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      01-12-2011, 09:42 AM   #1
BMWsky
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Performance Driving School

I'm curious as to how many people have taken either a Performance Driving Course or even a Racing Course?

I wanted to do some performance mods to my coupe, but have decided not to do any until I take a driving course as I'd really like to be able to maximize the car's ability and truly know how it drives. Am I being ridiculous?

How many of you have gone to a driving school? If so, did you mod before or after?
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      01-12-2011, 09:52 AM   #2
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I have... best thing you can do in my opinion. It really isn't about the mods, you'll be able to do things with a car that you couldn't do before. How you mod may change as you discover new ways to enjoy driving. I totally lost my appetite for power after driver training, and am completely focused on traction, stability, and suspension. That's what's fun for me now. Prior to training my mods were mainly focused on engine power.

Racing courses are also great. If you like it, it will be an exhilarating experience. Be prepared to gain skills you never thought existed
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      01-12-2011, 10:07 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by BenTrovato View Post
I have... best thing you can do in my opinion. It really isn't about the mods, you'll be able to do things with a car that you couldn't do before. How you mod may change as you discover new ways to enjoy driving. I totally lost my appetite for power after driver training, and am completely focused on traction, stability, and suspension. That's what's fun for me now. Prior to training my mods were mainly focused on engine power.

Racing courses are also great. If you like it, it will be an exhilarating experience. Be prepared to gain skills you never thought existed
That's exactly what I'm looking for. Did you take the course at Mosport? I'm looking at either that one or Watkins Glen as the local BMWCCA chapter hosts events at both places.
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      01-12-2011, 10:47 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMWsky View Post
I'm curious as to how many people have taken either a Performance Driving Course or even a Racing Course?

I wanted to do some performance mods to my coupe, but have decided not to do any until I take a driving course as I'd really like to be able to maximize the car's ability and truly know how it drives. Am I being ridiculous?

How many of you have gone to a driving school? If so, did you mod before or after?
I took a Skip Barber Driving School course. I liked it so much I went back and took it again and then I got involved in the racing school and took the Three Day Racing School (3 times) and the Advanced Two Day Racing School (2 times). I generally do several Car Control Clinics and Lapping Days (in Spec Miatas and the Formula Skip Barber open wheel cars) every year.

I did not mod my car before or after as I have no illusion that my 335i is either a track car or a race car. On second thought I did mod the car. I replaced the RFTs and installed Koni FSD shocks but that was too improve the drivability on the street, not on a track.


I highly recommend taking a high performance driving course. Getting coached by a pro is a rewareding and humbling experience.

What I got out of the experience:

1. I am a much better driver than I was,
2. I am no where near as good a driver as I thought I was.


CA
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Last edited by captainaudio; 01-12-2011 at 11:08 AM.
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      01-12-2011, 10:58 AM   #5
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My son has - when he was 15, I took him to the South Carolina plant for the one-day teen driving school. He said it was awesome. I hung around the whole day and watched them - they taught them an incredible amount of useful info - in fact, there are things he teaches me; he has retained it all from last summer. I also watched the M school, which was also in progress that day, and was impressed with all of the techniques it was obvious that were being taught. Everyone in both classes left with HUGE smiles on their faces. Highly recommmended.
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      01-12-2011, 12:20 PM   #6
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I've been to six High Performance Driving Events (HPDEs) over the past two years, and absolutely recommend you sign up for one with your local BMW CCA chapter. You will learn a lot, begin to appreciate what your car and you can really do, and best of all - it's a blast. For your first one or two such events you should take your car in its stock condition - even with its run flats if you still are running them. If you enjoy it, for subsequent events you can think about (a) better performance tires (ultra performance summer tires, not R compound just yet) and (b) racing brake fluid and brake pads that are better suited to teh demands of the track. As for other mods - the car in stock trim is so incrediibly good that its capabilities out strip yours, at least until you've been out on the track numerous times. So mods that you think will make the car go faster (suspension upgrades, engine software) might be fun but miss the point. Hold off on these until you can truly appreciate the difference they make in how the car handles.

BTW - another way to learn about your car and improve your ability to handle it wel, for a lot less time and money, is to sign up for a few autocross events if your local chapter has them. Driver's skill and reaction time are key, and since modificatons can cause your car to be moved up in class to compete with the "big boys" you're actually better off not investing in suspension or engine mods.
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      01-12-2011, 12:32 PM   #7
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Take any driver training you can get, you will learn a lot. I have done the following...
Fast Racing School - Sportbike
BMW Winter Driving
BMW Perfection
BMW Fascination I

I'm hoping to do the Fascination II course this year.
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      01-12-2011, 12:36 PM   #8
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Anyone know of any driving schools in or around southern california? Obviously I can just go google this, but figured I might ask for recommendations here.
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      01-12-2011, 12:47 PM   #9
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Hi, I took a local course from an instructor who used to instruct for Skip Barber in order to get my SCCA license. I still go to him for coaching. It is well worth it and you quickly realize how much you ~don't~ know and how ~little~ of a car's performance capacity you had actually ever used. I've found track driving like "excercise": I drive almost like grand ma out in the streets, except for the occasional empty exit ramp or on ramp, because driving "fast" out on the streets, well, really isn't, and now it bores me. So I get my "excercise" out at the track. Though pricey, there is a trade off, I have no speeding tickets since I started. So do join BMW CCA and get started, you'll get mile wide smiles, learn, and become a better driver both on and off the street. Also, mod your brain before your car. Your first car mod should be tires, because you should wear out your current set before you do anything to the car.

Start here:
http://www.bmwcca.org/

and here:
http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=440609

Edit: +1000 on ChipB's post above.
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      01-12-2011, 12:54 PM   #10
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I've taken the bmw driving school in greenville/spartanburg sc.

If you take this class and then drive a stock car onto the track, you will beat any person who hasn't taken a performance driving class. A person could spend $5,000 on a suspension, and still wouldn't be able to beat your stock car, if you take the class and they didn't.
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      01-12-2011, 12:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSH3 View Post
My son has - when he was 15, I took him to the South Carolina plant for the one-day teen driving school. He said it was awesome. I hung around the whole day and watched them - they taught them an incredible amount of useful info - in fact, there are things he teaches me; he has retained it all from last summer. I also watched the M school, which was also in progress that day, and was impressed with all of the techniques it was obvious that were being taught. Everyone in both classes left with HUGE smiles on their faces. Highly recommmended.
jsh3 already mentioned it but I thought I would emphasize...the teen class and the m class--which go on at the same time (probably for parent/child pairs)--are different classes. The m school is the one you (OP) should look at...although, if you were 15, and you did the teen class they offered, you'd be a leg up on everyone
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      01-12-2011, 01:19 PM   #12
BMWsky
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This is exactly the type of information I was looking for. I see all these threads discussing mods and thought to myself..."great, but I can barely keep the rubber on the road as it is".

One of the guys who works with me took a Skip Barber class and just raves about it. I joined the local BMWCCA chapter and saw they offer driving classes at Watkins Glen and Mosports in Toronto.

So far, I've heard nothing but positive things about the schools. It makes me wonder how many folks that have modded their cars actually took the driving courses.
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      01-12-2011, 01:31 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmayhem View Post
Anyone know of any driving schools in or around southern california? Obviously I can just go google this, but figured I might ask for recommendations here.
Skip Barber School runs courses at Laguna Seca (West Coast Home Base), California Speedway and Marina Airport in Montererey,

http://www.skipbarber.com/locations/...locations.aspx

BMWCCA should have courses available at a number of local tracks.

Two big advangtages to the Skip Barber program are:

1. Not your car
2. Not your tires

Biggest disadvantage is cost.

CA
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Last edited by captainaudio; 01-12-2011 at 01:38 PM.
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      01-12-2011, 02:11 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmayhem View Post
Anyone know of any driving schools in or around southern california? Obviously I can just go google this, but figured I might ask for recommendations here.
The L.A. Chapter is having an "auto-cross" at Streets of Willow near Lancaster this weekend, and a one day California Speedway school at Fontana in June. The San Diego chapter typically have auto-crosses 5-6 times a year at Qualcomm Stadium. The San Diego Chapter is also having a High Performance Driving School at Chuckwallah Raceway in March near Indio. Central California Chapter is having a HPDS at Buttonwillow in July. Golden Gate Chapter is having a single day HPDS at legendary Laguna Seca in March.

BMW CCA San Diego Chapter

BMW CCA Los Angeles Chapter

BMW CCA Central California Chapter

BMW CCA Golden Gate Chapter
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No way I'd ever take my BMW to the track.
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Then why do you have $3,000 worth of suspension mods on your car?
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      01-12-2011, 02:14 PM   #15
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Its good to go to school first to really appreciate and feel/see the difference your mods can do, a lot of ppl here or other forums as well do a tons of performance mods to their car yet they don't even track the car. Its more of bragging rights really...

That wants to make her car faster with performance mods, she wants cross drilled brakes (might be useful) and debating between a super chargers or a turbo. Which she never raced before in her life but just because she likes cars and is an "enthusiast" and ppl encourage her to get it, why!?!?

You can let Schumacher drive your 335 and you drive his F1/Enzo and I guarantee you will not be able to keep up with him lol.

Anyways I am planning to do all the BMW course here in Canada... I am starting this coming summer...
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      01-12-2011, 02:54 PM   #16
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This is a very informative thread. Thanks guys!
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      01-12-2011, 03:26 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BRAISKI View Post
...Anyways I am planning to do all the BMW course here in Canada... I am starting this coming summer...
My local BMWCCA chapter is holding one of their driving courses at Mosport on July 25 and 26. I hope to have a few under my belt by then and make the trip there.
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      01-12-2011, 06:58 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMWsky View Post
I'm curious as to how many people have taken either a Performance Driving Course or even a Racing Course?

I wanted to do some performance mods to my coupe, but have decided not to do any until I take a driving course as I'd really like to be able to maximize the car's ability and truly know how it drives. Am I being ridiculous?

How many of you have gone to a driving school? If so, did you mod before or after?
I have taken a performance class, and now I do HPDE, mostly with the BMW club. I don't think you'll make different choices about modding your car because you took a driving class. But you will make different choices depending on if you plan to do HPDE, drag racing, autocross or just daily driving. I do HPDE, no drag racing, occasional autocross. So I've got a tune that is more for daily driving and HPDE than drag-racing, and I've got an oil cooler for track, and I'm waiting for some track rotors. But I've mainly tuned my car for daily driving street performance, so for example PS2s instead of Direzza Star Specs.
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      01-12-2011, 07:16 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMWsky View Post
My local BMWCCA chapter is holding one of their driving courses at Mosport on July 25 and 26. I hope to have a few under my belt by then and make the trip there.
You can ride along on Youtube to learn the track. I searched for Mosport just now and the first hit is "Bruce Mclaren explains Mosport".
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      01-18-2011, 01:01 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by captainaudio View Post

What I got out of the experience:

1. I am a much better driver than I was,
2. I am no where near as good a driver as I thought I was.


CA
great advice, should be mandatory reading in any driver's license manual.
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      01-18-2011, 10:50 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMWsky View Post
I'm curious as to how many people have taken either a Performance Driving Course or even a Racing Course?

I wanted to do some performance mods to my coupe, but have decided not to do any until I take a driving course as I'd really like to be able to maximize the car's ability and truly know how it drives. Am I being ridiculous?

How many of you have gone to a driving school? If so, did you mod before or after?
We (www.MVPTrackTime.com) have a significant turn out at all our track events from a variety of BMW drivers. By design and DNA, BMW is well suited to the track.

Feff
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      01-19-2011, 11:12 PM   #22
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I too highly recommend a driving school. I've done 3 BMWCCA HPDE courses and have loved all of them. I owned a Subaru STi at the time and I was still accepted on/off the track. Just go into the course with the mentality that you're a total beginner and try to build a firm foundation. There are a lot of things that you learn that are helpful on the street as well as the track and it's a LOTTTTTTT of fun to be able to push the car through the turns and romp on the gas in a safe environment. Also the courses are designed to be non-competitive so it's a very safe and fun environment.

Did I mention that it's fun? I can't wait until spring.. I traded the STi in for a 335i and cannot wait to get to MidOhio with it!!!

Good luck!

Matt
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