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Driving school, What to expect?

Discussion in 'Driving Schools' started by flyfll, Apr 29, 2008.

    MWOQ guest

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    Hi, I will attend BMW Performance School, and I 'm looking for a basic piece of advice in driving. I know this will sound dumb! I know all you perfomance guys run manual shifts, right, but I, sorry folks, have a 2007 328I ( E92??) with auto-trannie "steptronic" shifter. When my wife lets me loose and I approach a corner fast, I downshift the steptronic (giving really pleasing rev sounds), gun it at the apex, and don't require brakes at all, or maybe just a touch.
    Question is, will the instructors say I'm doing it wrong, using the engine and transmission to slow? Should I use brakes exclusively and only downshift when all the slowing is complete?
    At my age I should know how to drive, but I'd really like advice here so I can practive for the school,. Thanks
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    MGarrison

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    You might want to read this thread -

    http://www.bmwcca.org/forum/showthread.php?t=1825

    If you're not using your brakes much, you're placing the strain on your engine & drivetrain - may work to slow down the car, but at the expense of wear and tear on those expensive-to-service-and-replace components.

    You will learn far more about it in class and on the track when you start your school, but, generally, you should brake up to your turn-in point, and get your downshifts done under braking, before initiating your turn. Ideally you want to get your shifting done without upsetting the attitude of the car, and you want your transitions into the brakes and coming off the brakes as you begin the turn and through the turn to be smoothly and seamlessly tied together.
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    az3579

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    I've done that too and have been told I'm doing it wrong. I learned the error of my ways. They told me I have to squeeze the throttle on. If you literally mash the pedal at the apex, you risk the car becoming unbalanced with the addition of this sudden throttle and you could very possibly spin if too much power is being applied. If you squeeze the power on, you won't risk disturbing the car's balance as much. Also, I gather from what you wrote that you're using only downshifting to slow down? You could be a lot faster if you used your regular brakes. It would allow you to brake later and therefore be faster through the turn.

    Same thing with smooth turning. I used to jerk the wheel to turn in, which is bad. Turn the wheel smoothly and evenly not to disturb the car.


    As MGarrison said, putting unnecessary wear and strain on the engine and driveline is not a good idea. I don't know about you, but replacing brake pads/rotors is a HELLUVA lot cheaper than servicing the engine and driveline components.
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    CRKrieger

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    From an instructor ... both of these guys are correct.

    Smoothness is your goal. Brake to slow your car and then, like all of us manual gearbox guys, do your downshifting while you brake, but don't use the engine & gearbox to slow the car. That way, your shifting doesn't upset the car. Accelerate deliberately past the apex (assuming a Type I turn - which all of them at Road America are; some tracks will require other methods for the other types of turns) and upshift as you usually do from there.

    MWOQ guest

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    driving school

    Thanks fellows, I'll practice that and be ready!

    alekseykorzun guest

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    Few questions as I plan on going, will I get made fun of in 1995 540i? Since most of you are in 200x or ////m cars?

    Also, if my car has automatic is that ok /is there still alot to learn?

    And finally, how dangerous is it to attend novice autocross in terms of car damage?
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    MGarrison

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    No, they don't park their cars to form a long gauntlet aisle that you have to drive down while everyone else flashes their lights at you, honks, points, snickers, laughs, and tosses disparaging marks in your direction about you and your car. :p

    Just don't be shy - introduce yourself, explain it's your first time, find some experienced people, ask questions; I'd expect you'll get suggestions, tips, & help galore.

    No problem - if you have a sport mode, you might want to use that.

    Are you going to a driver's school, or auto-x? Chance for damage at an auto-x I'd say is very little. I think most events suggest which basic mechanical things you should doublecheck beforehand.
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    CRKrieger

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    ROTFLMAO! You ought to see the pieces of crap that Marshall and I drive! Oh wait! You can! Mine is that ratty '87 535is in my avatar. What you can't see is how my suspension is totally whacked. And Marshall's is his avatar, too, only he's done that 'color-shifting' to mask the fact that it's A.) a 'matte' Bronzit E30 and B.) beat to shit just like mine.

    Look, you've got enough personal intimidation issues to deal with without worrying about your car - which happens to be one of the more powerful ones anyone will have out there the day of your school. Forget comparisons! Some guys will be faster than you in 'slower' cars and some will be slower than you in 'faster' cars. But you aren't competing with anyone. You are there to learn; and it will stun you how much you learn the very first time out. One thing you'll learn is that this is incredibly addictive, so you'll want to come back.
    Just wait ... ;)
    Not at all. If you find a way to damage your car at an autocross, you had to be working at it.

    alekseykorzun guest

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    Thanks for your answers guys, I got physical done yesterday and going to mail my information over after I get passport pictures done :)!
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    MGarrison

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    lol CR!

    Hey, is it my fault somebody before me repainted only a door, rear quarter panel, and part of the roof?? :p :D
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    CRKrieger

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    Hey, if I had a Bronzit anything, I'd get me a garage broom and a couple gallons of blue housepaint and do a color change. I hate Bronzit ... but you I like.
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    MGarrison

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    Whew! Thank God I'm not Bronzit! :p
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    CRKrieger

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    You should see how nasty it gets over in MyE28.com. The big difference is, we have a 'puke' smiley to use along with the slogan, "Friends don't let friends drive Bronzit." :D
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    MGarrison

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    hehe! :D Well, obviously I don't mind Bronzit - I'll take it over a lot of other colors; I always thought the dark burgundy metallic was a really nice color - have seen a few gr8 looking E30's in that color.

    Emre guest

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    Hi, Rick.

    I've organized tons of track events with the BMW Club over the years, and I've been asked this question a million times. I wrote a pretty detailed article about what to expect, what to bring, and how to prepare for your first driving school. Check out this link:

    Getting Ready for Your First High-Performance Driving School

    Please feel free to ask if you have any other questions.
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    CRKrieger

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    The one thing I see conspicuously missing from this once-again-resurrected-from-the-dead thread is the Moroso-specific warning I got when autocrossing there a number of years ago:

    If your car goes into the lake, don't get out until the cornerworkers get there. Otherwise, you run the risk of getting eaten by gators. :eek:

    They might have been kidding ... :confused:

    dstadt guest

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    Yikes! Gators. :eek:

    Lacey Underall guest

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    Lots of good info here already regarding the basics. To touch on some other car related topics; decide whether you're going the SPORT button on or off route and stick with it for a while (practice practice). Not sure if your M3 is a Comp or not, but I actually like the M Dynamic mode for track use (Comp only). Other than its ridiculously sensitive nature in first gear, I always use the SPORT button once I get to second gear (manual tranny car). The extra throttle sensitivity makes for perfect heal/n/toe action. With SPORT off, this is much more difficult. The trade off with the SPORT button is corner exits with traction turned completely off. Be careful if it's your first time out with this combo. The M3 will transition to throttle oversteer quite easily (tire dependant) and unfortunately a few M3's fell victim to snap oversteer at Road America last week (no major shunts, but a few missing bumpers). Usually better to start with traction on and remember where you feel power being cut (much easier with the regular DSC and less so in M mode). Once you go traction off, be aware that these are the exact locations where nice even/smooth throttle inputs will keep the rear in check. The car will allow wonderful exit drifts once you get comfortable, but both the throttle and steering inputs need to be quick to stay ahead of the weight transitions. Good luck, have fun and remember to breath.

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