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      10-20-2010, 07:12 PM   #1
shamoo
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First track day experience with M3 (58 pics)

This Sunday, I took my M3 to it's first track day. I have gone several times in the past with my previous S2000 and Integra, but it was the first time with the BMW.

I do tend to write/talk a lot so if you're only interested in pictures, please scroll down. For those of you interested, I'll try my best to describe the experience in the eyes of a somewhat n00bish track junkie.

This day was made by possible by my good friend and coworker's shop JDS Motoring (www.jdsmotoring.com). It took place at the road course in Englishtown, NJ and we conveniently had the entire track rented out for our little private event. There were approximately 22 cars driving that day.

My car was the 2008 E92 M3 in Alpine White. I've had Hondas all my life, so this car was definitely out of my comfort zone. I had it since late July, so I had some time to get used to it. Modifications at the time of the track day were:
Agency Power exhaust with connecting pipes
Powerchip ECU flash and tune
Macht Schnell air filter
RPI air intake scoops

I have a Fabspeed Xpipe (high flow cats and deleted secondary cats) on the way and it should be on this weekend, but unfortunately it was not on in time for the trackday. I hear these things can free up +/- 40whp on top end.

We were grouped in 3 makeshift "classes" from 1) n00bs with no track time, 2) people with some track time, and 3) people with a little more than "some" tracktime and/or had high powered cars. My close friend with the white Evo and red IS-F were in my group (#3) and the trash talking had begun quite a few weeks before the event.

We had the track to ourselves from 8am to 6pm, and with it being mid October already, the morning was pretty chilly at about 50F. The first couple of runs were done carefully since I was still not comfortable with the car at it's limits. I mistakenly turned off the DSC (traction control) at first and on the first turn I was already sideways. I immediately turned it back on.

I found that the car was very hard to keep straight on the turns. I have always heard good things about the Michelin Pilot Sports so I attributed it to the cold weather/track. Later on, as the temps hit 70ish, everything was much better. In the afternoon, the traction control was turned off again and I took quite a few more risks. I was able to control the car much better, and even if the tail end started to get crazy, I was able to hold it.

I did notice after a few laps (with DSC on) that a hard left turn would make a "flapping" sound similar to a flat tire. I immediately pitted and examined the car, but couldn't find anything. TPMS did not show anything. I THINK it may have something to do with the DSC system as it was on practically the ENTIRE time it was on. Even on the straights, gassing the car would nearly break traction. Too much power, y0! Perhaps the DSC system was working too hard? When I turned off the DSC on other sessions, the sound was not there.

Quick blurb on what I remember about the other cars:

White Evo X:
Car was flashed, had full exhaust, and suspension work. On the streets, he is able to keep up with me, although I do pull away from him on top end. On the track, he was able to stay right on my behind. I attribute this to the suspension and he has a little more track time than me. Although when I was behind him, I was able to keep pace also.

Lexus IS-F:
Car was stock and it was my friend's first time out on a road course. On a friendly highway pull a few weeks back we were about even. He did get the initial jump, which was probably due to having more torque (5.0L vs. 4.0L). On the track, I was able to pass him but it was mainly due to him not yet being totally comfortable with the car at it's limits. On the main straight, he pulled away from me pretty easily. Even stock, the car emits an amazing growl on top end. I would say it was almost even with my aftermarket exhaust. Additionally, the car is an automatic with paddle shifters (not like SMG/DCT though).

Black Subaru STI:
This guy was simply rediculous. The car looked stock, and all you noticed were the track tires and the unbolted exhaust from the rear. I believe it had fully built internals too. This guy passed everyone multiple times.

Silver Subaru Forrester:
I didn't know this guy, but the car appeared stock. He was, however a great driver and once he started to get to know the track he was passing quite a few much more powerful cars. His lines were great, and I believe he had some sort of semi-track tire. It was pretty cool to see a low key wagon passing so many cars and nearly drifting on every turn.

Orange 350Z:
This car is turning into a dedicated track car. As far as I know, it has coilover suspension, Wilwood brakes on all 4 corners, a roll cage, and some aero goodies. The car was a beast on the twisties, but on the straights some of the more powerful cars were able to pull away. He definitely has some power modifications on the way.

Black Evo:
He seemed to be driving very slow, but once I asked it turned out to be his first time at the track. He had a great time, and that's all that's important. Probably needs some more time learning the lines and what the car can really do. My first time at the track was pretty nerveracking. By the time I finished one turn, I had to prepare for the next braking point and turn in perfectly for the apex cone. It was a lot to think about.

There wasn't much else to mention about the other cars that you can't see from the pictures to follow. These were all taken by a Canon 7D with either a 24-70mm f/2.8L, 70-200mm f/2.8L US, or Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5-5.6. I consider myself still somewhat of a beginner so you'll find that I do take pictures of nearly everything that I think is "photogenic". These are all somewhat processed using Adobe CS4 (again, a beginner with Photoshop). Don't knock my awesome black borders, y0!

Anyway, in no particular order...

A few of us got here early to prepare the track (set up cones, flagging stations, etc).



My Agency Power exhaust. I could have gotten this with either rolled stainless steel tips or the "burnt" titanium ones. I chose the latter, as you can see.



Thought this was a pretty cool effect. Was the cluster area of the orange 350Z.



One of the track-ready 350s that was trailered in that day. He was a fast one, a very good driver. Taking it to the limits, even when close to the wall.



The first few cars in the group that arrived. Still early. The stock Civic on the left doubled as our track taxi to drop off flaggers. The driver also drove the course with it. Did pretty well for his first time too.



My friend just got this splitter custom made. It was difficult to get a good photo in the early morning lighting too. I made the best of it.



Interior of the orange 350Z.



One of the three MR2s at the event that day. He just had his rollbar installed recently. You'll see my pass this guy in a video to follow.



Obviously the coolest car of the bunch. In my previous cars, I would tape up the front end like it was going to be the end of the world. This time, I simply gave the "high impact" areas a good 2 or 3 coats of wax and just taped up the lower portion and headlights. Looks pretty cool actually haha. If you notice, I decided to use 3.14 as my number. Yes, I'm a geek.



Our rental helmets for the day. Some people had their own.



It was pretty funny watching my friend tape up his E46 M3. I thought a 2 year old did it.



My friend Malcolm's 2004 S2000. He recently moved from Texas and had his car shipped to New Jersey. Coilovers, HKS exhaust, and Work Emotions.



I went out to one of the flagging stations early out to get some photos of the cars on the track. Thought this came out sorta neat.



During the course of the day, random people would come and spectate.



Here's Carlos in his quick Z.



Tearing up the track on turn 3.



This Z was turboed to hell and back. I think making something like 700whp from what I'm told. I didn't know the owner at all, but when he walked out he looked like the stereotypical guy straight from the mountains of Japan. Nice Volk wheels and some really meaty tires too.



A track speced E36 BMW. I don't know too much about these cars, other than this one was fully gutted and I believe it had a newer E46 motor in it (possibly the M3 one).



I started to experiment with panning shots since I was never able to get this close to cars on the track. After botching most of them, I did get a few good ones in my opinion. What do you think?



This was the stock looking STi that performed like the furthest from stock you could imagine.



Nice shot of turn #3.



Another panning shot, but this one was a little blurry.



Turn #1.





Track taxi, dropping off some flaggers.



This MR2 was loud!



2 year old tape-job and angry faced driver. This is a fully loaded SMG E46 with competition package. Very nice car.



I think this is turn #6.



Pack of the slightly slower cars rounding out the final bend back to the start again.



That beast of a Forrester again.



Another set of slightly faster cars coming around towards the start.



Panning shot attempts













My car taking a breather. I felt bad beating on it for so long. The exhaust tips moved outward about an inch due to heat expansion. And the front brakes were making crackling sounds.



Resting up. This takes quite a lot out of you.



The S2000 had about 3 spinouts due to worn rear tires. Here's some of the evidence.



My friend with the IS-F trying to be a funny guy. Thought it was pretty clever. Meh.



Playing with Photoshop.



Lots of people had GoPros this time around. Unfortunately I don't believe any of them were the HD version.



Subaru Forrester tires after 2 runs.



My friend's white Evo's rear tire after some rubbing on bumps and hard turns. That gash doesn't look so good.



This car experienced some problems early on, but was able to keep on trucking for the rest of the day. Not exactly sure what happened.



After about 10 hours of driving, there were a few of us left. We decided to take some pics on the banked turn area of the track.









I'm sure lots of you have seen the Ken Block picture where he's posing next to the car/on top of the car at a crazy angle due to the banking of the road.



Well, I thought it was a good idea to try that. What you see before you is an EPIC FAILURE on that attempt.



Some random pics.















Hope you enjoyed me being a camera whore. There were a few videos of the event as well. Unfortunately, nothing very exciting. Here they are in case anybody's interested.

My car during one of the "fun" runs:


E36 BMW's run:


300ZX's run. At 8:03, he gives me the point by and I zoom past.


S2000's run:
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      10-20-2010, 07:40 PM   #2
mlee4984
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Where's the passenger's helmet!!!??? LOL
Where was our invite??? Must have been fun having the track to yourselves!!!



Any more pix of this Z?

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      10-20-2010, 07:43 PM   #3
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Wow, thanks for all the pics. Awesome.
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      10-20-2010, 08:13 PM   #4
akh23456
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sounds like fun
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      10-21-2010, 12:25 PM   #5
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Good stuff! How did you like englishtown? I've never been to that track
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      10-22-2010, 02:16 PM   #6
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How did the stewards not black flag the entire event for allowing not only ride alongs but one without a helmet?

Englishtown is a fun track but thats dangerous and stupid.
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      10-22-2010, 04:58 PM   #7
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But i did just notice your car's number is PI.. hysterical
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