This winter I have been working on preparing my car for the class I was running in last year and will be again this year. This is my first attempt at really preparing a car, so a lot of my articles here will be about my experiences as a n00b to car set up.
The first thing that came up for me and I am sure comes up for others is “Where Do I Start?” There are so many possibilities of modifications to be done to a car, it’s really hard to know where to start. A great place to start is to read The Rules, even if this is not your first time preparing a car or if you already have a car it is a good idea to read the rules every year to make sure a rule change does not affect you. I know that seems very simple and possibly boring, but the rules are a great resource to get you started on your journey.
If you do not have a car yet or have not decided which car you want to drive or set up, the rules can guide you through the class eligibility of the car. This can be very important in the decisions you make, as you don’t want to get stuck in a class where either the car itself doesn’t have any kind of competitive chance or the upgrades that you plan to do (or have already been made) don’t put you some place you would rather not be.
The rules can also help you choose the class you want to prepare your car for. Most of us have limited budgets when it comes to our cars, so knowing what upgrades (or other costs) it will take to be competitive can really help out in the decision making process.
If you have a car and know what class you want to be in, as was in my case, the rules can still be a very useful place to start.
For starters, reading the rules can keep you out of trouble by making sure you don’t do something you can’t do. One thing to remember is that if the rules don’t explicitly state you can do something, you can’t do it, no matter how small or trivial it is. So make sure to check out everything before you do it, because the last thing you want to do is to spend money or time on something that you may have to undo later on.
While you are reading the rules it is good to make a list of things that you can do and some things to watch out for when you are making decisions on which parts to buy, etc. Without a thorough understanding of the rules it can be very easy to do something that crosses the line and doesn’t make your car legal for the class anymore. The rules are very specific on what and how things should be done, so it is somewhat easy to do something you are not supposed to do because you would not have even thought about it being a big deal.
Since you now have a list of legal modifications you can do, it will be much easier to pick out the items you want to do to get started and quickly eliminate any ideas that you had previously, that don’t make sense any more, giving you a great place to get started.