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Discussion Starter #1
I will be taking my car to a performance driving school on Monday. I was looking for any tips in prepping the car for a track day.

Questions:
1. can the adaptive tranny be reset?
2. should I keep ESP on or reduced?
3. leave tranny in S or use M?
4. What should tire pressures be set to? leave at OE spec or something else?
5. painters tape the front end?
6. any tips on in car video camera mounts?
7. any other tips?

Thanks,
nmslk
 

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I've been to our track twice so, by no means, am I a track ho but here are my thoughts:

1. You can reset the tranny (I think) by disconnected the battery for about 30 min. You may need to have the radio code re-entered after this.

2. ESP off (as this is only partial otherwise every time you break loose, you'll lose power).

3. S. M takes too long to respond.

4. I didn't bother but probably about 5 psi over stock would be appropriate.

5. Wouldn't bother. I didn't do wheel to wheel racing, just laps on the road course.

6. No ideas.

7. Enjoy!!!!!
 

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If it's an SCCA event, you probably won't need tape for your car, as you won't be racing anyone. They require you to complete some courses before you can actually race in groups. This is actually the best way to track your car, if you're serious about it and want to have a great time. But, it doesn't hurt to bring tape, and you never know... although, tape is generally required to prevent debris on the track in case of an accident, rather than avoiding stone-chip damage. You shouldn't be getting stone chip damage on a decent track.

Most important is the brakes. Make sure your brakes are solid and the pads look good. You don't want to have problems with your brakes on a track. Trust me. I once saw an RS4 slam into a wall because of a brake failure. Judging by the look on the guy's face, he probably didn't have track insurance either. It was not a good day for him. And all he had to do was put on a new set of pads beforehand.

I generally use a separate set of tires for the track. If you're going to run hard for 5-8 laps, your street tires are going to lose about 30% of their lifespan. You figure a $1200 set of rear tires - 30% lifespan = $400 for one track day. It's worth it to get a good set of track tires that are made for that type of driving, as they will last longer and prevent excessive wear to your street tires. Plus, good track tires are FUN! Trust me, they are worth it. Your driving will noticeably improve on good tires.

I generally also change my oil before and after a long track day. It costs a bit more, but everyone I know swears by it and their old Porsches are still running strong. I generally put new oil in and then take it for a freeway spin for 30-45 minutes the night before the track event. I then change the oil again when I get home after tracking, and run it easy for another 10-15 minutes. I know there is no scientific basis for doing this, but I've always felt like it was good to warm up and cool down the engine before/after putting track stress on it. I've seen track Porsches with dead engines at 30k miles, and ones with 100k running strong. A few of the "100K running strong" have told me about this practice and swear by it.

Make sure you have plenty of cooling fluid, as a matter of fact, make sure ALL your fluids are good - brake, steering, cooling, etc. Also, check your air intake and clean it out.

As far as the transmission - I don't know anything about the AT. I drive a manual, and have only tracked manuals. There is a great advantage in having a good manual transmission on the track. Half the techniques you will learn at SCCA advanced courses involve shifting somehow. If I had to drive an auto at a track event, I would be using the manual shifter aspect of it to do the shifting manually (and make sure it will let you bring it to redline, you will be there a lot).

Oh, I forgot the most important thing!! ...

Bring lunch! I forgot to bring my lunch one time, and that totally sucked. You generally run in segments, close enough together that it can be hard to run off for a bite. Being stuck on a track with a growling stomach is a very unpleasant experience. So remember to bring food and water! ha ha ha...

Have fun... I'm way too nervous to track my SLK. I like it too much.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
To clarify what I am attending is a Performance Driving school. Not racing but there will be multiple cars on the 3 mile 10 turn track at a time. No passing except in the front or back straights.


My thought was tape would save the car from debris.

Should I leave the tranny in S or have it in S and select my owe gear, ie in and out of turns etc to avoid auto box undesired down shifts?


I will check all fluids and I will change the air filter this week.

Driller, why 5psi over OE for the tire pressure?

-nmslk
 

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Every time I go to the track I bring a extra set of pads, It is pretty easy to wear them out. *Also do not ever set the parking/Hand brake, The rotors get really hot after a few laps, That you can actually damage the rotors.
On the air pressure, I usually set it to almost max. I agree with the post above, A separate pair of tires is a good choice. You will tear up them up, And perhaps flat spot them. I always put tread wears of under 200 for the track, *You will get better grip.
As far as paint protection, You will most likely get some damage. I use sheets of the clear vinyl your suppose to apply as that clear bra stuff. * I warm it up an wet the car to apply. I use it on the windshield too. Before that I use to get a lot of stone chips.
I also apply stuff like tire dressing behind the wheels, To make cleanup of the molten rubber off the paint. *The area where the tires normally kick up dirt.
You can also eliminate all the unused stuff in the car too, They require us to race with the windows open all the way, So stuff that's in your car may fly out.
I also twist the seat belts a few turns before inserting it to make it more tight.
It is easy to *submarine during hard breaking, Also it helps keep you in your seat.
Also do bring food and drinks, And may bee a large duffel bag for your personal stuff.
Bring a certified helmet too.
I like to wear gloves, Boots, Jacket too.Some tracks require all the safety stuff.
They may also require you to tape up your wheel weights if they are exposed, Tape up all your front lights if they are glass, Remove all your non factory amenities like stuff hanging from your rear view mirror, air fresheners, radar detectors, cell cradles, even floor mats.
A fresh oil change/ Tune up is good too, It is proven a car will make more HP/TQ on a fresh change.
Bring some extra motor oil and fluids too, Racing gets the motor really hot, It may consume a little extra, I check out all the fluids after a run, You should have time between laps to check.
Tools are also handy too, I been stranded once.
Clip the pass. seat belt in too, It may flap from the high wind.
If your driving too slow wave the guy in from behind to let him pass. * You may piss him off.
Pay attention to the flags there are a lot of flags for different situations.
If you spin out into the infield, make sure to stay in your car, Or when it is safe pull back out onto the track.
Drifting the car sure looks fun and cool, But you will lose huge amount of tire.
The more smooth you are the faster you will go.
*Also I think on SLK 55's there is no adaptive learning mode.
That's all I can think of for now.
PM me if you have some more questions.
I am not a pro, But this is what I learned road racing and drag racing for the last 20 years.
I even sponsored a few racers, So some of this info is from them.
But most of all, Have fun and try to get some one to get videos and pics of you on the track.
I will post some more stuff if I can think of anything else
Good luck...
 

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Lot's of great advice above. I'll add my opinion too.

1. I believe it is adaptive. The process is listed here:
http://mbworld.org/forums/showthread.php?t=148019

2. Up to you. If you're a beginner, I say leave it on. If it cuts in too much, turn it partially off via the ESP button.

3. S mode. Don't even bother downshifting. It does a remarkable job if you let it be. Focus on the right line.

4. Bump it up a few PSI. Check it after each run. Adjust as necessary. If you have the time and money, get a pyrometer. If not, there's a cheap alternative using shoe polish. (Google search is your friend ;))

5. Use tape. Road course or AutoX. Both will have debris. It will get kicked up by other cars or your own tires. Rather be cautious.

6. Easty, RB55, myself and several others have used camera mounts. I have to search the forum a bit.

7. Here's a good read for tips...
http://www.nasaproracing.com/hpde/preparing.html
 
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I'd go for the highest octane rating available at the pump, if they have 100 your car will adapt to it given time but is it worth it for just a bit of fun? I don't think so go for something in the 90's as high as you can manage.

For your engine and gearbox adaption you can do a 'soft'-erase on them by pulling the battery for about a half hour, the procedure thats going around (the one Dan found) is for the 5 speed gearbox and won't work on the 7 speed. The dealer can do a full reset on them but i would not recommend having that done and then going to the track because it will make the car almost un-driveable on the road afterward.

I always use S at the track like the others but don't do a soft reset and then drive like a grandma to the track because the engine response and tranny shift points will be shite, ideally perform the reset at the track.
 

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Octane- I'd go with 91 or 93, whichever is the highest available at the pump. In Ca, 91 is the highest we can get. Unless you have a supercharger, I just don't see enough benefit in $6 100 octane fuel.

I thought the tranny reset worked but then again, I haven't tried that for a couple years. I will say that I have never used it at the track. People make it sound as if the tranny takes days or hours to adapt. I call BS. From my experience, it adapts within the first lap. A few minutes at most is all it takes. If you don't believe me, go give it a try. See for yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The track is 120 miles away so I'm driving up the day before for a 7:30 AM start. I will fill up with 93 octane near the track. Non oxygenated if they have it. MN has a 10% ethanol blend required in all regular fuel so I will look for the non ethanol blended fuel by the track.

The Driving school supplies the helmets, gear and a lunch. My girlfriend will be taking some pics.

My tires are filled with nitrogen so I will have to search for a place to top them off.

-nmslk
 

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Stay hydrated. Drink lots of water! Also, take it easy on the last run. That's where people make mistakes, especially beginners. You may lose focus. After lunch, your stomach needs more blood to process your food. That means less blood for your brain. Again, loss of focus. You will be surprised how physically and mentally draining it is. Take it easy and enjoy your time.

This event will give you newfound respect for the professionals.
 
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I thought the tranny reset worked but then again, I haven't tried that for a couple years. I will say that I have never used it at the track. People make it sound as if the tranny takes days or hours to adapt. I call BS. From my experience, it adapts within the first lap. A few minutes at most is all it takes. If you don't believe me, go give it a try. See for yourself.
Who's this aimed at Dan?

Its a definite no on the reset, adaption logic is not even enabled until it sees road speed so i suspect its placebo.

When we do a full reset we can reprogram the tranny in the time it takes to shift from 1-7 and back again so yeah its just a few minutes for that but the box is always learning and so is the engine that basically means you can change the adaption on the fly by keeping the loud pedal depressed for a while and flying about, the soft reset just speeds the process up a little by clearing the stuff its learnt while you've been driving about and going back to the dealer or MB settings.

Its more than a few minutes to go back from MB set to customized otherwise mate it can't get a good sample, it needs an overview of how you drive otherwise it could be screwed up by something as simple as getting stuck in traffic.
 

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Walk the track, For me it gives me a mental pic of where I should start braking or speed up.
If possible get a instructor that looks old, Old timers have the best advice.
I bring extra fuel too, Not all tracks have fuel.
Drive only fast enough for your own skills.
After a run, Let the motor run, It will cool down better and circulate the coolant.
BTW what type of mount do you have?
Where does it mount to?
 

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Who's this aimed at Dan?

Its a definite no on the reset, adaption logic is not even enabled until it sees road speed so i suspect its placebo.

When we do a full reset we can reprogram the tranny in the time it takes to shift from 1-7 and back again so yeah its just a few minutes for that but the box is always learning and so is the engine that basically means you can change the adaption on the fly by keeping the loud pedal depressed for a while and flying about, the soft reset just speeds the process up a little by clearing the stuff its learnt while you've been driving about and going back to the dealer or MB settings.

Its more than a few minutes to go back from MB set to customized otherwise mate it can't get a good sample, it needs an overview of how you drive otherwise it could be screwed up by something as simple as getting stuck in traffic.
Not aimed at anyone specific. I'm just stating that once I make a lap or two around the track, the tranny holds gears through turns, shifts at higher rpm's, etc. For those that haven't driven hard yet, they might believe the tranny wouldn't adapt quickly enough and therefore be forced to use M mode. Yet, in actuality, the tranny does a great job adapting within a very short period of time.

In summary, anyone tracking should use S mode and all will be fine.
 

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I will be taking my car to a performance driving school on Monday. I was looking for any tips in prepping the car for a track day.

Questions:
1. can the adaptive tranny be reset?
2. should I keep ESP on or reduced?
3. leave tranny in S or use M?
4. What should tire pressures be set to? leave at OE spec or something else?
5. painters tape the front end?
6. any tips on in car video camera mounts?
7. any other tips?

Thanks,
nmslk
Lots of great advice from all the pros above so you may find repeat answers below, though I will pick and choose...

2. ESP is definately something I always remove. It tends to slow me down especially on the corners and I've had times where I've reset all my work from distance gained during a long chase after ESP kicked in. Learning to drive without it helped me out, but when rain falls I keep it on.

3. I would suggest M because you always want to be in full control of your car. A full-on Manual Tranny would be ideal, however this will be just fine. Like someone above mentioned, you want to be able to hold near redline because you will be there a lot. HOWEVER, since it is your first time, I think S may actually be a better choice because it is more important to focus on the line than hitting quickshifts and working on maximizing your car (which of course is also the purpose of a good line). When your line is good, then switch to M and give it all you got.

4. Tire pressure really depends on the day/temperature/track/terrain. I usually leave it a little bit over, but just remember that after heavy driving, the tires will heat up and your PSI will significantly jump up from what it was when you started. Always check tire pressure. I keep my R-compounds between 32-38 psi.

7. Someone mentioned a good point about the seatbelt. What I usually do is pull the seat ALL THE WAY to the back and then tense up the seatbelt. Then I move the seat as far as possible to the front or enough that the belt is super tense and still give me room to heal-toe (of course only on Manual Tranny cars). Another good idea is to make sure you remove everything from the interior of your car. If you keep stuff, keep it in the glove compartments or consoles. The last thing you want is to have a water bottle roll under your brakes when you approach a corner. A helmet is also a very good idea, but it seems you will have one. Some track events don't require it, but better safe than sorry. Also, check your fluids and brake pads. That is very important because you want your car to be performing normally since you will be pushing her more than usual. Make sure you take breaks with your car because it will heat up very easily under heavy driving. Just remember, track driving is not like long highway driving. Again someone mentioned, do NOT touch the handbrake when you are pitting to cool her down. You may warp the rotors. Also, I read somewhere once, which helped me a little, when you are driving, try to look where you wanna go. I don't mean just right in front of you, but a little bit ahead. I know it sorta sounds stupid and simple, but it will help your line because you'll naturally adjust to that destination rather than being too focused on the corner RIGHT in front of you. Other than all that, the last thing I do is hit up an energy drink before getting out there. When I drink FULL THROTTLE: Blue Demons, it makes me see lines. :biglaugh:

Just remember, stay safe and HAVE FUN!! R)
 

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Discussion Starter #19
4. Tire pressure really depends on the day/temperature/track/terrain. I usually leave it a little bit over, but just remember that after heavy driving, the tires will heat up and your PSI will significantly jump up from what it was when you started. Always check tire pressure. I keep my R-compounds between 32-38 psi.

I have Nitrogen in my tires which does not expand with heat the same way air does. My understanding is it also less likely to leak at the bead. I'm thinking I will increase the PSI for the track but I need to decide if I want to fill up in town 140mi away from the track or when I gate to the track at which point I may have to add air rather then Nitrogen.

Check this link on Why Nitrogen.

-nmslk
 

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I have Nitrogen in my tires which does not expand with heat the same way air does. My understanding is it also less likely to leak at the bead. I'm thinking I will increase the PSI for the track but I need to decide if I want to fill up in town 140mi away from the track or when I gate to the track at which point I may have to add air rather then Nitrogen.

Check this link on Why Nitrogen.

-nmslk
Oh Right! Sorry I forgot about that part. I was running through my mental checklist of things I do at track...!
 
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