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Performance Center Delivery
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  #1  
Old 08-08-2013, 08:14 PM
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DDGator DDGator is offline
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One-Day M-School Review

Earlier this week I attended a One Day M-School. You don’t see too many reviews of the one-day school, so I thought I would chime in for those thinking about taking the plunge…

First – thanks again to Jonathan Stribble at the Performance Center. I won the school in a drawing he held to benefit the American Cancer Society and his Relay for Life team. Thanks Jonathan!

The One Day M-School does not include any accommodations, but we opted to stay at the Greenville Marriott. I had already stayed there when I did my PCD, so it was a known quantity. By asking for the BMW corporate rate, I got a good price on the room, free wireless internet, a free hot breakfast buffet each morning, and a free drink ticket for each evening! Our stay at the Marriott was very pleasant, just as before.

The Day

School starts promptly at 8:30 with about 45 minutes of classroom time. The lead instructor (Derek Leonard for us) covers the plans for the day and begins the instruction on the theory and the physics behind car control. He covers a lot of material very quickly. I took notes!

After a quick break we adjourn to the paddock to start driving. The class of 15 students is divided up into 3 groups of 5 that rotate through the three morning driving exercises. There is no sharing cars at M-School—everybody drives their own.

Our group started with the M5! Woo hoo! First up is the high speed cornering exercise on a 90-degree left hand turn. One of the instructors walks you through the proper techniques in detail, and then you get to do it a bunch of times while the instructor stands at the corner and coaches you up.

Then we went back to swap cars—to the M6! Now we are practicing the handling course—a slalom, a sweeping turn, a hairpin turn, a switchback, and a decreasing radius turn. First you follow the instructor though the course, learning the proper lines for each corner. Then you are off to see what you can do! Speeds max at about 60mph or so, but there is a lot of braking—hard! You learn to be judicious with the throttle on this 560hp beast or you wind up spinning it out. Don’t ask how I know…

Another car swap and we are driving the M3! Now it is out to the circular skid pad to practice correcting for oversteer and understeer. This is done with DSC off on a wet concrete skid pad, so there is lots of sliding around. Once you get the hang of catching oversteer, you are encouraged to start applying some throttle during the slide to drift the car around the pad. Awesome!

Finally it is time to catch your breath and eat some lunch. There is a special cold buffet set up for the M-School students. The lunch was fine, but I couldn’t eat a lot anyway. I was still too hyped up from the day’s activities!

After lunch we spend a few minutes in the classroom for some new material, then it’s off to the cars again.

For my group, we go back to the M5 for the handling course—but this time we are doing a single timed lap to see who is the fastest driver. It is the same course as the morning, but with a couple changes. You need a good launch across the start line—which starts the clock. Then you have to race to the finish line to stop the clock, but still stop the massive M5 inside the borders of a small box about 1.5 car lengths long. So each lap starts with a tire-spinning launch and ends with a tire smoking ABS stop. Too cool! Lap times ranged from about 23 to 26 seconds.

Next we switch to the M6 for the “Rat Race.” You face off against another student on the oval skid pad. The cars start 180 degrees apart and try to catch each other (or at least get ahead). Spin out and you are done…which isn’t too hard since the pad is wet and DSC is turned off. This goes down as a single elimination match with one winner at the end. We had a little extra time, so Donne also taught us how to do a “boot legger’s turn” where you back the M6 up at speed and then spin it 180 degrees to go the other direction. I always wanted to do that!

Finally it is back to the M3 for the long course laps. These laps use a good portion of the track and put all the skills together. The best part may be the long, straight back-stretch that allows you to get the M3 up to 100mph before you have to stand on the brakes to make the hard left at the end. What a rush!

The last event of the day is an extended hot lap with one of the instructors in the M3. This is a great way to remind you that you still have lots left to learn if you want to drive like these guys.

After that you go back to the classroom for some de-briefing, and the winners of the two competitive exercises are announced. You also pick up some swag—an M-School T-Shirt (XL only) and the coveted M-School black BMW hat!


The Cars

Just a few comments on the cars… I had never driven an M-car before.

The M5 is probably my favorite. Even with it’s size, the car is very nimble and one hell of a lot of fun. 560 horsepower is just crazy fun, and it’s nearly impossible to drive it hard without spinning the tires and burning up some rubber!

The M6 is amazing. Same motor as the M5, but in a car that is a little smaller, a little lighter, and the little lower. The handling is even better than the M5, and is probably the best all-around performer of the three—and also the most expensive.

The M3 is the cheapest car of the bunch, but still amazing. The M3 feels small compared to the others, which makes it easy to throw around. I really liked this car too—although I missed having the heads up display of the M5 and M6. Maybe on the new M4?

All of the cars had DCT, which I had never used before. One of the instructors called it the best transmission in any car, anywhere—and I believe it. The shifts were hard and fast. This really is a manual transmission, just without a clutch. You can easily break the wheels loose on hard gear changes.

When running the long lap course we had plenty of time to work the DCT with lots of up-shifts and down-shifts. It took me a little time to get the hang of the DCT, especially in the M3. The M3 doesn’t display the current gear on the heads up display, so I would occasionally lose track. All in all though—the DCT is fantastic.


In a Nutshell


Do it. I am sure the Two Day M-School is amazing, but don’t discount the One Day M-School for less than half the price. This is a true “bucket list” experience—and one of the most entertaining things I have ever done! Not to mention the day is very educational and has made me a better driver.

I’m working on a video and will post a link in a few days.
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  #2  
Old 08-08-2013, 09:21 PM
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alee alee is offline
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Awesome! I've been really really tempted to do the 2-day school. You're pushing me closer and closer to the edge!
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  #3  
Old 08-08-2013, 09:45 PM
g222leav g222leav is offline
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awesome review....makes me what to go and sign up right now.
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  #4  
Old 08-09-2013, 05:57 AM
JimD1 JimD1 is offline
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The one day seems like a condensed version of the 2 day I did in 2010. The M5 and M6 had the V10 then and the transmission was the single shaft automated manual. I liked the M3 best because of it's size. The M6 was awfully nice, however. The only thing I beat anybody on was a timed exercise on the wet slaom. Sounds like you didn't get to do that. It was figure 8s where you did the rat race. I finally got the hang of it and got to some good times, at least for my sub-group.
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Old 08-19-2013, 12:17 PM
Ucla95 Ucla95 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddgator View Post
don’t discount the one day m-school for less than half the price.
+1
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  #6  
Old 08-20-2013, 06:21 PM
rmichae9 rmichae9 is offline
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Apologies if I am being Capt. Obvious, but do not also forget the BMW CCA discount for driving schools.
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  #7  
Old 08-26-2013, 07:02 AM
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In case you miss the thread in the "General" forum, here is a 5 minute video of the experience:

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...98#post7797398
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  #8  
Old 04-02-2014, 04:54 PM
FairfaxM3 FairfaxM3 is offline
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For those interested in a 1 Day M School, as reviewed in this thread, I reached out to Jonathan and he is, once again, doing his annual fundraising for the American Cancer Society.

He is offering up another chance to win a 1 Day M School. For each $10 donation to the American Cancer Society through Jonathan's site below, he will enter your name into the drawing (which is on Friday, May 23, 2014). He has all the details listed on his Relay for Life page:

http://main.acsevents.org/goto/stribble

Jonathan has done and continues to do great work raising money for the American Cancer Society, and was a great contributor to this forum for many years.

So, if you are able, please support his efforts--it's a great cause, and you have a chance to win a 1 Day M School.

Thanks!
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  #9  
Old 04-03-2014, 05:50 AM
patb23 patb23 is offline
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Great review. I can't wait to do the 2 day M school. I've been wanting to do the M schools since I got my 1st bmw. I recently received a voucher for a free 1 day school which i will be putting towards a 2 day M school later this year.
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  #10  
Old 04-05-2014, 05:16 PM
X5 Tall Guy X5 Tall Guy is offline
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Originally Posted by patb23 View Post
Great review. I can't wait to do the 2 day M school. I've been wanting to do the M schools since I got my 1st bmw. I recently received a voucher for a free 1 day school which i will be putting towards a 2 day M school later this year.
You will have a great time. Just be aware, the experience is addictive! My wife and I started with a one day car control, then a 2 day M school, then a 2 day car control, and we will be doing the VIR advanced M school at the end of this month. Yikes, we're hooked!

Enjoy!
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  #11  
Old 04-06-2014, 09:45 AM
patb23 patb23 is offline
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Originally Posted by X5 Tall Guy View Post
You will have a great time. Just be aware, the experience is addictive! My wife and I started with a one day car control, then a 2 day M school, then a 2 day car control, and we will be doing the VIR advanced M school at the end of this month. Yikes, we're hooked!

Enjoy!
Signed up for the 2 day M school the other day. Going May 16 wknd. Can't wait.
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'11 750Li Dark Graphite Metallic/Oyster and black nappa M Sport pkgGone
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'08 550i Space Gray Metallic/Black M sport pkg. Gone
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  #12  
Old 04-28-2014, 07:29 PM
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I'll be in that same class!
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2014 X3 xDrive35i F25 l AW l BLACK l ALUM l M-SPORT l PREM l TECH l CW l DAP l DHP l AHB l PREM AUDIO

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