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There's always been a lot of talk about drag strips around here, but I never really see anyone doing circuit / track day events. Anyone else here do SCCA Track Nights in America events?

Last week I did my second event, this year at Thompson Motor Speedway in CT. If you've never done one, it's about $150 for 3 20-minute sessions, and absolutely no racing permitted (so everyone stays safe, no cars get ruined, just you and other gear-heads enjoying their cars). Doesn't sound like much on paper, but it's a day-long event and totally worth it.

The Fusion did great - it's a heavy car as we all know, but other than that it held up very well and kept pace with much more track-oriented cars out there (although I didn't really push past 70% or so). Mine is also stock (perforce wise, at least), just minor stuff like an FMIC, EBC YellowStuff brake pads, and performance summer tires. There are cars of all sorts, from dedicated track toys to SUVs (like an Acura MDX... oh yes).

If you want to have some fun with your Sport, I recommend you guys try an event out in your area!









 

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It's funny that you posted this. Just yesterday I was at an event held at Palmer Motorsport Park in palmer, Ma. It was put on by the Larz Andersen museum as one of their end of the year events.

It wasn't a full on track day and there was a pace car (gt-350r) to keep everyone from getting too fast. But I did get to push the limits of the fusion for more laps than I felt I paid for. The event only cost $125 and we ran most of the day with lunch/hotlaps in racecars to act as a break.

Super fun day and I learned a ton about the driving dynamics of the fusion sport. To sort of repeat what was said above, what really impressed me was how easily the car kept pace with cars costing 2x and even sometimes 3x more than it.

Sadly I don't have any fancy pictures or onboards. Just a few I took personally.

27072
 

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Looks like a blast! I'd love to do that. How did you get the video game set up going? Do they rent the equipment or is it yours?
 

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@Brandon2G That's awesome! How was Palmer? We were looking into it for next year - I want to try one day on each / most of the tracks in the region. Never been there myself.

@Fusion2881 They make it super easy to do - no memberships or clubs needed. The video is actually just my phone, and I used an app called Harry's Lap Timer (pertolhead version). It was $20 but worth it. Just entered the vehicle & settings, select the track, and I connected it to my OBDLink MX. Once I got home I just rendered each session.
 
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@Brandon2G That's awesome! How was Palmer? We were looking into it for next year - I want to try one day on each / most of the tracks in the region. Never been there myself.

@Fusion2881 They make it super easy to do - no memberships or clubs needed. The video is actually just my phone, and I used an app called Harry's Lap Timer (pertolhead version). It was $20 but worth it. Just entered the vehicle & settings, select the track, and I connected it to my OBDLink MX. Once I got home I just rendered each session.
I loved every second of it. First time on the track and it seemed like it was being run very safe/professional. The track is very well made but there really isn't any run off so that definitely was in the back of my mind all day. The elevation changes are insane! Coming off the main stretch going into turns 14, 13, and 12 was my favorite sequence. I'd really like to do some of the SCCA track nights next season as I have now been bitten by the bug lol.
 

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I haven't done one yet, but I'm signed up for doing the helmets for heros event at shenandoah.

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I haven't done one yet, but I'm signed up for doing the helmets for heros event at shenandoah.

Sent from my Pixel 4 XL using Tapatalk
I searched near us and the closest thing I could find was South Carolina. Got a link?

Edit found that one, but I'm not military. I'd love to do something solo or with limited people on a track.
 

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I searched near us and the closest thing I could find was South Carolina. Got a link?

Edit found that one, but I'm not military. I'd love to do something solo or with limited people on a track.

Sent from my Pixel 4 XL using Tapatalk
 

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I'd love to do something solo or with limited people on a track.
TNiA events aren't crowded, they make sure you are spaced out, and if you enter into the Novice class (it's all based on skill, not your car, since it's just a fun day out) they really help you out with a warm-up and track tour/paced laps. If you ever have people behind you, you simply pull into the pits, chill for a sec, then go back out once you feel comfortable. They're very strict about no racing. I baby my Sport, so trust me if it was anything crazy I wouldn't have done it multiple times.

It's going to be hard to find something solo since renting a track isn't cheap - TNiA has a lot of the costs paid for by TireRack plus various other rotating sponsors. (And TireRack actually gives everyone discount codes to get more tires after!)
 

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@DaMiFo I checked the closest one in 500mi is already sold out, guess I'll have to check for next year.

I too baby my Sport, she doesn't even have 6,000 miles on her yet and I've had her for a year and a half, nearly half of all my milage is from meets. My Fusion friends make fun of me for how meticulous I am.
 

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TNiA events aren't crowded, they make sure you are spaced out, and if you enter into the Novice class (it's all based on skill, not your car, since it's just a fun day out) they really help you out with a warm-up and track tour/paced laps. If you ever have people behind you, you simply pull into the pits, chill for a sec, then go back out once you feel comfortable. They're very strict about no racing. I baby my Sport, so trust me if it was anything crazy I wouldn't have done it multiple times.

It's going to be hard to find something solo since renting a track isn't cheap - TNiA has a lot of the costs paid for by TireRack plus various other rotating sponsors. (And TireRack actually gives everyone discount codes to get more tires after!)
DaMiFo. I thank you. You always give good information. Always thought track days were for those with HP cars going around bullying slower cars and making things uncomfortable for those that just want to lap. Looked up some clubs and its not that way at all. Been after something like this for a while, just didn't know how to find it.
Curse you that you didn't post this 4 weeks earlier. All but one is done for the year, and I'm not sure I can get ready in time. I know you mentioned doing track days but didn't really understand what you meant until now.
Thanks again. Really enjoyed your video. I think you mentioned that you switched off the engine noise through the speakers, which I noticed. Also noticed you had some wheel squealing through some of the corners.
I've booked marked some clubs and I suppose I have time now to find a helmet and start saving for a couple of events. Bit more expensive North of the border.
 
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Thanks! I actually thought the same until a buddy told me about TNiA last year, we both went for the first time. This year was very last minute for us too.

I actually do have the ANC system activated, personally I like it, but it's not increasing volume in sport mode with the v3.4 APIM I have installed for some reason. Been too busy to check out my programming tho. But oh yeah there was a lot of tire squeal! The mic on my GoPro lost a lot of the sounds due to the wind noise tho.

As for prep, all you really need are good tires (as in, good tread - I had a blast on the OE ContiProContact A/S tires last year, but shredded them), and if your brakes are stock, well I melted the stock pads last year... Lol (see pics of last year below). I have EBC YellowStuff pads, and got some clearance Bridgestone summer tires now and they both held up waaaay better and are fine to keep using this year.

TNiA events are open to any car that is road legal and registered. Purely just about fun. There are of course Mustangs, Corvettes, Focus RS's & Civic Type-R's, WRX's etc but because pics of those aren't as fun, here are some of this year's normal/unexpected cars!







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As for prep, all you really need are good tires (as in, good tread - I had a blast on the OE ContiProContact A/S tires last year, but shredded them), and if your brakes are stock, well I melted the stock pads last year... Lol (see pics of last year below). I have EBC YellowStuff pads, and got some clearance Bridgestone summer tires now and they both held up waaaay better and are fine to keep using this year.
Agree on the stock front pads especially. NJMP has 3 "paced" levels and once I got to intermediate, my front brakes were literally smoking by the end of the day. I skipped the last session due to that. I did do the expert run in my EVO with the EBC yellows and I think they are a horrible track pad, but I guess a good compromise that can be left on for street driving.

My Sport did seem to keep up with a bunch of other cars I thought it shouldn't, but it was hard to tell sometimes if it was the car or driver, as being a track novice is wildly different, depending upon how long and hard you have been pushing cars your whole life daily driving (one guy had a newer Ferrari, but was asked to move to the back of the pack he was so bad, he got mad and left). I did knock off 9 seconds per lap off my Sport's time in my EVO, and it was the first time ever on track with a manual, so I think there is more there. I could not keep up with two C7's and a ZL1 Camaro with the EVO, but that was about it.

The Sport is a great car to learn on though. No worry about shifting, all wheel drive allows you to hammer it halfway through the turns without kicking out the rear. But as mentioned, it's a heavy pig on relatively small tires. I would not go without swapping front pads and should also assume you are going to drastically shorten the life of your stock tires, if you run with them (especially the fronts).

I've put this up before, but I'll toss it out again. Huge file, will take while to download.
(on WIN 7/10, may have to click 3 dots on right side, download, and open the download to see video).
I also used Harry's lap timer, great program that has all the major worldwide race tracks already
programmed into it.

 

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@DaMiFo do you happen to have part numbers for the front/rear pads you use? I too cooked my brakes due to palmers crazy elevation changes. I feel like the rears are fine to leave stock but the fronts definitely need something better for next season. Every time I try finding better pads than stock it seems that most auto places don't filter the sport from a regular fusion.
 

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Thanks for the replies DaMiFo and Ox1. I want to go in with eyes wide open and hopefully not too many newbie mistakes.

Changed rotors and pads couple of months ago. Have the red stuff. Tires right now are the Goodyear OEs. They're getting close to the wear bars. Looking at club requirements, most ask for the brake fluid to get flushed no more than a month earlier. I am also due to change oil and fluids and getting in with the mechanic is a bit tough with a short week next week. I'd rather cook fresh oil rather than old oil cooking the engine.

Chewing up tires and massive break fade is expected. Good point though that a half day may be the way to start out. Pointless paying full day if you have to sit out. Good tip to see how it goes. Realize red stuff pads would be an issue, so I'd have to think about that.

I'm also hesitant as I would require an "instructor" as first time out, and our state is likely going into lockdown which would mean cancelation anyway.

Question for you both. What makes most sense for helmet choice, open face or "closed"? Not interested in renting, even if it were for one time. Although SA2015s are not exactly cheap, they wouldn't break the bank. From my research looks like Simpson is a good quality versus cost option.

Sorry on the long post. Really quite interested and believe it or not, Mrs Foz was supportive once I showed her what I found and the video above.
 

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@DaMiFo do you happen to have part numbers for the front/rear pads you use? I too cooked my brakes due to palmers crazy elevation changes. I feel like the rears are fine to leave stock but the fronts definitely need something better for next season. Every time I try finding better pads than stock it seems that most auto places don't filter the sport from a regular fusion.

Here are the p/n's for the EBC YellowStuff pads. Or did you want OE part numbers? To find these I actually bought 3 different sets after researching possible matches and returned the ones that didn't fit, lol. It wasn't as easy as it should've been, that's for sure.

 

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@Fozzy

Honestly, as long as you read & follow the few rules, (includes don't race, let someone pass in a passing zone if you are going slower, etc.), and are respectful and smart about things, you'll be absolutely fine!

You'll be fine with RedStuff pads. My OE rotors have now held up perfectly to 2 track days and 30k miles, so those are good. Tires definitely can't be that low tho - you don't need slicks or anything, but a decent summer tire would be perfect. I changed my oil and drove about 500mi on it each time before the track, and usually change it with 1500-2000 miles on it if doing a track day (oil analysis showed me that's perfectly fine). Knowing what we know, I did do a simple drain & fill on the trans, PTU, and RDU as well. Brake fluid is fine as long as it's clear and newer, and hasn't boiled (was fine after last year, now I'm going to bleed them soon, tho). If you're not braking like a racing driver (which if you're still new to track stuff I recommend you don't), you won't get much if any fade with RedStuff pads either.

For a helmet, check out this list on their site of acceptable certifications. I got an HJC CL-17 motorcycle helmet for about $130, and it's Snell M2015 certified (since motorcycle stuff is very strong). I like full-face type personally, I think it feels more secure on my head, and I can either choose to block wind or let air in with the visor up or down.

As far as needing an instructor, you should be fine. Just make sure you are comfortable with your car (I don't mean track time, I mean just knowing how it feels, behaves to input, how it handles). If you've owned it for a while now, you'll be fine. If you do Novice group, which you should, you're going to start by doing a few paced laps to feel the track. Decent speeds but definitely not tire screeching. After that, being in the Novice group is exactly where you start, only push as hard as you want, brake a little earlier to learn how the car reacts, etc. I know I keep saying it, but it's the most important thing, it's not for racing, it's for having a good time with your car.
 

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Here are the p/n's for the EBC YellowStuff pads. Or did you want OE part numbers? To find these I actually bought 3 different sets after researching possible matches and returned the ones that didn't fit, lol. It wasn't as easy as it should've been, that's for sure.

This is perfect. Thanks a bunch! You're saving me a bunch of research time lol
 

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@DaMiFo @Brandon2G @Focus112 - we should get together for a track day next season. A lot of my friends have been going to events with TNIA and MassTuning so I've been itching to give it a shot as well.

Maybe I'll start by getting back into autocrossing to see how the Fusion does... We did a lot of backroads yesterday and the big girl did okay for her size/weight but my brakes took a beating for sure.
 
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