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      01-11-2013, 02:56 PM   #1
dmw16
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Real HPDE Cost (vs M School)?

My wife has offered up for my 30th birthday a trip to the 2-day M School. I am having a little guilt over the $3000 price tag (that's with my CCA discount). But then I got to thinking: what's the real cost of a track day? For reference I'd be driving my 2005 M3.

2-day Event: $350
Tires: Will I consume an entire set?
Brakes: New pads for sure, new rotors?
Track Day Insurance: $400 or so
Hotel: $200

The track event is at Summit Point which is about an hour from my house but I don't think I'd want to drive out there and then put my car thru that and drive back and then do it again the next day.

Just curious if anyone can shed some light on how much I am going to spend in brakes, tires, wear and tear...

Thanks.
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      01-11-2013, 03:07 PM   #2
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Good question. For a single day local professional event here, this is what I would approximately expect my costs to be:

Gas $100
Tire wear up to 50% but more likely 25% ($300-600)
Brake pad wear about 50% for street pads ($100-300 depending on pads)
Rotor wear I'm not concerned about
Track insurance for $50,000 around $300 (many people skip this)
HPDE fee with full instruction ~$600 vs lapping day fee ~$250 (this varies widely)

This doesn't include travel but for a single day, almost half the M-school. I never thought about it that way. Makes M-school seem more reasonable. I've been to the track several times in a much less expensive car but I plan on going in the M this year.
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      01-11-2013, 03:24 PM   #3
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$600+ depending on how hard you drive, how sticky your tires are
$100 gas
$150 tires
$150 other wear/miles on car
$200 entry (typically $200 Infineon, $200 Laguna Seca, $150 Thunderhill)
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      01-11-2013, 03:32 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Transfer View Post
Good question. For a single day local professional event here, this is what I would approximately expect my costs to be:

Gas $100
Tire wear up to 50% but more likely 25% ($300-600)
Brake pad wear about 50% for street pads ($100-300 depending on pads)
Rotor wear I'm not concerned about
Track insurance for $50,000 around $300 (many people skip this)
HPDE fee with full instruction ~$600 vs lapping day fee ~$250 (this varies widely)

This doesn't include travel but for a single day, almost half the M-school. I never thought about it that way. Makes M-school seem more reasonable. I've been to the track several times in a much less expensive car but I plan on going in the M this year.
Thanks for the info. For pads I'd figured the cost of buying a set of track pads so there's $600.

As for tires, if I do a 2 or 3 day event I should figure a set of street tires are gone, right?

And as for insurance, to make it the same as the M School you have to have no risk of losing (financially) your car.
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      01-11-2013, 03:36 PM   #5
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Great question! Was wondering the same. Similar situation here, was debating on the 1 day M school and also have an '05 .

To add to it, say if you are a beginner (which I am, never tracked my car) would I really need a new set of pads after my first event? In my case I would be racing on the VIR.

I imagine first time around I would be driving rather slow-er. Don't even want to think about the rotors, ZCP here and that would be over a grand for all 4.
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      01-11-2013, 03:42 PM   #6
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Depends on what you want to accomplish: fun vs knowledge. M School is a lot of fun and you can flog the entire fleet of M cars. Obviously you're paying a lot more for this and it gives many the piece of mind of not worrying about destroying anything.

However, you will learn a lot more in an HPDE since it's in your own car where you test the limits. Specifically, you'll get an instructor in your passenger seat that will teach you proper driving techniques with instantaneous feedback. Instructors are very well qualified and go through several years of training to teach. I haven't done a 2 day M School (but have done several 1 dayers) but the instructors are usually leading your group and comunicating via 2-way radio. While you get some instruction on what line to take, when/how to brake/accelerate. etc, it's not personalized to exactly what you're doing.

Another option would be to do both. Our CCA chapter does a 1 day M school twice a year for a lot less than the published rate at the Performance Center (less than $700). We caravan down Friday morning, tour the Zentrum and factory, drive M cars all day Saturday, and head home on Sunday. Check the website because registration already opened, but this plus 1 HPDE is a LOT less than $3k.
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      01-11-2013, 03:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmw16 View Post
Thanks for the info. For pads I'd figured the cost of buying a set of track pads so there's $600.

As for tires, if I do a 2 or 3 day event I should figure a set of street tires are gone, right?

And as for insurance, to make it the same as the M School you have to have no risk of losing (financially) your car.
Personally, I've used OEM pads in the past and they were absolutely fine. Pads will wear more than tires IMO so unless you're doing donuts all day, you won't wear down a full set of tires.
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      01-11-2013, 03:48 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yugo View Post
Great question! Was wondering the same. Similar situation here, was debating on the 1 day M school and also have an '05 .

To add to it, say if you are a beginner (which I am, never tracked my car) would I really need a new set of pads after my first event? In my case I would be racing on the VIR.

I imagine first time around I would be driving rather slow-er. Don't even want to think about the rotors, ZCP here and that would be over a grand for all 4.
I can tell you my experience: last year was my first year attending any motorsports events. I made it to the end of the year (6 months with this car) on stock brakes and PSSs. That includes 3 track days and 7 autocross events. My PSSs are shot, but brakes still have some life. I expect to consume tires and brakes at a greater rate this year with a little experience under my belt, but, as a whole, it was very reasonable.
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      01-11-2013, 03:52 PM   #9
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Your skill level and comfort level will dictate your pace, which will in turn dictate wear and tear on the car.

Granted it's not an M3... but my 2012 Mazdaspeed3 (3281lbs curb weight vs 3,704lbs for E92 M3) has 11K total miles and I've done 2 trackdays with it at Road Atlanta (Intermediate skill level):

Both were 2-day events (around 200-220mi of track driving each event)
I'm still running the stock tires (Dunlop SP 2050 - 240AA treadwear) but will probably replace them for the next event (March).
Still on stock brake pads/rotors. The former WILL be replaced before the next event (March) if I'm still on this car. I do drive rather 'spiritedly' on a daily basis however.

Otherwise, costs were just oil change/gas/track insurance/event registration. Not sure how that helps, but given the M3's added weight (and faster), you'll likely go through pads faster. That'll also depend on your abilities though, corner entry speed, etc.

How many miles are on your current setup? (Pads/Rotors/Tires)
Tires are also dependent on treadwear/compound type. If you're on a high-mileage tire, you won't tear through them too fast... but your grip won't be too great either of course.

You'll have a blast at the track - Get ready for a new addiction!
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      01-11-2013, 03:57 PM   #10
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unless you have a bad alignment or significant wear, it'll be highly unlikely you'll go thru a full set of tires, pads, or rotors. I would recommend you flush your brake fluid though.
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      01-11-2013, 04:07 PM   #11
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I just got back from the 2 Day M School last week (there is a write up from another attendee on the M5 board). I can't comment to the cost vs an HPDE day, but what I can say is that the fundamentals you learn at the 2 Day school should help you quite a bit when you do HPDE days. The other nice thing is the wear and tear on a car that isn't yours. They have the new M5 and M6 in addition to the M3. One of the guys in my class (also who wrote the article) put his M5 into the guard rail and the cost to him was ZERO. He got to really push, learn, and make mistakes without the fear of damaging HIS M5.

The 2 Day program is first class and I'm now looking forward to saving the for the Advanced school. Put it this way: have you seen or read one bad review on it? I haven't seen one yet.
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      01-11-2013, 04:11 PM   #12
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Also, while you don't have instructors in you for most of the activities, you get instant feedback via radio from them and it absolutely makes a difference. A few folks in my class did HPDE days before and all said the M school was worth it. I don't think it's fair to say you learn more at an HPDE day. For example, learning to control oversteer/understeer/power sliding on a wet skid pad is not something you'd get to do running your car on a HPDE track and I would say those skills translate much more into the real world than say how to take a corner harder or faster because you *should not* be driving like a jackass on public roads.
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      01-11-2013, 04:17 PM   #13
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Quote:
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unless you have a bad alignment or significant wear, it'll be highly unlikely you'll go thru a full set of tires, pads, or rotors. I would recommend you flush your brake fluid though.
That's right, 1st thing I did before taking the car out - I went for Motul RBF600 to be on the safe side (and very hot summers here in the South).
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      01-11-2013, 04:17 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djseto View Post
Also, while you don't have instructors in you for most of the activities, you get instant feedback via radio from them and it absolutely makes a difference. A few folks in my class did HPDE days before and all said the M school was worth it. I don't think it's fair to say you learn more at an HPDE day. For example, learning to control oversteer/understeer/power sliding on a wet skid pad is not something you'd get to do running your car on a HPDE track and I would say those skills translate much more into the real world than say how to take a corner harder or faster because you *should* not be driving like a jackass on public roads.
hey, another Seto that drives an M3

actually most HPDEs spend a significant amount of time on a wet skid pad and many people find it the most important learning experience. So much so, that our instructors rent out a skid pad for the day and spend all day on it, and probably not going more than 20 mph. In order to get feedback at M school is if the instructors SEES you doing something that needs to be corrected and that doesn't always happen. in an instructor sitting next you will see EVERYTHING.

I'm not bashing M School at all b/c I absolutely love it, it's just a different type of experience (and a lot more fun!).
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      01-11-2013, 04:20 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmw16 View Post
My wife has offered up for my 30th birthday a trip to the 2-day M School. I am having a little guilt over the $3000 price tag (that's with my CCA discount). But then I got to thinking: what's the real cost of a track day? For reference I'd be driving my 2005 M3.

2-day Event: $350
Tires: Will I consume an entire set?
Brakes: New pads for sure, new rotors?
Track Day Insurance: $400 or so
Hotel: $200

The track event is at Summit Point which is about an hour from my house but I don't think I'd want to drive out there and then put my car thru that and drive back and then do it again the next day.

Just curious if anyone can shed some light on how much I am going to spend in brakes, tires, wear and tear...

Thanks.
I've done both and they are both unique in their own right. There is nothing that replicates the joy of taking your own personal car to the limit in a controlled environment.

That being said, my wife and I did the 2 day M school together a while back. She likes cars but not really a car nut per se. She was the only girl in our group of 12 and we both had a fabulous time wringing the neck of every M car in the lineup (including the X5M and X6M). The college town feel in SC was quite welcome. Decent food, wine, beer and walking downtown activities near by.

To this day, it is her favorite vacation ever. She wants our second honeymoon to be a repeat visit for the next M class over two weeks in Argentina. Take that for what its worth.

If you do it, make sure you both go.
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      01-11-2013, 04:21 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djseto View Post
Also, while you don't have instructors in you for most of the activities, you get instant feedback via radio from them and it absolutely makes a difference.
Depending on the HPDE organization, some require an instructor in the car with you for beginners, until the instructor signs you off for solo driving. I run with NASA, and if your HPDE1 (beginner), you always have an instructor. HPDE2+ is optional to request one.

Excellent to have, even if you have experience, but are going to a new track.
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      01-11-2013, 04:33 PM   #17
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I didn't see this mentioned yet, but many HPDEs require a pre-event inspection which can run anywhere between $100-150 depending where you have it done. Since OP has a 2005, a full saftey inspection would be recommended.

Two day M School will run you in the neighborhood of 3K plus travel so you could easily do quite a few HPDEs for that amount. However, I will say that the PC is a blast. I have not done M School but I took PCD and got a full mornings worth of instruction there. The facility is impressive, the fleet of cars is awesome, and the staff is top notch. Plus you might even be able to schedule a tour of the plant and visit the Zentrum while you are there.

There are arguments for both. If you are looking at it from a straight cost perspective you will definitly get more bang for your buck with HPDEs. But if you are looking for the full BMW experience, hit up the PC.
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      01-11-2013, 04:51 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmw16 View Post
My wife has offered up for my 30th birthday a trip to the 2-day M School. I am having a little guilt over the $3000 price tag (that's with my CCA discount). But then I got to thinking: what's the real cost of a track day? For reference I'd be driving my 2005 M3.

2-day Event: $350
Tires: Will I consume an entire set?
Brakes: New pads for sure, new rotors?
Track Day Insurance: $400 or so
Hotel: $200

The track event is at Summit Point which is about an hour from my house but I don't think I'd want to drive out there and then put my car thru that and drive back and then do it again the next day.

Just curious if anyone can shed some light on how much I am going to spend in brakes, tires, wear and tear...

Thanks.
Is the HPDE at Summit Point with BMW CCA?
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      01-11-2013, 05:21 PM   #19
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once you factor in the cost of insurance on top of all the other fees and wear items, I think the cost is about the same. you get slightly more track time doing HPDE, but you'll probably learn more from the M school instructors and you can't beat the peace of mind of using someone else's car.

I did the 2-day M school. 100% worth it, and I think it's a great value once you get the 20% BMW CCA discount. especially when you include the free helmet and dvd video of your driving that you take home with you.
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      01-11-2013, 05:36 PM   #20
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The costs are not even remotely the same.

Your tires will last two days. As will your pads. As will your rotors. Especially when you have never tracked before.

If you are budgeting buying track pads then you can't count it as a per-day expense, because they will last you for many more days into the future. As would track tires.

Just go do a one day event at Summit. It's an easy drive from MD and no issues there and back. If you decide to do two, a $200 hotel in WV is palatial -- you can stay for less.

I have no doubt you will have a great time at the M school and it will make for a great memory. If your goal is just to get on track and get the most for your money, regular HPDEs are significantly more cost-effective.
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      01-11-2013, 05:42 PM   #21
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Do both!

I did the 1 day M school that Paul described with the BMWCCA and had a great time. In total I spent about $1,000 including gas, food, hotel and the school. Caravaned down and back with other club members, met a lot of cool people, and will definately do it again.

I have also been to the HPDEs with the NCC at Summit Point and they are excellent. They are very well organized and every instructor I've encountered has been great. I'll absolutely be at all of them again this year because like Paul said, you're in your own car with your own instructor. You learn a lot more in those two days than at the 2 day M school.

I'm not trying to talk you out of the 2 day M school but for the same amount you can do the NCC 1 day school and two, maybe 3, NCC Summit Point events.
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      01-11-2013, 05:55 PM   #22
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  • Tires - It depends on your tires, your driving style, the track (some can be hard on tires, others very gentle), temperature, your alignment, but fwiw I did several track events on street tires. You should be fine. Be sure to watch your tire pressures. (That's a topic certain to be covered if it's a good HPDE.)
  • Gas - Figure a full tank a day, maybe more.
  • Brake fluid - Definitely do a flush beforehand. It's actually required for most schools around here.
  • Pads - Stock pads can get a bit mushy on 20-30 min sessions. If you get track pads, get some that are gentle on your rotors, like Hawk DTC70s.
  • Rotors - The OEM rotors are great. You should not need to replace those from a track day. I never had to replace mine.
  • Fees - That varies by region, it seems.
  • Hotel? - Be sure to figure that in if you're going a distance. No fun to have to drive 2+ hours in the morning before prepping your car and rushing to a 7:30am drivers' meeting.
  • Food and water -- You want plenty of both. If you don't, you may experience physical issues.
  • Around here, inspection is free, usually, for DEs. It's a way for performance shops to appeal to potential customers. Check with the club.
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