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      04-26-2012, 02:09 PM   #1
SROC5
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For those fence sitting on going to the track...

All the experienced track guys can stop reading right HERE.

This is written for anyone considering tracking their car.

While this is on the site somewhere Iím sure, there were definitely gaps I filled in for myself from different sources.

Summary
I just came back from a NASA High Performance Driving Event (HPDE) @ New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP), and for any of you ďthinkingĒ about tracking your car, I HIGHLY recommend you do it at least once. Itís a great way to increase your driving abilities, and more importantly, maximizing your enjoyment of the M3. Itís relatively safe and controlled for novice drivers Ė nothing to truly worry about.

A Day In the LifeÖ
You start early (7am) and find your place in the paddock area. You take all your gear out, place it in on a tarp or in a tent, and ďset up shopĒ. After youíre done taping your carís front end with painterís tape and torquing the wheels (88 Ė 90 lbs for M3s) with the wrench, you head to registration. The general agenda is a class followed later by a driving session (x4 :20-:25min sessions). In between youíll want to get a ride with your instructor for a ride around the track to see how it's supposed to be done.

After your first session, park, and donít use the hand brake (may warp rotors). Use a tire block to hold the car in place or place in gear. Check your wheels and use the torque wrench to ensure everything is still tight.

Note: Taping your plate in the back is good idea because insurance companies canít somehow find out youíve been tracking your car. I guess taking off your plate is just as good

Community
Other novice and experienced drivers are there to help you and everyone is very friendly (no fast and furious attitude present!) I saw a variety of people doing the HPDE for different reasons and they were all welcomed. There was a true community at this event and it was VERY well organized, NASA.

When in doubt, ask somebody, theyíre sure to help answer your questions.

Track Etiquette - "Point By"
You'll pick up many things in class, but one thing you should help manage with your instructors are point bys. As you'll be busy concentrating on your line, speed, and brakes, you'll likely get tunnel vision in your first couple sessions. Ask your instructor to manage "point bys" vigilantly (it is not assumed they will). There were more than a handful of novice drivers + instructors who didn't point by or very rarely did, causing traffic to build.

Be kind to yourself and others behind you and point them by. It widens the track, creates space for you and others - everybody wins!

Equipment
Helmet (SNELL 2005 or later), Light weight beach chair, Tarp, Small Tent, Bin/Lightweight Trunk, Rags, (1) quart of motor oil, (1) bottle of brake fluid (donít mix different brake fluids), spray wax, power bars, smart water (6 bottles per day), torque wrench + 17mm socket, a tire block/chock, painterís tape (1.5 inches, two rolls), an open mind, and some fearlessness on the track.

I would leave behind everything thatís not necessary at home (e.g. loose change, peripherals, random stuff in the glove box and trunk etc.)

As itís your first time, the chances youíll use the extra brake fluid or oil you brought are slim if youíre already topped off, but itís never a bad idea to have a back-up.

Driving Club Options
There are many to choose from: BMW CCA, NASA, PCA, Track Daze, SCDA, the list goes onÖSome require a membership to join their events, and some donít.

NASA required a fee, but in my opinion well worth it due how well it was organized and professionally managed. But there are enough options out there without a fee that will work just fine for first timers. Do more searches on certain clubs on this site for a better perspective.

www.motorsportsreg.com (your go-to aggregator site)

Note: A key differentiator is some also require PRE-TECH at a shop prior to the event (factor that into your cost). I prefer ones that do PRE-TECH track side to save on cost. PRE-TECH by no means should be taken lightly, make sure you do know your car is in good working order.

Thatís it, thought Iíd share and hopefully get a few other fence sitters in on tracking their M3s

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Last edited by SROC5; 04-28-2012 at 04:23 PM.
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      04-26-2012, 02:20 PM   #2
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Compelling.
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      04-26-2012, 02:34 PM   #3
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Compelling.
You should come out to some track events here in So-Cal. It's a good time.
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      04-26-2012, 02:37 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malekreza11 View Post
You should come out to some track events here in So-Cal. It's a good time.
While I don't track my car, I've always enjoyed a good day at the track.
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      04-26-2012, 02:42 PM   #5
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Very good and well thought out. Anybody considering the track, please note.

One little add on if I may, on Tech Inspections.

Do not take this lightly. Take you car to a shop where they can get it in the air and look at the underside. Anything questionable, please have it take care of if possible, prior to going to the track. Most all clubs have a tech form that should be completed. Remember, you are going to the track to drive your car, not work on it.

Go and have fun.
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      04-26-2012, 02:46 PM   #6
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1. Nice write-up. Good summary.
2. It was good to meet you.
3. Glad you had a great time and are now hooked.
4. Your car above looks like you hit Papa Smurf at 120+mph coming into the braking zone for turn 1 at Lightning.
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      04-26-2012, 02:57 PM   #7
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The handbrake thing is to prevent to sticking the handbrake to your hubs and jamming your rear wheels! You can also leave your car in gear when it is stopped instead of chocks
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      04-26-2012, 03:00 PM   #8
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you also need a Snell 2005 or later helmet. Also check whether it has to be SA or M rated, which depends upon each organization
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      04-26-2012, 03:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LiM3y View Post
you also need a Snell 2005 or later helmet. Also check whether it has to be SA or M rated, which depends upon each organization
Added!

Quote:
Originally Posted by paradocs98 View Post
1. Nice write-up. Good summary.
2. It was good to meet you.
3. Glad you had a great time and are now hooked.
4. Your car above looks like you hit Papa Smurf at 120+mph coming into the braking zone for turn 1 at Lightning.
Haha! Agreed, anything to prevent knicks from stuff that kicks up on the track...

Quote:
Originally Posted by von_zoom View Post
Very good and well thought out. Anybody considering the track, please note.

One little add on if I may, on Tech Inspections.

Do not take this lightly. Take you car to a shop where they can get it in the air and look at the underside. Anything questionable, please have it take care of if possible, prior to going to the track. Most all clubs have a tech form that should be completed. Remember, you are going to the track to drive your car, not work on it.

Go and have fun.
vz
Added!
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      04-26-2012, 03:49 PM   #10
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Don't take it negatively but I always find it funny when new people to the track tape up their cars.

It doesn't protect accidents and the black marks from the rubber take less time to clean than the time it took to put all that tape.

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      04-26-2012, 04:16 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M3 Montreal View Post
Don't take it negatively but I always find it funny when new people to the track tape up their cars.

It doesn't protect accidents and the black marks from the rubber take less time to clean than the time it took to put all that tape.

+1
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      04-26-2012, 04:41 PM   #12
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NJMS always has a lot of sand and gravel on it, so It is one the tracks I would tape my car up at. You should have used the checkered tape that the Audi's next to you were using on their cars. It looked neat.

Also at this event, but running in HPDE 3 with paradox.
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      04-26-2012, 04:57 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arter View Post
NJMS always has a lot of sand and gravel on it, so It is one the tracks I would tape my car up at. You should have used the checkered tape that the Audi's next to you were using on their cars. It looked neat.

Also at this event, but running in HPDE 3 with paradox.
Yea, buddy, I saw you parked next to paradocs. My next track day is May 3rd at Lime Rock, can't wait!
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      04-26-2012, 05:23 PM   #14
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M3s use a separate drum as their handbrake which is completely separate from the disk. Using your handbrake at the track won't cause any issues.
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      04-26-2012, 06:21 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SROC5 View Post
Yea, buddy, I saw you parked next to paradocs. My next track day is May 3rd at Lime Rock, can't wait!

I have Watkins Glen May 5&6 with my local GVC BMW CCA, then down to
VIR on the 18-20 with First Settlers PCA.....
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      04-26-2012, 06:40 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SROC5 View Post
All the experienced track guys can stop reading right HERE.

This is written for anyone considering tracking their car.
You posted this in the wrong forum. Nice review. Just wanna point out that you'll find out the blue tape thing is such a PIA and quit caring about your paint at some point.

The biggest track no-no? Trying to wax your car in the paddock between sessions. I usually point and laugh.

So true about the community thing. When my engine blew in my 330, I got 5 offers for rides home even though I was about 2 hours out of the way.
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      04-26-2012, 07:25 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigjae1976 View Post
You posted this in the wrong forum. Nice review. Just wanna point out that you'll find out the blue tape thing is such a PIA and quit caring about your paint at some point.

The biggest track no-no? Trying to wax your car in the paddock between sessions. I usually point and laugh.

So true about the community thing. When my engine blew in my 330, I got 5 offers for rides home even though I was about 2 hours out of the way.
Where should I post it? This is the only section about tracking and where other noobs to the track would look for advice...

Agree, taping is a PIA, I've already thought of taping less (headlights and a little bumper maybe...

Lastly, the wax isn't for buffing the car at all actually. I put it on slightly before taping to prevent too much adhesion to the paint.
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      04-26-2012, 07:29 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M3 Montreal View Post
Don't take it negatively but I always find it funny when new people to the track tape up their cars.

It doesn't protect accidents and the black marks from the rubber take less time to clean than the time it took to put all that tape.

Not at all, funny thing is I taped less in my first session and noticed a couple knicks later, then went all out NJMP is notorious apparently for sand/loose gravel. Alter above mentions it as well...but yea, I'd really like to tape up less...
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      04-26-2012, 07:31 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arter View Post
I have Watkins Glen May 5&6 with my local GVC BMW CCA, then down to
VIR on the 18-20 with First Settlers PCA.....
VIR? You driving the 8 hours over there? I really want go but it's SOOO far.
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      04-26-2012, 08:24 PM   #20
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[quote=arter]
Quote:
Originally Posted by SROC5 View Post
Yea, buddy, I saw you parked next to paradocs. My next track day is May 3rd at Lime Rock, can't wait!


I have Watkins Glen May 5&6 with my local GVC BMW CCA, then down to
VIR on the 18-20 with First Settlers PCA.....
I will be at VIR with the PCA on those days too. Running in blue group number #11
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      04-26-2012, 08:37 PM   #21
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[quote=LiM3y;11841798]
Quote:
Originally Posted by arter

I will be at VIR with the PCA on those days too. Running in blue group number #11

Running in white group at VIR. I remember your write-up last year about your trip there with First Settlers. So I thought I would try them for my first PCA experience. Seems like a nice group.

An 11 hour trip for me

although I did it in December with CHIN to VIR last year. VIR is worth it....
Did 155 in the back straight stock last year. Probably too scared to find out what the car could do this year

At those speeds you start thinking about roll bars and down force.....
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      04-26-2012, 08:40 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SROC5 View Post
Where should I post it? This is the only section about tracking and where other noobs to the track would look for advice...

Agree, taping is a PIA, I've already thought of taping less (headlights and a little bumper maybe...

Lastly, the wax isn't for buffing the car at all actually. I put it on slightly before taping to prevent too much adhesion to the paint.
Oh man...I'm talking about the guys who bust out the detailing kits. General Forum would get more visibility...just my $.02.

I would definitely protect the headlights with some sort of clear bra or shield. You have to come for grips that your paint will get focked up especially when you get behind someone with r-comps...which fling stuff at your car. And you will accumulate black tar streaks.
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