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What Should I Pack For A Road Course Track Day?

5761 Views 28 Replies 19 Participants Last post by  CT-MSRT
As many of you guys know, I do road course track days a lot. 16 days scheduled this year up to November. About 14 last year from March forward. Also... obviously ... I drive a station wagon. I have cargo capacity and I use it. As one Porsche pilot wistfully opined as he watched me unload

"If you can load your whole garage in the car, why the hell not?"

Exactly. In fact, on occasion I am the go-to guy for tools in the paddock for other drivers and I don't mind this one bit. Sharing with another driver in a jam is a part of racing, and besides... wouldn't I feel stupid if I needed something, had the room for it and left it at home? Especially if it meant the difference between a tow truck or a drive home?

My "track pack list" is always with me. I keep it on my cell phone. Most of this stuff is bagged up in one of my tool bags and just need to be tossed into the car. Heck, sometimes it never leaves the car. I have been known to come back from the track, park the car in the garage and not unpack it before the next track day.

Do you need to carry all this crap? Thats your call. I'm just telling you what I carry in. Besides, as I said I drive a station wagon. You guys driving those sparse little sedans... get a trailer or have your wife follow you in a pickup :D

THE TRACK PACK LIST (very loosely organized)


  • Track Wheels. I bring along six of them. I fold the seats down and stack four of them up on their sides to the roof at the front, on the seatbacks. The last two go on the lower floor of the trunk, standing up (I remove the upper floor)
  • Laptop (gives you something to do the night before track day... like make up self-indulgent threads like this)
  • Gas cans ([email protected] gal ea. Only rookies buy track gas. Mark my words.). I line them up side to side behind the front four track wheels and ahead of the back two
  • video camera, mount and lanyard (most tracks require a lanyard so the camera, if its mount disengages, does not become an in-cockpit UFO).
  • timing gear (football!)
  • extra batteries (for timing gear, video and flashlights... all race tracks are at least 100 miles from the nearest Radio Shack, so bring batteries)
  • flashlights (track day ends at twilight. Repairs often start at twilight. Nuff said.
  • Leather work gloves. Deerskin are the most usable but calfskin Wells-Lamonts are the standard. Reach into your wheel and grab your brake rotor for a lesson on why you need these. Those cute "contractor" cloth/faux leather gloves stay home.
  • Tools (all of them). Two bags go down low on the rear passenger compartment under the folding seats, along with a couple of .308 ammo boxes that hold specific groupings of tools that I expect to use during the day (one, marked with shoe polish on top, holds all my brake tinkering tools, fluid funnel etc.)
Clothing (all fireproof Carmyth except helmet)

  • Helmet (SA 2005... just buy the damn thing and quit complaining).
  • neck ring (looks silly. A skinny whiplash collar. Worth the $20 if you ever bounce your head off of something inside the car. And you will.)
  • fireproof Long johns
  • fireproof under shirt
  • fireproof socks
  • nomex flight suit (DoD spec CWU-27/P... look it up on EBay: cheap fireproof coveralls for working on/driving car and not catching on fire if one breaks out)
  • fireproof balaclava (no smartass I am not going skiing. STFU).
Quality fireproof underwear is hideously expensive but serves a purpose. It will give you 2-3 seconds of protection so you can jump the hell out of a burning car, and you can wear it and not look like a jackass. Few track guys wear full racing SFI/5 suits, and of those who do, probably half are posers who can afford the suit and the car ... but shouldn't be driving it.

Clothing misc.

  • floppy hat (sunlight all day long. My rule: The skinhead wears a hat).
  • raincoat (seldom needed until you do and then indispensable)
  • garbage bags (for gear in during rain, or raincoats for sale to the fools who brought no raincoats).
Kar Krap

  • Tranny dipstick
  • Tranny fluid level chart
  • Tranny fluid
  • brake fluid (bring lots more than you need until you know how much you will need thru experience)
  • brake pads (one extra set front and rear... they don't have to be new. Just enough to get you home in case your mains fail).
  • Brake tools (get some VERY sturdy scrapers. You will need them to pry back your brake pistons so that new pads will fit into brakes that formerly had worn down pads in them. I call this my Cam tool (ask Cam).
  • bleeder bottles (two for me is enough. One is not unless you want to dump hazardous fluid in front of witnesses).
  • bleeder pail (sit the bleeder bottle on top of it, upended, while bleeding fluid)
  • at least TWO bleeder wrenches (the little fokkers are way too easy to lose and your day is done without them if misplaced)
  • Floor jack (get an aluminum one barely capable of lifting the car. They are easier to lug around and don't require ramps to get the car lifted so the jack will fit. Double party bonus).
  • torque wrench (mine NEVER leaves the car).
  • electric impact hammer with 1/2" socket fitting. The poor people use drills. Use the impact hammer once and you will never go back. The world's most wonderful powerr tool. Ever.
  • lug nuts (you will scream very loudly if you bring your track wheels and forget the lug nuts that go with them).
  • Lug nut sockets (my track wheels require different lug nuts that are different sizes. Make sure you have a socket or you will be way pissed).
  • air gauge. (Bring it or beg someone else for one)
  • laser temp gauge (useful for determining at what point your brake rotors melted into a heap of slag under your car).
More Misc Krap

  • Ice Chest. I like to use the stand-up jug-type ice chest as it is a WAY better fit with all my gear. Just big enough to carry everything I could want.
  • drinks
  • flask (purely medicinal and solely for the night before. See Laptop above).
  • WalkStool (google it. Buy it)
  • tarp (crawl under it in the rain in between sessions)
  • GPS (all race tracks are in BFE ... or BFNY).
Thats my list. Really. I copied it right off my cell phone list that I use. The useless commentary was added here for your enjoyment.
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EDIT: This is from back in the day when I brought only four wheels and three fuel cans. Nowadays I remove the upper floor, stand up two more wheels in the trunk space and fit four racing fuel jugs side by side in the rear, in front of the back two tires. The lawn chair sits on top of the tires now, stuffed up near the roof.

The First thing you do is fold down your rear seats.

The THIRD thing you do is stack your track wheels in just behind... your head.

The Second thing you do is put as much crap as you can in the floor area under the folded down seats. I'm showing it out of order cuz I forgot to take the pics in order.

The Fourth thing you do is put in the folding lawn chair. This is not only the best place to put it, it also helps to hold the tires in place during acceleration.

Next, in go the floor jack, gas cans and ice chest. Note I like to use the tall kind of ice chest as it fits ideally in the space available given all the other crap I am stuffing in here.

Now its time for the Giant Duffel Bag (about 5 bucks: Bundeswehr army surplus at Cheaper Than Dirt) and the tripod for the timing transmitter.

Finish up the back with the box that holds the brake fluid and pads, and the pail holding the bleeder bottles. And since I have room, lets toss in a fire extinguisher in case I set the brakes on fire again.

So much for the back. And I still have extra room, Mr. Sedan Driver.

As for the front, we toss in a couple of spare brake rotors from Mother Mopar and a backpack with a raincoat and some gear in case it turns out to be freezing for some reason before dawn when the track opens up.

Unload, set up and get ready to hear...

"Damn... you've done this before, haven't you!"

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I love the tarp idea.

Do you have a list that will fit in a charger ;)
cool write-up... thats a LOT of stuff....

dan take notes on the gas cans :Na_Na_Na_Na:
Another great write-up Matt! :thumbs_u:

Mind if I link this into the Road Course Prep thread? ;)

Do you recall where you got the fireproof underwear? I've checked a couple of sites and haven't found any yet... ?

Also- for us "sedan drivers"- I removed the lower cushion for my back seat and stacked the tires in there, 2-on-2 just like Matt did. They fit perfectly, but very close on the room. If they were larger diameter I'd have to stand them up back there. I did try to stand them up across the back seat area, but it's nearly impossible to get them to stay upright by yourself. I did see someone at an autocross who built a nifty PVC pipe frame. It's a rectangle with uprights on the sides. The rectangle lays on the bottom (and gives you front and rear support so the tires don't roll), and the uprights keep them from tipping! Very clever! (Sorry, no pic, didn't have time.)
LOL Matt, thats a hell of a pack list :)

You need 1 more proper fuel jub though.

Where is your Air Compressor ?

What do you keep under the sub floor ? That is where I stow the Jack, 4 blocks of 2x6 planks, 2 2x4 chunks and the comprssor.

Something else I do is I pack soft good inside the extra set of wheels Set them Inside to inside to get a little more room.

Something else to add are a few contractor 55g Drum liners and some small kitchen sized ( 20-25g ) trash bags.

Well after 5 30 minute sessions on a 1.9m track I killed a complete tank of gas..... that was a bit of a surprise :)

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LOL Matt, thats a hell of a pack list :)

Where is your Air Compressor ?

Good Question!! Definately a Must Have at the Track!

Something else I do is I pack soft good inside the extra set of wheels Set them Inside to inside to get a little more room.

Great idea! :thumbs_u:

Something else to add are a few contractor 55g Drum liners and some small kitchen sized ( 20-25g ) trash bags.

Well after 5 30 minute sessions on a 1.9m track I killed a complete tank of gas..... that was a bit of a surprise :)

Yep! I was amazed when I figured out that we ran about 150 miles on the track!!:shock:
looks familliar...
this is hemiwagn's "flea market" for track days (1/4 mile)
thanks for the pics simon.

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Battery jump box is a good add, mine has a compressor as well, $89 well spent...used it the other night for a poor dc challenged soul :)

Great list though...oh yeah, tire gauge - most likely in your tools, but i see too many guys at the track looking for a loaner...such and easy stowable.

Nice work MR.
Only rookies buy track gas
That's me! No more...


Great write up Matt let's see if I'm allowed to bean you!
Nope, I'm not allowed...

...Somebody bean this guy for me!
Mind if I link this into the Road Course Prep thread? ;)
Sure no problemo
Do you recall where you got the fireproof underwear?
http://saferacer.com. Here's a link to the underwear section. Carmyth is supposed to be more comfortable. Make that a lot less uncomfortable. I haven't tried the Carbon-X, which is cheaper. I wouldn't do Nomex unless well paid to do so.

Where is your Air Compressor ?
Don't need it. Tracks have air service, although its often nowhere near the fuel service so its often easy to miss. Thats a question I typically ask well before I go to a new track. I have a 6-gallon job at home. Good enough for tires.

What do you keep under the sub floor ?
Nothing. Since my spare is kept in the garage I have a bunch of unused room back there. If I use the sub-floor then that means I have to pull the sub-floor up and out to get at whatever is down there. I have enough to do lugging the crap you see around as it is... actually those pics are older and I have added a third tool bag to that list that I keep in the back. Plus if its an overnight stay your backpack with clothes has to go somewhere.
Well after 5 30 minute sessions on a 1.9m track I killed a complete tank of gas..... that was a bit of a surprise :)
I went thru about 27 gallons yesterday. 3/4 of a tank + 3 full cans and just enough gas to get to the service station on the highway.

looks familliar...
Right down to the GoJo, although I think I am using some other brand of orange stuff. I need to get some of those TireRack tire wrappers.

...oh yeah, tire gauge - most likely in your tools, but i see too many guys at the track looking for a loaner...
I have two :). Have always kept a spare ever since I accidentally backed over mine in the paddock one fine day. In fact one never leaves the car despite the nothing-in-the-car rule. If your tires are overinflated you don't want to have to drive all the way back to your stall to bleed some air. Just get off the track, find the nearest wide spot, bleed and jump back on.
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You could fit more without the interior :wink: I'l be taking my usual stuff plus for tommorow, 200pcs. chicken, 6 or 7 pounds macroni salad, plate's, fork's and what not! I think I'll throw everything in a hefty bag, scavanger's attack! :mrgreen:
Just to have photographic evidence that it can be done:

Here's how you fit six wheels and four fuel jugs in the back, plus all the other track gear:

I removed the upper floor, which gives a LOT of extra room. The recliner now sits on top of the stack of four tires, and the floor jack is under the ice chest (you can see the jack handle on the left) ... I am literally crammed to the ceiling up front... but in back you could still stuff a dead body in there. Gotta love the station wagon.
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Can you make it to New Jersey Motorsports Park Thunderbolt course with that load :)
Pfft! You guys and your station wagons:Na_Na_Na_Na:

I'm getting pretty good at stuffing the Challenger. I never thought to take pics while loading it up, but you might find it amusing (or amazing!) that I can get nearly as much junk in my trunk:wink:

This was my pack list for the trip to Canada a few weeks ago:

Pair of drag radials, pair of front skinnies, floor jack, tool bag, detailing bag, 10x10 canopy, pair of lawn chairs, golf umbrella, laptop, digital camera, video camera, backpack, and ice chest. Oh, and my wife in the passenger seat with her bag-o-goodies on the floor in front of her:)

With that load, I still have room for a pair of 5-gallon fuel containers and extra brake parts (if I were to go road racing). I dare someone to try that in a Mustang or Camaro!
Matt - You're the kinda guy I like being next to in the pits.

Because...... I forget stuff :p
Can you make it to New Jersey Motorsports Park Thunderbolt course with that load :)
Damn right I can. The problem is the time to get out there and back. I don't think I can take the time off. Kansas is going to be a big stretch.

You have a KILLER track to run, too. If only vehicle transport was affordable. Without guaranteed pickup and delivery dates, and an open carrier, I am still looking at $1,000 each way. :-(. If I specify pickup and delivery (i.e. they have to send a truck specifically to get my car) you are looking at roughly triple that number.
time to start a paypal fund to bring Matt out here. We owe him at least a little bit for all the hard fought R&D he's done for us and the delightfully written stories that follow.
Love those storage pics. Magnums rule!
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