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BMW Driving School or CCA School

Discussion in 'Sandlapper Chapter' started by bavariancowboy, Nov 28, 2012.

    • Member

    bavariancowboy

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    Hello.

    I was considering signing up for the two day school with BMW but was wondering if I would get more content for the buck with one of the club events such as an autocross or car control clinic. I do understand that there is a difference between the two so the easy answer would be do both. Just thought I would see if people closer by have an opinion on the two options.

    Ironically this started with an Ultimate Drive event when I signed up for the M3. What an underwhelming moment. Not that there was anything wrong with the car. It just made me realise that the car so exceeded my driving ability that I was wasting its time. I figured that would be a good reason to improve my driving skills to exact the maximum fun from my E60 530i w/ 6 speed.

    Thanks for the input.

    p.s. Some day I will get off my lazy bum and figure out this whole avatar deal.
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    wellardmac Ninja World Traveler

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    There is no substitute for the BMW schools - they will teach you how to really drive your cars, but at the same time the club events are also worthwhile. I would start with the smaller club events, then work up to a BMW school. You won't regret attending any of the events.
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    MGarrison

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    You'll undoubtedly have a great experience whichever you choose; The BMW USA programs are premium priced in really, the dream location for just such an event, with accompanying convenient access to the Zentrum and factory tours, and designed to exceed the premium expectations that go along with the pricing. At a BMWCCA chapter-run driver's school, although you'll be supplying your own vehicle that you'll be driving for the weekend, you'll also have an experienced instructor riding shotgun giving you guidance and instant feedback through every minute of all your track sessions to help you integrate and begin to master the specifics covered in the classroom sessions. Unless one's car needed a substantial amount of work to get prepared to be safe for on-track driving, the total cost for a weekend (driver's school registration fee, typically about $400-$450, roundabouts, plus gas to/at/from the event, pre-tech safety inspection with a brake fluid flush, pads maybe, and two nights at the event headquarters motel, meals, and perhaps other incidental expenses) is likely, perhaps a good bit so, less than just the event fee for the BMW Driver's Program or M-School.

    I think chapter-run schools offer excellent bang for the buck, but if it's in your budget, the M-School should be an unparalleled experience. If you want to drive a manual though, I've heard BMW only offers DCT/auto tranny'd vehicles, as they've found not enough of their customers know how to drive a manual anymore (but, hey, if you opt for an M-School, who's gonna complain about tracking a 400hp M3 regardless of it's tranny). If you want to drive your stick on a track, opt for a BMWCCA chapter-run driver's school.

    If you're at all intimidated by driving at speed, you might consider starting with a car control clinic. However, many beginners and then some have driven away from a 'CCA driver's school weekend making the comment that it was the most fun you can have with your clothes on. ;)

    Auto-crossing is fun, and, in my opinion, can help build one's sense of car control (which I define as sensing what's going on with the car and responding appropriately), but, courses are very short and tight, and for someone just starting with performance driving, it's unlikely you'll learn smoothness from auto-crossing (smoothness is important). Not much track time for a day devoted to the event, typically 3-5 runs where each run is about 30-60 seconds; typical chapter driver's schools schedule 3 half-hour sessions per student each day.

    herbstz4m guest

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    The M-School is DCT cars, but the 1M is a manual.

    Autocrossing and track days are 2 different animals. It's really hard to compare, and give an opinion.

    For me, autocrossing is a lot easier to attend and access around my area. Although our local chapter doesn't do them, I attend SCCA events which are every 2 weeks or so. Combine this with other regions, and I can autocross just about every weekend (which I usually do, sadly).

    As said before, autocrossing is more low speeds (read 2nd gear) and really deals with smooth transitions and knowing the lines. It is easy to learn the limits of your car, which in turn can help on the street, or the track.

    The track is a completely different animal, and you really have to do both to experience what your car can do.
    • Member

    MGarrison

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    I should have mentioned, an auto-x or a 'CCA car-control clinic will be the least expensive of the several options mentioned.
    • Member

    bavariancowboy

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    Thanks for all the discussion and ideas. Looks like I need to make time for some driving events this year as each one highlights a different skill set. I enjoy driving now and can enhance that with greater knowledge and skill. Time to get the calendar out which is a pleasant thought when its -8 outside.
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    Satch SoSoCalifortified

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    Well, I second the car-control clinic. In fact, some chapters require them as a prerequisite for the track schools. And BMW CCA track events ARE schools, not "track days." (The notion of turning untrained yahoos loose on a track makes me shudder.) We are quite proud of our BMW CCA schools, and rightly so!

    But the track can be intimidating. The first thing, I think, is to be comfortable and familiar with your car, whether it's a Mini or a new M5. That's why the CC clinic and autocross are valuable pursuits: You really want to understand the physics and the limits of adhesion.

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