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      06-03-2009, 09:53 AM   #1
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M3 school compared to others

Has anyone attended the 2 day M school and another driving school like Skip Barber. I know Skip's school is mostly open wheel, but what school to you think you would learn more. Not looking to get a SCCA license but would like to go where I would learn the most. Is the M school more recreational? Any way any help is appreciated.
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      06-03-2009, 11:57 AM   #2
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I did the 2 day and thought it was great. Lots of in car learning and getting a feel of the car.

Some of the guys have done skip Barber in the class and most of the instructors are ex Skip Barber guys so the knowledge base is excellent.

The guys who did Skip Barber commented that there was more in car work in the BMW course and plus you drive M cars so that is also a plus in terms of getting a feel for our cars.

More driving is better so I am sure yoyu cannot go wrong with either.

I loved the 2 day M school and was 2 of the greatest days driving I have ever had. Would re-do it in heartbeat and I still wanna do the VIR school.

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      06-03-2009, 12:45 PM   #3
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Agree - the 2 day M school was well worth the time. I did the school about three years ago, but I have taken delivery on two cars (including my M3) at the Performance Center since. I enjoy each time I go there.

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      06-03-2009, 06:24 PM   #4
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OP, you're in SoCal.
Why not just do the BMWCCA events? The instructors are GREAT and a two day course was only $500, plus you get to sleep in your own bed at night.

I did the one day BMW Performance Driving school the year it was out at AAA Speedway, and it was OK, but SO NOT worth it compared to the CCA school.

They have helmets you can rent, but they're only around $250 to buy one that will last until 2015. Don't worry about the tire wear since you won't be going that fast when you're starting out, and if you do get fast, you just get another setof wheels with proper track tires. It's an awesome event.
Let me get this straight... You are swapping out parts designed by some of the top engineers in the world because some guys sponsored by a company told you it's "better??" But when you ask the same guy about tracking, "oh no, I have a kid now" or "I just detailed my car." or "i just got new tires."
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      06-11-2009, 08:36 PM   #5
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2009 M3  [4.20]
Originally Posted by 4u3 View Post
Has anyone attended the 2 day M school and another driving school like Skip Barber. I know Skip's school is mostly open wheel, but what school to you think you would learn more. Not looking to get a SCCA license but would like to go where I would learn the most. Is the M school more recreational? Any way any help is appreciated.
I've done the Barber three-day racing school, the partial-day Performance Center delivery course (an abbreviated one-day course) and the Advanced M-course at Virginia International Raceway (the two-day course, or equivalent is a prerequisite). I've also done the four-days total of Dick Turner autocross school, HPDE and lots of club events.

All these have merit and I got something out of each and everyone. The instructors at Barber and BMW are the elite of this trade. Club instructors are helpful, but following the likes of Brian Till or Donny Isley takes you well beyond learning the line and doing slow entry/fast exit at club events.

I'd recommend a serious, professionally instructed course to get you started and then keep your chops up with club events.

Now, about Skippy vs. BMW I'll have to go with BMW, since your goal is not to become a licensed driver (I would reverse this if you said you wanted to be a racer). The quality of the instruction is the same and both give you car control exercise on skid pads, racing line theory and practice and lots of actual time on the track at race-like speeds. A big bonus at BMW is that you're driving BMWs at their risk and expense. (Of course you pay, but it's a bargain).

In another thread someone brought up the cost of BMW schools vs. club events. For club events you need to consider your wear and tear and insurance cost (or the alternative, damage cost). With others I recently had dinner with the VP of Marketing for the Performance Center and M-Schools. Being an accountant, I mentioned to him my observations about the costs involved in putting on the course at VIR. (The cars themselves, transporting them to Virginia, putting up their support crew, renting the track, tires, brakes, damages- yes there were damages- entertaining us, etc.). I said that I didn't see where there was much profit to made for the class that was limited to 15. He said that I was right, there's no profit. There goal is to break even and build good will and loyalty for the brand.

My partner is considering going to Mercede's AMG school and we just talked a lot about one-day vs. two-day. He's a street driver only and unlikely to do any competitive event. I explained how the one-day school would give him invaluable car control experience (skid pad) and good theory about lines and actually driving at what seems to be high speed. On the second day you put on the helmet and the speed goes up dramatically. Driving at higher speeds introduces new dynamics that can't be experienced any other way. He's decided that he's going to do the two-day AMG school and perhaps go to the one in November where they introduce the new SLRs.

At BMW it'd take you lots and lots of racing to catch up to the instructors. There are BMW club instructors that DO achieve this level, but they are the minority not the rule.

So, I think that BMW's two-day M-School is perfect for you. (They give you a bunch of swag also, but only at the two-day school). You might get really excited and consider the Advanced M-School, or you might want to do the occasional HPDE with your local club, after fully considering the cost of doing so. Eveyone seems to get a ton out of the M-Schools and a lot get "the bug" and keep coming back, like me.

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