11. A fire suppression system is a great thing to have. Even if a car comes with it, this is one of those things that you are better off replacing before you hit the track. Our bottle said it was still full, but we know the car had been sitting for a couple of years, and if there was ever a fire, you wouldn’t want to gamble with an old, untested system.
Check all of the suspension pick-up points for bends, cracks, or rust. Any signs of failure need to be fixed before going on track. Beyond the obvious, any variations from the original mounting points will change the suspension geometry. Measuring everything is key here because the right changes will improve handling, but the wrong ones can cause major handling issues.
Beyond the chassis, go through all of the various systems with a fine-tooth comb. Subtle things can tip you off to larger problems. Check things like fluids. Old, nasty oil, transmission fluid, or rusty water with stop-leak in the radiator can all be signs of neglects or lack of maintenance. Brakes are another big area to pay attention to. Check the brake pads and rotors for wear. Check all of the brakes lines for kinks, and the fittings for leaks. Check the brake fluid, as old, dirty fluid will not perform as well as fresh fluid. In fact, you should change all of the fluids regardless of how they look. There is no way to know how long the fluids have been in the car and how many laps are on them.
There are a thousand other things to check and look at, and we simply don’t have the room to hit everything here. It comes down to common sense. Look at as much as possible, ask as many questions as you can, dig for as much info as possible. Your new car should be entirely stripped and all components inspected before the season starts, or before racing it the first time. The more informed you are, the better decisions you’ll make, and you’ll end up with a better race car!