Alfa Romeo 4C Forums banner

21 - 38 of 38 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,717 Posts
not sure I’ll need to change brake fluid, doesn’t the front hood have to come off for that?
You absolutely must change your brake fluid. It is nearly 5 years old (as are your tires).

PCA should have given you a car inspection sheet that needs to be completed. Part of that would be a brake fluid flush.

PCA runs a tight ship. If your car isn't up to snuff, they won't let you run. If I was your instructor and knew that you were running on old brake fluid, I wouldn't ride with you. This is fun but . . . take it seriously so it can stay fun.

Philster, last time I was in your neck of the woods, it was for centrifuge training over in Warminster. Got a serious case of G-rash that day.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,015 Posts
@ozonenorth - If you have never changed your brake fluid since you have bought the car, then please please change it! Brake fluid adsorbs water with time and use and it significantly decreases the boiling point. As a result, the fluid can boil and you can loose your brakes. This is NOT something you want to happen on track. Novice track drivers tend to overbrake, and hold the brake longer than strictly required, this puts tremendous strain on the brakes and fluid. Fresh fluid will help prevent the boiling as it has significantly less water. Many of the more serious track rats upgrade to a higher boiling point fluid (Motul 600, Motul 660, Castrol SRF, Torque 700). Our local PCA requires the fluid to be changed within the last 6 months, or 2 track weekends.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
16,415 Posts
Take what ^these guys^ say to heart - it's worth it to change the fluid to save your car and your health.

Coming to the end of a long straight into a tight curve is no place to discover that your brake fluid has boiled and you've got no pedal left. An experienced track driver might be able to save it, but most of us are going to wad the car up at that point.

It's only fun if you can drive home again. Track days are not particularly dangerous, but not having your brake fluid changed after 5 years and then doing a track event is like crossing a busy street in the dark with your eyes closed. You might get away with it, but the odds aren't great.

To answer your question, it does not need the hood to come off. Just the access panel in the cowl in front of the driver (2 Philips head bayonet screws loosen it, but you might need to get something behind the plastic to pry the cover off - this reveals the brake reservoir cap. You'll need the funnel kit that came with your car to cleanly put fresh fluid in here) and all 4 wheels off. If you've never done, then have someone knowledgeable do this. Let them show you what they do, and it will be yet another thing you'll learn on account of tracking your 4C.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39 Posts
Discussion Starter #24
So brake fluid flush needs to be done, I'll schedule the car in this week, thanks! As for the tires, was hoping to use the PZero's up at this track day so I can get some proper Michelins.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 4Canada

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
16,415 Posts
So brake fluid flush needs to be done, I'll schedule the car in this week, thanks! As for the tires, was hoping to use the PZero's up at this track day so I can get some proper Michelins.
I would say that as long as there are no cracks showing (look between the treads, longitudinally around the tire as that's where we've seen most damage to the P-Zero's), you should be good for some introductory sessions. The P-zeros are actually great to learn the limits of the car with - they tell you a fair bit about what is going on, and complain bitterly before actually giving up. Not sure about 5 year old tires, but I suspect they'll do fine as long as they show no signs of damage ahead of time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39 Posts
Discussion Starter #26 (Edited)
There are two Tech Inspections required for the event, one two weeks ahead and one the morning of. Tomorrow I'm taking her to my service tech, he races BMW's and is quite familiar with this track. He'll need to inspect the tires, they look perfect to me, less than 4000 miles on them, garage kept, and never driven under 40 degrees. Worst case, they have a tire store at the track! I'll see if he's comfortable flushing the brake fluid and using the funnel, if not, I'll take her to my Maserati dealer. Again, thanks everybody!
 
  • Like
Reactions: 4Canada

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,717 Posts
If your tech is a racer, then he'll have your brake fluid flushed in a jiff. It's something we do all the time. Welcome to the track life!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
59 Posts
My local PCA (CT) is only allowing Porsche's right now, and no Macan's or Cayenne's at that. Sounds like the NJ one is more relaxed.

In addition to the above, a couple big heavy duty trash bags are great. If it rains, you can throw everything in them and fold them underneath themselves. Your stuff will stay dry all day.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,043 Posts
Wow, so many things for you to remember and do.
Here is another one: Depending on the race track it may be a big que to the food when the break will come --> Make sure you are among the first in that que (ahead of those miata owners) :)))

Now seriously: If you are not sure about your brakes just brake sooner. Don't need to brake in the absolute last moment especially during the first track days. Be gentle with the car --> best lap times will come when you will be very smooth. Tire pressures: do it once after the first session and that's it. Other cheaper cars will be faster: don't worry, it's normal.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39 Posts
Discussion Starter #30
Had the brake fluid flushed and Tech Inspection done. Anybody here from northern Jersey I can highly recommend New Palumbo's in Millburn, they are long time racers, first with Porsches and now with BMWs, the whole shop got a kick out of the little Alfa!
 
  • Like
Reactions: 4Canada and Mahjik

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,428 Posts
I’ll add my two cents which will be redundant but reinforce everyone’s recommendations.
1. First track event, you learn your car well. If all stock, you’ll quickly realize stock tires are ultimately the limiting factors. Next will be brake fade on the stock pads. You will tend to overbrake in your first event because you’ll be tempted by all the fast cars around you and tend to come in hot or ride the brakes. Do change out your brake fluid!

2. Bring a small cooler with water and snacks. Hydrate the hell up. Your second half of the day and second day will thank you.
3. Bring some Ibuprofen and antihistamines if you have seasonal allergies.
4. Bring a camping chair and a hat. Unless you rented a garage, being in the sweltering heat of the parking lot asphault can tax your body.
5. Bring the torque wrench, portable air compressor and accurate tire gauge. Check your pressures frequently. Occasionally check your lug nuts/bolts when wheel has cooled.
6. Leave the engine cover at home if weather permits. Dont scratch your oil cap while you remove your engine cover or replace it. Pop the bonnet between sessions to cool.
7. Bring a code reader like a Foxwell that not only scans engine codes but also TCM codes. You never know if you have to clear.
8. Inspection may or may not have you remove your footwell carpets. Ours are bolted down so it wont run up under the brake pedal which is what theyre afraid of. But if they do have you remove them, be prepared for you or your instructor to unknowingly scuff the CF. 3M film or PPF could be used in this case.
9. Bring window cleaner for both inside and outside to keep your visual fields clear.
10. Remove your car key from its ring. Most instructors will tell you to not have anything dangly.
11. Ask your instructor politely to remove or pocket any metal objects off their clothes.
12. Avoid greasy food at the concession during lunch if possible. Those deep fried fries and double cheeseburger may taste good going down but the afternoon sessions will definitely be reminiscent of those aromas and tastes.
13. Breath, relax, have fun. Again, learn the dynamics of the car and its midengine-ness. If youre not tuned, you’ll run out of power on the straightaways anyway but focus on technique.
14. Learn the flags and flag stations early, they typically will test you often in Novice.
15. Master sections of the track to ideally eventually run a near perfect lap even if “slow”. There are no trophies.

welcome to the club! Its addicting, the 4C is such a fun track car.
 

·
Super Moderator
2015 4C Launch Edition
Joined
·
4,953 Posts
Taking the engine cover off makes a lot of sense, I’ll look into how easy that is.
It is just held on with rubber "grabbers" pull up on each corner hard and it will pop loose. By removing the cover it run a bit cooler and you can quickly check for any leaks,etc. Make sure your oil cap is tight. Remove ANY loose items from inside the car and once at the track empty the trunk of everything. As you mentioned....don't use the emergency brake when you come in....but bring some sort of a chock block....just a wedge of wood works fine.
Most important....you are there to learn and NOT set lap records or beat any other cars. Leave your competitive side at home. Men have the hardest time with this since we all know how to drive better than anyone else ;-)

I assume you will be with an instructor for part of the day. Listen to what they say and demonstrate. Concentrate on the braking points and how they transition from braking back to throttle, apex, and most importantly the correct line.

A few preparations before the big day.... clean the windows especially well on the inside. A Magic Eraser works really well for removing the scum on the inside of your windshield. Don't use polarized sun glasses unless you absolutely need them when on course...if someone looses oil or water on track they will hide the glare so you won't see it. None polarized sun glasses are OK. Fill your gas tank of course. Find out how to check your brake fluid....it is in the manual....they probably will want to check it and the 4C "hides" the reservoir and the check tube. Use Dynamic mode auto to start with and do NOT use Race....you need a lot more track time before you can turn off all the nannies.

When braking don't wait until the last moment and than slam on the brakes as hard as you can. The instructor will talk about the correct way to brake and transition and "rotate" the car as you than roll on the accelerator.

How old is your helmet.....there will be a sticker with a date on it. They may not let you use it if it is too old.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
994 Posts
12. Avoid greasy food at the concession during lunch if possible. Those deep fried fries and double cheeseburger may taste good going down but the afternoon sessions will definitely be reminiscent of those aromas and tastes.
I haven't been in several years, but at NJMP they used to have a nice pub situated between the lighting and the thunderbolt track where you could have a nice sit down meal during lunch break.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,717 Posts
Walk around, check out the other cars, talk to folks. I've made a lot of good, new friends out at the track and have seen some great cars. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,939 Posts
Inspectors know the notorius Pirelli PZero crack issues well. Check the inboard groove for cracks. This area gives up the ghost first from age, ozone, temps and/or the stress of negative camber. Check the groove.

116329
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,428 Posts
Do verify with your company you'll be tracking with on helmet requirements. The HPDE unit I have previously participated in recently went with a SA2015 minimum requirement for helmet certification.

oh, I forgot to mention that its not a bad idea to also have some zip ties and a roll of Gorilla tape in your kit. ;)
 
  • Like
Reactions: 4Canada

·
Registered
Joined
·
39 Posts
Discussion Starter #37
Again, thanks to everybody for the great tips and suggestions!

Good to know about the Floor mats! I've added Aspirin, Window Cleaner, Zip Ties and Gorilla Tape to the list! And I’ll keep everything in Plastic Garbage bags while I’m on the track, because with my luck, it will be raining that weekend. My tires checked out OK and I have a brand-new helmet, and I did add two official four leaf clover decals to the helmet for good luck!

We had our Zoom Call the other night for the Novice Group, it was helpful and the guys running it are very welcoming, but honestly, I’ve learned way more from this thread and simply by watching YouTube driving videos of the track.

One thing that hasn’t been mentioned, I will definitely be wearing a collared shirt, one of the (very) few complaints I have about driving the car is that the seat belt does ride up onto my neck.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 4Canada

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
16,415 Posts
You'll have a blast!

A few more thoughts, some of which are already mentioned here and in the "advice for track days" threads on this forum.

Just remember to be smooth with all of your inputs.
"Inputs" being turning the steering wheel, pressing AND releasing the gas pedal, and pressing AND releasing the brake (releasing that is frequently done too abruptly).

For starters, do all of your braking and accelerating on a straight line, and as you get more comfortable (maybe not this weekend - doesn't matter when) you can start accelerating sooner (even at or before corner apex). Don't try to be a really late braker, as that typically tends to over-slow the car. Better to brake a bit early, and let off once you get to the cornering speed (even if that means driving slower than you might have for 50') than to panic brake and not be able to come off the brake at your target speed.

But it's more important that you learn to drive lines and drive them smoothly, than to try any more advanced techniques such as "trail braking". Most people (me included) start by turning-in far too early, so pay attention as to where you turn into a corner, if you make the apex without major mid-course adjustments, and if you get to the corner-exit without having to crank the wheel tighter after the apex. As little as 10' difference in where you turn into a curve, might make a big difference in speed carried at the end of the next straight.

You will figure out how much speed you can comfortably take into and through the corners (and a year from now you will be amazed at how much MORE you can really take, but let that happen when you are ready to, because lifting off the throttle mid-corner when you lose your nerve, will result in swapping ends).

Finally, don't try to impress your instructor - because you can't. Don't try to scare them, because they likely already are.

Learn lots, have fun, take plenty of photos, and report back to us after the event!
 
21 - 38 of 38 Posts
Top