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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, I am still a little while off until I get the viper but I need to do this sooner or later.
Here is the question. What do I need to do to track the viper? Equipment wise, and also paper wise. Do I need a special permit? What’s the best route to take, do a driving school first? I have never done anything like this, but I plan on tracking the viper, and tracking it hard.
How did you guys start?
-Mario
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
How often do you guys track you car? And what is considered often? What about a road course/track license? Would my NYS driver’s license be good enough? Forgive me if the questions sound dumb, but I am going into new water here.
Thanks for the viper days link.
 

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packetjunkie said:
Smackie, do you recommend starting out in your Viper or do you think its better to go to the classes where they stick you in the little cars first?
Good question, Mike. Honestly, I think you're better starting off in the Viper. I know that sounds a bit counterintuitive, but if you start off slow and learn how to drive a car that will bite you if you are an idiot, you'll end up being a better driver in the long run.

Viper Days runs a very safe program for newbies. It's really the only group I can recommend in good conscience for a Viper owner starting out.

Give Skip Thomas or Courtney Thomas a buzz at www.viperdays.com

They are in the middle of their East Coast part of the year.
 

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Excess said:
How often do you guys track you car? And what is considered often? What about a road course/track license? Would my NYS driver’s license be good enough? Forgive me if the questions sound dumb, but I am going into new water here.
Thanks for the viper days link.
You can track your car as much as you can afford or as little as you want. There is likely a group operating a track day every day of the week. Most folks I know try to get on track once a month if you can.

Your driver's license is sufficient. You don't need any special licensing until you start doing competitive time trialing (in some instances), but more specifically it's mandatory for wheel to wheel racing of all levels. If you go to a track day, you'll start off in something akin to a "Green Group" in which you'll be on track with 10-20 other newbies with plenty of room for error and speeds appropriate to that logic.

As I've said above, contact Viper Days and let them know you're interested. Hundreds of new Viper owners have started there and it's a top notch program that Dodge supports. There are even rental Neons if you want to start slow or in something you're not making payments on.
 

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It might help to take a 2 or 3 day Skip Barber course up at Limerock. You'll get some good basic knowledge and skills and get a good feeling of what it's like to drive on a track. After that, you can bring a car to club events there for time trials and some "managed" wheel to wheel driving. Above all, LISTEN to your instructors. You will likely have to unlearn certain bad driving habits to go safe and fast.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
i was thinking about going to a few diffrent schools. The more info the better right ? Also do you guys feel that by tracking the car you gain more skill driving it on the streets?
thanks again for the info
 

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My very first "sports car" was my Viper. My only experience before that was karts. Follow the great advice and just show up at ViperDays. Courtney will see you're taken care of.

As far as prepping the car, to start out:
- brake fluid
(i use motul 600)
- brake pads
(i use porterfeld R4, but many use Brakeman, Hawk, etc)
- oil
(i used to do Mobil 1 15/50, but I've been using Amsoil
for quite a while now - basically, you want a heavier
weight on the track because the heat thins it out)
- porsche air deflectors
(these help cool the brakes a bit. Basically I've outgrown
these and need to run ducts, but they're fine for a
start)

Thats it. You'll be amazed how well the car holds up. I've always driven to the track, beat the hell out of it, and driven home no worse for wear.

Step 1: Get a Viper

/images/graemlins/smile.gif
 

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Buy the Skip Barber driving book and read it six times.People that drive race cars THINK differently about every aspect of driving.Learn the lingo so you can talk about it and understand what you are hearing when you LISTEN to other drivers talk about it.I'll just stand around and Listen to those guy's talk.Take it in.You need to know what over-steer is,and threshold breaking and on and on and on....It's a different world but one that others are willing to help you understand.Everyone started out knowing nothing so be a good student and you will meet the coolest guy's.

Good Luck
 

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I vote you spring for a school, the longest you can afford, and check out all the ones you can realistically consider and go with the one with the most track time.

The Panoz school was great. The first half of the day was class time and was a little slow. The second half was various exercises -- braking, heel-toe, lead-follow, etc. Days two and three alternated a half-hour in the car, then a half-hour in the classroom while the other group ran. Day two started with more lead-follow exercises (now all on-track), and ended up with school-rules open track. Day three was all on-track with school-rules. So for two days you had roughly 3.5-4 hours of driving time in an 8-hour day. It was positively exhausting. You'd need a LOT of track experience to be able to withstand or even WANT more track-time than that, in my opinion.

Everyone in the beginner's group who had no previous on-track experience agreed, the difference between what you knew when you walked in and what you knew when you walked out was enormous. Well worth the $2700 or so that those three days cost. The fact that you were driving a shitty Panoz GTR-A (basically a tube framed Rustang 302, for all intents and purposes a 4-speed stick with OD) didn't matter -- you learned the line, you learned braking, you learned how to pay attention while doing all those other things, etc etc.

The net result was that when I climbed into my Viper for the first time on the track (I don't count the VOI -- fun, but highly frustrating thanks to the instructor fiasco), I was able to concentrate on learning the car, rather than worrying about how to drive under the markedly different conditions on the track.

I'm told the other schools don't have nearly as much track time as Panoz, and quite a few people voiced the opinion that the other schools simply aren't as good. Our instructors were the actual drivers for Panoz -- the guys who drive the LMP cars at Le Mans and the Petit Le Mans and so on. Hard to argue with having that level of expertise at your disposal for three and a half days straight...

Plus, it sounds funny, but if you take a multi-day school, keep your fingers crossed that it rains one day. You'll learn a thousand times more driving in the rain than you will in the dry... several students, myself included, actually enjoyed rain-driving more than dry-weather driving.
 

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Excess said:
OK, I am still a little while off until I get the viper but I need to do this sooner or later.
Here is the question. What do I need to do to track the viper? Equipment wise, and also paper wise. Do I need a special permit? What’s the best route to take, do a driving school first? I have never done anything like this, but I plan on tracking the viper, and tracking it hard.
How did you guys start?
-Mario
This is all you'll need.

[image]http://pricepoint.com/media/NoFear_HandfulT.jpg[/image]




:lolcry:
 

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MotorCityMadMan said:
Excess said:
OK, I am still a little while off until I get the viper but I need to do this sooner or later.
Here is the question. What do I need to do to track the viper? Equipment wise, and also paper wise. Do I need a special permit? What’s the best route to take, do a driving school first? I have never done anything like this, but I plan on tracking the viper, and tracking it hard.
How did you guys start?
-Mario
This is all you'll need.

[image]http://pricepoint.com/media/NoFear_HandfulT.jpg[/image]




:lolcry:

Nice shirt
 

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My .02 on the best and fastest way to learn.
-Learn in your Viper, the dynamic of the car is different then any other.
-A good idea to read Skip Barber's "Going Faster....." you may not understand the more advanced chapters but it plants a seed.
-Try and make your first event a Viperdays if possible, if not make sure your instructor is familiar with Vipers, again a completely different dynamic then almost every car (Z06 is close)
-NO NOT get instructed by a Porsche owner.
-At your first event try to get a ride with someone first so you can see the track at speed and have an idea of what the track "line" is.
-Listen to your instuctor, when in doubt stay on the gas.
-Go at your own pace don't push it, have fun.
-It's addictive and requires a fat wallet



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I just finished my first road race session at Viper days. I changed brake and clutch fluids. Coolant was good. Basic checkup from D.Weaver at Maxwell Dodge. Brakeman3 pads. New Snell SA00 full face helmet. Thats it! I had leather dress gloves, long sleeve shirt, blue jeans, and tennis shoes.
 
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