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First timer and have some questions!

Discussion in 'Oktoberfest 2010' started by sadcaper, Jun 16, 2010.

    sadcaper guest

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    Hey all-

    Well I'm tentatively planning on attending my first ever BMCCA event at O'Fest this year. I used to own a E36 M3 about 10 years ago, but sold it and was driving various trucks up until a few months ago when I picked up a 2001 M5 S3. Needless to say I'm in LOVE.

    I've never been to a track day, never been to a car control clinic, never been to an autocross...basically a newbie around a track. However, I'm excited to get out there and drive this car the way it's meant to be driven!

    So I'm interested in possibly the M1 package, which includes one day of driving school, car control clinic and autocross. However, I most likely can't make it for the whole week. I was thinking more of a Thursday-Saturday thing. I do see that I won't be able to track on the weekend due to my lack of experience, so I'll need to get everything done Thursday and Friday.

    So let me know if this sounds like an acceptable schedule and if it will work as I'm not sure how long everything takes...

    Driving School
    Movie (maybe)
    Heavy drinking

    Heavy drinking

    Head out

    Does this sound doable? I wouldn't mind attending the car control clinic, but not sure I can make it work only being there two days. If I can't, then it would be better to just buy day passes and separate entries into the school and autocross...correct? So that would be $250 for school, $35 for autocross, $50 for Thursday pass and $75 for Friday pass for a total of $410. Is that right?

    If the car control clinic is something I should really do, maybe I could do that along with the autocross on Thursday and then the drivings chool on Friday? I was trying to do the autocross after driving school though.

    Sorry for the newbie questions but I really have no idea what to expect or how long events take or if you can do stuff in between events or if you can come and go as you please etc etc etc.

    Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
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    You'd better check to see if there are any driver school novice openings left. If so, then do it. The school should include some basic car control stuff, although it would be better if you had the cc school first.

    I think there are slots left for the Friday autocross, but I wouldn't delay too much on that, either. As the autocross chair, I can tell you that I'm seriously considering splitting the classes into half days, so you would only be scheduled for morning or afternoon, but I do not know what the car control school schedule will be. It might be possible to do both in one day.

    For all of this, I can see your excitement, but don't let it get the best of you (nor the "Heavy drinking" either - our days start early and it's physically demanding to deal with the handful of adrenaline spikes you're likely to see). Check your ego at the gate and be prepared for a steep learning curve. If you're anything like me (I started doing this stuff at O'Fest '88), everything you thought you knew about driving is wrong; probably right down to your seating position. So approach this as one of the most intense learning experiences you'll ever have. The first driver school and your first autocross are where you will learn more in one day than you will on any other day of your later experience. At least you will if you're paying attention.

    So come on out, look me up, and relax. Take things as they come and don't get too intense about it. We're all here to have fun.

    sadcaper guest

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    Hey thanks for the quick reply.

    I'll take a look at the openings and see what's available. Hopefully there is as it would be a shame for me to miss this as I live in MN and am relatively close!

    Yeah...the "heavy drinking" thing was just me joking around. While I'm sure I will have a few at the bar to unwind, I don't plan on overindulging!

    Also really no ego or expectations about my skill level. I realize I'm a complete novice and that's why I'm excited to check something like this out and hopefully get better at driving the Beast! I've always wanted to attend a track session, and now I'm finally making it happen. Can't wait.

    I'll let you know if there are spots open and when I register. I'm trying to get my buddy to come with me as he loves this stuff too and the wife has ZERO interest! Pretty standard!

    Thanks again!
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    The driving school event would be the full day for sure. There _might_ be a time slot during the driving school lunchtime or afternoon where you wouldn't be in a classroom session when you could fit in a kart run, depending on whatever the karting is (maybe some sort of competitive or timed-run event, or just laps for fun). But, you wouldn't want to miss one of your track sessions due to trying to get in a kart run (well, at least I wouldn't).

    As far as schedule goes, Friday is the day for M3's to autocross, so your car would be scheduled to run Thursday. That means you'd have to do driver's school Friday or Wednesday. And that's assuming at this point the driver's school schedule isn't already full (these events fill up early - for instance, the Osthoff sold out it's block of O'Fest rooms many months ago). I know it might be a disappointment to discover such schedule constraints or the driver's school already being sold out; as with just about any event with multiple options, the sooner you sign up the more that will be available.

    The auto-x would be the bulk of the day, running to, most-likely, to mid-afternoon. Almost assuredly done by 5, likely done by 4, and very possibly wrapped up by 3. Depends on how long the course is, how many entrants there are (& how well they run the course - hitting cones consumes time for them to get re-set). For the auto-x & driver's school, you would plan to be at the event for the full course of it, although departure for lunch might be possible, but probably not necessary - the food concession at Road America is very good.

    There's threads on this board discussing what to expect for an auto-x, and driver's school. It should be noted in I'd think a few places, but you'll be emptying the car, so bring a tarp (big enough) to cover stuff in case of rain (including floor & trunk mats), a collapsible chair, small cooler with hydration (no alcohol allowed during driving events), sunscreen, etc, plus a tire gauge, and so on. READ ALL the tabs about the events on the O'Fest site here and that will get you primed.

    Here's only a couple of the driver's school & auto-x links -


    The main event Friday evening to cap-off the week is the banquet; if you're there Friday, I would recommend that, as the banquet is one of the traditional and integral parts of every O'fest.

    The car control clinic is a morning into-the-afternoon event as well, so I don't see how you'd have a chance to fit that in unless you came to do that Wed.

    Undoubtedly there's plenty of opportunity for libation in the evenings at O'Fest, but note that hangovers and driving events are neither a good nor safe mix for you or anybody else. High horsepower cars on Road America's long straights can reach speeds in excess of 130-150mph - be assured that the driving school will require 110% of your focus and attention, and that you'll be worn out by the end of a long day - (you'll probably be getting up at 6-6:30 am, or earlier, in order to be at the track in enough time to empty your car before the student's meeting, which will probably be around 8:00am). It's a long day, outside, and potentially hot & muggy, so it definitely behooves one to be fresh and on their game for both the driver's school & auto-x.

    It should be mentioned in the driving-school materials, but make sure you come to O'Fest with a new (but fully bedded-in) set of brake pads on your car if you're doing the driver's school. Road America's long straights can really use up the brake pads, and you don't want to find yourself out-of-brakes mid-day (or worse, on-track) and trying to hunt up a set of pads for your car. Just to be sure, it's worthwhile to bring along an extra set of front pads. Road America is NOT a track you want to run, even for a day, on pads worn down to 1/2. You'll see it on the driver's school materials and forms, but part of your car's prep and track tech will also be a recent brake fluid flush, among many other checks. Get that done early enough so you have time to get anything fixed, and/or parts ordered in, without being pressed for time. The brake-fluid flush is more ideally done closer to the event (say, 2 weeks before), but typically tech forms specify sometime within the previous 3 or 6 months.
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    tech form

    My M6 was new in Oct 2009 . Is there any prep that has to be done before I arrive ( brake-fluid flush ) ? If there is a tech form to fill out , can I get it done at home before I get there ( from the tech at the dealership ) ?
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    steven s

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    A tech form is located at http://www.bmwccaofest.org/road-america.phtml
    You must have your car teched before arriving at the track.
    I certainly would replace your brake fluid and check your brake pads.

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