When I travel to the track to coach or race, there are a few essentials I make sure to never leave home without. Let's talk about the equipment you should consider bringing to your next track day event.
Helmet-and-neck restraint system: This is a given. In most cases, you're not getting on track without both of these items. For more details about what type of helmet I prefer, check out the short video above, where I give a brief rundown of my track day essentials.
Gloves: Not mandatory for HPDE, but I prefer wearing gloves. Especially on a hot, humid day, I don't like the feeling of sweaty hands on a steering wheel.
Driving shoes: I need to get as much feel and feedback as possible through the pedals. Wearing basic tennis shoes tends to numb this communication.
Racing suit and Nomex underlayers: Over the last few years, I've started wearing my racing suit more and more, even in street cars at track day events. I'm regularly coaching/driving street cars capable of speeds north of 150mph. If you were to have an accident at those speeds, you might also encounter a severe fire. Your buddies might razz you for pretending to be a race car driver when you walk around in a fancy suit, but why take unnecessary chances with your safety?
Running shoes, hiking boots, or a bicycle: I have difficulty sleeping before and during race weekends. Good sleep significantly influences your ability to focus, and I can tell when I haven't slept well. My reaction times seem sluggish, and I have a more challenging time multitasking in the car. I find doing some light exercise before hitting the sack helps burn off excess energy created by the excitement of the weekend and allows me to fall asleep easier.
Hydration tablets: I like to bring a tube of Nuun tablets with me to every race event to maintain a good hydration level each day.
Data system and laptop: I always bring my data system even if the car I plan to drive is already equipped with a system. Data systems can be finicky and are prone to failing right when you need them most. Having a backup system can be a lifesaver.
Printed track maps: I like to have a few printed maps to make quick notes pre and post-session about a particular corner. It also makes communicating with my teammates or coaching customers easier when you reference a map, especially when you haven't committed all the corner numbers or names to memory yet.
Sunscreen: SPF is a must-have at tracks where shade is at a premium.
Label maker or erasable markers: I like giving myself a shortlist of tasks to accomplish every session by printing out quick messages on labels and sticking them to the steering wheel or dash so I don't forget what I'm supposed to focus on. Simple messages like, "Try 3rd gear instead of 2nd at turn 5," or "Try braking earlier in turn 2," or simply, "Keep your eyes up!" I've also used erasable markers to make notes on the inside of the windshield. No matter how you do it, having a checklist to follow keeps you focused on a mission every session.
What essentials can't you leave the house without? Comment below!