The following article was written by Andrea Cairone of and was published on Road & Track’s website. You can find the original posting here.  I thought it was a pretty good, albeit short, article on some of the essentials of taking a daily-driver car to the track.  Below is the article in its original format. -Chad

M Coupe with tire rack

Track days have become more popular as enthusiasts search for places to explore the performance potential of their cars without getting into trouble, at least with the law.

Once exposed to it, you’ll probably be hooked—track driving is both exhilarating and addictive. Trouble is, track days can be much harder on equipment than a beginner may realize. Getting to a quality venues often involves a long drives to a remote location, and the last thing you want is having your weekend ruined because you weren’t prepared. While there’s always someone with tools at these events, you have no way of knowing for sure if their kit will include, say, that 7mm hex socket you need to change pads on your BMW. Better to be prepared and independent, so let’s examine what you should consider bringing to your next ripping session.

Track Day Gear
Andrea Cairone

1. Helmet

Many clubs have loaner lids and you might consider using one if it’s your first time, but trust me, you don’t want to stick your head inside one of those community sweatboxes any more than necessary. If you buy your own helmet, make sure it has the required certification. This varies from club to club. Most helmets on the market today carry a Snell SA2010 rating, meaning they’re good until the year 2020. The general consensus about how much to spend on one is simple: as much as you can.

A neck protector is also a good idea, but karting-style neck protectors are not optimal for use in a car. I use a HANS device for neck protection, but that can only be used if your car is fitted with proper belts and seats. There are other head-restraint devices on the market that can be used with a three-point belt, like the Simpson R3.

2. Track Tires

There are two schools of thought about tires for track days. There’s much to be said about what you can learn using street tires and the lower limits they impose on the car but, what if you ruin one and have a five-hour drive home? The hassle of getting wheels shod with track tires to the track will seem like a bargain, especially after having experienced a session on fat, sticky rubber. The issue then becomes how to get four wheels to the track, and that’ll depend on your car. If they won’t all fit inside, you might use a roof rack or a small trailer.

3. Socket Set

At the track, the most likely bit of fiddling you’ll do is changing brake pads, so at the very least, make sure you have the correct sockets and wrenches to get that job done on your car.

4. A Good Torque Wrench

It’s essential that your wheels are properly torqued (not over-torqued). You should check your lugs or nuts before every session.

5. Duct Tape

Is an explanation really necessary?

6. A Tire-Pressure Gauge

You need to monitor your tire pressures, as they will increase as your tires heat. The right pressure will depend on your tire and car, so you need a reliably accurate gauge as part of your kit.

7. Work Gloves and Cleaners

Your car will be dirty and hot, covered in bugs and rubber boogers. Be prepared.

8. Tool Bag

It should contain zip ties, wrenches and screwdrivers, a breaker bar, cutters, a rubber mallet, spare lugs or nuts, and so on.

9. Cameras and Data Loggers

Everyone has a GoPro nowadays, as studying video can be an invaluable learning tool. Same goes for data loggers. You can go with a small standalone unit like the AIM Solo, a smartphone app, or even, on some new cars, built-in tech like Ford’s track apps.

10. Cordless Impact Wrench

Don’t buy anything less than an 18V unit if you want to be able to break bolts loose with it.

11. Extra Brake Pads

Along with gas and tires, brake pads are the main consumable. And consume them you will so, learn how to change pads efficiently. Don’t waste your time on pads advertised as “street/track capable”. Generally, that means they’re not great in either situation.

12. Oil and Brake Fluid

Always have the correct amount of oil in the engine before you drive onto the circuit. Extra brake fluid will be handy if you need to bleed the brakes. If you track often, you’ll want to change your brake fluid to one with a higher boiling point.

13. Aluminum Jack and Jack Stands

You can buy a lightweight, compact, and easy-to-use jack for around $100. Just make sure you check it often, as they can go bad on short notice. Never, ever work under the car without jack stands.