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      05-08-2013, 11:34 AM   #1
chong0
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Watkins Glen 2-day track event with the M5

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2 day event up at Watkins Glen, NY on the long course (3.4 miles) run by the BMW car club (Boston chapter).

Aside from doing the 2-day M school, this was my only other track event and I registered as a novice member (which discounts the price $100). To put my skill level into perspective, I placed 1st in all events at M-school but have never been to a real track. I have done autocross school prior in my 3-series wagon. (So there is some part of me that knows what it's doing!)

Watkins Glen is about a 6 hour drive from Boston (334 miles by Nav). As I recently disabled POP in the V1, I was a little hesitant to drive 'spiritedly' to get there, but there were many cars going 80-85 and by being in their shadow I was able to get there in about 5.5 hours with a few stops. The drive is quite beautiful as it is located in the finger lakes region of upstate NY and there is about 90 miles of 2 lane countryside rolling hills with 55 mph speed limits.

The event was lightly attended as it was a Monday/Tuesday event. In total, there were about 40 people. There were 2 run groups and each day had 5 sessions of 30 minute track time. Novices and intermediates were given passenger instructors. You had the option of having them drive your car first and I opted to not do that as I am sure not many have tracked the F10 M5.

The majority of people had modded M3s (mostly E36 and E46s, some heavily modded E30s). A handful of E90s, 1 F10 550xi, a couple 911s. In my run group it was mostly E46s, E90s, the 550xi, and an E39 M5 with some mods. I went 'naked' with no tools and just my car.

People were extremely friendly. Tools were bountiful if needed and overall a very friendly group of people. Lots were intrigued with my car and some called me 'bold' for doing it with 2k miles on the car. I did not purchase HPDE insurance which may or may not have been stupid (I was quoted $680 for the event based on 80% KBB). I did not plan on going WOT unless I felt comfortable but that thought process lasted 2 sessions!

The day involved classroom instruction and track sessions. In comparison to Spartanburg, the Glen is a much longer track. I chose this event because of the straights and that the M5 should really be able to open up.

My instructor started by taking me for laps in his heavily modded 535is. Learning the lines was key and once the cerebellum takes over it becomes intuitive. I initially started with his lines in the M5 and then as I gained more confidence I would start to change my turn-ins and exit strategies.

Impressions:
  • this car is a beast (everyone knows this). Ran in sport+ in all modes.
  • I have become lazy with sport throttle. As you know, this auto-blips during upshifts and I have not used sport+ throttle on the road as there seems to be no need. I have kept my heel-toe skills with my dd (3 series wagon in MT). Transition to the M5 was no problem and response with heel-toe was no issue, and there was no lag at all with throttle blip.
  • the M5 passed EVERYTHING in this group. I did not run with the crazy modded E30/E36 M3s. In a 30 minute track session, I would be lapping cars. It is freaking insane how fast this car goes. There is absolutely no match with the E46s, E90s, 550. There was a 993tt but the driver was very timid and could not accurately consider this worthy. On the straights, it was as if the other cars were standing still. This car pulls and pulls and pulls. Coming out of the esses can be WOT at about 105 and at the end of the back straight before the bus stop i was seeing 150 on the HUD speedometer. By the race chrono app i was going about 140. absolutely sick. in comparison, riding in the 535is was low 100s, and in a heavily modded E36 driven by instructors he was about 125 by his speedometer. there was just no match on these sections.
  • car is heavy (obvious). i have 3k on the car now. I got a warning message that the rear brakes need replacement. I arrived with 12k remaining on the service indicator. Now the rears need replacement and the fronts have 2k remaining. I am hoping that this will be covered under 'ultimate bmw maintenace' (please please please!!!)
  • suspension is very good. for a dual purpose car i wouldn't change a thing.
  • i really like the pss tires. they seemed very predictable and was able to recover oversteer coming out of turn 12 into the straights very reliably.
  • i thought sport+ steering felt fine on the track. What i actually didn't realize is that at low speeds sport+ feels just like comfort and then when you pick up speed it becomes progressively less in terms of assist. I thought my steering options were broken until i realized this.
  • by race chrono time i did a 2:19 lap. considering my first time there, I am happy. by searching other forums, this is in-line with a c6 vette. track record in an m3 i think is low 2s and i think is fairly respectable.

i think everyone should at least try this once. if i did this again, i would purchase racing brake pads and aside from buying an m3 not change much else. This car is fantastic.


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      05-08-2013, 12:15 PM   #2
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Sick bro! I concur on all points. Also it's awesome that you just were able to beat everyone else in a car that is in some cases almost twice the weight. Love it!!!
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      05-08-2013, 12:49 PM   #3
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Right on!!!!

Nice write up, and also agree on all points - especially about the brake wear! Did you run in MDM?
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      05-08-2013, 01:18 PM   #4
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Nice write-up, thanks! I'm doing a similar event on Saturday at Limerock with the Patroon Chapter. From looking at the registration list, it looks like I'll be running against the same types of cars - good to hear the F10 holds her own against smaller, lighter cars. I'm the only M5, lots of M3s and 3-series and a few 911s in the mix. Doing it with a buddy who drives a modded 2008 911TT. Should be a ton of fun! Hopefully the weather cooperates.
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      05-08-2013, 01:32 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M54ccibo View Post
Right on!!!!

Nice write up, and also agree on all points - especially about the brake wear! Did you run in MDM?
Yes i ran MDM throughout the day. I know there were a few other members worried about running in MDM mode but what I can vouch for is that it is very intuitive. The light would cut on only intermittently- there is a bumpy section coming out of the boot and the MDM prevents the car from being too unstable on these bumps and allows full acceleration and threshold braking. Full traction on would be way too inhibiting and probably would be running as slow as the 550x (small poke intended!). With all the barriers at the Glen I really did not want to run full off and did not want to pay for any damages to the Glen or to my car.

That being said, MDM can get you sideways. I was sideways with oversteer going out of turn 12 onto the front straight but able to recover. It really is a mode that allows you to play but saves you when you are a total moron.

AGS: Lime Rock will be fun, but the guys made fun of it calling it an autocross track. You may not see the separation i saw at the Glen because it's a lot smaller, but you will have a blast nonetheless.
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      05-08-2013, 02:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chong0 View Post
Yes i ran MDM throughout the day. I know there were a few other members worried about running in MDM mode but what I can vouch for is that it is very intuitive. The light would cut on only intermittently- there is a bumpy section coming out of the boot and the MDM prevents the car from being too unstable on these bumps and allows full acceleration and threshold braking. Full traction on would be way too inhibiting and probably would be running as slow as the 550x (small poke intended!). With all the barriers at the Glen I really did not want to run full off and did not want to pay for any damages to the Glen or to my car.

That being said, MDM can get you sideways. I was sideways with oversteer going out of turn 12 onto the front straight but able to recover. It really is a mode that allows you to play but saves you when you are a total moron.

AGS: Lime Rock will be fun, but the guys made fun of it calling it an autocross track. You may not see the separation i saw at the Glen because it's a lot smaller, but you will have a blast nonetheless.
Thanks! Yes, MDM is fantastic. I agree with your statements having run the car on the track at 2-day M school
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      05-08-2013, 02:28 PM   #7
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In for GoPro vids. Sounds like this car can really hold its own at the track.

Those pics will make me poor, lol. I can imagine tracking an M5 isn't cheap.

-J
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      05-09-2013, 08:42 AM   #8
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MDM mode is excellent but as you gain experience you need to disable all of the electronic nannies otherwise you'll be constantly replacing rear brake pads. Good to hear you had so much fun.
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      05-09-2013, 09:19 AM   #9
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Awesome - tracking your 2k mile F10 M5 - like a boss.
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      05-09-2013, 09:46 AM   #10
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Fantastic and glad to see owners getting the F10 on track. Surprised that you had success with Sport+ on the course. I ran in comfort for more maneuverability, but never realized Sport+ stiffness was progressive. I'll have to play with that.

Cheers
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      05-09-2013, 10:05 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob///M5 View Post
Fantastic and glad to see owners getting the F10 on track. Surprised that you had success with Sport+ on the course. I ran in comfort for more maneuverability, but never realized Sport+ stiffness was progressive. I'll have to play with that.

Cheers
All the modes are actually progressive.
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      05-09-2013, 03:08 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stealth.pilot
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob///M5 View Post
Fantastic and glad to see owners getting the F10 on track. Surprised that you had success with Sport+ on the course. I ran in comfort for more maneuverability, but never realized Sport+ stiffness was progressive. I'll have to play with that.

Cheers
All the modes are actually progressive.
Sport+ feels like you are turning a barge to me
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      05-09-2013, 04:01 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Sport+ feels like you are turning a barge to me
Agreed. It is almost like it is too far unassisted.
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      05-09-2013, 08:55 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Agreed. It is almost like it is too far unassisted.
Another vote for comfort mode here.

At the 2-day Advanced M school at VIR I completed last week we just left the steering in comfort mode all the time; this seemed to work/feel best on track...
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      05-10-2013, 06:44 AM   #15
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hey guys,

youtube video here. sorry it took so long imovie and youtube have lots of restrictions. it's in 1080 so you can switch to hd under settings. no music so you can enjoy the sound of the exhaust and tire squeal

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      05-10-2013, 10:00 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chong0
hey guys,

youtube video here. sorry it took so long imovie and youtube have lots of restrictions. it's in 1080 so you can switch to hd under settings. no music so you can enjoy the sound of the exhaust and tire squeal

Great vid! Was the camera mounted on the rear of the sunroof? Nice perspective from there. Thanks for posting
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      05-10-2013, 10:24 AM   #17
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Quote:
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hey guys,

youtube video here. sorry it took so long imovie and youtube have lots of restrictions. it's in 1080 so you can switch to hd under settings. no music so you can enjoy the sound of the exhaust and tire squeal

Nice! Love that sunroof perspective. Can see the gauge cluster, wheel, hand movement, and the road. Well done!
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      05-10-2013, 10:37 AM   #18
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Terrific write up, and love the fact that you're driving the car the way it was meant to be driven. And, by all measures, it seems like you may be a natural at this.
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      05-10-2013, 11:48 AM   #19
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thanks-

it was a sunroof mount with the suction cup. ideally another 6 inches lower would get the rear view mirror out of the way so that will be for next time. i also tried the rear window as a mount and it gives a great shot of the cabin but the brightness of the outside really loses detail of the track.
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      05-31-2013, 08:33 AM   #20
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Sweet!
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      05-31-2013, 09:25 AM   #21
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Nice, looks like you're a pro with that 6mt
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      05-31-2013, 11:12 AM   #22
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If it hasn't been said, the MDM is why your rear brakes are gone.
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