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      05-30-2008, 12:09 PM   #1
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Two Day HPDE Review

I had a two day HPDE on the full course at VIR this week. It was my 3rd time on the track, but the first HPDE I've done. I had maybe 90 minutes or so of track time in my E46 325. I'll start by saying that I know I'm no where near talented enough to push the car to its limit, yet....maybe in a few years. Having said that, it blew me away in what I was able to do with it. I was passing people every time I was on track, and was only passed once, by an E36 M3, over the 2 days, and I know the ability of the car had a lot to do with that.

Engine
The engine's ability to generate full torque at 3k rpm is an unbelievable advantage, but BY FAR the best thing about this motor is the 8400 rpm red line. I never saw 2nd gear, and was only in 4th in the straights and a few high speed corners. Having the ability to keep it in 3rd allowed me more time to focus on actually driving the correct line and approaching/exiting the corners as I should.

Brakes
The brakes, as expected, are even better on the track than on the street. They have a very linear feel with respect to the amount of stopping power you get relative to how push you push the pedal. I didn't notice too much brake fade, but like I said, I wasn't driving on the limit of the car. My instructor said he drove a Z4M and noticed significant fade after about 6 laps, so I imagine the M3 is much the same.

Tires
Holy shit. For street tires, these things are unreal. Even my instructor was very impressed with the amount of grip they had. My first session the morning of the first day was extremely wet, and they held very well. Toward the end of the 2nd day, they got a little greasy, but the air temp was ~80 and the rubber was definitely above its optimal temperature.

Suspension
I actually didn't play with EDC at all, as I read in another thread that normal mode dynamically adjusts the dampening, which seems like the best option for street or track.

DSC
I left DSC on for just about every session, but I put it in MDM for the last session, which was a great idea. At first, DSC didn't bother me too much. But as I got more and more track time I became more confident in the car, and my ability, and it started to intervene more often. My instructor wanted to me turn it off, but I really didn't like the thought of throwing the car off of the track at 100mph in a corner. A Ferrari 360 did just that in some flat esses on the first day, and it wasn't pretty. I decided to use MDM, knowing it would let me slip a little, but not enough to lose the car. I'm not sure if the car slipped and the stability control kicked in or not, but I definitely felt the lack of full DSC. It felt a lot better without the car cutting the throttle coming out of corners.


I also got to play around on a wet skid pad. I was only allowed ~4 min each time, but I went out 3 times over the course of the two days. The first time out I got it sideways very very easily but wasn't able to hold it very well. Second time out was a little better, I got maybe 1/4 of a lap sideways. The third time out I went to see how much MDM would let me slip, but I also played around with drifting some more, as it's really fun to do. It's so easy to get this car sideways, and once I figured out how to keep my right foot in check, I was able to keep the throttle at the same place and adjust my steering accordingly and I got the better part of a full lap around the pad sideways.

One shot at the very end of the 2nd day...dirty as hell
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      05-30-2008, 05:32 PM   #2
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sounds fun - this car is a track beast.
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      07-02-2008, 07:11 PM   #3
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Cowmoo, how bad did you chew up the tires?
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