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      09-13-2008, 11:23 AM   #1
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Thunderhill track report!!!! :>)

Just got back from my 1st track day in the my M3.....

In short...WOW that car is a wicked machine.....here are my thoughts:

The tires are AWESOME...excellent grip compared to the last tires I used on track (in my 928)....sure the M3's suspension design has some to do with it, but the PS2's are on a whole different level compared to the Conti Sport Contact II's on my 928....for example in turn 2 which is a big left hand sweeper....in my 928 (about 100lbs lighter than the M3, but also front engine-rear drive with 50-50 weight balance and 235 front 265 rear tires) I could take at about 60-70mph....in the M3 I could enter the corner at 70+ and exit at 80+....and ususally not engage the MDM.... The 928 would be limited in that corner since the front tires would push and not hold the line...

Of course the extra HP is VERY nice....the engine response is much sharper too....at times almost too much....in sport plus mode the throttle is extremely sensitive...but you get used to it....

The DCT worked great intially...but when I started really pushing the pace it would NOT downshift when I wanted....so it left me powering out of corners in 3rd or 4th when I wanted 2nd or 3rd.....which sounds bad, but really doesn't matter that much since the engine is so flexible and pulls strongly at any RPM....upshifts were always fast and perfect....BUT I did notice towards the end of sessions in the afternoon when the car was hot the shifts did not seem as firm as at the begining of the session...not like the clutch was slipping, just not quite as much of a slam in the seat as earlier, but still a very quick shift....

My fuel economy was 6.5mpg which included cruising around the paddock a little bit....so I would guess the on track economy is about 6mpg as others have reported...so the M is thirsty...since I was blending our crappy 91 octance with the 100 octane unleaded at $7.80 per gallon, gas cost over $100 for the day....

My tires held up pretty good....I started at about 34.5psi cold in front...which would rise to 43.5 when I came off track...the front tires were not rolling on the sidewalls that bad and the temps were around 160-170F when I came off track (the highest I saw was close to 180F in the last session)....the rears started at 35.5psi cold and also rose to 43.5 psi hot and tended to have temps in the 150's to 160F with even wear across the tire....

The brakes were COOKED....I was getting rotor temps above 500F, which is the highest the IR gauges would read.....however I did not experience significant fade, hardly any really..... On my last session the front brakes were literally smoking in the paddock (that can't be good)...so I checked the service interval in the I drive screen....if I remember right ( good luck) it said to change the front pads at 25K before....now it says 12k, OUCH....

The good news is I dropped 10 seconds a lap with a passenger from my previous best times (I had a passenger all day).....to 2:18 and was consistantly 2:21 or better all day when I wasn't stuck in traffic...which is NOT a fast time for Thunderhill, but not bad for a novice like me....I think without a passenger and a bit more seat time I could get maybe a 2:14 or so...

Enough talk here are the pics....video will follow shortly
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      09-13-2008, 11:42 AM   #2
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wow awesome. sorry to hear about DCT issues. Hopefully they'll come up with a software update and all ur problems will go away.
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      09-13-2008, 12:33 PM   #3
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Hey Brian - glad that you finally put the car where it is the most fun...the track Nice write-up and photos. I hope that we will meet at the track soon...are you signed up for Nov1/2? Infineon
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      09-13-2008, 04:33 PM   #4
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Hey Brian - glad that you finally put the car where it is the most fun...the track Nice write-up and photos. I hope that we will meet at the track soon...are you signed up for Nov1/2? Infineon
Rupert
Not yet....to be honest Infineon SCARES me....way too many walls :>)

I am looking at the next two trackmasters at Thunderhill....Infineon is closer...but I would drive like a little girl there due to fear of walls.....plus I would NEED an instructor big time!

I'm already looking into track brake pads-fluid + wheels tires.....
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      09-13-2008, 04:41 PM   #5
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Rupert
Not yet....to be honest Infineon SCARES me....way too many walls :>)

I am looking at the next two trackmasters at Thunderhill....Infineon is closer...but I would drive like a little girl there due to fear of walls.....plus I would NEED an instructor big time!

I'm already looking into track brake pads-fluid + wheels tires.....
that's why it would be perfect for you to attend the BMWCCA event at Infineon - great instructors and very very safe...don't be afraid of the walls young Paduan just respect them and drive at about 7/10th or 8/10th of your abilities - the force will be with you

I can definetly recommend the Pagid RS19, Motul RBF 600 or ATE Superblue (actually just had a brake flush done with the ATE) and a set of sticky rubber

How about Laguna Seca in November - there is a Speedventures and Trackmaster event on the 24th I believe...I am considering signing up...
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      09-13-2008, 04:45 PM   #6
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I'll look into the BMWCCA infineon event......

BUMMER its sold out...:>( as of YESTERDAY
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      09-13-2008, 09:10 PM   #7
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very very very nice man
I hope you had fun at the track
btw...the MR, 19s, and CF roof looks sick
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      09-13-2008, 10:06 PM   #8
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glad you had some fun with the car
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      09-13-2008, 10:07 PM   #9
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Great writeup. I love seeing how many people on here are actually USING their cars and not just dolling them up to look good. Keep it up.
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      09-13-2008, 11:30 PM   #10
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Supposedly, the software update to correct the downshifting problems will be out this month sometime. I hope it's soon.

Nice write up, I can't wait to see the video. Thanks for the pics.

Question, did your instructor have his chatterbox attached to the front of his helmet? If so, I've never seen it attached there, it looks funny.

And, don't be afraid of the walls...I was the thinking the same way before I went to Watkins Glen, but really it's not a problem. Just drive within your own limits.

My front brake monitor says 7K after a 3 day school.
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      09-14-2008, 02:19 AM   #11
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I love Thunderhill. I ran my 2004 E46 M3 with SMG there about 4 times. I'm more used to Portland International Raceway being only 100 miles away form Portland, but I still love to drive down to Thunderhill, a distance of 400 miles for me. I was using Pilot Sport Cup tires and I had the competition package brakes with the Euro pads. I was running 2:08 times with a passenger. You ran some great times for a novice...good work! I'll bet with a bit more seat time you'll be under 2:10...definitely if you switch to Pilot Sport Cups. Since I only run my car in good weather (yes, I need to get out more), I run the Cup tires as my street tire. Once they warm up, the traction is amazing.

Have fun and be safe. Congrats on your track day.
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      09-14-2008, 08:35 AM   #12
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Great post Brian!!
Awesome car and great information. Sorry for the DCT... but it just confirms to me that I was right in taking the 6MT, especially to learn how to drive on a track.

Can't wait to hit the track myself!!
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      09-14-2008, 07:58 PM   #13
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Skier
Its not an instructor...its a friend of mine and a Hero GOPRO camera mounted to the windshield....

I'm working on the video right now...whats funny is it looks SO SLOW.....really slow really until you watch the lap times...& they are all under 2:21.....with a best of 2:18..... I figure with some more practice and no passenger I should be around 2:10, better with MPSC's.....I think the new M3 should be a 2:05 or better at thunderhill since it ran a 1:42.9 with Randy Probst at Laguna....
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      09-14-2008, 10:59 PM   #14
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Honestly I have been lurking awhile while thinking of trading my 07 335 for a 08 M3.
But a bunch of guys who dont seem to track like ArtPE and m3Kevin have stated there is no way M3 brakes could cook? Art stated it was a physical impossibility. So how could have Icemans brakes could have "cooked" on the first day? it seems as though that M3 guys dont track as much as they would like to think they do.
Iceman my research has pointed out that at the very minimum you need new pads and fluid. The best solution would be a complete brake package.
the main problem is that a inferior fluid is it boils and completely fools the ABS into over braking. It doesnt help that the M3 has a cheap brake package that speeds up heating of the rotors the calipers and then fluid.
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      09-14-2008, 11:46 PM   #15
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Honestly I have been lurking awhile while thinking of trading my 07 335 for a 08 M3.
But a bunch of guys who dont seem to track like ArtPE and m3Kevin have stated there is no way M3 brakes could cook? Art stated it was a physical impossibility. So how could have Icemans brakes could have "cooked" on the first day? it seems as though that M3 guys dont track as much as they would like to think they do.
Iceman my research has pointed out that at the very minimum you need new pads and fluid. The best solution would be a complete brake package.
the main problem is that a inferior fluid is it boils and completely fools the ABS into over braking. It doesnt help that the M3 has a cheap brake package that speeds up heating of the rotors the calipers and then fluid.
Okay I should clarify...my 100% stock M3's brakes did hold up just fine with no noticeable fade or loss of power....they did however get EXTREMELY hot & the pads were smoking right off track..... interesting your comments about the ABS engaging too soon....mine did this ALL THE TIME....it was annoying really, but the car stopped just fine, but hearing the squealing tires was annoying.... My 928 with Super Blue fluid never ever engages the ABS, but I'm not going as fast in the braking zones either.... I am going to change the brake fluid right away....

But with track pads and better fluid I am confident the otherwise stock brakes will hold up just fine to track work.....

I'm not sold that a BBK is worth the price in terms of pure performance.....yes they look cool & do work slightly better and are slightly lighter.....but it would take a seriously aggressive driver with BIG R compounds to fade the stock brakes with race pads and fluid.....
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      09-14-2008, 11:47 PM   #16
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Okay here is a the video, its a bit choppy at 1st since I suck at editiing...and the volume is low so turn up the speakers......

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      09-15-2008, 09:51 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfbimmer13 View Post
that's why it would be perfect for you to attend the BMWCCA event at Infineon - great instructors and very very safe...don't be afraid of the walls young Paduan just respect them and drive at about 7/10th or 8/10th of your abilities - the force will be with you

I can definetly recommend the Pagid RS19, Motul RBF 600 or ATE Superblue (actually just had a brake flush done with the ATE) and a set of sticky rubber

How about Laguna Seca in November - there is a Speedventures and Trackmaster event on the 24th I believe...I am considering signing up...
I was wondering what the dealer would think about tracking the car and coming in for early brake replacement and fluid change. They can't like that right?
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      09-15-2008, 10:14 AM   #18
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Nice write-up!

Agree with everything you've said although can't comment on DCT as I have 6MT. I agree that the M3 comes alive on the track. This is when you really get to release the FULL potential of the car and see what it can really do. Nice track day by the looks of it and great pics!
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      09-15-2008, 12:42 PM   #19
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Nice report.

2:18's aint bad at all for "a novice".

You should be able to get it lower than 2:14 though...I was running 2:13's on street tires in my E36 M3. I have yet to track the E90! Still got a few gremlins I want resolved before I push it at the track....unfortunately.
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      09-15-2008, 12:45 PM   #20
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Quote:
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But with track pads and better fluid I am confident the otherwise stock brakes will hold up just fine to track work.....
Agreed!

Change the fluid to at least Super Blue and step up on pads (I liked the Pagid RS19's myself -- but they squeal like piggies when cold). I bet that is all you will need for the track.
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      09-15-2008, 01:50 PM   #21
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2:18 with a passenger is not bad....considering I was learning the new surface and the M3..... I was able to drop 10+ seconds from my 928's times with practice.....so without a passenger and some seat time I'm sure I could get under 2:10....but I really need to take 1-8-9 faster.....I'm sure I'm loosing big time there, due to my fear of the high speed corner....and I think I slow down too much for 9 too.... I finally got 5 down in 3rd gear pretty good..... Its funny...I would "push" and run a 2:19.....then I would try to be smoother and not as heavy on the gas and run a 2:21......
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      10-05-2008, 08:16 AM   #22
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Thanks for sharing video. And I have to say that I just love Melbourne Red; if I was 29 years younger I might have selected it myself. I am a novice, novice, driver, but have never had so much fun as the 4 lapping events I have attended with the BMW and Alfa clubs at Pacific Raceways in Kent Washington. Hope the recent Car and Driver mention of the DCT not downshifting under heavy breaking will motivate BMW if this problem is not already being addressed.
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