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      04-01-2013, 03:31 PM   #1
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DSC On or Off for HPDE?

I have my first HPDE coming up in a few weeks (3 days @ Summit Point) and was wondering if the instructors typically prefer you to go with DSC on or off?

I'd think off would be better so that I can learn to control slips/slides/etc rather than letting the DSC step in, especially learning this skill at lower speeds and early on.

Of course, whatever the instructor wants is what I will do, but I was just curious how DSC is typically handled?

If it makes a difference, this is in an E46.

Thanks.
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      04-01-2013, 03:34 PM   #2
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I would say it depends on the instructor. I have had instructors ask that I enable MDM for saftey and I have also had instructors ask me to turn off DSC altogether. Instructors that asked me to turn it off told me that I wouldn't learn anything with DSC on. You can certianly discuss it with your instructor and see what makes sense for the both of you.
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      04-01-2013, 05:38 PM   #3
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Whatever you do, make sure you emphasize with your instructor that you'd like to turn off DSC to go "flat out." They'll really appreciate it.
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      04-01-2013, 05:43 PM   #4
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I think MDM/DSC have their place. When new to track, you'll gain much more from learning the line and feeling comfortable. Once you have several sessions under your belt and feel comfy, you can always turn it off and and pay attention to what changes.

I'd say do not turn it off unless you feel it fighting you/impeding your drive out of corners.
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      04-01-2013, 06:07 PM   #5
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I'd keep MDM on at a minimum until you learn how to properly react and correct a potential spin. I had a friend who knew in theory how to correct a spin, and did a few track days with DSC off with no problems. Then one day it happened and he just wasn't fast enough and spun into a wall.

It's pretty much a fact that once you drive with DSC off and start pushing to go faster, the rear will come out more often and you need to be ready for that situation.
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      04-01-2013, 06:25 PM   #6
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I never advise students for or against DSC, but I prefer them to run DSC off on their own if they have any kind of decent car control. DSC full-on builds bad habits, habits that take a lot of time to fix later on as the driver progresses. MDM is a little better, but still allows drivers to progress too quickly without ever having to learn skills I consider essential, such as throttle modulation and countersteering. The E9X chassis is REALLY easy to drive fast, and one of the best cars in that performance bracket to learn to really drive (DSC off). YMMV.

To counter my own point, I will say that if you are a completely green student with zero experience, I'd probably suggest MDM on. First track day is overwhelming, and would be ruined if you had a crash.
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      04-01-2013, 06:27 PM   #7
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I always leave it up to the student to choose the DSC mode they prefer.

My recommendation is that for the first time you go out on the track, keep MDM (or DSC if you don't have the MDM option) activated. Once you are comfortable with the track layout and the proper driving line and if you feel up to it, turn the nannies off. The sooner you drive without the aids, the better habits and reflexes you will develop.

I've had to work very hard with some students that had become decently quick with driving aids, but had developed terribly bad habits that the electronics were hiding. The worst habit is pinching the steering wheel while applying throttle coming out of a turn. With DSC, you wouldn't feel anything. But with DSC off, this could lead to a big moment on corner exit.

Have fun and report back
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      04-01-2013, 06:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The HACK View Post
Whatever you do, make sure you emphasize with your instructor that you'd like to turn off DSC to go "flat out." They'll really appreciate it.
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      04-01-2013, 06:28 PM   #9
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Thanks for the feedback everyone. I think for the e46 the track mode on the zcp car is my equivalent of MDM? Allows some slip before stepping in?
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      04-01-2013, 06:32 PM   #10
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I think the primary objective in any DE (or probably any track event) is to bring the car back in the same shape that it arrived in.

Second is to learn the line and to be smooth.

Third is to learn to drive (and brake) comfortably at high speed.

Eventually, you want to combine all of this stuff to drive quicker and quicker lap times.

I think DSC is appropriate all the way through the first 3 objectives, but you need to be aware of what DSC is doing for you and when it is doing it.

I started with DSC on and drove 4-5 HPDE's before I decided to turn it off. I spun twice on the first session with it turned off. I am lucky I wasn't sent home. My mistake was that I didn't pay enough attention to when DSC was intervening. I developed some bad habits obviously. I braked when I wanted even if it was in the middle of the turn. I was also on the gas much too aggressively out of turns. DSC was doing a lot of intervention, but I wasn't connecting my driving with the feedback it was trying to give me.

Long story short, leave it on, but pay close attention to when it intervenes and why. For the most part, you should be able to get around the track pretty quick without it intervening at all. When you do that, chances are you're smooth enough to drive without it.

If you have MDM, that's probably the best way to go as it intervenes a lot less and you'll learn the limits much quicker (in relative safety).

At some point, you'll not like the intervention and will want to take it off. Unfortunately, there is no real good way except for seat time and perhaps drifting practice to learn how to recover quickly enough from a significant oversteer event - you'll want to make sure you're anticipating where it can occur and be ready rather than trying to randomly react. I am not thinking that sliding is faster anyway, but as you get faster you will occasionally cross the line and you need to have the reflexes and skill to react.
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      04-01-2013, 06:32 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmw16 View Post
Thanks for the feedback everyone. I think for the e46 the track mode on the zcp car is my equivalent of MDM? Allows some slip before stepping in?
MDM or Track Mode allow a bit more slip which translates to slightly faster lap times. It is the case because these modes do not slow down the car as much when there is some slip.

However, IMO, in terms of masking bad habits, full DSC, MDM or Track Mode are all as bad.
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      04-01-2013, 06:36 PM   #12
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The above advice is good. A lot of people will rail against DSC and tell you to just turn it off. Yes, you ultimately will turn it off, and yes will be quicker around the track. But, I think that the first few track days should be with MDM on (never full DSC) while you learn the line and get comfortably smooth at speed while in Novice group. When you step up to intermediate consider turning it off for good.
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      04-01-2013, 06:37 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Porschefile View Post
I never advise students for or against DSC, but I prefer them to run DSC off on their own if they have any kind of decent car control. DSC full-on builds bad habits, habits that take a lot of time to fix later on as the driver progresses. MDM is a little better, but still allows drivers to progress too quickly without ever having to learn skills I consider essential, such as throttle modulation and countersteering. The E9X chassis is REALLY easy to drive fast, and one of the best cars in that performance bracket to learn to really drive (DSC off). YMMV.

To counter my own point, I will say that if you are a completely green student with zero experience, I'd probably suggest MDM on. First track day is overwhelming, and would be ruined if you had a crash.
I was fortunate enough to have been one of his students, and agree with everything that he says.

I have so far been on track with MDM or Euro MDM on at all times......I suspect that the computer nanny has probably saved me once or twice......but I feel that I've learned enough fundamentals that I'm planning on going with DSC off at my next outing.

For reference....a total of 5 de days at the same track.
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      04-01-2013, 06:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbraslins View Post
I think MDM/DSC have their place. When new to track, you'll gain much more from learning the line and feeling comfortable. Once you have several sessions under your belt and feel comfy, you can always turn it off and and pay attention to what changes.

I'd say do not turn it off unless you feel it fighting you/impeding your drive out of corners.
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      04-01-2013, 07:21 PM   #15
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DSC Off especially if you are just starting out. Otherwise bad habits will be formed. Plus when you are just starting out you are going to be 'slow' in comparison with your speed say 10 events in.
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      04-01-2013, 08:03 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The HACK
Whatever you do, make sure you emphasize with your instructor that you'd like to turn off DSC to go "flat out." They'll really appreciate it.
I also find saying "can you hold this?" and handing them an open can of beer helps too.
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      04-01-2013, 08:11 PM   #17
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I also find saying "can you hold this?" and handing them an open can of beer helps too.
"Can you keep it quiet for a second, I really need to take this call."
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      04-01-2013, 09:33 PM   #18
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Good posts above - and I agree with ThunderMoose.

Specific to this particular event - I am assuming that you are going out with DelVal? I so - keep in mind that on Day 1 you are running Jefferson. A good first-time on track learning track. Talk to your instructor. Some organizations have policies about whether your instructor can suggest DSC/MDM state.

Day 2 you are on the same track - in the opposite direction. The track will look different - so I recommend that you initially enable DSC *if* you turned it off late in the previous day - because the track and turns will look completely different.

Day 3 you are on Summit Main. A totally different track in almost every way. Plenty of elevation changes, on and off-camber, more speed and other driver challenges. Think of Main circuit as a new learning experience from the previous two days. Treat Turn 9 with respect and do not turn into it early.

I'll see you there. Stop by and say hello.
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      04-02-2013, 06:44 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Estoril Blue View Post
Good posts above - and I agree with ThunderMoose.

Specific to this particular event - I am assuming that you are going out with DelVal? I so - keep in mind that on Day 1 you are running Jefferson. A good first-time on track learning track. Talk to your instructor. Some organizations have policies about whether your instructor can suggest DSC/MDM state.

Day 2 you are on the same track - in the opposite direction. The track will look different - so I recommend that you initially enable DSC *if* you turned it off late in the previous day - because the track and turns will look completely different.

Day 3 you are on Summit Main. A totally different track in almost every way. Plenty of elevation changes, on and off-camber, more speed and other driver challenges. Think of Main circuit as a new learning experience from the previous two days. Treat Turn 9 with respect and do not turn into it early.

I'll see you there. Stop by and say hello.
Thanks. Yep, it's the DelVal event. I will swing by and say hi. I'll look for the blue E46 covered in painters tape (judging by your avatar?)

Great info all around, thanks all.

Sounds like the take-aways are:
  1. Go flat out and tell the instructor I am the second coming of Senna, or at least that I saw the movie...TWICE!
  2. Bring a road soda and ask instructor to hold it while I lay down sweet drifts around the turns.
  3. Listen to what the instructor has to say.
  4. Discuss with my instructor what DSC/M-Track mode settings he feels will be appropriate.

I guess mostly those last two
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      04-02-2013, 07:20 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CanAutM3 View Post
I always leave it up to the student to choose the DSC mode they prefer.

My recommendation is that for the first time you go out on the track, keep MDM (or DSC if you don't have the MDM option) activated. Once you are comfortable with the track layout and the proper driving line and if you feel up to it, turn the nannies off. The sooner you drive without the aids, the better habits and reflexes you will develop.

I've had to work very hard with some students that had become decently quick with driving aids, but had developed terribly bad habits that the electronics were hiding. The worst habit is pinching the steering wheel while applying throttle coming out of a turn. With DSC, you wouldn't feel anything. But with DSC off, this could lead to a big moment on corner exit.

Have fun and report back
+1.Pretty much the way that I do it with my students.
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      04-02-2013, 08:35 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gan1hck View Post
I was fortunate enough to have been one of his students, and agree with everything that he says.

I have so far been on track with MDM or Euro MDM on at all times......I suspect that the computer nanny has probably saved me once or twice......but I feel that I've learned enough fundamentals that I'm planning on going with DSC off at my next outing.

For reference....a total of 5 de days at the same track.
Thanks for the kind words. You have a good enough feel for the car to run DSC off IMO, I would just never actually "advise" someone to take more risks with their car than DSC/MDM on. Just be prepared to have to feather the throttle and/or countersteer, you'll be fine!

I guess my earlier post also overlooked the fact that many students have goals other than becoming a racer. I have had students tell me that they just want to run 8/10 forever and have a good time, without ever worrying about lap times at all. In that case MDM/DSC can be a nice protection, since the driver won't ever need the skills he/she is failing to develop due to the driver aids.

I'm not immune to driver aid disadvantages either! I have driven lots of fast cars on tracks for years, but every one had ABS. Now that I have a car with no aids, I'm having to learn braking all over again. Many modern cars have such effective ABS systems that they can interfere (slightly) fairly frequently.
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      04-02-2013, 09:08 AM   #22
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BMW CCA teaches instructors to be indifferent regards to DSC. I agree with the above approaches but I really don't feel comfortable recommending.

If I sense the nannies are getting in the way or creating dangerous habits I usually demand we go for a ride in my car and I demo the three settings for them and tell them what I'm doing with the pedals and ask them to feel for it. It's usually pretty eye opening to have the car work to keep me on the track and in check.

It's hard to teach a new student these dynamics because they are rarely flirting with the limits...they either are always way under or once in a while go way over. When they go way over their focus shifts to "fight or flight" and they can't feel what the car is doing for them (other than relief it's over ).

I did that event back in 2008 and really learned a ton of car control both on Jefferson and the skidpad at Jefferson. This made the Monday on Summit Main so much fun. I only had about 8-9 days under my belt at this point. I look back on this three day event as one of the best in memory.

If you can request an instructor...ask the registrar ahead of time if David Ortiz is instructing and request him.
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