Originally Posted by dmw16
How many track days/events did you guys participate in before you started modding to support said habit? Items such as suspension, brakes, track tires, etc? And what did you do first?
I'm just trying to figure out how many track days I can attend before I need to start budgeting it offsetting offerings to my better half
I'm assuming this will be your first experience with hitting the track (road course). It's educational and a blast! Initial money spent on the car and you should be for safety enhancements. Keep in mind that our cars are pretty competent on the track right out of the box, at least compared to the vast majority of other cars on the market. First, make sure you have a current Snell-rated, high-quality helmet. As they say, if you have a $100 head, buy a $100 helmet. Otherwise bite the bullet and spend the money on a quality helmet.
Other safety considerations, as you alluded to, are brakes and tires. Upgraded brake pads and high-temp brake fluid such as Ate Super Blue at the least, and preferably something like Motul, are a very good idea. Stainless steel brake lines are also helpful for maintaining good pedal response. As for tires, forget slicks or R-compounds for now if this is your first track season. R-comps typically don't communicate very well and have sudden breakaway characteristics, things you don't want when you're still learning. They can likely hold back your learning at this point. True that you don't want to use your expensive Michelin Super Sports, either, because they'll just get chewed up and start chunking, and you'll need more life in them than your current rears. So a good starter track tire would be something like the Hankook Ventus RS3 or Dunlop Direzza Star Spec, both of which should be stickier than the street Michelins, last longer on track, and yet still squeal/communicate when they start to slide, and break away gradually when they do slide.
If your car is the 2005 E46 in your signature, then camber plates would likely be a good idea at some point. Apparently the E46 chassis needs more negative camber up front than the current E90/92 in order to keep the tires square to the road under hard cornering. As said above, a lot of E46 guys run up to -3 or -3.5 camber up front for track duty, whereas the E90/92 seems to be happy at -2 or -2.5. Make sure the camber plates are easily adjustable so you can go back to a less aggressive setting on the street--otherwise you'll chew up the inside tread of your front tires quickly when on the street.
Engine/power upgrades should be the last
mod for track duty. Chassis/braking/safety is much more important and will make you faster, more confident, and more secure. Remember that a pro-level driver can drive circles around us in our cars with absolutely no mods--these cars are much more capable than we are.
Lastly, consider specialty track insurance. Most auto insurance carriers do not cover track day damage, even though it's technically an educational/HPDE event. If your car has a lot of value, or you're not willing to just write it off if you hit a wall, seriously consider spending the $300 or so per event for insurance. Kind of expensive, but worth the peace of mind IMO.
Have fun. Maybe I'll see you at NJMP. It's a top-quality, great facility. I get there a few times a year.
Originally Posted by Bmw135er
Glad to hear you're enjoying your M3 the way that it was intended, and not drag racing!