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      04-27-2021, 01:33 PM   #1
djhartm69
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My 2021 X3 MC tracked @ VIR

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Finally got her on track while instructing for Tarheel BMW last weekend on the full course.

I could only run in D group because of the CCA rules, but that was OK; I wasn't out to set a PB.

The car exceeded my expectations and proved a complete hoot to drive.

Saturday was a rain day & I left all the nannies on. I was able to play with threshold braking a bit and the car reacted wonderfully, even in deeper puddles coming out of Hog Pen. I think I hydroplaned only once.

I had M1 configured for Sport+ for engine, suspension and steering, and D3 for transmission.

D3 worked 'mostly' well. It got caught several times in the wrong gear in NASCAR Bend, South Bend, & Oak Tree. Paddle shifting was excellent.

Sunday was dry, so I was able to wick it up a bit.

I did change the brake fluid to SRF & was running the Race Chip GTS in mode 7 with no issues. Car was stock otherwise. The car handled fabulously, and I wasn't at its limits but had an immense smile on my face.

Body roll was minimal & transitions were quick & precise. I could enter the upper esses easily in the mid 120's, and hit 145 on the back straight, and upper 130's on the front straight. I could have hit 150+, but it was quite windy & there was some chassis movement\buffeting. Brakes were very good, though steel lines would be a good upgrade. I did not threshold brake in the dry as I wanted to see how the OEM pads would hold up. After 8 sessions and 6k miles there are still a lot of material in the front and rear. I had to remind myself that I was in a 4600 lb SUV and not in the Z06!

DSC was not liking curbing, and it hurt corner exits if I went up on the FIA gators.

In the last session on Sunday, I switched DSC off and got into M Sport AWD. That doesn't shut off all the nannies, but shifts the drive power to the rear and allows for some slip angle.

That made a huge difference! I could rocket out of T1 & Oak Tree and drift the rear, and the car had no issues going over FIA curbing. With more seat time, this would be a total hoonigan on the track.

Tires did very well. I found optimal performance at 43F/38R hot. At 41F I got some minor rollover on the front, but nothing like I had on my Type-R with the same tires. I did not experience ANY understeer which I thought was quite amazing.

While the X3 MC isn't as fast around VIR as my Type-R was, or my C7 Z06 is, it exceeded my expectations immensely. It never ran hot (though it was in the low 60's), never hiccupped, and shredded everything in the D run group.

I got a TON of compliments from other drivers and instructors.

I have two sets of EBC Yellow front pads EBC sent me for the 760i for free to see if they fit. I did not need to swap out the OEM pads, so I don't know yet, but I think they will work.

If you have one of these, you owe it to yourself to get it on track.


I know the blue tape sucks, but track driving destroys the front & I did not film the car, so go easy.

Last edited by djhartm69; 05-03-2021 at 07:32 PM..
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      04-27-2021, 03:03 PM   #2
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Thats awesome
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      04-27-2021, 03:19 PM   #3
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Looks like a great time!
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      04-27-2021, 03:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djhartm69 View Post
Finally got her on track while instructing for Tarheel BMW last weekend on the full course... The car exceeded my expectations and proved a complete hoot to drive... I did change the brake fluid to SRF & was running the Race Chip GTS in mode 7 with no issues. Car was stock otherwise. The car handled fabulously, and I wasn't at its limits but had an immense smile on my face... Body roll was minimal & transitions were quick & precise. I could enter the upper esses easily in the mid 120's, and hit 145 on the back straight, and upper 130's on the front straight... I had to remind myself that I was in a 4600 lb SUV and not in the Z06!

In the last session on Sunday, I switched DSC off and got into M Sport AWD. That doesn't shut off all the nannies, but shifts the drive power to the rear and allows for some slip angle. That made a huge difference! I could rocket out of T1 & Oak Tree and drift the rear, and the car had no issues going over FIA curbing. With more seat time, this would be a total hoonigan on the track.

While the X3 MC isn't as fast around VIR as my Type-R was, or my C7 Z06 is, it exceeded my expectations immensely. It never ran hot (though it was in the low 60's), never hiccupped, and shredded everything in the D run group.

I got a TON of compliments from other drivers and instructors. If you have one of these, you owe it to yourself to get it on track.
Great read - thanks for sharing. M Design's team did a great job with this model for sure.
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      04-27-2021, 05:51 PM   #5
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Great write up! VIR is an incredible track - looks like you had a blast.

Heads up Ive been using this stuff to protect the paint on my Corvette for years. Thicker than blue tape and is essentially clear once applied. Comes off easy at the end of the day. Just thought Id share:

https://www.trakktape.com/usa-canada-orders.html
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      04-27-2021, 06:14 PM   #6
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Good to see it lives up to the M name on the track. How do you like the race chip? Does it seen to make a noticeable difference? I would rather BM3 but having a 21 so not a option yet.
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      04-27-2021, 07:58 PM   #7
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VIR is a treasure. Interesting about the tire pressures. 43 sounds high. Did you bleed down the left front for a lower start pressure than the right front?
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      04-27-2021, 08:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MRichmond View Post
VIR is a treasure. Interesting about the tire pressures. 43 sounds high. Did you bleed down the left front for a lower start pressure than the right front?
The LF typically runs +1-2 PSI higher hot than the RF at VIR. The left rear can also be ~1 PSI more than the RR.

I baseline cold, but the target PSI is always hot.

The Conti's have softer sidewall than say the PS4S, and are more susceptible to rollover. Once that happens, the tread blocks peel back & the tire chunks.

I've destroyed a set in 1 day due to low (normal) pressure.
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      04-27-2021, 08:30 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swaggner View Post
Great write up! VIR is an incredible track - looks like you had a blast.

Heads up Ive been using this stuff to protect the paint on my Corvette for years. Thicker than blue tape and is essentially clear once applied. Comes off easy at the end of the day. Just thought Id share:

https://www.trakktape.com/usa-canada-orders.html
Thanks, I will look into that.

My Z06 has Xpel, but since my plan wasn't to track the X3, I did not have it filmed.
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      04-27-2021, 08:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DS_BMW View Post
Good to see it lives up to the M name on the track. How do you like the race chip? Does it seen to make a noticeable difference? I would rather BM3 but having a 21 so not a option yet.
I'm a numbers guy, and I did not baseline dyno then dyno with the RC.

Honestly, it's difficult to really open the car up on public roads.

The RC performed flawlessly and the mobile app makes changing the settings a breeze.

I could not tell a difference from map 5 to map 7 (the most aggressive), but at VIR it pulled like a mofo.

I'm pretty sure I can hit the vmax (155) on the back straight, which is cooking for any car, let alone a 4620 lb SUV!

On the street it *seemed* to help a bit with the turbo lag on tip in, but I'll need more seat time as I just installed it prior to VIR.
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      04-28-2021, 02:17 AM   #11
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djhartm69 - it's awesome to see how well these machine perform at the track. Are you running stock tires sizes & factory springs... ?
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      04-28-2021, 05:52 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djhartm69 View Post
The LF typically runs +1-2 PSI higher hot than the RF at VIR. The left rear can also be ~1 PSI more than the RR.

I baseline cold, but the target PSI is always hot.

The Conti's have softer sidewall than say the PS4S, and are more susceptible to rollover. Once that happens, the tread blocks peel back & the tire chunks.

I've destroyed a set in 1 day due to low (normal) pressure.
That all makes sense and fairly consistent with my experience there.
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      04-28-2021, 10:03 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin_The_Clean1 View Post
djhartm69 - it's awesome to see how well these machine perform at the track. Are you running stock tires sizes & factory springs... ?
Thanks!

Yes, I am running stock tires and springs.

I've read that there is a SW update that addresses ride quality, but I have not looked into it. My build date is 11/20.
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      04-28-2021, 01:02 PM   #14
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Awesome! What lap times?
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      04-28-2021, 02:57 PM   #15
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The photos most likely cannot do justice to the scale of fun factor. Thanks for sharing! Awesome.
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      04-28-2021, 03:44 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richard in NC View Post
Awesome! What lap times?
Honestly, I have no idea.

Running in the D (novice) group isn't ideal for setting fast lap times.

I run 2:02's in my Z06, so I would guess maybe 2:08's - 2:10's???
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      04-30-2021, 04:00 PM   #17
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Sounds like a blast. Sounds like you had a good time. Still amazes me seeing these big, heavy SUVs tearing up courses

Thanks for the write up!
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      04-30-2021, 05:28 PM   #18
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Looks fun.

That photo watermark has gotta go.
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      04-30-2021, 06:13 PM   #19
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I never felt comfortable in an X5 M on the track, just to tall. It sounds like this is better.

Watermark - yeesh. Better to put a word mark on there if you feel you must, so you know who the images belong to. I just never do it.
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      04-30-2021, 06:32 PM   #20
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Love seeing a 4500+ lb suv being driven on track! Thank you for sharing!
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      05-01-2021, 10:46 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djhartm69 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by MRichmond View Post
VIR is a treasure. Interesting about the tire pressures. 43 sounds high. Did you bleed down the left front for a lower start pressure than the right front?
The LF typically runs +1-2 PSI higher hot than the RF at VIR. The left rear can also be ~1 PSI more than the RR.

I baseline cold, but the target PSI is always hot.

The Conti's have softer sidewall than say the PS4S, and are more susceptible to rollover. Once that happens, the tread blocks peel back & the tire chunks.

I've destroyed a set in 1 day due to low (normal) pressure.
This is good to know.
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      05-01-2021, 10:55 AM   #22
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This car looks like it would hurt feelings on the track! Thanks for sharing
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