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jrhone

Anyone have Laguna Seca track day experience?

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One of things on my list to do with the car was to do a track day at Laguna Seca and since my car is getting close to the point of being technically ready for a day at the track I wanted to start getting some info and do some research. I have heard if you are in a bad group it could be a bad experience. I am not looking to race or push the limits of the 02 that far, just some spitfires driving on a legendary track and maybe some instruction. Looking for guys that may have experience or could maybe point me in the right direction. This is still maybe 6-12 months down the line but I'm starting to do the research. Thanks! 

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By no means am I an expert on it, but I've driven Laguna Seca a couple of times. I've run it through BMWCCA as well as Hooked on Driving. With BMW I had an instructor with me all the time as this was my first event through them (Satch Carlson was my instructor, so no complaining there anyway) and with HOD I drove solo with no passing limitations. In both cases I had zero issues with too many cars in the run group, I think both of these "companies" put on events with pretty small group sizes and this is generally reflected in the price of the event. Both times I had a car with massively outmatched HP vs. most of the M-cars, Porsches, McLarens, Corvette's, etc... No issues with traffic if you keep your eyes up and drive smartly. A super fun track.

 

 

Corkscrew.jpg

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any track day for a newbie must have in car instruction.  stick with well known clubs as hosts.  bmwcca is always a good choice.  scca has good programs too.  pca and aca also have good programs.

 

the main influence on good or great day will be the individual instructor assigned to you.

 

no need to fret or sweat about it for a year.  just sign up and go.  lots of great clubs and instructors out there.  chances of having a bad day are slim.

 

just take any car, make sure the brakes work, the basic maint is done, get a current full face helmet, and go learn.

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CCA will make it an easy learning experience.  I'm with Marshall- don't sweat it too much, and don't make it into too big a thing.

 

Figure it's a spirited Saturday drive, without the motor homes, and you'll do fine.

 

I WOULD take a car I was comfortable in, and that I had absolute mechanical faith in.  

If that had to be an E36 318i, or an E90 auto, that's all fine.  

In fact, the only bad days I EVER have at the track are when I take a car that's not ready.

Even a slow Pro3 car has its merits.  At first.

 

t

 

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3 hours ago, TobyB said:

I WOULD take a car I was comfortable in, and that I had absolute mechanical faith in.  

If that had to be an E36 318i, or an E90 auto, that's all fine.

soooo true.

i have been instructing performance and competition driving for, well, a REALLY long time.  newbies who show up in modified or older cars tend to focus too much on the car when they should be focused on learning the basics.  it takes a session or two of "direct" coaching to get their head in the driving game and past the "it must be the car" phase.

 

this spring i brought my totally stock E46 325i wagon with slushbox daily driver to two track schools and a competition school.  it really changed the outlook of my new students to take them out for a few laps to demonstrate to them that their high performance new cars were not holding them back....much easier to work on the mechanics of driving after that.

 

don't sweat the prep or over think the event.  like toby said, bring a car you are comfortable in to the first few events.  watch LOTS of in car video of the track you will be on before the event, read a book like "Going Faster", get familiar with the terminology, then focus on driver improvement.  these events are NOT about the car.  when i get students like that, i know we are going to have a great day at the track!

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And further to the video, watch it, then try to imagine it with your eyes closed.

Watch a corner, back up, close your eyes, match the engine to the track.

Do it again and again.  Then next corner.  Then straight- yes, straight, because

then you have a sense of how LONG you're sitting there, bored out of your gourd.

And so on...

 

The goal here is to give you an instinctive knowledge of what's coming.

If you know that you've got a gentle left sweeper followed by a right with a decreasing radius,

you are SO far ahead of the game it's not funny.  You can then drive what's there, 

modify what you're doing in response to it, and you'll learn the track so much faster

and better than if you show up relatively cold.

 

Says he who has done both.

 

t

 

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Thanks guys!  When I said hey my car ready I really meant RELIABLE. Lol. Not do much from a performance stand point because the goal is not to go as fast as I can but learn and have fun. The car smoked and leaked oil up to now and that's not a good track car lol. So now that mechanically it's solid I'm comfortable putting on the track. Believe it or not I know the track pretty well layout wise from PlayStation. Gran Turismo has  Laguna Seca as well as Nurburgring amongst dozens of other tracks and corner for corner I have learned the layout. 

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I've got 3 to 4 hundred laps there, I would guess. Feel free to pm me. My biggest tip....stay in a nice place, where you will be assured of a good nights sleep! I've got some severe Motel 6 horror stories...

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Quote

The car smoked and leaked oil up to now and that's not a good track car

I dunno- mine did for at least a decade...

... and playstation is just fine.  That's how I learnt myself the corkscrew...

 

t

 

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It is a great track, you will have a blast. 

Make sure you plan ahead and get there early, the traffic can be a bear around 8 am. Maybe even check it out the afternoon before if you have never been there, you can make a wrong turn trying to find the paddock

Mark

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6 hours ago, Pigpen said:

Maybe even check it out the afternoon before if you have never been there, you can make a wrong turn trying to find the paddock

Mark

 

this is a good one.

 

when you know what club you will be running with, go to an event they do as a spectator or volunteer first.  that way you get familiar with how the school works, registration process, parking, etc.  meet a few folks.  it will take a little of the nervous "unknown" edge off the day when you drive your first event.

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And there's NOTHING wrong with working corners for a day, either,  just to learn your way around- it's a beautiful track.

 

t

 

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You will enjoy Laguna Seca.  Ive had some track days there (I believe through Track Masters).  Ive had great experiences both times with them.  I was in the advanced group (which is normally passing anywhere/ anytime) and I felt safe.  Even though this is a "power" track you will be fine as long as you stick to the line and be predictable.  Having 2 Viper ACRs fly right by may seem a little scary but just hold your position.  Try to "Sit In" on a couple of sessions with a friend if you can so you know how it is.  being on the actual track is completely different than walking around it.  

 

Let me know if you do end up going in the future.  I've been itching to go back out there.  Last time I went was a week before the Historics.

 

-Mo

 

P.S. - keep in mind about strict noise restrictions here.  Normal track days here run around 92dbs.  My car is pretty loud and I pushed 91dbs.  So if you think youre car is extremely loud you may need to make a "turn pipe".  If the motor is not heavily modified youll be ok.  

 

They do have unlimited sound days but they are $$$$$$.  Easily double a normal day.

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