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I'm a total newbie at this. I'm doing the HDPE event in at Infineon/Sear's point on Jan 22nd. This is my first event of this kind. I'm driving a new Volkswagen GTI that's also my daily driver.


I've read the rules and have some idea about how the actual track time works. I know I need a helmet. However, I have a few questions about how things work at the event overall.


- What should I bring/how much room do I have in the paddock? I don't have a tent of any kind, but I'll bring a lawn chair or something. I've read that I should clean out everything not bolted down, but will I have a place to store things while I'm on the track? I was planning on bringing an ice chest or something for food, is there room for that?


- When will I know what number I've been assigned? I was thinking of making some magnetic signs, but I would need to know the numbers ahead of time. Should I just bring tape? I assume I'll have time to put it on and do some other prep before the first run, right?


- Do people usually tape up headlights and such? I've seen "helicopter tape" to protect the leading edges of the car, does it work? Is it worth it? Do people have other recommendations for protecting the paint? I understand it's a track and we're going fast and there are no guarantees, what do others do? Should I just get over it and drive?


- Where does everyone gas up? I'm driving the car to the event, is there a station close to but outside the track? I assume it'll be cheaper than the track gas. I don't think 100 octane will help my stock engine, even if it is a turbo, right?


- What else will I likely need to pay for at the track? Is a credit card OK, or is only cash accepted?


Thanks for your answers,


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Welcome and get ready for the time of your life! I am in the Northeastern part of the US, I have never been to Infineon, also, all regions run their programs slightly differently. But I can help you out a bit.


You should have plenty of room in the paddock. Bring a chair, your food, whatever you like. Don't know if the paddock there is paved or if there are garage bays available. Bring a large tarp in case of rain, though I don't guess it rains much there. Keep an eye on the weather. The tarp will be handy if the paddock is not paved and also defines your area with your stuff.


About the number, weren't you given the option to choose a number when you joined NASA? In any case, there is normally notification sent out one week in advance about car numbers, schedule, instructor assignments, etc.


The regions with whom I've had experience require one to tape up their headlights. Putting "helicopter tape" or some other protective film on vulnerable body panels is up to you. It can certainly help to protect from nicks and such.


There should be a gas station nearby to fill up. I wouldn't bother with the 100 octane as it's too expensive and being new to this you wouldn't reap the benefits.


If there is an equipment shop, a credit card is likely to be accepted. If there is a lunch spot, cash is more than likely necessary.


The track will open, usually around 7am, registration will begin, and there will be a mandatory driver's meeting, usually 8 or 8:30am. There will be plenty of time to prep your car.


Good luck, be safe, and have fun!

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Another easterner here...

Look back through the archives on this forum; there are a couple threads (I think) that cover first-timers and offer some good advice.

You WILL have the time of your life. The downside is it will turn you into a track whore in short order.

Every track I've been to has adequate space for as much stuff as you can fit into a GTI. Bring lots to drink, as you can work up a good sweat doing this. Gas up before you get to the track. Go through tech as soon as possible and get it out of the way. The HPDE days go pretty quick as you bounce from classroom to track and back again. Make sure you wear a watch. If you've got questions, ask. NASA officials and other participants are eager to help in 99% of the cases. If you've got a problem, ask for help. LISTEN to your instructor...they will make you faster. Don't try to be the fastest car out there--even in HPDE1 you will be driving with people who have multiple events under their belt. By the end of the first day you'll be amazed at the difference in your speed. I also recommend riding with your instructor in their car if they are agreeable...I've picked up a lot of mistakes I couldn't grasp by watching the line without worrying about driving.

Have a good time, and let us know what you thought when you are back.

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