An Evening at the Track

David S.
Update by David S. Wallens to the BMW M235i project car
Apr 10, 2015

Track Night in America: cool temperatures, relaxing track time. Our M235i never missed a beat. Photo by Juha Lievonen.
What the well-dressed track day participant is wearing these days: Vans, crazy hair and TraqGear SFI-rated T-shirt. That fire-retardant shirt is light and comfortable. Photo by Juha Lievonen.
Our gear: backpack, camera bag, magazines, tire pressure gauge, torque wrench, stickers, cooler and, since neatness counts, some Griot’s quick detailer.

The SCCA launched their new Track Night in America driven by Tire Rack program this week, and last night we ran the Palm Beach International Raceway event in our BMW M235i.

The TL;DR version: The car never gave us a lick of trouble, and this had to be one of the most laid-back motorsports events we have ever attended.

Okay, a bit more detail.

Car prep was very minimal: add windshield washer fluid (it was low), torque the lug nuts, check fluids, give everything the once-over, and remove any loose items from the car. Easy.

The Track Night in America check-in process is equally easy for advanced participants: Before going on track for that first session, trade your self-tech form for the appropriate windshield sticker. This is after signing those all-important waivers, of course.

Our editor was signed up for the advanced group, but since he played the role of novice camp counselor he ran with the beginners—added to camaraderie and gave him a chance to watch over his charges.

They did very well: appropriate point-bys when needed, no aggressive driving and, afterward, lots of smiles. PBIR is also a very novice-friendly track since there are few surprises—drivers can always see what is around the bend.

Our BMW did equally well. It never displayed any weird warning lights, it’s a breeze to drive, and our Continental ExtremeContact DW tires delivered lap upon lap of consistent performance. They didn’t fade or get weird. Plus they’re quiet on the highway.

Going forward, brake pads more suited for track performance would add some confidence. The car is also headed back to the BMW Performance Center for some more work, including a limited-slip differential install.

Final thoughts: There’s nothing like clicking off relaxing laps during that golden hour of sunset. We’ll be at our next one, scheduled for May 14 at PBIR.

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View comments on the GRM forums
jstein77 SuperDork
4/13/15 8:36 a.m.

Surprised you were able to pry it out of Tim and Tom's hands.

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