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Motorsports & Track Forum
From Auto-X to Trackday to Racing and Professional Motorsports this is the place to discuss making BMWs fast

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Old 05-27-2004, 10:55 PM   #1
Dalton
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How does one go about becoming a "racer"?

Does anyone know how one gets track time? Are there leagues that, once you have the required skill level, you can enter and race in. I have been toying with the idea of buying a e30 or e36 and stripping it for the track. What steps do i need to get the car out there?

I have been looking into driving schools to become more knowledgable of how to control the car itself, but what other steps do i need to take to actually get out on a track? Should i join BMW CCA? Whats the deal...?

Mark
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Old 05-28-2004, 12:09 AM   #2
Commander FAT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dalton
Does anyone know how one gets track time? Are there leagues that, once you have the required skill level, you can enter and race in. I have been toying with the idea of buying a e30 or e36 and stripping it for the track. What steps do i need to get the car out there?

I have been looking into driving schools to become more knowledgable of how to control the car itself, but what other steps do i need to take to actually get out on a track? Should i join BMW CCA? Whats the deal...?

Mark
SCCA(www.scca.org) is pretty much the Microsoft of the racing stuff. If you're just starting out join BMW CCA and do some of the driving schools with your local chapter. You can also go to private schools although they are kind of expensive. A decent price school I know of is www.tracktime.com. I went to their one day autocross school last year. It was $100. I made a weekend trip out of it. They also have a road course school for about $500 (give or take).

Also doing autocross is a very cheap and safe way of getting into racing.

I myself will be heading out to Grattan in September with the Windy City BMW club providing I can get the days off. I'll try to take some in-car video footage to share with you all.
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Old 05-28-2004, 09:51 AM   #3
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DEs, DEs, DEs and more DEs.

Once you are comfortable and signed off to do solo track track (no instructor), then more DEs.

More DEs.

Then go for your club license.....which is what I plan on doing hopefully in 2005 if I get the time. 2005 is looking like a very busy year for me so as of right now it looks like 2005 will be used to acquire and build a new track car, and 2006 will be used for DEs (first half) then acquiring club license second half, once I'm comfortable with the new car. Hopefully run a season 2007. That's the plan at least. PCA by the way, not BMW.
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Old 05-28-2004, 10:04 AM   #4
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Definitely join BMWCCA, our CT chapter has tons of track time and Driving Schools up at Limerock.

Just like commander fat says, you can also autocross (which I'm heavily getting into) and is a relatively safe way of getting into racing. There are a couple of places you can participate in CT. Let me know if you need more info...
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Old 05-28-2004, 10:59 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfino
Definitely join BMWCCA, our CT chapter has tons of track time and Driving Schools up at Limerock.

Just like commander fat says, you can also autocross (which I'm heavily getting into) and is a relatively safe way of getting into racing. There are a couple of places you can participate in CT. Let me know if you need more info...
I think of AutoX as a hobby, not racing. The reason it's not really that educational to me is because where I go, you get maybe 4 runs. In 4 runs you might learn the course but you definitely do not have any kind of time to learn setup. AutoX is just good safe fun. Not racing in my opinion. Yes, I'm aware that it is a timed event.
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Old 05-28-2004, 11:16 AM   #6
Dalton
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GordonMurray
DEs, DEs, DEs and more DEs.

Once you are comfortable and signed off to do solo track track (no instructor), then more DEs.

More DEs.

Then go for your club license.....which is what I plan on doing hopefully in 2005 if I get the time. 2005 is looking like a very busy year for me so as of right now it looks like 2005 will be used to acquire and build a new track car, and 2006 will be used for DEs (first half) then acquiring club license second half, once I'm comfortable with the new car. Hopefully run a season 2007. That's the plan at least. PCA by the way, not BMW.
whats DEs?
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Old 05-28-2004, 02:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GordonMurray
I think of AutoX as a hobby, not racing. The reason it's not really that educational to me is because where I go, you get maybe 4 runs. In 4 runs you might learn the course but you definitely do not have any kind of time to learn setup. AutoX is just good safe fun. Not racing in my opinion. Yes, I'm aware that it is a timed event.
Not neccessarily true. During my last autocross I had my tires at 38 psi rear and 36 psi front. I noticed it was real easy to get the tail out so I dropped the rears to 36 as well. Next group of runs I slashed 6 seconds off my time.

You do have enough runs to tune your car at an autocross. Autocross is just as much of a motorsport as road racing.
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Old 05-28-2004, 04:45 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Commander FAT
Not neccessarily true. During my last autocross I had my tires at 38 psi rear and 36 psi front. I noticed it was real easy to get the tail out so I dropped the rears to 36 as well. Next group of runs I slashed 6 seconds off my time.

You do have enough runs to tune your car at an autocross. Autocross is just as much of a motorsport as road racing.
I would go that far. Altering tire pressure can make a significant improvement during a series of AutoX runs, esp. if you were way off initially. I adjust after my first series of runs but considering the short time you spend on course, and the fact that they change every time makes it more of a demonstration that anything else.

You can study a track for years. Not to mention you feel a lot more at the higher rates of speed. I almost never hit 3rd gear in an autocross. Autocross for me is displayed smooth/proper heel/toe and proper braking. That's all it helps me practice. I use heel/toe on the street 100% of the time but I can't brake like an idiot. I also don't drive near the limit on the street like I can in a closed environment. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy AutoX but it is no where near the level of excitement, skill or education of track time.
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Old 05-28-2004, 04:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GordonMurray
I would go that far. Altering tire pressure can make a significant improvement during a series of AutoX runs, esp. if you were way off initially. I adjust after my first series of runs but considering the short time you spend on course, and the fact that they change every time makes it more of a demonstration that anything else.

You can study a track for years. Not to mention you feel a lot more at the higher rates of speed. I almost never hit 3rd gear in an autocross. Autocross for me is displayed smooth/proper heel/toe and proper braking. That's all it helps me practice. I use heel/toe on the street 100% of the time but I can't brake like an idiot. I also don't drive near the limit on the street like I can in a closed environment. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy AutoX but it is no where near the level of excitement, skill or education of track time.
I agree track driving is a bit different than autocross. That's why I'll be doing a driver's school in September...hopefully.
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Old 05-28-2004, 09:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dalton
whats DEs?
http://computer-ease.com/dsfaq.htm
http://peachtreebmwcca.org/DSchool/ds02_prep.asp
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Old 05-28-2004, 11:24 PM   #11
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Step 1: Join the BMWCCA https://www.bmwcca.org/join/membership.shtml

Step 2: Sign up for a couple BMWCCA driving schools to get a feel for driving on track

Step 3: Sign up for a 3 day racing school - Skip Barber or equivalent will run you $3k+ http://www.skipbarber.com/

Step 3a: Get as much track time as you can in anything you can bring to the track. Find as many driving schools as possible and get some hours under your belt.

Step 4: Decide on a budget.

Step 4a: Get some more driving school days in with your favorite car club or BMWCCA chapter.

Step 5: Talk to anyone you can find running in BMWCCA Clubracing, SCCA, and NASA. Find out what class of racing fits your budget. On the low end is something like Spec Miata. An older 1.6 Spec Miata with a trailer could be found for under $10k. The other end of the spectrum is SCCA GT which can run $100k+ for a new and competitive big bore car running in GT1. The enclosed trailer and tow vehicle will run you another $200k. Don't forget to think about expendables such as brakes and tires.

Step 5a: Get some more driving school days in with your favorite car club or BMWCCA chapter.

Step 6: Buy a rule book for the class in which you wish to race. Memorize it.

Step 6a: Get some more driving school days in with your favorite car club or BMWCCA chapter.

Step 7: Buy, borrow, rent, or steal your race car, trailer, and tow vehicle.

Step 7a: Get some more driving school days in with your favorite car club or BMWCCA chapter.

Step 8: Get your racing license. The rule book you memorized will describe in detail the additional racing school(s) you must attend to get your license. You will probably also have to get your car inspected and your logbook checked either at the racing school or prior to your first race weekend.

Step 8a: Get some more driving school days in with your favorite car club or BMWCCA chapter.

Step 9: Go racing. Find an event and register early.
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Old 05-29-2004, 01:51 PM   #12
Dalton
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thanks guys, i will definately check into this stuff...

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Old 05-29-2004, 08:53 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dalton
thanks guys, i will definately check into this stuff...

mark
I also recommend Spec Miata for bang for your buck.

I initially planned on starting with an early model 911 tub and building up, but there are enough 930s/964Ts out there that have already done the majority of work I would have.

My initial purchase budget is $30ish.....35... something like that. $5k for brakes. Tires (x2dry,x1wet)., another set of OEM wheels most likely. Strip it then add the mandatory safety devices/cutoffs.

Add proper gauges (boost, oil temp/press...), Tilton brake bias, et cetera.

You can see how quickly you can break your budget.

TeamDFL is right - budget should be the first thing you decide on. You also need to determine if you plan on racing in Gentlemen's Cup (no paint swapping) or serious series where you have to have spare car money set aside.

Last edited by GordonMurray; 05-29-2004 at 08:56 PM.
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Old 05-29-2004, 11:55 PM   #14
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Hello Dalton,

In addition to the excellent postings of others, I just want to emphasise that you do need to consider what you really want.

You can see my posting on what it takes to be a "racer" here.

Hope this helped.
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Old 05-30-2004, 05:53 PM   #15
Dalton
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Originally Posted by The 330i
Hello Dalton,

In addition to the excellent postings of others, I just want to emphasise that you do need to consider what you really want.

You can see my posting on what it takes to be a "racer" here.

Hope this helped.

Thanks guys, i will definately read up on all this stuff. By "racer" i dont mean professional or anything, it will be more of a hobby. I just put "racer" because i didnt know how else to get the point across in the limited space of the title. However, i'll check this out, thanks for all your help...

Mark
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