Smoking crack for the first time…

WATKINS GLEN FIRST TIME REVIEW

A few weeks ago, I signed up for the BMWCCA Patroon Chapter High Performance Driving Event at Watkins Glen International, in upstate NY.  Lightwerkz and myself signed up for the event and drove up there together.  Other than some shotty bumps at the end of the trip, the drive up there was sensational.  I bought those 26 mile range 2 way radios that provided us communication amongst one another – which was nice, because after a few hours, you want to murder yourself if you don’t talk to anyone.

The saturday before we left, I decided to swap out my front brake pads to something a bit more aggressive than the OEM ZCP brake pads I put on when I upgraded my brakes to the ZCP/CSL kit.  I went w/the Ferodo DS2500.  Thanks guys!  These brake pads are pretty cool.  They are intended for mostly street duty/but a few track events. They are label it as Light Track work.  Well let me tell you this.  If you like purple brake dust and squeaky brakes on the street, get these.  If you are a polisher, stick to something else.  But let me tell you – the performance of these brake pads are phenomenal.  I didn’t have a chance to bed them in on saturday since it rained, but I got to Sunday evening on the ever so lovely country roads near the glen.

Anyways, we left NJ Sunday June 15 at around 12:30 and got to our hotel, which was 20 miles away from the track at around 4:45.  We got our tech done at 7 that night and I am proud to have a Patroon Chapter Watkins Glen Yellow sticker on my front windshield.  I hope to collect many more – they are like those medallions that generals have on their Army coats :lolhit:

Getting back to the brake pads.  They are sensational.  Although they do emit purple brake dust and become squeaky after a while.  They do the job.  They heat up well, but don’t overheat – esp at the n00b level of braking that I am using.  After a main straight away at the Glen, i was braking from about 110 to 70mph continuously – and hard.  The brake pads did the job.  As did the SS lines and brake fluid I am running.  There was not much fade and no mushy pedal feel.

For those that are considering jumping from OEM brakes to a BBK for track purposes (or show purposes — gosh u polishers :whistle:), get some SS lines, SuperBlue ATE fluid, and some more aggressive brake pads, and if your under 10 track days previously done, the oem brakes are more than enough for right now.

Alas, I did get a ride in Aldo’s M3 and he NEEDs those stoptech brakes.  The lateness that he was braking at and the speeds he was carrying into the braking zone was tremendous.  Think 130-80…often.  If/when I get to that level, I would consider upgrading to a stoptech set up, but for now, I am more than happy w/the ZCP rotors (will get Performance Friction Rotors after mine are done – prob next year at some time if I hit up the glen as much as I want to :thumbsup: – exactly what Lightwerkz has ~ true 2 piece rotors w/replaceable rings), Turner SS lines, ATE Superblue fluid, Ferodo brake pads in the rear.

My experience at the Glen taught me many things.  The most important thing it gave me was more confidence behind the steering wheel.   I never really got into any major accident (knock on wood), but since I have had this M3, I have really never been confident driving it at high speeds.  I guess since I am wary that its rear end is going to slide out or since this is my first stick shift car – I just have never gotten 100% confident w/the car.  I improved alot in this department at the Glen.  After ever session I spoke to my instructor(s) and the things he was speaking to me about

1) maintaining my hands in one position and are not “preparing” for the turn on the steering wheel

2) maintain steady throttle (I find myself doing this at autox as well all the time)

3) drive YOUR car, no the car in front of you

4) smoothness

I felt like I was pumping out harder and faster sessions each time.  This definitely improved myself as a driver.  I began to become more confident w/the car.

What really made me appreciate this event was getting a ride in Aldo’s M3.  Aldo is a great instructor and a very good driver.  He can control his M3 very well and I felt quite comfortable w/him behind the weel.  Sadly I didn’t get a chance to get a ride w/eddie, but I am sure it would of been the same w/him, unless he got tail happy leaving the boot. :lolhit:  Anyways, getting back to Aldo.  He really put things into perspective about this M3 and how we as non pro drivers can drive these things.  Its really one thing to drive a M3 on the highway and the street, which is what 98% of owners do – and there is nothing wrong with that, but …. I think you are missing out on the jawdropping, awe inspiring, :bugeye:, pretty much :drool:ing effort that these cars can give you.  Aldo and Eddie and even Andrew really showed me how rewarding and how much potential exists in the E46 M3.  Before I got the ride w/Aldo, I went for a ride in my instructors track prepped E36 M3 and I was amazed at what it could do.  After that ride I thought – should i trade my E46 in?  Then Aldo took me for a ride and the insane pleasure you can get out of the E46 M3 at a track just made me addicted and made me realize this is the car for me and this is what I want to drive all the time.  BMW M engineers did such a phenomenal job creating this car.  I was speechless.  It actually took me a few moments to collect myself to realize how amazing this car is.  Thank you Aldo. Thank you Eddie.  Thank you Andrew.  THank you Lightwerkz.  All you guys really brought me into Autox (more Lightwerkz) and the track and I appreciate it soooo much.

After attending the glen, I can never say no to it again.  I want to go to as many trackdays as I can this year before it starts becoming 20 degrees F outside.

Anyways, me and Caesar went for a quick photoshoot after the first session and here are some pictures of that.

So inviting


Here are some pics of me ON the track.


Medal of Honor:

Yeah I failed to mention 2 things.

1) The weather at Watkins Glen is insane.  A lot of passing storms.  It actually hailed during the first day.  Insane.  Thankfully, no paint damage.

2) The Bridgeston RE01R’s are phenomenal track tires.  They wore well, but also whats really important.  They gave alot of feedback.  Screaming is good. But too much screaming means calm down.  For their price, they were a great investment.

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