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Track Day questions

Discussion in 'Pacific Region' started by e90n51, Apr 20, 2018.

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    e90n51

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    Alright Bimmerfest west is doing a track day at the AAA Speedyway Pro course ROVAL. I have a bmw e90 328i on Bilstein B4,Fresh brake fluids, and fresh steering fluid. My tires are Hankook Ventus V12 evo 2s with ok tread and close to the tread bar. 1 will my car perform well and 2 how shot will my tires be afterwards? Im thinking of getting new sets of tires anyways by the end of May. Thanks
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    MGarrison

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    Part of the tire wear will depend on how abrasive the track surface is, so if you don't get replies here, maybe try querying the event organizers on that. I'm in Ohio, so nowhere near & don't know your track. Also pertinent is if you're doing one day or two, and how much time you'll be on track for either or both days.

    Generally though, of course your fronts will see the most wear. With old, nearly-to-wear-bar tires, rain/wet-track poses the challenge of minimal water dispersion capability (risk of hydroplaning), and lack of mechanical-grip (heat-cycled out due to age). However, if it's dry, no problem for wet grip, and, with the tires worn down, there might be relatively less mechanical grip, but, you also have less of the downside of risk of tread-blocks chunking out from overheating & similar issues which can be an issue on new tires. So, if you get dry conditions, no problems there.

    Make sure your pads & rotors are good too, presumably they have a pre-event tech check you should do - you want plenty of brake pads and rotors not at min-wear spec for obvious reasons.

    If the car's solid mechanically, it should perform just fine, generally speaking. If this will be your first track day, or you haven't done many, you might find this book helpful (highly recommended):

    https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Art-High-Performance-Driving/dp/0760352372/

    The outer edges of your fronts will get the most wear, so keep an eye on them. You'll want your front tire pressures up, probably several lbs. more, at least, than street pressures (36lbs cold, maybe?). To maximize getting having them last through your day or weekend, you'll want your tire pressures high-enough that the tires aren't excessively rolling-over onto the sidewalls. Many tires have little pointer diamonds molded into the sidewall, my suggestion is have your front and rear pressures set so only the lightest of scuff-marks are to the tops of the diamonds. You'll want to keep where the tires are wearing in the thicker part of the edge-tread's depth. Without the help of additional neg. camber up front, most of your tire wear will be on the outboard half of your treadwidth. Ask others with similar cars what tire pressures they're using, considering differences in tires, camber settings, car setup, etc. Check how your tires are looking after every session with your instructor (assuming they have time & don't have to head off for another session immediately after yours), & discuss. If you have something like a typical three 30-min. session day, & the track surface isn't excessively abrasive, with proper pressures, I'd figure that gets you through the day. But, be prepared to swap rears to fronts (if you're not running staggered-width front/rear sizes). Otherwise, your only option would be to swap fronts from side-to-side, and that's dependent whether on front is seeing somewhat less wear than the other. Usually, the driver's front sees the most wear, then RF, then LR, then RR; with the caveat that's also track dependent - a track heavy on tight left-handers, maybe you see the right-side wear more, for instance.

    A track day is certainly a justifiable way to wrap up your use of a set of tires that are about shot anyway - but, you gotta hope for no rain; the normally-driven track 'line' & braking areas get worn smooth, they can be as slippery as ice in the wet, which is bad news for old tires. Never mind risk of hydroplaning on track or on street roadways (which can also be worn smooth and slippery).
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    e90n51

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    Thanks, its going to be dry. Can 328i catch up to some newer more powerful bmws if the driver is more skilled? Any times you seen a slow car on a track get a point by from a faster car?
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    MGarrison

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    The short answer is yes, of course; the caveat that goes with it is if this will be your first track event, trying to go fast too soon will have everything happening faster than you're learning it and consequently, learning & execution will suffer as a result. It takes time & repetition to build the skillset of everything involved - focus on smoothness, technique, & physical execution first at whatever pace you absorb it, & everything else will follow. As you improve, constraining yourself to incrementally small speed increases will also help, as in a couple miles hour at a time. Forces involved go up exponentially as speed increases, so a seemingly small increment on the street of something like 5 or 10 mph is a much bigger difference in track/performance driving. Making a progression out of each day and the weekend will make the whole experience more enjoyable & less an exercise in frustration. :)

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