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      01-02-2007, 02:56 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by e36jakeo View Post
Those who defend SMG as the best choice have never performed a perfectly executed heel-toe downshift (and probably don't even know what that is).
Heh, what track would you like to meet me at? I'll even drive a manual.

You are a bit naive to think that those that choose SMG are somhow lesser drivers. We just tend to be more willing to accept progress.

Want to guess what I view as the biggest advantage for SMG in the hands of a very experienced driver? Its not what you think.

With SMG you can left foot brake and make much better gas-brake-gas transition than you can with a manual. There is no less "perfection" goign on, you are just working on keepign the car finely ballanced at the limit of cornering rather than trying not to spin off the track when you shift.

I do admit with SMG you will never get to tell the tale of your perfect 4-1 downshift or have the rack of bent valves to show off as proof
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      01-02-2007, 08:27 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by e36jakeo View Post
The satisfaction of driving is not just about how fast you can go, but the achievement of attaning those speeds (both in corners and in a straight line). Those who defend SMG as the best choice have never performed a perfectly executed heel-toe downshift (and probably don't even know what that is).

One additional point in favor of the manual is the fact you can launch the car however you want (high RPM burnout, low RPM smooth takeoff, etc). The SMG chooses for you, and this takes away a good degree of the control (and fun!) of driving.

No one can argue that SMG is not faster around a track, since you can concentrate on braking, cornering, etc., but as you lap 1 second faster you are having less fun than the guy rowing his own gears.

It's a pity BMW may have dumbed down the M5's manual 6-speed.


Now I have finally found someone who is intelligent and not full of themselves. You should all listen to this individual, you might learn a thing or two! My props go out to you!
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      01-02-2007, 09:51 AM   #25
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Now I have finally found someone who is intelligent and not full of themselves. You should all listen to this individual, you might learn a thing or two! My props go out to you!
Well put!
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      01-02-2007, 07:00 PM   #26
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One thing to remember guys is the comment that "you are having less fun than the guy rowing his own gears" is entirely subjective. Its also one I don't agree with having tracked both types of cars.

Its important to distinguish fact from opinion.
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      01-03-2007, 12:55 AM   #27
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Heh, what track would you like to meet me at? I'll even drive a manual.

You are a bit naive to think that those that choose SMG are somhow lesser drivers. We just tend to be more willing to accept progress.

Want to guess what I view as the biggest advantage for SMG in the hands of a very experienced driver? Its not what you think.

With SMG you can left foot brake and make much better gas-brake-gas transition than you can with a manual. There is no less "perfection" goign on, you are just working on keepign the car finely ballanced at the limit of cornering rather than trying not to spin off the track when you shift.

I do admit with SMG you will never get to tell the tale of your perfect 4-1 downshift or have the rack of bent valves to show off as proof
Nice flame! That was my first -- kind of an ENIGMA as to why I got it Yes, being able to left foot brake is a racing advantage, but at the cost of a bit of the car's soul. And I'll be happy to race you at any track (I was 2006 Time Trial TTC champion (Team Antihybrids). http://nasa-tt.com/Norcal_Standings

I agree it is my opinion that shifting my own gears is more fun than having a machine do it for me. The sad thing is that in the future shifting will become a "lost art" since all the "kids" of today will only have DSGs or automatics (SMGs will be gone -- too jerky for street cars).

I drive an S2000 (S/C) and an E36 M3 on the track. The M3 turns slightly better times even though it is down on power, but the S2000 is incredibly satisfying to drive because of how much of a "driver's car" it is (can you say OVERSTEER?). The 9K redline and quick-shifting gearbox in harmony with one another are two of the things that make it such a delight to drive fast. You feel the engine through the shift lever, and you feel that direct link between "man and machine." The chassis balances on the edge of oversteer, but you can use that to your advantage to exit corners faster (due to added traction under acceleration). It is a WILD ride compared to the poised M3. It is much harder to get every last tenth out of the S2000, and it can be intimidating. But this all adds to the reward.

With modern stability control systems, SMG/DSG, throttle by wire, brake by wire, and even "active" steering cars are becoming more and more like video games and it becomes harder for a driver to truly understand what a car is doing at its limits, and how to learn and use these dynamics to drive the car faster. I don't necessarily consider SMG progress. In most cases I call it a way for BMW, etc. to sell a performance car to a person who can't drive a manual. I guess that is OK -- until they dumb-down the M5 manual and break my heart

The progress street cars are making usually does NOT make them better driver's cars (as you know, of course, now that I see you drive an Elise - very nice!). More weight, more tech, more gizmos. These things sell to the masses of fairly wealthy people who can afford new cars (esp. BMWs). They sure don't make for a more satisfying performance drive. Yes they are faster, and will lap faster, especially in the hands of novices (since all the electro-nannies will save their butts at every corner), but not as much fun.
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      01-03-2007, 01:09 AM   #28
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I just like to razz the people that keep saying that SMG owners just buy them because they don't know how to drive a manual. 99% of them don't have a clue what real driving is.

For most of the same reason you list in your post I don't drive my BMW at the track any more. Its simply not a fun car. Its a GT car for the street, not a track toy. Its to heavy and big.

However, with the lotus the two things I find myself missing from the BMW are the wider powerband and SMG. Once I got really used to left foot braking all the time is sucked to have to go back to using the damn clutch. Now all I end up thinking about is the time I am losing by not being able to ballance the car as well as I could if I didn't still have this archain interface.

It think another part of it is the Elise like your S2000 isn't exactly a slow reacting and forgiving car like your E36 or my E46. You really, really don't want to make a mistake with your cornering in either of those cars.
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      01-03-2007, 01:22 AM   #29
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Quick comment on the upsize of progress.

One thing that having a throwback stipper car like the lotus does is make you appriciate just how far cars have come in a good way. Its rare I drive it on the street simply because its a much less enjoyable drive when you are not carving up roads at > 8/10th.

Things like:
good temp control
sound deadning
bumpers
good headlights
comfortable seats
heated seats
power windows
working defogger
working weather seals
stability over ruts in the road
DSC
BMW engines (nice wider powerband)

Those are all things we take for granted in our relavitly comfortable and heavy cars. The tradeoff is worth it about 80% of the time. Sadly when its go time you often wish you could temporarly eject most of them.
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      01-03-2007, 01:24 AM   #30
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Agreed!!!
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      01-03-2007, 01:39 AM   #31
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Greatest thread ever...I laughed, I cried, and most of all I learned...great jobs guys. Final Score Enigma 3, e36jakeo 3.

*****DRAW*****
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      01-03-2007, 01:32 PM   #32
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The choice of SMG or MT is a personal preference. Speaking for myself, who only drives on the street, I really don't care which trans makes the car faster by .5 second. What's important for me is what I want out of the overall driving experience. For me this means becoming part of or an extension of the machine and immersing myself in the feel, handling and responsiveness. I can only satisfy this need with a MT, IMO... Call me old fashioned.
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      01-03-2007, 10:49 PM   #33
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I learned a lot today btw...
thanks guys ur right about the 6 speed...
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      01-04-2007, 12:38 AM   #34
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Our pleasure (Enigma, I hope you don't mind me speaking for you )

BTW, Enigma and I PM'ed back and forth a bit and I discovered I actually DID race him at Thunderhil (Northern CA) about six months ago. He was running like a mother in his Elise and I was driving the piss out of my student's Ferrari F430 (yes, lucky bastard).

Ironically enough, his Elise was a manual and the Ferrari I was driving had an SMG

So who won?

Let's see, 493 HP vs. 195 HP -- OK, not a fair race . . .

I drove fast enough to make my student puke (fortunately, outside of the Ferrari).

Enigma was one of the fastest Elise driver's I've seen!
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      01-04-2007, 01:04 AM   #35
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Let's see, 493 HP vs. 195 HP -- OK, not a fair race . . .
I am sure this is one of the students driving and not you. Its the only Ferrari I remember catching on video that day. There were quite a few there.
http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...39352705584770

My best laps 2:04 were earlier in the day. The extra HP of the ferrari would just kill me out of T15 but the lighter weight and better tires would make most of it right back up in T2.
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      01-04-2007, 01:26 AM   #36
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I am sure this is one of the students driving and not you. Its the only Ferrari I remember catching on video that day. There were quite a few there.
http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...39352705584770

My best laps 2:04 were earlier in the day. The extra HP of the ferrari would just kill me out of T15 but the lighter weight and better tires would make most of it right back up in T2.
I have to admit I never got times, I was just chasing you down the back straight and making up ground and then I think we hit the checkered. I was in the red F430 -- that was my buddy in the black one. The one I was driving had street tires, the black one had RA1s and I was easily outrunning the black one.

2:04s? In a stock Elise with race rubber? What kind of tires you running? I put down 2:03s in a 3100 lb M3 with 270 crank HP, suspension, and RA1s.

Impressive driving, Enigma!! And great vid! How did you get the g-meter and speedo ON the video. That is SO COOL!
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      01-04-2007, 03:10 AM   #37
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2:04s? In a stock Elise with race rubber? What kind of tires you running? I put down 2:03s in a 3100 lb M3 with 270 crank HP, suspension, and RA1s.

Impressive driving, Enigma!! And great vid! How did you get the g-meter and speedo ON the video. That is SO COOL!
Thanks for the comment on the driving. I have a Race technology DL-1 dataloger I use to capture the telemetry and then I use software from trackvision.net to overlay it onto the video.

That was the first day I drove on an aftermarket suspension and I was having some issues. It was a bit of a dial in day. The car stock, on OEM tires would probably max out around 2:05 bypass / 2:07 Cyclone. I had/have RA-1s on my car which are worth about 1s over the OEM Yoko 048s.

After sorting the suspension issues I have picked up quite a bit of time there. The datalogger is showing a best of sectors as 2:01 for the bypass now though I have yet to put that together in one lap.

Which config was the 2:03? I know NASA usually run the bypass.

I also have some video of Laguna Seca in the SMG M3 and Elise that makes a nice comparison of how easy to drive and stable the BMW is compared to the lightweight car if anyone is interested.

The one time I tried to hammer the M3 around thunderhill I set the brakes on fire ending my day early. So I don't have any good video from it there, just stuff from when I was learning the track.
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      01-04-2007, 07:04 PM   #38
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Nice driving!!

Ok, so I started playing a little game while watching a few mins of that video. It was called, "Whose he gonna catch next?" I loved the moment I heard myself say Holy Schmidt it's another elise driver, and he/she should go change their pants!

Anyway, nice job on the vid and discussion. This is my first post while awaiting the new car. Itís to be the dream car I promised myself as a child. Thankfully I survived a little 7-month trip to the desert and had the option for factory direct pricing. Hopefully it will turn out to be more fun to drive than my current S2000.

OT, I am also trying to decide upon the tranny. MT seems like it would be more fun, while the SMG is the coming wave. My fear is it wouldn't be as engaging though would probably help hold the value in the end.

My final questions to the group: for those who have driven previous versions of the SMG, is it possible to drive the car smoothly? A test drive is one thing, but once you have become familiar with the car, do passengers still snap their necks? Also, and this is asking for a simple guess, have BMW engineers listened to previous complaints about removing the driver from the driving experience? It seems each successive M3 has its drivers enjoying the new power while longing for it to be mixed with the driving experience of the E30. I donít want to regret trading my $55K for a sterile though quicker car. Thanks!
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      01-04-2007, 08:21 PM   #39
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It took me about a month to completly figure the system out. Part of it taking that long is I took delivery of one of the first SMG cars in the US so there wasn't a large amound of knowledge about how to do things like shift smoothly at the time.

Yes, you can pretty much drive the car just like a manual if you desire. It not possible to be as smooth as an auto though simply because you still have a clutch and the car stops accelerating during shifts.
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      01-05-2007, 02:37 AM   #40
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Thanks for the comment on the driving. I have a Race technology DL-1 dataloger I use to capture the telemetry and then I use software from trackvision.net to overlay it onto the video.

That was the first day I drove on an aftermarket suspension and I was having some issues. It was a bit of a dial in day. The car stock, on OEM tires would probably max out around 2:05 bypass / 2:07 Cyclone. I had/have RA-1s on my car which are worth about 1s over the OEM Yoko 048s.

After sorting the suspension issues I have picked up quite a bit of time there. The datalogger is showing a best of sectors as 2:01 for the bypass now though I have yet to put that together in one lap.

Which config was the 2:03? I know NASA usually run the bypass.

I also have some video of Laguna Seca in the SMG M3 and Elise that makes a nice comparison of how easy to drive and stable the BMW is compared to the lightweight car if anyone is interested.

The one time I tried to hammer the M3 around thunderhill I set the brakes on fire ending my day early. So I don't have any good video from it there, just stuff from when I was learning the track.
2:03.76 (TTC track record ) was the running the bypass.

I cannot believe how fast you get your Elise around a big HP track like T-hill! The mags (Car and Driver, I think) tested the Elise vs. the S2000 and it was only 1 second faster than the S2K around Ginerman (I think). I think they did not know how to drive the Elise like you do:rocks:

In a straight line a think your Elise is quicker than my M3 at slow speeds, even at 60-80 MPH, and then I'd pull on you due to the extra HP. Cornering your Elise will simply cream the M3.

Send along some more video from laguna!

Come to Laguna this Sunday -- we will be trying out our new GPS-based data logger, and my buddy (with the black F430) will be bringing his new grey F430 w/ F1 trans.)
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      01-05-2007, 03:10 AM   #41
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2:03.76 (TTC track record ) was the running the bypass.

I cannot believe how fast you get your Elise around a big HP track like T-hill! The mags (Car and Driver, I think) tested the Elise vs. the S2000 and it was only 1 second faster than the S2K around Ginerman (I think). I think they did not know how to drive the Elise like you do:rocks:
2:03 is a really good time for an E36 M3. Most of the people I know that drive similar cars are stuck in the 2:07+ range.

The Elise is a hard car to drive fast at the track. You cannot slow down or bleed much speed since it takes a long time to get going again. It also doesn't really like the super smooth driving style that most cars reward. It took me a while to adjust after leaving the M3.

Here is a good lap in the Elise at Laguna. Ok good up to T11, read comments below the video as to what happened:
http://www.justracing.com/galleries/...album=86&pos=0

Full session on google, lower quality, including a battle with Z06
http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...40764726878137

Same track in the M3 from a while back. Wasn't as agressve back then. The M3 was on fairly stiff springs 525/600, stock drivetrain, PSCs on stock wheels.
http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...72996531410033

Notice the drastic diffrence in the steering wheel inputs. The M3 rewards smooth, gentle inputs while the lighter car can be tossed around a lot more.
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      01-06-2007, 12:58 AM   #42
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2:03 is a really good time for an E36 M3. Most of the people I know that drive similar cars are stuck in the 2:07+ range.

The Elise is a hard car to drive fast at the track. You cannot slow down or bleed much speed since it takes a long time to get going again. It also doesn't really like the super smooth driving style that most cars reward. It took me a while to adjust after leaving the M3.

Here is a good lap in the Elise at Laguna. Ok good up to T11, read comments below the video as to what happened:
http://www.justracing.com/galleries/...album=86&pos=0

Full session on google, lower quality, including a battle with Z06
http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...40764726878137

Same track in the M3 from a while back. Wasn't as agressve back then. The M3 was on fairly stiff springs 525/600, stock drivetrain, PSCs on stock wheels.
http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...72996531410033

Notice the drastic diffrence in the steering wheel inputs. The M3 rewards smooth, gentle inputs while the lighter car can be tossed around a lot more.
Kick ass lap! I love sliding around turn 11, too. The lift throttle 2nd gear slide is the best way around that corner in the M3 (prevents it from pushing). Tried the same thing in the S2K and nearly looped it (yes a bit more tail happy than the M).

I haven't taken lap times at Laguna in a couple years. I posted a good battle with a GT3 on youtube:


1:42 is an amazing time at that track, though. I think I was running 1:48 back then, so even with the 255 rubber on the car now and some more tricks up my sleeve 1:42 would be quite a feat.

I will be there with my 06 Civic Si (commuter car) and the data logger. I'll be psyched if I can better 1:58 on my all-season street tires
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      01-06-2007, 01:25 AM   #43
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1:42 is an amazing time at that track, though. I think I was running 1:48 back then, so even with the 255 rubber on the car now and some more tricks up my sleeve 1:42 would be quite a feat.
The track is a little faster now that the changed the approach to the corkscrew. I think the best I got out of my M3 was ~1:50. I didn't have quite the same brakes as it sounded like you had. I may make it back in Feb, its going to be a busy year so I am not sure how much track time I will be able to work in.

Did that Gt3 happen to be driven by John?
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      01-07-2007, 12:39 AM   #44
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The track is a little faster now that the changed the approach to the corkscrew. I think the best I got out of my M3 was ~1:50. I didn't have quite the same brakes as it sounded like you had. I may make it back in Feb, its going to be a busy year so I am not sure how much track time I will be able to work in.

Did that Gt3 happen to be driven by John?
I am not sure who drove the GT3, honestly.

We'll see what my K20-powered Civic can do tomorrow! I'll see about grabbing some video . . .
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