/Transforming Your Daily Into A Reliable Track Weapon

Transforming Your Daily Into A Reliable Track Weapon

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If the thought of tracking your daily – whether it’s a car or a bike – is just too tempting, the subject of modifications will quickly arise if you want “old faithful” to perform whilst maintaining reliability for the boring A to B stuff.

If applied and honed in correctly, subtle modifications using race-spec components will make all the difference in attacking the corners and getting the power down. If “race-spec” sounds a little daunting, companies like Fastec Racing are worth looking up – if you can’t find what you are looking for on their website, a simple phone call will solve and answer any questions regarding your vehicle.

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Having your engine re-mapped by a professional is a cheap and safe way to increase horsepower without compromising the engine’s reliability. Investing in a larger exhaust system and either a cool air intake or forced air intake filter will allow your engine to breathe when stretching its legs. The engine’s new lungs will also allow for more tuning when on the rolling road, so if you are dead set on a re-map, look into having the exhaust and air filter fitted first.

If your car is turbocharged and the boost pressure increased whilst on track, installing a larger intercooler will extend a turbo’s life and performance. Since turbochargers are an expensive component to start with, a bigger intercooler (new or used) will save you money in the long run.

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Although a re-map will give you a noticeable increase in horsepower, it’s the actual conditions you are driving under and the extra stress you are putting your clutch through that’ll demand you fit a rally or racing component. It may feel a little stiffer than usual, but you can rest assured those harder shifts and faster starts on track won’t see you sitting on the hard shoulder on your way home.

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On the track it’s usually the higher quality brakes that see faster laps times than the extra power. Using high performance brake components allows for later stopping distances into corners, and the higher the quality, the less they will fade as they get hot. If a new set of bigger callipers isn’t financially viable, high quality drilled or grooved discs and “sticky” or “hardwearing” pads will still dramatically improve your car or bike’s handling.

As the wheels will have to come off to allow for the brake modifications, it’s worth looking at your tyres. A great set of all-rounder tyres (track/road legal) can be expensive, but track-tested tyres offer a serious amount of grip. One option is to drive to the track on road tyres, transporting a spare set of wheels wrapped in full race rubber with you – a quick wheel change and you have the ultimate grip whilst on track.

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Suspension is another modification just as effective as a moderate power increase when it comes to the tumbling of track times. This applies more to cars than bikes because of their sheer size and the massive shift in weight transfer when a road car hits a bend at speed – that said, bikes fitted with racing suspension provide bags of confidence, especially to the amateur rider.

Even if your car is classed as a sports car, its stock suspension is also designed to incorporate everyday roads and the bumps, grooves and holes that come with them. Unless you own an expensive thoroughbred with that all-important “race” or “track” setting, chances are you can improve on your own with a stiffer set up.

Again, depending on far you want to go financially, there is a wide range of suspension options available. The Coil-Over suspension is the option you’ll most likely settle on (no pun intended), whether it’s electronically or manually adjustable. Being adjustable means you can tweak it to make the switch from road to track, but more importantly, you can set the car up for different tracks and the varying cambers.

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Hit The Track

Now you know the big areas to address when considering turning your daily driver into a tarmac eater, it’s just a matter of expense and trying to incorporate all of the important modifications within budget. Like I stated earlier, it’s better to subtly improve on all performance areas with race-spec parts rather than pile all of your cash into one massive 600-bhp engine build that will first destroy the clutch and brakes before imploding in on itself.

Remember: the fastest way around a track is often found in the suspension and brakes. A moderate power increase is enough if you want “old faithful” to remain faithful.

(Journalist) – James is a published fiction and article writer from London (UK) with a serious penchant for Ferrari F1, anything with an engine, and English Pointers.