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Motorsports & Track Forum by BimmerWorld
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Old 10-30-2012, 02:55 AM   #1
Aswad 330i
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Thinking of tracking my 330i

Aside as preparation towards tracking my car, I have a quick question. My 330i has a 5 speed and obviously no LSD. Will NOT having a 6 speed tranny and LSD effect me as much as my peers say it would? Most of my friends (e36 and e46) M3 owners who track their cars tell me I will be at a great disadvantage as to if i did have those parts. Now I've heard that an LSD in autocross is a must, but how about a track scenario?
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Old 10-30-2012, 03:07 AM   #2
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Yeah, sounds like the first thing friends would say. The first thing an instructor will tell you is to learn how to drive first then worry about mods. Just make sure all your fluids are in check as well as brakes and tires. Remove your floor matts (if you have any) to keep them from messing with your gas/brake pedals and have a good time!


PS: the mod that makes the biggest difference imo on the track is suspension. Holds back body roll and makes it so youre more confident through turns.
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Old 10-30-2012, 05:49 AM   #3
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Your car just the way it is, is likely much better on the track than you are. You will not be racing other cars, rather learning to drive at high speed.
Do several track days to learn how to drive at high speed before you decide if you need to make changes.

I did 4 track days without a limited slip. It was not as much of an issue on the track as it was in AutoX.
AutoX normally has much slower/tighter turns that will cause the inside rear wheel to spin easier under throttle.
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Old 10-30-2012, 08:06 AM   #4
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PS: the mod that makes the biggest difference imo on the track is suspension. Holds back body roll and makes it so youre more confident through turns.

I'll agree with this in general but I found the mod that made the most impact on my lap times was a good four point harness...

You will be amazed at how much more feedback you get from the car when you are properly strapped to the seat and not bracing yourself against the steering wheel, dead pedal, center console, etc...
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Old 10-30-2012, 11:00 AM   #5
Aswad 330i
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Thanks for the replies guys. Hopefully i'll make it out to Buttonwillow soon and come back in one piece! All the previous nay sayers(aka friends) never do lol. Warped rotors. Broken panels. Cracked headers, melted sensors etc.
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Old 10-30-2012, 11:57 AM   #6
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You will have a blast at your first track day/driver's ed! Don't even think about modding your car right now, your brain will be busy enough just taking in all the info. Just make sure your brakes and fluids are all up to the task and go in with an open mind. Have fun - you will be back!

To add to what GSherbs said, seats (and belts) can make a huge difference, a proper seat will keep you from hanging on to the wheel all the time and keep your butt planted.

Last edited by klax; 10-30-2012 at 12:00 PM.
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Old 10-30-2012, 12:22 PM   #7
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If you are going to track, either expect to ruin your brakes or get some track pads. Last time I was at Buttonwillow I was in an E30 doing 110-120 down the back straight braking hard for the hairpin leading into the esses. Ten or fifteen laps of this will give you brake fade and a healthy dose of pad taper if you are running OE pads. Also bring fluid and bleed brakes every few sessions. Other than that, make sure your cooling system has been kept up and maybe bring a quart or two of oil if your car consumes it.

Now that we got that out of the way, have fun, keep it smooth and don't go too nuts. There is not a lot to hit at BW so just watch it on the front straight.

Since I'm editing I may as well add: the 6 speed offers no benefits on track. The first 5 gears are identical between the two, and you will only be using 2-4.

Last edited by Wh33lhop; 10-30-2012 at 12:26 PM.
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Old 10-30-2012, 12:45 PM   #8
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Check engine, trans, brake and coolant levels.
Check your brakes (all four corners) - you should have at least 50% pad before starting your track day.
Make sure there are no cracks in your brake rotors or any substantial lips/edges.
Inspect your tires and make sure there is good life in them as well (also no cuts gashes or nails/foreign objects).
Check the torque of your wheel bolts.
Remove all items from the car that are loose (anything in the trunk or cabin that could harm you upon impact or move around when you are on course).
Remove your spare tire / inflation kit and all the tools located under the floor in the trunk area.

At most track days there is a technical inspection that occurs prior to your car going on track (most of the time it's in the morning prior to any driver meetings or class room time depending on skill level). I would check to see if this is a part of your upcoming/potential track day as it is not only good for the others on track with you to know that your vehicle is worthy of being on track with at speed but it is a massive part of putting your mind at ease and letting you focus on the task ahead. You will want to adjust your tire pressures for your second or third session - street pressures are a bit too much for track driving as so much temperature gets put into the tire(s) that the pressures will be way too high once you start going fast, but for the first session I'd leave them somewhat close to what you run on the street as you will not be going very quick the first time out of the pits/paddock.

Things to take with you to the track:
jack
jack stands
engine oil
coolant
brake fluid
some tools (basic stuff including a torque wrench)
duct tape and/or detailing tape (the latter is to prevent rock chips / road debris damage to your paint behind front and rear wheels)
water (for you and the car)
gloves (in case you need to touch something hot)
shop towels
camping chair to sit in between sessions
helmet

'Post' track day maintenance should consist of engine oil change, brake fluid flush - the transmission fluid flush would also be a good idea. You will more than likely want to replace your brake pads and possibly rotors 'post' track day as well - after you do a few days you may end up purchasing a set of track day brake pads and rotors (I recommend the Cobalt Friction Technology brake pads, the best out there). Your tires will also have pretty good wear on them after the track day, prepare yourself to purchase new tires 'post' track day.

As some others have stated - a harness is one of the best things you can do for yourself as it lets you focus so much more on what the car is doing and allows you to spend less time bracing yourself inside the car during braking and cornering events.

I'm sure that I have forgotten some things, but I'll post them up when I remember. Oh ya, the most important thing is to HAVE FUN and stay focused - it seems dumb to say but focusing for an entire lap (lap after lap) is harder to do for some. BREATHE and stay calm - don't try to set a fast lap time on your outlap of any session, the results are typically not the greatest for owner and car.
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Old 10-30-2012, 05:39 PM   #9
Bayerische E46
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The first thing I learned after doing real circuit driving was that my friends who had done light auto crossing or driving schools were stupid.

Seriously.

Change your fluids (if they haven't been changed in some time; otherwise, just top them off), torque your lug nuts, make sure you have more than half of your pads left, and go drive. Nothing else is necessary.

Last edited by Bayerische E46; 10-30-2012 at 05:41 PM.
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Old 10-30-2012, 06:06 PM   #10
scca_ziptie
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Originally Posted by Bayerische E46 View Post
The first thing I learned after doing real circuit driving was that my friends who had done light auto crossing or driving schools were stupid.

Seriously.

Change your fluids (if they haven't been changed in some time; otherwise, just top them off), torque your lug nuts, make sure you have more than half of your pads left, and go drive. Nothing else is necessary.
Tire pressures?
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Old 10-30-2012, 07:39 PM   #11
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I'm in the group that says make minimal changes to your car for the first couple of DE weekends. Your 330 has surprisingly good brakes; you might begin to notice some fade due to boiling the fluid toward the end of your first weekend, so you might consider flushing with a high temperature brake fluid, like ATE Superblue. Make sure your brake pads have at least 1/2 of the pad left and all fluids topped off and you will be good to go. If you continue driving events, then consider track pads (I swap pads before/after each DE weekend), a harness (quick change works good for weekends), and suspension changes (sway bars, springs, struts). Probably the last thing you want to do will be track tires (R-compounds).
Oh, those friends who said your 5-speed would not be good for the track.... yeah, right! The first 5 gears in the 6-speed are exactly the same as the 5 gears in the 5-speed. I can pretty well guarantee you that you would never have a use for 6th ("overdrive"), so for track use, a 5-speed is exactly the same as a 6-speed.
have fun and be safe.
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Last edited by GrayGhost; 10-30-2012 at 07:40 PM.
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Old 10-31-2012, 08:45 AM   #12
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I agree with all of the above, but don't worry too much about replacing all the brake/tire stuff post-track that scca_ziptie mentioned unless you're a lot closer to the end than 50%. Being your first time out you probably won't scrub off that much tire to warrant replacement, I'd estimate I only used ~10% of the total tread my first time out (2 day HPDE). I did also use up the last of my rotors but I knew they were nearing the end of their life going in so had planned on that.

Also might want to add diff flush to the engine oil, brake and tranny fluids change after wards if it has been a while.

Few other small tips I found helpful but noticed aren't always disclosed by instructors/classroom teachers:
-Do not use parking brake when coming back in from a session, the extremely hot system can leave deposits and you'll get significant vibration
-On the cool down lap, actually use it to cool down. Your car will thank you. (Mostly the brakes, I'd recommend sticking with 2nd gear/low 3rd for the whole lap to get some airflow over them without applying more heat by using them)
-Another trick for securing yourself in since you don't have a harness is to move your seat back an inch or two, tighten the seatbelt, then jerk it to activate the lock and move your seat back to your driving position. This will help cinch you in so your not floating around as much using the wheel for support
-Leave your DSC/TC on. It will help you be more smooth which = fast. Also a little more peace of mind having the assistance if you get yourself in trouble.
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Old 10-31-2012, 03:18 PM   #13
Bayerische E46
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Tire pressures?
Naaah. Overkill.





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Old 10-31-2012, 04:56 PM   #14
scca_ziptie
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Naaah. Overkill.

Hahaha!


Quote:
Originally Posted by GT172I View Post
I agree with all of the above, but don't worry too much about replacing all the brake/tire stuff post-track that scca_ziptie mentioned unless you're a lot closer to the end than 50%. Being your first time out you probably won't scrub off that much tire to warrant replacement, I'd estimate I only used ~10% of the total tread my first time out (2 day HPDE). I did also use up the last of my rotors but I knew they were nearing the end of their life going in so had planned on that.

Also might want to add diff flush to the engine oil, brake and tranny fluids change after wards if it has been a while.

Few other small tips I found helpful but noticed aren't always disclosed by instructors/classroom teachers:
-Do not use parking brake when coming back in from a session, the extremely hot system can leave deposits and you'll get significant vibration
-On the cool down lap, actually use it to cool down. Your car will thank you. (Mostly the brakes, I'd recommend sticking with 2nd gear/low 3rd for the whole lap to get some airflow over them without applying more heat by using them)
-Another trick for securing yourself in since you don't have a harness is to move your seat back an inch or two, tighten the seatbelt, then jerk it to activate the lock and move your seat back to your driving position. This will help cinch you in so your not floating around as much using the wheel for support
-Leave your DSC/TC on. It will help you be more smooth which = fast. Also a little more peace of mind having the assistance if you get yourself in trouble.

The advice of not using your parking brake after coming off course is a very good one and I would echo those comments/suggestions as well - you will burn the brake pad into the rotor and you won't be a happy camper afterwords. The same goes for the cool down lap, as 'GT' mentioned - a lot of people don't actually use it to "cool down" but it is in your best interest to do so. Also a good thing to pop the hood once you are back in the paddock to help some of the heat evacuate from the engine compartment.
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Old 11-04-2012, 11:42 AM   #15
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If you are going to track, either expect to ruin your brakes or get some track pads. Last time I was at Buttonwillow I was in an E30 doing 110-120 down the back straight braking hard for the hairpin leading into the esses. Ten or fifteen laps of this will give you brake fade and a healthy dose of pad taper if you are running OE pads. Also bring fluid and bleed brakes every few sessions. Other than that, make sure your cooling system has been kept up and maybe bring a quart or two of oil if your car consumes it.


E30 brakes overheat much easier than e46 330 brakes so thats probably why yours were ruined so easily. I wouldnt say track pads are necessary.
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Old 11-04-2012, 07:00 PM   #16
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E30 brakes overheat much easier than e46 330 brakes so thats probably why yours were ruined so easily. I wouldnt say track pads are necessary.
E46 330 brakes are essentially the same size as E46 M3 brakes. Only single piston, but same rotor diameter and pad size, so the 330 is very well equipped in the brake department. I would not bother with track pads on your first DE weekend. If you decide you like tracking your car, then you can consider track pads in the future.
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Old 11-04-2012, 08:11 PM   #17
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Aside as preparation towards tracking my car, I have a quick question. My 330i has a 5 speed and obviously no LSD. Will NOT having a 6 speed tranny and LSD effect me as much as my peers say it would? Most of my friends (e36 and e46) M3 owners who track their cars tell me I will be at a great disadvantage as to if i did have those parts. Now I've heard that an LSD in autocross is a must, but how about a track scenario?
Lack of a 6-speed is probably not a factor. The 1-5 gear ratios are essentially the same. I have never even thought about using 6th, and I typically shift into 5th just to keep the RPMs down a little at the end of the straight (HPDE, not racing).

I did the LSD swap before my first trackday, so that I can't say. It was a godsend in my previous trackday car, which was FWD, so I did it right away in the BMW.
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Old 11-05-2012, 10:21 AM   #18
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If you plan to track long term, securing the oil pump nut is an absolute must. Might not kill you when you start out but when you get faster and keep the engine closer to redline...it will bite you in the arse.

Stay far away from FI.

While an LSD is not a must, it is an awesome upgrade.

A 6sp is a total waste. I've never been in 6th gear on the track. Its also heavier and more expensive to fix. Smart M3 guys actually swap in the much lighter, more durable, cheaper, and rebuildable 5sp from a non-M.
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Old 11-05-2012, 07:15 PM   #19
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The highest gear I ever hit was 5, at Autoclub speedway on the front straight. 6spd is pointless. Learn with what you have, see what you feel is off and go from there. Don't compete until you know how.
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Old 11-12-2012, 12:44 AM   #20
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Ditto on never using 6th gear.

LSD is great for autocross but not essential on a road-circuit. Definitely not essential and safer not to have one while you're getting started.

Its always super easy to add an LSD down the road if you want one, but I would recommend just not even wasting your time until you're 100% sure that spinning your inside wheel is a problem and driving you nuts.
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