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      12-26-2018, 12:07 PM   #1
ano0oj
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Tracking a non-Msport 440i

Good morning bimmerheads! So I've spent some time searching on this topic and just haven't had any luck finding members in the same boat as me.

I recently bought a 2017 440i and been dying to get on a track for a long time and finally have a car to go. I would have liked to get one with Msport but the deal on mine was too good to pass up and I didn't think the extra $4k difference to get 1 with Msport was worth it.

I have a few questions and will appreciate any help or wisdom in these areas.

1. Brakes - I am running basic stock brakes, no m performance or M-Sport. Will track pads and flushing brake fluid be enough here? I know it is in most cases, just want to make sure this solution will suffice.

2. Tires - Did some searching on this, but are run-flats OKAY for track use? Or do you recommend me getting a separate wheel/tire set up for the track. I don't mind doing this either so long as I know they can be used on my future track cars(likely Ms)

3. Helmet - What should I go for? Looking for something lightweight and within standards.

4. Suspension/Camber - This I'm going to leave alone for now, the 440i isn't a car that I plan on keeping beyond January 2020. Hoping to hop into an M3/M4 at that time. However, if camber plates make a huge difference - I don't mind adjusting it later on the 440 since it's relatively a low $ item.

I know many of you will say "go stock and see how you like tracking first," but I know this is something I will love since I LOVE to drive my BMWs hard if I get a chance so I am not worried about upfront costs being too high for my first time.

My first track event will be with CHIN at either COTA or MSR Houston sometime in April.
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      12-27-2018, 02:20 PM   #2
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I don't have a lot of experience as I just went to two track events with Chin at Sebring but I will share my experience with you.

First time I went with a 428i stock, the second time I went moderately modded. World of difference! To address your questions:

1. You will probably be Ok with the oem brakes/pads but you may want to flush the brake fluid to something better. I used Motul RBF 660. With the default fluid you may experience fade after some laps.

2. My OEM P7 runflat tires sucked. Period. My car was squealing like crazy. After upgrading them to Firestone Indy 500's (I went with 245/40/18 square) I had MUCH better cornering abilities.

3. I got the cheapest Snell 2015 helmet i could get - just above $100. Zamp FS8 i think

4. I made no changes to the suspension and was fine.

Chin is great - love em. Well organized, safety first, good classroom instructions.
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      12-28-2018, 11:57 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ToxicBlaster View Post
I don't have a lot of experience as I just went to two track events with Chin at Sebring but I will share my experience with you.

First time I went with a 428i stock, the second time I went moderately modded. World of difference! To address your questions:

1. You will probably be Ok with the oem brakes/pads but you may want to flush the brake fluid to something better. I used Motul RBF 660. With the default fluid you may experience fade after some laps.

2. My OEM P7 runflat tires sucked. Period. My car was squealing like crazy. After upgrading them to Firestone Indy 500's (I went with 245/40/18 square) I had MUCH better cornering abilities.

3. I got the cheapest Snell 2015 helmet i could get - just above $100. Zamp FS8 i think

4. I made no changes to the suspension and was fine.

Chin is great - love em. Well organized, safety first, good classroom instructions.
Thanks for your response, looks like you addressed everything!!

I will definitely change my pads and flush brake fluid. Tires I will leave alone for now, I'll see how they perform and how much I love tracking to see if it's worth just getting a dedicated wheel/tire set for tracking. Suspension I won't touch, not sure what that's going to do for resell value in the future as modded BMWs not the easiest to sell.
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      12-29-2018, 07:21 AM   #4
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1) I have used stock pads for my first 2 weekends, then did something a bit more aggressive. I have used stock fluid with no issues (beginners group) and then Motul RFB 600 in lower intermediate. The msport 4/2pot brakes are awesome if you have those.
2) Separate wheels/tires for the track are great. Lets you get a more aggressive tire. Square or Staggered is a driving style choice.
3) I have a bell snell 2015 helmet, it was around 500 bux. I would spend some money here, you will have it for like 10 years and ergonomics can make your life nicer.
4) Front camber can save you a lot of outside tire wear, that depends on the track as well. I have found, VIR is easier on front tires, but NCAUTO will just grind the outside off in one weekend.

The F3x can haul the mail at the track it will be a blast.
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      01-03-2019, 10:52 AM   #5
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Get rid of the run flats 1st.
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      01-03-2019, 02:24 PM   #6
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I've tracked multiple times in an E90 335D, bone stock with the stock run-flat all seasons (it does not have the sports package) that it came with, and had a freakin' hoot. So as to the question whether or not you should track your non-MSport 440i? No brainer. Go track it.

I'm going to go against the grain here and tell you this. Don't do anything to the car yet.

I've been instructing with a variety of clubs, but primarily with BMW CCA, for well over a decade now. I've been tracking for nearly 20 years (jfc I'm getting old). In all this time, I see all sort of people come through our programs. Since it's BMW CCA, most of our beginners and first timers are avid BMW fans who love to drive their BMWs hard and fast. I'd say well over 95% of all our beginners are self professed fanatics, with a deep love of their marquee and a sense of adventure on the road.

Typically less than 50% of the beginners come back to the track. You ask them, and each one will tell you they had fun. They love going fast. But I can guarantee no matter what, only 50% will ever return to the track again, if that. And to a man (or woman) they are all BMW enthusiasts. Loves to go fast. Loves to drive hard. Yada yada yada. To be honest? What most who's never tracked before, but loves "hard" driving? To them track driving is scary. It just is. 50% won't come back because, while they probably did have a good time, it simply isn't for them.

And I see that in a wide variety of sports. Really. 50% of first timers skiing? Won't ever return. 50% of people trying golf for the first time? Won't pick up a club again. 50% of people taking tennis lessons? Won't sign up for a second. It is just what it is. The sport looks glamours, appealing from the outside, Once you experience it you quickly find out you either don't have the aptitude for it, the stomach, or the resources to continue to do it consistently.

Out of that 50% of beginners who WILL return, only about 50% will continue to track their BMWs after 3-5 more events. It's again, nature of the beast. Some quickly find out this is an expensive sport. Some don't want to worry about the constant upkeep of "tracking" their daily driver. Some just lose interest. Some, life gets in the way. But out of the initial 95% of enthusiasts who, you'd think would love to do this sport and do it consistently, only about 25% stick around. It's not unusual. Sometimes lifestyle change, you have a kid and BOOM all your available time are out the window. Some has a very busy work schedule and frankly, taking a weekend or two off every few months not only is difficult, but the fact that the cars need to be tech'ed and maintained during business hours makes it impossible to do this, even if you love it and have fun doing it. Some just don't want to put $8,000 worth of parts, maintenance, consumables, hotel and lodging, entry fees...etc a year into a car he/she needs to drive daily to and from work.

So out of that 25% of initial participants that love it, is hooked, and keeps coming back to the track? After 5 or so events another 50% will drop off. Now you're down to about 10% of participants will really be the "hard core" type that loves tracking more than spending time with family, or work, or have the time and resources to take care of a tracked car. Typically, those 25% that sticks around, between 5-10 weekends in, a good bulk of them have a come to Jesus moment. Be it an off-track excursion, a close call on a tight pass, a spin, or a mechanical failure. About half shrugs it off as "it's track" and the other half sits down and do risk analysis and realize that this sh*t gets expensive super fast should another incident happen that results in a more catastrophic scenario.

And don't get me wrong, those 50% of the 25% that's left, they'll come back. But at a far lower frequency and run in a group/speed they're comfortable with. Like 2 weekends a year. Nature. Of. The beast.

So my question to you is, are you willing to invest in a $500 helmet, $2,000 worth in wheels/tires, all the maintenance and parts, for a 10% chance that this works out and you like it enough to keep doing it? I'd say, leave the car alone, get a rental helmet from the track at your first event, just so that you know for sure that there's a better than 50/50 chance that you will never hit the track ever again.

Oh, and don't knock run-flats. They can be a ton of fun on track.



Yes this is on factory fun flats.
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      01-03-2019, 04:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The HACK View Post
Oh, and don't knock run-flats. They can be a ton of fun on track.



Yes this is on factory fun flats.
If only they made run-flats even half as good as those for our car.
Edit: They do make performance compound run flats in compatible sizes now. I was mistaken, my bad. Only problem with these is the price.

Don't discourage tire upgrades*

Obviously I don't mean go and spent thousands on your first track day, I agree that is wasteful. Not many people go more than once. If you only upgrade one single thing on the car, tires are the clear choice. They're useful on and off track.
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      01-03-2019, 05:42 PM   #8
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I made the fun-flat comment about my car half in jest. The Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 ZPs that came on my car is about as sticky a track tire as “street” legal tires can get. 1.25G of sustained lateral force and 1.6G spike is better than any track tires short of slicks and those that starts with a brand synonymous with “basketball” state in the US.

Having said that.

I’ve done hundreds of days on track with thousands of laps on a dozen different tracks, while my experience and skills may just be slightly above average, I myself isn’t even tapping more than 80% of the grip available on any given day. Much less these semi-slick “fun-flats” that came from the factory.

If anything, I don’t expect ANYONE at their first track event to be able to approach even 60% of their factory run-flats grip and capabilities. Yes with a few dozen instructed sessions most of us can probably safely drive up to and exceed the limits of a run-flat, but the BIGGEST reason to ditch them isn’t their performance, but rather the COST to replace them.

Mine averages out to be around $500 a tire. With 2 single track days on them they’re easily within less than 60% of their usable life. At current rate, should I continue to track on them fun-flats, I’m looking at $2,000 every 6 months. As opposed to the 2 sets of take-off R-comps I still have in the garage that cost me $300 and have so far lasted me nearly 2 years.

But boy...do they freakin GRIP in the corners.
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      01-06-2019, 07:49 PM   #9
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I saw a guy in a stock Jetta last year, you'll be fine. Also, what the other guy says is correct.

Many come and go from the hobby. I got a Bell racing helmet used on eBay from a one timer.

Everyone has an incident as some point as well. It's going to happen. (The track insurance is cheap, get it!).

He's also right. You won't come close to the limits of your car so don't worry about upgrades
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      01-09-2019, 09:13 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ano0oj View Post
I know many of you will say "go stock and see how you like tracking first," but I know this is something I will love since I LOVE to drive my BMWs hard if I get a chance so I am not worried about upfront costs being too high for my first time.

My first track event will be with CHIN at either COTA or MSR Houston sometime in April.
That might be true, maybe you will instantly love it and dump thousands on a track setup. You STILL should just go stock for now simply because right now, it's more about you as a driver than about the limitations of the car. You will be be the biggest obstacle in whether or not you will have good laptimes. Additionally, don't worry about laptimes. Get your vision correct, find your line, find the braking point, and find the apex and exit. You don't need track tires to work on the basics.

However, as another poster pointed out, I would only consider swapping tires if you are concerned about excessive wear on expensive run flats. Since I normally recommend swapping out your run flats regardless if you are tracking or not, I would say swapping them is not a terrible idea. Put on some decent nonRF rubber that you can also drive daily and save the run flats for when you sell the car and for backup.

Consider this: Most first timers on the track chuck their street tires because they are simply going too fast in the corners. Listen to your tires. If you are hearing a lot of screeching, then you have exceeded the limits of grip on your rubber. You are NOT going and faster than if you reduced your corner entry speed. You are simply losing traction and time. If you follow proper technique, the run flats should hold up just fine.
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