Originally Posted by mdosu
2-day Event: $350 (yes, no savings here, you gotta pay to play)
Tires: Will I consume an entire set? (no, especially if you start in novice, I would just use summer tires, you won't be running very aggressively.)
Brakes: New pads for sure, new rotors? (no, same note as above)
Track Day Insurance: $400 or so (yes, but shop around)
Hotel: $200 (no way, one hour away is nothing! save the money here)
personally, i think you get more value in HPDE, b/c you spend time behind your own car and you get more sessions. The M school "gives" you food and air conditioned buildings and you get to drive latest M cars. M school reminds me of the "wine and cheese club", while HPDE is hanging out with fellow grassroots enthusiastic who can teach you a lot about cars and tracking.
Remember, you're not racing anyone at HPDE, as a novice you're learning lines, balance, and technique. If you're only doing 2 events a year, you will not need dedicated equipment for anything. The ONLY item you may consider buying is a change of brake fluids and pads. Again, all depends on how fresh these items already are, and what level you're driving at.
Summit is very close, no need to stay there, driving back home is actually relaxing as you wind down from all that adrenaline.
2 days at Summit with a reputable club and an in-car instructor will be absolutely perfect. You will also get wet skid pad instruction to learn car control, and mix it up with like minded people who are terrific company.
If you are driving an E46 and it's your first time, I think you should be ok with stock tires and pads. Also, many local shops do free track inspections, heck even my dealer does that for me.
I personally don't use track insurance, and use common sense instead when on track. I may not post the fastest track times, but I've been bringing my daily driver back home every time for the last 12 years.
If you want more info or would like to go with a few guys at some point, shoot me a PM.