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      04-19-2009, 08:54 PM   #1
Dascamel
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M3 First Track Day---DCT FTW!

So yesterday I finally built up enough courage to take the M on its first track day.

Car: 100% Stock ( decided to hold off on any changes until I actually tried the car first.)(normal/active suspension felt the best)

Place: Buttonwillow, CA with Speedventures (Temp was high 80's mid day)

Driver: Me (7-8 days track experience with 335i) Intermediate group

Transmission: DCT(see below)

Result: I'm still smiling.

The day started a little rough getting back into the flow of things. Haven't been on track for close to half a year so it took a while to get back into the groove. Although the car feels far better than the 335i, it took 3 sessions to feel out the car and start actually improving my times.

First off, before after 3-4 hot laps heat would be a huge issue and the 335i would have heat soak issues. The car felt like is was always at 75% power on a warm day. Now after 3-4 laps, I would start passing people that would be slowing down as the session went on. Temps were never an issue, even for the brakes since I wasn't pushing that hard. It FELT GREAT!

So by the end of the day I was 7 seconds faster than my previous best lap time in the 335i. I was shocked at the difference, around 2:16.7 I believe. Part of the difference was my driving was a little better, but most of it was the car being able to put down far power and for longer in all the higher speed areas. I found myself over 100 mph in multiple places that weren't the main straight. Street driving even when pushing the car hard doesn't even come close to letting the M3 shine.

The first few sessions I was shifting manually and trying to settle in with the car. With the cars rev range, I found this tough to do. Definately need more practice to get the power where and when I want it. So last couple sessions just placed it in D5 full auto mode. Yes, I know its cheating but it allowed me to focus on the lines, looking ahead, and just clearing my mind to just drive. Keeping the car in the proper rev ranges isn't as easy as it looks. My hat is off to all the MT drivers out there.

Now DCT, in D5, suspension in normal, the car was a beast. The shifts are relatively well timed once you get used to the throttle responses. Dropping down out of magic mountain area on the way to the sweeper, the shifts are amazing as the car goes from around 60-70 to 100+ just before the sweeper. My passenger was amazed how it would be shifting super smooth, at 8000+ rpm, during a turn which isn't ideal, but the car wouldn't miss a beat. All this while on probably close to full throttle.

Now the tough part, washing the car..... and waiting for BMWCCA events inlate may, one day Buttonwillow and another 2 daysat Cal Speedway.

Hope it wasn't too tough a read,

Das


edit: The car held up well for being stock, the track isn't very tough on brakes, and I wasn't trying to destroy my ps2s. Other highlights included getting passed by TC Kline in his 135i test car, then having lunch with him. Great guy, very very helpfull.
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      04-19-2009, 10:03 PM   #2
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7 seconds. ~3 seconds per minute improvement. Nice!
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      04-19-2009, 10:29 PM   #3
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Very nice. I'm jealous!
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      04-20-2009, 05:02 AM   #4
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Interesting read. I've only had mine since March and haven't got it on a track yet. I've got DCT as well and it's my first auto. I absolutely can't wait to get it on the track.

We were going to go to Nurburgring in March on our honeymoon but they changed the opening times - we've booked 3 weekends later in the year though. I'm also going to Spa in June which will be great.

I'm still getting used to Manual DCT on the road but think it will really come into it's own on the track. I don't like the idea of being in auto mode on the track - the though of an unexpected sharp gear change when pushing the envelope round a corner doesn't appeal to me!
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      04-20-2009, 08:12 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dascamel View Post
...

Hope it wasn't too tough a read,

Das


edit: The car held up well for being stock, the track isn't very tough on brakes, and I wasn't trying to destroy my ps2s. Other highlights included getting passed by TC Kline in his 135i test car, then having lunch with him. Great guy, very very helpfull.
I assume he pointed out to you that he has an e90 M3 with DCT as well. I would have been curious to hear how he compares the M3 to the 135. He also has a tremendously fun car you can rent for track days or just for tooling around ...

Sorry for the crappy phone pic.
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      04-20-2009, 11:58 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Radiation Joe View Post
I assume he pointed out to you that he has an e90 M3 with DCT as well. I would have been curious to hear how he compares the M3 to the 135. He also has a tremendously fun car you can rent for track days or just for tooling around ...

Sorry for the crappy phone pic.
TC Kline brought a rental, white e90 m3, a client was driving it in one of the advanced groups.($800 to rent fot the day) TC absolutely loves the DCT, not one complaint about it.

His 135i was modded with his coils, Hoosiers, camber and a few other things. He looked amazing out there. I saw him drive the e92 M3 last year, he looked amazing in that also. Tough to say how much is the car, and how much is having a professional driver, but the 135i looked very smooth out there. He was fine with the stock brakes on both the M and 135i on a side note.

Regarding the DCT shifting during a very sharp turn, probably more stable than you think it is, but I'm not testing it
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      04-20-2009, 07:22 PM   #7
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I rode / fake-instructed with Das for I think every one of his 5 sessions. I've got an observation or two to add to the discussion. Some about driver, some about the car.

I was there that day in my '08 e90 335 on 255 square 17" falken rt615s. 200 treadwear fyi.

Both me and Das had a really difficult time getting back in the groove of Buttonwillow. I know I was driving frustrated for all my sessions untill after lunch. I expect the same for Das.

I think it took till after the second session till I recommended that he just stick the car in 4th gear and leave it there. We came to the comprimise of "auto" and that really freed up some brain power for him to worry about what was most important.

Coming from a torquey 335, I'm used to short shifting and not worrying about using all the gears. I've always wondered what it would be like to drive a revvy motor'd car where you have to keep the car in 'v-tec' and what kind of a challenge it would be. Sadly, it looked like it was a real challenge. And, just too much to deal with before getting reacquainted with the track. If the car were a 3 pedal, I think it would have been easier to manage. I suspect that since the car gives the driver such great control of being in the proper revs, it kinda "invites" the driver to play with it. Just extra distraction for that day. Once the car was in the "auto" style, it was clear that car and driver were working better together instead of fighting eachother. Sorry Das, but more seat time for this. Maybe Sat at the roval in auto and sun talk with your new instructor about trying out manual for that 2nd day.

When the car would shift 3-4 with the right sides loaded up real good, at WOT, and a fair amount of wheel in it, initially I was worried. But, as a passenger, the only way that I could tell a gear change happened was engine tone. I was really, really impressed with the dual clutch. Also, being a 6mt guy, I would never think about shifting at an apex. Amazing tech.

As I'm sure you guys know, and I was just ignorant to, 400 hp is more than 300. A lot more. I've driven a chipped 335. And, actually maybe it was as fast as the M. Yeah, probably. But my car being stock, I'm sure that the M was getting to the braking zones with between 10 and 20 more mph than the 335 found. Now, I've never had an ontrack limp with my 335. (around 20 big track days and a hand full of autox) Maybe I wasn't finding the same speed because I was shifting shorter than normal. a little before 6k instead of a little after. I was there to work on stuff other than dropping tenths. So, that may account for 3mph, but probably not much more than that.

So, whenever I talk about my car, I when I have someone ride passenger I say the same thing. 'My 335 is all stock except for HID fog and 255 square street tires. The car has too much weight and too much power for how much grip it has." Coming from that mindset of the e9x, the M was soooo well behaved. With so much grip. Getting out the the slow tight stuff, the car just clawed outta there with very little rear end rotation. And, through the fast stuff, the tires and suspension were significantly faster than my car.

I don't recall which traction ctrl level the car was set to, but when the back end would step out, it always came back in without a snap. I don't know if it was driver or tech, but it was different than my ham hands and open diff on squirmy tires. Not having that snap at a slide recovery made it so that the car could be overdriven without too much drama. A different way to say that is, I don't think my car would have stayed out of the dirt when the M would just scrub the speed and continue.

I took video so I'll share it. Here's Das riding with my in my 3rd and 5th sessions.

session 5: I'm doing that thing of running down money with driver skill.
http://blip.tv/file/2015953

session 3: biiiig tank slapper in the 7th minute. We're such dorks. We w00t it up and fist bump after that "moment".
http://blip.tv/file/2016012
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      04-20-2009, 09:01 PM   #8
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Guys, a few observations about torque from my side. An M3 actually has more torque at the wheels than a 335 above ~2000 rpms, stock vs stock, due to the aggresive gearing its wider rev band allows for (for 6MT, the difference is in the final drive ratios and not the individual gear ratios: 3.85 vs. 3.08). So, I must say that torque is not an issue given the two cars weigh close. I have never had any problems with finding the torque that I needed/could safely put down at the track, and I don't feel like it requires excessive shifting with the stock gear ratios. You might need to shift a bit more with DCT, but that's what it's for! My 2 cents...
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      04-20-2009, 09:39 PM   #9
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Yeah, you do have enough torque at lower revs but when the transmssion keeps you in the perfect range all the time its pure bliss. As Satakal said, the difference in balance, suspension, make the M so much easier to drive. Last, but not least LSD makes powering out of tight turns a much more pleasant experience.

Regarding the torque, not sure exactly why, but gear selection is far easier in the 335i, unlearning my previous shift points needs to be the done the next time out.

I left the car in MDM mode all day, lets the car slide around a bit which makes it easier to control. Still get some intervention but its short and brief unless really needed. I learned tons during the day regarding the handling characteristics while knowing some stability control was still present.
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      04-20-2009, 11:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucid View Post
Guys, a few observations about torque from my side. An M3 actually has more torque at the wheels than a 335 above ~2000 rpms, stock vs stock, due to the aggresive gearing its wider rev band allows for (for 6MT, the difference is in the final drive ratios and not the individual gear ratios: 3.85 vs. 3.08). So, I must say that torque is not an issue given the two cars weigh close. I have never had any problems with finding the torque that I needed/could safely put down at the track, and I don't feel like it requires excessive shifting with the stock gear ratios. You might need to shift a bit more with DCT, but that's what it's for! My 2 cents...
I didn't make my point well. My point was that the n54 stops making power well before redline. So, if I wanna go fast, shifting at redline is counter productive. That hot day in the desert, I was shifting even shorter because I wasn't hunting for tenths. I had other things to work on besides finding speed.

By no means was I making a torque compairson. I was pointing out that to drive an N54 fast, you lots of room in the rev range to be at peak power. But, a revvy engine has only one place in the rev range where there's peak power.
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      04-21-2009, 01:12 AM   #11
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So by the end of the day I was 7 seconds faster than my previous best lap time in the 335i.
That's impossible. The 335i can nevar lewse.
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