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Road race advice please

Old 07-09-03, 09:43 AM
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Road race advice please

I need some advice on how to improve my lap times... I have essentially a M2 stage 3 setup (approx 310 rwhp) on my FD + Gab struts/ eibach springs/ 4.3 ring and pinion. I have pilot sport tires on 17" wheels.

I went to a local track (Mosport - http://www.mosport.com/ ) with a couple of friends. One of them had a 2002 M3 and beat my lap times by a wide margin. I ran a 1:53 and he ran a 1:47. Our instructor took my car around in 1:46 and the M3 around in 1:44. He claimed that the BMW automatic skid control was what made the margin so wide (we have similar capabilities as drivers and the cars are fairly evenly matched).

Besides better skills (which I will obviously work on) what do you think would most improve lap times? I am considering some hoosiers for grip - is there anything else that might help (diffusers, chassis stiffeners etc?)

Thanks
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Old 07-09-03, 10:04 AM
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Forget the aero.

Driver is the first thing (you know this). How many sessions have you done? You might be surprised at how quickly seconds fall off as you gain experience. It's the last second or two that's hard to come by. Guessing by the relative lap times of the instructor in each car it might be assumed that your friend is getting more out of the Bimmer than you are out of your car. He's only 3 seconds of the instructors time while you're 7 seconds off what the instructor did in your car. If you want to upgrade start with tires, tires, tires. Then shocks. What kind of rubber was the M3 on?

Chris
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Old 07-09-03, 10:21 AM
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BMW is all stock (Continentals, I think). The instructor, I should point out he teaches the local BMW driving school and had never driven an FD - he actually said that he could make up those few seconds with a few more laps under his belt.

You're right that my friend is getting more out of the BMW - but I suspect (hope) it is the skid control. He is screeching around every corner and the FD is almost silent. Apparently the skid control kicks in on every turn. If I had more ***** (practice) I think it would be much closer.

Thanks for the advice.
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Old 07-09-03, 10:29 AM
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Tip: Mount a video camera in your car so that you can study your laps later on. If your friend does the same then you can compare.

Just a thought.

Ramon
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Old 07-09-03, 10:41 AM
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The job of the driver once the car is on the track is to drive the vehicle to its performance limits. If it's a BMW, FD or an apple cart it doesn't matter. If you already realize you are not able to "max out" the car as it is now, there is no reason to seek improvement of the car.

Improving the driver is easier, cheaper and ultimately pays off much more than improving the car because when you improve the driver you can put him in any car and still be fast.

Track driving is seriously fun, but don't put so much weight on your lap times when you are beginning. There is a lot of discovery involved if you have never done it before, and diligent students will always eventually surpass the guys who are just naturally quick yet do nothing to improve themselves. There's a big learning curve and you will only climb it so fast; be patient and enjoy the ride.
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Old 07-09-03, 11:23 AM
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Do not buy the Hoosiers. You will be wasting your money. In fact, don't spend a dime on any equipment (other than what's necessary). To reiterate what everyone has already said, the driver is ultimately what makes the biggest difference in racing. The best thing you can do? More seat time, more seat time, more seat time.

I'm sure you're not pushing the limits of your brakes and not taking advantage of the powerband in your car. With your current setup, your car should be a fair amount faster than a bone stock '02 M3. Once the driver catches up to the car, I think you'll find a much different story the next time around.
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Old 07-09-03, 02:29 PM
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Mosport is one of North America's most difficult tracks to tame. No professional driver for as long as I can remember has claimed that they had mastered it. Experience is key. Lapping days are readily available and a good investment. Follow the more seasoned drivers to pick up braking points, lines, etc. PM me if you want some pointers from the passenger seat. Last time I was there I dropped in to Two in pouring rain at full song, that'll knot your stomach. As for R-rated tires, the more you achieve before you switch to them the learning curve will lessen with them. You'll see a substantial difference once you feel confident you're ready for them.

Also, I have access to cage building services in Toronto should you or your friends want something simple or radical. We're doing an FD currently and my TII is a work of art.

Cheers, happy cornering
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Old 07-09-03, 02:42 PM
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Thanks everyone - I was amazed at how little I really taxed the car and how little confidence I had into turns 2 and 4 - so your analysis is no doubt bang on.

As far as the M3 goes (and to your point racerjason) the instructor said that if my friend took the traction control off he would put himself in wall before he got around the track once. I'll definately get in touch with you the next time I am going in. By the way - I probably lost a few seconds on turn two alone.

Anyone who is heading to Mosport let me know.
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Old 07-10-03, 10:38 PM
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Just curious, but is the M3 an E36 or E46. I have have no trouble with E36 M3s, but E46 M3s are another matter...

Other tips I have: invest in four/five-point harnesses; upgrade your suspension, tires, and brakes; and I echo the previous posts regarding seat-time...it's the key to going faster.
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Old 07-11-03, 06:02 AM
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It's an E46. I think my suspension is as upgraded as it will get for the time being, M2 ap brakes up front so I think I really have to just get better. I saw a few cars that had no business being in the low 1:40's at this track so I think everyone else is right - seat time.

MCF
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Old 07-11-03, 06:17 AM
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Ahh, E46...those are quick cars out of the box...despite their heavy curb weights (3400 lbs I think)...
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Old 07-11-03, 11:57 AM
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Work on getting more seat time right now. You'll NEVER get enough seat time.

I just returned in June from a trip to WGi, Mosport and Mont Tremblant. Never had been to Mosport and REALLY loved it. We ran with Trillium BMW.

To show you and FD's potential, I was there with another instructor friend whose car is very similar to mine and we clicked off laps in the 1:32-1:34 range.

Tips:
Keep practicing, don't dwell on times right now, but keep working on technique. Learn heel and toe so it is second nature. Learn to keep your vision WAY down track. Practice this during street driving so it becomes second nature. Did I mention getting a lot of laps? <g>

Keep this up and your buddie's BMW will be in your mirrors with no other car mods.
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Old 07-17-03, 01:19 AM
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Mirroring everyone else's thoughts...

Seat time, seat time..

Hoosiers will cut time for sure, but if you don't have enough seat time they will ultimately hurt you.

You might play with alignment, shock settings and tire pressure. A little negative camber might help along with some suspension setting to give you the slightest amount of understeer. Some oversteer is great for auto-x, on the track swapping ends isn't a confidence inspiring handling trait.
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Old 09-06-03, 06:16 AM
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Thanks for your help guys... Went out again and consistently dropped a full 7 seconds from my time (1:46) and I think I have plenty of room to go. The only thing I changed was the alignment. The M3 Is running 1:45. Next time I think I will have him in my back pocket.
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Old 09-06-03, 03:30 PM
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Just think... if you ran consistent 1:46's last weekend in the Regional Sprints there you would have placed mid-pack, 20th out of 40 entries A bunch of us are going next weekend for the Grand Am Cup weekend (Come on up!), lots of great sights, last weekend there was great rotary representation including 23racer from this board.

Cheers, Jason
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Old 09-06-03, 08:44 PM
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racerjason - I'd love to come out - but must manage the family time with a couple of kids under five... I will contact you next time I'm going out (and if I choose to cage the car). Thanks again.

MCF
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Old 09-24-03, 04:39 AM
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Just keep asking yourself was that the fastest I could have gone throgh with my ability? if not figure way out to improve, if so ask if you can repeat it every time. Don't get into ego trip with your friends and their new car thing, focus on yourself and try to concentrate and keep a mental note of what you are doing so you can analyze later. A camara is a great idea.
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Old 09-26-03, 05:45 PM
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Yeah just give your self some time to get used to the track and try to work on your lap times for now. As it's been said most of auto x is based on the driver. I would say just keep pratcing and see how you do over a little of time.
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