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Thread: First Track Event Tomorrow..Nervous! Words of Wisdom?

  1. #1
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    First Track Event Tomorrow..Nervous! Words of Wisdom?

    I have my first event, BMWCCA CVC Limerock drivers school. I am reading over the information sent about the track, rules, etc etc. and getting a bit nervous. I am in the beginner class, but what should I expect? I assume at the basics I will not be driving near the limit of the vehicle, but rather learning about technique? I feel like I have never driven a car before..

    Just a bit scared of the unexpected I guess, any advice anyone can offer is appreciated!


    PSOT

  2. #2
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    Do more listening than talking, hopefully your instructor will know what he's talking about. If you get an instructor that is pushing you faster than you want to go, tell him to chill out or get another instructor. Work on being technical, not necessarily fast. Learn the line and braking zones and speed will follow. Be prepared to devote less time to family and friends because you'll probably get addicted to track driving.


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  3. #3
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    relax and have fun
    ---------------
    "The beating will continue until morale improves."

  4. #4
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    Most importantly be safe! Don't try to be a hot shot, or showoff, just listen to the instructors and try to do your best.

    You are there to have fun first and foremost, so don't get all bugged out. Going slow will make you faster.

    And always attend any classroom sessions they offer. As a beginner you'll have an instructor for every run, so don't feel like you will be all by yourself, but also don't rely on the instructors, even they make mistakes.

    LImerock is a great track, one of my very favorites. You'll see a LOT of slower cars going a lot faster then you, don't get frustrated, on limerock drivers are fast not cars.

    The track is all technical, so get all the braking points down, where to shift, where to turn in, track out, etc.

    Have fun!

  5. #5
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    All the nervousness goes away by like the second turn on the track pretty much. But yeah, be safe, have fun and listen to your instructor
    -Peter

    Current toy: none
    Past cars: 88 M3, 99 M3 x2, 04 M3, 91 NSX, 06 S2000, 01 911TT, 06 Exige, 00 NSX, 04 GT3

  6. #6
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    Be up front. Tell your instructor your experience level and what you want to accomplish. I'm a rookie. I want to drive my car home in one piece.

    The first session should be slow as you find the proper DE line.

    I don't know Limerock, but try to stay in 1 or 2 gears as much as possible, so you can focus on driving and not shifting. I can do most of Road Atlanta in 4th and dip into 3rd for a few corners.

    Brake in a straight line.

    Go slow, get faster as you get more comfortable.

    Make your pit area comfortable. You need some shade and a chair and water so you can sit and think and reflect and all that.

    Don't be afraid to switch instructors. Most are awesome but some you just might not jive with as well as others. We are all humans. If you don't feel like you are prospering in your environment switch it up.

    Check you lug nuts before every session, they loosen.

    Monitor your air pressure. One odd thing about track over street is the tires get hot. The air pressure increases and towards the end of a session, the tires are still gripping well, but feel more "greasy." Air pressure (even just a pound or two) can make a huge difference on the track. Find an experienced someone with your car and maybe get pressure ideas from them. Hot, your pressure will rise 4-8 pounds or so.

    If the brakes fail, pump them.

  7. #7
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    Be prepared to become an Addict!! You won't be able to get enough track time very, very soon. Be safe and have fun!

    MSH

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    Yea most importantly DRINK WATER!

  9. #9
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    Yeah, all good advice. It's best to just take it easy and not try to do too many things at once. If you suck at heel-toe, for example, don't worry about threshold braking and getting a good heel toe down shift. Work on one thing at a time, to the extent that's possible. If your instructor's any good at all they will want you to go at a reasonable pace, both to help you learn how to drive and to save their own asses from potential hotshot students.

    A couple other things: Make sure you're very well rested/alert. If you feel yourself mentally fading, it's in your best interests to pit in. You really need 100% concentration when you're out there driving close to your personal limits, even if that's just 7/10 of what the car is capable of.

    Hope you have a blast. I really need to make it up to limerock sometime this season.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the advice so far guys! I just picked up my car from the shop (FFLD County Motorsport) for tech certification, and they gave me a good talk about things to bring, look out for, etc. Combined with the advice here, I feel a bit more at ease.


    PSOT

  11. #11
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    First of all, lose the seatbelt pad. I'm just messing with you.

    You're getting some really good advice here. I usually teach the SE-R Club of America annual convention DE classroom session. I'll tell you basically what I tell them......

    1) Leave your balls at home. First of all they are more likely to get you in trouble. Second, going fast is seldom about big balls and usually more about being smart.

    2) The FIA does not issue DE Superlicenses and Frank Williams will not be in the paddock with a contract waiting for your signature.

    3) DE is NOT racing.

    4) Listen to your instructor. As has already been mentioned, if you don't click with your instructor, get a new one. Good instructors will understand and won't mind.

    5) Go slow (sounds stupid, but trying to go slow will make you concentrate more). Let the speed come. It's more fun to start out slow and end up fast than to start out fast and not improve or worse yet, end up looking like a monkey f^cking a football out there.

    6) EACH AND EVERY SESSION, take two very slow warm-up laps. This allows the engine, the oil, the shocks, the tires, and just as important, the driver to warm up. Use the two slow laps to refamiliarize yourself with the line and the braking points.

    7) If you miss your marks on two consecutive corners, you're probably over your head. Slow down enough so you can hit your marks every time. That's more important than big balls. If you have ever seen or ever get the chance to see in-car with Senna driving, you will see pure mastery. It's very rare that I ever saw Senna miss his line in the least.

    8) Number 7 above ties with pretty much everything above. So for number 8, go to number 1 and reread.

    Somewhere in there is have fun. But the above is more important because make no mistake, what you do out on the track is a matter of life and death. It's rare that anyone dies in a DE, but the risk is there. When in doubt, slow down. In DE you should never put you, your passenger, or your car at any great risk. It's not racing. Don't get sucked into thinking your racing someone.

    9) To go along with the above, be courteous to your fellow drivers. If someone is on your butt for a couple of corners, point him or her by. Remember, it's not racing. I tell my students to be generous with the point-by. If you point someone by and than hang all over their butt, I'd expect them to point you by. I guarantee you that if you spend a whole session trading point-bys with someone you will have more fun and have more to talk about in the paddock and at the bar later.

    Relax. I know it's hard with all the thoughts running through your head and all the advice you're getting. But relax. BMWCCA and PCA have been bringing beginners through this for a long time. Now there are a large number of groups doing the same. Every year at the SE-R national convention we have a LOT of newbies and at the end of the day some of them are looking better than some of the experienced drivers because they are listening.

    Hit your marks and listen.
    George Roffe
    98 M Roadster
    01 325iT


  12. #12
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    Just one more thing to add to Geo's lecture (pretty good might i add, except for the balls part, ya gotta have balls haha).

    But the only thing I would add would be when you are pointing someone by LIFT OFF THE THROTTLE, especially on limerock where you they won't be able to take thier time passing you. You might have more Hp then them, but they are faster around the track, so slow up and let them pass, so they can go on.

    This is very important and can help avoid potential confusion and accidents.

    Goodluck and drink water

  13. #13
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    1: You should be able to take the downhill flat with, depending on your exit speed from west bend.
    2: You definatly need to trail brake turn 1.
    3: Don't take what your instructor says as gospel. This isn't to say blow him off, but keep in mind that different instructors will have entirely different approaches (but...if any of them tell you to slow down they are right).
    4: The whole track is 3rd and 4th with very few shifts.
    5: See if you can get out on the skidpad for some fun.

  14. #14
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    The best advice anyone has given here is to relax and have fun. This is an instructional event and it is meant for you to have fun driving your car on the racetrack. If you relax, have fun, and listen to your instructor then you will be an addict to this stuff for life. Let us know how it goes.

  15. #15
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    Rich, just remember, WWPD?, man...

  16. #16
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    Leave your ego at the gate.
    I know my first DE was overwhelming.
    If you go for a ride with an instructor, don't try to drive like your instructor on your next session.

    Like what was already said, drink plenty of water and this may sound silly, go to the bathroom before your next session.

    Get a good night sleep before and after your first day.
    A lot will sink in the night after the first day. You will have a chance to go over things without distraction.

    Number one goal, drive your car home. No prize money out there.
    You are among friends and everyone out there to have a good time and improve their skills.

    I find driving schools relaxing in a strange way. It's nice to be around people that share your interests. I'm able to focus on one thing at the track. Driving. I don't think about work or family. I look forward to the week before. Hate the sometimes long drive to the track. Once I get into the paddock I remember I love doing this stuff so much. Then I spend a week thinking about the past weekend and on what I want to improve on the next time.

    Anyone who says it's an addiction is just weak.
    I can stop any time I want.
    Let's see. VIR a couple weeks ago. Mid-Ohio next month. June, Summit Point. Sept, Watkins Glen. I'll find something in August. Yea. I can stop anytime.


    ...steven BMWCCA 146825
    http://318ti.org | http://bmwcca.org/forum
    1995 318ti Club Sport - 1996 328ti Sport - 1991 325iC - 2003 Mini Cooper S

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geo31
    You're getting some really good advice here. I usually teach the SE-R Club of America annual convention DE classroom session. I'll tell you basically what I tell them......
    George's comments are great. This thread should probably be stickied or referenced for all noobs to read in the future - when I first started I didn't have any instructors with good words of wisdom. 'In a spin, two feet in' wasn't ever mentioned until I'd already spun into a sand trap and rolled back onto the track. Doh. I only have a tiny bit to add:

    Remember that giving a point by is a learning opportunity - you can vaguely see where someone comes up to your bumper, but once you let them in front of you, you can better analyze what they're doing differently. I had the opportunity over the weekend to go out with several other cars exactly the same as mine and do lead and follow sessions. We'd rotate the leader every couple laps and then analyze in the pits. My lap times decreased each time.

    Speaking of point-by's, remember to relax and not let the guys in your mirror (or in front of you) drive your car. Hold your line, take the turns the way you want to, and give a throttle lift in the straight with a point by to where you want the passer to be. Be liberal with offering point-by's, but don't feel pressured to miss your apex or drive off the track to make it happen. Okay, 'nuff said already.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by nsk223
    1: You should be able to take the downhill flat with, depending on your exit speed from west bend.
    2: You definatly need to trail brake turn 1.
    3: Don't take what your instructor says as gospel. This isn't to say blow him off, but keep in mind that different instructors will have entirely different approaches (but...if any of them tell you to slow down they are right).
    4: The whole track is 3rd and 4th with very few shifts.
    5: See if you can get out on the skidpad for some fun.
    I was supposed to be there today with NJBMWCCA(See sig, happened 4/8)

    Um, I don't think flat out on the downhill or trailbraking into big bend is something he needs to worry about yet. Let's get him Looking and going where he wants to go before he has to worry about advanced skills like these.

    For the first time, ask the instructor to "Seat" you correctly in the car and ask a ton of questions about why you are doing what he is telling you. Have him explain natural terrain markers for turn in, apex and turn out.

    If your tires thumpthump as you enter no name straight, you did it right.
    BTW, it looks like you will go off the track on the left hander but you won't. I promise.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by nsk223
    3: Don't take what your instructor says as gospel. This isn't to say blow him off, but keep in mind that different instructors will have entirely different approaches (but...if any of them tell you to slow down they are right).
    This is an excellent point. Some clubs are so desperate for instructors these days, they are promoting "A" students to instructor with only one or two events at a certain track (don't ask me how I know). But being a first time student, you probably won't be able to tell the whack job instructors.


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  20. #20
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    Yea something that can help you, atleast from my experience, is that mostly the older more experienced instructors are the best teachers. I'm not talking 35-40 old I'm talking 55-65 old. They have the experience to know how to convey what they want you to do and what you are doing wrong/right.

    A good point was made to drive your OWN line that you and the instructor determine. You will naturally try to follow the car in front of you, but don't be afraid to take your own line if thats whyat you are being instructed to do. The first time you take a considerably different line then the guy in front of you and you catch yup REAL fast is a good feeling.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by 95m3racer
    A good point was made to drive your OWN line that you and the instructor determine. You will naturally try to follow the car in front of you...
    This reminds me of one other thing I meant to discuss.

    Yes, drive your car on your line. Don't get sucked into target fixation. That is dangerous for many reasons, not the least of which is following someone right off the track. Everyone does it eventually. You get so focused on the car in front, if he/she puts wheels off, you just follow right along. If you pay attention to pro racing you will even see pros do it from time to time.

    Don't target fix.
    George Roffe
    98 M Roadster
    01 325iT


  22. #22
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    Thanks again for the comments, I sort of posted a "review"..

    http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...78#post2165678

    and that shoulder pad is ONLY a joke!

    edit: also, perhaps we could make a good sticky thread by combining a few things here, with some of my experiences as a totally newbie, to help answer questions for others interested


    PSOT

  23. #23
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    One thing that really helped me prepare for my first event was reading Speed Secrets by Ross Bentley. I thought it was a really good book, and helped me understand what the car is doing, and (IMO) really made it easier to follow the instructor and classroom teacher.

  24. #24
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    You have gotten some fantastic, thoughtful advice--my first D/E was Watkins Glen and I was hooked on this shit after one or two laps--it is sensory overload at first, but you will slowly see out beyond the nose of the car as the day progresses==you may even notice the flaggers by the end of the first day--the de-briefs with the instructors at the end of the runs are incredibly valuable, you are calming down and can ask detailed questions about the stuff you just did.
    Drink water-wear a long sleeved shirt,wear a hat if its sunny, sun block maybe,bring a quart of oil and some brake fluid
    RELAX-you will do much better than you think you will and I can't stress enough how great a lesson it can be to get instructor rides--they are supposed to let you ride with them as long as they have a passenger seat--most of them will talk you through their whole run and you will start to "get it" as you see them drive the line and adjust for passing and turning in off-line.

    wish I was going too-I ran Lime Rock April 3 and had a blast--great track in a setting almost too perfect--great place to pop your cherry!!!!!

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hornswoggler
    One thing that really helped me prepare for my first event was reading Speed Secrets by Ross Bentley. I thought it was a really good book, and helped me understand what the car is doing, and (IMO) really made it easier to follow the instructor and classroom teacher.

    Yup Yup, I've read it a few times now. It doesn't get really technical and it's an easy read...you won't want to put it down.


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