Thread: How cold is too cold for a good track day ?

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  1. #1
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    Default How cold is too cold for a good track day ?

    This is a question for the road course track folks.

    At what temperature does a dry track day just become an exercise in learning the lowered traction limits of the car and the typical "casual" HPDE drivers say that it is not worth it, from experience ?

    My idea of fun on the track is driving fast and having fun in the safest environment. I don't like driving when it is wet; but, if I'm already there when it rains or sprinkles, I'll take advantage of that.

    It is a big production for me to get to a "fun, safe" track, and if it really is going to be a low traction event because of temperature, I can just wait a while. All my track days have generally been above 80F.

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    Default Re: How cold is too cold for a good track day ?

    I do about a dozen HPDE weekends/yr...coldest I have run and still had 'fun' was at 45 degrees during the day, sun out.

    If it's raining and over 45 degrees, I go out a few sessions to practice car control.

    Here's a pic of Cash84 behind the wheel and me shotgun at Mid Ohio on Oct 31st wknd last yr, lots of rain on the track and it was about....40 degrees outside. He was running PS2's, 90+on the straights but kept it easy on the corners.


    Once the sun came out, dried out the track and we got some rubber planted on the surface we were able to have a little fun. I was running NT05's so I waited 'til the track dried off a little more.

    Last edited by Leslie; 01-23-2010 at 10:43 PM.

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    Default Re: How cold is too cold for a good track day ?

    Quote Originally Posted by AZTVR View Post
    This is a question for the road course track folks.

    At what temperature does a dry track day just become an exercise in learning the lowered traction limits of the car and the typical "casual" HPDE drivers say that it is not worth it, from experience ?
    There is practically NEVER a day at the track that it isn't worth being out there. The exception would be trying to run in heavy rain, if the organizers require that you have the windows down. If you drive your Viper on the street, you need practice at the limit in all weather conditions with street rubber. It doesn't do you much good to practice on race tires in 100% dry conditions. It just doesn't translate to the street.

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    Default Re: How cold is too cold for a good track day ?

    I've run in the snow before at Mid Ohio. Here in the East we will even race late November.
    I'd say even in the cold i learn something new. If your worried about cold weather in Arizona, then maybe you should let me leave the cold northeast & drive your car for ya....
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    Default Re: How cold is too cold for a good track day ?

    Quote Originally Posted by GTS Dean View Post
    There is practically NEVER a day at the track that it isn't worth being out there.
    Good answer Deano. I was trying to understand the question but whatever it was I think you summed it up.

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    Default Re: How cold is too cold for a good track day ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck 98 RT/10 View Post
    I was trying to understand the question ....
    LOL ! I get that a lot about my emails at work !

    Thanks for the answers.
    I realize that any day on the track that you can drive home from undamaged is a great day!

    I have to go 300-400 miles to get to a big track without walls where I feel comfortable and safe; so, I want to go fast and not have to back off much to compensate for cold track, tires, or slippery track when I do that.

    I was pretty much wondering if one can run at 50F similar to 80F+ once tire temp gets to where it gets to after a couple of laps. I do not have a pyrometer to make a scientific judgement, and I don't get out enough to compare the seat-of-the-pants feel from one part of the year to the next.

    I know that the diehards would enjoy most any conditions.

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    Default Re: How cold is too cold for a good track day ?

    If the track is dry but cold you need to allow the tires to warm up and then traction will be ok. I've driven on tracks when temps were below freezing and after several laps could start to have fun. Now if it is cold and wet your tires will not warm up enough to give you good traction. As stated these days are good for practicing car control but aren't much "fun" in my opinion. In fact driving at a couple of tracks in the cold and rain I was spinning my tires in 4th gear on the straight away. I hate driving in the rain. For me track days are fun when I'm going fast and squealing the tires in the turns. I know many people will disagree with me but if I want to sharpen my car control skills I'd use a wet skidpad not a track with walls or deep mud or other obstacles (like other cars).

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    Default Re: How cold is too cold for a good track day ?

    Quote Originally Posted by gbatejan View Post
    As stated these days are good for practicing car control but aren't much "fun" in my opinion. In fact driving at a couple of tracks in the cold and rain I was spinning my tires in 4th gear on the straight away. I hate driving in the rain. For me track days are fun when I'm going fast and squealing the tires in the turns. I know many people will disagree with me but if I want to sharpen my car control skills I'd use a wet skidpad not a track with walls or deep mud or other obstacles (like other cars).

    You have gotten my "drift," EXACTLY.

    I just have a certain time and money budget and at this point want to make the most of it. I'm out there to learn, for sure; but, I want the fun factor at optimum, also.

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    Default Re: How cold is too cold for a good track day ?

    Since you do not have a parameter...Simply place your hand across the tires. You will feel the difference between inner, middle, outer. This is also a good way to gauge tire wear...I saw a blind man do it this way.
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    Default Re: How cold is too cold for a good track day ?

    Well I have had my 08 ACR get very scary if driven on the street below 50 degrees...in fact there is a warning about not driving on those Pilots under 50 degrees. A lot depaeds on the tires you have on the car.

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    Default Re: How cold is too cold for a good track day ?

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankBarba View Post
    Since you do not have a parameter...Simply place your hand across the tires. You will feel the difference between inner, middle, outer. This is also a good way to gauge tire wear...I saw a blind man do it this way.
    Hopefully he wasn't the driver ! That would really be impressive ! If it was a race team, they are really on a tight budget !

    Thanks for the input.

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    Default Re: How cold is too cold for a good track day ?

    Quote Originally Posted by AZTVR View Post
    LOL ! I get that a lot about my emails at work !

    Thanks for the answers.
    I realize that any day on the track that you can drive home from undamaged is a great day!

    I have to go 300-400 miles to get to a big track without walls where I feel comfortable and safe; so, I want to go fast and not have to back off much to compensate for cold track, tires, or slippery track when I do that.

    I was pretty much wondering if one can run at 50F similar to 80F+ once tire temp gets to where it gets to after a couple of laps. I do not have a pyrometer to make a scientific judgement, and I don't get out enough to compare the seat-of-the-pants feel from one part of the year to the next.

    I know that the diehards would enjoy most any conditions.
    YES, most definitely your fun factor can be there at 50 degrees Car runs cooler and that's always a good thing.

    I am totally with ya' on the budget factor, sometimes I don't go out in the rain because of the cost of fuel alone

  13. #13
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    Default Re: How cold is too cold for a good track day ?

    I drove an HPDE in Socal at 6*F. It warmed up to low 30* with overcast. It took 4 or 5 laps to get any heat in the tires, Toyo's each session. I actually had to wear a coat and run the heaer for me, not the car. Any day at the track beats work.

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    Default Re: How cold is too cold for a good track day ?

    I was at a track and my tires had no grip. Plenty of thread but the grip had gone. Was not much fun at all really. Another track day it was raining. I went out but after spinning under breaking (wet grass let's you go forever!) I gave up. You just can't tell where your going to lose it. Driving at 4/10's or less just isn't terribly exciting. I would rather take a street car out and push the limits in safe corners.

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    Default Re: How cold is too cold for a good track day ?

    Quote Originally Posted by gbatejan View Post
    I know many people will disagree with me but if I want to sharpen my car control skills I'd use a wet skidpad not a track with walls or deep mud or other obstacles (like other cars).
    You're just a fair-weather wuss.







    Nothing a hose and brush can't fix. Besides, in addition to skill, it builds character.

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    Default Re: How cold is too cold for a good track day ?

    Quote Originally Posted by GTS Dean View Post
    You're just a fair-weather wuss.







    Nothing a hose and brush can't fix. Besides, in addition to skill, it builds character.
    Yea, just a wuss. Your pics prove my point. Good thing there was mud and grass there instead of a barrier.

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    Default Re: How cold is too cold for a good track day ?

    Quote Originally Posted by AZTVR View Post
    I just have a certain time and money budget and at this point want to make the most of it. I'm out there to learn, for sure; but, I want the fun factor at optimum, also.
    In that case lemme tell this story. After ten years of tracking I got a chance to do some open wheel in Barber Dodge cars. These cars do not have the speed of Vipers. On the day I was to run it was pouring rain, very, very cold, they were running the club track instead of the full course and it was lead/follow. I thought it was gonna be a real waste of time. Instead it was one of the funnest track days I ever had.

    Point of the story is - just go. You won't be disappointed.

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    Default Re: How cold is too cold for a good track day ?

    love the picture of the spin out.

    Nick

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    Default Re: How cold is too cold for a good track day ?

    Quote Originally Posted by GTS Dean View Post
    You're just a fair-weather wuss.







    Nothing a hose and brush can't fix. Besides, in addition to skill, it builds character.
    Great shots Deano. LOL

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    Default Re: How cold is too cold for a good track day ?

    GTS Dean, do you have a high res version of the first picture.

    Nick

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    Default Re: How cold is too cold for a good track day ?

    Even more fun when you go off track like that and your brake rotors catch the grass on fire. Priceless...

  22. #22

    Default Re: How cold is too cold for a good track day ?

    as long as you have ABS, go for it. I'd be worried about flat spotting the tires without it in cold weather

  23. #23
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    Default Re: How cold is too cold for a good track day ?

    Quote Originally Posted by AZTVR View Post
    This is a question for the road course track folks.

    At what temperature does a dry track day just become an exercise in learning the lowered traction limits of the car and the typical "casual" HPDE drivers say that it is not worth it, from experience ?

    My idea of fun on the track is driving fast and having fun in the safest environment. I don't like driving when it is wet; but, if I'm already there when it rains or sprinkles, I'll take advantage of that.

    It is a big production for me to get to a "fun, safe" track, and if it really is going to be a low traction event because of temperature, I can just wait a while. All my track days have generally been above 80F.
    Its obviously more fun in the dry and warm but generally track days and always race days unlike Nascar, the race goes on. The speeds are slower and you have to find a wet line as opposed to the usual dry line that works best. Apexs' can become quite wet or even puddles. One of the best road racing books ever written, Going Faster by Skip Barber, addresses this issue and is worth the read.

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    Default Re: How cold is too cold for a good track day ?

    Yesterday, I loaded the car on my trailer at 32F and headed for the track. I started running at around 40F and the max only hit 48 all day. Tire temps got to 175 front and 155 rear. Motor made great power and the engine temps never got over 210F. It was glorious.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: How cold is too cold for a good track day ?

    wow, absolutely AWSOME pics!!!!

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    Default Re: How cold is too cold for a good track day ?

    are ya gonna fix that guys yard------------

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    Default Re: How cold is too cold for a good track day ?

    Quote Originally Posted by GTS Dean View Post
    It was glorious.
    LOL Excellent choice of word General Patton.

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    Default Re: How cold is too cold for a good track day ?

    Rommel? You magnificent bastard... I read your BOOK!!!

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