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      04-30-2009, 04:36 PM   #1
dab33d
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SoCal Tracks

Sup boys,

So I've had my 6MT e92 M3 for over a year now and was trying to get some more information on where some good beginner tracks are. I have never driven on a track before but would like to experience it !
A few questions off the top of my head are:

1) Any recommendations for some track locations in the Southern California Area ? How much should I expect to pay?
2) Should I be concerned with getting another set of track tires to save tread on my current tires. Will a day at the track really wear down my tires?
3) Should I consider to bra off some of my front end in case of rock chips etc...
4) Any other advice/comments would be appreciated.

Thanks guys & happy driving
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      04-30-2009, 04:41 PM   #2
Paddy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dab33d View Post
Sup boys,

So I've had my 6MT e92 M3 for over a year now and was trying to get some more information on where some good beginner tracks are. I have never driven on a track before but would like to experience it !
A few questions off the top of my head are:

1) Any recommendations for some track locations in the Southern California Area ? How much should I expect to pay?
2) Should I be concerned with getting another set of track tires to save tread on my current tires. Will a day at the track really wear down my tires?
3) Should I consider to bra off some of my front end in case of rock chips etc...
4) Any other advice/comments would be appreciated.

Thanks guys & happy driving
Join your local BMWCCA chapter and try autocross. You'll probably get hooked and it causes not much more wear & tear on your vehicle than regular driving. Real tracking you'll probably want to get better brakes and tires.
AutoX is cheap ($60/day approx) but you spend most of a day and only get about 12 runs. It's a day out and a chance to spend time with other BMW fans.
Track is more expensive but you get a lot more time (You can also cause serious damage to you/car at track). For me there are no convenient tracks (that don't require less than a few hours drive), to San Diego, but I plan on doing some after I get a few autox's under my belt.

BMWCCA Central Chapter are doing a 3 day track event around May 28th, one day at Button Willow (Bakersfield) and 2 days at Fontana (LA).

Something like $300/day.
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      04-30-2009, 05:59 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dab33d View Post
Sup boys,

So I've had my 6MT e92 M3 for over a year now and was trying to get some more information on where some good beginner tracks are. I have never driven on a track before but would like to experience it !
A few questions off the top of my head are:

1) Any recommendations for some track locations in the Southern California Area ? How much should I expect to pay?
2) Should I be concerned with getting another set of track tires to save tread on my current tires. Will a day at the track really wear down my tires?
3) Should I consider to bra off some of my front end in case of rock chips etc...
4) Any other advice/comments would be appreciated.

Thanks guys & happy driving
#1 Insurance, you're either covered by your provider or might want to get track insurance. Several threads on this in the track section (hint, hint)
#2 Tires, I've done two track days on my PS2s and have 17,000 miles on the car. My tires are not shot (close). It really depends on how you drive. I was on the track with M5's, older M3's, Z06, Z51, stripped and caged E30s, modified NSXs and nobody passed me. I did not have to wear through tires to keep up out on the track in the novice/intermediate groups (D and C in BMWCCA). Others screw up their tires on the first time out. It depends on the track, how you drive and the weather. YMMV
#3 Brakes, you might consider new brakes. At some point you will overheat the stock brakes and then you'll mess up your rotors. For me, this happened on my second weekend at the track. Like tires brake wear/heating depends on the track, how you drive and the weather.
#4 Tracks have less crap on them than roads but you do tend to follow a lot closer. I didn't do anything for the front of my car and didn't get any chips but I'm sure something could have happened. I'd follow the same concern you exhibit on the regular roads.
#5 Opinions will vary. There is absolutely no question you can ask that will not return several conflicting opinions
#6 Read the track section.
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      04-30-2009, 07:29 PM   #4
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Good advice from all. Look into joining your local BMWCCA Chapter. They will offer and sponsor HPDE events at tracks in your area. I would not concern yourself with tires, brakes, etc for your first event. It will likely be a one, or two, day event which will likely give you 3 to 4 track sessions each day. Being your first event you will be a novice or beginner, will be assigned an instructor, and will be tutored by him during each session that you are on the track. Go with an open mind, enjoy, and learn what your M3 is all about. Should you wish to continue in future events, which you are very likely to do, then you can consider all the other goodies associated with the sport. For now, drive what you bring to the track. Later you will hope you brought enough.
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      04-30-2009, 09:20 PM   #5
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Buttonwillow with the BMWCCA(May 29) ,is a great track for beginners, otherwise autocross is a great way to start. As a beginner, keeping your car stock is fine. As you improve you'll notice what your going to need for the track. On the M3 tires and brakes come next.
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      04-30-2009, 11:57 PM   #6
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I started at Willow Springs - its a fairly close track to LA, about 2.5 hours for me coming from Newport. Great track, elevation change, different radius turns (high speed last turn!) and no walls in play - unless you really screw up that last turn.

Same location has the Streets of Willow. Can run multiple configurations and both directions. Shorter, but a heck of a lot of fun. Also very few really "dangerous" places - no walls to be really concerned with. There are a bunch of Youtube videos for both tracks.

I've also done California Speedway (ROVAL). Good for beginners the way our BMWCCA sets it up. I do very much like the track though and not just because it's a quick drive to get there. Just a ton of fun to be on the oval.

I'd say get into a great school first (BMWCCA has a drivers school at the end of the month - I'm going) and get the basics down. - I also highly recommend Driving Concepts. Then head out with a bunch of orgs that cater to us. I've run a bunch of times with Speed Ventures and going to Streets next weekend with them.

I don't tape my front end. Wear the dings as a badge of honor.

I did buy my first set of track wheels, but recommend getting used to your car first bone stock. It's a beast. I have 9.5K miles on my original tires, over five track events and still have quite a bit of tread. YMMV depending on driving style.

Lastly - do it. It's the most fun in the car you can have short of being a teenager again. But don't be the teenager, get plenty of rest and be ready to be exhausted at the end of the day.
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      05-04-2009, 02:57 PM   #7
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buttonwillow is the closest and best track for beginners.
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