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      04-07-2008, 04:21 AM   #1
Dan203
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BMWCCA Driving School?

Has anyone here ever been to one of the BMWCCA driving school events? My local chapter is having one in June and I was thinking about going. I've always wanted to try track racing, but I've been a little scared in the past due to lack of training. This sounds like a good way to learn how to do it right, however I'm concerned about a few things...

1) Is it going to eat up my tires?
2) Do I really need to change the oil and break fluid before and after the event?
3) Is it bad for the car in any other way? (don't plan to do it a lot)
4) Is it worth the roughly $600 it's going to cost me for the 3 day event?

Anything else I should consider or be concerned about?

Dan
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      04-07-2008, 04:48 AM   #2
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Hi Dan,

You will love the car on the track. I took mine to the track this past weekend and there is a short write-up in Autocross/Track section.

http://www.1addicts.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6752

It is the only way to learn to do it right with your own car. No matter how aggressive you drive on the street you will not approach what you can do on the track in a very controlled environment. Fernley in June? You will really want to keep a close eye on your tire temperature and pressure. RFTs - 200F and 40-42 psi hot.
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      04-07-2008, 09:24 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan203 View Post
1) Is it going to eat up my tires?
2) Do I really need to change the oil and break fluid before and after the event?
3) Is it bad for the car in any other way? (don't plan to do it a lot)
4) Is it worth the roughly $600 it's going to cost me for the 3 day event?
bmwcca hpde's are probably the best way to get started with road course driving. no one will push you to do anything more than what you're comfortable with. safety is emphasized, and running your car in the beginner group is pretty darn safe.

i would guess the realistic weekend cost is more like $1000. if you drive the car as God intends you to, you'll use up a set of tires in 6-8 track days, same with the brake pads. your average mpg will be 10-12, so figure at least $100 worth of gas.

plus, you have to have a pre-event inspection, and i would change the break-in oil before hand. your brake fluid should be fine, since the car is quite new.

i think that if you maintain your car well, track driving is not "bad" for a car, but wear and tear is obviously higher than driving around your neighborhood.

is it worth it? the first time i went (with bmwcca, natch), i wasn't even sure if it was fun or not-- so much information to process, trying to learn the course plus driving techniques plus watching mirrors, etc. however, once you start putting it together, and lay down a couple of laps that feel good and fast, there is really nothing like it.

certainly, track driving is safer than many adventurous activities, such as sky diving, rock climbing, kayaking, hiking, surfing, where people die every year.

i think that anyone who enjoys taking an on or offramp a little faster than they are supposed to should do this at least once or twice. take your car stock- learn more that way.:thumbup:
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      04-07-2008, 10:00 AM   #4
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Has anyone here ever been to one of the BMWCCA driving school events?
Yes.

Quote:
I've always wanted to try track racing, but I've been a little scared in the past due to lack of training.
There is no racing in the BMWCCA dricing schools. Not against the stopwatch, not against other people. It's a driving school, not a racing school. You will ride with an instructor in the car who (hopefully) will teach you how to avoid costly mistakes, correct your bad habits and teach you a whole new set of skills.

Quote:
1) Is it going to eat up my tires?
Yes, more than street driving obviously. But you won't be too fast in your first event(s) so it will not be a major issue. On the other hand, not all street tires will fare very well at the track - what tires do you have on the car right now?

Quote:
2) Do I really need to change the oil and break fluid before and after the event?
Oil, depends on mileage. If you still have the original oil in the car, I'd change it before. Change the brake fluid before, as well. If you're doing this, use ATE Blue (or it's non-colored brother ATE 2000), or a similar track/race fluid. It's not expensive (perhaps $20) but it can make a world of difference on track.

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3) Is it bad for the car in any other way? (don't plan to do it a lot)
Not really, unless you crash. That doesn't happen very often, but there is a risk. If you crash, you may have some trouble with your insurance company. Not trying to scare you away - if you listen to the instructor and don't make foolish decisions you'll be fine.

What you have to remember is that YOU are holding the steering wheel, and working the pedals. Anytime you are not comfortable doing something, let the instructor know and he'll take a different approach. And never through caution into the wind, you don't have to prove anything to anybody.

Quote:
4) Is it worth the roughly $600 it's going to cost me for the 3 day event?
Like others have pointed, it will cost more. 2 tanks of gas probably, the impromptu oil/brake fluid change, perhaps overnight accomodations, helmet rental, meals, etc.

Is it worth it? Absolutely, unquestionably, resoundingly 100% YES.

Quote:
Anything else I should consider or be concerned about?
One thing - you don't need to be self-conscious, trying to avoid making a fool of yourself. No matter how good a driver you think you are, you will be among the slowest on track, that will be a reality check and if you're smart about it, you will look upon this as an incredible opportunity to learn. If you do it this way, you'll see your speed "magically" increase over the course of the event, often times dramatically so.

So remember: you are there to learn, you don't care who's faster, you will have unbelievable fun, and you need to go home with the same car and in the same pristine condition as when you went there. :thumbup:
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      04-07-2008, 10:02 AM   #5
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Moving this to the Track / Autocross / Dragstrip / Performance Driving forum.
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      04-07-2008, 12:16 PM   #6
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Thanks guys. I think I'm going to do it. Provided I can put enough miles on the car before June 27th to get out of the break in period. I wont even have the car for 6-8 weeks so it's going to be tight.

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      04-07-2008, 11:24 PM   #7
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Great post ADC. You made me want to go try this! lol
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      04-08-2008, 07:02 AM   #8
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A lot of instructors have told me that women make better students at these events, they make more progress, and emerge with higher skills, because unlike men - who let their egos interfere with learning - the women pay attention. ; -)
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      04-08-2008, 10:03 AM   #9
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A lot of instructors have told me that women make better students at these events, they make more progress, and emerge with higher skills, because unlike men - who let their egos interfere with learning - the women pay attention. ; -)
On the other hand, they end up being slower after awhile, because of the constant need to stop and ask for directions. :wink:
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      04-08-2008, 10:38 AM   #10
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lol ADC!!

One more thing to add... pay attention to other cars around you. You'll only be able to pass in a few places, and your instructor will help you there.

Also, just because there's a Ferrari out there.. it doesn't mean you need to pass it as your goal for the day. The people in your run group will be of similar driving level as you. As for what you're driving, it doesn't matter, as long as you're learning. :smile:
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      04-08-2008, 03:12 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adc View Post
One thing - you don't need to be self-conscious, trying to avoid making a fool of yourself. No matter how good a driver you think you are, you will be among the slowest on track, that will be a reality check and if you're smart about it, you will look upon this as an incredible opportunity to learn. If you do it this way, you'll see your speed "magically" increase over the course of the event, often times dramatically so.

So remember: you are there to learn, you don't care who's faster, you will have unbelievable fun, and you need to go home with the same car and in the same pristine condition as when you went there. :thumbup:
ADC hit it right on the head. I remember how nervous I was at my first school, thinking I would make an absolute fool of myself. The classroom instructor asked all the first-timers to raise their hands and then look around the room at how many other first-timers there were. That made me feel a lot better because I kept thinking I was going to be the only one there that had no idea what I was doing. My guess is, your novice group will have plenty of first-timers as well and they are all thinking the same thing!

You will have an absolute blast and you will walk away a much better driver (and you will probably be hooked for life!). And like ADC said...listen to your instructor and ask questions. It's the best way to learn (plus it shows the instructor you're not holding your breath the entire way around the track!!).
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      04-08-2008, 09:21 PM   #12
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Would you all recommend using a set of track tires and putting them on before starting the event? If so, what tires would be the recommendation?
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      04-08-2008, 09:53 PM   #13
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I'm of the school that firmly believes driving school novices should start on street tires, properly inflated. You will learn better car control, more safely, by going with street tires instead of r-compound tires. If you like the results of the first weekend and expect to repeat the DE experience several times in the next year you might consider a set of extreme performance street tires mounted on an extra set of wheels.
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      04-09-2008, 05:01 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeo View Post
I'm of the school that firmly believes driving school novices should start on street tires, properly inflated. You will learn better car control, more safely, by going with street tires instead of r-compound tires. If you like the results of the first weekend and expect to repeat the DE experience several times in the next year you might consider a set of extreme performance street tires mounted on an extra set of wheels.
I completely agree, that said, if you want to maximize time on the track, keep a close eye on the RFTs. These tires heat up quickly and the pressure rise is greater then normal tires.
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      04-09-2008, 07:39 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeo View Post
I'm of the school that firmly believes driving school novices should start on street tires, properly inflated. You will learn better car control, more safely, by going with street tires instead of r-compound tires. If you like the results of the first weekend and expect to repeat the DE experience several times in the next year you might consider a set of extreme performance street tires mounted on an extra set of wheels.
Amen to that. every time I get into a novice students car and they have a set of brand new Hoosiers on I cringe.
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      04-09-2008, 09:23 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeo View Post
I'm of the school that firmly believes driving school novices should start on street tires, properly inflated. You will learn better car control, more safely, by going with street tires instead of r-compound tires. If you like the results of the first weekend and expect to repeat the DE experience several times in the next year you might consider a set of extreme performance street tires mounted on an extra set of wheels.
+1000 :thumbup:
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      04-09-2008, 10:10 AM   #17
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Excellent posts R32 & ADC...

To the OP, you may want to check out NASA's HPDE/Open Track calendar for events happening near you.

They put together some really great events that are safe, educational, and more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

Afterwards, you'll drive back home a better driver with newfound skills, and a lot less urges to try risky/illegal things on the streets. You'll drive safer on the street and have a better appreciation of the skills you've learned, not to mention knowing your car's handling capabilities in a more intimate way.

Check out this link about HPDE to get more info...

http://www.nasaproracing.com/hpde/index.html
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      04-09-2008, 02:37 PM   #18
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Instructor Session

At our recent high performance driving clinic on Jefferson Circuit, we were encouraged to take students for demonstration laps. Watch those tire temps/pressures. Pictures seem a little odd - Everything seems stretched to me. Car is still very dirty from a wet track day followed by an hour on the wet skid pad.

Now I must apologize to my students the day before for not taking them out on the main course; but, I really wanted to explore the limits and modes on the skid pad before pushing the envelope. I believe this was the only car on RFTs on the circuit during the weekend.

Also, note body roll condition of the C4S compared to the near exact same position the next lap for the 135I. I still say springs before sway bars.
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      04-09-2008, 03:38 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doolab View Post

Afterwards, you'll drive back home a better driver with newfound skills, and a lot less urges to try risky/illegal things on the streets. You'll drive safer on the street and have a better appreciation of the skills you've learned, not to mention knowing your car's handling capabilities in a more intimate way.
Doolab, that's a really good point...I don't know about anybody else but autocross and track days tend to purge my need for speed on the street.

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Also, note body roll condition of the C4S compared to the near exact same position the next lap for the 135I. I still say springs before sway bars.
White911...not to hijack the thread but...how tough was it to get around the C4S? Did the 135 pull it on the straight or did he have to lift to let you go around?
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      04-09-2008, 05:49 PM   #20
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White911...not to hijack the thread but...how tough was it to get around the C4S? Did the 135 pull it on the straight or did he have to lift to let you go around?
Not difficult at all. I had raised my rev limit to 5K. After all, we were playing nice because we had students in the car and that course is very short. It seems, I probably know the track better then he does. Note, for one lap there is not much distance between us. This particular course was designed for students who had never been on a race track before.
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      04-11-2008, 09:04 AM   #21
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Also, note body roll condition of the C4S compared to the near exact same position the next lap for the 135I. I still say springs before sway bars.
Yes those tires are certainly tucked up into the wheel wells, although body roll doesn't seem that bad. Did you happen to check to see if you stayed off the bump stops?
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