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I do my crosswords in pen
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been spending alot of this winter season reading up on various "track" subsections of different forums, and certain books as well and there is a wealth of quality information out there.

This will be my first year of attending DE's, AutoX's, and full on Track events. I can't begin to tell all of you how excited I am to improve my skills as a driver. Most of the advice I've gotten is not to focus on pushing the car, but rather, pushing myself as a driver, and really getting in sync with the cars ability. Body roll through turns, braking threshold, and other such things.

The question that i'd like to pose for people who've spent some quality time at the track in their e9x's is what is your stance on DTC/DSC while at the track events? I recognize that being my first time out I probably shouldn't go all out with everything off, as I shouldn't be pushing the car that hard anyway, being in Class 1 in all. But once I get a little more "seasoned" I plan on experimenting with the settings. Any advice on what setting has worked best for people? Or rather, which setting would be best for me to explore the limits without worrying about nanny intervening?

Advice is greatly appreciated. Oh and the track I will be frequenting is Heartland Park, out of Topeka, Kansas.
 

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Bimmerdex 7.4!
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Way to go twang, drive it like it was built to be driven!
Leave all your nannys on all the time, don't even think about doing anything with the settings until you've reached Intermediate. Full nanny is NOT going to reduce your lap times (except if it is tricked when you are accelerating very hard out of a rough patch). If the nannys activate you should be looking at adjusting your style, not the settings.
The biggest mistake of most beginners is to try and go faster rather than go smoother. Sure you want to be on the accelerator using that torque, and it's fun to stay at speed until you have to throw out an anchor at the end of a straight, but smoothness on the throttle and the brake will be a good habit to get into. Once it is second nature then you can start getting into the gas sooner, and the brakes later and harder.
I had many years of track experience when an instructor made it all very plain to me. He told me that driving at speed is like a dance, but I was doing a tango when winners do the waltz. I knew right away what he was talking about, and from then on concentrated on smooth moves. It was amazing how fast my car could go when I wasn't flogging it.

Edit, DSC was an aid to me, but it saved my car when an instructor who was used to a Miata almost put us into the Armco at NHMS on a sharp downhill right hander. His reflexes, and DSC got us around the turn. Barely.
 

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DSC/DTC will save you from an expensive repair bill. Turning them off means that when you take a turn too fast or too sharply, you could lose the car and spin. If you're lucky, you'll spin off the track and hope there's nothing there to damage the car. If you're not lucky, you'll spin in front of someone who's not ready for it and collect them. That's could be a disaster.

Your goal should be to drive the car without engaging them. If you can do that, then you are driving well. Once you get better and get some miles under your belt, then you can consider turning them off.

Just my opinion, of course, but that's how I learned car control in HPDE's.
 

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I do my crosswords in pen
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the advice guys, the "smoothness" has been beaten into my head relentlessly by all of the info i've been reading so that is what I plan on focusing on. DSX the dancing analogy seems to be spot on. Honestly, the part i'm most excited about is not just being on the track, but rather having a quality instructor to shape me up around the edges.

I've always considered myself to be a good driver, but after many personal accounts I think I would find myself underwater with the 330i. The things these cars can pull off stock are well above the level of most drivers so I look at it as my responsibility to learn every "nook and cranny" of the cars personality under duress.

Only then will I explore coilovers and swaybar options. From what a friend has told me, while these things do help the car immensly, for a beginner all they do is mask the minute mistakes i'll be making my first season out.
 

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Outside looking in
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1) Nannies on
2) Listen to the instructor
3) If you don't want to listen to your instructor, let him drive the car (he will be at 80% and still scare you), and then listen to the instructor
4) Listen to the instructor
5) After you've finished your session. Ask the instructor for a review of your session (you will be more focused as your are not driving) and listen to him.

A good book to read now is the Skip Barber School "Going Faster" book. It will introduce you to topics that will help you understand what is going on - you will feel it while driving - and help with the learning experience.

EDIT: A good tip I was told was "let the car know what you want to do", i.e. squeeze the brake on with increasing pressure, start turning the wheel slowly at first. If you yank at the controls, the car will yank back at you - and physics work much faster than you can think. You probably won't spin, but you will definitely be slower and unsatisfied.
 

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I do my crosswords in pen
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
1) Nannies on
2) Listen to the instructor
3) If you don't want to listen to your instructor, let him drive the car (he will be at 80% and still scare you), and then listen to the instructor
4) Listen to the instructor
5) After you've finished your session. Ask the instructor for a review of your session (you will be more focused as your are not driving) and listen to him.

A good book to read now is the Skip Barber School "Going Faster" book. It will introduce you to topics that will help you understand what is going on - you will feel it while driving - and help with the learning experience.
The first thing I want to do is take a lap in the passenger seat. I haven't yet experienced an e90 at the limits and I think it would be good to have the experience before putting myself in the drivers seat. It will be a basis for which I will surely feel inadequate, as far as I look at it, it will be "quality motivation".

I will certainly pick up a copy of that book, while we're on it, any other gems in the paperback world that can offer some sage advice?
 

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I would add one other thing. Don't mess with your tires yet. Not driving with max traction is a good thing at first. That way when they let go they will go in a controlled manner and allow you to correct before things get really exciting. I have some top rated track/street tires which grip like Velcro, but when they let got they are gone. You want to wait a while before you think you can outdrive your stock tires.
Other than that, if ///M-rated's advice was the only advice you got, it would be all you need.

PS ///M knows more about nannies, and billies, than anyone!
 

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I do my crosswords in pen
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I would add one other thing. Don't mess with your tires yet. Not driving with max traction is a good thing at first. That way when they let go they will go in a controlled manner and allow you to correct before things get really exciting. I have some top rated track/street tires which grip like Velcro, but when they let got they are gone. You want to wait a while before you think you can outdrive your stock tires.
Other than that, if ///M-rated's advice was the only advice you got, it would be all you need.

PS ///M knows more about nannies, and billies, than anyone!
I've heard that regular street tires will chatter at the limits, while slicks are silent, is that true?
 

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Rest in peace, Coach
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Nobody is going to be able to tell you what you should do on track from the internet. Trust me. I've tried. It doesn't work.

The only person that will be able to tell you whether or not you should turn off your DSC/DTC is going to be the dude or dudette sitting in your passenger seat instructing you in the fine-art of driving.
 

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I would add one other thing. Don't mess with your tires yet. Not driving with max traction is a good thing at first. That way when they let go they will go in a controlled manner and allow you to correct before things get really exciting. I have some top rated track/street tires which grip like Velcro, but when they let got they are gone. You want to wait a while before you think you can outdrive your stock tires.
Other than that, if ///M-rated's advice was the only advice you got, it would be all you need.

PS ///M knows more about nannies, and billies, than anyone!
Awww, DSX, I feel all squidgy inside now.

You are only dead 24.5 times to me now.:thumbup:

Other books: Speed Secrets Series by Ross Bentley - the first driving tips one. it says the same as the Skip B book, but a different style.

You will no doubt get posts about springs, tires and wheels. Each of these will become apparent as you get into it.

I realised I needed new tires when it became apparent I was shredding my street tires. I moved to 200 wear ultra summer tires - Nitto NT05s - that were cheaper than my streets

I realized that I needed track pads when I glazed my rotors (shuddering). I thought it wise to upgrade to higher spec brake fluid at the same time.

The springs I swapped for posing and change in ride feel.

Fortunately, the M3 is well spec'd for the track, so I haven't thought about roll bars etc.

One thing I might recommend would be a CG-lock gadget to lock off your seat belt and hold your torso in the seat more. It lightens your grip on the wheel (you are not hanging on) and you don't need to grip with your knees as much either. This is a "plus", not an essential.
 

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I am all excited today - I just ordered my replacement track wheels (I broke two in Paramus NJ on the way home), a new set of Nitto's, new track pads and an oil change kit.

I am positively giddy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks Hack, and I do see your point. No matter how much I read or am informed, the instructor will be the only one able to truly gauge my abilities behind the wheel, and subsequently offer real improvement advice.
 

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Bimmerdex 7.4!
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I've heard that regular street tires will chatter at the limits, while slicks are silent, is that true?
I haven't run slicks on anything but a drag car back in the 70's so I can't say. I have found that the average street tire with normal tread does a stutter skid/grip sequence which happens in very small and rapid increments. It screams to anyone listening that you might want to go easier. My grippier track tires, which also have minimum tread, stick like glue until they don't...
You can play with inflation, staggered sizes and tread compound for years, and then have to change it all when you change tracks.
Although I disagree with The Hack's blanket statement, it is probably true of most all internet advice to an extent, I will agree that the most valuable advice you get will be from your co-pilot.
None of us can tell you how to shoot bullseyes, we can advise you though to not point the gun at anything you don't mean to hit.
There is one thing I'm confident about. I'll bet both you and The Hack that your instructor tells you to leave the nannies on! What say you, Hack? He'll tell you to leave them on for one reason only; if you turn them off at his suggestion and you wreck you are going to be very upset with him.
 

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EDIT: A good tip I was told was "let the car know what you want to do", i.e. squeeze the brake on with increasing pressure, start turning the wheel slowly at first. If you yank at the controls, the car will yank back at you - and physics work much faster than you can think. You probably won't spin, but you will definitely be slower and unsatisfied.
Experientially I learned this is excellent advice no matter if driving on the street or the track. :eek:

@GT Sounds like you are in for a great learning experience. I'm a little bit jealous.
 

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I haven't run slicks on anything but a drag car back in the 70's so I can't say. I have found that the average street tire with normal tread does a stutter skid/grip sequence which happens in very small and rapid increments. It screams to anyone listening that you might want to go easier. My grippier track tires, which also have minimum tread, stick like glue until they don't...
You can play with inflation, staggered sizes and tread compound for years, and then have to change it all when you change tracks.
Although I disagree with The Hack's blanket statement, it is probably true of most all internet advice to an extent, I will agree that the most valuable advice you get will be from your co-pilot.
None of us can tell you how to shoot bullseyes, we can advise you though to not point the gun at anything you don't mean to hit.
There is one thing I'm confident about. I'll bet both you and The Hack that your instructor tells you to leave the nannies on! What say you, Hack? He'll tell you to leave them on for one reason only; if you turn them off at his suggestion and you wreck you are going to be very upset with him.
Slicks give a huge amount of grip but give but it is not as obvious when they are about to break loose as with treaded tires and it takes some experience to keep them balanced on the edge of grip. Treaded tires give a lot more warning before they break loose and I would strongly recommend a lot of experiece with treaded tires before going to slicks.

CA
 

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The first thing I want to do is take a lap in the passenger seat. I haven't yet experienced an e90 at the limits and I think it would be good to have the experience before putting myself in the drivers seat. It will be a basis for which I will surely feel inadequate, as far as I look at it, it will be "quality motivation".
I believe you got it wrong and didn't exactly understand ///M-rated. My wife did just that (two hot laps with instructor as the first thing) and ... refused to even think about driving that weekend. You WILL be scared sh*tless, save bravado and accept it. I know I would be and have no problem admitting it.

That said, I believe most HPDE do first session for beginners group on a track behind pace-car. Do that, listen to the instructor and speed up bit by bit. Don't do everything at once as experience is a bit overwhelming. For example, one session (25 min usually) concentrate only on braking point and brake force, next session only on smooth exit without lighting up the dash like Xmas tree, and so on.

Think of DCT/DSC as the BEST training tool that is available to you. I use it regularly on my drives on deserted twisties in the boonies - the goal is to get most speed though the corner and out without the intervention form the nannies.

My 2 cents.
 

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After the first couple of rides with a pro I found that I was not scared at all. They are in such contol of the car and so smooth that you are not even aware of the speed. Frankly I find riding around Manhattan with a NYC Cabbie at the wheel much scarier.

CA
 

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Rest in peace, Coach
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I haven't run slicks on anything but a drag car back in the 70's so I can't say. I have found that the average street tire with normal tread does a stutter skid/grip sequence which happens in very small and rapid increments. It screams to anyone listening that you might want to go easier. My grippier track tires, which also have minimum tread, stick like glue until they don't...
You can play with inflation, staggered sizes and tread compound for years, and then have to change it all when you change tracks.
Although I disagree with The Hack's blanket statement, it is probably true of most all internet advice to an extent, I will agree that the most valuable advice you get will be from your co-pilot.
None of us can tell you how to shoot bullseyes, we can advise you though to not point the gun at anything you don't mean to hit.
There is one thing I'm confident about. I'll bet both you and The Hack that your instructor tells you to leave the nannies on! What say you, Hack? He'll tell you to leave them on for one reason only; if you turn them off at his suggestion and you wreck you are going to be very upset with him.
I've had a wide range of experience with students.

For example, I was once tossed into a car where a "student" had signed up last minute. My tent leader gave me a wink and said "enjoy the ride." I had no idea who the student was. I drove the first 4 laps of orientation, gave him pointers about the track layout while enjoying his DCT equipped E92 M3. All the while the student was fairly quiet. I had an inkling that this guy knew what he's doing though, since in a few of the right hand turns I looked over and he's looking out the window same as me. We swapped seats, and I noticed the first thing he did was turn off traction control/DSC. Fine, I'll discretely turn it back one when he's not looking (I've done that before). Half way through his outlap I knew this isn't a student. By the end of the first lap I had given him maybe 2 tips about a couple of the trickier corners. By the end of the third lap he was doing things with that pig of a car that no man had the right to on street tires.

We pull in at the end of the session and I promptly told him to go solo for the rest of the weekend, and that if he needed any help to stop by the tent. He smiled, thanked me for my help and went about his business. I turned around and asked my tent leader who that was.

Turns out he's been club racing for years, was the Nat'l champion in his class or the runner up for like 5 years straight. He was racing that weekend for the first time at that track and signed up as a student to get additional track time to get himself familiarized with the track and its little intricacies. I knew right off the bat that asking him to leave his DSC on would have been an absolute waste of his and my time.

I also had a real first timer with some strange knack for Motorsports. He was hitting all his marks, was silky smooth with his hands and feet, and most importantly, was looking way ahead of what a typical first timer, or even some of the more advanced students I had, would be looking at. I was so comfortable with him that I suggested that we turn off DSC by the third session. He was at first a little hesitant until I pointed out to him that all day the DSC light has not come on once and we're still by a very wide margin the fastest car in the group. Dude spend the rest of the weekend not so much as putting half of a tire off of mark and had a ball.

In high performance driving, DSC is a double edged sword. It'll keep inexperienced and unskillful drivers from doing something outrageously stupid that it'll put them in harms way, but it also will hinder the learning curve since it will correct your mistakes for you. That's why, depending on my mood and who the driver is, you will always get a different answer if you ask me if one should turn off traction control/DSC. And the fact is, DSC is also a mighty learning tool despite its double edged nature.

So the best and the only advice I will give, is to let your instructor determine if you're ready to take the training wheels off. MY criteria for allowing students to turn it off, is first you MUST demonstrate good car control skills. Second you must have all the basics of high performance driving down. Third you absolutely have to show me that you understand and respect the dangers of this particular sport to not put ME in danger. At that point, if you want to explore the limits past DSC, I'd be happy to sign you off. :D

On the topics of street tires vs. R-Comps, the big difference is how they communicate. Street tires communicate to you via sounds. R-Comps communicate to you via sensations in the seat of your pants and small vibrations through the steering wheel. It's a myth that R-Comps don't give you any indication that they're about to lose it. They do. They just communicate that fact to you in a very subtle way. And the time between them telling you that they've had just about enough of your abuse to them actually walking out that traction door is a hell of a lot shorter.

I can't leave this topic without one of my famous sh*tty analogies. Street tires are like well adjusted, self-respecting women. They won't take much crap from you, and they'll make a lot of noise and give you plenty of warning of the impending doom of the relationship. But they don't take abuse. R-Comps are like co-dependent chicks. They'll take a ton of abuse, never complain much, but all the warning signs are there, and if you get over confident and ignore the warning signs, one day you'll find yourself shot in the head, chopped up into little pieces and fed to the neighbor's dog.

That or throw a big piece of rock on your convertible BMW that you guys used to make out on after you tore up her expensive bag. At a freakin' Bon Jovi concert.
 

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Bimmerdex 7.4!
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[snip] R-Comps are like co-dependent chicks. They'll take a ton of abuse, never complain much, but all the warning signs are there, and if you get over confident and ignore the warning signs, one day you'll find yourself shot in the head, chopped up into little pieces and fed to the neighbor's dog.
That or throw a big piece of rock on your convertible BMW that you guys used to make out on after you tore up her expensive bag. At a freakin' Bon Jovi concert.
Sounds like the perfect opportunity to segue into what we're best at, relationships. Hack, you must have dated some interesting women.
 

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Rest in peace, Coach
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Sounds like the perfect opportunity to segue into what we're best at, relationships. Hack, you must have dated some interesting women.
Well, the ORIGINAL version of the post was "to find your johnson snipped off and tossed in a field for dogs to find after a night of binge drinking" only to realize that it's TOO realistic. :dunno:
 
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