Barber Motorsports Park with the HOD BMW CCA, Memorial Day 2011

Track Report: Memorial Day Weekend 2011 at Barber Motorsports Park Instructing with the Heart of Dixie BMW CCA Chapter.

Paddock At Barber

Paddocked at Barber

This was a great track weekend, with good friends and a well running car. I just started my new job this week, so I wasn’t able to take off early on Friday to get everything ready. So, true to form, I spent the evening getting ready although this time with no car prep needed, it was just fetching the car, loading on the trailer, and packing. However, that still managed to keep me up past midnight. Since I was driving out in the morning, I was up at oh-dark-thirty and rolled in just in time for the instructor’s meeting. The timing worked out, but next time I will aim for more buffer.

It turns out there were only three run groups (A,B,C) plus the instructors which meant 30 minute sessions all day long. Very convenient for keeping a simple schedule, but those extra 5 minutes are noticeable on the track.  I had been assigned two students who were sharing a car but they were a no-show. Halfway through Saturday I got a B student who was moved to the C-group. It was his first time at a track ever. However, he and his BMW 335i rocked and we more than held our own in the C-group. His son was also in C-group as a first timer to the track as well and we passed him several times over the course of the weekend (each brought their own car).

As for my car, it ran flawlessly, except for a check engine light that came on. It was so nice to be able to load the car on the trailer without any night-before prep. Well, except for the new rims that went on the X5. :) This was the second weekend on my new Toyo R888s and they were terrific, providing good communication and feeing grippier than the old Yoko A032Rs. Thanks to Kiran at Gran Tursimo East in Atlanta for the great recommendation! Running in the A-group and instructor sessions, I was surprised with the relative parity of traffic, with the exception of some very fast Corvettes and a 911. Although I was passed plenty of times, I found myself often exiting T4, T5, the kink, and T15 and wondering why so many people had lost significant ground. I’d like to think I was flying through the turns, so please don’t burst my bubble. I only got stuck behind my nemesis in the 944 racecar for one session. Everybody else did a great job watching out for faster traffic. While there were relatively few wrecks, there seemed to be more than the typical number of mechanicals, resulting in several cars parked safely off the side of the track waiting for a tow at the end of the session.

Paddock camping was allowed, so I stayed in Das Boose with the E3 storage crew on Saturday night. Sunday was similar to Saturday, HOT! More good driving, pushing the car hard, and getting some fun laps in. I should have lots of data and video to put together. Here are some links to some video clips I pulled from the last session:

Thanks to the Heart of Dixie BMW CCA for putting on a terrific event. It was a blast to see so many good friends out there at the track and I can’t wait for Octoberfest!

Barber Motorsports Park with HOD BMWCCA 5/29 – 5/30

Track Report – Barber Motorsports Park, Memorial Day weekend with BMWCCA Heart of Dixie Chapter.


HOD BMWCCA Instructor Session 5/29 at Barber Motorsports Park

Two Wet Laps at Barber 5/29 with HOD BMWCCA

It was a great weekend, with good students, good track friends, and a smooth running car. The weather could have been nicer, but driving in the rain with decent tires is always a good skill check!

For this event I added two things to the red E30 BMW 325i to go faster, I added a chip, and lightness. The ‘added lightness’ came curtesy of the air conditioning compressor removal and removal of the back seat tar and speakers. The car felt nice, but I’m having trouble detecting the difference with the seat of the pants. See the upcoming data analysis entry to get some objective views of the data.

We had a wet Saturday morning and a wet Sunday afternoon, with some very nice weather in-between.

My A-group student had a right hand drive Nissan GT Skyline, very cool. My C-group student was a former student of mine in an Audi A4 with a STaSIS suspension package and some summer performance tires. With the wet weather I was definitely happy to have students with all wheel drive, even if one of them had tons of horsepower and a rear wheel-steering system that didn’t like the standing water on the track. Both did a great job! Although everybody got the normal allotment of track time, the addition of a race school and an instructor training clinic made for a awkward schedule with some significant downtimes between sessions.

The Yokohama A032R R-compound tires did a good job in the rain, much better than the heat cycled Azenis 615s I used previously on a wet track at Barber, even though the Azenis had more tread.

Running around in the instructor group was fun, although I did have a front row view of another E30 get loose on a wet track and exit track left coming onto the back straight. Fortunately, he recovered on the runoff asphalt and did not come swinging back across as I once watched a Corvette do. I had an interesting time chasing a 944 racecar who didn’t throw passing signals. Eventually I gave up waiting and just went down the inside of Turn 11 on him. He occasionally gave passing signals to faster cars, but my A-group student was hung up behind him as well when the guy ran in A-group. I talked to him afterwards, and his excuse was the chief instructor had said ‘try’ to give passing signals in the instructor group. Had I known this was his philosophy, I would have passed him much sooner! And that still doesn’t excuse his lack of point-by in A-group. But enough whining, it was great practice for race conditions, as I was only able to pass him when I properly set-up the pass against and uncooperative participant. And on hindsight, that did make things fun!

Sunday had some good morning sessions followed by a torrential downpour. Afterwards, the traffic was light but the track dried out enough to get some good runs in!

  • Clyde, Jeff W, and Jonathan – thanks for saving space for me in the paddock area!
  • Taylor – thanks for the rotor!
  • Jeff T and LY, great to see your progression out there. See you at Road Atlanta!

A smooth tow home capped off a great weekend and I still had Monday to enjoy Memorial Day!

Track Video links

Video from Road Atlanta Drivers School March 3/5-3/7 with the Peachtree Chapter of BMWCCA

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