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Mods to Drive on the NSXPO Track Day?

Joined
11 January 2021
Messages
638
Location
Ontario, Canada
I'm thinking I'd like to try the Track Days at NSXPO this year, but I've never been on a track in the real world. What modifications do I have to do to my NSX to get on the track? Change the coolant to water? Safety wire things? Change the brakes? Take things off like my windshield wipers? I probably won't bother if there are too many things to change.
Is this already a thread that I can't find or posted on the NSXPO site somewhere?
Thanks,
 
Flush your brake system with good fluid,
check your brake pads,
check your tires
Oil change
install a toe hook if you have one at the track
When was the last time you change your coolant expansion tank? I would change that if not already done
I don't' think changing your coolant to water is necessary, but flushing with new fluid is a good idea if not changes for a while
Its an old car, so things will start breaking when you push it.
When was last time you did timing belt, water pump and coolant hose?
Windshield wipers are fine....
 
20 years ago, the advice was simple: use good brake fluid and track-rated pads and you'll be fine. But, now that our NSXs are older, we need to pay attention to more things. @MrHugo is right- track days tend to expose any weaknesses on the car.

Elaborating on his excellent list above:
  1. Use fresh DOT 4 brake fluid- it has a high dry boiling point. I use ATE Type 200. I used Motul RBF 600 in the GT-R. I never boiled either one, despite some 90F+ HPDE days.
  2. Use brake pads that are rated for track duty. Due to the small rotors, the NSX will put a ton of heat into the pad. You'll cook street compounds into charcoal briquettes within 1 lap. Street/Track pads that have been proven to work really well are: Hawk HP+, Project Mu HC800/HC+, Endless MX-72, PFC-01, Carbotech AX6, Ferodo DS2500. Word of caution: these are all pretty squeaky and dusty (except for the MX-72, which amazingly are silent!)
  3. You want relatively fresh brake rotors on the front. Centric blanks are cheap and high quality. Make sure to bed your pads if you buy new ones. You can always do a brake bedding lap at the HPDE as well.
  4. The Honda 50/50 coolant should be just fine- no need to swap water. However, I would make sure your radiator is in good condition. A pitted and bug smashed radiator can reduce your cooling capacity by 50% or more. Not good for the track. You want clean, straight vanes. The OEM radiator is fine for a lightly modded NSX, but most of us just get the Koyo since it's cheaper, stronger (no glued plastic tanks) and has a larger cooling capacity.
  5. If you are using the Honda white cap MTF, change it before the track day and then after the track day. The Honda MTF is not shear stable at high temp and will shear down quickly. Trans oil temps can get over 260F on a hot track day. Thus, the conventional advice is to start with fresh MTF and change it out after the event in order to protect your transmission. Or, you can use a shear stable MTF like Torco (this is what I use) and not worry about changing MTF. :)
  6. Remove the tow hook cover before heading out on your out-lap. It always pops off under hard cornering. Some guys use fishing line to secure it, but I just take it off for the HPDE.
  7. Then, generally, you should do a "tech inspection" at your house before heading down to the event. Check things like your ball joints for movement and/or damage to the rubber boots. Look for any oil leaks on the engine and address them (oil on the track- even a few drops- can cause havoc for drivers and ruin a fun track day). Re-grease your sway bar bushings. Check the wheel bearings for noise (especially the left rear one). Make sure the car has had an alignment recently and that the shocks are still working and not leaking.

Having said all that, I would argue that the MOST critical thing to address for HPDE is the cooling system. The NSX does not tolerate even small coolant leaks well on the track- ask me how I know. If the system has the proper amount of coolant and can run at the proper pressure, the engine will go lap after lap and not have any issues. Thus:
  • Check your coolant hoses for damage or fatigue.
  • Make sure you're not weeping coolant from anywhere. Under high load, any small leak like this can suck air into the system.
  • Check all of the coolant bleeders and make sure they are snug.
  • Make sure the radiator is not leaking.
  • Make sure your expansion tank is intact and not leaking/cracked.
  • Test your tank cap and make sure it holds pressure.
  • Do a bleeding sequence to purge any remaining air from the system that may have collected at the bleeders from daily driving.
I made a checklist in MS Word that covers all of this stuff and, before a HPDE, I just go through it all. The nice thing is all of this can be done at home so that when you get to the track, you can focus on the main thing- having fun and driving!! :D
 
If you are not sure when your hoses were replaced, than replace at least those 3 on the top of the engine going to the fire wall.
Especially the one on the bottom likes to give up if you have fun. Also remove your center cups on wheels. I left 3 of them at Sebring. Fresh set of tires doesn't hurt.
 
..and don't forget about you...wear comfortable but snug garments....have a helmet that fits and can pass a visual inspection ie not expired safety decal...drink plenty of water throughout the day...bring some protein bars ect if you can't get to breakfast/lunch. Leave ego at the hotel...
 
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