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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I was invited to a private track day @ VIR today (actually now yesterday). What a great track! This was the first place that I raced and I hadn't been there in seven years. I recently sold my 993 race car so therefore I am "race car-less" for the moment. So, I got my 2000 MY, 110k mile E39 M5 out on the track for a couple of sessions. The brakes went away fast but the M5 was strong, for what it is (which isn't a race car). I had 1-2 passengers each time and they were impressed with the performance of the car.

YouTube - E39 M5 at VIR
 

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Cool! I'd like to get my E39 up there at some point...we live only a few hours away and the local BMWCCA does sponsor track days there. But I have a few loose ends to tie up before any track activity (broken sway bar link, thrust arm replacement, etc.). Nothing a few hundred at Pelican Parts won't fix....

Did you do anything in particular to get your car ready? Or was this just a spur-of-the-moment opportunity to have a little quality time behind the wheel?

Thanks for posting this!
 

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I have been to the VIR on both my 998 and my Aprilia RS250. An absolute blast!! on the motorcycles. I dont know how much fun the beast will be now that I have been around on my motorcycles.

Thanks for sharing the video
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Cool! I'd like to get my E39 up there at some point...we live only a few hours away and the local BMWCCA does sponsor track days there. But I have a few loose ends to tie up before any track activity (broken sway bar link, thrust arm replacement, etc.). Nothing a few hundred at Pelican Parts won't fix....

Did you do anything in particular to get your car ready? Or was this just a spur-of-the-moment opportunity to have a little quality time behind the wheel?

Thanks for posting this!
Thanks for the comments. It was a "spur of the moment" type of deal. I put on PSS9's last year so the car handled pretty good with no real effort on set up except messing around with tire pressures. I realized that the brakes would fade quickly, and they did. I only went out three different times and probably ran a total of 20-22 laps. If you plan on participating in DE's with your M5, then I suggest a brake upgrade and hiring a driving coach in addition to a good "nut and bolt" by a shop that understands the difference between a well-prepared street car versus a car prepped for a day at the track.
 

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My experiences with a relatively stock e39 M5 have been about the same. The car handles well for it's size and weight, plenty of power, but the brakes go away at the end of the straights. I normally kept it under 125 on the straights.

There's a charity event at VIR on April 1st, pay $20 or so for 15-20 minutes on the track. I'm sure it will be controlled with a pace car and no passing.
 

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Yep, you are absolutely correct. Check the southeast regional forums for more information. The laps will be monitores by a pace car but the pace will be sustained by the experience of the group, but no helmets so speeds will be limited. Also all of the proceeds go to the Ronald McDonald house of NC and VA. Great way to get a full tour of all of theings VIR has to offer and some very inexpensive track time.


My experiences with a relatively stock e39 M5 have been about the same. The car handles well for it's size and weight, plenty of power, but the brakes go away at the end of the straights. I normally kept it under 125 on the straights.

There's a charity event at VIR on April 1st, pay $20 or so for 15-20 minutes on the track. I'm sure it will be controlled with a pace car and no passing.
 

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Thanks for the comments. It was a "spur of the moment" type of deal. I put on PSS9's last year so the car handled pretty good with no real effort on set up except messing around with tire pressures. I realized that the brakes would fade quickly, and they did. I only went out three different times and probably ran a total of 20-22 laps. If you plan on participating in DE's with your M5, then I suggest a brake upgrade and hiring a driving coach in addition to a good "nut and bolt" by a shop that understands the difference between a well-prepared street car versus a car prepped for a day at the track.
I'd absolutely hire a coach. I have a good shop. But what would you recommend for a brake upgrade? I've looked at some of the 'big brake' kits and they're way out of what I have to spend right now.

This may end up being a next year thing until I get all the niggly stuff taken care of such as the front control arms (the boots are torn on mine), belly pan reinstalled (missing several screws after the engine transplant), etc. etc.

And of course, there is the $400 or so for the required helmet. I think the charity event may be useful though. I'm comfortable that once I get the front end parts up to snuff this car will be safe at 120 or so.
 

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That's interesting about the brakes. My stock brakes never flinched at Summit Point, even after consecutive and repetitive 110 -> 40 braking sessions with rather hot outside temps. Then again, we're not talking about VIR and its long straights. I probably will do the sink drain mod before taking it to VIR, maybe that will help.
 

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I went out there a few weeks ago. Really had an great time, VIR is an awesome track. This was my first track event, certainly not my last. Shot some video as well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THHxypJpPv0
 
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I'd absolutely hire a coach.
If you do hire a coach, might want to look up Mike Skeen. He knows that track like the back of his hand and will get you up to speed quickly.

And of course, there is the $400 or so for the required helmet.
OG Racing rents helmets for very reasonable rates. And if you get hooked, they'll put some of the rental price against a helmet purchase. I rented one last year for a VIR track weekend and was practically brand new.
 

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Nice video's.

I did VIR for the first time on Monday and Tuesday in my E36 M3 and I can't wait to go back. Of course unlike RandysV10 146mph, my M3 with a 3.64 diff can't get near that speed but I haul as$ in the corners.

I tracked my E39 M5 at Mid Ohio a few years ago and with the right brake fluid and Hawk track pads, the brakes were adequate. Not sure how they'd hold at VIR as both straights are faster than Mid Ohio and have heavy braking zones into slow corners.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Good eyes.... It was tucked away in the glove compartment. It came in real handy on the drive over. Let's say we took " the long way".....:)
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Nice video's.

I did VIR for the first time on Monday and Tuesday in my E36 M3 and I can't wait to go back. Of course unlike RandysV10 146mph, my M3 with a 3.64 diff can't get near that speed but I haul as$ in the corners.

I tracked my E39 M5 at Mid Ohio a few years ago and with the right brake fluid and Hawk track pads, the brakes were adequate. Not sure how they'd hold at VIR as both straights are faster than Mid Ohio and have heavy braking zones into slow corners.
To address the comments on the brakes, driven at the appropriate level for a DE, the brakes should be adequate. I was driving aggressively, more in-tune with how I have driven a race car at VIR. The brakes can be managed more effectively for longer runs.
 

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cool video! I was there just a few days before for the SCCA regional race. Really fun track!
 

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Re brakes...a number of us local to the area used to track the M5 at VIR in the early days. Redshift and I both experienced major brake issues leading to getting the Stoptech front BBK (which will blow you away at VIR when you experience it the first time). If you're in the instructor and/or advanced solo groups, running R-comps, and driving the car near its limits, even using the best race pads with open brake ducts, isn't going to cut it at VIR. The brake duty cycle there is VERY high as the 145mph to 40 at the end of the back straight is followed not too much longer by the 130+ to 35mph at the end of the front straight. Doing this on sticky R-comp tires while maximizing your entry speed (driving this thing like a race car), creates a humongous heat load input that the stock brakes simply can't cope with (not surprising, many street cars are similar).

I used Hawk HT-10 race pads with open brake ducts and melted not only the dust covers but also the piston seals on one side. If you drive 8/10ths or so (still seriously hauling), you can make it ok with the stock brakes.

Once changing to the Stoptech BBK and using PFC01 pads with Ti plates, all brake issues disappeared. The phenomenal stopping power is there lap after lap, 10/10ths braking if you want, no problem, not even a dust cover showing distress signs. Brake feel is of course nicely increased also with good release feel on trail braking.

Needless to say, I long ago quit taking the M5 to track events -- too heavy, and my car is too much of a garage queen now at 58k miles to consider any more paint abuse at the track...only autocrossing fun for now. I did have an open seat in Redshift's euro E36 M3 track car for track events until he went and sold it. Now THAT was a fun car at VIR. Really fun.

Chuck
 
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I've done VIR in an E30, a Porsche, and a BMW motorcycle. The uphill section would be awesome in the M5 - did you do a huge pedal-to-the-metal four wheel drift thru 10? The downhill section would be another story - I'm guessing you were doing some serious mass management in turns 15 and 16.


Steve
00 M5
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64 Corvette Coupe
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