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BMW novice trackdays

richard plumb

Distinguished Member
BMW have organised a few trackdays for novice trackdayers who own BMWs to have a go. Only £40-50 which seems reasonable.

more info here.

link

Might consider it, but what should I expect from tyres/brakes etc? Not going to be hooning it as I don't want to kill my car, but fancy opening it up a bit :)
 

lovegroova

Prominent Member
Which BMW do you have?

Brakes are the thing that typically suffer most on trackdays, so you'll have to limit your sessions to 15 mins or so, and also do a proper cool down lap at the end of each session. Make sure you have a decent amount of brake pad left before you do the day. If it's getting low, then get them changed and allow time for them to bed in properly.

Tyres will get used more, but as long as you have a reasonable amount of tread to start with, you'll be fine, especially as BMWs tend to run quite a lot of camber, so the outer edges which don't normally get used all that much get used a bit more with the higher cornering forces.

The single most important thing is to get some instruction. You'll have so much more fun and be faster if you do that.

Of the tracks listed, Bedford is the most wide open and novice-friendly, so I'd do that one.

You won't be covered by your insurance.

Here's some bits from the S2000 site about track days:

Will a track day damage my car?

The short answer is no. The long answer is, it will put a bit of wear and tear on it. Usual suspects are petrol, oil, brakes, tyres. All of these vary depending on how you drive. But you WON'T get through a new set of tyres in one day. Keep the oil and petrol topped up, and leave plenty of time for your brakes to cool and you'll have a great time without damaging your car

Do I need insurance? Should I get insurance anyway?

No, you don't need insurance (except the ring but that's different)
You can get insurance, and it tends to work on something like £200 for £10,000 coverage for one day. It's very expensive to get the insurance and so most people don't take it. A fair few take it for their first track day for peace of mind, but when they realise how safe a track day is (assuming you drive within your limits) that the insurance isn't necessary.

What if I'm rubbish?

So what? You're not there to achieve anything. You will have lots of fun. And if you're particularly worried, get some instruction. All track day organisers have instructors available at reasonable rates. Some even guarantee to make you quicker.

What do I need to take with me to a track day.

For yourself: You need a long sleeved top to cover your arms, trousers to cover your legs and comfy driving shoes. A coat is worthwhile as you're outside all day and the weather can vary. Bring drinking water too. You'll get dehydrated. You also need to bring BOTH parts of your driving license. A race license won't do as it isn't a test day. A signed indemnity form is useful although there's usually spare copies at the venue.

For the car: a top up oil container, and make sure the towing eye is in the car. Useful items include a tyre pressure gauge and a tyre inflator.

What about a helmet?

If you have a motorbike helmet that will do. If you don't have one and are not sure, most track day organisers will hire helmets. Advice on buying helmets further down the faq.

What should I do to the car before the track day?

Make sure all fluids are topped up: oil, petrol and washer bottle. Make sure you've got more than 3mm of tread on your tyres if there's any chance of rain. Check your tyre pressures. if you don't know what they should be, 32psi will probably do.


So before you go on a track day, make sure you have plenty of meat on your brake pads, both front and rear
If you need to change them, make sure they're properly bedded in as per manufacturers instructions. But 250 miles of normal driving will normally see to that. If you don't bed them in, they can disintegrate quickly and you'll end up needing new pads again before going home.

How should I prepare before a track day?

Go on youtube and watch video laps of the track. It will help speed up learning the track. However it won't take long once you're there. If the track is available on a game you have, that will help, but is not IMHO as good as watching a video.

What should I do when I get to the track day?

Park up, sign on, attend the drivers briefing, install towing eyes, remove as much as possible, final fluids check and away you go. Check your brake pads again. And do so throughout the day.

How should I run the car on the track day?

If on open pit lane, keep the stints short, So keep sessions to 10-15 minutes or go easy on the brakes. Do at least one cool down lap without touching the brakes before coming into the pits. When you park up DO NOT put the handbrake on. leave it off and put it into gear. This will help prevent your brake disks from warping. Leave the car (more accurately the brakes) at least 20 minutes to cool.
Keep an eye on your fuel guage during the day, and make sure you check your oil at lunch time.
Also keep an eye on your brake pads. If you get fade at any point, you should particularly keep an eye on your rear pads, if the fronts fade, the rears take the stress and they can't cope as well, and can wear away quickly. This probably won't be a problem, but definitely something worth keeping an eye out for.

Anything to do before I go home from a track day?

Remove the towing eye, put all your crap back in the car and drive off. Make sure you've got fuel! Other than that, away you go. You may find your drive home reasonably sedately as you've got the fast driving out of your system.
Make sure you have tread left on your tyres. 4 bald tyres if you get caught can lose you your license and get you a HUGE fine. It's rare for this to be checked, but better to be safe than sorry.
 
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lovegroova

Prominent Member
You'll have a great time in one of those. Do watch the brakes though. The old 3-series apparently suffer quite badly, so I expect it'd be no different in a Z4.
 

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