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      02-16-2009, 06:30 AM   #1
qship
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BMW advanced driving course

Well last Thusday I did the "beginners" BMW advances driving course at Phillip Island and it was a hoot!

Starts off with brekky (8.30am) and then an hour talk regarding road safety and the objectives of the course. Terms such as oversteeer etc are discussed (boring to you who already are aware, but the course attracts a wide variety of participants).

Then you get into the cars (325i auto) which you share with another person) and practice with the ABS off and the on and the practice 80 kph and 100kph lane changes.

Then comes about 15 laps of the track each (only one passenger threw up!!!) following an M# pace car and then lunch..

Then on to the skid pan and a chance to spin the cars and to see the difference made with the DTC switched on and off.

Then more laps at a quicker rate than the am. Each driver gets about 4 laps behind the pace car, then drops off to the end of the queue (1 pace car and 4 student cars in each group). Topping out at about 190kph at the end of the straight. Faster would be possible if only the instructor would move their bl#$#$% M3 out of the way!

Finally (about 4.30pm) you are taken for 2 laps in the M3 - as passenger damn it - where the instructors can show off. Reached about 235kph and he wasn't trying.

I was impressed with how well the 355i coped with so many laps. The brakes were okay and the tyres felt suprisingly good although you could feel them "going off" at the end of the day.

All in all a very interesting and enjoyable experience. The more experienced driver may find it a tad elementary, but I found it an excellent introduction to understanding how the car will behave in extremis. Now if I can only find $1250 to do the next course where you get to do a gymkana and drive an M3 in the afternoon.......
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      02-16-2009, 08:35 AM   #2
sparoz
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Definitely do that! You'll be amazed how good the M3s are - and how scary when you weren't able to control the M3s power in a slide... But the best part is sitting with Geoff in the M3 at the end... quoting him in the car when smoke was everywhere "we are going sideways but there's not excuse in not hitting the apex".

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      02-16-2009, 05:10 PM   #3
takahashi
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Sound like the same lapping format as most of the prestiage drive day are like. My mate went to a Audi R8 day and it is very similar.

Believe me, you don't want to try to tempt the beast of Philip Island circuit. It will bite you hard if you make a mistake. I found out in a hard way.
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      02-16-2009, 07:44 PM   #4
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im going in May for mine... cant wait... hahah
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      02-17-2009, 02:46 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by takahashi View Post
Believe me, you don't want to try to tempt the beast of Philip Island circuit. It will bite you hard if you make a mistake. I found out in a hard way.
OK I'll bite.... you have to tell now
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      02-17-2009, 03:34 AM   #6
takahashi
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.... where do I start.... I saw first hand when I was chasing a R34 GTR around PI. It was before Lukey Height, he might have lift off or something. And he overcorrected it and spun off. The grass next to the track was like ice that day (or any day I imagine) and his car went striaght to the tyre wall, writen off the car. We were prob doing around 150kmh (mid 4th gear for me...) before the spin.

Then a few session later, I had the back wheel on the dirt coming out of the Southern loop, running too wide. Doing about 130ish kmh at the time. Spun and went all the way across the whole width of the bitumen, across the grass patch and landed in the ditch. The front end came off and damaged an oil cooler, the wheel was bent too. Lucky it was repaired within 3 weeks for the nationals the following month. Still drive the same as I had one of the best lap time I had at Winton. So no real damage.
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      02-18-2009, 03:56 AM   #7
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Hmmm, I'd have safely said Phillip Island is one of the safest circuits in Australia, simply because you have to go out of your way to actually hit anything, or be punted off by someone (during only racing of course).

I'd say both those accidents described were due to inexperience in car control, especially if the track was dry. The first one was due to inappropriate throttle control, and then inability to correct oversteer. In your accident takahashi if you know you're going to run wide, your immediate decision must be to commit to continue running wide and most likely on the grass there, which should have kept the rear in check.

The problem with Sandown and Winton at some points, is that to avoid whacking walls, if you end up running wide your first instinct must be to bring the car back on track ASAP otherwise you'll hit a wall. IMO that's a bad habit to gain cause if the car had enough left in it to come back in line, you weren't going fast enough to begin with (if 10/10 speed is your thing).

So I guess if you drive any circuit beyond you or your car's ability you'll get into strife. The higher speeds of Phillip Island just expose you to the highest circuit standards in which bad habits at the higher speeds clearly make shine.
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      02-18-2009, 04:22 AM   #8
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Well I know I am not a very good driver. But I guess at the heat of the time any mistake can happen and higher the speed, the more damage there is. The problem with Philip island is, although it is pretty safe, there are a lot of ditch to damage the car. Some of the most spectacular crashes you can see are mostly from Philip island though.

I still remember that incident with R34 and I have heard about the guy went wide and did the same thing like me coming out of the final straight - you are going 10/10 and the right rear wheel going on the dirt - then you are gone! He slide at around 180kmh into the wall. The whole S2k is gone... he never returns although he is one of the fastest Honda driver we have seen.

Although I don't like the management a single bit, but the layout of Winton make is easier for me to go hard. Think of it mate, the only care you need to take is the S bend and the first 2 right hander. The rest of the circuit you can slide whatever you like and it is pretty hard to damage your car... even the sweeper now, somehow it has become very flat. Of course you can potentially roll your car there and I have seen it.

In the 4 year I have been tracking, the only accident I have since at Winton is at the S bend.

Yes I have seen all the accident in lots of corner at Sandown and PI.

Bottom line: If you are shit, you will crash anywhere; on the other hand, you ain't a racer if you have not crashed on the race track... right?

That is why I don't really keen on going all out - been there done that and I got nothing to prove about my speed.
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      02-18-2009, 04:28 AM   #9
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By the way, back to the topic,

is there any BMW course specificly for car control at the edge. Like in drifting...

I feel like very much wanting go back to race school this year.
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