Track Day Dos and Don'ts
If you've been bitten by the track-day bug and want to participate with your Corvette, you'll find they're held often, at just about every road course in the country. Log on to your preferred track's website and check for open track days, or link up with your local Corvette-club members and ask if they hold any. The National Corvette Museum's High-Performance Driving Events are excellent venues, too, with top-notch instruction. Once you've signed up for a track day, you'll want to arrive prepared and ready to run, and you'll immediately get off on the right foot if you keep in mind the following:
- DO bring a helmet with a minimum Snell SA 2005 rating. Most tracks have spares to borrow, but don't count on it. Bring your own—and note that those with a basic DOT rating aren't acceptable at most facilities.
- DON'T worry about a full racing harness. The factory three-point safety belts in your Corvette are fine. And don't show up with a racing harness for the driver's position only: Many tracks insist that the passenger's restraint match the driver's.
- DO tighten your lug nuts to 100 lb-ft of torque. They'll check at the event. You'll have to remove the center caps when running on the track, too.
- DON'T leave junk in your trunk. The interior of your car must be free of loose items, and for some tracks, that even means the console and glove box.
- DO inspect your car for fluid leaks and windshield cracks. If they're noticed during the tech inspection, you're out.
- DON'T forget to check your brake system. The fluid should be full and clean, and you'll want a good set of pads. If you run hard for a day or two, you'll probably need to replace them afterward, too.
- DON'T bring racing-compound tires/slicks if you've never run a road course before. Stick with street tires at first, and make sure there's at least 3⁄32-inch of tread depth.
- DO read the track and/or event's driving rules and follow them to the letter. That means learning the meanings of different flags, where the passing zones are, and even where to stage your car.
- DON'T hesitate to ask questions. Every driver has his or her first time on the track, and the instructors and course personnel are eager to help.
Finally, you may want to double- check your insurance policy, because an accident on a race track typically isn't covered. You can usually obtain coverage for the days you'll be on the track, but it'll definitely cost a few bucks.
All About Autobahn Country Club
If the term "country club" conjures images of funny hats, golf carts, and white shoes, Autobahn Country Club may just alter your opinion. Located on 350 acres in the countryside around Joliet, Illinois, Autobahn is a regional lodestone for those who'd rather drive their Corvette than a golf ball. There are two road courses—a 1.46-mile north circuit and a 2.1-mile south circuit—that, when linked, become a single 3.56-mile course with 22 turns. Autobahn offers daily track time to members, racing schools, driver-improvement schools, and more, and just like traditional golf country clubs, membership fees apply. There are even condominiums on the grounds, for the truly hard-core. More information is available at www.autobahncc.com.