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M Mad
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last weekend I attended my first track weekend with the M3 (actually my first track weekend ever). My experience includes lots of autocrossing and several commercial schools (Skip Barber, Bertil Roos, European Rallye School, etc).

The event was run by the Allegheny Chapter of BMW CCA at the new track in Beaver Falls, PA (NW of Pittsburgh right off of I-76). The facility is still being built, but what is there is very nice. The short track (North track) is the only one open so far (also the kart track). This is a 1.6 mile 12 turn course with several points to experiment with.

They do have a website (www.beaverun.com)with pictures of the facility as it is today. And yes, all that dirt in the photo is there, as mud when it rains. :(

A description of the track follows:

At the end of the front straight you enter an uphill braking zone, that transistions to a downhill braking zone before you turn into the left hand turn 1.:yikes: Tunr 1 is also downhill and leads to the turn 2,3,4 complex of right handers. They feel on the track to have more angle to them than they look on the picture. Turns 2 and 3 can be taken in a single smooth arc. Turn 4 requires some braking before a power on turn in and up the short chute to 5. 5 is an uphill right hander that I found needs an earlier turn in than you would suspect. This transitions to 6 which starts uphill, then flattens out to level at the top. Turn 7 is a blind (you can't see the apex when you turn in) right hander downhill to a short chute to 8. Turn 8 is a deceptive left hander that seems very mild, until you get some speed, then it is fairly tight. This leads to the back straight and into the Kink which is turn 9. This is a slight right in the course which wouldn't be much, until the speeds get up. This leads to 10 which is an uphill right but with a downhill braking zone leading into it. Turns 10 and 11 are uphill rights that lead to the pit in and into turn 12, a shallow left onto the front straight, which runs downhill about 2/3 of the length, then into the uphill start of the braking zone.

For the track event I picked up a set of sacreficial Sumitomo HRTZ II tires in 245/40-18 front and 265/35-18 rear. I did this to help get a little of oversteer under trail braking. The NCC Highway Safety School in July showed that the stock tires sizes did not allow the car to rotate under trail braking. I also added a set of Scroth Rallye 4 harnesses. The brakes were stock.

The car performed extremely well. The tires are awesome, even under these conditions. I only overheated the left front on the last session when I had a clear track for the first 5 laps or so (I got out first) and put together some very hot laps. I also cooked the brakes this session. Nothing major, a soft pedal for a while and some vibration/grinding under heavy braking. The rotors look fine, so I suspect I chunked the pads.

And SMG ROCKS. As much as I found I liked it on the street, on the track it is BETTER.

The schedule was for 4 20 minutes sessions each day for each of 4 run groups. The schedule did get messed up some, but they managed to even out the track time. I did about 75 miles on the track each of the two days. And this week I am BEAT. Anybody who says race drivers are not atheletes has never tried it.:p

In my run group there were two Audi S4s, a Prosche Carrera, Acura NX, another E46 M3, a few E36 M3s, and various other 3 series, Oh and a 2002. I am happy to say I was only passed once during the entire weekend and that was about 1 lap into a session where on of the E36 M3s wanted to get up to speed faster than I wanted to. I did stick with him until traffic separated us. I never really saw the other E46 M3 or the NX which means we must have been similar speeds and nobody caught each other. Everybody else was traffic. Although one session the 2002 drove me crazy. I would drag him on the staights, but by the end of the twisty parts he was back up on me. I was starting to get away overall when the session ended. :thumbup:

For some speeds. At the end of the front straight, with early braking and not holding full throttle all the way, I was hitting between 115 and 120. Same for the back straight leading into the kink (remember I said it got exciting at speed? how about a 4 wheel drift, in YOUR car at 120?). The turns 1 through 7 were 3rd gear all the way. A couple of places 2nd was possbile, but the double shift probably wasn't worth it. Coing out of 7 downhill got 4th before the left hand turn 8. The braking into 10 was down to 2nd and powering up the hill through the gears to hit 4th at 12.:bigpimp:

Allegheny Chapter (especially Bob Briggs) did a wonderful job with the event. The track is very nice as it stands, and it should only get better as they get minor things like grass in place. :thumbup:

I met a lot of NCC people there. It is a 4 hour drive from Wash/Balt area.

Overall a great time, some great driving, a wonderful bunch of people. I will go back.
 
G

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Considering the condition of the pavement itself on the Summit Point Main Circuit, I'd be curious to try this track, trees or no trees, grass or dirt. It looks like it would be quite interesting.

BTW, are you signed up for the Sept NCC school?
 

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M Mad
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
TD said:
Considering the condition of the pavement itself on the Summit Point Main Circuit, I'd be curious to try this track, trees or no trees, grass or dirt. It looks like it would be quite interesting.

BTW, are you signed up for the Sept NCC school?
Nope, I am supposed to be out of town at that time. But that may change, of course, too late to sign up for Summitt Point. :cry:

I have applied for a slot at Watkins Glen the end of September though.

The payment at BeaveRun is very sticky, but a little harder on tires because of it.
 

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M Mad
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
dredmo said:
Sounds like alot of fun. Sounds expensive too though. :thumbup:
Not really. I picked up the second set of tires to avoid trashing the Pilot Sports that came on it. And the new tires have LOTS of wear left, even more with a swap between left and right front.

The harnesses are not required, in fact most people (including those on R compound tires) use the stock belts.

The weekend was about $300 for entry, plus gas and hotel, but some people do camp out.
 

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M Mad
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
PhilH said:
Sounds like a good track.

Wasn't there another track opening in central PA? I forget the name of it. :dunno:
It was probably this one. I thought it was this side of Pittsburgh (more central) until I punched it in the GPS. :banghead:
 

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Pinecone said:


It was probably this one. I thought it was this side of Pittsburgh (more central) until I punched it in the GPS. :banghead:
Actually, the name of the track I was thinking of came back to me. It's Rausch Creek. It seems they still don't have pavement down, but are paying the bills by hosting dirt bikes and ATVs.

http://www.rauschcreekracing.com/rcmp/index.php
 
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