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      03-19-2009, 02:51 PM   #1
wuyichao
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To people who have track experience...

Hi guys,

I had no prior track experience at all, and I'm looking forward to do lapping with my friends' cars. So is my friend who drives a E92 M3, we are both looking forward to track our cars any time soon.

What are the proper procedures from being a novice to an advance performance driver?

Do we have to take performance driving courses in order to track our cars?

We live in nassau area of LI, so we dont want to drive 200miles just to take a performance driving lesson.

Thanks in advance for any input!

-Jay
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      03-19-2009, 03:32 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wuyichao View Post
Hi guys,

I had no prior track experience at all, and I'm looking forward to do lapping with my friends' cars. So is my friend who drives a E92 M3, we are both looking forward to track our cars any time soon.

What are the proper procedures from being a novice to an advance performance driver?

Do we have to take performance driving courses in order to track our cars?

We live in nassau area of LI, so we dont want to drive 200miles just to take a performance driving lesson.

Thanks in advance for any input!

-Jay
You should have posted this in the Track section of the forum so you could get better help. Read up in that section and all your answer will be addressed.

I'm assuming your a little confused about the "PROFORMANCE DRIVING COURSES" these are essentially HPDE and are TRACKDAYS.

As far as not wanting to drive 200miles to get do a trackday, POCONO Raceway is the closest track to NYC its roughly 1.5hrs from the GWB so factor how long it takes you to get to the GWB and you'll know how long it'll take you to get to Pocono Raceway, your going to have to be willing to drive in order to do some of these HPDE.

I by no means have any prior experience of track prep I just signed up for my first track day its on May15th @ Lime Rock Park in Connecticut, which it about 2.5hrs away from me. I've done many trackdays on my bikes but in the car its a different story.

at the bare minimum for a trackday you need to have a Snell/Dot approved helmet typically a "car" helmet not a motorcycle helmet. No prior experience is needed b/c there is a Beginners group and everyone goes out w/ an Instructor until they are allowed to run solo when they advance up to more experienced groups.

also join BMWCCA and check your local chapter for AutoX's and sign up for them to learn more car control...

again there are others who know more about "CAR TRACKDAYS" check the Track section and read up there....
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      03-19-2009, 08:52 PM   #3
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+1 on finding answers on the track forums.

My suggestion is joining HPDE events. The certified instructors will show you around and eventually let you out on your own. A typical day is about $250 which includes 4 sessions of 15 - 20 minutes each. Additionally, your friend with the E92 M3 should maybe upgrade the brake fluid to avoid brake fading. Good Luck & Have Fun
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      03-19-2009, 11:21 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wuyichao View Post
Hi guys,

I had no prior track experience at all, and I'm looking forward to do lapping with my friends' cars. So is my friend who drives a E92 M3, we are both looking forward to track our cars any time soon.

What are the proper procedures from being a novice to an advance performance driver?

Do we have to take performance driving courses in order to track our cars?

We live in nassau area of LI, so we dont want to drive 200miles just to take a performance driving lesson.

Thanks in advance for any input!

-Jay
The first thing is really to determine what your goals are. What do you want to truly achieve? If you want to learn to be a better driver, then you will need a LOT of seat time with proper instruction. I don't know the quality of BMWCCA instructors. I know PCA instructors, and I don't think they are that great (with some exceptions). It's a voluntary system, time IS limited, and you DO get what you pay for. The instructors are there to have fun too. There are some exceptions, but they mostly teach you enough to just go around the track. No more. Besides true driving schools (Skip, etc.), the best instructors are in SCDA in my opinion. So you can look into that. A lot more insight.

Don't worry about tires, pads, brake fluid, etc. right now. You'll have other things to focus on. More often than not though, from what I've seen firsthand, people worry too much about tires, pads, fluid, lines, weight savings, what color helmet to get, bigger brakes, suspension, and all sorts of things. These same people would be better served spending their money on lessons. But to each his own. If you just want to go mess around and drive fast, then do that. Nothing wrong with that either. You just need to decide on your goals and what is is that you want to achieve, as I said.
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      03-20-2009, 12:29 PM   #5
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thanks for your inputs!

I've checked track section, and yea, it helped alot.

I will most likely participate in PDA or NASA HPDE. 4/4 Lime Rock is full, we registered HPDE event at Poconos on 5/2. If anyone else is going, i'll cya there.
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      03-20-2009, 09:41 PM   #6
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By track I am assuming you mean road course. You say you live in Nassau, the closest tracks are NJMP/Pocono/Lime Rock, would not touch Lime Rock as a newbie. You will have to go through a HPDE organization or NASA to get on the track. These are highly organized entities that provide instructions on improving driving abilities. They usually tier newbs into the same class with instructors providing guidance as you drive.


Some things to consider:


1) You will need a helmet (Usually SNELL or DOT certified). Check with the organization about renting one.
2)Always make sure your car is in perfect working order, brakes and tires will take a moderate to big toll at a track event. Regardless of what people think, OEM brake pads/fluids might not be able to handle repeated abuse on the track, yes even in an M3. At the very least you may need the brake fluid changed. Ask around the track forums for more advice on track prep.
3) Book at hotel and get a good nights sleep. You WILL be drained mentally and physically by the end of your track day.
4) Bring food and lots of fluids.
5) Bring extra oil, torque wrench, anti-freeze, glass cleaner, etc..
6) Listen very carefully to the newbie lessons, especially things they teach you in the class room. This will generally include how to point somebody by, and more importantly what all the "SAFETY" flags mean.
7) Never let an instructor drive your car.
8) Listen to the instructor, and always obey everything they tell you. Their job is to teach you and get you and him/her back safely to the pits.
9) There will always be somebody better, so stay focused and concentrate on your lines. Remember that you are not a race car driver. Rather, you are there to learn how to handle your car and to hone your car driving abilities.
10) Always be aware of your surroundings, this will get important as you get better, drive faster and brake late for apex's.
11) Keep your adrenaline under control.
12) Take your time.
13) Remember most insurances will not cover "HPDE" events/experiences, this is also true for non-timed events. Best to read your insurance documentation.
14) Pushing yourself and/or your car to the limits is good and bad. Good because you feel good knowing your limits, bad because you may cross that limit and it may be too late.
15) Tracking your car is expensive, its addictive as well, so be ready to spend on tires/wheels/brakes. Tracking your car will take a toll on certain parts, do not expect your dealer to warranty parts that may wear down faster or fail all together. Dealerships are not stupid. See #16.
16) Remember you gotta pay if you want to play.
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      03-22-2009, 12:31 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wuyichao View Post
Hi guys,

I had no prior track experience at all, and I'm looking forward to do lapping with my friends' cars. So is my friend who drives a E92 M3, we are both looking forward to track our cars any time soon.

What are the proper procedures from being a novice to an advance performance driver?

Do we have to take performance driving courses in order to track our cars?

We live in nassau area of LI, so we dont want to drive 200miles just to take a performance driving lesson.

Thanks in advance for any input!

-Jay
The Skip Barber Racing School, which is based at Lime Rock, is an excellent place to learn. The instructors are absolute top of the line and tend to be a cut above the usual BMWCCA or PCA track day instructors. Most of the SBRS instructors have extensive racing experience. Spencer Pumpelly, for instance won the GT class at the Daytona 24 hour in 2008 and had a podium finish in 2009. Driving with one of these guys sitting next to you and coaching you is a great experience. Along with the main track the school uses a skid pad and two autocross courses in the infield (they can be combined into a single course with 12 turns and several elevation changes) for car control excercises.
The School provides the cars so you don't have to worry about flat spotting the tires or damaging your vehicle.

www.skipbarber.com

I am a member at Lime Rock and go there often, It is about a two hour drive from Manhattan. I have done countless laps of Lime Rock in a variety of vehicles. It is a very challenging track and is puproted to be the fastest road racing track in North America. www.limerock.com

You can also check out the SCDA (Sports Car Drivers Association).

http://www.scda1.com/

CA
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