2006 330i, TSM, Black, manual, sport
Drives: E90 330i, E86 Z4 3.0si
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Chester Springs, PA
Bertil Roos 2-Day Competition School
So I was asked late last year if I’d like to start racing in the SCCA and BMWCCA by a good friend of mine (owner of Bimmerworks in West Chester, PA). I of course jumped at the chance.
Now I needed a plan to get my racing license and had to figure out what I would/could do in time before the first race of the season (April 27 – Devil in the Dark at NJMP). Over the winter we purchased a 2007 BMW Z4 3.0si coupe to build into a full-blown race car. The issue is, we’re still building it so I couldn’t use that for an SCCA school.
I decided to go to the same school Steve (the owner of Bimmerworks) did, Bertil Roos 2-day Competition driving school. I called Vince from Roos and told him what I wanted to do. With my extensive on track experience (almost 8 years with about 45-50 days on track) he suggested that I take day three of the 3-day advanced driving school to get used to the cars (F2000 open wheel race cars) and then take the 2-day competition school. I’m glad I took the one day to get used to the car because it took me almost the entire day to get used to it! I chose to go to VIR (South Course) instead of waiting to go to Pocono even though Pocono is about 4 hours closer. Work schedules wouldn’t have let me go to the Pocono even in mid-April.
Everyone at the Bertil Roos school was great! They are racers through and through and they really took their time to explain all the exercises we were going to be doing. Don was fantastic and he ended up having two students (in separate run groups). The F2000 is nothing like a street car or my car that I’ve been tracking for years (only 150hp, but 0-60mph in about 4.2 seconds). The very first time I pushed the clutch in after I sat in the car I absolutely annihilated my shin on the sway bar (floor mounted brake and clutch don’t require you to actually life your foot off the floor)! The shifting mechanism was a standard “H” pattern, but the mechanism was difficult with a straight cut gear-set. The car itself is beautifully balanced. If you feel the back end sliding, just hit the gas and transfer weight to the rear tires and bam, instant traction. You could really balance back and forth from understeer to oversteer quite easily and the car reacted lightning quick. I really enjoyed the car. So the first day of practice was finished and I had to wait till the next week for the 2-day competition school.
On the way back down to VIR we were hit by the snow storm! I ended up driving through Virginia in about 4-5 inches of snow. It was quite entertaining passing all the pick-up trucks, cars and SUVs in my little Golf. New tires helped with traction and I made it through without any issues at all.
The 2-day competition school starts the first day with a warm-up and exercises in the Bertil Roos slide car. The slide-car is a patented idea that allows you to slide a car around as if you’re drifting the car without burning off the tires. It was pretty fun and slide around every turn. The cars are FWD and the instructor has the ability to lock-out the rear or allow the rear tires to turn to induce the slide. We also did passing exercises and off-line corner entry with our instructors.
Day two started with qualifying right away, then slide-cars again, open practice, qualifying again and then we broke for lunch. After lunch we practiced race starts and then went right into our first race (8 laps).
I qualified on pole in my run group (second fastest overall by 0.4 of a second). So we started the race and I kept the lead throughout the race and a buddy of mine ended up coming in second. He shadowed me for most of the race, but just couldn’t get close enough to get into the draft or make a move to pass.
The second race was 10 laps and we started in our finishing order (I wish they would have inverted the field). So I was on pole again. Throughout the two days we were there, we would see snow flurries it was that cold! Our tires were pretty cold by the time we started the second race and no one tried to warm them. So we all start flying to the first turn on cold tires. I hit the brakes and immediately see tire smoke. I modulate the pedal and bring the car down to a safe speed for the first turn. I have the inside of the turn so I controlled everyone else’s gas pedal. I took off and promptly started to slide all over the place due to cold tires. I ended up just sliding around for two laps wondering why my car wasn’t performing properly, until my tires came up to temp. By this time I had built up quite a lead and cruised for a while. Then my buddy started catching me! He came close, but it was too late, I ended up winning the race again and Erich came in second by less than a second.
It was a great experience and I highly recommend Bertil Roos for any school that you may be interested in. All the guys in the school were really cool and had a lot of fun too.
I was able to apply for the SCCA Regional Competition License and received it six days after I faxed all the needed paperwork to the office.
2006 330i, TSM, Black, Sport, JIC Cross Coil-Overs, UUC Sways, 18" Advan RS, Mich PSS 255/265, BMW Electric Steering Wheel, Rogue shifter, M-Tech front, CF emblems, Dinan TB, Intake, exhaust, strut bar, Stoptech BBK, LSD, M3 susp., LUX 5, CF Hood and CSL, Sparco Seats, AA tune, CF Roof