First the write-up...
First time back to LRP since the upgrades/re-pave and I'm very happy with what they've done. Obviously, it's smooth and the treacherous bumps after the downhill, leading to the straight are now gone. We ran the old configuration, without the new chicane before the uphill and after.
The trackday was run by PDA... http://www.pdadrivingschool.com/index.php
and it was a great day. It was for advanced run groups only...no instructors with students...only solo. I am classed in the RED group (HPDE4) but they put me in the black group (instructors) with a few other REDs...also offered instructor position for next season....which I'll gladly do...free trackdays!!! I've never been in a group with so many dedicated race-cars...Hoosiers/cages/gutted/fiberglassed...it was a wild group!!!
So we line up in grid and I only saw two, three tops, cars with street tires.... me in my E92M, my friend in his Z06, and possibly a caged/prepped Mustang...oh, almost forgot...the new GT-R was on it's stock tires.
(Believe all the hype they throw at this car...it is unreal, wickedly fast and completely defies physics)
On to the M...
The settings I used were as follows:
steering - stiff
power - middle
EDC - stiff...but tried Normal...didn't notice much difference here, as the 'active handling' must have tightened it up a bit.
DSC - off
MDM - on... I did this to make sure I didn't oversteer off the track in my new/unfamiliar BMW. It did intervene as the pace quickened and I felt more comfortable sliding the car a bit. It did allow some slip-angle but not enough to ever require a real counter-steer. It made the car feel very neutral, a bit pushy, and resisted oversteer without killing the power like other vehicles 'competitive' modes often do.
I surmise that I could have shaved a second or two off the time if I took it off...or spun into the tire wall...
The drivetrain perfomance of the M3 was very surprising. I was able to keep the rpms up throughout the lap and power was always there...I mostly ran in 3rd with a bang to 4th on the straight...where top speed was roughly 135-140...and very close to redline. It does runpretty hard on the straights and the gearbox felt very good (I have a 6mt). I didn't notice any inside wheelspin on exit...either the diff doing it's job or the MDM helping out. I loved the power delivery, really couldn't ask for more...for now. Kudos to BMW for installing the V8...it received great reviews from those who heard it with my Supersprint race...as the powerband very much suits roadcourse use. The top third of the rpm range has made this my new favorite motor to wring-out!!!
Coolant temps were around 200 and oil temps never went over 225...car stayed cool, even though I was running it at it's upper rpms for 20mins. Didn't burn a drop of oil and went through a solid tank of fuel...with no fuel starvation issues in the last session - I ended the session with 1/8 of a tank left.
The suspension was very good for a stock setup. I am a 'coilover' guy and usually mount springs at least 2x the stock rates with very thick sways..but I was happy with the EDC on stiff. Sure, we could probably use a bit more spring rate and some more front/rear bar, but I was very impressed with the ability of the car to transition and to sit/set in the turns. There was a little push on corner entry, but the attitude of the car stayed pretty neutral. I tried to coax some oversteer out of the turns but MDM seemed to have a say in that. Next time, I'm going to run MDM off. I'm also going to give the car a proper alignment, as I ran it stock and the outside edges of the front tires did get some abuse. Some of that turn-in would probably be a little sharper with some additional camber.
The car needs some wider tires...I did likethe PS2s, they held up well ( a little cuppng on the outside tread edges today) but just not enough to deal with the weight/power.
The steering was great, no issues, no complaints...good feel.
Brakes - I ran with Pagid Yellows up front, stock pads in rear with Castrol SRF fluid. I didn't fade the brakes at all, pedal felt good, and no shudder afterwards. With r-compound tires and a bit more speed, I bet ducting will be needed...as most cars need ducting at some point.
Here are a few vids of the day:
Third session of the day, chasing a 930 and then an '08 Z06 -
Fourth session of the day, less people but faster -
Fourth session...middle...all alone -
Overall, I was very impressed with the car. I matched the times I've done with my prior well-modded STI on street tires(upper 1:03s-1:04s), which I did not think I would do with the car so "stock". I think a good alignment and some wider r-compounds and some better driving by me will provide some real fun.
Oh...the seat...not a real track-seat. I'll need to install a harness and/or my Recaro Speed to really feel comfortable and not fight to keep myself still in the turns.