BMW M5 Forum and M6 Forums banner

1 - 20 of 45 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
To all my M5 owners

I am going to the track for the first time on this coming March 1st with my M5 at Laguna Seca Raceway. I just installed my supersprint x-pipe and eisenmann exhaust. SSR short shifter and Gruppe M intake but I will use my stock rims for the track because I feel the car is slower with my 19inch SSR GT3 rims. So I decided to test it out with my friend who is going to drive the STi..... So what I am asking is ....is there any good driving tips for the M5.....coz I dun want to make it look bad in front of the Sti......especially launching.....and how to take off fast and avoid cutting off........(I mean the slip from the clutch which eventually slow down the car)......

I would be very appreciate if anyone can help me with that...thank you
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,099 Posts
At most tracks, you don't have to worry about launching the car. You simply ease out onto the track for the warm up lap and then begin to run the car harder. The M5 does very well in 3rd and 4th gears so shifting can be avoided if you're not comfortable with that yet. Watch Greg's videos for tips on shifting without burning up the clutch. I can't remember the link so do a search.

The key to drivinng the M5 fast on the track is smoothness and "slow in - fast out". If you push too hard going into the turns, all you'll do is understeer and wear out the outside edges of the front tires. Slow down, smoothly apply power through the apex, and power out of the turn. I'm not the expert at a track so maybe others can add more advice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,773 Posts
Listen to your instructor's inputs and take his or her advice. They will help you drive the best way possible for your car and skill level. Be open minded and safe and you will have a lot of fun.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
947 Posts
try to carry as much speed through the corners as possible, doing your braking short and hard. The brakes are the biggest weakness on the track and you may experience fade after a couple of hot laps, but unfortunately theres not much that can be done to cure this.

anyway, enjoy the experience, i'm getting my stoptech's fitted and will get on the trackday site and get booked up again asap!!!

:byee55amg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,856 Posts
airfatwing said:
So what I am asking is ....is there any good driving tips for the M5.....coz I dun want to make it look bad in front of the Sti......especially launching.....and how to take off fast and avoid cutting off........
Launches matter not a bit in track events. Just like pulling away from a stoplight. No big deal.

What matters:

a) Go to the Nor-Cal Shelby Club website (http://www.norcal-saac.org) and download Scott Griffith's Laguna Seca track-guide (http://www.norcal-saac.org/ot/laguna.pdf to go direct.) Print it. Study it.

b) Bleed the brakes before you go out to the track. The M5 is a fast car, but it's also a big and heavy one, and Laguna is very hard on brakes.

c) Get a good tire pressure gauge and use it; just put ~42psi at both ends to start with.

d) Get an instructor, listen to him/her, and don't expect to go fast the first time out. An experienced driver in a Civic is faster than a novice in a Viper. Learn the proper line, get comfortable with hard braking, and work on being smooth.

What club are you running with?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
212 Posts
Uhhh...looks to me like the March 1st event at Laguna Seca is with NASA & is HPDE 2-4 only (registration site states no instructors available). Assuming you'll sign up for HPDE 2, you should at least try to find someone at the track to give you a ride around the track in another session before heading out yourself (they normally run in 4, 3, 2, 1 order). There are a couple of tricky corners (corkscrew) and some good places to bend a car (particularly 6 & 11). Have fun but be safe! Laguna Seca is a great track & I wish I could go!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,037 Posts
going out with NASA as your first event without instruction at Laguna is not a the best way to get started. i would go so far as to recommend that you give this a pass and sign up for the Trackmasters event on 14th where you'll get some instruction and not be running with aggressive drivers

in any case get the brake fluid replaced with Superblue -- if you get going reasonably fast you will fade the stock pads which is not nearly so bad as boiling the fluid
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
95 Posts
I agree completely with stever that NASA events are not the optimum place to get quality instruction time. You might try the BMWCCA event at Infineon in early March as your first event, if it is not too late to change. With the BMW club, you are sure to get someone familiar with instructing students and someone who is also familiar with BMW cars too.

I have driven with several Bay Area clubs and can recommend BMWCCA, Tracquest, and NCRC as having more focus on instruction. I have also driven with Green Flag Driving Association, and prefer them to NASA for "non-instruction" events. NASA is the cheapest for track time and you get what you pay for certainly in the "no frills" approach.

You'll want to focus on smoothness first and finding out how to drive the same line over and over again in a repeatable fashion. After you have time to digest what's going on with the car, you can focus a lot more outside of the car. Your eyes should start looking further ahead. You should be able to pick up both speed and smoothness by concentrating your eyes further ahead.

I remember feeling extremely "busy" with information overload my first track event. You'll have an instructor trying to talk to you (or shout at you if he doesn't have a headset!), flags and corner workers to look at, mirrors to check, rules to remember, etc. Adrenaline can affect your body in both good and bad ways--try to keep the adrenaline under control and remember that you are not in a drag racing situation against your buddy's WRX STi.

Twice now, I have been the car immediately behind and following crashes at Laguna Seca. In both of these cases, the crashed cars were not driveable and airbags were deployed. I was able to avoid making it worse by driving around and/or off the track on purpose. One piece of advice is if someone is in your mirror, do not let them intimidate you into driving beyond your ability. Just let them pass with a point-by at the next designated passing zone. Also do not spend too much time obsessing about who might be in your mirror. Check it before the passing zones and then leave it.

I'd also recommend spending some time in the passenger seat with an instructor showing you some smooth and fast laps. While you are sitting passenger, you have more time to think and you can be practicing where your eyes are looking while someone else is doing the driving. Even better is to go out with someone from the local area like Mike Ottati who instructs and has a M5. That way you get the benefit of a similar car and a similar line around the track to observe.

I went the extra step and downloaded in-car video footage of tracks before I drove on them myself. That helped too. There is certainly plenty of footage of Laguna Seca and Infineon and Thunderhill available. You should have a great time if your attitude is to learn and you intend to drive your car home. You can have a really bad time if your M5 gets hurt, or worse you get hurt. Some people are risking much more expensive cars than the M5, so it is all relative I guess. Turn 11 has hardly any grip in it, so don't let it deceive you into thinking it is anything but a slow corner.

So there are some "tips" for you...more than you wanted to know. I think today was a BMWCCA driving school event at Laguna Seca by the way.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39 Posts
links for video footage requested

Bgregg mentions, "There is certainly plenty of footage of Laguna Seca and Infineon and Thunderhill available".


I'd like to see some if anyone can provide the links.

Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
621 Posts
Bgregg has the right ideas and attitude.

As far as a technical tip, I say this while acknowledging my novice status and welcome any critique of the following:
<O:p</O:p
As I understand what my driving instructor instilled in me, the highest exit speed possible is the goal for exiting corners and to do that one must be just slow enough to enter the curve so no additional braking is required while in the bend. If you have to brake during cornering you will not be able to exit the corner as fast as could be done. If you are at maximum speed in the corner with neutral throttle and begin to lay on power as you exit while letting out the steering to use the most amount of track to keep traction and gain speed, then the exit speed should be at or near the limits of what the car is set up to do.
<O:p></O:p>
<O:p>Also, I find that adhearing to the "slowing enough for a corner" strategy is the best way to keep the car on the road and in control.</O:p>
<O:p></O:p>

Note: I'm considering exiting onto a straight section and not a series of "s"es that might require a more complex strategy.

Oh yeah, as mentioned, and most importantly - stay off the walls... Exit speed is a distant second to a car that looks the way it did at the begining of the day.:hihi:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Thank you for all your advices.... they are very useful and I will be very careful to drive on the track.....and to be as smooth as I can.......

by the way what is the best pressure on the tires for the stock rims.....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,865 Posts
airfatwing said:
Thank you for all your advices.... they are very useful and I will be very careful to drive on the track.....and to be as smooth as I can.......

by the way what is the best pressure on the tires for the stock rims.....
Let me add that be careful not to early apex. Late apex is safer, although a little slower. Better to be a little slow then early apex and run out of track on the exit!
Expect tire pressures to grow 5-8 psi. I look for 43-44 hot on my outside front tire after an event (if I don't have a pyrometer), so I usually start mid to high 30's and adjust from there. If you start to carry some decent speed, you can "chalk the tires" (shoepolish also works). Put around the sidewalll where it meets the tread in 3 or 4 spots. You will see how much the tire is rolling over. If you have worn the chalk past the sidewall, you need more air. If you are not near the sidewall you have too much pressure ( although same result from not driving very hard, note above about carrying decent speed).
If you go to a track you don't know and don't have an instructor, try to follow slower cars around to get a sense of where the line is. You should be able to get a sense of where to be after a few laps around the track.
Also, if it is a hot day, make sure you drink plenty of fluids. It is too easy to forget about taking care of yourself while you are busy taking care of the machine. It takes a lot more energy than you think to drive a car around a race track at speed.
And don't forget to have fun!!!
Regards,
Jerry
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
881 Posts
On a track that is hard on brakes, you will overheat them on your M5. Replace the stock fluid with Motul 600; it is far better than Superblue.

Be smooth at all times. Do not think that you are the next coming of Micheal Schumaker; none of us are. You do not want to injure yourself/others or destroy your car.

Do not use the factory tyre pressure settings. These were designed to facilitate understeer; you can decrease the inherent understeer in the M5 somewhat be increasing the front tyre pressures. Ask others at the track if there's any M5 or M3 drivers what pressures they're using.

Slow in/fast out; keep all of your braking in a straight line until you are somewhat of a track 'junkie'.

Don't even attempt to 'race' your friend in his STi; those cars are wicked fast when driven correctly on track, and it will 'eat' your M5 alive. (Doesn't seem fair, but it's true).

For your first trips to the track, ONLY go to an event where you can be guided by instructors. Your are not as good as you think you are, (none of us are), and you can 'get in over your head' quickly. On a track with heavy braking and little run off, this can be extremely dangerous.

If you lose control and start to spin, put both feet 'in'; i.e. hard on brake and clutch.

Have fun exploring 7-8/10ths of your car's limits on track. Don't push for more UNTIL your comfort level is very high.

In 20 minutes you will be exhausted, physically and mentally. Do NOT drive tired!! Take a long break and keep very well hydrated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
463 Posts
couple more tips --

1. Buy and read this book. It's considered "the" book on high performance driving -- the one everyone says is a must read.


http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0837602262/qid=1107879589/sr=8-1/ref=pd_csp_1/002-3927380-1340849?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

2. I'd agree with the suggestion about not running with NASA the first time out. In my experience, the BMWCCA events are the tightest run with the best instruction.

3. Have your mechanic do a pre-track inspection on your car, even if the organizer doesn't require it (and most of them do). check brake lines, sway bar brackets, rear subframe, suspension components, etc.

4. Replace brake fluid. Replace power steering fluid with redline ATF to avoid leakage. Oil change is advisable, unless recently done. Consider replacing OEM sway bar brackets with the ones sold by Beastpower.com

5. More important than whether you use superblue vs. motul brake fluid is replacing the OEM front brake pads with a dedicated track pad like the Hawk HT-10. You'll experience pad fade with OEM pads long before you boil the brake fluid. After the event, switch back to the OEM pads.
6. Listen to your instructor and have fun. :noSMG:
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
10,455 Posts
Not to be a downer, but a first event without instruction at a fast track with a 'competitive friend' sounds like a bad combination to me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,997 Posts
Did I miss it or do you have the stock suspention? If so I'd trash that real quick.

Other than that go slow at first and leave the dsc on for a few laps get comfy and go from there...better to be slower and lose than to be fast and end up in the wall with no more m5. Keep in mind to unless you have special track insurance, they ain't gonna pay to replace it.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
10,455 Posts
I still think you're better off taking that suspension money and doing some schools with instruction. The M5 is plenty capable stock, of course it will understeer if you try to plow thru turn 11 at 60mph, but once you have an understanding of car control, then the mods will mean so much more.
Mike

Jayson said:
Did I miss it or do you have the stock suspention? If so I'd trash that real quick.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
95 Posts

·
Administrator
Joined
·
8,806 Posts
mottati said:
Not to be a downer, but a first event without instruction at a fast track with a 'competitive friend' sounds like a bad combination to me.
Agreed. If your first visit to a track is to 'race' a friend, chances are quite big that you'll make close acquaintance with some wall or armco pretty soon. A track is not a place to bring a big ego - it will be punished quite quickly.

See it more as a fun place to be with like-minded drivers where you can focus totally on enjoying and focusing on driving techniques without having to worry about speed limits, oncoming cars, pedestrians, etc.
 
1 - 20 of 45 Posts
Top