Wakefield Park track day

One of the things I had really been dying to do (and one of the reasons I wanted to buy an MX-5 was to hit the race track and feel what it was like. Before actually getting there, had to do some prep on the car and this would be the first time I’d be doing anything to it more advanced than an oil and oil filter change.

The parts:

Elf Excellium synthetic oil, oil filter, NGK spark plugs, fresh brake fluid (not pictured), new Hawk HP+ front and rear brake pads and K&M Air filter recharger, also shown is a mate’s helmet which I will be borrowing for the track.

A DIY day at Steven’s house was the perfect time to get together and learn a bit more about what it takes for a track day the to-do’s and not-to-do’s. Oil change was straight forward with the oil filter still being a pain to reach on an MX-5. Turning the wheel’s to the left would leave more room to reach in but it’s not as simple as most FWD cars. Air filter was just a quick clean with an air compressor and then giving it a nice layer of oil and next was the replacement of spark plugs, pretty simple.

Next was to jack the car up and change the front pads, simple task but the lack of a g-clamp to push the front caliper back in meant that sheer manpower would be required to slowly force it back in. Not fun but we eventually got there, popped them back in and it was time to bed in the pads. Starting off with lower speeds, 50-60 km/h then hard braking to a gentle roll, after a few of these, the brakes really started to bite, and wow, what a difference! These brakes were amazing, the force pushing you was immense! Time had the better of me and it was time to head to Assiette for dinner. Post dinner drove back to quickly finish off the job, bled the brakes and changed the rear. In our noobness, it took us a while to figure out how to adjust the rear caliper and in our haste didn’t realise you need to adjust it back! This meant I was left without a handbrake! Luckily we figured it out and it was a quick job to set it again the night before heading to the track.

Tuesday night we headed down so we could stay in a motel and be fresh and awake in the morning without being drained from a two hour drive. It was nice and warm in the motel, but damn! It was freezing outside! Being a private day, things were rather casual, in my first session, it took a while to build confidence and to really go hard out in the corners. That first time you’re on the track and you think you’re going quick, you’re definitely not! It certainly takes balls to push the limits of grip, not like when you’re on the road where a tiny chirp meant you’re going quick, those tyres need to be squealing the whole way! First proper session netted a time of 1:27:8. By the end of the day, my fastest lap would be a 1:21:2, not as quick as I was hoping for, but I’m happy enough :D.

All in all, definitely a fun time and seriously keen to go again!

Here’s a quick video of my noob driving.

Few notes to self, need to go much harder in the first corner, losing way too much speed and secondly need to practice the fish hook a lot! Still not exactly sure how to tackle it so definitely need another session. Last bit of a to-do is to learn how to embed the lap logs and map into the video.

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