A: The fact that you’re asking this question means you’re a step ahead of many drivers. So, congrats on that!
First, I’d strongly recommend you download a free eBook that my friend, Ryan Staub and I wrote. It’s called The HPDE 1st-Timer’s Guide, and will pretty much answer every question you have about how to prepare.
The one piece of advice I’ll give here, and echo from what we say in the eBook is this: the more time you spend preparing, learning about high-performance driving, the more fun you’ll have at the track. If you have spend even a fraction of your brain power thinking about what an apex is, for example, that is brain power that you could be using in better ways. Read books and articles, watch videos, talk to experienced drivers… whatever you can to learn about the basics of high-performance driving will make your at-track experience that much better.
Oh, and take your time. Yes, high-performance driving is about driving fast, but the worst thing you can do it try to go too fast, too soon. The stronger your baseline skills are, the quicker and easier it is to build on them.