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      08-05-2009, 10:01 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ching View Post
In that driving show on speed with Tommy Kendall, they had 3 pro racing car drivers take the m3 through the tests they put you through in m school. In the Slalom test, one of the drivers remarked that they had the fastest time with traction control on.

Traction control was banned in F1 in 2008. I doubt it was because traction control was making drivers too slow.
It was banned to create better racing, I recall drivers publicly endorsing the ban.

A 1200 pound, 800HP F1 car with variable downforce is quite another creature, with traction under acceleration being in short supply. I don't recall F1 cars having differential braking before the ban, but could be wrong.

I imagine TC in F1 cars have much more sophisticated systems than what we have.

I'll add that DSC works best with street tires...add stickly DOT-Rs or slicks and increased slip angle, a bumpy track with elevation and negative camber and it's not as happy.

Leave it on until one's ready, but you owe it to yourself to drive once without, the car won't kill you, it just requires smoother input and more anticipation. There's no reason to fear the button, as long as one respects what the car is capable of.

Last edited by consolidated; 08-05-2009 at 10:40 PM. Reason: grammar
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      08-05-2009, 10:20 PM   #24
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Leave it on until one's ready, but you owe it to yourself to drive once without, the car won't kill you, it just requires a smoother input and more anticipation. There's no reason to fear the button, as long as respects what the car is capable of.
Ah yes, that is indeed the rub. It takes a lot of time and experience to get to those points you refer to above. The problem is, people read the type of advice you've just given, which is indeed accurate in principle, but then they delude themselves into thinking they're ready after a few laps of following a part-time instructor during a driving event, who is really just a weekend, amateur racer with experience campaigning an E30.

For 99% of the population, who want to play on the track, there is absolutely no rational reason to ever turn it off. They will never gain enough experience to be better than the car with it on. Given the minimal experience most will ever have, they are better off working on things like proper lines, smoothness, braking, and shifting with the minimal protection DSC provides. Those things alone are sensory overload for most.
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      08-05-2009, 10:49 PM   #25
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It's hard to argue against the value of TC/differential braking/ABS software in cars, just look at the GT-R.

I think of the GT-R as a car engineered around a software concept as opposed to software engineered around an automotive concept, alas, the two are hardly divisible anymore, which is fine by me.

But, it's also why driving an light, simple, open cockpit, low-powered Formula car can be so pleasurable, it's a contrast in experience to our M3's.
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      08-05-2009, 10:54 PM   #26
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Although it can save you, I am absolutely convinced it teaches you bad habits. One doesn't really start learning throttle and car control until DSC is off. At some point, you have to do that not to learn a bunch of bad throttle pedal habits that might be very difficult to get rid of--if your goal is eventually to become an advanced driver and take the car to its limits. Nobody can tell you if that should be your goal or when you should turn it off. Only you can decide, but it better not be too early...

And, don't think that it is not intervening just because the light is not flashing. I am convinced it is. That makes it even more difficult to learn about the consequences of your actions because feedback seems to be limited to extreme cases.

Traction control in a race car has many different settings and is programmed for racing. Traction/stability control in a street car is not--regardles what BMW calls it.
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      08-05-2009, 11:03 PM   #27
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But Lucid, that is not the goal of the 99%. They just don't realize that, and that is exactly my point. They will NEVER get to that point, even though they will convince themselves they are.

You and others are being a bit too academic about this subject. DSC came about and was ultimately mandated by U.S. Federal law for good reason.
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      08-05-2009, 11:24 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by foosh View Post
But Lucid, that is not the goal of the 99%. They just don't realize that, and that is exactly my point. They will NEVER get to that point, even though they will convince themselves they are.

You and others are being a bit too academic about this subject. DSC came about and was ultimately mandated by U.S. Federal law for good reason.
It is about goals and your attitude toward risk. I agree that the great majority do not have such goals and should keep it on. If you really don't like to drastically increase your chances of putting it in the wall, by all means, leave it on. And if you turn it off, don't fool yourself that you have not increased that risk because you most certainly have.

Since this question comes up often, I made this thread a sticky.
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      08-05-2009, 11:26 PM   #29
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It is about goals and your attitude toward risk. I agree that the great majority do not have such goals and should keep it on. If you really don't like to drastically increase your chances of putting it in the wall, by all means, leave it on. And if you turn it off, don't fool yourself that you have not increased that risk because you most certainly have.
Yes, and in that sense, we are on the same page. I always hear the argument, "if you really want to learn about car control, you must turn everything off." Yes, that is true, and it would be great if people could practice this in disposable cars, as a great learning experience. That is, in part, why real, professional schools are so invaluable.

But, every time I find myself in one of these discussions, I feel honor-bound to try express the risk and the reality, which is that it takes A LOT of track time to get there. It never works, but I do it anyway.
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      08-05-2009, 11:52 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by foosh View Post
Yes, that is true, and it would be great if people could practice this in disposable cars, as a great learning experience.
Street cars are not for the track if you want to pick up advanced skills. I got a slower fully caged car with a harness and neck restraint system because I was not comfortable with the amount of risk I was taking with stock safety equipment and a 400hp beast. Not that negates the risk or anything, but it does reduce it.
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      08-06-2009, 12:17 AM   #31
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Excellent--we're making progress here.
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      08-06-2009, 12:32 AM   #32
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So I have to ask...for a non-Tech package M3 w/o MDM, the DSC on would be far too intrusive? I assume this since a lot of you are saying that even MDM is too intrusive. So how much more lenient is MDM than a standard M3 with DSC on?
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      08-06-2009, 01:15 AM   #33
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A transient slalom is a totaly different scenario than lapping a racetrack will ever present.A modern tire usually presents its greatest traction up to a level of 10% slippage and unfortunatly MDM seems to intervene well below this threshold.When I have tried the MDM it really slowed up the car on corner exit in fast 3rd gear corners where I had no problem using full throttle with the MDM off and wheelspin was not much of an issue before the rear tires went off during the day.

A racing level traction control is a very different item than the way it is managed in a street car that must meet emission standards and has catalytic converters.Most race systems just cut fuel and or spark to control the engine power which is why you would hear all the poping & banging when the system was active.Street systems control throttle plate angle and then varying other levels of intervention from fuel & ignition timing and brake intervention in order to control wheelspin and or yaw angle.Two totaly different systems for sure.
I also imagine that the racing TC systems have become much more sophisticated in the last few years than when I was exposed to their use.
MDM is indeed far from a "race level" type of system. It errs much more conservatively on the side of safety rather than on the side of performance. As far as I can tell the primary DSC interventions are simply brakes (independently at each wheel) and throttle. But indeed the more emissions friendly and less performance way of controlling throttle is used in street cars - throttle plate as opposed to spark in a race set up.
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      08-06-2009, 08:20 AM   #34
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I had this dilemma for weeks, and ended up with DSC off most of the time.
I only have 8 track days this year and the first 4 was with MDM. I think I started to experience with DSC off on the 4th day and I spinned the car right away. (well almost)
So I got scared and for a while I switched back to MDM.
Here is my take on the MDM:
You have to be fully awake to turn it off, and careful with your throttle impute, especially at turn exits. Eventually your lap times will be better without it. But I am still nervous when I turn it off after two warming laps. If I take someone with me and want to show the car MDM is on. If it's wet I keep it on still.
I think it's nice to experience with it, just to know how much it helps even if - like me - your goal is not to be a race car driver.
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      08-06-2009, 10:23 AM   #35
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A couple of things to add:

1. This questions gets asked, and the correct answer is that DSC OFF is the best way around a track - period. It's also the best way to learn. Reasons have already been stated as to why. If you are quicker around the track with DSC ON/MDM (as some have suggested/stated), then it simply means you are not yet good enough to correct any small mistakes you are making with DSC OFF. There is no other reason you'd ever be quicker with DSC ON/MDM. And in that case, you need more instruction/practice. Racing schools on insured cars have been suggested as the best place to start. But you will always be quicker with DSC OFF if you are an experienced driver. It's not important if 10% or 60% are experienced drivers. It's also not important if people WANT to invest the time. Some people like to hang out at the track w/o being really serious. A social thing. And that's fine. But in that case, they should use good judgement and not turn DSC OFF.

2. Some have said that this is the "academic" answer, most people reading this would likely get in trouble following this "advice", etc. Maybe, but forum readers should know this is not advice, but rather the correct answer. Nobody is telling anyone what to do. People are sharing their opinions and in the end a correct answer is presented. In this case it's simple as I've stated. People are then free to make up their minds. For some, DSC ON, for others MDM, and for some DSC OFF. There is no right or wrong. A forum cannot be held accountable for people not using their heads. Just as BMW cannot be held accountable for people buying cars that exceed their driving skills and getting into accidents. Should we all put legal disclaimers in our posts now as car manufactures like BMW do? That's silly IMO. Are we here to educate or provide answers? In a way both, and this has been done in this thread, but we are here mostly to provide answers and share our experiences. We cannot judge the level of expertise of any forum member, nor should we. Individuals should make up their own minds. If someone provides an answer that is wrong, believe me, people will point it out. So in the end people are getting the correct information, but how they use it is always up to them.

3. With owning a high performance car like the M3, a certain responsibility falls on the owner to have good judgment. But people are people. People don't listen and will make mistakes, get into accidents, etc. It's human nature. Should we ban car manufactures from producing high performance cars because many people will act irresponsible in them? Should we push for more driver aids? We don't even have to - they are imposed on us already. Why? Because of people that don't think. Because too many people act dumb to put it bluntly. I for one don't like the direction car manufactures are going in, but that's another story.
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      08-06-2009, 11:27 AM   #36
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So if I wanted to learn the track on a non-MDM equipped car. Would having the standard "DSC on" be far too intrusive to even learn on?
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      08-06-2009, 12:51 PM   #37
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IMO YES!!
The DSC full on mode is very intrusive. You are better of with DSC off and start slow and careful.

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So if I wanted to learn the track on a non-MDM equipped car. Would having the standard "DSC on" be far too intrusive to even learn on?
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      08-06-2009, 03:22 PM   #38
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Personally, I think DSC or MDM should stay on for novices. Beginners don't know what they don't know and in those cases it will help. At some point when one becomes an intermediate driver (which depends on each individual's own learning curve), DSC will become intrusive. But it is hard to generalize across the population, that's another reason why a simple on/off question does not have a simple answer.

I would agree that being able to drive the car with DSC completely off will be important if one wants to learn the limits of the car. But in the "walk before you run" line of thinking, I would say that the track is not really the best place for a novice to have their first experiences with this.

Instead, let me throw out an alternate idea: join you local BMWCCA chapter and attend a car control clinic and/or autocross. Make sure you can consistently control the car when it gets out of shape at 25-30mph in an empty parking lot with only cones to hit, not at 60-70mph on a track which may have walls and other car-unfriendly objects to make contact with!

Everyone's skills, experience, and learning curves are different - so advice without knowing these in detail for an individual is hard to give accurately. Good argument for including experienced instructors as part of one's driver development process.
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      08-06-2009, 05:32 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucid View Post
Street cars are not for the track if you want to pick up advanced skills. I got a slower fully caged car with a harness and neck restraint system because I was not comfortable with the amount of risk I was taking with stock safety equipment and a 400hp beast. Not that negates the risk or anything, but it does reduce it.
+1

People going to HPDEs should not be driving at 100%. These events are not racing and our cars aren't really prepped for it. Lucid has the right idea, in a few years I'm thinking of going the same route if I still want to improve as a driver.

It may torch my brakes a bit, teach some bad habits, but in the end I leave MDM on. Someone else mentionedit, it does work well with street tires. Haven't tried it yet on R-comps but I can understand why the system would have issues with the increased grip. It really isn't designed for that extreme. Still far better than full DSC.
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      08-06-2009, 05:46 PM   #40
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It may be different for others, but for me:

Dry - DSC off
Rain - MDM
Heavy Rain - DSC on to the pit lane and go have lunch
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      08-06-2009, 10:44 PM   #41
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When I tracked my M3 is used the MDM the whole time.....I wasn't anywhere near the limits of the car....since I only had about 6 trackdays at that point...but the only time I really noticed the MDM "holding" the car back was in the slowest corner on the track where it cut power to reduce wheelspin.....

Lucid brings up some VERY good points.....the M3 is a VERY powerful car & it take a skilled hand to be able to control it all.....& just because you have the $$$ to buy a powerful car doesn't mean you have the ability to control it anywhere near the "limit"....
having the "hand of god" keeping things in check does teach bad habits....I found this out during my next track session where I spun my track car with 350hp in the same corner where the MDM was kicking in....too much throttle + too much turn = time to change your pants....

Some of the best advice I ever got about being a "faster" driver was to learn how to race in a SLOW car....once you get the driving & racing down in a slow car..then move up to quicker cars once your ability is there
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      08-16-2009, 09:58 PM   #42
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If I may be blunt, if you're relying on DSC or MDM to save your ass on the track, you shouldn't be on the track. You should NOT find yourself exiting a corner and mashing the throttle only to feel any sort ot trackion control cut it back. It's telling you that you are being stupid. This is a typical mistake often made by newbies to track events. It is especially important to understand the principles of traction control, espcially when driving a 414HP car. Just as it's a good idea to learn on street tires, it is a good idea to learn with DSC off. You need to feel what it's like to be disconnected with the car in order to eventually feel connected. Those people who rely on DSC or MDM usually spin out the first time they drive without it... and that's not a good thing at tracks that are tight and have little/no run-off! Somebody mentioned getting an inexpensive, well-handling race car, which is a good idea, but admittedly, not for everyone. Even M3 owners find themselves on tight budgets, especially in this economy. There's nothing wrong with learning with your street M3 as long as you don't act ignorant and take the time to listen to your instructor. When you get things right, it is extremely rewarding (and addictive). Also keep in mind, some poeple have a natural knack while others do not. The latter group should strive to read up on the various systems their cars posses and understand the cause and effect if something doesn't work right. A good instructor will MAKE you go slow at first, and in the end, you will have more fun as a result because you'll be driving home in a car in one piece
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      08-17-2009, 07:31 AM   #43
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If I may be blunt, if you're relying on DSC or MDM to save your ass on the track, you shouldn't be on the track. You should NOT find yourself exiting a corner and mashing the throttle only to feel any sort ot trackion control cut it back. It's telling you that you are being stupid. This is a typical mistake often made by newbies to track events. It is especially important to understand the principles of traction control, especially when driving a 414HP car. Just as it's a good idea to learn on street tires, it is a good idea to learn with DSC off. You need to feel what it's like to be disconnected with the car in order to eventually feel connected. Those people who rely on DSC or MDM usually spin out the first time they drive without it... and that's not a good thing at tracks that are tight and have little/no run-off! Somebody mentioned getting an inexpensive, well-handling race car, which is a good idea, but admittedly, not for everyone. Even M3 owners find themselves on tight budgets, especially in this economy. There's nothing wrong with learning with your street M3 as long as you don't act ignorant and take the time to listen to your instructor. When you get things right, it is extremely rewarding (and addictive). Also keep in mind, some poeple have a natural knack while others do not. The latter group should strive to read up on the various systems their cars posses and understand the cause and effect if something doesn't work right. A good instructor will MAKE you go slow at first, and in the end, you will have more fun as a result because you'll be driving home in a car in one piece
I agree with you - and I was the one that suggested taking a racing school or high performance driving class with pro instructors instead of spending money on slicks, rims, tint, exhaust, etc. I didn't say to get a race car to practice! That is never cheap...I know! The other option is to take a slow car to the track. It works psychologically as people will push cars as fast as they can go in the beginning. And a slow car will keep you under control. The M3 is easy to drive fast, but that power can get you in trouble real fast too - even if you choose to have DSC on, as even DSC has limits. It's that most people THINK they are driving near the limit, and when they actually do, they have an off because they don't know how to react. Most are under and then over the limit. Hardly ever at the limit. A car that powerful and easy to drive will give one a false impression of being good or driving near the limit. It's deceiving. Your advice is good and sound, but people hardly follow it. They want to go fast, right away. It just doesn't happen. Most people ask if the car in its stock form is OK for the track. The answer for a newbie is a thousand times YES. Even for an intermediate driver. No need to change ANYTHING. Not even the tires. Most people don't even know proper braking, and worry about fade and fluid. If they knew it (proper braking technique), they wouldn't worry so much until much later...But, to each his own as always..

The problem as I see it is that people get M3s and other powerful/fast/easy to drive fast cars, and then head out to the track w/o any real driving experience. Why? Simply because it's a place that's cheap to go fast. And it can be fun. But the instruction at most DEs is not the best IMHO - most instructors are there to make sure you go around safely and they are there to have fun too. I suggested SCDA if not pro schools, since IMO the instruction there is a lot better. I'm comparing to what I've seen in the PCA instruction, etc. So it's hit or miss with DE instructors. Sometimes they are fine, but people don't listen.

And yes it's true that some people have a natural "knack" while others don't. But it's hard for people to admit this. It's even hard to KNOW this until you are pushed in the correct environment. And I'm not sure a DE is that correct environment to find out if you have it or not. Some things can be taught and learned, and some simply can't. When I took the Skip racing school back in 1996 in their Formula cars, there were at least 3 guys in over their heads. The instructors quickly saw who they were. The instructors are good and make everyone push, but some guys just couldn't get past a certain point - they had hit their own limits. One guy simply could never brake at the 2 mark down the straight as the braking zone got pushed deeper and deeper. No matter what, he kept braking at the 3 mark. He couldn't trust the car, himself, who-knows-what, etc. He was otherwise a good driver, but that was his limit. Now how would that guy learn this at a DE? It's hard - if not impossible. Stuff like this.

Look, you will always have thoughtful people that listen and people that don't listen. You can't control that at a DE. The best advice has been given plenty of times: Take your stock car (M3, whatever) and don't change anything. You will be slow, but that's the way to learn. Listen to your instructor, and speed will come. Still, as I said, it's hard to get quality instruction past a certain basic level. Plus it's a less controlled environment to learn in. So I always go back to investing some money for a pro school. That will open your eyes a lot. I had done one DE before taking my school with Skip. Just to get to know the track layout beforehand a bit. But there were guys there who had many, many track days beforehand. Needless to say, the 2 of the 3 I said were in over their heads, were these guys. They had come from the track where they picked up bad habits but a big self belief in their driving abilities, and it showed once they had to learn without ANY aids and in a smooth and correct way (in less forgiving cars). Once they REALLY got to see what driving at the limit meant. It's not for everyone. The idea to to learn your OWN limits in a comfortable way. You don't want to learn it the hard way. Too many do. I can't tell you how many nice 911s I've seen totally damaged at PCA events.
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      08-17-2009, 08:16 AM   #44
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+ 2 on the last 2 posts as both are well writen and to the point.The electronic nannies have a place in normal driving but not on the racetrack!
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