in last post

I just went around Infineon Raceway in my buddy's car that is all set up for road racing. It was a blast and now I would like to take my car around the track but it far from being set up. I have the original shocks, stock brakes, and Nitto drag radials on the back. I have Powerslot rotors and will get some Hawk pads, but will this be enough to get me around the track? Will I be fast enough to have fun? It would be in a NASA HPDE-1 class. The wheels are the stock 16" Pony's. I have BFG G-force on the front and Nitto 555r drag radials on the back. It has Eibach progressive springs and sits really low, which is causing it to have a lot of negative camber and grooves in the road do steer it quite a bit. Do I need to get some caster/camber plates and possibly a bump steer kit and have it aligned first? I guess I should also get matching rear tires. I'll de'tune it and run my 11.50 @ 120mph setup. It might be safer to run it NA, which did 12.30 @ 110mph with better tires.
 

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I would replace the drag radials and go at it. My first time out I was very easy on the brakes and had a great time.
 

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It really depends on the track, but looking at your engine mods, I would be very heisitant to road race it with stock brakes. I ran around Road America a few years ago with a stock engine stang and stock brakes and they faded very quickly. One buddy went off the track right ahead of me with the same setup(I barely made it through the corner) and that was only 1 lap into the 20 minute session. Hell, I even had slight brake fade slowing down after a quarter mile run, and that was only 118mph through the traps.....but I'm sure different pads would make a difference.

If you are VERY easy on the brakes(i.e. coasting way down before braking), you could get away with stock brakes and yes, you can still have a ton of fun.

Get rid of the drag radials for sure.
 

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On the one hand, people were racing these things in Showroom Stock 25 years go with puny front brakes and drum rears, so yes, it can be done. On the other hand, Infineon is a huge, fast track with three very hard braking zones and several moderate ones. If you use the power you have on tap, your brakes won't even last you a lap, and staring at the wall on the last hairpin is not where you want to lose the brakes.

But it's not a race, it's a learning experience. Put a throttle stop in it so you can't run more than 80% throttle (no, I'm not kidding), put some hi-temp grease in the front bearings, run some Hawk HP+ front pads, flush the brake system with fresh DOT4 fluid, try to duct some air to the center of the rotors, and go out and have day of rioutous fun and unmatchable learning. Put yourself in the mindset that you're going to have fun even if you're the slowest guy in the field, and you'll have a blast. If you try to be the fastest guy in the field, your day will be short, disappointing, and likely very expensive.
 

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At the revolution school the other weekend a guy walked into the second classroom session late, sweating profusly, hair straight up with dirt all over him. He sat down, raised his hand and said: "please explain brake fade to me".
 

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At the revolution school the other weekend a guy walked into the second classroom session late, sweating profusly, hair straight up with dirt all over him. He sat down, raised his hand and said: "please explain brake fade to me".
That is hilarious!
 

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The stock brakes will get you by for the first event. You will not be going very fast at Infineon in a HPDE-1 class in the summer at Infineon. There are too many people. Get the matching rear tires, flush all of your fluids, and put high quality brake fluid in it. I would seriously consider removing the blower, my car traps around the same as yours did NA, it has more than enough power to get a beginner in trouble. Your first event goals should be 1) be smooth and safe, 2) decide if I like this enough to pursue it as a hobby keeping in mind that it is an expensive hobby. If you really like it then you can do a 5-lug conversion and put some cobra brakes on it, and then start modifying the suspension.
 

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Get the HP+ if you're currently running stock brakes. My DD used to be my open track ride and MFE put HP+ along with bigger front rotors for my first OT event. I was addicted to the stopping power even though they dust like crazy and squeal like a city bus on the street. For less than $100, I'd suggest the HP+ as a safety item that happens to be brakes.
 

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Back in the late 80's I took my Mustang GT with the FI 302 V8 and 10 inch front disc brakes and 9 inch drum brake rears for open track days to Mid Ohio, Nelson Ledges, Road America, Watkins Glen, and Blackhawk Farms. I did use very HD front pads and even a set of what at the time were called "racing" pads. Never had a brake pad fade. A mushy pedal at times but no total fade.

I knew of the problem with the Mustangs front brakes but I drove in a manner that conserved them so that they would be there for the whole session. I also learned to carry speed into the turns that I feel ended up making me a better driver.

Just an FYI. I had a friend who went to work for Saleen Racing in the same time period for a short time. They were racing the Saleen Mustangs in the SCCA Escort Endurance series. These were 12 & 24 hour races staged all over the country. They used the SVO style brakes on those cars and ended up using very hard brake pads made out of a titanium compound. During a pit stop they would swap out the rotors and reused the pads, they were that hard! The pads would last the full 24 hours but they would go through numerous rotors.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Alright, I am going to have to try it. It will still be a while before I can get out there, but I will definitely take it easy. I'll let off really early and start downshifting before getting on the brakes. It will be nice to say that I have taken the car around the road course at Infineon (Sears Point) and not just the drag strip. I will not be to take this up as a hobby right now. It is too expensinve so I will just have to stick with drag racing right now. Eventually I would like to set the car up to do double duty. Right now it is definitely better suited for the drag strip. The stock leather seats try to eject me around corners as well, so they would have to be upgraded to keep me planted.

Right now I just want to go out and have some fun on the track but I don't want to hit any walls. I think I can refrain from using too much of my power on the road course.
 

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The Nitto drag radials aren't too bad btw... softer sidewall so they'll roll some but they'll do fine. I had them on the back of my FFR for a couple of HPDE1 sessions. Don't try to be the fastest on the straights, anyone can plant the throttle to the floor. Try to be smooth in the curves and learn what the car is telling you. Get some rides with the instructors, I learned alot that way....
 

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OP,

When are you looking to head out there? I'm trying to get my bucket together for some HPDE action myself. Check out prices for "driving school" class on Northern California Racing Club - Schedule of Events .
Thunderhill is a GREAT beginner track, meaning lots of runoff and little to no walls, besides the pit wall.
 

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Need-a-cage...I think I mentioned this to you on cafords, but i ran my first HPDE event this past april at Thunderhill. I had stock brakes and they were fine. I wasn't able to pick up enough speed my first time out to be able to reach the point of brake fade. I'm not even sure what pads I had on there, just the standard Kragen ones I assume. Your instructor will have you driving fairly slow to try and work on smoothness and control before telling you to go faster. I think that if you swap out your drag radials for street tires and just maintain ease on the throttle (since you have a high powered motor) you should be good. Its a great time and I'm sure you'll get hooked! Then you can start upgrading to better tires, brakes, etc.

Coupe de Surf hooked me up with my first set of race pads and they're awesome! They do throw a bit of dust, but who cares! Good luck and shoot me a PM on cafords when you decide to go out there! There's a few of us on the board that try to get together for trackdays:salute:
 

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The Nitto drag radials aren't too bad btw... softer sidewall so they'll roll some but they'll do fine. I had them on the back of my FFR for a couple of HPDE1 sessions. Don't try to be the fastest on the straights, anyone can plant the throttle to the floor. Try to be smooth in the curves and learn what the car is telling you. Get some rides with the instructors, I learned alot that way....
Some clubs (like Trackguys, inc) will fail you in tech if you have drag radials so read the rules or ask a club official before you go. There are NO refunds for failing tech at the track and it sucks to be caught out like that!
In reference to your brakes. Pre track day preparation is very important. You don't want to go out there on old brake fluid and poor quality pads/shoes. I raced an SCCA Mustang GT on stock 1985 Disc/Drums and, granted they weren't the quality of todays systems. They were fine, but......It we used good quality, track rated fluid, high performance pads and shoes and had cooling ducts also. Your brakes are going to take a beating as your skills improve so be prudent and prepare your car before you go out there. There is a wealth of information on this sport so continue to ask questions.

Here is my old racer with the disc / drum combo.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I don't want rush out there without prepairing the car a little. I am thinking that early next summer might be the right time. I have to get some stuff done around the house before I start spending extra time on the car for road racing and then going to the track on the weekend. If not, the wife might sell the car when I am not home!

I want to get the Hawk pads and flush the fluid and put some good stuff in. What does everyone recommend for brake fluid? On the way to the drag strip yesterday, I got on it pretty hard around the corners and the tires were not as stable as I would like. The bald Nittos in cold weather felt much stiffer than the new ones in the 90 degree heat we had yesterday. I only had 30 psi in them so I could bump that up a little to stiffen them up, but I would rather get some street tires. The Nittos were spinning so bad yesterday that I really want to get some better drag tires for my extra set of rims. Maybe I'll have to pick up another pair of Pony's so I can have my drag radials, street tires, and bial ply drag tires. That will piss off the wife to have another set! I also did a quick run to 100mph with a buddy in the car a couple days ago and hit the brakes fairly hard down to 50mph. I could really smell the brakes after that and I would have to hit them at least that hard on the road course. I think I want my offroad H-pipe back on it as well. It is just too quiet with the cats on it. I am waiting to upgrade the synchro blocker rings in the TKO that is on my bench and then I'll go back to the offroad when I put the TKO in to replace my 3550. I think I want to upgrade my front sway bar bushings too. I took it off for one race to see if it would help the launch and the car just doesn't feel as tight with it back on as it did before. I think the rubber got loose from uninstalling and reinstalling the bar.

I have thought about Thunderhill but it is a long way to drive the car, race it, and drive it home. Infineon is only 40 minutes from my house, so it is a lot more convenient. I think I would want to trailer the car to Thunderhill. I know Thunderhill has longer straights, so do you end up using your brakes more there, or are the turns faster coming off of the straights? I wouldn't go into 5th, so no matter how long the straight is, the fastest I would go is 120mph and then I would just let off and start slowing down.

Does anyone make bigger 4-lug rotors and matching caliper mounts or better calipers that fit in the 16" Pony's? My other problem is my c-clip elims on the back. I think it will be hard to find discs that will clear and not cost a fortune. I don't have the money to upgrade to 5-lug and 17's and get new tires, wheels, brakes, axles, etc... Some time in the distant future, I will do the upgrade. In the back I will ditch the c-clip elims and have 9" ends welded onto the 8.8 so I will have better axle retention and then get discs for the 9". I will also have to order custom strange SS axles to replace the ones that are currently in there. It won't be cheap. So, for now the 4-lug will have to do.

Thanks for all the advice.

Craig
 

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I run 9" ends eith cobra brakes on my street car, nice setup.

Considering budget restraints I would recommend getting 94+ GT bakes and complete rear end. I bought a complete setup including spindles for $200. This would give decent brakes and eliminate the c-clip eliminator setup that you currently have as those aren't great for roar course action. Then you would just need to score some wheels to get out there and have some fun. It is a pretty cheap upgrade later to step up to cobra setup from the GT setup with parts house stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I would still have to spend $300 on axles. I have already broken 2 stockers at the strip. Also, I may put a cage in the car and rear discs don't actually count as "axle retention" devices. I'll probably just wait and do it right. I can't afford to get serious about road racing right now. I just want to take one trip out there to check it out and then go for it later in life when I can afford it. For now, I'll have to stick with drag racing.
 

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I would still have to spend $300 on axles. I have already broken 2 stockers at the strip. Also, I may put a cage in the car and rear discs don't actually count as "axle retention" devices. I'll probably just wait and do it right. I can't afford to get serious about road racing right now. I just want to take one trip out there to check it out and then go for it later in life when I can afford it. For now, I'll have to stick with drag racing.
I'm gonna warn you now, once you get bit by the track bug, most if not all of the drag racing bug will wear off and you'll be on the track crack.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I think I'll always want to keep drag racing. I love powershifting the gears down the track and launching the crap out of the car. Also, it is every Wednesday night and only $25 to race. It is much easier for me to get out there on a Wednesday night than for a whole day on the weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Well, I didn't wait that long. I couldn't pass up the $49 deal to get a classroom session and a 20 minute track session. Also, I talked my buddy into going so I'll be able to get another ride around the track in the HPDE-4 class as a passenger in his car. I am just doing something that NASA calls Hyperdrive. You don't need a membership. I am sure we'll be slow because it is geared towards complete noobs, like myself. I am just going to run it on the drag radials for now with my original shocks! I ordered Maximum Motorsports stock brake upgrade which includeds better pads (Hawk HPS), better shoes, braided hoses, and some caliper sleeves. I also got some Wilwood fluid and I'll flush the system. I also got the shorter end links for my sway bar and new sway bar bushings. If the brakes do okay, I'll get shocks and rear tires and try it again in an HPDE-1 event. I will upgrade the brakes later when I can do it right and go to 5-lug.

I am going out on July 2nd!
 
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