Motorsport Column Q1 2017


Just because it is raining outside, kind of cold, and dark does not mean that you can’t think about the upcoming track season! Hopefully, you got some cool upgrades to the car or at least asked for them. Maybe you got some holiday money or bonuses that you can use on the car. Check out the major BMW after-market suppliers like 425 Motorsport, Bimmerworld, Turner Motorsport, Bavarian Motorsport, HMS Motorsport, and of course BMW Performance. Just a reminder, if you have a 2005 Snell helmet, it can no longer be used at any track day. All car clubs are requiring the newer helmets, not just BMW. So, check inside your helmet and look for the sticker. Any helmet after 2005 is okay.

We will be promoting an on-line course by Ross Bentley for first time participants to HPDE events. In the past, we have held in-person ground schools for new drivers. With everyone’s busy schedules and the Puget Sound traffic, we have that decided that a short on-line eCourse will be helpful. Look for future ATS notifications as the time draws nearer.

What is HPDE? As you know, it stands for High Performance Driving Education. Did you notice that nowhere in the title does it say racing? If you are reading this article, it means that you belong to the BMW CCA and probably own one or more BMWs. Your car was designed by BMW engineers as a performance car that can be used to drive to the grocery store, drop off the kids to school, then go to the track for a day of fun, then home again! There are no special modifications you need for you to enjoy the incredible engineering of the Ultimate Driving Machine. All you need is a helmet, a car, an inspection report, a MotorsportReg account, and that is it!

Yes, there are a million ways to spend a lot of money on your car. But that is not the point. We want you to come to the track. We want you to take our Car Control Clinic for a day and just see what your car will do on a closed course. You will understand the value and feel of the ABS and just how stable your car is even when you get to push the limits. More importantly, you will get to see just why those BMW engineers went to school when you can play with the traction control settings; something that you would never do on the street!

Your first track day at a HPDE event will be great, exciting, and educational. Your instructor corps are the club’s ambassadors. We are here to provide a safe, yet exciting time at the track. For the first-time drivers, you will always have an instructor in your right seat, with a communicator. You will be guided around the track at a speed that is comfortable for you. At no time, will you ever be forced to drive at speeds that you feel are unsafe for your comfort level. However, having said this, learning always occurs in increments and sometime we must move a little past comfort level to achieve this.

So, start thinking about the track and car control clinics! I am and cannot wait to get back on the track. What am I doing? Well, the speedy 318is “TRAKCAR” will be getting its annual track maintenance in my garage. It is a good excuse to spend the day in the garage, listing to a rock station, and getting my hands dirty. In March, I will be attending the Audi club Instructors’ Clinic to keep my instruction skills sharp. Also in March, the Porsche Club will be hosting a national instruction certification program put on by the national Porsche Club. Many of the instructors will be attending this certification program.

Happy 2017 and get ready for a great track season!

Steve Libby, Senior Instructor, Driving Events Coordinator