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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Fellow Fanatics,

I have spent all afternoon googling and searching here and am not quite sure where to begin. I would like to get my M3 on a track sometime this summer, and am not sure what direction to go. I want to be able to see what the M3 can really do - with corners, straight lines, and see just how far I can push it without the fear of dying. I have read everywhere that once you start it gets in your blood, so how o I get started!

I've never been on a racetrack before, so I'm not trained or licensed or anything like that. I do know I'll needs helmet though...

I'm located in Atlanta and found some tracks within reasonable driving distances around here. My question is this, how does a track day work? Are they offered by the racetracks themselves is it some club that has rented them out? If its a club, any suggestions? Is there some driving school I need to complete before going out and trying to get on a track? If so, where would anyone reccomemend? BMW performance driving school, perhaps?

I looked at NASA and their HPDE classes which seem kinda who I'm looking for. Anyone here have any experience racing with them? Does BMW CCA offer any events similar to what I'm looking for?

I'm happy to kinda compile my experiences into a DIY for getting started on track days since I couldn't find one on here (if there is one - my apologies).

Thanks in advance!
 

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I've been trying to do the same thing myself. Here in Pittsburgh we have the Vintage Grand Prix which I have a goal to race in sometime in the next few years. To begin I went online and found my local scca chapter. I'm sure they have one for your area. Tons of information and really great people. I can't remember off hand but I'm sure it's as simple as scca.com then go to your local area. Oh...it's sports car club of America. I just went on the main site and it looks like it could really help you out.
 

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Yes, join BMWCCA, they have driver's schools that allow you to take your car to the track. Your car will have to pass a track inspection and you will have to wear a helmet. You will get some classroom time. Then you will go with an instructor who will drive you around the track and guide your training. Once the instructor gives the approval you can begin to take your car on the track. This is not racing, but it does allow you to take your car to its limits on a race track. Tons of fun and well worth the price of admission. Of course, you will first have to join the BMWCCA, but to me the monthly magazine alone is worth the price. Another thing is that driver's schools fill up early, so if you want to go this season don't delay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Of course, you will first have to join the BMWCCA, but to me the monthly magazine alone is worth the price. Another thing is that driver's schools fill up early, so if you want to go this season don't delay.
Thanks IxNay! Do I need to join a local chapter of BMWCCA or the entire club as a whole?
 

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Clubs rent out the tracks for driver's schools, and then you can attend those driver's schools. You do not always have to be a member of the club to join the driver's school, for example, I could join a PCA event (Porsche Club of America) even though I am not a member. If you are interested in joining BMWCCA, you actually join the entire club, and you are assigned to a chapter based on where you are located. It's a pretty good deal given that you get event discounts and parts discounts.

To search for events, go to MotorsportReg and you can find driver's schools at your local tracks. Keep in mind that SCCA and NASA also hold driver's schools and I'm not sure they're always listed on MotorsportReg. As for requirements for the car and you, you have to make sure your car is up to HPDE duty - cooling system in good shape, suspension in good shape, fresh fluids, brake fluid changed in the past year, no wheel bearing play, good tires, good brakes, etc (all the info is in the tech forms). It wouldn't be a bad idea to bring a fresh set of brake pads/rotors in case you wear through your current ones. Make sure your pads/rotors/brake fluid are up to track duty/high performance use. Other than that...have fun and be safe!
 

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Join the BMWCCA! You will be joining the Peachtree Chapter an das you join the national organization you will be placed in the Peachtree Chapter. You are fortunate to be in the Atlanta area and a part of the Peachtree chapter as they are very active with Autocrosses (about 6 - 8 a year) and usually 2 DEs (Driver Education) weekends at Road Atlanta, one of the really premier tracks in the country. You don't have to join the BMWCCA to get into the DEs, but this way you will get on the mailing lists and hear about the other events like the AXs. The next Peachtree sponsored DE at Road Atlanta is scheduled for September. If you cannot wait that long, the "Heart of Dixie" (Alabama) chapter has a DE scheduled at the Barber Motorsports track just this side of Birmingham. They have one DE per year and it is also well organized. If interested in attending this DE, I can provide an email for the registrar.
At a BMWCCA sponsored DE you will have an instructor assigned to you and he will ride with you all the time. (It usually takes 8 - 12 weekends to progress far enough to be signed off "solo"). You will be taught how to drive properly and safely but, make no mistake, you will be driving fast. You will quickly realize that your car is capable of much better performance than you are. But watch out, it is very addictive!
As mentioned above, there are other clubs, such as the Porsche that offer DEs that are similar and very good. There are also independent/for profit organizations that offer track days, but my experience is that these organizations are mainly for people who just want to get on the track and drive fast, not necessarily learn how to do it peroperly (that is an exaggeration, but somewhat true).
Before being allowed on the track you have to have your car inspected and passed by a known shop. If your brake pads/rotors are getting thin, they will suggest/require you to replace them befor going on track. If they are in decent shape it is very unlikely you will make a big dent in them your first weekend. If you decide to continue you will probably swap to track pads for DE weekends. For your first weekend, a stock M3 will be just fine, you will be sweating and it won't even be breathing hard.
 
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