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      05-08-2010, 09:47 AM   #1
Alpina_B3_Lux
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Track Day / France / April 2010 - 335i, M3, Gallardo, SLS...

Last month I've participated at a track day in France, at a circuit called Chambley which is near Metz. We had rented the circuit for the day and were there with around 30 cars, separated into two separate groups. The circuit itself was 3,3km long, with lots of tight bends and braking zones. Not a fast circuit - there's only one long curve that you can take at 140 km/h and another straight where you can accelerate up to around 190 km/h, otherwise it's much slower. A circuit made for small, light cars really, not for powerful but heavy ones.

There was an impressive array of cars lined up for the experience - just to give you a few examples:
  • Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4 (two of them)
  • Mercedes AMG SLS
  • Mercedes E63 AMG
  • Mercedes C63 AMG
  • Porsche GT 3
  • Porsche GT3 RS
  • Aston Martin DB9
  • BMW M3
  • Porsche 911 Carrera / RS / Cayman S (half a dozen)
  • Alpina Z4 Roadster

The objective was not to achieve fast lap times or to go faster than the next driver, but to be able to test the car and oneself in a safe environment, outside of public traffic in order to see where the limits of the car's brakes, suspension and handling are and how it reacts to rather extreme driving situations.

We all did stints of around 20-25 minutes, then it was the other group's turn and time for the cars to cool down. All in all, everyone did between 5-6 stints, which makes it more than two hours track time. We were accompanied by a team of professional race drivers, and each of us did one stint with one of them as co-pilot. That was very useful, as they showed us how to improve our reactions, drive smoother lines, detect the ideal line and where and how to brake.

The weather was ideal, sunny and dry and not warm, with ambient temperatures around 15 degrees Celsius max, allowing the cars to cool down quickly after each stint. The stress on the cars was quite considerable, as you had to brake a lot and hard, using up the brake pads and tires quickly. Actually, my front pads need replacing now - but they held up quite well (they're Cool Carbon ones), without fading and good predictable braking power.

It's an experience if with a 400+hp car there's more than half a dozen more powerful cars...but my boosted 335i held its own quite well. The modifications I had done so far to the suspension (mainly replacement by M3 parts) and the Quaife limited slip differential made it possible to drive quite fast, and the car never felt unsafe or unpredictable. There is still room for improvement, such as the (reduced, but still noticeable) body roll in corners, which will be eliminated with the Bilstein B16 that has just been installed. All in all, I was very satisfied with it - also with the JB3 2.0 that I was running on map 7 that day; on a straight line, I was getting away from the M3 and not losing much ground against both Porsche GT3.

Now, you can ask why I as a German in Luxembourg make a thread in a UK forum about a track day in France... Well, there were some nice photos that I'd like to share - not only of my car, of course, but also of the other magnificent rides that were there and filled the air with roaring exhaust sounds and the smell of fuel, heated brakepads and rubber.

Enjoy!

Alpina_B3_Lux

1. Line up before the start: Aston and Alpina


2. Line up before the start (2): Mercedes SLS, E 63 AMG


3. Getting ready! A colleague's M3


4. Getting ready! Gallardo no. 1


5. Getting ready! Gallardo no. 2


6. Getting ready! Aston Martin DB9


7. Getting ready! Mercedes E63 AMG


8. Relaxing during a break...


9. Getting serious...


10. It's actually quite hard to concentrate for almost 30 minutes!


11. Lambo in action


12. That SLS was freaky fast


13. I overtook the Aston constantly, but that was more the driver than the car lol


14. The M3 was faster than my 335i - due to the better suspension


15. Alpina Z4 - nice car with a great engine


16. Porsche GT 3 RS - the fastest car that day


17. The second Gallardo, wrapped in matte black vinyl


18. Yes, the SLS overtook me shortly after that photo was taken


19. Last one - me again
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      05-08-2010, 09:54 AM   #2
marcel b
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cool pics!

tires make a big difference, I guess you where running normal street tires? The GT3 and I guess also the M3 where running Michelin CUPs or?
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      05-08-2010, 10:02 AM   #3
dxb335d
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Fantastic pics!
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      05-08-2010, 10:34 AM   #4
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amazing pics and must've been awesome there with those other cars...sick!
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      05-08-2010, 11:10 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marcel b View Post
cool pics!

tires make a big difference, I guess you where running normal street tires? The GT3 and I guess also the M3 where running Michelin CUPs or?
Yes, I was running street tires (Michelin PS 2). The M3 as well, the GT 3 was running cup tires.

Alpina_B3_Lux
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      05-08-2010, 03:22 PM   #6
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Wow, my dream garage. Looks like you had fun.
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      05-09-2010, 07:50 AM   #7
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good stuff!!!...must have been a great day!
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      05-11-2010, 08:40 AM   #8
ant1985
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very nice pal

you getting some practice in ready for the ring !

i have some work to do on the m3 this weekend for matt heading over on the 22nd

i haven't forgot to send you the ring pics. i have just been crazy busy!
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      05-11-2010, 08:45 AM   #9
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Jeez the E92 looks dull up against that lot, love that Merc
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      05-11-2010, 04:14 PM   #10
PhilL
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Now THAT looks like a good day out!

Awesome selection of motors - which would you take home with you given the chance?
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      05-11-2010, 04:38 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Jeez the E92 looks dull up against that lot, love that Merc

Which E92?
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      05-12-2010, 02:57 AM   #12
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Which E92?
The white M3.
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