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Which whee/tires to use for driving school?

Discussion in 'E60 (2004-2010)' started by edyu, Oct 15, 2010.

    edyu guest

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    Hello,
    This is for my 2010 550i so not sure whether this is a good place to ask this question. :)
    I have 2 sets of wheels/tires:
    17" OEM with all-season non-run-flat
    19" forged (lighter) with grand touring run-flat tires
    I have a driving school coming up at the Thunderhill track, so I'm wondering which one I should be using.

    Thank you,
    Ed
    • Member

    steven s

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    Given the choice, I'd go with the 17s.
    What are the speed ratings on each?

    edyu guest

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    Hmm, no idea. Thank you. I have to check. How fast do first timer driving school on track go up to?
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    steven s

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    For a first timer, that should be no concern.
    For tires, depends on the track and car.
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    CRKrieger

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    Having instructed an SCCA PDX (Performance Driving Experience) yesterday, I saw a lot of high-buck, high-powered machinery operated by some folks with very limited education and experience. People who had no idea what an 'apex' was or why it mattered. This is not stuff you can get across while you're sitting in the right seat as they're driving on a race track for the first time. I am more grateful than ever for BMW CCA's development of our HPDE programs that start every student out with at least two hours of classroom instruction and, where available, skidpad exercises at lower speeds.

    For your first driver school, you should be thinking more about yourself - your attitude, and your openness to learning - than you should about your car. Any safe BMW with safe tires will do the job at your first school. The learning curve is too steep at this point to worry much about that stuff. Be mentally prepared to digest a lot of information very quickly. If your car is safe when you arrive (on either set of tires), you'll be fine. But be sure to listen. The most valuable thing you will take away from your first few schools has nothing to do with tire choices. It is what those who are your classroom instructors will tell you about this new experience. Don't shut them out as you worry if you made the right tire choice.
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    Satch SoSoCalifortified

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    Welcome to your first driving school!

    CR is right, albeit a bit stern. . . whichever tires you use will be fine, as long as they have sufficient tread. Even the A Group cars will not get to nosebleed speeds at Thunderhill. (It's a great teaching track, by the way---very few possibilities of regrettable disaster!).

    I'm thinking if the run-empties are what you use for everyday street driving, they're probably what you'd want at the school. We ain't teachin' racin' here, we're teaching high-performance driving---skills that transfer directly to the street.

    Later you can get all carried away with R-compound gumballs and suspension mods and trick software and fancy shoes.

    ;)

    edyu guest

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    Great.
    Thank you all. :)
    Yeah, frankly I personally would rather spend money on learning how to drive better than mods. There is no point to have a fully modded car if I can't even use 1/10 the capability of the stock car. :) I just had my car control clinic and my taste of autocross over the weekend and it was a blast. Really looking forward to learn how to use my machine better on the track school. I'll be going with the 17"s as suggested by you. I did notice that my stock suspension rolls a lot during the autocross and I have a tendency to spin the car when DTC is off. I hope they don't cause concerns during the track driving school. DTC should be on for track, right?

    For me, safety has always been my biggest concern and that's why I'm looking at wheels, tires, and brakes as potential first mods AFTER I take some classes and improve my skills to the point I feel a mod would be beneficial.

    1996 328ti guest

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    Discuss DTC with your instructor. I think you will learn more with it off, but it is your instructor's decision.

    Even moderately stiff suspension will roll.
    I have H&R race springs and fairly stiff Koni SA struts.

    I have two shots of my car exiting a turn on stock springs.
    One on line and one off. Considerably more roll off line.
    Stay on line and you won't roll so much. ;)

    edyu guest

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    Thank you but you lost me there. :) What does "two shots," "on line," and "off line" mean? Sorry but I'm a newbie on this.

    1996 328ti guest

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    Two shots meaning two photos.
    On line, off line. Don't worry. It will all make sense after your first driving school.
    Basically, on line would be the optimal entry and exit of a turn. Generally the largest radius. But don't worry. It will all be explained. Some pick it up quickly and others like me, take +10 years. :)
    Driving schools are a slippery slope. Either people do one weekend and never come back or they are hooked.

    Added: I see you are also on bf.c. Here's a good thread.
    http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=199661

    edyu guest

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    Thanks.
    Just a quick question. Do you suggest Clear Bra for track? The body shop (which also races) said it's a good idea but I don't see everyone on the track with clear bra (or maybe they are too clear :D ) so I'm not sure whether I should get one or not.

    Thank you again.

    1996 328ti guest

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    I don't know. Are you worried about chips and rubber marks?
    Are you talking about one of those things that clip to the front end?
    I'd be worried about it falling off.
    Or 3M film?

    Either way, your body shop racer uses one?
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    CRKrieger

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    Sounds like they see a profit opportunity. Really, you shouldn't be riding anyone's rear bumper at the track. Not in your first school. So there's little chance anything will get kicked up onto your front surfaces while you're there. If you really want to protect your front end, use a cover on the street, too. I've never really understood the guys who cover the front and lower half of their cars for track use but use nothing on the street. :confused:

    FWIW, the worst I've damaged a car at an HPDE was following another instructor when he dropped a wheel off track just past Road America's Kink and tossed a softball-sized rock onto my hood. A bra wouldn't have helped. A brush guard probably wouldn't have helped. It left an 8" long dent a half inch deep. Since then, my wife won't let me drive her car on track again ... :rolleyes:

    1996 328ti guest

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    I do see the greatest potential for chips when entering the track.
    Especially off of sticky tires loaded with gravel.
    Just keep your distance when entering the track if you are able.
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    MGarrison

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    Yes, that's something to decide with your driving school instructor. My 2¢ worth: for a low speed thing like an auto-x, keeping traction controls off (or mostly off) and experiencing what the car will do without it, and learning how to react to what your car is doing without it, is worthwhile to build your skillset and sense of car control (assuming you gain an understanding of what's happening & learn how to react appropriately to what your car is doing).

    That's kind of a long way of saying you can more easily & safely explore & learn your car's handling limits in a low-speed scenario like an auto-x. For your beginning driver's school(s), unless you and your instructor decide otherwise, I'd suggest leaving the traction controls enabled. If your course following happens to go awry for some reason or another (hopefully not), it's likely to happen at a higher speed, and without a practiced sense-what's-happening-&-how-to-react/recover fully in place yet, the computers might be helpful. As you progress through the learning curve & get the basics in place, & gain confidence & experience, then start dialing back the traction controls in future events.
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    Satch SoSoCalifortified

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    To bounce or not to bounce

    Um. . . sorta depends on how you're built, ma'am. . . .

    :eek:

    edyu guest

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    I decided to use 17" for my first 2 track events and I did install clear bra since it would protect my car even on road (already got 3 chips on my new lip within 5 days before I put on the bra).

    However, has anyone had experience with run flat tires on the track?
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    Satch SoSoCalifortified

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    Run-flat tires on the race track

    Yup.

    The damn things work just like. . . TIRES! :eek:

    edyu guest

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    So I guess it works just fine then.

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