Whether you’re an avid HPDE participant or are just getting into the sport, here are five HPDE checklist items that can help you avoid common failures participants encounter at HPDE events:

1. Check your lug nuts

We put our cars through more abuse than they see on the street, and it’s important to make sure all four wheels stay on your car!  If one lug bolt or lug nut is loose, the slop can eventually loosen the other bolts or nuts on the wheel.  When installing wheels, always make sure to use a star pattern when torqueing.  Make sure to torque your wheels before each on-track session as well.

2. Know your tire pressure

It’s very important to check your tire pressure at the end of each session (while your tires are hot) and the beginning of each session (while your tires are cold), and write them down.  Your hot tire pressure is important since it impacts the handling of your car on track. It’s necessary to have this data because it will help you know how much tire pressure you gain during a session—this will aid in helping you determine a perfect starting/cold tire pressure.  If you’re new to this sport, find other drivers that happen to drive similar cars to get a baseline for a starting pressure and ideal hot pressures.  It’s essential to monitor tire pressures throughout the event because pressures will change with the ambient temperature. If you remember one thing about tire pressure, as the temperature increases, so will your tire pressure.

3. Check your fluids before every track session 

Unless you have a leak, it’s unlikely that your coolant level will change during your participation at an event.  Many cars will burn a little engine oil while participating in a high-performance driving event, so make sure to check your oil before each session.  Oil level should be tested with the engine warm (not on) and on level ground.  As your brake pads wear down, more brake fluid flows to the calipers—thus, your brake fluid level in your reservoir will decrease throughout the duration of a track event.  Monitor this to make sure the level doesn’t fall below the “minimum” line.  Finally, ensure that you have plenty of gas before every session—there’s nothing worse than having to end a session early because you ran out of gas!

4. Clean out your car

Confirm the car is empty of all loose objects before you go on the track.  In the best case, loose objects can be a distraction making noise as they move around the car. In the worst case, loose objects could get jammed underneath a brake pedal and prevent you from being able to apply full brake pressure.

5. Make sure you’re ready to hit the track

Finally, make sure the “loose nut behind the wheel” is ready for the next session.  Drink plenty of fluids, stay cool and make sure you are in the right state of mind before going on track. Driving in an event is challenging and requires complete focus, so make sure you are prepared.

These HPDE checklist tips are intended to help you learn, have fun, and be safe at your next event.  Taking the time to address these areas will ensure you have the best experience possible while on track.