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      01-11-2013, 06:00 PM   #23
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I agree, do both.

The M school is a nice introduction at low risk to you, and if you like it, the HPDE's are cheaper per event ( $ 600 / day for me) and you can do many different tracks. The instructors are usually good, especially in BMW CCA or PCA events.
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      01-11-2013, 06:19 PM   #24
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Don't you get a nice Snell M School helmet and other cool things attending the 2 day? I'm sure you're paying for it but cool to get none the less.
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      01-11-2013, 07:43 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smmmurf View Post
$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)
Sounds about right. I definitely recommend performance/track pads and new race/track brake fluid. The pads are quite a bit but you should get several track days out of a set, I figure at least 3 track days at Road America for my set of pads, HP+.
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      01-11-2013, 07:46 PM   #26
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On OEM brakes I'll eat through a set of front track pads (PF01s) in 2 weekends.

I have never been to the M School but been to the PDC. From looking at the schedule and seeing it in action, I consider the M School as the precursor to an HPDE. At the M School, it seems like you learn the basic techniques in an environment more conducive to quickly building the fundamentals needed at speed. Versus starting out doing HPDEs and kind of learning car control, spin control, and basic techniques at speed. So I think you need a lot more times to get it right in an HPDE environment. I think the Advanced school is more like a HPDE.

Unfortunately, a lot of people jump right into HPDEs like I did. I wish I would have done some, actually, a LOT of car control work before going to an HPDE.
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      01-11-2013, 08:45 PM   #27
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^+1 on the car control. I did 3 days of HPDE before doing car control and I would have been much more effective at the HPDEs if I would have taken car control first.
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      01-11-2013, 09:26 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigjae1976 View Post
I have never been to the M School but been to the PDC. From looking at the schedule and seeing it in action, I consider the M School as the precursor to an HPDE. At the M School, it seems like you learn the basic techniques in an environment more conducive to quickly building the fundamentals needed at speed. Versus starting out doing HPDEs and kind of learning car control, spin control, and basic techniques at speed. So I think you need a lot more times to get it right in an HPDE environment. I think the Advanced school is more like a HPDE.

^ +1

From my perspective: I started in 2008 by attending BMW's 2 day Adult Car Control School and then returned later the same year for their 2 day M School. The next year I attended BMW HPDE's and haven't looked back. I think this helped me gain the experience I needed before bringing on the speed.

M School was great, I can't say enough good things about it but it's a beginning of your learning. BMW HPDE's took my learning to the next level.
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      01-11-2013, 09:37 PM   #29
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For me the biggest hurdle was breaking the back end loose and reacting well in that situation. I went a little more extreme, I did a drifitng practice and the PDS 1/2 day thing when you pick up your car. It is important to get that feeling that when the car is getting sideways...you are still in control. I think I take it a little too far and start unncessarily breaking the back end loose. Oversteer? maintain throttle, let the wheel spin and drift. Understeer? MOAR throttle, let the wheel spin and drift. The tire bill gets pretty high.

Back OT...the $3000 price is a deal when you consider the cars you're abusing are not yours and will likely never see them again which means you never have to fix or maintain them. Then the facilities are FIRST rate! Not to mention you're instructors are some of the best PROFESSIONAL drivers around. No offense to HPDE instructors...but the Performance Center guys are a cut above. Lastly, you get the first class corporate BMW treatment!
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      01-11-2013, 11:07 PM   #30
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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.
That seems pretty high for an inspection.


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Originally Posted by bigjae1976 View Post
On OEM brakes I'll eat through a set of front track pads (PF01s) in 2 weekends.

I have never been to the M School but been to the PDC. From looking at the schedule and seeing it in action, I consider the M School as the precursor to an HPDE. At the M School, it seems like you learn the basic techniques in an environment more conducive to quickly building the fundamentals needed at speed. Versus starting out doing HPDEs and kind of learning car control, spin control, and basic techniques at speed. So I think you need a lot more times to get it right in an HPDE environment. I think the Advanced school is more like a HPDE.

Unfortunately, a lot of people jump right into HPDEs like I did. I wish I would have done some, actually, a LOT of car control work before going to an HPDE.
But you're fast. OP sounds like a newb.

As a newb, I used my wife's 335 since I was driving the X5 at the time. I did 3 track days with 4 sessions each on the stock pads and they lasted almost 34,000 miles total. The brake pad light went on the last day before my service warranty went expired.
Obviously, I wasn't standing on the pads, but it also shows newbs should be FINE on stock pads. My instructor had an E60 M5 that was all stock and he was flogging it around the course for the full session he had.
Same with tires, you you manage the pressure right, they should last a while, though PS2's do chunk pretty easily.

.
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Let me get this straight... You are swapping out parts designed by some of the top engineers in the world because some guys sponsored by a company told you it's "better??" But when you ask the same guy about tracking, "oh no, I have a kid now" or "I just detailed my car." or "i just got new tires."

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      01-11-2013, 11:20 PM   #31
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Is it going to be your first time? Well i go through nasa with $50-60 membership plus $200 per event. Then you have to pay a shop for tech inspection which takes my shop 30 minutes so only $50 for me. If it is your first time then i would only worry about gas. Nasa kicks you out if you run out of gas during a session. You should be fine driving it back home. When i go to thunderhill with my older car, i get there a day ahead and stay overnight and drive my 3 hour trip back home right after and go to work the next day. Unless you been tracking before, you wont be over taxing the brakes or the tires because the instructors will make you concentrate on being smooth (slow but consistent). It can get expensive so use each event to help you prepare the car for the next one.
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      01-11-2013, 11:24 PM   #32
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2-day Event: $350 (yes, no savings here, you gotta pay to play)
Tires: Will I consume an entire set? (no, especially if you start in novice, I would just use summer tires, you won't be running very aggressively.)
Brakes: New pads for sure, new rotors? (no, same note as above)
Track Day Insurance: $400 or so (yes, but shop around)
Hotel: $200 (no way, one hour away is nothing! save the money here)

personally, i think you get more value in HPDE, b/c you spend time behind your own car and you get more sessions. The M school "gives" you food and air conditioned buildings and you get to drive latest M cars. M school reminds me of the "wine and cheese club", while HPDE is hanging out with fellow grassroots enthusiastic who can teach you a lot about cars and tracking.

Remember, you're not racing anyone at HPDE, as a novice you're learning lines, balance, and technique. If you're only doing 2 events a year, you will not need dedicated equipment for anything. The ONLY item you may consider buying is a change of brake fluids and pads. Again, all depends on how fresh these items already are, and what level you're driving at.
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      01-12-2013, 12:40 AM   #33
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M school is nice if you can swing the money but HDPE is way cheaper

1 day is between 100-300, if it's your first time then you would need to take the driving school bracket. A volunteer instructor is provided for free. Granted this guy will not be as "pro" as the M instructor but it's FREE

Unless you go crazy i'm going to say tire and brake wear will be neglible from one day of tracking.

Most people don't get track insurance but that's dependent of your comfort level
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      01-12-2013, 12:44 AM   #34
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This is my input. I would do the 2-day event. You are learning from professional instructors, behind some of the latest //M cars, on a course that is designed to imitate different weather pattern (hopefully it's not raining ), and not using your car.
Thus, it's a win win situation no matter how you look at it. Plus, if you are a BMW CCA member you get some discount.
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      01-12-2013, 01:28 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdosu View Post
2-day Event: $350 (yes, no savings here, you gotta pay to play)
Tires: Will I consume an entire set? (no, especially if you start in novice, I would just use summer tires, you won't be running very aggressively.)
Brakes: New pads for sure, new rotors? (no, same note as above)
Track Day Insurance: $400 or so (yes, but shop around)
Hotel: $200 (no way, one hour away is nothing! save the money here)

personally, i think you get more value in HPDE, b/c you spend time behind your own car and you get more sessions. The M school "gives" you food and air conditioned buildings and you get to drive latest M cars. M school reminds me of the "wine and cheese club", while HPDE is hanging out with fellow grassroots enthusiastic who can teach you a lot about cars and tracking.

Remember, you're not racing anyone at HPDE, as a novice you're learning lines, balance, and technique. If you're only doing 2 events a year, you will not need dedicated equipment for anything. The ONLY item you may consider buying is a change of brake fluids and pads. Again, all depends on how fresh these items already are, and what level you're driving at.
+1.

Summit is very close, no need to stay there, driving back home is actually relaxing as you wind down from all that adrenaline.

2 days at Summit with a reputable club and an in-car instructor will be absolutely perfect. You will also get wet skid pad instruction to learn car control, and mix it up with like minded people who are terrific company.

If you are driving an E46 and it's your first time, I think you should be ok with stock tires and pads. Also, many local shops do free track inspections, heck even my dealer does that for me.

I personally don't use track insurance, and use common sense instead when on track. I may not post the fastest track times, but I've been bringing my daily driver back home every time for the last 12 years.

If you want more info or would like to go with a few guys at some point, shoot me a PM.
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      01-12-2013, 08:09 AM   #36
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Thanks for the input everyone. I think I am going to do the 1-day M School w/ the CCA (as pseto suggested) and a 2 day track event (likely 2-day VIR north w/ Tarheel).

I'd really like some car control instruction. Sounds like I'll get some of that with an HPDE, but more can't hurt. Are the specific car control clinics anyone can recommend?
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      01-12-2013, 09:55 AM   #37
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Thanks for the input everyone. I think I am going to do the 1-day M School w/ the CCA (as pseto suggested) and a 2 day track event (likely 2-day VIR north w/ Tarheel).

I'd really like some car control instruction. Sounds like I'll get some of that with an HPDE, but more can't hurt. Are the specific car control clinics anyone can recommend?
The CCA usually does the car control stuff separately.

I've found that people who will only do the M school and never a HPDE lack confidence in their driving ability, but of course won't admit it.

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Let me get this straight... You are swapping out parts designed by some of the top engineers in the world because some guys sponsored by a company told you it's "better??" But when you ask the same guy about tracking, "oh no, I have a kid now" or "I just detailed my car." or "i just got new tires."
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      01-12-2013, 10:48 AM   #38
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Thanks for the input everyone. I think I am going to do the 1-day M School w/ the CCA (as pseto suggested) and a 2 day track event (likely 2-day VIR north w/ Tarheel).

I'd really like some car control instruction. Sounds like I'll get some of that with an HPDE, but more can't hurt. Are the specific car control clinics anyone can recommend?
Just two minor points... Skid pad instruction aka car control is done at the tracks which have the facility. As far as I know, VIR doesn't have one, but Summit Point has two.

And the other is that I wouldn't recommend VIR for a novice, I'd recommend Summit Main (there are 3 tracks at Summit Point).

See you out there...
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      01-12-2013, 11:12 AM   #39
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It depends on a lot of things - it can be quite expensive or pretty cheap. I am lucky that it is pretty cheap in my case:
Track time: free or $50/day (by virtue of being an instructor)
Tires: about $80-100 per day. $1300 for a set of Michelin Pilot Sport Cup lasts me 15ish track days (my 997 is much kinder to tires and brakes than any BMW I have ever driven)
Pads: ~$60-80 per day. Again, the 997 is much kinder on brakes than front engine cars and a set of (expensive) Performance Friction pads will last almost two seasons
Accelerated maintenance (e.g., more frequent oil changes, brake fluid flushes, etc...) - hard to say. I do that stuff myself on the 997 and so it's just cost of consumables which isn't very high.
Hotel: $0 - $80 /night. Mid Ohio is a 55 minute drive from my house so I usually don't stay overnight but if I do, the hotels around Mid Ohio are cheap.

So my total costs now are probably $150-300 /day. But I remember when I lived in NYC and did track time as a student at Lime Rock with Hoosiers and a car that chewed through brakes where I was probably spending $1000+ per day easily.
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      01-12-2013, 11:21 AM   #40
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Funny that you posted this OP, I was actually thinking about this very question when I looked at M School costs and initially thought they were outrageous, but then considered all of the ancillary costs of an HPDE. IMHO M School is still very pricey, but not outrageously so.

As a novice running stock equipment I think your wear rates will be low enough to almost be negligible. People who go through whole sets of tires and brake pads in a weekend or two are typically running Extreme Performance summer tires (treadwear ratings of 80-120 compared to 220-300 for Michelins) or R-compounds as well as dedicated track pads, neither of which you should be using as a novice (in fact R-compounds are typically banned until you're advanced). I'm in the Blue group (one above novice) and was recently promoted to Yellow but haven't run with them yet, so here's my experience:

Tires: I consider tire wear somewhat negligible. I had to swap my PS2s for PSSes early (long story), but I had 6 track days on them in addition to DDing my car and driving it harder on these Texas back country roads out, and measuring the treadwear when they were removed, I would have gotten about 16K out of my fronts and 14K out of my rears. If you take a look at threads around here, that's a tad early for fronts (which do wear more on track days), but about average for rears. People who really baby their cars have apparently gotten 30K out of their fronts, but who wants to do that?

Brakes: I had 6 track days on my stock pads and had PLENTY of pad life left when I upgraded to better pads because of pad fade and the fact that my last track day messed up my rotors (warping or uneven pad deposits, either way it didn't fix itself after 4 weeks; BMW replaced pads and rotors for free though ). That said, the track I ran most is known to be pretty light on brakes, so that can vary dramatically from track to track. Also, as others have said, definitely flush your brake fluid before you go, and ideally upgrade to something like ATE Type 200 or Super Blue because even a novice on a track that's easy on brakes can get a spongy pedal with the stock fluid. Those two fluids I mentioned are identical except for color and only cost $15/bottle.

Inspection: Usually free, but shouldn't be more than $20; no idea why the person above said $150.

Insurance: Depends on the value of the car. I know Lockton is popular for that, and their rate for a full weekend event is the same as a 1-day event. For me, my regular insurance carrier (Amica) actually covers me on the track as long as I'm not practicing or participating in a race, which is a HUGE plus for me, but I know that's not true for most carriers, and in fact I think for some carriers their coverage of HPDEs varies from state to state.

Hotel: Just stay at a cheapy Motel 6 or something. You'll be on the track most of the day and then want to grab food, but honestly after that you'll be so tired you'll just need to collapse into bed, only to get up bright and early the next morning. Even though I usually go to bed around 11, after a track day I'm usually asleep by about 8:30, so you won't really have time to enjoy a really nice hotel IMHO. And seriously man, get LOTS of sleep before a track day and don't go out drinking the night before. You have no idea how hard driving on the track is on your system and how much faster you can be when well rested.

Gas: I burn just over 3/4 of a tank each day on the track. Plus gas to and from the event.
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      01-12-2013, 11:29 AM   #41
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running the m3 at a intermediate or advanced pace can be expensive. i have figured it to be about 600 per day. 150 for gas, 150 for tire wear, 50 for pads, 250 for entry and this doesnt include all the other things like oil changes, brake fluid changes, alignment, mounting and balancing, or any of the other things we spend money on to make our experience out there good. probably more in the range of 800 per day taking into account everything. gotta love it.
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      01-12-2013, 11:42 AM   #42
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Please never tell our wives the true cost of HPDE. If they ask its the cost of the entry fee only...ok?
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      01-12-2013, 11:51 AM   #43
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Please never tell our wives the true cost of HPDE. If they ask its the cost of the entry fee only...ok?
So true. Hell I'm not actually sure I want to know myself, which is why I'm not doing the match on tire and brake wear. I remember the first time I saw a "How much do you spend on gas per month?" thread here, so I went and looked -- and immediately wished I hadn't. Some things are just better not known IMHO.
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      01-12-2013, 12:36 PM   #44
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This is my breakdown. Keep in mind that I have been tracking for close to 20 years and I do drive quite aggressively. Beginners will see lower wear rates on consumables. Being an instructor, I do not have to pay the registration fees and get a break on some of the food cost, by I put down what a student would pay here in Quebec for reference.

Car consumable cost per track day:
Tires (NT01): $1600/10=$160
Front Brake Pads (PF08) $300/6=$50
Rear Brake Pads (PF08) $300/12=$25
Front Brake Rotors $400/40=$20
Gas $150
TOTAL: $400

Cost for a 2 day event (to compare with M school)
Registration $600
Hotel $200
Food: $100

Total for a 2 day event: $1300

Still quite less expensive than ///M School, especially if you get hooked and start doing it regularly .
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