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      05-07-2009, 01:09 AM   #1
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Watkins Glen track report

I was at the Glen for a couple of days. The Dinan camber plates and springs did not make it on time, so I was on stock suspension. Here are some observations:

1. The stock brake system simply cannot take 20+ minutes of hard driving on slicks and high friction pads. I went there with about 70% on the RS19s. They were done after the first day. Front rotor temps at the paddock reached 610C. RS19s were literally smoking, but held up.

2. When I took the pads out, I noticed uneven wear. The left fronts were worn more than the rights. I ran with MDM on 2 of my last 4 sessions at Limerock and 2 of my 4 sessions at the Glen the first day. As Radiation Joe pointed out (he showed up while I was pulling the pads out), that must be the explanation. Any other explanation should have translated to uneven braking and car pulling to the side on a straight line under braking, and there was none of that.

3. I drove the first 2 sessions with MDM on since this was my first time at the Glen. The light came on constantly and the car was very nervous. This is a bumpy track in many sections. Once I got the hang of the track, I turned DSC off completely. What a MAJOR difference. The car was much more stable and smooth. When MDM interferes a lot like that on a bumpy track, it seems to merely destablize the car rather than stablizing it. That's what happened in this case at the least. I don't think I'll ever run with MDM again on a dry track.

4. The second day, I bought a set of brand new HT10s from the guy who was there as tech support with his setup. I didn't have any other options, and I thought they would at least be OK. WRONG. They scored my rotors in 15 minutes. Many deep grooves across the rotor surface on BOTH rotors. I figured the rotors were already scored so I'll do another session. After about 20 minutes of pushing the car, I arrive at turn 8. I get on the brakes at my usual 200-225 marker at ~120-125. I am standing on the pedal and the car is not slowing down. Major pad fade. I decided not to risk turning, and went off track. I am glad I didn't force the issue. No damage done. I get to the paddock and measure temps. 600C and the pads are literally smoking. I pull them out after they cool down, and the pad material literally falls of the backplate while I am holding it in my hands.

5. I had the speed limit warning to 148. It woud come on for a couple seconds at the back straight before the bus stop. So, the speedo must have hit a little over 150.

6. Coming out of turn 4, I constantly caught the limiter in 4th before getting on the straight and rode it for about 1-2 seconds. I didn't dare shifting obviously. DCT would have really helped and probably shaved at least 1/2 second right there.

7. That means you are doing 130+ out of that turn. It has a wide radius, but you are still cornering on flat and bumpy pavement. That's when it starts getting scary as the car feels really loose and you start wishing it had downforce of some kind.

8. A lady from the track showed up in the morning of the first day and told us they had planted some new grass here and there, and if we were to mow it down, they would take our number down and we would have to pay for it. WTF!?

9. I am not taking this car to a fast track until the brake issues are resolved. If the pads had given up on me at the bus stop, bad things could have happened. Clearly, when you push it hard for an extended period of time with slicks and high friction pads, the heat builds up. Net energy balance into the rotors is positive. Getting larger rotors would help, but not solve the problem as you'd still most likely be putting in more energy into the rotors than what you are taking out of them on the straights and corner exits. The solution is clearly to install cooling ducts and achieve forced convection.

10. I called up Turner and asked about cooling backing plates. They said they are working on them now, but didn't have an ETA.

11. I am also looking into BBKs. I suspect my rotors might be close to being done, and I don't expect the dealer to replace them, which is fine, but I am not going to spend $1k+ on stock rotors. I'll just go with Stoptechs or Brembos at that point.

12. I was going to upload an entire session, but youtube seems to have a 10 minute limit. So, here are the sections of a session that involved other cars. The 2:15:10 lap is at the end--starts around minute 7. Youtube has the high resolution version.

13. Thanks to Radiation Joe for keeping me company while I replaced all pads and put my car back together to make it home. We were the last people out the paddock on Tuesday.
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      05-07-2009, 06:30 AM   #2
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Cool Lucid...nice review and write up. Sounds like you had a couple hairy moments out there. I'm interested to see what the final solution will be to resolve some of these braking issues. I'm a bit surprised that BMW didn't pay a bit more attention, but maybe it was cost-prohibitive as BMW figured that most M3 owners won't track their cars.
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      05-07-2009, 07:16 AM   #3
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Cool Lucid...nice review and write up. Sounds like you had a couple hairy moments out there. I'm interested to see what the final solution will be to resolve some of these braking issues. I'm a bit surprised that BMW didn't pay a bit more attention, but maybe it was cost-prohibitive as BMW figured that most M3 owners won't track their cars.
I suspect the lack of brake cooling ducts has something to do with the front end of the car being fairly comittted to other functions (radiator, oil coolers, engine intake). They probably figured brake cooling was less likely to be an issue for the majority of the people than engine cooling and intake, which is true. I understand the E46 M3 had openings in the bumper that were shipped plugged, but could be unplugged for brake cooling for instance. As a comparison, to the best of my knowledge, the p-cars and Corvettes come with some sort of front rotor cooling out of the box? There was a guy on here last year, Enigma, who races, and if I remember correctly, he predicted that the lack of brake cooling would be an issue before the car came out. So, he was right I guess...
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      05-07-2009, 08:00 AM   #4
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Nice Video!Were your HT 10's burnished or did you have to break them in.Yes I can see that the lack of brake cooling is going to be a big issue.
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      05-07-2009, 08:16 AM   #5
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Nice Video!Were your HT 10's burnished or did you have to break them in.Yes I can see that the lack of brake cooling is going to be a big issue.
I broke them in outside. And I cut the first session short (15 min) and took it easy. I didn't really get on them until the second session.
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      05-07-2009, 08:55 AM   #6
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I broke them in outside. And I cut the first session short (15 min) and took it easy. I didn't really get on them until the second session.
I just spoke to my "brake expert" and he wonders if the pads were ever dropped as that is the only time that he has seen the material break loose from the backing plate.He said that he has seen very little in the way of problems with the Hawks.
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      05-07-2009, 09:11 AM   #7
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I just spoke to my "brake expert" and he wonders if the pads were ever dropped as that is the only time that he has seen the material break loose from the backing plate.He said that he has seen very little in the way of problems with the Hawks.
I actually made the same comment to Radiation Joe (in the converse sense). When I showed him the pad material come loose, I said "I didn't drop them or anything"...
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      05-07-2009, 10:00 AM   #8
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Hi Lucid. I watched your video - you have very similar lines to me at the Glen, and you like to late apex in places, just like me. I haven't been to WGI in my m3, but my best time in my c5z06 was 2:15:811 (recorded via track side XT Ultra Lap timer). My only mod was Hoosiers because I was Street Stock class.

One thing I noticed about your fast lap, try putting your foot in it at the toe of the boot after you start your turn - dont need to feather the throttle there, just plant it. The car feels like its gunna spin, and it feels REALLY strange, but it wont because of the hill and camber - have a look at that part of the track on foot one day, you'll be surprised how steep it is.. very deceiving in-car. This trick combined with the z06 torque meant I could pass most coming up the hill.

As for pads, ya dont use hawk. They are notorious for scoring rotors. I dont know why they are so popular, they are a shit pad. I went through a few pads until settling on carbotech. They are ceramic-based and a very high quality pad. You can run them right down to the backing plate (no pegs)1, so although they are a little more expensive, they do last longer. I've never had one fade/crack or do anything funny on me, and I've been through about 5 full sets from xp8 to xp10 (and even a panther plus - now "ax6" I think -when I first started). I settled on XP10 and they were a perfect combo between fade and rotor life for me. It seems like you may be a little more aggressive braking than me, so you may opt for the xp12. BTW, when the carbotechs would fade, you would get a warning. You'd know for a few corners that they are getting tired.

Another benefit of the Carbotechs is that they are easier to clean off of rims because they are ceramic. I could generally use water and maybe a light wipe to clean my rims.

BTW, many suggest staggering the compound to a heavier one in the front, I tried this for a few events, but found that it made the car uneasy under heavy braking - like coming into turn 1 at WGI. The car would waddle back and forth slightly. I put equal compounds on later and that totally went away.

Anyway, give them a try, you wont be disappointed.

Great video, thanks for the write up. Makes me miss it there - its my favorite track. BTW, what club did you go with?
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      05-07-2009, 11:11 AM   #9
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One thing I noticed about your fast lap, try putting your foot in it at the toe of the boot after you start your turn - dont need to feather the throttle there, just plant it. The car feels like its gunna spin, and it feels REALLY strange, but it wont because of the hill and camber - have a look at that part of the track on foot one day, you'll be surprised how steep it is.. very deceiving in-car. This trick combined with the z06 torque meant I could pass most coming up the hill.
Yeah, I had someone ride along with me who suggested the same thing. You are right. I go WOT a few feet after the (late) apex. I understand that the banking on the hill is likely to catch you. My concern is the surface. It is really bumpy there; I wasn't sure if I'd bounce around and lose the rear there. How bumpy was it when you drove it?

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I went through a few pads until settling on carbotech. They are ceramic-based and a very high quality pad. You can run them right down to the backing plate (no pegs)1, so although they are a little more expensive, they do last longer. I've never had one fade/crack or do anything funny on me, and I've been through about 5 full sets from xp8 to xp10 (and even a panther plus - now "ax6" I think -when I first started). I settled on XP10 and they were a perfect combo between fade and rotor life for me. It seems like you may be a little more aggressive braking than me, so you may opt for the xp12. BTW, when the carbotechs would fade, you would get a warning. You'd know for a few corners that they are getting tired.
I went through a set of Carbotechs last year (they were either XP8s or XP10s). They wore out kind of fast. Well, it turns out the Pagids wore out faster than I thought, too. One concern I had with Carbotechs was the backplate. I use a c-clamp to push the piston back, and one of the pads warped when I did that. I was surprised as I was just twisting the c-clamp lever with my hand. I might give the XP12s a shot. There is a forum member who used in his E92 M3 and said good things about them.

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BTW, many suggest staggering the compound to a heavier one in the front, I tried this for a few events, but found that it made the car uneasy under heavy braking - like coming into turn 1 at WGI. The car would waddle back and forth slightly. I put equal compounds on later and that totally went away.
Putting a significantly more aggressive compound up front should indeed result in what you describe. Assuming the more aggresive compound generates more friction, you'll have more brake torque up front (the brake bias will be further shifted up front), and the tail would be more likely to come around. I still have the Carbotechs from last year in the rear. They appeared to provide similar levels of friction compared to the RS19s as I didn't have any problems of this nature.

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Great video, thanks for the write up. Makes me miss it there - its my favorite track. BTW, what club did you go with?
NASA. WGI has a great layout. I just wish it wasn't as bumpy. I was told sections of it have been recently fixed actually--turn 5 after the bus stop is pretty sweet--and that the Toe is next. Hope to see you around...
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      05-07-2009, 11:54 AM   #10
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nice review ... too bad your brakes gave up ... it doesn't look like it was a hot day either ... I can imagine what the tepm. would be on a hot summer day ...
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      05-07-2009, 12:17 PM   #11
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Ya, so try the xp12's. I think you'll be happy with them. Xp8 is way too soft for you, if thats what you were using.

I dont know about the bumps. I dont remember it being SUPER bumpy, but it seemed like all the other tracks I've been on. Except limerock, now thats a bumpy POS track. Ya I'd say that turn after the bus stop is one of the more scary ones. Lots of speed, it feels off camber, and there is no room for error. The real problem corner for me was the last one before hte straight, I just couldnt get it right every time - cant figure out why.

Check out the XT racing Ultra lap timer. I have one, its GREAT. Cameras are pretty good for recording, but they can drop frames, and this can add up over a big track. I also use a Traqmate system with chasecam cameras and thats pretty slick - if interested, let me know. I have a full chasecam setup for sale; its basically new.

Is NASA going back to WGI? What are the guys like there? I normally run with COMMSCC (awesome group of guys) but have run with PCA a few times (they dont know how to drive and drop oil everywhere) and SCDA were d-heads.
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      05-07-2009, 12:42 PM   #12
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Ya, so try the xp12's. I think you'll be happy with them. Xp8 is way too soft for you, if thats what you were using.

I dont know about the bumps. I dont remember it being SUPER bumpy, but it seemed like all the other tracks I've been on. Except limerock, now thats a bumpy POS track. Ya I'd say that turn after the bus stop is one of the more scary ones. Lots of speed, it feels off camber, and there is no room for error. The real problem corner for me was the last one before hte straight, I just couldnt get it right every time - cant figure out why.

Check out the XT racing Ultra lap timer. I have one, its GREAT. Cameras are pretty good for recording, but they can drop frames, and this can add up over a big track. I also use a Traqmate system with chasecam cameras and thats pretty slick - if interested, let me know. I have a full chasecam setup for sale; its basically new.

Is NASA going back to WGI? What are the guys like there? I normally run with COMMSCC (awesome group of guys) but have run with PCA a few times (they dont know how to drive and drop oil everywhere) and SCDA were d-heads.
NASA and PDA run together. They are going back to WGI in October. There was a car on the first day that broke down multiple times, and that was frustrating. The NASA/PDA group seems like a good bunch overall. Instruction is hit and miss like it is in other clubs. They are pretty hands off with how they manage the driving. More liberal passing zones/rules. BMW CCA really clamps down. I hear COM is indeed a great bunch of guys. BMWCCA Delaware will be at the Glen in July. Btw, they fixed Limerock; the entire track has been repaved...
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      05-07-2009, 01:02 PM   #13
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For the chasecam, I'd like to get $450 for the recorder and $200 for the camera. This includes shipping/cables/mount, etc. I only used this set once at an event (I bought multiple systems) so its basically new.

I"ll keep my eyes open on those other events. Let me know if you go back - looks like you'd be good competition! Oh, but wait I dont have r-compounds.
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      05-07-2009, 01:18 PM   #14
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I"ll keep my eyes open on those other events. Let me know if you go back - looks like you'd be good competition! Oh, but wait I dont have r-compounds.
Look, get your ass ready and acquire some slicks and we'll meet up.

That's assuming we find a brake cooling solution.

Seriously, I'm tired of running with all these vettes! Maybe we can talk Radiation Joe into it as well.

Let me think about your chasecam setup at that price...
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      05-07-2009, 03:17 PM   #15
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Lucid - definitely look into the Carbotech XP12's for a temporary solution.

As for going off with brake failure, the bus stop isn't a HUGE deal as you can just go straight through there. The real place you don't want to go off is turns 10 and 11 with guardrails or turn 1 where it's off-camber and a bit of a hill on the outside.

At the toe of the boot, if I remember the bumps are out to the outside. The best solution there is to track out to the outside and then get back toward the right side or even at least halfway across the track. Shortly before you hit your braking for 8 get back over the left-side. I'm so used to a low HP car that I didn't realize it but the higher HP cars like to hug the inside corner through that turn since it seems that there's a less steep hill and shorter distance around the turn. I had always gone REAL late apex to try to get a bit of a run going up the hill
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      05-07-2009, 04:09 PM   #16
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Nice driving!

Glad things worked out and that nothing bad happened when your brakes went out.

I'm interested in getting some updates on the brake ducting.
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      05-07-2009, 05:02 PM   #17
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Quote:
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Look, get your ass ready and acquire some slicks and we'll meet up at the Glen for the BMWCCA Delaware event in July.

That's assuming we find a brake cooling solution.

Seriously, I'm tired of running with all these vettes! Maybe we can talk Radiation Joe into it as well.

Let me think about your chasecam setup at that price...
Well, hey, if you buy the chasecam, I can afford tires. Keep me posted for July.

BTW whats wrong with vettes?!
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      05-07-2009, 05:59 PM   #18
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First awesome vid, thanks. I love watkins glen.


Also agree with what others have stated use CARBOTECH PADS! They are very good also EBC which I have currenty only car the yellows. VERY GOOD PAD both are light years ahead of HAWK.
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      05-07-2009, 07:00 PM   #19
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Great review and awesome footage. I was waiting to hear that the brakes on this car were not sufficient. You have me wondering whether its worth it to purchase r compounds considering the brakes are not going to be able to handle the heat from the increased grip. NY BMWCCA & Patroon host a great event in June that offers a ton of track time for a solo advanced driver. It would be great to see some other e9x there.
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      05-07-2009, 08:40 PM   #20
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Lucid - definitely look into the Carbotech XP12's for a temporary solution.

As for going off with brake failure, the bus stop isn't a HUGE deal as you can just go straight through there. The real place you don't want to go off is turns 10 and 11 with guardrails or turn 1 where it's off-camber and a bit of a hill on the outside.

At the toe of the boot, if I remember the bumps are out to the outside. The best solution there is to track out to the outside and then get back toward the right side or even at least halfway across the track. Shortly before you hit your braking for 8 get back over the left-side. I'm so used to a low HP car that I didn't realize it but the higher HP cars like to hug the inside corner through that turn since it seems that there's a less steep hill and shorter distance around the turn. I had always gone REAL late apex to try to get a bit of a run going up the hill
I was thinking more in the lines of what if you lose your left/right brake balance at 150 mph when one of the pads comes loose and completely gives out. At that point you might not be able to go straight even though there is room at the bus stop.

Yep, the braking zone before 8 is bumpy, but that's OK. I was referring to turn 7. The apex and tracking out is pretty bumpy there, but maybe not as bumpy as I think it is. I'll dry going WOT before the apex next time.
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      05-07-2009, 08:42 PM   #21
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Great review and awesome footage. I was waiting to hear that the brakes on this car were not sufficient. You have me wondering whether its worth it to purchase r compounds considering the brakes are not going to be able to handle the heat from the increased grip. NY BMWCCA & Patroon host a great event in June that offers a ton of track time for a solo advanced driver. It would be great to see some other e9x there.
I am fairly convinced the issue can be resolved via a simple ducting solution. Or, at least that is what I am hoping for! Also, things hold up fine if you don't constantly push the car, so you can still have fun. I saw the NY BMWCCA event in June, but I'll be on travel unfortunately.
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      05-07-2009, 08:46 PM   #22
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Oh man, I wish this thread started last week. I am going up to the Glen this weekend with the GVC of BMW CCA. I have never been on a track before, so I am nervous as it is. I think that I will watch the youtube video a couple times to get a feel for the layout of the track. The maps just don't help as you can't see the elevation changes and camber changes. I am running the OEM tire setup, and I just put new brake fluid in but I left the pads on as they seemed to have a lot of material left on them.

That said, I am not too worried as my lack of experience and lack of slicks should keep my speeds/mechanical stress down as well. Oh, and I was planning on leaving DSC ON. Do you think I should use MDM? I have no plans to turn the system OFF.

So nervous.
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