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      05-22-2012, 09:47 PM   #59
Brigadier General
JimD's Avatar

Drives: 128i convertible
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Lexington, SC

iTrader: (0)

Autocross is generally inexpensive and pretty safe due to the low speeds. Typical high speed is about 60. When you spin out you wipe out cones. I've had to rub out the impact area but essentially doesn't hurt your car. I do one a year and should take the time to do more. SCAA puts them on around here and only charges a little more for non members than for members. I do one by BMWCCA at the BMW Performance Center. It's a little higher speed than most. I leave my stability control on, however, in the mid mode. So I do not get oversteer practice but I also don't damage my car.

I did a 2 day M school in 2010. It was loads of fun and I highly recommend it. One of the very early exercises was on the wet skidpad with an instructor. First you corrected understeer. Easy and instintive. Just get off the gas. Then came oversteer. We took the cars up around the cornering limit and the instructor yanked the emergency brake. Instant agressive oversteer. If you could catch it without over correcting three times in a row and still had time left you got to try drifting the skidpad. The surface alternates from rough to smooth and I was not noticing the transition. So I never made it all the way around but I had a lot of fun. Something like this is very valuable IMHO.

We did the whole M school - other than the skid pad exercises - in M mode. I got cross wise once on the track but I didn't see anybody spin. I'm not sure you can. It allows a little tire spinning but should prevent most crashes. I do the autocross in the mid-mode of my 128i. It seems about the same. I can squeak the tires but I haven't spun.

I used to do donuts in a parking lot the first snow of the year. But for the last 12 years I've lived where it essentially does not snow. You can hang the rear end out on dry pavement but it is very tough on tires. Stability control must be fully off. A wet parking lot - like on a weekend morning early after a rain - would be an opportunity to do this without tearing up your tires.

I saw a guy put his M-coupe into the guard rail during the bmw autocross. He came up the little hill and went in the opposite direction of the track into the guard rail. He could drive it but did some damage. We had to pop the plastic pieces back semi into position. He had to come up that hill totally out of control (we couldn't see that part).

I do not want to be a flamer but I would find a way to practice oversteer control before I turned the stability control fully off again. I recommend a M School. I would also get insurance for driving schools before turning the stability control off again. I've heard it is not expensive. I wouldn't listen to the flamers. It takes a lot of integrity to admit your mistake so visibly. It shows a lack of integrity to flame.

128i Convertible, MT, Alpine White, Black Top, Taupe Leatherette, Walnut, Sport
Ordered 5/22/09, Completed 6/4/09, At Port 6/9/09, On the Georgia Highway 6/13/09, Ship Arrived Charleston 6/24/09 at 10pm, PCD 7/21/09