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      10-20-2012, 09:09 AM   #1
MKE_M3
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Rain, Ecstasy, and a track day comparison...

I just got back from my first track day with the M3. I have done a few others at Road America in my old 335i.

Ride: 2011 e90 M3 with ZCP and few other options, 6MT, no moon roof, no iDrive, etc. I was running HP+ pads and fresh Ate fluid. I have the Pirrelli P-Zero tires

Track: Road America, approx. 4 miles of high speed road course enjoyment. I was in group 2 (second most experienced out of 4)

Rain: At first I was disappointed about the weather, but since I was planning on taking it relatively easy (only 5000 miles, not ready to go off the track yet!!!), I took the rain as an opportunity to focus on my lines and on smoothness. The first session was pretty slow for everyone. I kept the power button off to keep my throttle inputs slow but did the entire event in (M) and sport DSC.

The second session was still wet, but a little better and my confidence was increasing. I had about 3 3/4 clean laps with out getting slowed by any other cars, which on a crowded track day I was really excited about (see Ecstasy, below). Other than a too fast shift into 4 on the main straight that caused my rear end to brake loose (scary as s#!t t at 100+ mph on a wet track), the session was amazing.

The third session was after lunch and the track had mostly dried out. I could now increase my corner speeds about 10+ mph and keep the throttle down until 130 or 140 mph in the two longest straights. They were running the chicane instead of the kink so the straight going into 12 wasn't as fast as 14-1 and 3-5. I also had 2 or 3 clean laps (not getting slowed by slower cars) in the dry session and took it couldn't have been better!

The fourth session was a little wet, but mostly drove like a dry track. No traffic free laps, but but the pace was pretty good and I had a lot of fun.

Ecstasy: The M3 performed flawlessly. The (m) traction setting was fantastic in the wet and gave me confidence while not intruding too much. The linear power delivery and adjustable throttle sensitivity (power = off) allowed me to put the power down much better than the other RWD cars out there.

The clean runs I had on during session 2 and 3 were the closest to driving ecstasy I've ever experienced. It was like a Zen thing. Me, the car, the track. I was able to modulate my corner speeds, going progressively faster, time my braking points better, work on my heal tow shifting. On both the damp and dry, it was pure driving bliss. I felt somehow calm and excited. maybe sums it up.

Track Day Comparison: My previous track experience was in a 335i. The first time with just a tune, the second time with tune, Dinan suspension, Intercooler and secondary oil cooler and Wavetrac LSD. I never had a totally dry track, so I can't really say which was faster, for sure, on the track. But I can absolutely say the M3 was better on the track. What I mean by this is two things.

First, the M3 was more neutral and much more confidence inspiring. The chassis is more solid, and this can be felt through more predictable tracking, more accurate steering, and more control at or past the limits. This allowed me to consistently get passed higher capability cars that were not driven as well or where the driver didn't have the confidence to take the corners as fast.

Second, the power delivery on track is where this V8 really shines. Having a linear power delivery allowed me to put the power down much better than much higher power cars that were out there. There was even a guy with the 600HP ESS Supercharged M3 who I don't think was getting any higher speeds in the straights than me. The feeling of pulling to 8400rpm in third gear is something special.

Combined, I was not passed by a single car, and my session was filled with modern vette's, GTR's, and a ton of Porsches. I passed several of those cars throughout the day. What a feeling to be in a practical four door sedan and pass dedicated sports cars with superior power/weight ratios and, theoretically, superior chassis.

I was dissapointed there weren't many e9X M3's there. Maybe four or five. This event is for charity, Drive for Babies, for the March of Dimes. Next year, let's make sure M3 post represents!!!
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      10-20-2012, 04:35 PM   #2
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Nice write up. I'm looking forward to my first track day this Tuesday. Forecast calls for 70% chance of rain. Since its my first track day in a car (done about 6 on my GSXR 600). Can't wait but knowing that I'm going to take it easy in it as well.
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      10-20-2012, 04:43 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dagolfpro View Post
Nice write up. I'm looking forward to my first track day this Tuesday. Forecast calls for 70% chance of rain. Since its my first track day in a car (done about 6 on my GSXR 600). Can't wait but knowing that I'm going to take it easy in it as well.
Dry is definitely less stressful, but the wet will help you learn to be smooth.

I still had an absolute blast, but really didn't like even the slightest corner at 110+ in the wet. I don't think I was even close to losing it, but I know it would be tough to bring it back at that speed in the wet.

Are you running stock pads/brake fluid?
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      10-20-2012, 04:53 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdemetry View Post
Dry is definitely less stressful, but the wet will help you learn to be smooth.

I still had an absolute blast, but really didn't like even the slightest corner at 110+ in the wet. I don't think I was even close to losing it, but I know it would be tough to bring it back at that speed in the wet.

Are you running stock pads/brake fluid?
Yes, stock pads and fluids for this day. Going to see how they work before making changes.
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      10-20-2012, 07:23 PM   #5
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Stay aware of your HP+ pad performance every lap once they reach operating temperature.
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      10-20-2012, 08:37 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Estoril Blue View Post
Stay aware of your HP+ pad performance every lap once they reach operating temperature.
Will do. I know they're not competition pads, but I've done several 20 minute sessions at Road America with zero issues. Generally, there are a number of times when I am coasting due to traffic, so the brakes get some cool down times.
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      10-20-2012, 11:57 PM   #7
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Road America in the rain in a sedan
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      10-21-2012, 06:39 AM   #8
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Road America in the rain in a sedan
I was hoping to meet some more m3post members. Met some nice 335i guys and I ended up parking next to an ESS Supercharged M3 from my local town that I had never seen. It was a black coupe with a black edition super charger w/ M stripes painted on the intake manifold... Absolutely awesome!!
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      10-21-2012, 05:44 PM   #9
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Based on the thread title, I thought this was going to be about pill-popping club kids hitting the track in bad weather.

Glad you had a good time.
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      10-21-2012, 09:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paradocs98 View Post
Based on the thread title, I thought this was going to be about pill-popping club kids hitting the track in bad weather.

Glad you had a good time.
Classic misdirect. I definitely did.
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