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Driver's School - Expected Budget Starting From Scratch

Discussion in 'Driving Schools' started by Eights-n-Aces, Jan 30, 2011.

    Eights-n-Aces guest

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    I'm planning for my first driver's school event and was curious what sort of cost I should expect for the major items... (Event cost, helmet, tech inspection, etc...) I'm just looking for the minimum to get started.
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    steven s

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    It all varies. Here is a good thread.
    http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=199661

    Some shops do tech for free if combined with other service and some even do it for free if you are a regular customer. I'd expect tech to be a minimum charge for 1 hour.

    Helmets.
    My last Bell was around $260.00.
    I do not suggest mail order unless you know specifically what make, model, size and Snell rating.
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    Brian A

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    You can rent helmets at some tracks too, so you might check first. Renting a helmet is about $25. Some organizations (BMW CCA?) allow motorcycle helmets.

    +1 re Tech Inspection. My local shop is very active in the club and does free tech inspections for club members.

    EDIT:
    Another thing to say is, Just Do It!!! The hardest part of doing a track day is showing up. You will have an absolute blast!
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    tiFreak

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    if you're allowed to use an M rated helmet (motorcycle helmet) you can get a open- face G-Force helmet for $100 at saferacer.com
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    MGarrison

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    Welcome to the forums (&/or the club), and apparently, eventually, 'CCA Driver's Schools!

    Most BMWCCA Driver's school registration fees (that I'm aware of) are less than $500 for the weekend. Figure around $400 or so.

    Unless you like sharing sweat, get your own helmet - Make sure it's the appropriate Snell rating. Doublecheck with whoever hosts your event, some chapters have loaner helmets, some don't.

    If you have a relatively current model, tech inspection & prep shouldn't be too expensive. Perhaps as little as a brake fluid flush. But, who knows, maybe you need pads, rotors, other fluids changed, etc. Depends on your car, its mileage, condition, etc. If you have an older model, you might have to spend some money to get it track-worthy. At a minimum, I would guess most shops would charge at least 1 hr for a tech inspection and maybe a brake-fluid flush. Probably would be wise to budget for more, as there may be other things requiring attention. Let's see.... brake fluid + labor time including the tech check.... if one hour, probably more than $100 but less than $200 for an indy shop, which rates are probably, generally, close to $100/hr, and dealerships are (probably) more than $100/hr.

    No reason to jump on the 'mods bandwagon' as it were, you'll learn more starting out if your car is a relatively stock configuration on stock tires. There's probably a minimum tread-depth requirement, and that is probably a whole lot less than what would be safe to drive to and from the event with in the rain. In other words, you'll want some tires with some tread life on them (certainly enough to get you there, through the weekend, and home), but you don't need new tires just for the event. Considering the tread-depth of brand new tires, new might be less than ideal for a track event anyway.

    Peruse some of the other threads here too for additional info -

    http://bmwcca.org/forum/showthread.php?t=1450

    An update to this thread on helmets - get a Snell 2010 rated helmet if buying new, now.
    http://bmwcca.org/forum/showthread.php?t=748

    Other costs - gas for the weekend (always start each morning with a full tank) plus whatever it takes to get there and back, food & sundries moola, and motel/hotel expense for the weekend. Many chapters get a group room rate, so check on that, and don't dawdle, get in on it early while available, if the chapter's doing a group rate. You don't have to wait to hear from the organizers about the school to make your room reservation, as room reservations are up to you.

    You may need some basic tools - torque wrench, tire gauge, possibly a portable tire inflator or air-tank (air should be available or you can borrow from others); others will likely have a jack and jack stands, in the seemingly unlikely event you'd have to swap tires around the car. But, those are something to consider.

    You'll likely want a collapsible chair, and a tarp &/or bins to wrap/stow things in, in case of inclement weather (your car will have to be emptied of everything at the track, including floormats).

    Pack & prepare for weather contingencies. Cooler + fluids for hydration & comfort. Not every track has breakfast chow, or chow, period - check, and plan accordingly. No fun to be starving by mid-day because you didn't snag anything before-hand. Bug-spray, sunscreen, hat, advil/tylenol, etc. etc. Once you sign up, you'll get a basic info packet, but generally, they'll recommend/require 100% cotton clothing, and no open-toed shoes. You'll want some un-clunky tennis-type shoe. It may be obvious, but no alcohol consumption at the track during the event; as an aside, hangovers and track driving don't make for a good combination or weekend.

    Have fun! :D
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    Brian A

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    To MGarrison,

    Thanks for spending so much time documenting stuff like the above. It really helps us all. Glad you're back on the forums.
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    MGarrison

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    Thx Brian, just glad to be able to offer anything that's of help!
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    granthr

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    Very helpful, I am thinking of my first driving school this season!! Are motorcycle helmets allowed? Are mufflers required? I am serious here, I plan to take my 318i to my first event and currently I have it piped with no muffler, just the cat. Easy swap though if need be. :D
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    steven s

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    It depends. Check with your chapter.
    Instructors and students need to communicate with each other. Even with an intercom, it could be difficult without an muffler. Most chapters allow Snell M helmets. It is their decision to set minimum standards.
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    granthr

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    Thank you! It does help with knowing when to shift! :D The car is so quiet with it on.
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    CRKrieger

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    God and BMW gave you a tach. Use it. Otherwise, everything Marshall said. Don't regard stuff like brake fluid flush and pad changes as driver school costs. You needed to do that anyway. ;)

    Eights-n-Aces guest

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    I have a full face motorcycle helmet but I'm sure its not properly rated so I'll probably buy another one. I want to try it on before buying but I'm having trouble finding a store in the Ft. Lauderdale / Miami area. If anyone has some suggestions, let me know.

    I have a 2010 E93 and a 2002 E46. I would probably use the E46. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any available sessions in S. Florida.
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    granthr

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    Is that what that is! :p I know I have a tach, but why not let your ears do that function for you, then you can keep your eyes on the road.

    The car has pretty fresh pads and rotors and it gets Ate type 200 brake fluid changes every year.
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    steven s

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    Eyes up. Not glancing down except on the straights to check you gauges.
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    CRKrieger

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    You don't shift in the turns ... :p
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    steven s

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    I did once. Won't make that mistake again.
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    Brian A

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    Rental helmets aren't THAT bad (I had to rent one last track day.) It takes 10 track days to pay for a helmet compared to renting. That is a lot.

    I am surprised you are advising this as the primary means. As an instructor, don't you usually advise students that it is better to learn the sound? I guess if a car doesn't have a rev limiter, it's important to use the tach. A interesting shift indicator on an older car: http://bmwcca.org/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=2341&size=big&cat=&ppuser=147
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    granthr

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    Ah yes, when that extra rpm and power gets very expensive and short lived!! :D

    I rarely use the tach, I know my engines pretty well at this point. And yes my whole point was that if you can hear it is more time your eyes are on the road.

    With a heavily insulated helmet on my head, with the muffler on the car it will be harder to hear where the motor is in its range.

    However don't get me wrong, when I sign up for my first track, I will talk to the hosting chapter. If they prefer the muffler on the car it will go back on, no fuss from me. I don't want to irritate anyone (just CR), especially on my first track day.
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    CRKrieger

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    I didn't advise that as the primary means. I advised it in lieu of lots of noise. I also don't advise driving by the rev limiter. Most BMWs run out of more usable power well below redline. The best way to shift is to feel when the car isn't accelerating as strongly and then shift. Still, at certain points on the track, having a reference rpm is helpful and can indicate improvement (if you're passing the same point at progressively higher rpm).
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    steven s

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    That is true although there are variations.

    I will generally glance down at my speed just before the uphill esses at VIR.
    Why? Because with each lap I gradually enter a bit quicker.
    I also know I am comfortable with one speed with an instructor and need to back it off just a little when solo.

    For my rpms, I generally compare shift points when tracking out as a reference.
    Different techniques work differently for different people.

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