F30POST
F30POST
2012-2015 BMW 3-Series and 4-Series Forum
BMW Garage BMW Meets Register Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read
BMW 3-Series and 4-Series Forum (F30 / F32) | F30POST > BIMMERPOST Universal Forums > General BMW News and Cars Discussion > 2021 Review: 2 Day M-School at Spartanburg, SC
ARMA SPEED
Post Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
      08-29-2021, 08:32 PM   #1
BRAKE!
New Member
92
Rep
18
Posts

Drives: N/A
Join Date: Aug 2021
Location: USA

iTrader: (0)

2021 Review: 2 Day M-School at Spartanburg, SC

BIMMERPOST
     Featured on BIMMERPOST.com
TLDR - Experience video on post 3

Hey guys, it’s been a long time since I’ve been on this forum (or actually been in a BMW for that matter), but I recently crossed off a bucket list item of a 2 day M-School at the performance center in SC.

I wanted to write down my experience on the forum to share with you what M school is like in 2021 and for keepsake reasons. I also want to thank the previous members who posted about their experiences:
(https://f30.bimmerpost.com/forums/sh....php?t=1472503)
(https://f80.bimmerpost.com/forums/sh....php?t=1402561)
(https://f10.m5post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=788997)
Forum member Machines with souls: https://machineswithsouls.com/2020/0...-bmw-m-school/


A little background - in college, I had a manual e36 which I loved to death. Had little money to take care of the car and hence it slowly fell apart, but I drove it to approx 190K miles and sold it to another enthusiast who fixed it back up… go figure.

Anyway, I ended up buying a non-BMW pedestrian sedan (which I still drive today). After years of more school and training, I finally finished and decided to reward myself with this experience (and to see which one I would potentially buy)

Prior to the M school, I had ZERO experience in track driving, never participated in a HPDE, and I pride myself on being a conservative driver on the roads. Hence, I was bit hesitant to sign up for this, but BMW assured me that there is no prerequisite to attend this school and the mantra was “challenge by choice.” For those of you on the fence, trust me, if I can do it, you can do it.

Day - 1






The day starts around 8:30 am with introductions and classroom sessions. The instructors were all seasoned race car drivers. Clint, the head instructor, has been at the school since early 2000s and had a storied racing career. We even had few current race car drivers who came to teach as their side gig. They are all approachable and make you feel welcomed.

The instructors really drill home these basics they want you to hone:
Vision “look where you want to go”
Braking “brake in a straight line” “braking makes you faster”
Follow the Racing Line “be patient, hit the apex”

After the classroom, we were split into 3 groups of 5. You are assigned a group color and a number within that group. This then determines which car you get into for each exercise.


THIS is what you walk out to. What’s even more impressive is when you hear 15 M cars starting up at once... I will never forget that moment.

Last edited by BRAKE!; 09-14-2021 at 09:03 PM..
Appreciate 7
      08-29-2021, 08:33 PM   #2
BRAKE!
New Member
92
Rep
18
Posts

Drives: N/A
Join Date: Aug 2021
Location: USA

iTrader: (0)

Exercise 1: Autocross with M2 Comp

Of note, all of the cars are DCT/auto. They give you a little bit of time to adjust the seat, mirrors, etc. However, don’t count on it being more than 5 min as they want you to maximize time out on the track. They wanted us in the “M1” setting which was preset for the exercise, (IIRC it was sport + for throttle and suspension and sport for steering). If you’re not used to driving a new BMW like me, it can be pretty hectic as I had to find the lever for steering adjustment, look at the DCT layout to put it into drive, etc. Not only that, the DCT in sport + throttle is SO touchy and jerky when driving off the line. It was probably comical watching me initially drive off, lol.

A couple lead-follows, and you’re off. At first, I was a bit too conservative, and heard a few “need a little more speed from you” over the radio. After a few minutes with the car though, you get a sense of what it’s capable of and realize you can carry a lot more speed into the corners, slalom, and straights. I never slammed a brake pedal that hard in my life, or took a corner that fast, it is EXHILARATING. While most people talk about how easy it is to break traction in these cars, I felt that the cornering capability of the M2 was super high before you even approached that point. I left the gearbox in auto and the DCT was sublime. It was 25-30 minutes of sheer concentration.

Exercise 2: Skidpad with M4 Comp




We were given a quick break for bathroom/water. I walked out to this pleasant surprise, a SPY M4 Comp w/ YMB carbon buckets, CCBs. Needless to say, this was the flashiest car on the lot; bit too showy for me, but I enjoyed trying out the carbon buckets nonetheless (more on this later). We had DSC off. We were driven by one of the instructors in a M3 comp who demonstrated the effects of understeer and oversteer, and then had a hell of a time drifting the entire pad.


The understeer portion wasn’t difficult to induce - but the catch was to get off the throttle quickly to allow the tires to regain traction. The oversteer wasn’t difficult to induce either, but correcting it was challenging. It took a few tries before I recognized how much throttle to blip and for how long before it resulted in a correctable oversteer. What caught me off guard was that there is a miniscule period of time between when you blip the throttle and when the car reacts as such - you need to hold onto the throttle for longer than expected (it’s not a stab, it's a stab-and-hold, then off). Overall, this was probably my least favorite exercise. It seems like it would be great fun (and it is) but the constant splashing of water in the windshield as you're trying to view the inside line causes disorientation, especially when you’re sideways (I guess it’s supposed to mimic a real-life scenario?) Additionally, there is just a lot of downtime waiting for your turn.

Exercise 3: Corner Entry with M5 Comp

The corner entry really honed in on straight line braking and vision. This exercise really taught me the importance of keeping your eyes where you want to go. It is odd at first not to look directly at the corner entry cone and instead have your eyes and head looking out the side window at the next apex as you take the corner. But, you quickly realize how important it is to “drive further ahead with your eyes” before your car gets there. What’s even more surprising is how much anticipation and time this affords you, and how your body subconsciously judges how much brake, throttle, and steering you need to make it through the corner as fast as possible - all because of proper vision. Truly game-changing.

Lunch Break + Short Classroom Session:
A clean, simple lunch. Buffet style, but all the food was delicious and high quality. It was interesting listening to everyone’s perspectives. Some liked the M5, some swore by the M2, some thought the skidpad exercise was the best. Just goes to show that there is something for everyone. Once again, we had a brief class session going over what we learned and what the next exercises would be. There is definitely a progression of building up your skills.

Exercise 4: Rat Race with M4 Comp
We went up to “area 6” which looked like a parking lot with a few lines and cones. There were sprinklers and the track was wet. The goal of the exercise was to drive around the oval shaped track in the fastest manner possible. DSC was off, and while the point was to prevent oversteer and manage turn in and throttle correctly, I quickly learned that I LOVE oversteer in the M4. Needless to say, I just tried to drift the whole entire time. The M4 felt so easy and intuitive to control even with DSC off. The sound of the car (while it may be piped in) was awesome and I grew fond of the car. I couldn’t believe how well engineered it was to make a novice driver like me feel at ease with it.

Exercise 5: Timed Autocross with M2 Comp
This was the same exact layout as before, but now we were given timed laps. Before we left the classroom, we were told by one of the instructors that the record from a participant was 21 seconds flat, while the record for the instructors was 19 seconds. Two guys in our group (who happened to be brothers) went out and smashed this record with 20.8 and 20.9 seconds (go red team!) I managed to squeeze out a 22.884 sec, which was respectable amongst the entire cohort, but against my team members, it was last place (the red team was on fire).

Exercise 6: Long Autocross with M5 Comp
This was the best exercise of the day. We hit triple digit speeds on the straight before 10/10 braking for a sharp left onto the skidpad. The course was set up in such a way that you incorporated the corner entry, skidpad understeer/oversteer management, and hard straight-line braking. What shocked all of us was how amazing the CCBs are; absolutely zero brake fade despite slamming to a halt in a car weighing > 2 tons doing > 100 mph over and over again for all participants. Additionally, the M5 is very comfortable to be in - I never knew this would be an advantage, but I felt that the more comfortable I was, the longer periods of track work I could do without losing concentration or getting fatigued. Of the cars I drove on day 1, I was the most impressed with the M5 - it really is the jack-of-all-trades.

Final Exercise: Timed Lap with M5 Comp


Everyone got to take the M5 out again for a timed lap around the long autocross circuit. Given that my last exercise was essentially the same thing, I felt that I could finally put together my best run. I managed a 44.59 seconds (range 49.64 to 42.52). Once again, the two bros in my group managed a blistering 42.52 and 42.54… wow. Even the instructors were thoroughly impressed.

Bolus Exercise: Shopping


In addition to the $100 they gave us, your badge also gives you 15% off. I ended up picking up a few items w/ the performance center branding - all this came to ~$100. I’m sure we subsidized this w/ our school fee, but a nice gesture nonetheless.

Dinner was much like lunch - high quality, buffet style, open bar, brief. I was told by the instructors that I would be fatigued after the first day. They were right. Make sure to get some sleep as the next day is even more intense.

Last edited by BRAKE!; 08-29-2021 at 10:12 PM..
Appreciate 8
      08-29-2021, 08:35 PM   #3
BRAKE!
New Member
92
Rep
18
Posts

Drives: N/A
Join Date: Aug 2021
Location: USA

iTrader: (0)

Day 2

Same time start, similar classroom session. Lecture on full track management and specific corners, including the “man corner” and the downhill blind “corkscrew.”



The cars are shuffled such that we all get to drive a different variant to yesterday’s cars. Fortunately (or unfortunately) I got to drive the same M5, but the M4 switched over to an alpine white spec with regular seats, and the M2 was LBB.



The AM sessions featured - Figure 8s with M4 Comp, Bigger Autocross (+ blind, downhill “corkscrew”) with M2 Comp, and The “Man Corner” with M5 Comp. Each of these exercises build upon skill learned the day prior and prepare you towards afternoon sessions of full laps out on the big track. We then had lunch and moved onto the afternoon sessions.


The more I learn about motorsports and racing, the more I realize how all-mighty the tire is. All of the cars had Continental tires (school sponsor). I never really thought much about this brand, but they were impressive in all aspects. The logistics crew said that multiple sets of tires are switched out just during the half day of the school. Case in point, when we got back into the cars after lunch, many of us had tire pressure sensor lights on from the recent swap. Apparently the instructor cars go through 1 set of tires per M school day. The brakes last about 8 M school days or so is what I heard.

Figure of 8 Race with M2 Comp:
Similar to the rat race. Once again vision was important in this exercise - having your eyes fixated on the next target gave you an instinctive cue on when to use the throttle to help rotate the car. The point was to minimize unnecessary oversteer, but when you have a M2 comp and a wet track, it’s too much fun not to oversteer. Spent the entire session trying to drift around the figure 8 circuit. Over the radio, I heard, “make sure you take a wi… okay, have fun”

Full Track Laps M5 Comp:
Getting onto the full track was probably the highlight of this entire experience. Everything you learned up to this point is geared towards this exercise. If you need a justification of doing the 2-day school vs 1-day school, this is it. This was the most intense, most demanding, but the most fun I had in a while. You hit every section of the track - the tight technical autocross portion with a blind downhill corkscrew, to the long straight leading to the “man corner,” and the subsequent compromise corner. The M5 is an absolute beast. I thought maybe it wouldn’t be so good around the autocross portion, but it handled this as competently (if not with more speed) than the M2. The car gives you a lot of confidence to push it hard as it comes with such amazing grip and stopping power. Many of the instructors agreed, their favorite car to drive on the lot was the M5.


Full Track Laps M4 Comp:
Okay, so with how amazing the M5 was, I was wondering if the M4 would be better (especially considering the weight of the G82). Well the M4 was…

AMAZING

Instantly going from the M5 to the M4 felt like I took off a heavy backpack. It could do what the M5 did, just better in every way. I stopped faster and carried more speed into and out of the corners. The car was also comfortable to drive. It was at this point where I decided I like the added comfort of the M4/5 vs the more raw experience of M2… which is opposite to what I had originally predicted, but I found that comfort in the car gives you more confidence to push it harder and to stay out on the track longer. I even grew fond of the grills. In fact, in the flesh, the car looks very aggressive with such a commanding presence. If I were to buy a new BMW, it would be the M4 hands down.

Here is a summary video of the experience:

Last edited by BRAKE!; 08-30-2021 at 05:00 PM..
Appreciate 30
      08-29-2021, 09:30 PM   #4
Foggins
Restless
Canada
1031
Rep
948
Posts

Drives: M2C
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Dallas & Toronto

iTrader: (0)

Wow, amazing post!!
Appreciate 0
      08-30-2021, 06:23 PM   #5
_E90S65_
Second Lieutenant
_E90S65_'s Avatar
212
Rep
283
Posts

Drives: 2021 M340i
Join Date: Dec 2020
Location: Pluto

iTrader: (0)

Looks like a fun trip.

And that bottle opener!!
Appreciate 0
      08-31-2021, 09:23 AM   #6
TAZ007
Lieutenant Colonel
TAZ007's Avatar
831
Rep
1,628
Posts

Drives: 2021 Z4 M40
Join Date: May 2021
Location: Texas

iTrader: (0)

Garage List
2021 Z4 M40  [0.00]
Thanks for the post. I might just plan that for my next vacation.
Appreciate 0
      08-31-2021, 11:37 AM   #7
GP0256
First Lieutenant
124
Rep
336
Posts

Drives: 2006 MINI GP
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Raleigh, NC

iTrader: (0)

One of my favorite automotive experiences ever. If you haven't been and you have a chance to go, DO IT! You will not be disappointed
Appreciate 0
      08-31-2021, 11:38 AM   #8
GP0256
First Lieutenant
124
Rep
336
Posts

Drives: 2006 MINI GP
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Raleigh, NC

iTrader: (0)

Quote:
Originally Posted by BRAKE! View Post
Day 2

Same time start, similar classroom session. Lecture on full track management and specific corners, including the "man corner" and the downhill blind "corkscrew."



The cars are shuffled such that we all get to drive a different variant to yesterday's cars. Fortunately (or unfortunately) I got to drive the same M5, but the M4 switched over to an alpine white spec with regular seats, and the M2 was LBB.



The AM sessions featured - Figure 8s with M4 Comp, Bigger Autocross (+ blind, downhill "corkscrew") with M2 Comp, and The "Man Corner" with M5 Comp. Each of these exercises build upon skill learned the day prior and prepare you towards afternoon sessions of full laps out on the big track. We then had lunch and moved onto the afternoon sessions.


The more I learn about motorsports and racing, the more I realize how all-mighty the tire is. All of the cars had Continental tires (school sponsor). I never really thought much about this brand, but they were impressive in all aspects. The logistics crew said that multiple sets of tires are switched out just during the half day of the school. Case in point, when we got back into the cars after lunch, many of us had tire pressure sensor lights on from the recent swap. Apparently the instructor cars go through 1 set of tires per M school day. The brakes last about 8 M school days or so is what I heard.

Figure of 8 Race with M2 Comp:
Similar to the rat race. Once again vision was important in this exercise - having your eyes fixated on the next target gave you an instinctive cue on when to use the throttle to help rotate the car. The point was to minimize unnecessary oversteer, but when you have a M2 comp and a wet track, it's too much fun not to oversteer. Spent the entire session trying to drift around the figure 8 circuit. Over the radio, I heard, "make sure you take a wi… okay, have fun"

Full Track Laps M5 Comp:
Getting onto the full track was probably the highlight of this entire experience. Everything you learned up to this point is geared towards this exercise. If you need a justification of doing the 2-day school vs 1-day school, this is it. This was the most intense, most demanding, but the most fun I had in a while. You hit every section of the track - the tight technical autocross portion with a blind downhill corkscrew, to the long straight leading to the "man corner," and the subsequent compromise corner. The M5 is an absolute beast. I thought maybe it wouldn't be so good around the autocross portion, but it handled this as competently (if not with more speed) than the M2. The car gives you a lot of confidence to push it hard as it comes with such amazing grip and stopping power. Many of the instructors agreed, their favorite car to drive on the lot was the M5.


Full Track Laps M4 Comp:
Okay, so with how amazing the M5 was, I was wondering if the M4 would be better (especially considering the weight of the G82). Well the M4 was…

AMAZING

Instantly going from the M5 to the M4 felt like I took off a heavy backpack. It could do what the M5 did, just better in every way. I stopped faster and carried more speed into and out of the corners. The car was also comfortable to drive. It was at this point where I decided I like the added comfort of the M4/5 vs the more raw experience of M2… which is opposite to what I had originally predicted, but I found that comfort in the car gives you more confidence to push it harder and to stay out on the track longer. I even grew fond of the grills. In fact, in the flesh, the car looks very aggressive with such a commanding presence. If I were to buy a new BMW, it would be the M4 hands down.

Here is a summary video of the experience:
What was your time‽‽‽ ….. mine was 1 second faster 🤣🤣🤣
Appreciate 0
      08-31-2021, 11:42 AM   #9
GKay
Private
26
Rep
57
Posts

Drives: 2019 M4
Join Date: May 2018
Location: IL

iTrader: (0)

I had a great time at the 1 day M school in SC. Semi regret not doing the 2 day. They recently started doing M school in Indianapolis so I might try there next time.
Appreciate 0
      08-31-2021, 11:52 AM   #10
unfoundnemo
Major
unfoundnemo's Avatar
988
Rep
1,142
Posts

Drives: 2020 F92 M8
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Pennsylvania

iTrader: (0)

Garage List
2020 BMW M8  [0.00]
2020 BMW X7  [0.00]
Quote:
Originally Posted by GKay View Post
I had a great time at the 1 day M school in SC. Semi regret not doing the 2 day. They recently started doing M school in Indianapolis so I might try there next time.
I think those are just M track days in Indianapolis, so slightly different. You could do a half or full day at an m track day, but it's not the same as an M school. It is of course cheaper.
__________________
2020 F92 M8
2020 G07 X7
Gone: 2018 F80 M3 | 2017 F15 X5 | 2016 F16 X6 | 2015 F36 4 series GC
Appreciate 0
      08-31-2021, 12:01 PM   #11
ChiTownM
Captain
ChiTownM's Avatar
United_States
404
Rep
917
Posts

Drives: M and i BMWs
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Chicago

iTrader: (0)

Looks like the same setup, I went in 2012 and it was phenomenal. And remember, your BMWCCA membership gets you a discount, as a matter of fact I participated in a weekend school for BMWCCA members only which was an added benefit.

Great video!
Appreciate 0
      08-31-2021, 12:02 PM   #12
FrozenGT
First Lieutenant
197
Rep
334
Posts

Drives: 2021 Z4 M40i - Lexus NX300 F
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: Ashburn VA

iTrader: (0)

Congrats dude I remember when I had my M day.

Make sure you look up becoming a BMW CCA member if you are not and join the M chapter
Attached Images
  
Appreciate 0
      08-31-2021, 12:11 PM   #13
ATLIEN
Captain
ATLIEN's Avatar
212
Rep
674
Posts

Drives: 08 335i & 11 M3 ZCP
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Greenville, SC

iTrader: (0)

I live right by the track and enjoy the experience yearly. It's definitely a first class experience and well worth the money.
__________________
2011 BMW M3
2008 BMW 335i- MHD STG 1+
Appreciate 0
      08-31-2021, 12:17 PM   #14
igotbank
New Member
0
Rep
15
Posts

Drives: '19 m550i and a few classics
Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: New York

iTrader: (0)

Thanks for the details. I participated in the one day m performance driving school back in March. I would've loved to have driven the m5 Comp too. We had the m8 Comp which had torque for days. Same formate you experience with the exception of the cork screw and the rest of your 2nd day experience. I will definitely do the 2 day school. I had a lot of fun. And the instructors are no joke behind the wheel.
Attached Images
   
Appreciate 0
      08-31-2021, 12:52 PM   #15
spuntyb
Brigadier General
spuntyb's Avatar
United_States
2671
Rep
4,160
Posts

Drives: 2019 F90 Competition
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: USA

iTrader: (0)

Love this. Thanks for sharing!
__________________
<b>2019 F90 Comp MBB|Black</b> || <b>2018 Macan GTS</b>

2018 F80 ZCP TB|SS (sold)
2015 F30 335 AW|CR (sold)
2015 F31 MG|CR (sold)
2011 E90 JB|Oyster (sold)
Appreciate 0
      08-31-2021, 01:20 PM   #16
2len
Private
41
Rep
50
Posts

Drives: M4
Join Date: Jun 2021
Location: GA

iTrader: (0)

Awesome write up! Thank you for the details!
Look forward to doing it in the nearest future.
Appreciate 0
      08-31-2021, 01:43 PM   #17
Audio Fan
Captain
500
Rep
849
Posts

Drives: AY - M4
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: NC

iTrader: (0)

Were the M3/4s RWD or AWD?
Appreciate 0
      08-31-2021, 02:19 PM   #18
M3exDeo
Private
M3exDeo's Avatar
United_States
39
Rep
52
Posts

Drives: E90 M3, F30 335 M-Sport
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Eastern PA

iTrader: (0)

Garage List
2013 F30 335i  [0.00]
2011 E90 M3  [0.00]
Great write up! Thank you
Appreciate 0
      08-31-2021, 02:27 PM   #19
ShockArrival
First Lieutenant
ShockArrival's Avatar
United_States
301
Rep
324
Posts

Drives: G80 Search
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: STL

iTrader: (0)

Garage List
2014 BMW M5  [0.00]
This was a great read, thank you Sir!
__________________
Hunting for a G80 | 997 911 C2S AS/Blk 6MT SC SOUL
Appreciate 0
      08-31-2021, 03:14 PM   #20
f80tanz
Enlisted Member
62
Rep
38
Posts

Drives: 2017 M3
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: NJ

iTrader: (1)

Great write up, well said! I felt the same way about my one-day M track experience in Thermal, CA as well. Hope to be back there some day and would highly recommend going!
Appreciate 0
      08-31-2021, 03:21 PM   #21
6oclockshadow
Private First Class
6oclockshadow's Avatar
United_States
298
Rep
157
Posts

Drives: 2021 M340i
Join Date: Feb 2021
Location: Boston; Clifden, IE

iTrader: (0)

Great post. I've done 2 courses with Audi. I wish more people would take professional driving classes. It would be less stressful for me every time I get behind the wheel.
Appreciate 0
      08-31-2021, 03:28 PM   #22
POBA
Lieutenant
191
Rep
457
Posts

Drives: M5 F90
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: NY

iTrader: (0)

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrozenGT View Post
Congrats dude I remember when I had my M day.

Make sure you look up becoming a BMW CCA member if you are not and join the M chapter
Sorry for the silly question, I am CCA member, how do you join the M chapter? Thanks
Appreciate 0
Post Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:03 PM.




f30post
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
1Addicts.com, BIMMERPOST.com, E90Post.com, F30Post.com, M3Post.com, ZPost.com, 5Post.com, 6Post.com, 7Post.com, XBimmers.com logo and trademark are properties of BIMMERPOST