Pacione

Pacione Motorsport on The Internet

Getting Started?

I wanted to share a few tips I wish someone had told me when I started racing. I admit that it was all about jumping in the fastest car and tracking the car in a competitive race. The fact is, this took quite a while, and I am glad it did, otherwise I would have spent a small fortune building a car aimed at maximum power, the best tires and suspension, while downgrading safety, reparability, and of course imagining that I could transfer my street skill seamlessly to the track. Man was I wrong, and now I know that I was lucky.


The reality at the time was learning very quickly that racecars cost money - Lots of it, every mistake, every weekend.


Even though I didn’t know it at the time, my luck was anchored in my very first racecar. This was a Mustang 5 L Fox Body that my friends and I built night after night in a garage. Parts were readily available, experienced and accessible drivers around the track all had seat time in Mustangs, and most importantly it was a familiar car to drive.


Imagine if I put all my time, energy and money in a supercharged rocket of a racecar day one? I don’t think I would be here today to talk about it.


Imagine if I put all my time, energy and money in a supercharged rocket of a racecar day one? I don’t think I would be here today to talk about it.

The Car

Make sure that the brand of car you choose is “less than affordable”. That is, it needs to be inexpensive because it will be modified and fixed over and over again in any given season. Look around and beyond whatever brand allegiance you may have. I chose a Mustang because of its “versatility of platform”. The ability to modify with aftermarket parts and tune the car to the specification particular to the style of racing I was getting into. I started my journey with the best rust-free shell I can afford.


What Type of

Racing?


This ultimately determines the goals you will need to set to finalize your racecar. For example, Lapping days generally require minimal preparation with a key focus on safety.


Solo 1, Autocross, and Time Attack series require specific rule derived modifications to the car and driver environment such as 4-Pt bar, safety harness and driver fit racing seat. Each of these classes will determine what performance upgrades are required/allowed. These include showroom stock or prepared, or street tires versus competition tires etc.

Road race is a possible first time goal, however, this is ambitious as it requires everything listed above and more.


Road race is a possible first time goal, however, this is ambitious as it requires everything listed above and more.


What will make your first car safe is the quality of the cage. The number of places/points it is welded to the chassis determines the strength of the cage and its design. This is governed by the rules of the race/event. For example, for a racecar that is over 2500 lbs, cages range from 4 to 8 point and should be made of quality 1.75 DOM steel with a .120 wall thickness.


Big brakes are paramount! Spend a little extra. Use the best brakes you can afford (then buy one model up!).


Suspension


Your racecar’s suspension will impact the control you have behind the wheel. Your time needs to be spent on developing knowledge through the line of the track and steering out of the chaos safely. In short, the quality of your suspension will affect the drivability the racecar under load and at speed. If you are spending your time fighting it in corners or acceleration, then look to the suspension and how this and your tires are impacting the overall car stance.


Rob's

Top Ten Tips

Plus Two More


  • 1

  • Don’t add too much power to soon! Engine modifications should increase according to driver skill!

  • 2

  • There is a difference between driving and racing

  • 3

  • Listen to instruction. Anyone who has more seat time that you is a mentor

  • 4

  • Vision – Not watching what’s around you will ruin your day!

  • 5

  • Keep detailed records. Small incremental changes to your racecar have big effects.

  • 6

  • Tires. Check pressure, installation and especially tread wear

  • 7

  • Decide on and focus on developing one skill set at a time – drifting, defensive driving, or road racing

  • 8

  • Learn How To Drive! Driving is a particular skill set (instruction IS required). Go to school once you have basic track skills to get the most out of the experience. Schools such as Bondurant, Skip Barber, and Tim O’Neil are excellent

  • 9

  • Read, watch, socialize, chat, visit, and listen to everyone and anyone that knows more than you.

  • 10

  • Know when to pull in. Sometimes track conditions, other drivers, or the racecar just aren’t right. Don’t fight it, pull in and live to race another day.

  • 11

  • Video everything. We've been filming since 1995. Your videos are your best training tool, don't leave it to memory.

  • 12

  • It takes more than a driver to race a car. Make sure you have a solid crew who know and love what they're doing.