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      04-29-2013, 08:45 PM   #1
silversnl
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First Track Day

Well, in a car anyway. Thursday I am going to head out to my local track (Portland International Raceway) and run my 335i through its paces.

The good:

I'm excited to be able to actually open the beast up and drive the way I like to drive.

The Bad:

I'll be in the beginner group. Although I understand and agree with the rationale (never been on the track in a car, need to learn the procedures, etc...), it is a little humbling.

<>
I race motorcycles on this same track and have been running the advanced group on a bike for the last 2 years or so. Unfortunately that's not enough ammunition to be turned loose in the intermediate group (a stock 335 can't really hack it in the advanced group, I'll admit that). I am hoping to get signed off by the end of the day to run solo in the intermediate group. </>

That said, I have a few questions:

Tire pressure: Should I just run what is recommended for >100mph in the manual? Only thing I have to compare with is bikes, and they are VERY finicky with tire pressure.

Helmets, gloves, shoes: Anything specific or just something comfortable? I understand the helmet needs to be DOT, but beyond that is what I am asking.

Anything else to take note of?
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      04-30-2013, 11:06 AM   #2
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For tire pressures, check to see how far down the sidewall your tire is wearing. There's a little triangle on the tire. If your sidewall is wearing below that, add a pound or two of pressure. If it's not touching the triangle at all, let a pound or two out. It's not a perfect way to do pressures because camber will affect this but it's close. Cars aren't as sensitive as bikes to tire pressure.

If you're in beginner group, make absolutely positive anyone you pass not only gave you a point by, but is in a position to let you by. Example: even if someone points me by in the Corkscrew at Laguna Seca, I don't make that pass. Also, I don't see a reason why your 335i can't be in advanced eventually. I drive my 325i in advanced group with two of the three groups I track with. You can have a slow car as long let people by. I've done track days with 100hp Miatas that I catch on the straights by 20mph but they KILL me in the turns by 20mph.

Some other little things, make sure you clear out your trunk, back seat, door cards, etc. Check for crap under your seats as well. Hook up your tow hook to the front. If it's cold, gloves are nice. Most places don't allow shorts so ware pants even if its gonna be 100F.
I'm sure someone can add something else. Have fun. Track days are a blast, but I'm not sure it'll be more exciting in a car than on a bike.
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      04-30-2013, 11:17 AM   #3
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It's not the car that determines which group you run in, it's the driver. Since you never driven a car on a track before, you are a beginner. Just because you ride a motorcycle in an advanced group on the same track, that doesn't apply here.

I like to keep tire pressure low, about 30-32psi because at the end of your session, you'll be in the high 40s. Helmet should be Snell Approved (2005 or 2010). Wear gloves that are comfortable. Driving gloves to be exact. Not mechanix gloves or karting gloves. There's a difference. I like to wear sneakers, like running shoes. Nothing loose.

Lastly, put your ego aside and keep an open mind.
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      04-30-2013, 11:38 AM   #4
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Lastly, put your ego aside and keep an open mind.
I would put that at da front, really sounds like OP needs to eat more humble pie. God help silversnl's instructor.
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      04-30-2013, 12:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silversnl View Post
Well, in a car anyway. Thursday I am going to head out to my local track (Portland International Raceway) and run my 335i through its paces.

The good:

I'm excited to be able to actually open the beast up and drive the way I like to drive.

The Bad:

I'll be in the beginner group. Although I understand and agree with the rationale (never been on the track in a car, need to learn the procedures, etc...), it is a little humbling.

<>
I race motorcycles on this same track and have been running the advanced group on a bike for the last 2 years or so. Unfortunately that's not enough ammunition to be turned loose in the intermediate group (a stock 335 can't really hack it in the advanced group, I'll admit that). I am hoping to get signed off by the end of the day to run solo in the intermediate group. </>

That said, I have a few questions:

Tire pressure: Should I just run what is recommended for >100mph in the manual? Only thing I have to compare with is bikes, and they are VERY finicky with tire pressure.

Helmets, gloves, shoes: Anything specific or just something comfortable? I understand the helmet needs to be DOT, but beyond that is what I am asking.

Anything else to take note of?
The first thing you should do when you get an instructor is to ask him/her to drive your car first a couple of laps. Make sure you sit correctly. After these 2-3 laps, if you can perform similarly as the instructor they may bump you up in the advanced group. Have fun and watch for E36 M3 and P's ... they can be really nasty and mean :-) Bring oil, spare brake pads and tire repair kit if you don't have track wheels. GL and have fun, be safe!

P.S.
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      04-30-2013, 12:26 PM   #6
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You'll move up quickly because the basics of following the line, maintaining your focus on the track, braking and throttling in appropriate places, basic car control concepts, etc will be very easy to you since you've been doing them on the bike.

Don't worry about the capabilities of your car, it'll be fine. If you watch the advanced group there are a lot of clapped out track cars that aren't what you would call fast. You'll be fine.

#1 issue: HAVE FUN!
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      04-30-2013, 01:44 PM   #7
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Thank you all for the info. Was definitely appreciative of the tire pressure recommendations. Didn't think about bringing extra oil, but will keep that in mind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VAlsbM3 View Post
It's not the car that determines which group you run in, it's the driver.
A buddy who runs trackdays pretty regularly mentioned a bunch of purpose built race cars in the advanced group. I just figured I'd be a bit out of place should I get to that level eventually.



I don't want to start a flame war, but I would like to address the ego comments:

Quote:
Originally Posted by VAlsbM3 View Post
Since you never driven a car on a track before, you are a beginner. Just because you ride a motorcycle in an advanced group on the same track, that doesn't apply here.
I did mention that I understood and agreed with why I was in beginner group. I was simply trying to say that there are corners I'm perfectly comfortable diving into on two wheels at 90+ while in a competitive racing environment, so it is a bit humbling to have to step down to the beginner group. NEVER said I should be in Intermediate or Advance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VAlsbM3 View Post
Lastly, put your ego aside and keep an open mind.
No ego at all. You lose that REAL quick when you're pushing your hardest and someone easily backs their bike in underneath you in a corner. Or when a guy who outweighs you by 70 pounds and hasn't ridden in a year or two jumps on your bike and turns a lap time 4 seconds faster.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aleckzandr View Post
I would put that at da front, really sounds like OP needs to eat more humble pie. God help silversnl's instructor.
I didn't say I should to be in the Intermediate or Advanced group. In fact, I stated I understand exactly why I will be running the beginner group, and agreed with being there. I have no problem with it, it's just humbling going from running with an advanced group and running in a race environment to running in the beginner group on the same track, but at much slower speeds.

Last edited by silversnl; 04-30-2013 at 01:58 PM.
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      04-30-2013, 03:44 PM   #8
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Nor do I want a flame war, nor did I ever say that you shouldn't be in intermediate or advance group. Question: Do you or do you not have a motorcycle racing license? I suggest that you never even think of the word "race" at an HPDE. Lower your own expectations, have fun, learn... Be a good guy, offer the gentlemanly point by, you'll actually earn respect when you give those - and the opposite, when you don't. I don't doubt that you have a hefty pair and will probably drive fast as hell and with your track familiarity it may be safer for all if you are in the intermediate group . (Be on the ball that first morning and grid first, and when you catch up to the train and instead of being an arse and "race", ask your instructor to pit and give yourself space in front again.) I will also suggest you contact your instructor, or HPDE group, and ask for any reading material before you go, and effing read it well. That's it, bring lots of water and eats, and I'll say it again, drop your pride off at the gate.
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      04-30-2013, 06:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aleckzandr View Post
Nor do I want a flame war, nor did I ever say that you shouldn't be in intermediate or advance group. Question: Do you or do you not have a motorcycle racing license? I suggest that you never even think of the word "race" at an HPDE. Lower your own expectations, have fun, learn... Be a good guy, offer the gentlemanly point by, you'll actually earn respect when you give those - and the opposite, when you don't. I don't doubt that you have a hefty pair and will probably drive fast as hell and with your track familiarity it may be safer for all if you are in the intermediate group . (Be on the ball that first morning and grid first, and when you catch up to the train and instead of being an arse and "race", ask your instructor to pit and give yourself space in front again.) I will also suggest you contact your instructor, or HPDE group, and ask for any reading material before you go, and effing read it well. That's it, bring lots of water and eats, and I'll say it again, drop your pride off at the gate.
I do in fact have my race license. I don't intend to "race" during a trackday, I just plan on driving within my capabilities and not driving over my head. I intend to have fun and learn how the car handles at increased speeds on a controlled course.

I appreciate the suggestions for water and grub, that is always something I think I bring too much but end up with not enough.
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      05-20-2013, 02:47 AM   #10
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In a First Track Day you are helping for a Driver, And Then First of all you are checking your tire pressure and you drive don't over speed and you concentrate Break, clutch and accelerator because it is most important so easily in some time you drive a car.
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      05-20-2013, 08:31 AM   #11
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In a First Track Day you are helping for a Driver, And Then First of all you are checking your tire pressure and you drive don't over speed and you concentrate Break, clutch and accelerator because it is most important so easily in some time you drive a car.
WAT
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      05-20-2013, 08:55 AM   #12
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In a First Track Day you are helping for a Driver, And Then First of all you are checking your tire pressure and you drive don't over speed and you concentrate Break, clutch and accelerator because it is most important so easily in some time you drive a car.
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