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zeddy
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7,668 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Guys,

I was a guest yesterday at Lime Rock Park for a full day of driving and car watching.

Lots of Bimmers showed; mostly e36's and e30's with a handful of M series variants. I and my host had the only e46's. Porches, Vettes, a handful of vintage italian cars (ferraris and lancia)and some surprisingly fast Subaru WRX's rounded out the field.

I had a chance to ride a few really hot laps with instructor Jim Nekos in his highly modified (for safety, but surprisingly-otherwise-stock)1985 M6 track car. Climbing through the roll cage into the temporary passenger seat was no easy feat even with my 5' 10" 165lbs frame.

Jim's a great driver, smooth as silk (and smoothness is the key as we all know, right?)as he feathered the beastly M6 through the wet and slippery turns at speeds that seemed truly unegotiable in the slick, almost freezing conditions (track temp hovered around low to mid 30's all day. More on that later).

At the 1.53 mile LRP, there's a dastardly turn called big bend that leads out to the main straight. Jim took this at 80 and shot out onto the main stretch at 125. We spun once as the track got more slippery. My sensation from my seat was lots of initial understeer (m6's are front heavy) followed by a smooth transition (probably all Jim) into oversteer. The M6 has a nasty throttle off braking problem which was pretty evident on the lightly loaded sections of the track.

Incidentally, LRP, although short at 1.53 miles, is one of the fastest average lap-time tracks in the country- it's almost all high speed turns.

Late in the day, in typical New England fashion, the temp dropped temporarily to freezing conditions while a few guys were lapping. Guys began spinning out and one driver stuffed his pristine e36 M3 coupe head on into a guardrail at turn 5. No one EVER wants to see this happen, but fortunately, he wasn't hurt (physically, anyway).

I had the chance, late in the day, to a few laps in my stock 323i, some observations: In the wet, my car was perhaps as well-suited as any; the stock 205/55 16 conti's had surprising grip, body lean was less than expected and I could set up a nice, neutral drift going through the 2nd and 3rd combinations of slow speed corners. My car felt really good to me, its "old" steering doing a fantastic job of telgraphing every bit of understeer. Our BMW's are GREAT cars.

Even stock.

I intend to put on a set of 225/50's and stay 16. Some suspension mods will be in the works, too.

All in all, a wonderful day at LRP and I suggest any of you who haven't done so should sign up for the BMW club events and see what your car is capable of.

I'll be at Skip Barber in two weeks for the two-day course and report back to you guys then.

Ed
 

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Mystikal said:
Sounds like way too much fun. I hate you! :mad:

BTW, my car has aftermarket wheels with 225/50/16's, so if you want any feedback let me know.

Good luck on Skip Barber! :thumb:
Agree! :thumb:

225s are an excellent size tire :)

Edit: I also rode in my instuctor's car. He had an E30 325is with an M50 swap, but blew the engine before my ride. I squeezed my fat 6' self in to in stock engined Civic CRX hatch with full cage. It was fawking fast and turned great :yikes:
 

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zeddy
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7,668 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
nate328Ci said:


Agree! :thumb:

225s are an excellent size tire :)

Nate,

Yes, thanks, you were the first guy to put me on to this idea.

Our host had the exact same set-up on his 328i; 225/50's (bridgestone potenzas) on the original 16 inch rims (which, btw is a recommended factory tire size according to the doorjamb info. He also had a bit of negative camber dialed in which he claims causes dartiness on the street ( a typical by-product of negative camber).

Ed
 

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Coyote Racing Team
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628 Posts
Ed - let me know how the 2-Day Course is.

I've taken the Skip Barber 1-Day course and it was phenomenal. I would like to take more advanced courses (car control clinic comes to mind) but they have the 2-day course as a pre-requisite. From what I've read, the 2-day course seems like an extension of the 1-day...I don't know how much more advanced it is or if it would be worth taking since I already completed the 1-day. Let me know how it goes!

Its a beautiful track up there, isn't it?

That last turn before the main straight (Big Bend) is nuts - as you approach, you can't even see the turn due to the slight incline before it and the steep decline leading into it...freaky!!!!

A buddy of mine and I flagged a race up there this passed October - we got there real early and we were walking down pit row along the main straight just as the sun was poking over the mountains. It started lighting up the slight fog that was there and was absolutely breathtaking as the light grew enough to see the foliage on the trees. Standing there on a race track watching that beautiful scene...damn!!!!
 

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zeddy
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7,668 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Re: Ed - let me know how the 2-Day Course is.

J. Kidd said:
I've taken the Skip Barber 1-Day course and it was phenomenal. I would like to take more advanced courses (car control clinic comes to mind) but they have the 2-day course as a pre-requisite. From what I've read, the 2-day course seems like an extension of the 1-day...I don't know how much more advanced it is or if it would be worth taking since I already completed the 1-day. Let me know how it goes!

I, too, have taken the one-day. Like you, I'd like to take advantage of the car-control clinics and as you correctly point out, you need the two-day.

I look at it like this: you can never get too much of a good thing <g>.

It is drop-dead beautiful in Salisbury. I live in Redding, CT (also a delight) but any trip to the Berhshires is a draw I can't resist.

Will you be taking any of the BMW CVC schools?

Ed
 

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Coyote Racing Team
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Unfortunately, no CVC schools for me.

I got into a big debate with my wife last year about this. She was concerned about damage to the car, (among other things). I spoke with my insurance co. and while damage to the car would be covered, if anything did break, I would be without my main source of transportation. I was building my arguments for the school, stating that others on these boards do them without incident and then it happened. Emission did his infamous 70mph backwards trick!!! That kind of took all the air out of my sails :( I decided that right now, my 330 is too important/expensive for me to track like that. Knowing my personality, that could easily be me sailing into the wall at the bottom of Big Bend...If it were a third car or something like that, ABSOLUTELY, but right now, the car has too many responsibilities (as do I; 2 daughters to take and pick up from daycare, building a new house, etc.). I am extremely jealous of those going! I will have to get my thrills via Skip Barber when I can save up enough to go again (freakin' house is sucking up any/all fun money).

Just remember, "A squealing tire is a happy tire!" (told to us first day at Skip Barber school).:thumb:
 

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I like cookies.
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Your 330 shouldn't have any reliability issues at the track, I would be suprised if anything failed. Anyway, it it did, it would be covered by warranty. But, if you mis a shift or something like that, your SOL. :eek:
 
G

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Re: Unfortunately, no CVC schools for me.

J. Kidd said:
I got into a big debate with my wife last year about this. She was concerned about damage to the car, (among other things). I spoke with my insurance co. and while damage to the car would be covered, if anything did break, I would be without my main source of transportation...
I went out on the track with our "family truckster" this past weekend (I did have to take the child seat out before leaving for the track). No problems. As long as you keep your ego in check, you should never have any problems out at the track.



DO IT!!!
 

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I like cookies.
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Re: Re: Unfortunately, no CVC schools for me.

TD said:


I went out on the track with our "family truckster" this past weekend (I did have to take the child seat out before leaving for the track). No problems. As long as you keep your ego in check, you should never have any problems out at the track.

DO IT!!!
TD is right!

Just stay in control, and you should be fine.

Might want to consider changing the DOT 4 fluid to ATE Super Blue or the ATE Gold color :thumb:

This 911 got passed :p

 

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Coyote Racing Team
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Maybe I'll bring up the subject again.

I'll approach it for the fall session. The house should be done and we should be relatively settled.

I agree with you guys...as long as I can keep from pushing myself too far, I should be fine. I feel the benefits would far outweigh any potential detriment.
 

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at the track:

J.Kidd:

i wouldn't worry about damage to your car at the track.

it's the safest environment to learn the limits of the car, and i almost guarantee, unless you're a testosterone-hormone raging adolescent, that you won't even come close to the limits of the car the first time out.

this is because the E46 is so unflappable you would have to be absolutely crazy to manage this (and your instructor won't allow it, trust me).

the second is: driver pushing oneself. i doubt anyone really pushes the first time out. especially in groups 3 and 4 (novice and beginner). you're still learning the racing lines.
 
G

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Re: Maybe I'll bring up the subject again.

J. Kidd said:
I'll approach it for the fall session. The house should be done and we should be relatively settled.

I agree with you guys...as long as I can keep from pushing myself too far, I should be fine. I feel the benefits would far outweigh any potential detriment.
This past weekend was my first track time. I guarantee that the limits of what you feel comfortable with with fall so far short of your car's limits that you won't even incur much wear. (I was hoping to kill my Contis but no such luck.)

And, as blackdawg pointed out, you will be concentrating on your line to the point you'll be driving at speeds that truly offer a huge margin of error. Sure you'll gun it down the straights, but that's about as challenging as speeding on the highway.

And because it's not competitive, not only does YOUR ego not get too involved int he process but no one else's does either. There's great cameraderie and cooperation out there.
 
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