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      02-06-2013, 01:22 AM   #1
dustman
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M3 track experience and comments

Track day today in so cal, best cars such as 458, GTR, gt3rs 4.0 were all new models except my '11 M3 sedan comp pkg, dct, stock, 25k miles and 10k on PSS tires, never been to this track before.

The stock m3 is an incredible car if you trust it, can drive decently, and are aggressive. Turned in the fastest lap in the midday segment, and top 4 car of the day out of 25 cars (in addition to above, vettes, other non comp pack m3, m3 cab, 335, camaros, etc).
The faster cars were a custom built mustang Shelby gt500 supercharged, suspension etc, in an original 1967 car, the 458, and the Porsche gt3rs 4.0.

I am by no means a good driver, my 3rd track day ever. A middle aged dude now but with video game reflexes.

Stock m3 kept up with the gt3 quite well even on the straights at 130 mph, the gt3 wasn't pulling away. Surprised me.
The GTR ( I owned a '09 model, this one was a '12 black edition) would get on gas early and start pulling like a train away, and then the m3 would hold pace. In turns the m3 would catch up and I would have to hold back. Down the straight it was very close....surprising again.
New 335ia with nice 20" grippy tires was no match.

What I didn't like about the m3: even with comp package seats, you fall out and around them far too much, headroom with helmet is non existent for a 6'1" driver, too much lean in corners (overall the weight of the m3 can really be felt), paddle shifters should be taller ala Scuderia and 458, but that's it. Weight is the biggest issue, and the seats next. Nitpicking there.

What's to love: dct exceptional on track, m settings to fullest including traction in highest race mode never interfered or kicked in, the car was very stable and composed....you would have to be a maniac to screwup, brakes worked fine for 8-10 lap segments at a time, aim for an apex and hit it steering.

If it weren't my dd I would improve the suspension, get far more dedicated tires, and add another 40+ hp to improve the straights performance.

Sorry for any typos, damn tired.

Obv better drivers and different outcomes above. But this was today, with hot cars and some good drivers.

Best, D
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      02-06-2013, 02:25 AM   #2
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Cool review. Makes me want to try the track in my m3. Thx for sharing.
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      02-06-2013, 11:52 AM   #3
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did you have an instructor with you? Was this a HPDE-type event?
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      02-06-2013, 11:55 AM   #4
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Closed track event, I researched the driving lines via video prior to event, did several laps as a passenger in a 7 series with a pro the morning of the event also.
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      02-06-2013, 11:56 AM   #5
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btw, you can buy DCT paddle shift extenders.

How did your brake pads hold up?

I wasn't surprised that the M3 held it's ground against the GT3. (unless you meant the GT3RS 4.0) The gen 1 997 GT3 has similar power (but lighter weight) than the M3. But it can be a handful in tight twisties, and it certainly wouldn't pull away on a straight away.
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      02-06-2013, 12:00 PM   #6
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Just read about the DCT paddle extenders, need to get that.
Brakes were fine, but I will research better pads perhaps that are still very street/DD focused if they exist.
GT3RS4.0 It was faster and quicker as noted. But not as much as I would have expected.
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      02-06-2013, 01:30 PM   #7
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In my experience, cars you'd expect to be faster at the track but are easy to keep up with or pass are usually driven by slow drivers. I think driver skill really supersedes a cars performance when it comes to beginning/amateur drivers.
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      02-06-2013, 01:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radiantm3 View Post
In my experience, cars you'd expect to be faster at the track but are easy to keep up with or pass are usually driven by slow drivers. I think driver skill really supersedes a cars performance when it comes to beginning/amateur drivers.
I concur. The driver is a huge part of the equation. A well driven 997 GT3 will walk away from a well driven M3. Even in a straight line they don't compare.

If an M3 can follow a GT3, the M3 driver is simply the better driver .
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      02-06-2013, 01:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radiantm3 View Post
In my experience, cars you'd expect to be faster at the track but are easy to keep up with or pass are usually driven by slow drivers. I think driver skill really supersedes a cars performance when it comes to beginning/amateur drivers.
100% true. And that is amplified by the fact that the really fast cars, GT3RS, Viper ACR, etc., are much more difficult to drive at the limit than a M3.
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      02-06-2013, 02:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dustman View Post
Just read about the DCT paddle extenders, need to get that.
Brakes were fine, but I will research better pads perhaps that are still very street/DD focused if they exist.
GT3RS4.0 It was faster and quicker as noted. But not as much as I would have expected.
I hear good things about the stoptech street pads in terms of being better on the track but still streetable. Turner put them on their LRP project car. I think I may give them a try.
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      02-06-2013, 04:24 PM   #11
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You say you are 6'1" and had very little headroom with a helmet. Do you have a sunroof in your car?
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      02-06-2013, 04:33 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dustman View Post
T

What I didn't like about the m3: even with comp package seats, you fall out and around them far too much, ......

Try this:

Once seated and ready to pit out - slide your seat back about 5 seconds. Ensure lap belt is snug. Then hook your left thumb under the upper seat belt and pull to lock the cam. Then adjust your seat 5 seconds forward. The upper belt should pin you into the seat back.

Use a different number of seconds to make it tighter or looser. Hang your wrist on the top of the steering wheel to check proper driving position.

You can augment this with a CG-lock: http://www.cg-lock.com/index.html
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      02-06-2013, 06:49 PM   #13
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What are "comp package seats"? All seats in the M3 are the same. Also I am close to 6'4", have a sunroof and have no issues with helmet clearance (and no, not riding gangsta...)
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      02-06-2013, 07:11 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radiantm3 View Post
In my experience, cars you'd expect to be faster at the track but are easy to keep up with or pass are usually driven by slow drivers. I think driver skill really supersedes a cars performance when it comes to beginning/amateur drivers.
Indeed.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Estoril Blue View Post
Try this:

Once seated and ready to pit out - slide your seat back about 5 seconds. Ensure lap belt is snug. Then hook your left thumb under the upper seat belt and pull to lock the cam. Then adjust your seat 5 seconds forward. The upper belt should pin you into the seat back.

Use a different number of seconds to make it tighter or looser.
This is what I do too (but, I recline the backrest also, before pulling the belt to lock the cam), and I'm locked into the seat nice & tight. Lots of footages in my track videos will attest to many oversteer/oh sh*t moments, but with me strapped in tight, no problem of being out of position with respect to the steering wheel during those dynamic moments.
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      02-06-2013, 07:38 PM   #15
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Quote:
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What are "comp package seats"? All seats in the M3 are the same. Also I am close to 6'4", have a sunroof and have no issues with helmet clearance (and no, not riding gangsta...)
Actually not. Some seats have the adjustable lumbar support and side bolsters, some don't. Having been in the non-adjustable kind as a passenger, I can attest that you move quite a lot in them.

In my car I do have the adjustable kind. For the track, I completely deflate the lumbar support so I lay deeper in the backrest and have more contact with the side bolster. I then tighten the side bolster until I am nicely snug.

I then use the belt tightening technic specified by OC3 and Estoril Blue.
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      02-06-2013, 10:07 PM   #16
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I use the same method as CanAutM3 as well as use a CGLock and a volleyball knee pad on my left knee to help brace myself against the door.

At Sebring, a similarly prepped GT3RS 4.0 is about 9 seconds faster around a 2:30ish road course.

I'm 6'0 and have a sedan with sunroof and no issues with clearance. You may have a long torso...but so do I. Maybe just add a little recline and get your seat bottom forward. You can use your telescoping steering wheel to get your arm distance right.
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      02-06-2013, 10:21 PM   #17
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I have the standard seats with the cloth inserts. The cloth seems to hold me in a little better than the leather seats in my last car.
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      02-06-2013, 11:00 PM   #18
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Get the Schroth Quick pit Pro harnesses for the Mini. Fit perfectly, and hold you tightly
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      02-07-2013, 02:13 AM   #19
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I was also at that event, I had the Jerez black e90 sedan. It was my first experience at the track in my car. I was really impressed with the handling and acceleration of the car. Had a blast, will be going again in then next 1-2 months.
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      02-07-2013, 06:50 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Car54 View Post
I use the same method as CanAutM3 as well as use a CGLock and a volleyball knee pad on my left knee to help brace myself against the door.

At Sebring, a similarly prepped GT3RS 4.0 is about 9 seconds faster around a 2:30ish road course.

I'm 6'0 and have a sedan with sunroof and no issues with clearance. You may have a long torso...but so do I. Maybe just add a little recline and get your seat bottom forward. You can use your telescoping steering wheel to get your arm distance right.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shosholoza View Post
Get the Schroth Quick pit Pro harnesses for the Mini. Fit perfectly, and hold you tightly
Right on!
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      02-07-2013, 12:53 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CanAutM3 View Post
Actually not. Some seats have the adjustable lumbar support and side bolsters, some don't. Having been in the non-adjustable kind as a passenger, I can attest that you move quite a lot in them.

In my car I do have the adjustable kind. For the track, I completely deflate the lumbar support so I lay deeper in the backrest and have more contact with the side bolster. I then tighten the side bolster until I am nicely snug.

I then use the belt tightening technic specified by OC3 and Estoril Blue.
To clarify, I was saying there is no such thing as comp package seats. Yes, obviously BMW offers both power (with the adjustments you describe) and manual, but the seats are the same shape, size, etc. I don't find the adjustable bolsters or lumbar make a bit of difference in keeping me in the seat on the track.

It would be cool if they offered a true "sport seat" option a la Porsche and others that would be more in line with their Performance seats, or better yet, the seats out of the CRT...
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