As I have been threatening, I took my car to Texas World Speedway today in College Station, TX, for a high speed driver education event. I used to take my supercharged M3, with full Dinan suspension and track tires, out there pretty frequently last year. I had street tires (Michelins) and the stock brake pads on the M5. I was really interested in to see how the M5 handled and also how it performed down the long straight. This would finally give me the opportunity to verfiy if the M5 was faster than my SC M3 and if so, by how much.
I'll admit that I was a bit nervous, I would hate to find out that it was slower than my M3. (By the way, my M3 put 275 HP and 250 ft-lbs to the rear wheels which equates to about 330 HP and 300 Ft-lbs at the flywheel at 83% efficiency.) Much to my delight, the M5 just blew it away on the straight, just blew it f---ing away.I was hitting the rev limiter in fourth, which is 137 and still had straight left. If I had wanted to push it a liitle more, I could easily have gotten 140. That is about 7 to 8 MPH faster than my SC M3.
The reason I did not want to push it harder, was due the brakes. I did not want to take turn 1 at 140 MPH in my brand new M5 and I did not have enough confidence in the brakes ans myself to brake super late so I was conservative. The stock brake compound is just not made for track duty. I think the stock brakes are pretty good, but once they got hot, they start to fade. There were several places on the course where I had to take it easy due to braking. I am comparing this to my old M3 where I ran either Porterfields or AFT pads, braided stainless hoses and also track tires. I think just putting on a track pad would have helped tremendously and that the brakes would be more than adequate for driving schools with track pads. You have to remember that street pads are optimized for quick stops when the brakes are cold. For example, if you rolling along the autobahn at 150 MPH and have to stop quickly, you do not have time to warm up your brakes under the yellow flag. You need to stop now. There were several places on the course where I had to brake much earlier than in my M3. But part of this was also due to how DAMN fast that car builds up speed. It is truly a beast. The car is a blast.
I was really impressed with the handling. Yes the car pushed pretty good through the carousel (turn 7), but other than that I was amazed at how well the car handled. My M3 pushed pretty good through the that same turn until I modified the suspension. But even on my stock Michelins, the car sticks and is very easy to place on the track. THE CAR IS JUST AWESOME. I can imagine the car being frightening with 275's tires front and rear and some good track tires. Unfortunately, by the end of my fourth session, I was really starting to destroy my front tires. They are great street tires, but were not meant for that abuse. I was going to go back on Sunday, but I don't want to go through $600 dollars worth of tires.
Overall, it was a great day. I am more impressed with the car than ever. The transmission and clutch were wonderful, the handling fantastic and the speed unbelievable. I was able to adjust just the right sitting and steering wheel position, and save it in memory. Unlike my M3, which without steering adjustment, I could never get in an optimized position. I know it is easy to get used to the car's speed, but IT IS FAST. It smokes my old SC M3 and that car was no slouch. I beat my share of Z28's and Firebirds with the M3 and gave Vettes and Supra TT's fits. In fact, I raced a Vette with my M3 right before I sold it and he asked me what the hell I had under the hood. (We were about even.) The neat part was, I drove home in the luxury of a 7 series, after tearing up the track an hour earlier.
THE CAR IS FAST!!
see link for 2.9 mi course at TWS