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      12-09-2011, 09:38 PM   #1
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First time tracking my M3

Hey all, I will be going to the track for the first time on December 17th. What all do I have to get done in order to prepare for the track? I have heard many people replace their brake fluid and brake pads in preparation, but can anyone give me a list of exactly what I need to do in order to keep my car in proper condition for AND after the track?

Also, I currently have 20s on my car with Nitto Invos. I don't have much time to find a track set of wheels and tires, so can anyone tell me if they have ever tracked with 20s? Although it sounds pretty crazy to me, maybe it can be done.

Any other info would be appreciated!

Thanks in advance!
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      12-09-2011, 09:47 PM   #2
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The only thing I'd really suggest is bleeding your brakes thoroughly, and replacing the fluid for something like Motul RBF-600, ATE super blue, etc. You could also add a set of light duty track pads but it's not completely necessary if you plan to take it easy for your first time.

Do you still have your OE 18s or 19s? You can always use those. You can use the 20s and invos, but the level of grip will be very low and you won't have as much fun.
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      12-09-2011, 10:27 PM   #3
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For your first track day I say there is no need to go to great lengths in changing items on your car. Here in SoCal at the track days I have been to there are always quite a few 100% stock E9X M3's having fun.

Obviously make sure everything is in working order such as decent amount of brake pad left, decent tread on tires, and your lugnuts torqued. Grab your helmet and get out there!

After your first track day you will know right away if you want to take it a step further. 99% chance you will! At this point is when I think is a good time to start gearing up better with brake fluid, BBK, dedicated race wheel/tire set, r-compound tires, camber plates, adjustable suspension, etc...
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      12-09-2011, 10:31 PM   #4
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If you've never tracked before you'll be fine with stock brakes. The 20's along with the cooler weather will lead to less grip. I would say just enjoy the car and get a feel for what it has to offer. If you get hooked on tracking, you can always join the Houston ///M Club....then you'll without a doubt get track mods. What track are you going to? And be safe...............Phil
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      12-10-2011, 01:36 AM   #5
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Have fun and check out this thread
http://www.m3post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=407557
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      12-10-2011, 03:48 AM   #6
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Helmet, instructor (can be official or can be a skilled friend, first time so just relax and have fun), and I'd do brake fluid. OE fluid is easy to cook. Other than that, some common sense, a chill pill, and some water if it isn't provided.

Oh, and tie a microfiber cloth over your power steering reservoir for good measure. In case you overheat that, you wouldn't want to be cleaning oopsie juice off of your hood.

GT-R's track on 20" stock, so it's not that it's impossible or not doable. The Invos are utter guttercrap though. If you have an OE setup, they will perform substantially better, as stated earlier on in the thread.
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      12-10-2011, 04:38 AM   #7
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I did my first track day last Friday. Changed my brake fluid beforehand to Motul RBF 600 and was glad of that!

oem pads were not good and went "off" after about 5 laps! Will be replacing with DS2500's. I had to laugh at the idrive information, that I checked prior to doing the track day. It stated 24,000 miles to change my front pads, it now shows 12,000......
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      12-10-2011, 11:29 AM   #8
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Which track are you going to?

Definitely bleed the brakes and do a thorough tech. Also recommend an alignment, not necessary though.

20's shouldn't be a problem The only issues are your wheels will need a lot of TLC after the track and frequently replacing 20" tires will get expensive.

If you can change your own pads, I would just bring an extra set of front pads. If not, I would consider changing them out. If you go to a tighter track you can vaporize a whole set of front pads in a weekend.
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      12-11-2011, 02:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KMIII View Post
Hey all, I will be going to the track for the first time on December 17th.
This is the key--going for the first time. Probably the best advice above is to keep an open mind, listen to your instructor, and check your ego at the door. You will learn many things--how amazingly capable this car is in the track setting, how you could never even approach this level of speed and excitement and yet overall safety on the streets, and how much driver skill determines speed on the track. I've been in run groups with Porsche 911 GT3 RSs and modified, fire-breathing Nissan GTRs driven by very unskilled/unsmooth guys who actually presented a hazard to those around them due to being unpredictable and slow at inappropriate times. And I've been in run groups with Mini Coopers that have smoked my behind--piloted by experienced, smooth and fast drivers.

Also good advice above to do a basic tech inspection prior. If you don't want your dealer to know about it, take your car to a quality local independent shop. Tell them you need a pre-track inspection and for a minimal fee they'll put it up on the rack and check for loose suspension parts, tire wear, evidence of any leaking fluids, and brake pad wear. Your first time out you're not going to be hammering it at 9/10ths, so you don't necessarily need upgraded brake fluid, pads, etc. But I would make sure you have at LEAST half of the pad thickness remaining on your stock brake pads.

Bring layered clothing, a helmet, water and snacks, and have fun!

Last edited by paradocs98; 12-12-2011 at 02:38 AM.
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      12-11-2011, 07:34 PM   #10
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This being your first track event, if you plan on taking it easy & just getting acclimated to the scene, and if the track you're going to isn't a very high speed track, I don't think you need to do anything with the brakes & fluid. For subsequent track days, you will.

Anyhow, aside from what others already mentioned, might want to bring a folding/beach chair and, if the runoff areas are dirt/gravel (as versus grass), you'll want to bring blue painters tape to cover up the front of the car to protect it from rocks/pebbles.
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      12-13-2011, 01:24 PM   #11
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I would only change the tires but that's maybe because we do not know Nitto in Germany. You'll see the weakest element in the chain is the driver first. So, just remember some things that do not belong to the car.

Stay calm. It's always a risk when you have weak knees driving on a racetrack. You're still just driving your car that you know. Do not put the pedal to the metal first, try to learn the track and drive a proper line. Always keep in mind that nobody forces you to go as fast as the car can.
Do several stints, not instantly long-runs. You'll have to deal with many impressions. In a short break, think about those impressions or even better talk to some more experienced people.
When you end your stint, please, PLEASE do an out-lap. Rolling around the track one lap so everything can cool down a bit. Most importantly the brakes. When you park the car, try not to rest your foot on the brake pedal too long and just use the e-brake.

And most importantly: Enjoy! Trackdays are real fun and you will see that you'll develop as a driver.
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      12-13-2011, 02:07 PM   #12
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Be safe and plan on burning a lot of cash if you really get into this...
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      12-13-2011, 03:24 PM   #13
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Be safe and plan on burning a lot of cash if you really get into this...
Agreed
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      12-17-2011, 11:14 AM   #14
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Thanks guys, I have read this entire thread and made a checklist of what to do and what not to do. Let me ask you guys this, exactly what driving mode do you find track appropriate? MDM, shift aggressiveness, and what not. I have heard many people say they don't use MDM at the track, but I think it might be a personal preference and I would just figure out my own after experimenting a few laps. Also, traction control completely off? Thanks for all the advice.
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      12-17-2011, 11:49 AM   #15
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Also, if I am running on 20s, what is the appropriate tire pressure I should use?
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      12-17-2011, 12:04 PM   #16
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      12-17-2011, 12:11 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KMIII View Post
Thanks guys, I have read this entire thread and made a checklist of what to do and what not to do. Let me ask you guys this, exactly what driving mode do you find track appropriate? MDM, shift aggressiveness, and what not. I have heard many people say they don't use MDM at the track, but I think it might be a personal preference and I would just figure out my own after experimenting a few laps. Also, traction control completely off? Thanks for all the advice.
Personally I would leave MDM on for your first track day. If you feel very comfortable with the car then consider turning it off for the next event.

MDM is the traction control and it should be on for your first time.

You should be fine setting your tire pressure at 32 PSI cold (before you leave the garage).

For shifting - I run in S5 or S6 with the servo settings on Sport. With MDM on you will only be able to enter S5 though.

If you don't want to shift then at least use D5 with Sport servo settings.
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      12-17-2011, 08:35 PM   #18
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I'd try MDM first. You have some kind of safety net in case you'd overshoot a bit. Also it's good to develop a not too agressive style of driving. It's always better to drive more or less calm. When you're fast with MDM turned on and without its intervention, then you're already really fast. So it should be a good indicator for when to drive a bit less agressive.
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      12-19-2011, 07:57 PM   #19
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How was your trackday? Report would be interesting.
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      12-19-2011, 09:59 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by disapr View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by KMIII View Post
Thanks guys, I have read this entire thread and made a checklist of what to do and what not to do. Let me ask you guys this, exactly what driving mode do you find track appropriate? MDM, shift aggressiveness, and what not. I have heard many people say they don't use MDM at the track, but I think it might be a personal preference and I would just figure out my own after experimenting a few laps. Also, traction control completely off? Thanks for all the advice.
Personally I would leave MDM on for your first track day. If you feel very comfortable with the car then consider turning it off for the next event.

MDM is the traction control and it should be on for your first time.

You should be fine setting your tire pressure at 32 PSI cold (before you leave the garage).

For shifting - I run in S5 or S6 with the servo settings on Sport. With MDM on you will only be able to enter S5 though.

If you don't want to shift then at least use D5 with Sport servo settings.
+1, and leave it on until you get disciplined with throttle control.
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      04-13-2012, 12:49 PM   #21
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Quote:
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+1, and leave it on until you get disciplined with throttle control.
I'm going to change my brake fluid to Motul RBF600. I see its sold in 500ml bottles...how many bottles do I need to change my brake fluid?
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      04-13-2012, 12:56 PM   #22
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I'm going to change my brake fluid to Motul RBF600. I see its sold in 500ml bottles...how many bottles do I need to change my brake fluid?
2 bottles should be good for the full flush and bleed. Get 3 to have 1 to keep around for topping off and bleed jobs before and at the track, etc.

I just hit 3,600 posts! Hahaha.
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