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      03-03-2011, 11:37 PM   #1
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NHMS

I was wondering if anyone has feedback about the track in Loudon, NH.

I am contemplating going there in June for an HPDE day - it's a bit far, but I have friends in Boston, so I'll be able to make a mini vacation out of it. Any feedback about this track?

I am comparing this with my other two options in that time window (Lime rock in CT and Thunderbolt @ NJMP). Any advice would be great!

Thanks
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      03-04-2011, 01:04 PM   #2
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I have some experience at NHMS. Tight technical track with some interesting elevation change. Can be challenging to get the lines right if you've never been there before. It is fun. Not much room though--on or off the track.

The most common mistake is probably to turn too early into the bowl. If you get that right it should be a constant radius turn to the next apex (with throttle and not steering wheel control).

Another common mistake is to go too hot into turn 2a--especially since they changed the layout. Trail brake into 1, get on throttle and immediately trail brake into 2a. But that kind of is a function of if and where they set the cones for turn 2b. With the new setup, if there are not cones, you can take a much linear line through 2a. People started doing that and the apex became the wall in turn 2b, so they started putting cones to move the apex away from the wall.

Turn 3 is fun, and the most common mistake there is to go in too hot as well. It really is a slow corner. Play around with 2nd or 3rd up the hill in the E92 M3. If you are smooth, 3rd might actually be faster. 2nd will result in lots of wheel spin and fun, but not necessarily faster. Get your inside wheels on the turtles when turning into 3. If they are not, you are most likely too far out.

Don't go too far out into turn 9, which is kind of the DE line. I prefer to dive straight into it about 2 feet away from the curb on the left and then trail brake really hard to rotate the car. It is a bit intimidating since the road kind of drops off after the pavement, but if you swing all the way out and then try to come in, you'll most likely lose time.

Use all of the road at the exit of turn 10. Most people don't and steer too much thinking they shoot aim for 11 right away. That is one section where the track is wide, and it is best to use it to accelerate.

Going into 11, you can use the curb on the right, but that is a real curb, and is not easy on your suspension. If you are not fighting for time, probably not worth it. You can use the curb on the exit though--it's not as harsh.

Hope this helps.
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      03-07-2011, 09:23 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucid View Post
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Excellent review, thanks! This will be very useful when I head up there.
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      03-07-2011, 09:39 AM   #4
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I have been to NHMS 4 times in my M3 and once in a C32 AMG. It is a good track to learn about your car and its handling, and you don't get that fast compared to other places. Lucid is spot on. The bowl is awesome when you get the line right!

I think LRP makes you pucker more than NHMS, especially on the "fast line" through the uphill and west bend - worrying if your front end is set up correctly for when you load up after the top. You already know it is, but it still crosses my mind!

However, given a choice, I would go to NJMP everytime - Thunderbolt is made for the M3, but Lightning will make you a smoother, better driver. NJMP is in much better shape than NHMS, and you can stay in the pit area suites if on a two day event.

The first time I drove T/bolt and Lightning, I hated Lightning, now it is growing on me now I understand the line and placing the car. Lightning is a more rewarding course when driven well. The courses complement each other.
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      03-07-2011, 09:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LiM3y View Post
I have been to NHMS 4 times in my M3 and once in a C32 AMG. It is a good track to learn about your car and its handling, and you don't get that fast compared to other places. Lucid is spot on. The bowl is awesome when you get the line right!

I think LRP makes you pucker more than NHMS, especially on the "fast line" through the uphill and west bend - worrying if your front end is set up correctly for when you load up after the top. You already know it is, but it still crosses my mind!

However, given a choice, I would go to NJMP everytime - Thunderbolt is made for the M3, but Lightning will make you a smoother, better driver. NJMP is in much better shape than NHMS, and you can stay in the pit area suites if on a two day event.

The first time I drove T/bolt and Lightning, I hated Lightning, now it is growing on me now I understand the line and placing the car. Lightning is a more rewarding course when driven well. The courses complement each other.
I have no idea what it means to pucker (afraid? scared?), but this is very helpful! You'll remember we met at Lightning - I wasn't terribly fond of the track. However, that was largely due to me having to nurse my brakes (I'm not going to use street pads anymore!) and struggling with turn-in due to my wonderfully worn front tires.

I think I will choose either T-bolt or NJMP based on how much time I can take off. I'll leave Lime Rock for when I am better prepared. And VIR for when I have 7-8 track days under my belt
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      03-08-2011, 06:43 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pman10 View Post
I have no idea what it means to pucker (afraid? scared?), but this is very helpful! You'll remember we met at Lightning - I wasn't terribly fond of the track. However, that was largely due to me having to nurse my brakes (I'm not going to use street pads anymore!) and struggling with turn-in due to my wonderfully worn front tires.

I think I will choose either T-bolt or NJMP based on how much time I can take off. I'll leave Lime Rock for when I am better prepared. And VIR for when I have 7-8 track days under my belt
Oh yes! I forgot the forum tag

I am doing a 3 day trip to VIR in May. woot! woot!

Oh, the "puckering"... go quickly up the Uphill at LRP on the fast line, glance to your left at the proximity of the armco barrier and you will know the true meaning of "pucker"!
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      03-08-2011, 12:54 PM   #7
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Good summary - now time for video!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lucid View Post
I have some experience at NHMS. Tight technical track with some interesting elevation change. Can be challenging to get the lines right if you've never been there before. It is fun. Not much room though--on or off the track.

The most common mistake is probably to turn too early into the bowl. If you get that right it should be a constant radius turn to the next apex (with throttle and not steering wheel control).

Another common mistake is to go too hot into turn 2a--especially since they changed the layout. Trail brake into 1, get on throttle and immediately trail brake into 2a. But that kind of is a function of if and where they set the cones for turn 2b. With the new setup, if there are not cones, you can take a much linear line through 2a. People started doing that and the apex became the wall in turn 2b, so they started putting cones to move the apex away from the wall.

Turn 3 is fun, and the most common mistake there is to go in too hot as well. It really is a slow corner. Play around with 2nd or 3rd up the hill in the E92 M3. If you are smooth, 3rd might actually be faster. 2nd will result in lots of wheel spin and fun, but not necessarily faster. Get your inside wheels on the turtles when turning into 3. If they are not, you are most likely too far out.

Don't go too far out into turn 9, which is kind of the DE line. I prefer to dive straight into it about 2 feet away from the curb on the left and then trail brake really hard to rotate the car. It is a bit intimidating since the road kind of drops off after the pavement, but if you swing all the way out and then try to come in, you'll most likely lose time.

Use all of the road at the exit of turn 10. Most people don't and steer too much thinking they shoot aim for 11 right away. That is one section where the track is wide, and it is best to use it to accelerate.

Going into 11, you can use the curb on the right, but that is a real curb, and is not easy on your suspension. If you are not fighting for time, probably not worth it. You can use the curb on the exit though--it's not as harsh.

Hope this helps.
Lucid - good summary. Here's something to help:my first Spec Miata race.

Here's what I wrote (sorry, it's long) to another SM driver last year when he was headed there. I can't comment on how it would be driven in a BMW (M or otherwise) but remember the Miata only has a 4.1 rear-end and about 110HP but handles very, very well.

Track write-up.


SCCA uses NASCAR turns 1 & 2 and between turn 2 & 3 they split the wall and run the road course outside the oval.

The NASCAR turns have a slight banking on the apron (~4*) with a bit more on the racing surface (~7*).

My car is a ’96 with the 4.1 ratio rear end gear so any gear suggestions I offer may be specific for my own car.

Turn 1/2

Enter slightly higher on the banking and faster than you would feel comfortable. I’m in 4th for these turns.

By the time of the race I was entering w/o braking; just a momentary lift, then feathering the throttle through 1 & 2.

There’s an apex there “in” turn 2 but you don’t necessarily have to hit it to be fast.

The key is tracking out of 2 at the right point so you’re not too high (and get into the marbles and end up sliding into the outside wall) but not too low (and being slow on track-out from scrubbing too much speed through the turn). I had a bad habit of passing on the outside of turn 2 exit and folks coming "up" on me.

Turn 3

After exiting 2 it will be a straight shot into 3. I was able to get on the brakes (very hard) as late as the transition from NASCAR to infield paving (like after braking marker #3 I think).

Downshift to 2nd gear.

This is a good passing corner if you can out-brake your opponent and can take a good, clean line through.

The key here is positioning yourself properly to defend the turn and hold your line. The problem however, is the rumble strips that are on the inside of the turn – AKA traction killers.

These will screw up that turn for you very quickly and then practically kill your lap. Either you won’t stick the front to continue the turn (understeer) or you try and apply throttle and end up rotating (oversteer).

I found to keep your speed up (since turn 4 is an uphill turn), unless you’re defending a pass on the inside, to straddle the strips with the car, or if your car likes it, take a rimshot on the outside of the turn.

The rimshot (I think) is a bit rougher on the turn-in to 4 (where the NASCAR wall normally goes) so be prepared for some jounce in the car when you’re on the gas. It may want to rotate on you.

Turn 4

An uphill after a hard pavement joint rut. You can stay to the outside (no need to actually “hit” the apex) if you’ve done a rimshot through 3 and if you’ve got a strong engine (and a good position) you can out-drag others up the hill.

This is where I was able to do most of my passing if I got a good 2-3 shift and they were down on power.

Turn 5

Not really a turn but it is part of the top of the hill. You should transition from the inside to the outside in this “turn” and at about the top of the hill you should be middle-right of the track.

Get to the outside of the track for your full-throttle approach down the hill into 6. I was near but not hitting the rev limiter in my car as I began to brake.

Turn 6

I never really got comfortable with this turn but I guess all tracks have one of these. I think I was over-braking the turn-in and hot carrying enough momentum through the turn to assist with the uphill track-out.

As it’s a downhill you should have lots of momentum and with the banking (it is a LOT steeper than the NASCAR turns) the car will compress & stick rather well allowing you to get down into & late apex the turn.

That was the key for me is learning when to turn. As they’ve paved the outer apron of the track (previously it was a significant drop-off from what I was told - suspension killer drop) you can run pretty deep into the turn before turning.

Tracking out you should be aiming for putting your right wheels about 1’ onto the blacktop/paved area to the right of the track surface.

I found if I did the turn properly, I would crank the wheel hard (again, it seemed like I was practically throwing the car around) & hold its position, the car would duck into the turn, apply throttle, and I wouldn’t have to move the wheel hardly at all to correct my position.

Don’t track too far out of 6 or you’ll do what I did. Get too far off onto the blacktop/paved apron and the car will get “sucked” outward and you’ll be through the pea gravel & into the sand trap.

And that sand is NASTY. Heavy on the mica and dust. I still haven’t gotten all of it out of my car yet…

Turn 7/8

This is an uphill sequence that I think a lot of people take improperly. They swing out too wide on turn 7 track-out and that puts them in a bad position for completing 8 and getting into 9.

For me, this is practically a straight, slightly right-hand turn up and over the hill. I can’t remember the name of the worker station but it’s the one up in the tree. The Treehouse I think? Can’t miss it…that’s the top of the hill though and pretty-much the apex for turn 8. I found myself at the top end of 3rd gear (and I could tell if I did turn 6 “right” as I would be at the top of my RPMs or bouncing once/twice off the rev limiter).

Turn 9

Downhill approach from 8 (you should be middle track-right) to get the right entry to 9. Firm application of the brakes to set the front, turn-in and hit that apex.

You don’t have to track-out much (I tried to keep it close to the tires as much as possible) since the further you track out the more you have to come back to the left to make the entry to the right-hander turn 10.

Turn 10

The catch with this turn is the transition from downhill, over the pavement joint (again, the NASCAR wall is removed here), and back over the NASCAR surface.

Careful getting in too close to the apex. That’s a NASTY bump they have there and usually have a cone on top of it. Not sure whether you can hear it on my video or not but I caught the apex a couple of times and you hear a hard BANG from that right front wheel. Sounds worse than it is though.

Turn in improperly and you’ll find yourself both bashing the car up and running out of track on exit (early apex problem). They give you a bit of paved room but it’s not nearly enough before you end up in the grass.

Get both left wheels off in the grass and you could find yourself spinning.

Turn 11/12

“Forgotten” corners – really just a series of slight bends from 10 as you approach 13. 12 should be taken nearly straight as the braking zone for 13.

Turn 13

If you’re braking in a straight line, take a hard and late left into 13 which gives you a good setup for a straight shot into 14.
Careful, as on your right there is an elevated portion of the paving (not sure what’s causing it but they did have cones on top of it during the race) that’s quite a bit higher.

This is a nice "bumper curb" to bounce the car off of to halt your track-out from 13 and set you up for 14. I think I may have been hitting it too hard as a few times I felt like I lost too much speed entering 14.

Getting too far off track here and onto the infield is hazardous to your car. During the school a student got off there, launched his car (I saw the NASCAR pavement “under” his car), and ended up bashing his lower radiator support.

Turn 14

Another good passing area if you’ve kept some good momentum out of 13. This is a simple left-hander getting you back out on to the NASCAR front straight.

It’s a bit rough on the inside of 14 but keep your foot in it and you should pull through it okay.

Have fun and good luck!
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      03-08-2011, 06:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bfetch View Post
Enter slightly higher on the banking and faster than you would feel comfortable. I’m in 4th for these turns.

By the time of the race I was entering w/o braking; just a momentary lift, then feathering the throttle through 1 & 2.
Nice write-up. I went huh when I read 4th into 1 and 2 and then realized you guys ran the NASCAR track and not the chicanes. Most clubs don't run the NASCAR turn--I guess they see it as a liability. People keep on talking about a BMW CR racer who went straight into the wall and died there several years ago, but there is also talk that he was dead before he hit the wall (heart attack). Anyway, when they run the chicanes the Miata can turn pretty fast laps there.

OP, NJMP and LRP have superior surfaces--both recently paved. Also, stay away from the curbs at LRP (they'll probably say that during the driver's meeting). Curbs are really high after the resurfacing--to the extent that they might upset or damage the car.
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      03-10-2011, 11:38 AM   #9
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For NHMS, I probably should have posted this graphic to help explain the layout better. My write-up included the south oval not the south chicanes.



And as Lucid notes, to the OP, Lime Rock curbing in some areas is HUGE after the paving. Specifically through the esses towards no-name straight as you approach the uphill.

Was there during a wet day (not raining but definitely damp) and thought I'd try the curbing through there. Ruh roh! My Miata on take-off racing slicks (RA1) got shoved (literally) away from the curbing when I tried to use it and I ended up a bit sideways approaching the uphill.

Pucker time!
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