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      09-03-2021, 12:53 PM   #1
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Took the X3MC to a Track Day at PIR!

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Overall super impressed by the car and how it drove on track. Car has MSS Urban Springs (which probably hurt the time rather than helped it, as they tend to have a bit more sway and are softer than OEM) and I replaced the brake fluid with Castrol SRF. Other than that the car is stock. It had a very good overall balance with no issues with corner entry understeer.

Here is my fastest lap. Learned after the first session you have to do you quickest lap right after your outlap because after that the tires just don't have quite the same grip level. Brakes held up well although when pushing them hard they will start to fade. Moving the braking point on the 2 long straights back about 100 meters made them fade free for the entire 20min session.



I was on track for a 1.29 in the first full lap of my last session and I didn't realize until later I needed to turn all the safety features off. The car went into crash prevention mode braking into turn 10. It tightened the belts, rolled up the windows and turned the stability control back on.

It was almost 90deg ambient temps and the car had 0 issues pushing hard for 20min sessions.

I'll post the gopro incar vid when it's finished processing.
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      09-04-2021, 08:56 AM   #2
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Damn quick for a stock big boy!
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      09-04-2021, 09:11 AM   #3
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What tires? P4S? Nice job!
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      09-04-2021, 11:41 AM   #4
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It's surprisingly capable on the track. I wouldn't make a habit of tracking it but blew my mind the one time I took it out!
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      09-06-2021, 11:57 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by robopp View Post
What tires? P4S? Nice job!
Yes, I was lucky enough that my car came with the PS4S tires.
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      09-07-2021, 12:35 AM   #6
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Awesome video. I just finished the 2 Day M school a few weeks ago and I was super impressed with the M Cars and the M4C was probably my favorite car we drove on the big track over the M5C. May have been biased since it is a similar platform. The cars at the performance center all have the Carbon Ceramic brakes and they were awesome.

I have never tracked my X3MC but I am more tempted than ever to try it. Need to see what is possible in my area.

Did you buy track insurance? What does that run?
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      09-07-2021, 01:34 AM   #7
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Nice to see, and cheers for the report. That video is great, really helpful to see the data from Harry's timer too.

I too have done a track day with mine, it has a custom E70 tune making approx 700hp, EBC blue pads, SRF fluid and Pilot 4S (265 and 295).

I was impressed with its speed but found the brakes and tyres went within a few minutes, 3 laps on my track was too much, so had to alternate slow and fast laps constantly. It really suffered from understeer too. Laying on the power early out of corners was very tricky as the back end wanted to come around a bit.

I'm going back out in a few weeks once I have bolted M5 calipers on, built some proper brake ducts and added Cup 2 tyres square all round.

My goal is to equal the winner of a recent time attack in the street class, only have to pull off a second to do that.
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      09-07-2021, 08:22 AM   #8
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If your tires go away after only one lap, your starting pressures were likely way too high. Depending on how hard the driver pushes, PS4s on a car of this type will gain anywhere from 4 to 9-10 psi in a 30-minute track session. PS4s (and other similar tires) are best when hot pressures are in the high 30s. So, if you are not already doing it, I suggest the following: start the day with pressures around 30 psi. Measure pressures in each tire immediately after coming off track (i.e., before even taking the helmet off), bleed each down to the target pressure. Rinse, repeat. Different tracks stress different tires, so you will get a feel for what cold pressure at each corner you should use at the start of a day.

Finally, turning off stability control is tempting, but very much not recommended until reaching fairly expert level. Enjoy and be careful.
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      09-07-2021, 04:49 PM   #9
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Ive had a bit of track experience, one car in the stable is a track car, first track session was over 20 years ago.
In the X3m I started at 30-32psi, got up between 36 and 38, so not too bad.
The understeer was a natural effect of the car being pushed too hard (which youíll get when trying to max a lap time).
I think the 295 and 265 combo makes this worse, hence why Iím opting for a square setup next tome.

Many of us started driving and pushing cars well before traction and stability control existed, so turning these off is no issue. If youíve lived with them and donít know driving without them, I agree with you.
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      09-07-2021, 11:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MRichmond View Post
If your tires go away after only one lap, your starting pressures were likely way too high. Depending on how hard the driver pushes, PS4s on a car of this type will gain anywhere from 4 to 9-10 psi in a 30-minute track session. PS4s (and other similar tires) are best when hot pressures are in the high 30s. So, if you are not already doing it, I suggest the following: start the day with pressures around 30 psi. Measure pressures in each tire immediately after coming off track (i.e., before even taking the helmet off), bleed each down to the target pressure. Rinse, repeat. Different tracks stress different tires, so you will get a feel for what cold pressure at each corner you should use at the start of a day.

Finally, turning off stability control is tempting, but very much not recommended until reaching fairly expert level. Enjoy and be careful.
You can't run PS4's on this car in the high 30's, as you'd roll over the sidewall. my tires were wearing right at the edge of the tread compound and the sidewall running 43psi hot front and 47psi hot rear. Temps were peaking in the 170's at that pressure. I was also running less (cold) pressure on the left side as PIR has mostly right hand corners.

Like I said, I could run in the 1:31's pretty consistently lap after lap, but I could only get enough grip to run a 1.29-1.30 on the very first lap after the warm up lap. After that they just didn't have the extra grip to do that pace.

As for stability control... I ran 4wd sport with both MDM and DSC off, and DSC off was much better. In MDM mode it seemed to overheat the brakes much quicker and was producing slower lap times. Being smooth with DSC off the car was very well balanced with no real scary moments.
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      09-07-2021, 11:38 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BulkBen View Post
Ive had a bit of track experience, one car in the stable is a track car, first track session was over 20 years ago.
In the X3m I started at 30-32psi, got up between 36 and 38, so not too bad.
The understeer was a natural effect of the car being pushed too hard (which youíll get when trying to max a lap time).
I think the 295 and 265 combo makes this worse, hence why Iím opting for a square setup next tome.

Many of us started driving and pushing cars well before traction and stability control existed, so turning these off is no issue. If youíve lived with them and donít know driving without them, I agree with you.
Also agree the understeer from your car was being caused by the wider rear tires. I had no understeer issues running the factory 255/265 combo.
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      09-07-2021, 11:44 PM   #12
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Here is an incar lap of a 1.31. This was in my first session. Sadly the gopro accidently got put into timelapse and the rest of the sessions were all timelapse vids instead of video

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      09-08-2021, 03:03 AM   #13
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These are very impressive machines!
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      09-08-2021, 10:39 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tarmactrr View Post
You can't run PS4's on this car in the high 30's, as you'd roll over the sidewall. my tires were wearing right at the edge of the tread compound and the sidewall running 43psi hot front and 47psi hot rear. Temps were peaking in the 170's at that pressure. I was also running less (cold) pressure on the left side as PIR has mostly right hand corners.

Like I said, I could run in the 1:31's pretty consistently lap after lap, but I could only get enough grip to run a 1.29-1.30 on the very first lap after the warm up lap. After that they just didn't have the extra grip to do that pace.

As for stability control... I ran 4wd sport with both MDM and DSC off, and DSC off was much better. In MDM mode it seemed to overheat the brakes much quicker and was producing slower lap times. Being smooth with DSC off the car was very well balanced with no real scary moments.
The tires and sidewalls will take a beating regardless due to (1) the weight of the car and (2) lack of meaningful negative camber. It is not surprising that your grip fell off so quickly at 43-47 psi. That is simply too high. (Makes perfect sense to start left at a lower pressure on a track that stresses that side more. If your hot pressures were even on the left and right side, then you got the relative starting pressures right. I do suggest you try high 30s hot. In any case, you can expect a set of these tires to be worn out after one track weekend due to the weight and lack of negative camber. (I corded the left front PS4 on my M5 at VIR after four track sessions. Consumables on cars like this on track get consumed quickly.)
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      09-14-2021, 11:23 AM   #15
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For an SUV on a track, that is impressive!!
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      09-15-2021, 12:34 AM   #16
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Is that a bell motorcycle helmet? I didn't know you could do trackdays in that.
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      09-15-2021, 05:29 AM   #17
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As I never tried, but assume you have - is it more fun to drive the X3M or SUV in general on a track versus something like a dedicated sports car such as anything from BRZ to Caymant to Radical?

I am trying to understand what is the point in general, as my assumption is any sports car will run rings around it and it will be more fun - but may be I am wrong? Is it actually more fun to drive a massive car with heavy weight and higher center of gravity at speed, through corners etc?
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      09-15-2021, 07:26 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest View Post
As I never tried, but assume you have - is it more fun to drive the X3M or SUV in general on a track versus something like a dedicated sports car such as anything from BRZ to Caymant to Radical?

I am trying to understand what is the point in general, as my assumption is any sports car will run rings around it and it will be more fun - but may be I am wrong? Is it actually more fun to drive a massive car with heavy weight and higher center of gravity at speed, through corners etc?
My X3M is already faster than my modded Alfa 4C and my heavily modified Mini Cooper S around the track. It's close, but its ahead in lap times.

Typical sports cars do not run rings around these. You will absolutely blow away MX5's, BRZ's, most WRX's etc if you know how to drive and you are properly pushing the limits.

I am heading out in a few weeks and I know there will be some Cayman's and even a Lambo there. I expect to lap faster than them, mostly as they are driven by "Gentlemen".

These SUVs are VERY fast, particularly if modded, on an open track they are even better, my home track is quite tight.

If however you are up against a light, fast sports car AND the guy knows how to drive, well that will be a different story. In my experience that's quite rare at a track day.

The next question, are they fun?
Honestly, I was absolutely terrified driving mine the first time on the track. So much power (mine has over 700hp), while firm on the street it feels like a wallowing whale at times on the track.

If you put that aside and consider you are defying the laws of physics, and breaking lots of hearts, well that's how I get my kicks. If you are looking for a simple easy to drive car you can get in and drive all day, obviously its not for you.

I found the balance of getting the power down, managing under-steer and overheating brakes very taxing mentally, but that part of the challenge. Ultimately its a car you take to the track every few months, its never going to replace a proper track car for those who go out at monthly (or more regular) intervals.
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      09-15-2021, 12:17 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tarmactrr View Post
Car has MSS Urban Springs (which probably hurt the time rather than helped it, as they tend to have a bit more sway and are softer than OEM)
Stiffer isn't better. Most OEM coilovers are waaaaaay too stiff from the factory. You probably helped your lap times, all things considered.
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      09-15-2021, 12:40 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest View Post
As I never tried, but assume you have - is it more fun to drive the X3M or SUV in general on a track versus something like a dedicated sports car such as anything from BRZ to Caymant to Radical?

I am trying to understand what is the point in general, as my assumption is any sports car will run rings around it and it will be more fun - but may be I am wrong? Is it actually more fun to drive a massive car with heavy weight and higher center of gravity at speed, through corners etc?
With the same reasonably skilled driver, a sports car with less power will turn faster lap times than one of these SUVs. There always will be exceptions, such as if comparing very low power cars on tracks with long straights, and if the driver's skill is restricted to mashing the accelerator to the floor. (A Radical will demolish not just any SUV, but the Caymans and BRZs you mention.)

What is more fun is, I suppose, in the eye of the beholder. Having driven on track everything from high-HP SUVs and sedans to fully caged race cars, I think the latter are more fun because they allow the driver to improve his skills more. Also, having tracked and raced properly prepared cars with real safety gear, it is not nearly as fun blasting at over 160 mph into a hard braking zone with nothing but a helmet and a three-point seat belt. For anyone planning to make track excursions a regular occurrence, I strongly urge acquiring a dedicated track car. In addition to improving skill, the safety gear is absolutely critical and there simply is not a viable street-track car compromise with adequate protection (especially given how capable and powerful current models are). In addition, the cost of consumables (tires, brakes, etc.) is much less in a car that weighs less than 3,000 lbs instead of 4,500-6,000, and one in which the suspension can be dialed in with significant negative camber.
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      09-15-2021, 03:01 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MRichmond View Post
With the same reasonably skilled driver, a sports car with less power will turn faster lap times than one of these SUVs. There always will be exceptions, such as if comparing very low power cars on tracks with long straights, and if the driver's skill is restricted to mashing the accelerator to the floor. (A Radical will demolish not just any SUV, but the Caymans and BRZs you mention.)

What is more fun is, I suppose, in the eye of the beholder. Having driven on track everything from high-HP SUVs and sedans to fully caged race cars, I think the latter are more fun because they allow the driver to improve his skills more. Also, having tracked and raced properly prepared cars with real safety gear, it is not nearly as fun blasting at over 160 mph into a hard braking zone with nothing but a helmet and a three-point seat belt. For anyone planning to make track excursions a regular occurrence, I strongly urge acquiring a dedicated track car. In addition to improving skill, the safety gear is absolutely critical and there simply is not a viable street-track car compromise with adequate protection (especially given how capable and powerful current models are). In addition, the cost of consumables (tires, brakes, etc.) is much less in a car that weighs less than 3,000 lbs instead of 4,500-6,000, and one in which the suspension can be dialed in with significant negative camber.
All good points but that doesn't take away from the fact that stock for stock, the X3M/X4M are quite capable on track in the hands of a capable driver.

Bringing up an example again, I witnessed first hand how good the X3M/X4M are at a BMW Performance Center autocross (big and open for an autocross course but not a full racetrack).
Experienced drivers with track prepped and even caged e36/e46 M3s and M Coupes were running mid to high 80s per run. My personal best in a stock M2C is 89 seconds. Mike Renner in an X4M with 3 passengers was running consistent 82s!!!!!!!! Oh, and with chicanes here and there, max speeds were 90 something for the fastest cars so it wasn't just a power/top end advantage.
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      09-15-2021, 03:45 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doodlebro View Post
Stiffer isn't better. Most OEM coilovers are waaaaaay too stiff from the factory. You probably helped your lap times, all things considered.
and where are you getting evidence that the stock springs are too stiff?

I'm 99.9% certain the MSS springs hurt my time. Why? Because they create noticable more roll. More roll equals less contact patch on the tire when the car has little negative camber to begin with.

PIR is not a track where you need softer suspension to deal with bumps or dips and crests. It's very smooth and therefore you can run stiffer suspension setups with positive results.
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