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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here are some pictures from ButtonWillow today! Some shots taken by Raffi. Obviously, HACK and I were placed in the same group. :D

One word: WOW! I think I might be addicted to track school now. Had about 4 runs today. 2 of which, I was left alone to drive the course without an instructor! Paddle-shifting felt so much better than I thought! Yes, my Steptronic brought me a lot of joy on the tracks. To make you stick shifters feel better, the cars that overtook me are NSX, Z8 and some E30 M3. No spin-outs, no cone eating. Michelins held up pretty well despite the weather. Brakes and everything else still working well! My car has tons of bugs on the spoiler. But hey! That's the way driving is! :D All in all, excluding instuctor's 4 laps, I had about at least 16 laps. Could be more. Had so much fun that I forgot to count. Suddenly, AutoXs don't seem that exciting anymore....track is!

I will write another review tomorrow. HACK won't be around tonight to surf the forum. Raffi is probably sleeping now already. :thumbup:
Good night all!

This is HACK


And this is ME


Z8 at the tracks!


Ahh...cool guys wear caps!
 

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VinceTopasBlau3 said:
Could be more. Had so much fun that I forgot to count. Suddenly, AutoXs don't seem that exciting anymore....track is!

I feel the same way :thumbup:

Though, I am going to a NIGHT auto-x tomorrow, should be interesing :p
 

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Hey Vince

Glad to see man and machine came out just fine!

That was a Driving Concepts class, right? If I get my hands on a hardtop, I guess I could do those.

It looks like you guys were going counter-clockwise on the course.
 

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VinceTopasBlau3 said:
Here are some pictures from ButtonWillow today! Some shots taken by Raffi. Obviously, HACK and I were placed in the same group. :D

One word: WOW! I think I might be addicted to track school now. Had about 4 runs today. 2 of which, I was left alone to drive the course without an instructor! Paddle-shifting felt so much better than I thought! Yes, my Steptronic brought me a lot of joy on the tracks. To make you stick shifters feel better, the cars that overtook me are NSX, Z8 and some E30 M3. No spin-outs, no cone eating. Michelins held up pretty well despite the weather. Brakes and everything else still working well! My car has tons of bugs on the spoiler. But hey! That's the way driving is! :D All in all, excluding instuctor's 4 laps, I had about at least 16 laps. Could be more. Had so much fun that I forgot to count. Suddenly, AutoXs don't seem that exciting anymore....track is!

I will write another review tomorrow. HACK won't be around tonight to surf the forum. Raffi is probably sleeping now already. :thumbup:
Good night all!

This is HACK


And this is ME


Z8 at the tracks!


Ahh...cool guys wear caps!
Hey Vince,

I am still up at 11:25 p.m.! The drive back was smooth, no officers to spoil the fun and no heavy traffic.

You are completely underestimating the number of laps you had. Each lap lasts about 3 minutes for you, I would estimate, so you had about 8-10 laps per session. HACK and I had 7 sessions, so unless you missed one, that's how many you had too.

Glad you enjoyed the day. You ARE officially hooked :p

Later.
 

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Re: Hey Vince

That looks like way too much fun! :thumbup:

How much does something like that cost?

:dunno:
 

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Re: Hey Vince

scottn2retro said:
Glad to see man and machine came out just fine!

That was a Driving Concepts class, right? If I get my hands on a hardtop, I guess I could do those.

It looks like you guys were going counter-clockwise on the course.
Driving concept does not require the use of a hard top. There was a M Roadster there having a blast as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ok, I am awake now! :D

So, here's my little review:

Left LA about 5:20am and reached ButtonWillow at 6:55am. It is about 130miles north of Los Angeles. I was the first to arrive there. Gave Raffi a quick call, only to find out he just woke up! Well, most of the drivers stayed overnight near ButtonWillow. Only a brave soul like me drove up from LA. :(

Met Hans there with an red E36 M3 (told him about this board too). Hack arrived moments later. Then Raffi and friend, Leonard arrived. All in all, I believe there were 28 participants. The morning began with a brief self introduction and of the track. One of the most important reminders being to stay hydrated. I think Carl gave a rather good analogy of what to do at the track event with constructing a skyscraper. A good foundation is always so important to reach the goal of, well, staying on the penthhouse of the skyscraper. The objective of a driving school is not to test out how fast the car can go (or how much HP, torque), but rather whether the driver has learnt more about performance driving or improved from his/her previous sessions.

We were broken up into 3 groups in the morning. Hack and I were in the 3rd group (newbies) and Raffi, having tons of track experiences, was assigned in the first group.

For newbies, Judy extended our classroom session to the basics of sitting postures, adjusting side mirrors etc, while the first and second groups went for their runs. We did a classroom walk through of the track too.

The first 4 laps were driven by the instructor. Then I had a chance to test out the track for 2 more laps. This would be my first run. Most of which were driven in, ahem, D mode.

The second run took place some 40mins later. Did about, like Raffi said, 10 laps. Still I drove in automatic. Nothing embarressed about that. I needed to get the rhythm going and I needed to pin down the apexes well.

Lunch started at about noon. Nothing heavy like BBQ, just light sandwiches, potato salad and cookies. Carl introduced the instructors too. Here on, the 3 groups were divided into 2 groups. The two groups alternate from 1pm for 30mins each. Newbies or those with 1 track experience were assigned to the second group. We went for another classroom review session at 1pm with Judy. And at 1:30pm, we were dismissed and the firsts to rush to our cars were Hack and I.

For the afternoon runs, I was assigned to Monty (a different instructor). We went on our first run and perhaps he wasn't too keen or something. The next few runs, I was told to drive solo. I am not sure if Carl knew about this, but I thought it was not supposed to be. Anyway, driving alone was kinda thrilling, given that this IS my first event. I drove in M2 most of the time, occasionally shifting to M3 with my paddles of course! For those who care to know, I am so addicted to paddle-shifting now. The main reason being during some of the turns, one could get over-anxious when using the steptronic knob to shift. At times, one could accidentally slap the knob back to D. Trust me, I nearly did. I am not saying it will always happen, but during tracking, anything can happen. Keep your hands to the wheel and shift.

The event ended at about 5:15pm and hours later, I still have this lingering feeling in my mind. When I went to sleep last night, I had a visual imprint of the track in my dreams! :eeps:

Overall, I love tracking now. Thanks to Raffi's support and also Sergio's introduction last year. Tracking is more fun than AutoX. This is where I learnt more about braking and cornering. Often in AutoX, things happen so fast that you tend to be confused. Hence, I think it's great to attend a track event before an AutoX. Anyone care to comment?

As for the car, well, it's one happy-full-of-bugs-track-dirt-and-burnt-out-rubber
BMW. The total mileage to Buttonwillow, laps and back to LA is 399.9miles as shown on my trip meter. :D After 400miles, no clunking, no funny rattlings, no leaking, no error lights. Paddles still working. Suede SMG trim still grips! Car still drives like it was driven out of the dealer almost a year ago. :) And inspite of the track event, I visited Ikea and buy groceries today. This is what BMW is made of and this is what BMW is meant to be.

So when is the next one, Raffi? :D

highlights of the day:

+ Raffi trusted me with his camera. I took 3 pictures only later to find out that there was no film in there!

+ When was the last time anyone seen a Z8 at such an event?

+ I am the only sedan there. ;) Wait, 2 M5s were there.

+ It's good to see in my rear view mirrors that I can hold up a Z8 and E30 M3 behind my arse until I reached the passing zone. When I brake, they brake. When I accelerate, they did too.:lmao:
 

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I can still visualize EVERY SINGLE TURN right now. Pretty damn sweet.

One more thing that I noticed...My car seems to like me a lot better now. After the track event a few of the squeak and rattles seems to have settle themselves out. Car seems to push a lot easier and for some odd reason, the suspension seems a lot more settled in and the tires grippier. Maybe it's just my imagination, but it felt like the car was saying "THANK YOU!!!" as I push it on the tracks and as the Bridgestone S-03s wail underneath me.

Everytime I park the car and walk a way after each session, the car seems to have this giant *ss sh*t eating grin mirroring the one on my face. :)
 

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I guess the lucky underwear paid off;) :thumbup:

Good report, sounds like a great day:D I'll have to get to one myself very soon:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Huh? You meant the brown...no, blue/green stripey one? :D

Yup, I had a great time! Would be awesome to see a wagon on the tracks someday! ;)

PM 325xiT said:
I guess the lucky underwear paid off;) :thumbup:

Good report, sounds like a great day:D I'll have to get to one myself very soon:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Suspension?

Hey, I am actually curious about how the suspension performed. I thought my shocks and springs were a little soft despite being part of the sports package. Did feel a bit body roll on some corners. And I guess the pictures depict the roll pretty obvious. Like HACK mentioned, there was the "magic mountain" ride and the "Cotton Corners". Each over a knoll.

What about yours, HACK?

And Nate? How did yours handle at the track?
 

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Re: Suspension?

VinceTopasBlau3 said:
What about yours, HACK?
Felt very little roll on my car...In fact both instructors commented on how planted my car was and were surprised the only suspension mod is the thicker swaybars.

Maybe it's the Alpina spoilers, Vince. :D
 

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VinceTopasBlau3 said:
Overall, I love tracking now. Thanks to Raffi's support and also Sergio's introduction last year. Tracking is more fun than AutoX. This is where I learnt more about braking and cornering. Often in AutoX, things happen so fast that you tend to be confused. Hence, I think it's great to attend a track event before an AutoX. Anyone care to comment?

So when is the next one, Raffi? :D

highlights of the day:

+ Raffi trusted me with his camera. I took 3 pictures only later to find out that there was no film in there!

Yo Vince,

I am glad you had fun. You were driving very well for a first-timer. Tracking is THE BEST way to enjoy your car, IMHO.

The next school at Buttonwillow is in September, through the Central California Chapter of the CCA. Check out www.cccbmwcca.com (or .org?) for details. The application is already posted. The LA chapter is having a school at Fontana in August, but I am not going to attend it (a lot of members are, shall we say, boycotting it because of the outrageous price and the poor service at the last LA CCA event. :thumbdwn:

Later.

BTW, I dropped off the roll of film I took this morning. I will let you know when I get them back.
 

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The HACK said:
I can still visualize EVERY SINGLE TURN right now. Pretty damn sweet.

One more thing that I noticed...My car seems to like me a lot better now. After the track event a few of the squeak and rattles seems to have settle themselves out. Car seems to push a lot easier and for some odd reason, the suspension seems a lot more settled in and the tires grippier. Maybe it's just my imagination, but it felt like the car was saying "THANK YOU!!!" as I push it on the tracks and as the Bridgestone S-03s wail underneath me.

Everytime I park the car and walk a way after each session, the car seems to have this giant *ss sh*t eating grin mirroring the one on my face. :)
You definitely learned the right things if you can visualize the track afterwards. :thumbup:

I remember that YOU had a big grin on your face when you pulled in to the pits. :D

You had an intimate day with your car at the track and you two bonded, that's why it is thanking you now! :bigpimp:

Later.
 

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Re: Suspension?

VinceTopasBlau3 said:

And Nate? How did yours handle at the track?
Suspension?

Pretty good, but I have never driven my car on a track with any eleveation change. I have driven a 330 where there are elevation changes. I can't comment on that.



Looks pretty flat to me. I was very pleased with the handling. An insturctor that rode with me who drove an '87 911 commented on how wonderfully set up the car is. No suspension mods yet. One thing that I think the S-03s give up the Pilot Sport is turn in crispness. I thought I was lacking in that. Maybe some suspension changes will take care of that. My shocks are worn now, I'm getting new ones on monday. I'm too cheap to buy new ones, thank warranty for OEMs.
 

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Would be awesome to see a wagon on the tracks someday! ;)

[/B]


I have seen several at Buttonwillow, Willow Springs and the Las Vegas 1.8 mile road course in the past. They keep up with all the other 3 series and are very nimble in the corners.
 

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Raffi said:


I have seen several at Buttonwillow, Willow Springs and the Las Vegas 1.8 mile road course in the past. They keep up with all the other 3 series and are very nimble in the corners.
Glad to hear they can hold there own:) I guess it will just be up to this novice driver:eeps: ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks Raffi! Well, driving solo did build up my confidence nonetheless! ;) I am actually looking to run another track at Willow Springs. Any comments? :)

Raffi said:


Yo Vince,

I am glad you had fun. You were driving very well for a first-timer. Tracking is THE BEST way to enjoy your car, IMHO.

The next school at Buttonwillow is in September, through the Central California Chapter of the CCA. Check out www.cccbmwcca.com (or .org?) for details. The application is already posted. The LA chapter is having a school at Fontana in August, but I am not going to attend it (a lot of members are, shall we say, boycotting it because of the outrageous price and the poor service at the last LA CCA event. :thumbdwn:

Later.

BTW, I dropped off the roll of film I took this morning. I will let you know when I get them back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Rolling on the tracks

Thanks for the input about the suspension. :) Well, I felt the dampening was a little slow everytime I go over the knoll at Cotton corners. Don't think I airborne on that one though.:dunno:
 
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