Autobahn Country Club (SOUTH CIRCUIT)
Welcome to an SCCA Track Day!
The following is a guide to day-of-event operations. This should give you a rough idea of what to expect during the event and what a participant might be expected to do. But first some important information.
Before you get to the Track
DRIVING DIRECTIONS TO TRACK
Take Route 53 south from I-80 to Laraway (traffic light) and then turn right — USE CAUTION CROSSING RAILROAD TRACKS. Turn left on Centerpoint Way. The track entrance will be on the right about a mile or so down.
ALTERNATE (if coming from east on I-80): Exit at Briggs St and go south until Laraway, right on Laraway to Centerpoint.
I-80 has been a mess lately at the bridge going over the Des Plaines River in Joliet. It would be wise to exit I-80 before you approach the bridges from the East — the Briggs Rd exit is my preferred route that avoids the mess of I-80 and Rt 53. You can also exit at US-30 and go west to Gougar Rd, then go south to Laraway if traffic starts to back up.
Construction and traffic (it’s Friday afternoon, after all) might adversely affect your travel time. Give yourself extra time to get to the track. It is better to be early than late. If you have a smart phone with Google Maps, we suggest that you use the “Show Traffic” feature. Again, text Erik (not while driving) at 630-327-6173 if you are running late. Include your name in the text. Do not use email; I do not check email during events.
This event goes on rain or shine. If there is lightning and/or a downpour, we will suspend running until it is safe to go on track again. Bring plastic bags for your gear if rain is in the forecast.
Closed toe shoes and long pants when on a hot (active) track are REQUIRED for participants (i.e., sandals are unacceptable). Long-sleeved shirts are recommended but not required. Closed-toe shoes are highly recommended for anyone doing a ride-along or track touring.
It’s a good idea to pack a snack and something cool to drink (no alcohol, duh) so you don’t go hungry/thirsty. Staying hydrated is especially important when it’s hot out.
Go through your car and empty it out. Remove anything that is loose, and look for stuff under the seats. There is nothing worse than having something pop out from under your seat and bounce around your feet when you’re driving. You’d also be surprised how much noise the stuff in your glove box can make. For the stuff you need in your car on the way to the track, bring a plastic bag or tote bin to store the loose items when you are on-track. Floor mats can cause problems, so be prepared to take out the driver’s floor mat too.
Fuel: While there are self-serve credit-card-enabled gas pumps on site, there is a premium price attached (93 and 100 octane available). It is STRONGLY advised that you fill up the tank COMPLETELY before you get to the track. Your car may get 25+ MPG on the highway, but on track it will be significantly less. You don’t want the embarrassment of running out of gas on track.
Brakes: Check the status of your brake pads. There should have more than 50% left. It you’ve forgotten this item, it’s not too late to put on a fresh set of pads (on most cars, front brakes do more of the braking than the rears).
Fluids: Check all your fluid levels, and make sure they are within manufacturer’s specifications (engine oil and brake fluid should be to the “full” mark).
Tires: Check your tire pressures as well. Check the manufacturer tire pressure label on the driver’s door pillar, glove box lid or back of the gas filler door (some manufacturers put them in weird places). Large deviations from the manufacturer’s recommendations can make your car a handful on track. If you are not sure where to set your tire pressures, it is best to go with the manufacturer’s recommended values as a starting point. There is compressed air available at the tech building.
Wheel chocks: Your brakes need to cool after you come off track, and you don’t want to set your parking brake. Bring something (pieces of 2×4 will work) to place by your tires to keep your car from rolling.
Track Day Schedule
Driver check in starts at 1:30 PM with tech sheets due and helmets ready to be inspected. We do not offer vehicle technical inspection, we only verify. Loaner helmets will unfortunately not be available at this time.
No instructors are offered. Ride-alongs for other registered participants are not permitted at this time. Event spectators are not permitted on-site.
There will be a mandatory drivers meetings with a review of instructions on track etiquette at 3:30 PM SHARP. Any competitors found not in attendance will be asked to leave, no refunds, no exceptions. Information given at the meeting is crucial to EVERYONE.
Please watch for updates to the event-day schedule. Plan to arrive early enough to check in with registration and get your car ready (remove loose items, change tires, etc.) to roll so you can be on time for the drivers meeting. Concessions may not be open so plan accordingly.
- 2:00 PM – On-site registration check in opens
- 3:45 PM – On-site registration check in closes (if you are not checked in by 3:00 PM, you will not be allowed to run – DON’T BE THE GUY WHO SHOWS UP LATE AND EXPECTS TO GET IN)
- 4:00 PM – MANDATORY DRIVERS MEETING FOR NOVICE GROUP
- 4:15 PM – MANDATORY DRIVERS MEETING FOR TIME TRIALS AND ADVANCED/INTERMEDIATE GROUP
- 4:30 PM – On track sessions begin
- 8:00 PM (approximately) – Course closed
Detailed schedule can be found here: TRACK DAY EVENT SCHEDULE
Once you have entered the facility, proceed past the roundabout and our event parking will be on both sides of the center road towards the Member Building. A detailed parking map may be provided at the gate house when you sign the track waiver to get into the facility.
Check-in will be South Classroom, where you will…
- Turn in your completed tech sheet (Tech sheet will say Time Trials – this is OK, we run Track Days under the SCCA Time Trials ruleset)
- Receive a windshield sticker with car number and wristband
- Show your helmet sticker (2021 helmet stickers will be honored) or show staff the SNELL sticker inside your helmet (inside under the lining in most helmets)
- Be glad that you can finally get back on track
At this point, you can return to your car and prepare it for the event by making sure you have…
- Removed all loose items
- Performed one last check of tires, lug nuts, oil, coolant, etc.
Then relax and wait for the call to the drivers meetings.
We will plan on holding the driver’s meeting either inside in the South Classroom or outside in the winner’s circle area adjacent to the South Tower.
Event Operations (where to be and when)
To review the process:
- The grid is between the Member’s Building and the South Tower. This lane is where you will enter the pit lane for your on-track sessions.
- Group released to pit lane for runs – from grid to pit lane.
- Group exits pit lane – at the end of your session follow the pit lane all the way to the starters stand and exit back to paddock at the North Tower.
Tips for On-Track Fun!
The following is a full session of Autobahn SOUTH track.
For those who are not familiar with track driving or who have never been on track, some helpful tips:
- Don’t be aggressive on your first lap or session – you’ll get plenty of time to familiarize yourself with the track, and your tires will work better with some heat in them
- Pay attention to the red/white curbing – you should be close to curbing if you are running the proper “racing line”, BUT DO NOT DRIVE ON THE CURBING. It’s cool to see a race car jumping over curbing, but you’re not in a race car, street suspensions don’t like curbing and you can damage your car or you could loose control.
- Make sure you brake before you get into a turn. In the video preview, you’ll see numbered signs before a turn to help you gauge where to apply the brakes. If you are new, brake earlier than you think, it’s easier to adjust to a later braking point on following runs. You won’t learn anything useful from charging into a corner and overcooking corner entry – most tires don’t like to brake/turn at the same time.
- Pay attention to your brake pedal. If it gets soft or presses further to the floor, you might want to end your session early as your brakes are getting overheated.
- Watch your gauges, especially oil pressure and coolant temperature.
- Be smooth with your inputs – both throttle/brake and steering wheel – this is not like autocross with abrupt maneuvers.
- Keep an eye out for corner workers waiving flags. In the event someone spins or leaves the racing surface, you might encounter a corner worker waving a yellow or other colored flag. Yellow means caution, red means STOP – the colors should be obvious, just like on the street. You might also see a blue flag with a yellow stripe. That means check your mirrors– there’s a faster driver back there that needs a point by. A black flag pointed at you means you need to report to the pit lane. If you think the black flag is pointed at you, it is. Come in before you have to see it again (the pit lane conversation gets longer if you ignore the black flag). Most times you’ll go right back out after we let you know what the issue was.
- A checkered flag at the finish line tells you the session is over. Ease up your driving to let your car cool down. Try to avoid needing to use the brakes and turn on the AC — it’s good for the car and the driver. Exit the track just after turn 13 (there will be another checker flag at that station) and you’ll exit back to paddock at the end of the pit lane.
- DON’T USE YOUR PARKING BRAKE AFTER A SESSION. Hot brake pads against a hot rotor can damage your pads and rotors. Use a wheel chock or piece of wood to keep your car from rolling.
- OPEN YOUR HOOD TO LET THE HEAT OUT. You’ve just worked your car hard, be nice to it and help it cool off.
- The map of the track below shows the sections of the track where passing is allowed with a point by. If you are pointing someone by (i.e. you’re letting them pass you). Tell them it’s OK to do so by sticking your arm out the window and pointing. Point to left to have them pass on the left (remember to stay to the right to give them room). Point over the roof our your car to right to have them pass on the right. Keep your arm out the window for multiple passers. Passing without a point by will get you black flagged (come in to pit lane for a talking to). Don’t be that guy who gets the black flag.
- Do you know what a blend line is? If not, ask. It’s really short on the North Circuit and easy to follow. Stay to the left of it until you reach Corner 1 (kink on the front straight). On the South Circuit, it goes all the way around turn 1and halfway to turn 2. Stay to the left (along the grass) until it ends.
- If your car breaks or stops for any reason, DO NOT GET OUT OF THE CAR — unless it’s on fire, then get out and move away from it. Corner workers will inform us and a support vehicle(s) will be dispatched if needed.
Track Map with PASSING ZONES
Questions? Please ask, otherwise…