Wheels after Work is proud to announce its collaboration with Curbstone Track events…
Sounds great, but what’s a Bootcamp?
Every driver knows that track experience on a certain track doesn’t translate to any other one. This year Wheels after Works chose to not only let customers leave behind their tire tracks on trusted tracks, but also to get everyone racing on Belgium’s biggest and most iconic racing track. Together with our partner Curbstone, Wheels after Work is organising the very first Spa-Francorchamps Bootcamp. From petrolheads who are just starting out and wanting to discover this track, to experienced drivers who want to master every corner and improve their lap times, our bootcamp will get you ready!
Every programme contains at least one Apex training at Spa-Francorchamps in a unique and iconic BMW WTCC track car. These training sessions (on the 21st of september and the 5th of november) take place at nightfall and therefore offer a unique and exclusive experience guided by the elite of professional race driving. You will discover Spa-Francorchamps up close as you’ll take time to stand still at the most crucial and iconic corners of this track. This happens (how else?) “after work” so the necessary drinks and social opportunity are included as well.
Who is Curbstone?
Curbstone is one of the most well known and respected track day and event organisers in the country. They offer exclusive programmes for all drivers on the road as well as on world-renowned race circuits in Europe. They provide the ultimate track driving opportunities for experienced supercar owners, as well as testing facilities for every race car driver.
Who is Wheels after Work?
Wheels after Work offers affordable track cars without any compromises. They aim to build affordable track cars to make racing accessible to a broader group of petrol heads while having an iconic design, low maintenace costs & optimal safety.
After working with several track driving coaches, we thought it might be interesting to make a summary of the 10 most frequent advices that were given to our customers.
These 10 tips will help to make you a faster, and perhaps more importantly, safer driver:
Starting things off, it’s important to have proper posture. Make sure the driver’s seat is adjusted correctly. You don’t want to be leaning back like some sort of wannabe gangster. Instead, tuck your rump firmly into the bucket and make sure the backrest is fairly vertical so you can maximize your outward visibility. Also, ensure you can operate the pedals, with enough reach to fully depress the clutch (if applicable).
A lot of motorists think you’re supposed to keep your grubby paws at the 10 and 2 o’clock positions. This may be OK while driving on the open road but if you’re heading out on a track, you’ll want to revise the timing of your hands. Putting them at 9 and 3 is better for two reasons. One, it gives you greater range of turning motion, and two, it’s balanced. If your hands are at 10 and 2, this makes the steering wheel top-heavy; it’ll tend to go farther left or right when you crank the tiller off-center. At 9 and 3, it’s balanced.
Heel-and-toe downshifting is a critical skill to have if your car is equipped with a manual transmission. While slowing down before entering a corner, it’s necessary to drop down a gear or three so you can power out of the turn. To achieve this, you brake in a straight line with the toes of your right foot, then hit the clutch pedal with your left. While doing all of this, rotate your right heel over to the accelerator pedal so you can raise the engine revs enough so that when you change gears and let the clutch out, the transition is smooth. There’s a lot to do, but it’s a rewarding thing to master.
While driving at speed, it’s critically important to look ahead, way ahead. Glancing at the tarmac a few feet in front of your car’s front bumper may be satisfactory on the street, but it doesn’t cut it while racing. You’re moving faster, so you have to look further ahead. And the further ahead you look, the more prepared you will be and the smoother your driving will be. You have to look through the corner you’re negotiating at the track ahead, using your peripheral vision and side windows as necessary. And keep in mind, the place you’re looking is where the vehicle will tend to go, so avoid staring at spectators or the tire wall.
Before entering a corner, you generally need to slow down. Not surprisingly, there’s a right way to decelerate and a wrong way. The wrong way is to stand on the brake pedal at the last possible second, causing the front of the car to dive with such ferocity that its bumper scrapes the pavement. This is a great way to upset the chassis, shifting the vehicle’s weight forward; it’s also ideal for cooking your pads and rotors in short order.
Balance and proper weight distribution are the keys to turning quickly and safely. Instead, what you want to do is brake in a straight line when you have maximum traction, gradually but firmly slowing down as you enter the turn. This keeps the vehicle on an even keel. In many situations, you want your deceleration to be finished before entering the turn, but more experienced drivers can do something known as “trail braking,” which helps improve front-end grip.
Some of the above-mentioned suggestions take practice to master, but this tip is easy. After you’ve slowed down and then entered a corner, transition your right foot from the brake pedal to the accelerator and apply a dab of throttle, just enough for you to maintain momentum through the turn. This keeps the chassis nicely balanced and prepares you to go wide-open once the nose is pointed straight ahead.
But before you can mash the gas, you’ve got to finish negotiating the turn, which means nailing the apex, the innermost point of a corner. Hitting this spot as late as possible is generally the fastest way through a turn because it gives you the straightest possible line, which maintains momentum. Keep in mind, this isn’t necessarily the shortest distance through a corner, but it’s the fastest and that’s what matters.
After you’ve apexed, it’s time to start accelerating again. As mentioned several times before, smoothness is key. You want to roll evenly on the throttle as you begin exiting a corner and unwinding the wheel. Doing so will not upset the car’s balance. Please, resist the temptation to mash the gas!
And while you’re putting that corner in your rearview mirror, allow the car to drift wide as you exit; don’t be afraid of the shoulder or rumble strips, you want to use as much of the track as possible. At speed, these extra few inches can save a lot of time by, again, giving you the straightest possible line through the turn and allowing you to maintain momentum.
In case you haven’t picked up on it yet, the No. 1 tip for driving on a racetrack is the importance of being smooth. Herky-jerky movements and sudden inputs only upset a car’s balance, reducing traction and increasing the likelihood of something bad happening (like smashing into a wall). When driving on a closed course, try to be patient and methodical. Remember, smooth may feel slow, but on a track, it’s actually faster.
So your looking for race cars for sale and want to buy your dream Track Car? Great! Let’s have a look at a basic checklist to make sure your dream doesn’t turn into a nightmare.
It might seem like a logical first step, but define for yourselfwhat your objective is with the car. Casual track day or competition driving? Does it need to be road legal to drive to the track? Which tracks will you be driving on? Do you have a preference for a specific brand? What setup will you be using, wet or dry? How many seats do you need in the car?
Basic questions, but we suggest to make a list of your buying criteria before going “shopping”.
A professional racing driver or mechanic can help you avoid a bad purchase. Their experience will give you the opportunity to make a good mechanical and professional decision.
When looking at race cars for sale, a lot of people focus on the purchase price and not the overall running cost. Sometimes it is better to spend a little more when buying the car to avoid higher running costs afterwards. New brakes, new tyres,… They all cost a little more in the beginning, but avoid high costs afterwards.
Also look at the second hand spare parts market. Do spare parts come cheap and easy to find when you encounter damage?
Last but not least, take a look at the engine and make a list of the modifications that have been made. The more your engine is modified, the higher the maintenance cost. Lots of Track Day enthousiasts chose a standard factory engine without modifications to start with.
When inspecting a track car, you should always look at the typical wear parts. These parts show potential short term costs you need to take into account and also give an indication on how the engineering of the car has been done. For example, parts to inspect are brakes, tyres, suspension, fuel & water pump and transmission.
Look into the transmission question as well. Automatic transmissions are ideal for rookie Track Day drivers but also very costly when they brake. On the other hand, manual transmissions are less expensive but require a higher skill when driving.
When building a proper race track car, you need to take into account different characteristics. Moreover, this depends on your budget, preferences and objectives.
For instance, at Wheels after Work we apply the DMS principle when building a Race Track Car: finding a good balance between Design, Maintenance costs and Safety.