So you have completed your first NASA HPDE event, gotten time on the track, and moved on to HPDE 2 & 3. As you get more comfortable with pushing your car to the limit you’ll notice things start breaking or not performing as they used to. The fun part is you get to play with some upgrades. The down side is spending your hard earned money. In a previous post I shared what to prep, for HPDE 1 (http://www.jamiemoreno.com/2015/06/preparing-for-your-first-nasa-hpde-event.html). In this post I will share with you parts that will be useful to help make you faster and safer.
- Stainless steel brake lines. The rubber brake lines that most cars have are not meant for the abuse they get on the track. They can’t handle the pressure while racing and expand too much which leads to bursting. I have heard of numerous stories of people’s brake lines doing just that they either crash or flip their car over. That is sooo scary! This should be your #1 change
- Tires. Now you are getting serious and need some good sticky street tires or racing slicks. My personal fav street tire is Dunlop ZII. But other good street tires are: BFGoodrisc g-Force Rival, Yokohama ADVAN Neova AD08 R, and Hankook Ventus R-S3 (v2). Good slicks are Hoosier A6, Hankook Ventus Z214, and Kumho Ecsta V710. No point in having a lot of HP without being able to put it on the ground.
- Big brake upgrades. Remember as you get faster and start using the brakes harder. The stock calipers might be able to take the heat and abuse. Pistons don’t work as well, dust boots degrade and tear. You can upgrade using big brake upgrade kits from companies like Brembo or StopTech. These kits come with SS brake lines, rotors, calipers, mounting brackets, and pads.
- Brake pad. If you start to see brake pad transfer I would suggest using TRACK ONLY pad. What is happening is you have exceeded the temperature range for a particular pad and is sluffing off material on your rotor. This can easily be fixed by buying pads like HAWK DTC-50, DTC-60 or DTC-70.
- Brake ducting. If you still find yourself having too much heat in the brake area, use brake ducting. Here is a pic of what it looks like. It brings air in to cool down the brakes.
- Wheels. The only reason to upgrade these puppies is to fit the big brakes. Most big brakes need 18” minimum to clear. Make sure to check clearance needed before buying new wheels. StopTech has handy templates that help you with the fit (http://www.stoptech.com/technical-support/bbk-wheel-fitment-templates). If your budget allows it get lightweight wheels, it really helps with turning faster with some good rubber.
- BOV. If your car is like mine and has a turbo upgrading your blow-off valve can help with boost leak and boost lag.
- Intercooler. Help get a bit more performance out of your turbo/supercharger as it cools the air for the engine. It is meant withstand more psi coming from the turbo than the stock one.For example in my 2009 WRX the plastic tabs on the intercooler will break if I go beyond 17 psi.
- Uppipe. The uppipe can also handle more psi from the turbo than the stock uppipe. What could happen is the uppipe fails due to the stress on it and piece of it can get into the turbo. Thus, dead turbo. The uppipe also gives you on an average of 10 HP, better performance, better flow.
- Radiator. Upgrading your radiator can help your car from overheating, thus improving performance. The more cores it has the more cooling efficiency it has. Mishimoto is one the well-known brands for this.
- Tune. Get your car tuned, or at least at a minimum get logs from it to see if there are any issues. It is easier to fix something to prevent a catastrophic event then it is to repair something broken. It will also help the car run better which equals better performance. I did this and I saw immediate results! My car was overbosoting, which later down the road would of caused the engine to fail. Now I'm getting more HP on the ground, the turbo is spooling up quicker and lasting longer, . Check out the difference below, the red is untuned, and the blue is tuned.
It's important to also note that you should always get a tune when adding performance parts like an uppipe or intercooler. There is a lot more that you could to make your car faster but being in HPDE 2 & 3 there is no reason too, unless you plan to turn your car into a full-fledged race car in the future. These are the small things to at least minimize the danger. But as you know anything can happen out on the track. Stay safe out there!