I wanted to share a brief write up on my experience this weekend (April 26/27, 2008) at a BMW CC event at Mosport (an hour from Toronto). I was the only e60 M5 there but there were 2 e39 M5s as well.
First, if you want to know more about the track, here's the website:
Overall, the event was exceptionally well run by the local Trillium chapter of the BMW Car Club. The weather was perfect - mostly sunny and temps ranging from 45-65 F both days. There were 3 run groups and an Instructor group - so everyone got 2 hours of track time per day (2 days). There was also 3 skid pad / slalom sessions per day as well as 3-4 classroom sessions per day. They keep things moving - you don't have a spare moment to really do much else but look at your schedule and figure out what you're doing next.
If you ask me, I think this kind of track is ideal for an M5 (or similar big horsepower car). The back straight linking turns 5 and 8 - known as the Mario Andretti straightaway - is a total kick in the pants. By the end of Day 2, I was hitting 135 mph before lifting. I'm sure someone with more nerve and skill could easily hit 150 in the e60 M5. Nothing was touching the M5 in the straight - not the new M3, the Aston Martin Vanquish S, or the 2002 Corvette (all in my run group, amongst others). It was great to be king of the mountain on the back straight. It was staggering how quickly the M5 would reel in lesser HP cars down this back straight. There was more than one "holy sh!t, where did you come from" or "man, you passed me and then you were gone" after the sessions. The M5 truly is a race car for 5!
All this WOT fun comes at a price. Each 30 minute session on the track, I'd eat through a quarter tank of gas. In fact, on Day 2, I had to pit early on my last session because the fuel reserve warning was just getting too damn annoying.
A couple of other fun stories.
One of the mornings after the general meeting, the lead instructor says "Ok, we're done a little early, go get your cars ready for the first session". I walked out sorta puzzled and just went to clean the windshield. Other guys are fussing over tires, brakes, etc but really what else is there to do on the M5? Press a button and it's ready for war.
We spent one of the classroom sessions going over the particulars of heel-and-toe downshifting. After the class, I did my impression of heel-toe in the M5 to the guys "See this (left index finger twitching) - there, I'm done". I'm sure they were thinking "smart-a55" but at the same time, I'll bet they're thinking - yeah, gotta get me an SMG / DCT, this shifting stuff is for the birds!
Speaking of shifting...you can get around Mosport in the M5 quite well in 4th gear almost the entire time. Shift at the end of Turn 4 down to 3rd and then take it up to 5th in the back straight (back down to 4 into Turn 8) and that's it. Amazing. I never wanted for more torque - although it was always there at the flick of a finger.
My instructor was thoroghly impressed by the car (less so by my skills :hihi
- but wouldn't let me hit the M button - which was probably a good thing. My favorite quote from him was Day 1 heading down the back straight "Ok, let 'er rip and let's see what 500 HP feels like"...followed by "wow, what a sound". He's got the new M3 with DCT on order and besides the power and unexpected nimbleness of the M5 he was particularly intrigued by the automatic side bolsters in my M5. I love those things BTW.
There was quite the variety of cars at the event - majority was BMW for sure but some interesting specimens from other marques too. An Audi R8 made an appearance as well as the Aston Martin Vanquish S in my run group. The Audi is nice and all but - if you haven't ever seen an Aston Martin Vanquish S in person - trust me, the pictures do no justice to the car. It is infinitely more beautiful in person. And once you hear one at WOT, you will be reaching for your checkbook - unbelieveable sound. I can't get it out of my head.
Sorry, I didn't take any pictures. There were too many participants there that were paranoid about people with cameras. To the point that about half of the cars put tape over their license plates. I guess they're all worried about the insurance company finding out what they're up to and cancelling their policy. So, out of respect and deference, I decided it was better not to freak anyone out by taking a bunch of pictures.
If you haven't tracked the M5, I highly suggest you do - you will gain a newfound respect for the Beast in a safe, fun and controlled environment. You meet a lot of other like minded car people at the same time and comraderie is almost instantaneous. Warning: this is highly addictive and expensive (tires and gas especially). I'm already in the process of "selling" the wife on signing up for the next event in June.
If you have tracked your M5, I would be curious to hear if you have any "post-track" rituals or things that you do / check on the car to ensure everything is a-ok with the beast.
Thanks all - hope you enjoyed the mini write up.