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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Ok, better post something before Raffi returns from the school on Monday.

This track school I attended was organized by SpeedVentures (www.speedventures.net). For $125.00, I get about 2.5 hrs of track time. No lunch included. There were probably 458 Honda S2000s, 145 WRXs, 59 Vipers and 6 BMWs. Ok, I exaggerated on the numbers of other cars. But you get the idea. BMWs are the minority at this event. There are 3 groups and about 20~25 cars per group. So you can imagine the traffic on the tracks that day.

Overall, I learnt a lot that day. Definitely more so since I spun out. It was quite an experience, I must admit. The unforgettable moment when chips, mud, sand and some other brown unidentified filth rushed in on both sides of the windows, drowning and bathing me completely. First thing on my mind was: ok, this was how Mike (Emission) felt when the something like that happened to him last year. :D I spun out on the second turn at Contton Corners. Took the turn way too fast. Swung my car to the left of track with a 180deg turn.

Thanks to Raffi's instructions too. I learnt more about my little mistakes, tend to take the corners better with my braking and throttling.

I installed a set of Scroth harness and it turned out to be a very good investment. Kept me well to the seat with very little lateral movement against the leather seat. :)

I was however disappointed with a number of incidents

1. The driver's briefing in the morning was way too rush and superficial. Somehow, the presenter assumes everyone is familiar with the track like they can drive blindfolded. There was not even a coverage on insurance issues on timed events.

2. A friend of mine, Andy, attended the event as a novice and was supposed to be assigned an instructor, but he was told to follow the lead car in front. Guess what? That car zoomed off like no body's business. Andy took the track for the first time, by himself and was quite a frightening experience. Raffi later helped him get everything together. Very incompetent organizers.

3. There are 3 passing zones at Buttonwillow: Drag Strip, I-5 and the long straight parallel to the pit. And all of them were designated as LEFT passings for simplicity and convenience sake. And this is totally wrong. Those who have been to Buttonwillow will have to agree. For example coming up from Sunrise, there is no way you can allow the car to pass on the left. When you do an apex correctly, you should end up on left of the track instead of the right. So what happened was that a lot of drivers will force to let their cars go to the right instead of the left. And at the same time, hold your steering and putting out your left hand to signal. Very awkward.

4. The majority of the crowd are younger than the BMW CCA school. Or rather the Driving Concepts school, which catered mostly to BMW owners. So what's wrong with that? Well, these younger drivers tend to be over-ambitious on the tracks and also more likely to ignore the safety of other drivers.

5. During the first half of the day, a S2000 crashed into the a splitter wall. A Porsche spun out with white smoke coming out of the engine. Some Surbaru had a flat. The ambluance was darn busy that day. And during my first group run, a mustang spun out. I know...I spun out too. Big deal. But that was during my third run time when I was more familiar with the tracks, not when you drive the track for the FIRST time on the FIRST group run. Shortly after, the track was closed and we had another driver's meeting regarding going slow on the tracks. Organizers went blah blah blah. Still, people spun out when the track reopened.

6. This is not all of it. My first group run had 7mins left after the meeting. Raffi sat with me and we probably went round the track by ourselves for 3~4 laps, not realizing the rest of the group went back to the pits after 1~2 laps. No, the person at the pit DID not wave a checkered flag. A green flag was displayed all the time. Again, another clear demonstration of a very careless organization.

All in all, if you're going for a track school for the first time, DO NOT JOIN SpeedVentures. Go for those organized by BMW CCA or Driving Concepts. They may be more expensive, but you get what you paid for.

Also thanks to HACK for intalling the SS lines too. :thumbup: Brake feel was superb! Oh, the ALPINA suspension works like a charm on the tracks. :D

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
UPDATE:

Forgot to include this bit of information.

So after during the second driver's meeting (after the mustang spun out), the track was reconfigured to using the Sweeper instead of the Star Mazda Turn for an obvious reason. Organizers annouced that prior to reopening the track.

But guess what? They changed it back to Star Mazda Turn WITHOUT informing us on our second run. Yet again, they scored another point for incompetance. :mad:
 

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Vince,

When I spun at Buttonwillow last summer, my car looked EXACTLY like that on the inside! There was dirt and dust everywhere!

To Clean: I used a wet vac for the big stuff, then a computer vacuum to get all the little stuff. Work down from the top. Tons of clean rags with a bit of moisture on them (distilled water in a mist bottle) will get the leather clean. Be sure to pull apart the seams... When done, hit it with gobs of Lexol.

Hint: When you turn on the vents, more dust will come out so be sure to cycle them BEFORE you do your final dust down.

One more thing, I have always been too embarassed to post my pics of my 330i! :D

Good to see your car is OK.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the tips! :thumbup: Already cleaned my car this morning. Phew! It was quite a job. On the way back, I was probably the only car with flith flying out, instead of flying in.

Btw, I edited some info. I spun out after the second corner at Cotton Corners. Where did you spin out the last time?
 

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Running clockwise, coming off 'Magic Mountain' (Lost Hill) into the infield.

It was one of the last runs of the day. My tires were hot, the track was wide open in front of me (I was chasing an E30 M3 about 500' ahead), and I was tired.

I came over Magic Mountian a bit too fast and lifted as I came down the hill and started the left turn (doh!). The car got light and started to slide. I tried to correct, but the inertia kept me spinning. By the time I 'exited' the track, I was nearly backwards at about 60 mph. I never even got on the brakes! (I exited at the word "strip" on the map)

When the car hit the dirt, I pounded the brakes and shut my eyes (there was crap flying everywhere!). All I remember was thinking "...is thing ever going to stop" as the ABS was preventing the wheels from locking in the soft dirt. I think I did two 360's and came to a stop about 100 yards later. Then, this dust cloud (think Mt. St. Helens) hit me! Choke!

I sputtered back to the start/finish and called it a day. I had gravel INSIDE my tires (it was forced in the bead), and nicks on the back bumper from traveling backwards through the infield.

The main relay on the car was fried from the wheels traveling backwards and forwards at 60 mph (it freaked out the computer). I limped home, and cleaned the car. The dealer replaced the relay... and smiled.

In hindsight, I wasn't driving with my full attention on the track and my vehicle. I was focused on the car in front (chasing it), and physically I was hot and tired. My mistakes nearly cost me my car.
 

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D'OH! Really sorry to see that Vince. It's going to take some cleaning up to get that car sparkly clean...Cleaning that steering wheel is going to be a b*tch and a half.

Well, at least you had fun and you had learned from your mistakes. Should we call you Spin-out Vince from now on?

Hey, don't worry...Even the best of us spins out some times. Just ask Raffi about Vegas. At least Carl McGinn wasn't around, otherwise he'd give you a DFL.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I was running counter-clockwise. And although I wasn't chasing anyone, a WRX was at my tail. I should have known not to keep looking at the rear-view mirror. That increased my anxiety and forced my right root to push a little harder.

Sounds like your spin was a lot more dramatic than mine. I didn't close my eyes though. I witnessed EVERYTHING that happened in that split second. Tried to counter-react by steering. Obviously that didn't help much.

My car made the 180deg before hitting the side curb and sliding across a good 15meters (~16yards?). Not very far off from the track. When the dust cloud settled, I immediately looked for any engine lights on the cluster. Nothing came up. (HACK, if you could remember, that one spin-out at AutoX, my engine actually did shut down). Cleaned my car today, no dings, no scuff marks, but my ALPINA wheels did show some scratches. :)

Anyway, I am now ready for the next school...:D

Emission said:
Running clockwise, coming off 'Magic Mountain' (Lost Hill) into the infield.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Car is clean and tidy now. A twig was actually stucked between my exhaust tail-pipes! I must have driven with it all the way from Buttonwillow back to LA.

No clunks, no squeaky or rattles. It still drives like an ultimate machine.:thumbup:

The HACK said:
D'OH! Really sorry to see that Vince. It's going to take some cleaning up to get that car sparkly clean...Cleaning that steering wheel is going to be a b*tch and a half.

Well, at least you had fun and you had learned from your mistakes. Should we call you Spin-out Vince from now on?

Hey, don't worry...Even the best of us spins out some times. Just ask Raffi about Vegas. At least Carl McGinn wasn't around, otherwise he'd give you a DFL.
 

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Vince,

Sounds like you had a blast in spite of (or maybe because of) the spin-out.

Dang..... Gotta get my ass in gear and get myself to some of these schools.
 

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Vince, question from a know nothing on the track. Why do you have to drive with the windows open? I realize you have the air off but is it that hot? Just wondering.
 

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johnlew said:
Why do you have to drive with the windows open? I realize you have the air off but is it that hot?
I'm guessing it is for safety... In the event of a crash you are not sprinkled with glass shards if they have to break the window to pull you out or so you don't suffocate if there is a fire inside the car and you can't get the door open.
 

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operknockity said:

I'm guessing it is for safety... In the event of a crash you are not sprinkled with glass shards if they have to break the window to pull you out or so you don't suffocate if there is a fire inside the car and you can't get the door open.
And for signaling passes....

Damn Vince, that car was filthy. I though it had been flooded or something it was so dirty :D

Glad you are OK. The track looks fantastic. Like the Star Mazda turn, that must be very punishing on the brakes, especially if they ever use the entire dragstrip :bigpimp:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I posted that picture on e46fanatics and that freaked out some fanatics. :lmao:

Now I am itching for the next event...dang...this is getting pretty addictive. :p

nate328Ci said:


Damn Vince, that car was filthy. I though it had been flooded or something it was so dirty :D

Glad you are OK. The track looks fantastic. Like the Star Mazda turn, that must be very punishing on the brakes, especially if they ever use the entire dragstrip :bigpimp:
 

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Just curious, how does the auto tranny react to the spin. Can't you mess up the driveline going the wrong way at, oh, 80. Two feet in when you spin in a manual :dunno:
 

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Vince,

Two :thumbup: for having the balls to post the pics and detailing the events leading to it. I am glad you had a good experience overall and it did not scare you away from going back to the track. Remember, never drive in your mirrors, you have to look way ahead at those speeds.

I would have to say that the event was not just disorganized. The main problem, as you noticed, was the fact that most of the drivers were hot-heads and [email protected] who thought they could go all out in the first session. I do agree, however, that there should have been more instructors available. I think that the organizers were just overwhelmed, as the event they organized at Willow Springs was much better organized and everyone who wanted an instructor in the car got one that day.

I wish I could have spent more time in the car with you to show you the lines even more. Next time...

Later.
 

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Like the Star Mazda turn, that must be very punishing on the brakes, especially if they ever use the entire dragstrip :bigpimp:
Star Mazda isn't very hard on brakes because the esses are decreasing radius, so you're slowing down already. I don't think there's really anywhere on the track that's hard on brakes, since you're on the brakes so little, and there's no hard braking required. The right rear tire can take a beating however because of Talladega (Riverside).

It's a fun track, and fairly safe. The only problem with going off is at Sunrise because you can come across and hit the pit wall, and the soft dirt which can flip your car. Earlier this year, an E28 M5 went off in the middle of Talladega (hit his brakes hard in the middle of the turn, which is clearly wrong) and flipped hard when he went spun into the muddy dirt on the inside. Driver and instructor were fine.

We had a nice school this weekend, but it was a little hot (over 100 F), and tires and track were getting slippery by the end of the day. Rafii was doing well, too --- they moved him into the A group on the second day. The event was well-organized.

--Andre
 

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Andre Yew said:


Star Mazda isn't very hard on brakes because the esses are decreasing radius, so you're slowing down already. I don't think there's really anywhere on the track that's hard on brakes, since you're on the brakes so little, and there's no hard braking required. The right rear tire can take a beating however because of Talladega (Riverside).
Running counter-clockwise, you are right...

Emission said that when he lost it, that group was going clockwise. If clockwise, it looks punishing on the brakes...
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
A S2000 hit the wall on Friday. That was the FIRST run in the morning from the advanced group. Unbelievable. The morning meeting was warning pple about the wall...and 30mins later..boom! :tsk:

Andre Yew said:


It's a fun track, and fairly safe. The only problem with going off is at Sunrise because you can come across and hit the pit wall, and the soft dirt which can flip your car. Earlier this year, an E28 M5 went off in the middle of Talladega (hit his brakes hard in the middle of the turn, which is clearly wrong) and flipped hard when he went spun into the muddy dirt on the inside. Driver and instructor were fine.

--Andre
 
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