2007 MCS BMWCCA Track Video

Due to popular demand I’ve decided to sneak Gabe’s recent track video onto MotoringFile despite his objections. He posted it over at his personal blog a few days ago so I figured it was fair game! This is one of the videos from last weekend’s BMWCCA Putnam Park High Performance Driving School that was written about yesterday on MF. We also referenced it quite a bit on this week’s Woofcasts so I thought it might be a good idea to make it more generally available. And for the record he’s driving his new R56 Cooper S with the freshly installed JCW suspension kit.

Here’s a disclaimer and some background info he used on his personal blog when posting the video. Please read before clicking play:

A couple of important things to remember while viewing this video. For one this was absolutely not a race! If you watch closely you’ll see me giving the cars in front plenty of room in the corners and in fact slowing down a little before and after entering. All passing was done within designated areas of the track after I was given a signal by the person in front.

BMWCCA driving schools are purely about you and you alone. Everybody is on their own pace and individually come to terms with the track and it’s specific character.

The person in the passenger seat was an instructor who I worked with all weekend. You can hear some of his instruction and our conversation as we start off but eventually the wind noise drowns it all out. However the conversation continued throughout each of the 30 minute track sessions as we had a mic/headphone set-up that allowed to clearly hear each other.

  • http://deleted cct1

    Very, very nice. You can really see the cars in front of you transfer weights through the complex turns; great camera shots.

    Your hands look to be at 10 and 2–that’s where I like mine too, but I get rided by some instructors sometimes for not getting the down to 9 and 3. I don’t like being on the spokes though.

    Looks like a great track for the MINI, plenty of turns to work through. I’m a little surprised at one of the passing zones–the one where you caught the black Porsche, but maybe that straight is longer and the braking point later in real life than it looked on the video.

  • ImUrTrboLvr

    Worthwhile video to watch. Thanks Gabe! you’re a beast on the track.

    Question: With FWD cars (like the Mini) do you power through corners, like brake before entering the turn then accelerate in the turn or out of the turn following the racing line?

  • http://www.myr53.com SB

    Looks like you had fun out there.

    During my drivers school I was taught to use 9 and 3. After the school I messed with it a bit and to this day have come to use 9 and 3 daily.

  • http://www.motoringfun.com Pedro
    Question: With FWD cars (like the Mini) do you power through corners, like brake before entering the turn then accelerate in the turn or out of the turn following the racing line?

    Yes – for the most part you are braking hard before entering the turn and then use the throttle and steering wheel to pull you through the turn :). Braking in the middle of the turn is not for the faint of heart ;).

  • Shamus

    What kind of car prep do you have to do for BMWCCA track events…besides the obvious helmets?

  • http://deleted cct1

    You’ll be given a checklist of things that need to be checked, and its recommended you have that done by a mechanic. The sheet will have to be turned in before the event. Essentially you need to make sure your brake pads are ok, fluid levels are ok, lights are all working, and all the loose stuff is out of your car. Its not a bad idea to at the very least bleed the brake lines as well, although not everyone does this, and for your first track event, provided your car is in good shape, you’ll be ok. Its all pretty basic common sense type of stuff. Again, check out NAM–there is a nice thread there with advice for what you need to do for your first track day and what to expect, but as for prepping the car, very little is involved, especially for you first time. The instructors will be very understanding when you’re starting out, and will help you along. You’d be surprised at some of the cars you’ll see on the track–many are people out there for the first time, basically with their street car with nothing done to it.

    I’d approach your first HPDE with eyes and ears open, let everyone know your new, be receptive for advice, and the rest will take care of itself–you won’t believe how incredibly helpful people are, and how much you’ll learn. And from there you can decide on how far you want to go with it; for me that meant harnesses (Which you don’t need and I definitely wouldn’t bother with at your first event), torque wrench, hydraulic jack, jackstands, tire compressor, tire pressure gauge, etc., etc.

    You won’t need most of these things at your first event, and the things you will need–tire pressure gauge, air compressor, torque wrench–you’ll be able to borrow from someone at the event–its not a competition, and the spirit is more of cooperation rather than everyone for themselves. On the other hand, a tire pressure gauge is cheap, and although torque wrenches aren’t (But you can still get a good one for less than a hundred bucks), they’re things that are worth owning wether you go to the track or not.

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    Heh – great DB thanks :-) I was wondering how long this video would stay secret! I kinda didn’t want it posted on MF because it didn’t really feel worthy but maybe it’s decent weekend entertainment :-) And perfect timing too since I’m out of town!

    Your hands look to be at 10 and 2–that’s where I like mine too, but I get rided by some instructors sometimes for not getting the down to 9 and 3. I don’t like being on the spokes though.

    Yeah I go back and forth. For some reason I felt more comfortable at 10/2 on the new JCW steering wheel.

    Looks like a great track for the MINI, plenty of turns to work through. I’m a little surprised at one of the passing zones–the one where you caught the black Porsche, but maybe that straight is longer and the braking point later in real life than it looked on the video.

    Yeah Putnam is a great track for MINIs. I got lots of compliments from other drivers that noticed the speed I was able to carry in some corners that weren’t as kind to M3s etc.

    Some of the passing zones are short.. but the thing to remember is that if you’re waived by it’s the responsibility of the passee (is that a word?) to give you plenty of room.

    Worthwhile video to watch. Thanks Gabe! you’re a beast on the track.

    Thanks and thanks. However I think some thanks needs to go to the car and my instructor as well.

    BTW big thanks to cct1 and Pedro for their great answers to questions. There’s really not a whole lot more to add.

    What kind of car prep do you have to do for BMWCCA track events…besides the obvious helmets?

    The Windy City chapter requires your car go through tech inspection before you race. That means you either take advantage a free inspection set-up a few weekends before or pay to have a professional mechanic do it. cct1 is 100% in terms of tools you’ll need. However after you do a couple of these events you’ll most likely find that you quickly collect an appropriate selection of track day tools. And frankly these are things any auto enthusiast should own anyway.

  • Shamus

    Wow, thanks for all the info guys. Tools and a good mechanic, I’ve got….but as a track newbie, I’ll be needing all the inside info I can get! Any other advice you have for us first-timers would be greatly appreciated. Perhaps this could be fodder for another MF post? Track 101?

  • http://deleted cct1

    Check this thread out from NAM:

    http://www.northamericanmotoring.com/forums/showthread.php?t=83829

    Its more than you’ll need–for example there is a bunch of stuff about sway bars that may or may not apply; there’s stuff about tires/wheels which I wouldn’t worry about–that’s down the road, if you decide to stick with it, but there is a ton of good advice about what to expect and how to prepare (Bring lots and lots of water, for example–things you might not necessarily have thought about).

    Your first HPDE is a bit intimidating–you pull up in your little ol’ MINI, and you see GT3’s, M3’s, Boxster S’s, Mustangs’s, NSX’s and you think to yourself “What the heck have I gotten myself into.” That lasts about 15 minutes or how ever long it takes you to realize that the MINI can hold its own against these cars (As Gabe’s video proves), and you have picked one heck of a car to learn in. And everyone there will do there best to put you at ease. Again, I can’t recommend trying at least once enough, if you’re even the slightest bit interested, you’re going to have a blast.

  • scott

    So how’d your car handle with JCW suspension? And how fast were you and other cars going on the front straight away?

  • Dan S

    What a turn on! thanks for posting. In an ideal world it would be nice to be able to clearly see (read) the speedo, tach, and stick and hear the beautiful sound of that engine. Wow!

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    So how’d your car handle with JCW suspension?

    You can read all about it right here :)

    And how fast were you and other cars going on the front straight away?

    I saw 113 mph a few times. The M3s and the GT3 were obviously able to pull away from me with a little bit of effort on the straights. Although a friend in an M3 said that he had to shift down into 4th to finally get away from me on the straight.

    In an ideal world it would be nice to be able to clearly see (read) the speedo, tach, and stick and hear the beautiful sound of that engine. Wow!

    I agree I would have liked to place a mic near the engine or exhaust but I was so focused on the track while I was there I didn’t really have the time.