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      12-28-2011, 05:05 PM   #1
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6MT Guys/Gals Who Track

I posted this over at the General Forum...but specifically want some answers from guys who track their 6MT or DCT cars for some perspective.

Without making this a 6MT vs DCT thread please respond to these questions:
-How many 6MT guys track vs DCT guys who track?
-For 6MT guys that track would the prefer DCT or does driver skill make it a wash?
-I don't have any experience tracking a MT car. Given the known small issue of the 1-2 shift which shouldn't really matter on a trackday anyway. What gear changes are most common for the track day guys? My last few track days with my DCT most of my gear changes seem to be just 3-4 and 4-3 with only occasional changes up to 5th.

Original Thread:
http://www.m3post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=628737
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      12-28-2011, 06:36 PM   #2
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My M3 is a 6MT. On the track, I'd be indifferent to having either that or DCT. Having DCT means you have less to divert your focus, but having manual is pretty enjoyable. You shouldn't be running into the 1st to 2nd grind issue since you'll probably be on 2nd or 3rd by the time you're out of the pit and on the track, unless you're racing from a standing start.

Yes, most of my shifts will be 3rd-to-4th or 4th-to-3rd. If I'm coming up to traffic at a sharp turn, then maybe I'll downshift to 2nd. 5th gear is pretty rare for me, but that's probably because I need to work on my exit into a straightaway.

Hope that helps.
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      12-28-2011, 06:54 PM   #3
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I track a DCT car.
Prominant gears are 3rd and 4th, with 5th on straights - sometimes 6th.
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      12-28-2011, 07:29 PM   #4
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I have a DCT car and 2nd to 5th are normal ( VIR is about the only track I had to shift into 6th ( + 150 )
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      12-28-2011, 08:28 PM   #5
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I track my 6mt. dct would definitely be faster, and a bit less hairy. The only times that have been sketch on the track have been when i have missed a shift. But thats the same reason I drive a 6mt
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      12-28-2011, 10:06 PM   #6
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You can't money-shift a DCT car. Other than that risk, which has never happened to me in decades of driving a manual, I'm indifferent.
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      12-29-2011, 02:16 AM   #7
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DCT for me. As stated above, mainly gears 3-5, with occasional visits to 2 on slow corners and briefly 6 at the end of long straights if you're nearing the rev limit in 5.

I would guess you shift a bit more frequently in a DCT car because there are 7 gears and they are spaced a bit closer. With a manual, you're probably mainly doing gears 3 and 4.

It was a tough decision for me--I really wanted the involvement of a manual transmission for the track, but I'm not yet confident in my ability to master threshold braking/heel-toe downshifting/balancing trail-braking/hitting the apex at speed with other cars up my rear. With DCT, I'm getting pretty good at doing three of those four things, while letting the car worry about rev-matching on the downshift under heavy braking.

Some day I may "graduate" to a manual transmission for the track, just as they're all disappearing...

The question now is--if I hold on to my DCT as a long-term track car, how will the transmission hold up in the long run compared to a manual?
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      12-29-2011, 11:41 AM   #8
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6MT here. Anywhere between 2nd and 4th depending on the track and the turn... If I wanted I could do pretty much every track here in CO in 3rd though (shifting to 4th on the longer straights).

FWIW, I have a friend who just sold his E92 M3 DCT and he said it just made him look good on the track because it did the hard part for him. paradocs98 has a good point about the transmission durability though. It's a relative unknown... although it's been a few years now and I've yet to see any real trands showing it's a less reliable option.
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      12-29-2011, 11:41 AM   #9
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Depends on the track. If you are asking specifically about the TX tracks, there are some significant differences.

At Texas World Speedway DCT vrs 6MT will not make a huge difference since the track is mostly high speed sweepers.

At Motorsport Ranch, I think DCT would make a MUCH bigger difference. Even moreso on the 3.1. There are 2 turns where I would LOVE to go from 4th to 2nd. With my 6MT 330, I need to either brake sooner or just do the turn in 3rd. I don't have the skill/speed right now to threshold brake and go from 4th to 2nd.

If I had a DCT...too easy.
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      12-29-2011, 11:56 AM   #10
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6MT here. Just depends on the experience that you are looking for. I know that DCT would be easier (and safer due to the possibility of money-shifting), and probably worth at least a second around most tracks that I go to, but I love blasting off those cleanly executed heel-toes before careening around corners. It's fun, I love it, and I don't get around tracks all that much slower than most.

However, for people who aren't used to heel-toe, rev-match, double-clutch, etc., it is a whole lot of work to do when you're already faced with a lot of things to do. I was sitting in my friend's car, and it was almost dangerous in the ride along that I got: since he's incapable of all of the above, he'd just drop a gear, let off the clutch, get the synchros to do the work, and then get around the corner. Problem is, he'd sometimes do this too late going into a corner, and it'd really upset the balance of the car when cornering, since the car jerks. Thank God for WRX all-wheel tech.

Anyways, depending on the track, I typically use 3-5. There's one corner at Buttonwillow which is a bit tricky for the M3: I'm still not sure if I want to use 2nd gear there or not: dropping into 2nd I run out of RPM's too fast, but trying to push out in 3rd you run into the M3's lack of torque issue at around 3k RPM.
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      12-29-2011, 12:15 PM   #11
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6MT here and as most have mentioned the tracks I've been to are usually 3'rd and 4'th with the occasional 2'nd if I get behind a slower car at a curve.

I've never hit 5'th as the max speed I've hit on the tracks I've been to was 230.

As far as which is quicker. I woul say the DCT there are some places I coul switch down to 2nd but I don't since it would be for such a short period and not worth it but in a DCT it's just a flick of the paddle. I know this because I actually did switch down to 2'nd when I brought my S4 to the track once. DCT is just so easy for the track and even more for inexperienced drivers.
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      12-29-2011, 01:19 PM   #12
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It's pretty seamless. One more skill to learn. The DCT will be easier obviously but I love rev matching my own downshifts. My race car is 5MT and it's very easy to use (and we have to use the 5spd manual box anyways so it's good to practice on my other vehicles).
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      12-29-2011, 02:09 PM   #13
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You haven't lived until you enter an off camber turn at speed in third clenching onto the steering wheel with a vise grip left hand (no harness) as you have to shift with your right hand as you run out of rpm.

I'm sure there are plenty of folks on here that can relate. I look forward to it.

6mt is so much fun, albeit slower than an equal driver with DCT. However, DCT doesn't make you Seena.

I ran a DCT M3 at VIR and had a blast, next time I'd like to run a 6MT.

I really enjoy rev matching and heel-toeing, so I'm a sucker for rowing the gears.

Home track requires 2nd through 5th with speeds between 40mph - 156mph.
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      12-29-2011, 02:20 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkyplaynazn View Post
I posted this over at the General Forum...but specifically want some answers from guys who track their 6MT or DCT cars for some perspective.

Without making this a 6MT vs DCT thread please respond to these questions:
-How many 6MT guys track vs DCT guys who track?
-For 6MT guys that track would the prefer DCT or does driver skill make it a wash?
-I don't have any experience tracking a MT car. Given the known small issue of the 1-2 shift which shouldn't really matter on a trackday anyway. What gear changes are most common for the track day guys? My last few track days with my DCT most of my gear changes seem to be just 3-4 and 4-3 with only occasional changes up to 5th.

Original Thread:
http://www.m3post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=628737
6MT.

I don't think I'd have the same amount of fun tracking a DCT but that is purely personal preference. DCT probably faster because less time spend in gear change (not accel), less attention needed for gear selection, shifting, and keeping the car balanced (which I think is a big difference between tracking 6MT and DCT, keeping the balance).

Gear selection depends on the track I think. Coming off of a 130 straight, into a 30-40mph left hand, probably 5-4-3 or 6-5-4-3.
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      12-29-2011, 02:50 PM   #15
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OP, I saw your other thread. Would I buy a whole other M3 so I could have both versions (6MT and DCT)? No. As you can see we ALL sometimes want a 6MT and sometimes want a DCT. My M3 is a DCT. It would have been a 6MT if I were selling my 330 6sp and wife weren't driving it (she can't drive stick and it would be too expensive to teach her).

I will guess that anyone who is a diehard DCT fanatic/6MT hater can't drive a manual. The rev-matched down shift on a DCT is OK...but a rev-matched downshift in a 6SP is FAR MORE SATISFYING! Especially when you smoothly slide the stick into the hole and then she screams, bouncing off the limiter through the corner!
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      12-29-2011, 03:04 PM   #16
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As one of the few who has had both a 6 speed & a M-DCT.I had great fun in the 3 years that I tracked my 6 speed car but the one real issue that I did have was the feeling that I would money shift while loaded up in a corner where I needed to upshift in to avoid hitting the limiter.Never did do that but it was always in the back of my head that I could do it which is odd after tracking & racing normal H pattern cars for years.
The biggest difference with my 11 with the DCT is having an extra mid ratio which allows to run the car higher in the power which quite helps the off corner acceleration and up the long uphill straight at tracks like Mosport where I use 2nd to 5th gears.This car is quite a bit quicker due to this and faster shifting sure does not hurt and it sure is nice to know that you will not spin the motor into death throes if you pooch a shift!Yes I do miss some of the satisfaction of exucuting proper shifts both on and off the track.

Last edited by Gearhead999s; 12-29-2011 at 03:12 PM.
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      12-29-2011, 04:26 PM   #17
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Quote:
nice to know that you will not spin the motor into death throes if you pooch a shift!
Yes, I know exactly what you mean. At VIR there are two turns where 5th to 3rd are required. On my 525i, I shift from 5th to 4th to 3rd (to avoid 5th to 1st as some people have done) in one fluid motion while hard on the brakes prior to turn in. In the M3, DCT, no worry going 5th to 3rd - smooth as silk, even on the long back straight, 6th to 5th to 4th, all are done with no concern.

I guess I have learned hand/finger for the DCT to go with my heel/toe in the 5 speed.
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      12-29-2011, 04:31 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubbles View Post
You haven't lived until you enter an off camber turn at speed in third holding on to the steering wheel with a vise grip with your left hand (no harness)as you have to shift with your right hand as you run out of rpm.

I'm sure there are plenty of folks on here that can relate.
So true!! Made me .
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      12-29-2011, 05:41 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dnvrdrvr View Post
So true!! Made me .

I knew there were a few of us in that club
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      12-29-2011, 10:24 PM   #20
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I still debate this back and forth in my head. Hearing you guys talk about the satisfaction of nailing a perfect heel-toe downshift as you come into a corner at speed makes me want to drive a manual on the track so badly (I had a manual 330Ci and manual 545i back in the day, but never tracked them). But then I wonder if the manual isn't becoming a lost art and/or anachronistic when I see in-car footage of current race cars running sequential shifters, whether they be 911 Cup cars or LMP cars.

On the one hand, I think people have to get over the idea of a DCT as an "automatic." It by no means is an automatic, at least the way I drive it. I NEVER drive it in automatic mode, even on the street. To me, an automatic is a fluid-coupled slush box that upshifts on its own into the highest gear as soon as possible, leaving you coasting into a corner, and the transmission then having to kick-down to accelerate out of the turn. I despise this. I think of the DCT as a manual that is simply computer-controlled for clutch activation, and that gives the added "cheating" benefit of rev-matching on downshifts.

Sounds like I'm in the DCT camp. And then, I think of a car like the Nissan GT-R, and the concept drives me nuts. I think of that as a car that a complete nincompoop could drive around a track quickly, because it does absolutely everything for you. Not only does it have an automated manual transmission, but it has AWD and computer-controlled chassis dynamics to the nth degree, so that you can throw the car into the corner totally out of shape, and it sorts everything out. No challenge or high degree of skill involved. (Flame suit on) But then this line of thinking is in total disagreement to my defense of driving a DCT on the track.

Basically, I'm confused.:

Little Stig on my left shoulder, whispering in my ear: "Traditional H-pattern manual transmissions are going the way of the Dodo. Paddle shifters and sequential manuals are the ever-increasing present and future of racing. Stick shift? Might as well also hand-crank your car like a Model T and use gas lamps instead of headlights..."

Little Stig on my right shoulder, whispering in my ear: "You're 41 years old. It's unlikely you're headed to a pro racing career. Trackdays are about fun and involvement with the car, not shaving that last hundredth of a second off your lap time because a DCT is faster around the track. Perfect your heel-toe technique and experience the mechanical connection with the car. Nissan GT-R? Jerry Lewis could drive that around Watkins Glen and set a nice lap time..."

I need a nap.

Last edited by paradocs98; 12-30-2011 at 10:39 AM.
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      12-30-2011, 03:06 AM   #21
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I've only tracked my M3 once. My normal track car is the Miata in my signature. It is a 6MT and I took it out to Sebring. I love using a MT, just feel a part of the car and love to heel toe and get all the pedals working. You will never go into 1st on a track unless you go off or wreck and I just don't see how you would ever get into 6th. I would hit 150's at the top end of my 4th gear, little of 5th, and was right back on the breaks after that in turn 17 at Sebring.
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      01-01-2012, 12:42 PM   #22
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6MT here but I must admit I have a bit of DCT envy when I am on the track.
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