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Discussion Starter #1
Are any M5board members planning to attend the April 9-10 Willow Springs Performance Driving School hosted by the LA BMW CCA chapter?

I am interested in attending. This would be my first automotive track event (prior track experience limited to motorcycles). If anyone has information on what to expect, and how appropriate an M5 is for this type of event, I'd greatly appreciate it. It will be hosted on the main track of Willow.

Thanks!
 

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Darn the bad luck! I love Willow Springs but will be in Vegas that weekend & will have to miss it.

Willow is a very fun, very fast track. You can put all of the m5's horsepower to use there. And the LA Chapter runs a very clean, structured school, with good instruction - both on the track & in the classroom. Just be careful of turn #9 - both on approach & exit. Trust me on this one!
 

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Ronin M5 said:
This would be my first automotive track event (prior track experience limited to motorcycles). If anyone has information on what to expect, and how appropriate an M5 is for this type of event, I'd greatly appreciate it. It will be hosted on the main track of Willow. Thanks!
I've never been to Willow, but since my first track event is a more recent memory than for a lot of other members here, I'll chime in.

The BMW CCA chapter HPDEs I've attended have been well organized and run. Since it's your first car event, I suspect you'll be assigned to the novice group, which might prove a little frustrating. "Finding the line" is the first order of business in a novice group, and if that already comes naturally, you may be frequently held up by slower drivers (not to mention the advantage of having 400hp under foot).

If that's the case, I would suggest being very wary as you approach and pass slower cars. Don't take anything for granted in terms of what a slower car is going to do; make sure you leave enough separation so you can deal with the unexpected.

Again, I don't know Willow, but I think that you'll be o.k. with brake ducts and OEM pads for a first event. Your OEM pads may start to fade, and you'll have to back-off to get them back. You might consider investing in a set of race pads for the front brakes if you plan on attending more than one event. You'll certainly need them as your speed improves.

Whether the M5 is "appropriate" for the track will probably spark a lengthy debate. Important thing is to have fun. On that, the M5 can and will deliver.
 

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EdP said:
Since it's your first car event, I suspect you'll be assigned to the novice group, which might prove a little frustrating. "Finding the line" is the first order of business in a novice group, and if that already comes naturally, you may be frequently held up by slower drivers (not to mention the advantage of having 400hp under foot).

If that's the case, I would suggest being very wary as you approach and pass slower cars. Don't take anything for granted in terms of what a slower car is going to do; make sure you leave enough separation so you can deal with the unexpected.

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If a student finds themselves constantly held up and the student has a decent idea of where the line is, the student may be able to get moved up one group on the second day. Talk to your instructor after the second session on the first day if it looks like it is a problem. Most schools assign you based on experience and car. If you were sharing a car with another student and both were novices, one would normally get moved up one group.
Regards,
Jerry
 

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This is true, if the pacific region of the bmwcca will move you up if you are clearly better than a D student and are being held up. It can be on the first day, but if you have some sigificant track experience (you mentioned bikes) you probably won't be put in novice in the first place. A seasoned student will be able to pick up the line after a couple of sessions and can start going quickly. I've heard willow is a great track, and fast. You'd definately want some open brake ducts and maybe some track pads.
Mike

gsfent said:
If a student finds themselves constantly held up and the student has a decent idea of where the line is, the student may be able to get moved up one group on the second day. Talk to your instructor after the second session on the first day if it looks like it is a problem. Most schools assign you based on experience and car. If you were sharing a car with another student and both were novices, one would normally get moved up one group.
Regards,
Jerry
 

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You are going to have a ton of fun! If you are just starting out, the BMWCCA instructors will be great to show you the basics and keep you safe out there. Except for tires, there is nothing wrong with bringing the M5 there for this type of thing. In fact, Willow is known as a "horsepower" track, favoring big HP cars. You will have a lot of fun powering out of T9 onto the front straight, and will probably catch most of your fellow students there, or on the back between T7 and T8 (if that will be allowed as a passing zone). Just dont use this HP advantage as a "crutch" to make up for not doing a proper job on the turns. Remember, it's not a race, although every student I have ever taught naturally succumbs to human nature, and will always want to catch the guy in front of him! Have fun out there! The biggest initial obstacle will be getting over your fears and gaining that initial confidence. The first time you go out with an instructor driving, you will be scared s&itless if you have never been on a track at speed before. You will reach limits simply never achived on the street.

Machanically, I really dont think you need to bother with any brake mods at this point because (a) you are just starting out, and (b) it's not going to be too hot there in April. I would just keep a very close eye on the outside edges of both left side tires (assuming the track will be run CW, which it almost always is there). Depending on your driving, Willow can really chew them up, especially on the M5, which does not have enough negative camber up front. Willow's surface is quite rough and has a reputation of being really hard on tires. A decent instructor should be able to do around 120 MPH through T8-T9 (essentially a flat, almost non-cambered pair of long right turns). When you are huffing a 4,000+ lb car around lap after lap on street tires, you can only go so far unfortunately. Just dont forget to make a special point to inspect the outside edges of your left tires after each session. We want you to be able to drive home! Let us know how it goes out there! :M5thumbs:
 

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I drove a stock M5 on that track a couple of years ago with track temps in the 100's. The two fastest turns are high speed right hand sweepers so the front driver side tire takes a beating. Not a whole lot of braking done on that track so the stock brakes will be fine. :M5launch:
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
ernie said:
is there still room? if so, i might be able to squeeze in the school.

ernie
As far as I know, there should still be room, but I haven't checked, just a guess. I sent in my application today. You can send questions to [email protected] *Note, there are underscores in that email address.

Thanks everyone for the great tips!!!

Guess I'll see how my new S-03's hold up.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Does anyone know where I can get a video of cars or motorcycles racing on the Willow Springs track?

I'd like to familiarize myself with the layout in advance if possible.

Thanks
 
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