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      01-23-2013, 08:19 AM   #1
dmw16
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How Many Track Days Before...

How many track days/events did you guys participate in before you started modding to support said habit? Items such as suspension, brakes, track tires, etc? And what did you do first?

I'm just trying to figure out how many track days I can attend before I need to start budgeting it offsetting offerings to my better half
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      01-23-2013, 08:51 AM   #2
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Each person is different, and it really comes down to your skill level and how comfortable you feel in the car. If you are smooth and push the car hard, you'll want mods sooner than later. If you feel like you can do more, just not sure how to advance your skills without help, then you're not there yet. Bottom line is if you do track days more than 3 times a year and you are even moderately aggressive, you'll at least want extra tires and wheels. After you do 2 track days and your $350/ea PS2s are gone, you can easily justify the costs! Get a square setup from apex. You can't go wrong for the price and they can tell you exactly what size tires and wheels you can run with your suspension setup. Plus, they're very inexpensive for a pretty nice wheel. Then camber plates to preserve the precious tires, and the list goes on I'm afraid.
Glad to hear you're enjoying your M3 the way that it was intended, and not drag racing!
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      01-23-2013, 09:06 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bmw135er View Post
Each person is different, and it really comes down to your skill level and how comfortable you feel in the car. If you are smooth and push the car hard, you'll want mods sooner than later. If you feel like you can do more, just not sure how to advance your skills without help, then you're not there yet. Bottom line is if you do track days more than 3 times a year and you are even moderately aggressive, you'll at least want extra tires and wheels. After you do 2 track days and your $350/ea PS2s are gone, you can easily justify the costs! Get a square setup from apex. You can't go wrong for the price and they can tell you exactly what size tires and wheels you can run with your suspension setup. Plus, they're very inexpensive for a pretty nice wheel. Then camber plates to preserve the precious tires, and the list goes on I'm afraid.
Glad to hear you're enjoying your M3 the way that it was intended, and not drag racing!
April will be my first track trip (3 days @ Summit) and then I have 2 more days booked in June (@ NJMP) and then planning on 2 more days (@ Summit) in August.

My street wheels are due for new rear tires (Super Sports) so I had planned on using those for this season and I am hoping they last the 7 days I was planning and then over next winter I'd get a square setup from Apex and a set of track tires (probably dry weather slicks and use my streets in the wet).

I will already be buying track pads and such, but had hoped my suspension as it stands would get me thru the first summer - it's Billstein HD's with Eibach Sport Springs. Basically the matched set Billstein is offering but pieced together before they started offering it.

And yeah, you don't have to worry about me drag racing. I got that out of my system in college with a Pontiac. I've seen the light
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      01-23-2013, 01:25 PM   #4
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Haha that's good! Too many of those guys around here IMO.
7 track days? Your streets don't stand a chance. I tried to convince a friend of mine with a 1M to buy slicks. 2 track days with his new PSS and they were unsafe for another track day.... They will go quick if you drive hard. If you want to prolong their life, grab a set of camber plates and you'll be better off. The closer you can get to -3-3.5, the longer the outer shoulder will last. Plus you'll get rid of the majority of understeer at the same time.
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      01-23-2013, 01:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bmw135er View Post
Haha that's good! Too many of those guys around here IMO.
7 track days? Your streets don't stand a chance. I tried to convince a friend of mine with a 1M to buy slicks. 2 track days with his new PSS and they were unsafe for another track day.... They will go quick if you drive hard. If you want to prolong their life, grab a set of camber plates and you'll be better off. The closer you can get to -3-3.5, the longer the outer shoulder will last. Plus you'll get rid of the majority of understeer at the same time.
Ugh. I was trying to do some research and figure how long I could expect them to last and I was worried this might be the case.

These will be my first 3 track events, does that help? Or will I still be out of tire before I get to my 3rd one?
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      01-23-2013, 02:44 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmw16 View Post
Ugh. I was trying to do some research and figure how long I could expect them to last and I was worried this might be the case.

These will be my first 3 track events, does that help? Or will I still be out of tire before I get to my 3rd one?

Jefferson Circuit does not stress brakes or tires much at all. It is a low-demand track for two days. One day on Summit Main should be fine. You'll be figuring out the track and the only hard braking corners are 1 and sometimes 5. That gives your pads a fair rest. Check your pads between sessions (which you should be doing anyway) and aim for technique, vision and learning your turn geometry, turn-in and track-out points - not speed.

Always be aware of what your pads and tires are doing. Those three days will give you a good sense of pad wear. If you have concerns - discuss them with your Instructor. That is what he/she is there for.

I will be there at least on Monday (Main) - and possibly all three days. If you want to discuss anything - look me up.
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      01-23-2013, 02:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmw16 View Post
How many track days/events did you guys participate in before you started modding to support said habit? Items such as suspension, brakes, track tires, etc? And what did you do first?

I'm just trying to figure out how many track days I can attend before I need to start budgeting it offsetting offerings to my better half
I'm assuming this will be your first experience with hitting the track (road course). It's educational and a blast! Initial money spent on the car and you should be for safety enhancements. Keep in mind that our cars are pretty competent on the track right out of the box, at least compared to the vast majority of other cars on the market. First, make sure you have a current Snell-rated, high-quality helmet. As they say, if you have a $100 head, buy a $100 helmet. Otherwise bite the bullet and spend the money on a quality helmet.

Other safety considerations, as you alluded to, are brakes and tires. Upgraded brake pads and high-temp brake fluid such as Ate Super Blue at the least, and preferably something like Motul, are a very good idea. Stainless steel brake lines are also helpful for maintaining good pedal response. As for tires, forget slicks or R-compounds for now if this is your first track season. R-comps typically don't communicate very well and have sudden breakaway characteristics, things you don't want when you're still learning. They can likely hold back your learning at this point. True that you don't want to use your expensive Michelin Super Sports, either, because they'll just get chewed up and start chunking, and you'll need more life in them than your current rears. So a good starter track tire would be something like the Hankook Ventus RS3 or Dunlop Direzza Star Spec, both of which should be stickier than the street Michelins, last longer on track, and yet still squeal/communicate when they start to slide, and break away gradually when they do slide.

If your car is the 2005 E46 in your signature, then camber plates would likely be a good idea at some point. Apparently the E46 chassis needs more negative camber up front than the current E90/92 in order to keep the tires square to the road under hard cornering. As said above, a lot of E46 guys run up to -3 or -3.5 camber up front for track duty, whereas the E90/92 seems to be happy at -2 or -2.5. Make sure the camber plates are easily adjustable so you can go back to a less aggressive setting on the street--otherwise you'll chew up the inside tread of your front tires quickly when on the street.

Engine/power upgrades should be the last mod for track duty. Chassis/braking/safety is much more important and will make you faster, more confident, and more secure. Remember that a pro-level driver can drive circles around us in our cars with absolutely no mods--these cars are much more capable than we are.

Lastly, consider specialty track insurance. Most auto insurance carriers do not cover track day damage, even though it's technically an educational/HPDE event. If your car has a lot of value, or you're not willing to just write it off if you hit a wall, seriously consider spending the $300 or so per event for insurance. Kind of expensive, but worth the peace of mind IMO.

Have fun. Maybe I'll see you at NJMP. It's a top-quality, great facility. I get there a few times a year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bmw135er View Post
Glad to hear you're enjoying your M3 the way that it was intended, and not drag racing!
Amen, brother!
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      01-23-2013, 03:05 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the great info so far. I have no intention of making power mods to the car probably ever. At some point I'd love to get a new suspension (Motion Control w/ Hypercoil springs or similar) and a BBK, but both of those are off a ways and a lot more than my skills will need for a while I'm sure.

So far I have bought:
* SA2010 Helmet (HJC SA-12)
* New pads (PFC 01)
* New Fluid (Motul 600)

Now I am wondering if I should
1. Buy chamber plates and get those installed before I even start?
2. Replace the rear tires on my car because they are nearly worn and use my street wheels OR just bite the bullet and get a square 18" setup?
3. Buy my wife some flowers to arrive the day said parts arrive?
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      01-23-2013, 03:28 PM   #9
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I did 4 track days (2 weekends) and decided to get a set of track wheels/tires, better brake pads and increased camber. I went through the
PS2's quickly (outer edges) and stock brake pads started fading and chunking.
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      01-23-2013, 03:36 PM   #10
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I'm really getting the sense that I might be better off just getting track wheels and being done with it. And chamber plates too.

Are the street chamber plates sufficient? Turner makes what looks like a very nice set that is designated "street". Or should I get the spherical race style? I don't daily drive my M3.
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      01-23-2013, 04:43 PM   #11
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Stock works for a while. Spend the money on track days to learn how to drive.

1. Clutch stop and ZCP shifter if you have a 6mt (easier to heel-toe)
2. SRF brake fluid flush
3. A set of track tires and wheels first (Street Tires no r-comps for a while so that you can learn to drive). Biggest mistake I see is someone rushing to R-comps. Keep in mind the moment you move to rcomps, the brakes will overheat and the suspension will sway (due to the increased traction from the tires)

4. Upgrade front brake pads (before a BBK)
5. Clutch stop and ZCP shifter if you have a 6mt (easier to heel-toe)
6. Front BBK if you start cooking the front brakes
7. Camber plates (saves your tires)
8. Full Suspension Swap

Stay away from power upgrades initially.
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      01-23-2013, 04:56 PM   #12
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I believe the recommended approach to the notorious "track day/domestic finance committee paradox" is to buy big, buy early and buy covertly. Think of the Iran-Contra scandal...get caught after you have completed your mission.

There are three possible outcomes:
1) Your are in Utopia (most unlikely).Your wife sees how much fun you had at the track and does not mind the expense because she will do anything to make you happy.

2) You are in a world of hurt. During this time you will realize that, on balance, buying gear and doing track days was totally worth whatever the consequences

3) You are in a world of poverty. The wife decides she needs those shoes, coats, dresses etc she has always wanted. You, however, have some cool wheels, great tires and awesome brake pads at your disposal for the next time/ next pay check. This will also be worth it

Basically, you cannot lose.
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      01-23-2013, 06:00 PM   #13
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Thanks all for the help.

I think I'm going to stick with the PSS'sfor now.

However I think I'll buy chamber plates now and beg forgiveness later.

I figure even in nearly stock form (billstein struts and eibach springs are only mod) the car is way faster than me.
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      01-23-2013, 08:11 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JetFalcon View Post
I want to take my dad's M3 to the track, but he's against it. He see's that as being dangerous while really I am trying to be safer by doing performance driving on the track instead of the public road.

I'm not wreckless and I'm not going to do anything bad to the car like drifting, burning out, etc.

If all I do is maybe do some cone courses or drive like 80-120 mph on straightaways, should the car be fine? Because actually enjoying an M3 on public road probably means wreckless driving and cops on my ass.

I wish we had an autobahn in USA. The speed laws suck in USA because some roads are so open that cars can easily got 80-100 mph but they rather you not.


I don't even know where to start...
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      01-23-2013, 08:51 PM   #15
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As others have stated, start slow and smooth. I'm glad others know your tracks as well, that's great input.
Camber plates are always a good purchase. Look into vorshlag and ground control as well. They are great products, and you may want to stick to a street plate to cut down on noise when you do street drive. It's usually not too bad, but why make the car louder than it needs to be?
Speed comes with smooth turns and transitions from gas to braking to turn in. Definitely listen to your instructors, and never feel pressured to go faster than you want before you are ready. It's easier to learn good/safe habits early, than to break them later. Also focus on turn in points and track out points and looking through the corner as others have stated. Smooth lines = fast times. If your passengers ever feel disoriented when they get out of the car, or have motion sickness, you're probably a little to aggressive. Feeling fast and being fast are usually 2 different distinctions that can be tough to differentiate between. Especially in the novice and intermediate drivers groups.
Welcome to the track junkie world! It's a tough sickness to treat...
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