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      07-18-2019, 05:07 PM   #1
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Talking A recap on my journey tracking the 1M

It was supposed to be "a quick recap" that turned into a long read...

Given how rare I'm on this forum (different stage of life, stupid busy work, etc), the occasional prompt from other users looking to make use of their M Laptimer data allows me to re-read my post on my first track day at Ridge and I feel it's a good time to recap my journey so far owning the 1M and tracking it

While I sign the papers and made a one time payment for this back in July 2014, it took one agonizing month to have it shipping from East coast out West by train. My first track day in June 2015 went with a hitch, and subsequently, I managed to visit the Ridge a grand total of 6 times, with the most recent being this past June. While I'm more comfortable driving without TC, I'm getting far less comfortable with a squared setup (265/35R18) which may or may not be fixable strictly with alignment. My best time at the Ridge was a 2:03.xx still on staggered, as my squared setup never got me faster than 2:06 that was practically running on fumes. First time out with the squared setup was scary, and resulted in 2 spins - 1 in Turn 3 just nudging the tire wall, the 2nd one at Turn 10 was practically a full send backwards in the gravel all the way out, scratching both rims on the driver side and front bumpers (which I left as "battle scars"). That was an 18x9.5 setup before I subsequently added spacers in the rear (22mm for all seasons, 12mm for summer which I track with)

Handling problem aside, as I track the 1M more, I start "breaking" it (which is quite a norm when you push a 1M hard) - the coolant bottle cracked (and slow leaked enough to get me right before the border), the charge pipe cracked (not during track day), idle suffered and lead to wholesale changes around the engine - coils, spark plugs, all the O2s and now probably back to coil or plug #2. Also learning that the oil temp can run quite hot vs a Japanese car (manual says 100-150c, when my mechanics tell me you don't want anything close to 130 coming a Japanese car background), but at least never actually overheated (mostly misfires and now seriously considering having a permanent OBD2 dongle logging relevant temps) - I had fellow drivers asking me if I'm overheating, because his 135 can't get too many hot laps before going into limp mode

Living on the north side of the border, I still call the Ridge my home track because the entry fee is somewhat reasonable and big enough to stretch out the engine. VIMC on island is a track with no real straight that I have never been able to fit on my "2 track days a year" schedule, and I managed to try Area 27 once at a good discount when it's hosted by VCMC. I wouldn't mind spending some time at A27 as the drive to and from the track is more interesting (vs I-5 traffic jams, occasional long waits when going the ferry route leaving Shelton) but not having a nailed down setup that I can be comfortable with is kind of bummer. I figure Ridge gives me comfort, while A27 could become the "real home" track once their entry fees become more reasonable on a regular basis

With the 7th track day of my 1M under the belt (and wait-listed for the 8th), I managed to spend more time on improving the video outputs. Yes, I know I should be spending time on improving my driving but in the end, I'm past the age of attempting competitive racing and on a track day, the #1 objective is to come home in one piece, hopefully not lingering issues from beating the car up. Acquiring a 2nd GoPro (Hero 5) definitely made for some excitement in having a "foot cam" or potential other angles - getting hit by the "video bug" puts me in a difficult position of wanting a 3rd cam (like a Session) and knowing that's a heated argument with my wife waiting in the wings. Instead, I will spend some minimal time ("minimal" relatively speaking) to build my own gauge set, or improving my script, or maybe ditch the current setup entirely and just pay for something like RaceChronos Pro / RaceRender / TrackAddict or you name it - it feels like a never ending "game"

This year has been expensive getting my 1M in a better shape (the O2 sensors being the back breaker), but now I ponder about going back to stagger, try an alignment on squared, or get the front roll bar / rear roll bar changed out, or "worse", go get myself something like Ohlins R&T (which is crazy considering a heated argument over a 3rd GoPro). At least my wife haven't try stopping me on going to a 2nd track day - a 3rd one in the year might be pushing my luck (and she's very understanding in a sense that this is my one true hobby as I don't have anything else, albeit quite an expensive one)

Still hoping to match my 2:03 using a squared setup but ponder if I should just ignore the resulting time and have fun out there (too many sub-2 drivers in my group this past June as I have to wave them by, which makes for a sub-optimal track day in terms of fun factor)
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      07-18-2019, 10:40 PM   #2
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Don't worry about your time. And definitely don't worry about the anti roll bars. Alignment is more important. What's yours?

I have a square setup on my 135i and love it. Be careful if you're just starting to drive without stability control and are having all those moments.
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      07-19-2019, 12:35 PM   #3
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Really appreciate your story as I am a regular at VIMC on Vancouver Island and recently purchased my 1M for street, autox and a few lapping days each year. I have done VIMC 4 or 5 times now with my previous car Integra Type R and love it. I am taking the 1M to autox Sunday in Victoria.

With a new car and actual torque it is a whole new learning experience. Many of the faults you mention have been recently replaced on mine (coils, plugs, injectors, charge pipe etc). Only mods on mine are Cobb charge pipe and Vorshlag front camber plates. All new Michelin Pilot Sports, fluids and brakes done. I plan to run with MDM on but do you run with M button on or off?

A local friend has some TE37 18x9.5 +22 square he would sell but interesting to hear about your hair raising spins. Which 265/35/18 tires do you run?

I am in the same situation usually 2 track days per year (have two young kids and a wife who doesn't enjoy being left with them while I enjoy an expensive hobby). I am planning to do VIMC again Sept 29th with Speed Fanatics. Only $400 and I live in Victoria so it is just a 1 hr drive. Perfect.

My local shop VCM Auto has a membership at Area27 and I can join them for just $100. I will likely do that next year and bring the family to Oliver BC for the weekend.

Last edited by touringteg; 07-19-2019 at 12:41 PM..
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      07-19-2019, 03:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by touringteg View Post
With a new car and actual torque it is a whole new learning experience. Many of the faults you mention have been recently replaced on mine (coils, plugs, injectors, charge pipe etc). Only mods on mine are Cobb charge pipe and Vorshlag front camber plates. All new Michelin Pilot Sports, fluids and brakes done. I plan to run with MDM on but do you run with M button on or off?
I ran with "Sports Mode" once (that's what the M button does - aggressive throttle map) but given that I rarely heel-toe, I tend to go without it just so that I don't need fuel mid way. I might try it again. I forgot to mention I have Ground Control camber plates as well

Quote:
Originally Posted by touringteg View Post
A local friend has some TE37 18x9.5 +22 square he would sell but interesting to hear about your hair raising spins. Which 265/35/18 tires do you run?
Michelin PSS on ARC-8 18x9.5 +22 - I think I should have went with my original plan of using spacers on +35 (5mm on front and 10-12mm on rear) - right now the +22 with 265/35 PSS rubs when steering is near the extreme ends

Quote:
Originally Posted by touringteg View Post
I am in the same situation usually 2 track days per year (have two young kids and a wife who doesn't enjoy being left with them while I enjoy an expensive hobby). I am planning to do VIMC again Sept 29th with Speed Fanatics. Only $400 and I live in Victoria so it is just a 1 hr drive. Perfect.

My local shop VCM Auto has a membership at Area27 and I can join them for just $100. I will likely do that next year and bring the family to Oliver BC for the weekend.
From all the reports I heard from VIMC, I feel like I would have needed more handling mods to drive fast, and I'm guessing it might be a "3rd gear" track entirely - let me know how it goes. $100 at Area27 is a steal - most of non-VCMC ones ask for $550 to over $600 which is too rich for my blood
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      07-19-2019, 03:14 PM   #5
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Heel toe is very important on downshifts (unless you have a slipper clutch) or you will destabilize the vehicle.

Rationality test: do you think "handling mods" are anywhere close to holding back someone who has only a handful of trackdays and is just getting used to driving without stability control? Why would you think that, or not think that?

What was your alignment again?
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      07-19-2019, 03:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Wind Breezes View Post
Don't worry about your time. And definitely don't worry about the anti roll bars. Alignment is more important. What's yours?
I would say it's definitely not ideal - it was from the staggered setup which gave it too much relative front grip when switched to square. I still got the staggered tires that I might just run again and see

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Wind Breezes View Post
I have a square setup on my 135i and love it. Be careful if you're just starting to drive without stability control and are having all those moments.
TC wasn't the problem - throttle lift offs were culprit right at the top of the crest. Turn-in is quite crisp but braking at the end of long straight is an issue when the car dives heavily. Lots of learning to drive with a large shift in relative grip forward. Staggered is really safe but I definitely notice the understeer.
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      07-19-2019, 03:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Wind Breezes View Post
Heel toe is very important on downshifts (unless you have a slipper clutch) or you will destabilize the vehicle.

Rationality test: do you think "handling mods" are anywhere close to holding back someone who has only a handful of trackdays and is just getting used to driving without stability control? Why would you think that, or not think that?

What was your alignment again?
I believe is a comfort level thing now - with the staggered setup, I attack the track far more, and hence had a faster time even with the understeer (granted it was only MDM). With TC off I can mostly catch it now (and generally in slower safe corners anyways). The switch from staggered to squared for me was more about tire cost management - the rear will wear out quicker, and generally when that occurs, I'm throwing away the fronts that are perfectly streetable but not good enough for track. PSS is probably not the best for heat cycling but I still haven't figure out how not to run 3 sets of tires if I needed to track and drive on wet or cold grounds on the street
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      07-19-2019, 06:17 PM   #8
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First, figure out your alignment. Negative camber will really give you a lot of grip. Absence of it will really sacrifice grip. The stock car comes with much more negative camber in the rear for stability. You will want to increase negative camber on the front end to increase balance. Only when you have camber dialed in do you want to change sways. For this part you will need mods to balance the camber F/R, unless you reduce rear (not recommended).

Toe is also very important. Toe in adds stability. You want toe in F and R but not too much. You can try toe out alignments for more maneuverability, but not recommended except for slow tracks like autocross.

Now, traction and stability control are two different things. Traction control keeps your wheels spinning up too much when you apply power and stability control tries to keep the car from getting too out of sorts as a result of manhandling, like letting off and turning at high speed. Of course you don't want either aid when learning to drive hard or they will mask what's really going on. As will excessive power and weight like a 1M has.

Letting off especially at high speed puts all your grip in the front and takes it out of the rear and since the car is very responsive at speed there is little room for improper inputs. Try to be gentle with that if you can't do it in a straight line, and increase your speed slowly.
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      07-19-2019, 09:03 PM   #9
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If you find the car tail happy, and already have camber plates to increase front negative camber, consider a larger front sway bar. It will help increase rear grip. I run 0.5 degrees more negative camber up front and have the M3 convertible FSB. It turns in beautifully, and is very well balanced in neutral at the limit on my square set up. Overall I have found the optimal grip and treadwear at -2.7° camber in the front and -2.2° camber in the rear.
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      07-23-2019, 10:27 AM   #10
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Just completed my first autox in my 1M this past Sunday. Stock with 2 deg negative camber in the front.

Turn in and rotation was great. My biggest challenge was learning to handle the surge in torque from the twin turbo. NA is certainly more linear for low speed (2nd gear max) autox that I run locally.

I tried with Sport mode on and MDM and it was way too sensitive and twitchy. Switched to just MDM then traction control off. Much better. It will take a lot more seat time to get used to the car.

I'm on Michelin Pilot Sports (new) and certainly miss the RE71R I used to run. Everyone runs them at our my local autox now as they are cheap and plentiful at Costco (which is only a few minutes from the track). They are too soft for lapping days / HPDE unfortunately. Fun but they won't last.
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      08-01-2019, 05:21 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarJunkie View Post
If you find the car tail happy, and already have camber plates to increase front negative camber, consider a larger front sway bar. It will help increase rear grip. I run 0.5 degrees more negative camber up front and have the M3 convertible FSB. It turns in beautifully, and is very well balanced in neutral at the limit on my square set up. Overall I have found the optimal grip and treadwear at -2.7 camber in the front and -2.2 camber in the rear.
I sent you a PM but just wondering if you think -2.0 deg front camber will be enough to prevent excessive outer tire wear (Michelin Pilot Sport) at track days (HPDE/lapping days). I can adjust mine to -2.99 deg front camber if necessary but -2.0 deg front camber feels great already for street/autox.
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      08-01-2019, 05:33 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by touringteg View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarJunkie View Post
If you find the car tail happy, and already have camber plates to increase front negative camber, consider a larger front sway bar. It will help increase rear grip. I run 0.5 degrees more negative camber up front and have the M3 convertible FSB. It turns in beautifully, and is very well balanced in neutral at the limit on my square set up. Overall I have found the optimal grip and treadwear at -2.7° camber in the front and -2.2° camber in the rear.
I sent you a PM but just wondering if you think -2.0 deg front camber will be enough to prevent excessive outer tire wear (Michelin Pilot Sport) at track days (HPDE/lapping days). I can adjust mine to -2.99 deg front camber if necessary but -2.0 deg front camber feels great already for street/autox.
I think it really depends on goals. If you are using the same tires for both purposes, there needs to be a compromise. I have usually had excessive inner wear even when running a conservative -2.3 front -1.6 rear alignment back when I drive the car a lot more and used dual purpose tires for street and track. Grip was down at the lower camber settings, autocross results suffered and the inner tread blocks wore to cords when there was still tread above the wear bars in the outside so it wasn't even worth it. The car was being daily driven about 8k miles and autocrossed 5-6 times. The daily use clearly prevailed on the treadwear.

I am now using an 18" square setup on my current alignment settings above and have nearly finished off a set of BFG rivals. They are wearing evenly with nearly 100% track and autocross use, no more than 1k street miles. My type 359's are mounted with Michelin PS4S and I fully expect them to wear excessively on the inner blocks, but they will last longer than dual purpose RE71 or Rivals so I don't feel like I am throwing money away.
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      08-01-2019, 08:39 PM   #13
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Thank you so much for the quick response and for sharing your experience. I checked and I currently have -1.95 deg front and -1.71 deg rear.

Clearly I need to leave it at this camber because I do street (annual avg 2k miles), autox (8+ per year) and lapping days (2-3). For track and autox days I will adjust to -2.99 deg front.

I will likely go with a stickier tire like RE71R next time. It would be nice to get two seasons out of them but it is unlikely with the amount I drive. Might have to do set of dedicated square 18s with RE71R.

Last edited by touringteg; 08-02-2019 at 12:23 PM..
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