M3 at the Jeff

T13 Jeff

After a long break, we finally got back to the track in September. The weekend of 11-13 September saw the National Capital Chapter of BMW CCA back on the extended Jefferson Circuit at Summit Point. The format was a bit different with all lead-follow instruction, but the instructor run group was still a blast.

I’m still getting used to the M3 and have to remember three key differences from the MINI:

  1. It’s wider.
  2. You have to actually steer OUT of corners as you get back on the power.
  3. When the back steps out, MORE GAS is not the answer.

I also need to get used the pedals to improve my heal-toe downshifts. If I can remember that I don’t have to square every corner, I think I’ll get to be pretty quick in this car. My best lap was already 3 seconds faster on the same tires.

Remember that bit about the car being wider? Here’s a small clip from my second track session in the car and I was finally getting up to speed.

There are a few lessons to be learned here. I’m driving an unfamiliar car that’s about a foot wider than what I’m used to driving. I finally got the apex right at the previous corner and as a result, arrive at the braking zone here about 2 MPH faster than usual. I come off the brakes too soon, and as a result don’t get far enough around T13 when I have to brake again. I run out of track at the entry to turn 14. I come off the brakes as I leave the track, but still have enough brake force on the front left that I spin around the front left when 3 wheels are off. I straighten the wheel and almost pull off the 360 before heading into Pit-In. So next time, be more aware when making a step increase in speed. Adjust the brake point so I apex T13 at the same speed. And keep the last 18 inches of apron as a buffer. Oh, and know how wide your car is.

Shenandoah Circuit, yes, in the rain….

One more BMWCCA DE, one more soggy weekend. All three events this year were wet at some point this year. The Shenandoah circuit is usually a very fun circuit, but I got caught out on the wrong tires. My worn Falkens were no match for the amount of water on the track and became rock hard once the temperature dropped. Still a bad day at the track is better than most days at work.