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      12-16-2013, 08:09 PM   #1
imserious
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First track day

I got to experience my first track day this past weekend at Willow Springs. Good times! What an incredible car. Decided to download my thoughts hereÖ


Thoughts on the M3:

Iíve been itching to take my car to the track knowing that street driving doesnít come close to experiencing the potential of this car. I expected to be impressed with the V8, but I was surprised to be most impressed with the chassis and suspension. Yes, the V8 pulled (probably would pull harder without a full time passenger). Yes, the V8 rev range gave you lots of room to be in the power band and made engine braking really quite useful. And yes, the throttle response was immediate. But the chassis and suspension really wowed me. At speed, it just did things I didnít think a 3700 lb car should be able to do and didnít drive like a 3700 lb car. You could brake deep and hard without significant nose dive. The lateral grip was incredible. Accelerating hard out of a tight turn, the LSD was working its magic. Even the traction control compensated for my mistakes and helped me to recognize what I was doing wrong. Never felt like it was slowing me down as much as being my tutor.

Between sessions the M3 made no complaints. Didnít even break a sweat.

After the track day was over I turned everything to comfort mode, clicked on the heated seats, found a nice Pandora station, cracked open the sunroof and had a very comfortable ride home.

I canít think of a better all in one package.


Thoughts on driving technique:

I had the benefit of a private instructor for every session. Very helpful to learn etiquette, learn the line and approach the limits safely. Highly recommended for newbies!

This was the first time I was able to experience throttle steering both to push the car wide and pull into a corner. (Again, no way you would do this on the street.) I started to get it a lot more towards the end of the day. Lots of fun!

I needed to relearn the M3s limits on the track. During street driving I know what it can do in a straight line and low speed turns, but under hard braking and higher speed corners it was a whole different story. I was very uncomfortable taking high speed turns, but gradually learned that when balanced, this car can hold a lot of speed in long sweepers. I also broke way too early because I wasnít used to it. This car can brake later and harder than you would think. I also didnít use 100% of the track because Iím not used to trying to ride the edge of a road. This prevented me from hitting the optimal driving line in certain places. I need to find the edge of my tires.

Next time I am going to focus on braking later and harder, being in the right gear at the end of each braking zone, using off throttle to enter turns vs. braking when appropriate, turning in later & more sharply on some corners, and using the edge of the road. Oh and keep practicing throttle steer.


Thoughts on other cars:

Some people have a lot of disposable income. It was a lot of fun to see what people were hiding in their covered trailers. Saw some open top racecars and stock cars that were fun to see around the track.

I always heard miatas were little track beasts. You never know what these guys are packing in these 10+ yr old cars. Most had modified suspension with R comp tires. Many did not have the stock motor. Who knows, LS1, turbos, you name it. Itís funny, but they are intimidating if you donít know what kind of heat they are packing.

Everyone knows GTRs are beastly. But man, down the straights they.are.beastly. Again, who knows how much HP they had, but the two I saw screaming down the straights made other cars look like they were standing still.


Final thoughts:

Very happy I got to experience the M3 on the track. On the streets itís all about the engine. From a 0-60 perspective the M3 is pretty good. On the track itís about the complete package, chassis/suspension/brakes/engine/transmission. On that front I found the M3 to be quite spectacular.
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      12-16-2013, 09:19 PM   #2
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This car is so much fun to drive on the track. I'm glad you had a good time!
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      12-17-2013, 02:23 PM   #3
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Tracking

Reading your post takes me back 2.5 years ago when someone first introduce me to the world of tracking "huge smile in my face" Since then I've never look at my M3 the same way. Oh, and modding for the track. Lol that's for another thread entirely. Believe me from here on forward you will find creative ways to make more $$$ to support this disgustingly expensive habit.
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      12-17-2013, 02:46 PM   #4
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Welcome to crack city!
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      12-17-2013, 07:03 PM   #5
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Nice post. After tracking a E36 M3 for a few years, I will be taking my E90 M3 to the track for the first time early February (Thunder Hill) and look forward to seeing how they differ.

Did you run with MDM and/or Power On?

Were you on stock pads? If so, any fade? That is my only concern for my first track. Since I still have a warranty, I figure if I eat the pads/rotors, BMW can replace them.
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      12-17-2013, 08:21 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ivad32
Nice post. After tracking a E36 M3 for a few years, I will be taking my E90 M3 to the track for the first time early February (Thunder Hill) and look forward to seeing how they differ.

Did you run with MDM and/or Power On?

Were you on stock pads? If so, any fade? That is my only concern for my first track. Since I still have a warranty, I figure if I eat the pads/rotors, BMW can replace them.
Depending on the track and brake zones used yes fade and pad wear for sure.
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      12-17-2013, 08:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacobe92 View Post
Believe me from here on forward you will find creative ways to make more $$$ to support this disgustingly expensive habit.
Yes, my wife has the same suspicion.
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      12-17-2013, 08:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ivad32 View Post
Nice post. After tracking a E36 M3 for a few years, I will be taking my E90 M3 to the track for the first time early February (Thunder Hill) and look forward to seeing how they differ.

Did you run with MDM and/or Power On?

Were you on stock pads? If so, any fade? That is my only concern for my first track. Since I still have a warranty, I figure if I eat the pads/rotors, BMW can replace them.
Ran with traction control on (did not engage euro MDM) and it worked for me as a beginner. It didn't hinder me from learning the line which was my goal.

I ran power on as a preference. Not enough seat time to determine which I like better.

100% stock including pads. No fade, but again I need to learn to trust the brakes and brake later and harder. That said, Willow Springs did not seem like it was that hard on the brakes. Only a few really hard braking zones.

Actually, part of my strategy is to track this car a few times before my factory warranty expires. Not just for free pads, but to get any kinks out of the system early.
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      12-17-2013, 10:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imserious
Quote:
Originally Posted by jacobe92 View Post
Believe me from here on forward you will find creative ways to make more $$$ to support this disgustingly expensive habit.
Yes, my wife has the same suspicion.
Dont need it. Im almost as fast as him now in a stock sedan (just pads, fluid, and track tires) .

Sorry jacobe!!
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      12-18-2013, 01:47 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imserious View Post
Ran with traction control on (did not engage euro MDM) and it worked for me as a beginner. It didn't hinder me from learning the line which was my goal.

I ran power on as a preference. Not enough seat time to determine which I like better.

100% stock including pads. No fade, but again I need to learn to trust the brakes and brake later and harder. That said, Willow Springs did not seem like it was that hard on the brakes. Only a few really hard braking zones.

Actually, part of my strategy is to track this car a few times before my factory warranty expires. Not just for free pads, but to get any kinks out of the system early.
Sounds like a great first day! As far as the brakes go, I found the stock setup to be pretty brutal with decently heavy breaking. My guess is after another couple weekends after you break later than you thought possible you will feel them. I felt them struggling to keep up and eventually near the end of a run they barely felt there at all. If you don't get too heavy with them they will be ok, but as you get faster and break later just keep it in mind that sometimes they can fade really fast!
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      12-19-2013, 09:13 AM   #11
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Nice write up. Glad you enjoyed it .

You'll get hooked .
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      12-19-2013, 01:12 PM   #12
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First track day

Quote:
Originally Posted by pkim1079
Quote:
Originally Posted by imserious
Quote:
Originally Posted by jacobe92 View Post
Believe me from here on forward you will find creative ways to make more $$$ to support this disgustingly expensive habit.
Yes, my wife has the same suspicion.
Dont need it. Im almost as fast as him now in a stock sedan (just pads, fluid, and track tires) .

Sorry jacobe!!
Yeah, it BLOWS! to be me.lol
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      12-19-2013, 03:36 PM   #13
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Nice write up.
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      12-19-2013, 05:44 PM   #14
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Quick question...did you track on stock 19" wheels? I wanna track my car but don't wanna go through the hassle of getting 18's for my first track day
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      12-19-2013, 06:22 PM   #15
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Quick question...did you track on stock 19" wheels? I wanna track my car but don't wanna go through the hassle of getting 18's for my first track day
wheels are wheels and size makes little to no difference for a first time out. I've been rocking 19's for almost 4 years now and to OP congrats and welcome to the event horizon
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      12-19-2013, 07:47 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacobe92
Quote:
Originally Posted by pkim1079
Quote:
Originally Posted by imserious
Quote:
Originally Posted by jacobe92 View Post
Believe me from here on forward you will find creative ways to make more $$$ to support this disgustingly expensive habit.
Yes, my wife has the same suspicion.
Dont need it. Im almost as fast as him now in a stock sedan (just pads, fluid, and track tires) .

Sorry jacobe!!
Yeah, it BLOWS! to be me.lol
Give me your clubsports as a salvation army donation. You can use it as a tax write off
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      12-19-2013, 11:33 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MuscleDaddi View Post
Quick question...did you track on stock 19" wheels? I wanna track my car but don't wanna go through the hassle of getting 18's for my first track day
Stock ZCP 19s and oem tires. No problem for the first time out. Didn't even use up a significant amount of tire. I think if you build up speed and are not entering corners too hot, you won't burn up too much tire on your first few outings.
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      12-19-2013, 11:40 PM   #18
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Forgot to mention our most favorite topic; DCT vs. 6SPD!

DCT was fantastic, but I did miss knowing my gears by feel. This is the big drawback of DCT for me. Maybe when I get more used to the track, but I didn't have a lot of time to look down and figure out what gear I was in! Sometimes I was in too high a gear coming out of a turn or I downshifted into a near redline situation. I would never do that driving a 6SPD because I would just know what gear I was in, know the car speed and the general RPM range instantly. Now I have to look to remember what gear I'm in. Will have to practice glancing! HUD would be really useful in this regard.
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      12-20-2013, 01:38 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imserious View Post
Stock ZCP 19s and oem tires. No problem for the first time out. Didn't even use up a significant amount of tire. I think if you build up speed and are not entering corners too hot, you won't burn up too much tire on your first few outings.
Quote:
Originally Posted by imserious View Post
Forgot to mention our most favorite topic; DCT vs. 6SPD!

DCT was fantastic, but I did miss knowing my gears by feel. This is the big drawback of DCT for me. Maybe when I get more used to the track, but I didn't have a lot of time to look down and figure out what gear I was in! Sometimes I was in too high a gear coming out of a turn or I downshifted into a near redline situation. I would never do that driving a 6SPD because I would just know what gear I was in, know the car speed and the general RPM range instantly. Now I have to look to remember what gear I'm in. Will have to practice glancing! HUD would be really useful in this regard.

Stock 19s with the conti sports will be fine as you start out. They actually last quite a while if you don't fly into turns with too much speed and make them push.

As far as shifting, I will stay away from the 6MT/DCT debate. But, I think everyone can agree that a proper exhaust system will help. On the track the stock system is impossible to hear which doesn't help at all when you are thinking about shift points, redline etc. The difference for me was night and day. Always keeps you aware! You also get to hear that great V8...
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      12-20-2013, 09:20 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imserious View Post
Stock ZCP 19s and oem tires. No problem for the first time out. Didn't even use up a significant amount of tire. I think if you build up speed and are not entering corners too hot, you won't burn up too much tire on your first few outings.
Glad you had fun. I have a love/hate with Big Willow. If you keep going there, you will know what I mean.

Like you, I run the stock ZCP suspension with ZCP wheels/19" tires. The only issue with running street tires is that they will melt on you on a warm day there (and bad stuff will ensue). You should be ok in the winter.

Also, as you get a little faster, you will significantly wear the outside edge of the front tires (and sometimes the rears as well) and you run the risk of going through new tires in one or two sessions (like I did). More negative camber is the only fix. The stock ZCP suspension does not allow enough neg camber, so front camber plates/track alignment are essential.

Hope to see you out there!
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      12-20-2013, 10:51 AM   #21
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You should downshift a little later in the braking zone so that your rpms will be lower and you wont be over revving. I used to heel toe at the beginning of the braking zone and got the revs pretty high. Now i do it towards the middle or near the end of the braking zone and that will get you to a nice rpm for tracking out. Should be easier with dct.
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      12-20-2013, 11:50 AM   #22
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Quote:
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As far as shifting, I will stay away from the 6MT/DCT debate. But, I think everyone can agree that a proper exhaust system will help. On the track the stock system is impossible to hear which doesn't help at all when you are thinking about shift points, redline etc. The difference for me was night and day. Always keeps you aware! You also get to hear that great V8...
Agreed. I could barely hear my car so I had to look to see RPMs. Exhaust would help.
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