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  • NE Coast Driver Education Course?

    Hi all, gonna take some recent advice and sign up for a DE / track course when I get my M3. My goal isn't so much racing, but understanding the limits of the car, how to handle emergency maneuvers better, drift, just become a more accomplished driver than I am (or learn what the gaps are in my knowledge).

    I'm in NY, where do I start? Should I become a BMW CCA member to sign up for their courses? I found this:

    https://877stockcar.com/experiences/drive-your-own-car/

    Like I said, not necessarily looking to learn how to race so not sure if driving a stock car first is something I need to do, or do I?

  • #2
    BMWCCA is a good bet. If you're in up-state NY, take a look at the Watkins Glen driving school schedule to see which clubs are running there.Then research those clubs to decide what might be a good fit for your goals.
    https://www.theglen.com/Events/Track...-Calendar.aspx

    Looks like BMW Genesee Chapter is running there in Oct.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Mick View Post
      BMWCCA is a good bet. If you're in up-state NY, take a look at the Watkins Glen driving school schedule to see which clubs are running there.Then research those clubs to decide what might be a good fit for your goals.
      https://www.theglen.com/Events/Track...-Calendar.aspx

      Looks like BMW Genesee Chapter is running there in Oct.

      Thx! Looks like joining the Genesee Chapter might be a good move... looking into that now

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi Fastricky,
        The limits of the car are defined by the limits of the drivers ability. You will find many DE 'students' are there only so they can tell others later that they 'drove' Laguna Seca or Sears Point, or whatever the local track is called. And drifiting is going slower because sideways speed is always at the expense of going forward. So learning one is the opposite of learning the other. Besides, a stock E30 M3 doesn't have enough power to drift well anyway.

        Some DE's may actually teach 'the line'. This is the path through a turn, with a late apex, to maximize exit speed so as to be able to get to the next turn that much faster. Except when you are racing in traffic, which DE's prohibit, you hardly ever drive the line. I recall at a DE at Laguna, an instructor driving a box stock VW Rabbit was faster around the track than every student. And he wasn't trying to go that fast, but was a competent SCCA racing driver. Further, most DE's won't allow timing.

        You can learn a lot by putting the car on a skid pad. That is just some flat and smooth pavement and some pylons to mark a circle. There is a relationship on how many gees the car can attain on a skid pad, and you will probalby learn a lot there. Remember to try it in both directions. Lateral acceleration in gees = 1.22 times (circle radius divided by lap time squared). Measure the skid pad radius to the center of the car, in feet. Time in seconds.

        If you want to learn how to correct going sideways, you use an oval with two short straights connecting the half circles at both ends. Disconnect the front roll bar. Get on it in the straight, turn into the turn and when the rear comes around, steer with the throttle around the half circle. Then get on it again for the next short straight. Try it in both directions. And remember to reconnect the front roll bar when you are done.

        You can also check if you have the right tire pressures on the skid pad. All you need is a tire pyrometer. Let me know if you want more information.
        Larry

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by nsubre View Post
          Hi Fastricky,
          The limits of the car are defined by the limits of the drivers ability. You will find many DE 'students' are there only so they can tell others later that they 'drove' Laguna Seca or Sears Point, or whatever the local track is called. And drifiting is going slower because sideways speed is always at the expense of going forward. So learning one is the opposite of learning the other. Besides, a stock E30 M3 doesn't have enough power to drift well anyway.

          Some DE's may actually teach 'the line'. This is the path through a turn, with a late apex, to maximize exit speed so as to be able to get to the next turn that much faster. Except when you are racing in traffic, which DE's prohibit, you hardly ever drive the line. I recall at a DE at Laguna, an instructor driving a box stock VW Rabbit was faster around the track than every student. And he wasn't trying to go that fast, but was a competent SCCA racing driver. Further, most DE's won't allow timing.

          You can learn a lot by putting the car on a skid pad. That is just some flat and smooth pavement and some pylons to mark a circle. There is a relationship on how many gees the car can attain on a skid pad, and you will probalby learn a lot there. Remember to try it in both directions. Lateral acceleration in gees = 1.22 times (circle radius divided by lap time squared). Measure the skid pad radius to the center of the car, in feet. Time in seconds.

          If you want to learn how to correct going sideways, you use an oval with two short straights connecting the half circles at both ends. Disconnect the front roll bar. Get on it in the straight, turn into the turn and when the rear comes around, steer with the throttle around the half circle. Then get on it again for the next short straight. Try it in both directions. And remember to reconnect the front roll bar when you are done.

          You can also check if you have the right tire pressures on the skid pad. All you need is a tire pyrometer. Let me know if you want more information.
          Larry
          Great information thank you Larry. I suppose my desire to understand proper sliding (via a skid pad as you mentioned probably) is to feel confident to be able to control and correct the car if it breaks loose on a curve. It could also be that on many car shows you tend to see a car slide through the curves of a track - perhaps that is because it makes for more dramatic footage instead of a faster track time?

          I appreciate though that that may not be the fastest way around a course, clearly I've got a lot to learn! - Rich

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi Rich,
            I was suggesting things you can do without a lot of formality or cost, and you can proceed at your own pace and budget. You have probably heard the comment: speed costs money, how fasat to you want to go? Which is another way of saying how much money to you have to spend toward that goal. As you practice and get more experience, it will come to you. Just keep your sight on the goal.

            Many displays are to make lots of tire smoke and getting sideways is the way to do that. But remember that going sideways is always slower than going forward. And the E30 M3 is great way to learn, because it has the reputation of being an 'inertia' car, which means that with modest power giving up any rpm in a turn is costly since it is difficult to get it back. So that is why getting around the turn as quickly as possible is so important. At least when you are racing. At the same time, perhaps taking a one day school at a race track that has instruction when the time is right may be worth the cost. The fewer students per instructor here is the best way to learn. It may cost more than a CCA DE but probably worth the difference. The DE's are also a good way to practice what you have learned.
            Larry

            Comment


            • #7
              Rich,
              My suggestion to you if you want to begin the path of learning performance driving is first up create an account on Motorsport Reg https://www.motorsportreg.com/
              Motorsport Reg has become ground zero for all the track events and organizers at least in the Northeast Region. I cant speak for other areas.
              Very very few of the Northeast regions clubs do not use Motorsport Reg.

              After you make an account, click Calendar and enter your zip code and select the "Drivers School" check box.
              Pull down the menu to select your maximum distance you are willing to drive to attend or even watch one.
              In the Northeast where we live you should not have to go more than 120 mile radius, but to pull in alot more choices enter 180 and see what comes up.

              I did it using my zip code and there are a few options if you want to attend or even go see / watch a school this year.
              Sadly Covid has really thinned alot of events from a "normal" year but there are still many opportunities.

              GVC is holding a DE at the NY Safety Track which I think is their first time there. I think thats a very open landscape track, might be a good one to take a ride and watch for a day.
              They also have their annual Watkins Glen event. I think Watkins is a pretty good hike from NYC. Its super close for me, but for the NYC guys I think its around 4 hours from the city to the Glen from what I have been hearing over the years. The Glen, while it is the greatest race track in North America,,, is so big and flowing its hard to see alot of it. You can go watch different sections at a time but in a DE setting its a bit of a boring "watch".

              As I said, I'd be happy to meet up with you at an event and if nothing else say hello and help explain the processes and what happening if you just want to watch.
              Pocono would be your closest "go watch" option, as well as being smaller and flatter, its a good place to go "see" a DE despite the fact its a dreadful track to actually drive.
              Sadly their season is starting to wind down about now.

              Have a look, let me know if you are going to go watch or sign up, as I said I'd be happy to meet up with you there.
              I did my first DE in 1994 (I think, its been a while), I have been instructing since 1998. I could at least hopefully answer all your questions before you sign up for one.
              Cheers
              Jimmy P
              jimmy p.
              87 E30 M3 Prodrive British Touring Car
              88 E30 M3 Zinnoberot - Street
              88 E30 M3 Lachsilber - Race (#98 SCCA SPU)
              92 E30 M Technic Cabrio - S14 POWERED!
              98 318Ti M44, Base - Morea Green
              04 Ford F350 - V10

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by nsubre View Post

                Some DE's may actually teach 'the line'. This is the path through a turn, with a late apex, to maximize exit speed so as to be able to get to the next turn that much faster. Except when you are racing in traffic, which DE's prohibit, you hardly ever drive the line. I recall at a DE at Laguna, an instructor driving a box stock VW Rabbit was faster around the track than every student. And he wasn't trying to go that fast, but was a competent SCCA racing driver. Further, most DE's won't allow timing.

                You can learn a lot by putting the car on a skid pad. That is just some flat and smooth pavement and some pylons to mark a circle. There is a relationship on how many gees the car can attain on a skid pad, and you will probalby learn a lot there. Remember to try it in both directions. Lateral acceleration in gees = 1.22 times (circle radius divided by lap time squared). Measure the skid pad radius to the center of the car, in feet. Time in seconds.

                If you want to learn how to correct going sideways, you use an oval with two short straights connecting the half circles at both ends. Disconnect the front roll bar. Get on it in the straight, turn into the turn and when the rear comes around, steer with the throttle around the half circle. Then get on it again for the next short straight. Try it in both directions. And remember to reconnect the front roll bar when you are done.

                You can also check if you have the right tire pressures on the skid pad. All you need is a tire pyrometer. Let me know if you want more information.
                Larry
                Larry,
                I have been an HPDE and SCCA Competition instructor for over 15yrs. although there are a few useful tidbits in there (without enough context for a novice to use), there is so much misinformation in that post i don't know where to begin.

                Fastricky,
                follow jimmy's advice. find a school near you and check it out. in addition to the driver training, you will meet a bunch of cool people with a common interest. so much fun! do not try to go do this on your own in some parking lot.

                75 M2
                88 M3

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by jimmy p. View Post
                  Rich,
                  My suggestion to you if you want to begin the path of learning performance driving is first up create an account on Motorsport Reg https://www.motorsportreg.com/
                  Motorsport Reg has become ground zero for all the track events and organizers at least in the Northeast Region. I cant speak for other areas.
                  Very very few of the Northeast regions clubs do not use Motorsport Reg.

                  After you make an account, click Calendar and enter your zip code and select the "Drivers School" check box.
                  Pull down the menu to select your maximum distance you are willing to drive to attend or even watch one.
                  In the Northeast where we live you should not have to go more than 120 mile radius, but to pull in alot more choices enter 180 and see what comes up.

                  I did it using my zip code and there are a few options if you want to attend or even go see / watch a school this year.
                  Sadly Covid has really thinned alot of events from a "normal" year but there are still many opportunities.

                  GVC is holding a DE at the NY Safety Track which I think is their first time there. I think thats a very open landscape track, might be a good one to take a ride and watch for a day.
                  They also have their annual Watkins Glen event. I think Watkins is a pretty good hike from NYC. Its super close for me, but for the NYC guys I think its around 4 hours from the city to the Glen from what I have been hearing over the years. The Glen, while it is the greatest race track in North America,,, is so big and flowing its hard to see alot of it. You can go watch different sections at a time but in a DE setting its a bit of a boring "watch".

                  As I said, I'd be happy to meet up with you at an event and if nothing else say hello and help explain the processes and what happening if you just want to watch.
                  Pocono would be your closest "go watch" option, as well as being smaller and flatter, its a good place to go "see" a DE despite the fact its a dreadful track to actually drive.
                  Sadly their season is starting to wind down about now.

                  Have a look, let me know if you are going to go watch or sign up, as I said I'd be happy to meet up with you there.
                  I did my first DE in 1994 (I think, its been a while), I have been instructing since 1998. I could at least hopefully answer all your questions before you sign up for one.
                  Cheers
                  Jimmy P
                  Amazing Jimmy thanks so much! I've signed up for Motorsport Reg, great suggestion. And I'll take you up on a meet, it'd be a lot of fun for me. I just need to wait now to see when the car arrives, not sure when it'll be picked up for the transport from San Diego to NY as they don't give an exact date (window is 2-4 weeks ). I'll reach out once I've got the car cheers - Rich

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hi Rick,
                    PM sent.
                    Larry

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Or if you just want track time you could do a couple of Arrive and Drive's with a lemons team and that runs about 600 to 1200 depending on team.
                      Who knows where I'll be, changes from day to Continent.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        If you've never driven on track, I'd definitely suggest a BMW CCA HPDE. The chapters are very conscientious about laying down a solid base of safety and drivers skills, and then helping you learn to drive faster safely. As mentioned, many clubs run at Watkins Glen in upstate NY. The Genesee Valley Chapter (GVC) is running our first HPDE at the New York Safety Track in a few weeks, described here. This looks to be an excellent track for the beginner, as it was designed as a motorcycle track originally, and as a result has lots of grass run-off, which means you are unlikely to hit anything if you make a mistake and go off.
                        Ian

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by M-technik-3 View Post
                          Or if you just want track time you could do a couple of Arrive and Drive's with a lemons team and that runs about 600 to 1200 depending on team.
                          I hate to be Mr Negative, but I cannot get behind this option.
                          I have had some of the guys as students who dove into crap can racing without any track experience and then after they realized they were like a monkey [email protected]#$%^ a football they came to a DE and were overwhelmed with what they didnt know.

                          When I started this obsession, long before I met up with any of you (that I know IRL) I did a year or two of autocross before I did my first DE, I thought I was a hotshoe and was going to just be the fastest new guy out there.
                          LOL
                          I was like a monkey f#$%^&* a football. I had no idea what I didnt know.
                          I still to this day look back at my first two schools with embarrassment, I cant remember what I ate for lunch yetsrday, but I remember my first three DEs like they were yesterday because it was in the third one I "started" to "get it" and the light bulb flickered.

                          The DE environment really really makes a difference than going it on your own (plus like Marshall said, the friends you make will likely be friends for a long long time).
                          jimmy p.
                          87 E30 M3 Prodrive British Touring Car
                          88 E30 M3 Zinnoberot - Street
                          88 E30 M3 Lachsilber - Race (#98 SCCA SPU)
                          92 E30 M Technic Cabrio - S14 POWERED!
                          98 318Ti M44, Base - Morea Green
                          04 Ford F350 - V10

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Not sure how old you are but if you're young without much behind the wheel experience maybe do a couple autocross events first. It's much easier on the wallet and your learn more about car balance in a short period of time in a safe environment for a lot less. One of the downsides is you don't have an instructor but some say that's also a positive when you have zero motorsport experience.

                            Also as others have mentioned some chapters have skid pad events only. These are decent events although I find them pretty boring although there are things to be learned from a wet skid pad, I prefer a dry one.

                            Just remember every instructor you run into has their own opinions. The more instructors you experience in your lifetime the better a driver you will become.

                            The best instructors I've had weren't afraid to push me. The worst instructors I've ever had were usually always late to get into your car and have a tendancy to talk too much (information overload) while your driving.

                            As a former golf professional I can appreciate good instruction given and received.

                            E30M3 is a Legend

                            Comment

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