iGav does BMW

Discussion in 'Community' started by iGav, Aug 18, 2004.

  1. iGav macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2002
    #1
    So this morning, I've just found out that I've been invited by BMW to a media event at the BMW Performance Centre at Rockingham Speedway for the launch of the new 1 Series. :D Yeah baby!

    The day will be including a Track Drive around the UK's fastest racing circuit, with one-to-one tuition by a racing driver, :) Road Drive to see how the 1 Series performs under everyday conditions again with one-to-one tuition by a test driver, Skid Control where we'll get to try out the car in extreme understeer and oversteer situations as well as complete loss of handling which I haven't done in years and also the opportunity to drive the new X3 (and an X5) on BMW's Off Road proving ground! :D there's a few other fun things going on as well such as Blind Drive etc etc.

    I really can't wait... love this kind of thing, I find them to be not only enjoyable, but also very humbling when it comes to witnessing a professional driver doing their stuff, looking forward to getting further tips on my left food braking and heel n' toe technique whilst hopefully avoiding testing the safety capabilities of the new 1 Series on an oval! heheh
     
  2. medea macrumors 68030

    medea

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    #2
    I wasn't aware you were any sort of professional driver, though it makes sense with all the car threads.....
    How long have you been doing this?
     
  3. iGav thread starter macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2002
    #3
    I'm not... well except in my dreams heheh!

    Although I'm a sucker for a track day, I was at Long Marsden earlier this year to sample some exotica for my birthday! :)

    This is the first time I will have been to a proper manufacturer event... so I'm looking forward to getting some driving tips from REAL drivers :D

    I'm not a bad driver, I've got pretty good high speed car control and am very aware of my limits, but it's only when you've sat next to a pro, that you realise exactly how huge the gap is between Joe Public and a racing driving... it's enormous!

    I just sit in awe, and then listen to the advice and tips, suck it up like a sponge and then try and put it into practice... and hopefully won't smack the car up in the process!! heheh
     
  4. stevehaslip macrumors 6502a

    stevehaslip

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    #4
    Awesome!!! You are seriously lucky, I'd love to do all that stuff that you mentioned! The skid pan and whole track day thing, you are seriously lucky, and I hear that the car is meant to be quite good as well! I'm sure that they're hoping you'll tell everyone you know about how awesome the day....I mean car was!
     
  5. evoluzione macrumors 68010

    evoluzione

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Location:
    down the road, that's where i'll always be
    #5
    wanker! ;)

    how'd you blag that one mate? you'll have a top day that's for sure. and i totally understand the whole humbling experience thing. i remember when i took my mates seriously sorted Fiat Punto GT around Goodwood years ago, i took about 10 seconds off my mate's time (and i'd never even driven his car before :eek: ) and thn it starts raining, very heavily, i'm still averaging 60 around it, with standing water all over, and John Whalley comes flying past at around 100mph in his 16v Integrale, doesn't even slow up for the corners. incredible stuff. i can only imagine having one on one tuition.

    of course it's one thing i've always wanted to do, and having lived just a few miles from Millbrook, I got to see all sorts of secret stuff arriving at the proving ground, but never actually got in there :( Now i've left of course, they've transformed the old Thurleigh Airfield (which i used to speed past at 100 on my way to school every day). it's now the Palmer (or is it Bell??? I can't remember) Bedford Racing Circuit (or whatever). I'm hoping to get some track time there when I next get home.

    The skid control stuff is well funny too, i did that one time and they had the tarmac dry, which caught me out, the car had rear wheel stearing i guess, they could realistically simulate everything with it, awesome stuff. and for me, i like to drive sideways anyway, so it was nothing but beneficial, for more than just emergency action :)


    oh, i expect a full report when you get back from your day. :)

    jammy goit.
     
  6. WinterMute Moderator emeritus

    WinterMute

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Location:
    London, England
    #6
    Loads of fun, get them to take all the electronics off of the X5 and see how you get on (hint: you'll be upside-down in minutes) :eek:

    Yes, a full report with pictures from your famously recalcitrant camera is mandatory.

    Lucky boy :D
     
  7. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2001
    Location:
    VA
    #7
    Congrats - that's going to be awesome. I hope you get some decent pics :D

    Also, how did you manage to get *invited*?

    I'll second evo.... :p

    D
     
  8. iGav thread starter macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2002
    #8
    here we go Sir. :eek: :p :D

    Well I'll start by saying it was fan-fookin'-tastic! Rockingham really is a top-notch track, I think they could do worse than replacing Silverstone with Rockinghams International circuit for the British GP!

    Got to drive the new 116i, 118d and 120d as well as a 3.0i X3.

    Have to admit, the 1 Series isn't all that bad in the metal, they had it next to its competition in the paddock, its competition being the 2 other uber-desirable brands VW with its new Golf and Alfa's 147, and parked next to them it really does compare well with the Alfa (the Golf ain't even in the picture, as it already looks half a decade old), and it's interior is better than both (but the Alfa still has a cooler instrument binnacle) ;)

    Of course, as soon as I ventured near the track the heavens opened with a good dousing of the wet stuff that has become a trademark of this years summer, so my first lap on 3/4 of oval and a couple of miles of a proper circuit would have been better suited to a set of Monsoon treads!! heheh!!

    First impressions are that the 1 Series, even in 116i is pretty handy.. not especially accelerative, but ideal in torrential conditions and for learning a new track :D. My instructor was called.... and this is most appropriate... Enzo!! heheh... very cool guy with some really good tips and advice on my technique, and more than willing to let me attack the track!

    Obviously I gave it plenty because of the sibling rivalry :D (I followed my bro out onto the circuit! heheh) and almost got caught out whilst overtaking him going into the hairpin, one thing that really surprised me is that under HEAVY breaking, the 1 Series with the DSC turned off is f**kin' way twitchy, the back feeling like, and then proceeding to step out requiring plenty of corrective lock to get it back in line, admittedly it was braking from about 90 into a 2nd gear hairpin on a soaked track and offline because of overtaking, but it felt a tad more entertaining than you'd probably want on a wet country lane for example.

    That said on positive throttle corners, you can really play around with the rear, it responds beautifully to being balanced on both the brake and throttle with half lock slides on demand and never feeling like it'd snap away and send you backwards into a hedge.

    Next got to drive a 120d on the road test. It's kind of like a follow the leader, camel train kind of thing. A variety of 10 different 1 Series follow the instructor on a mix of roads, from dual carriageway to twisty bumpy country lanes, unfortunately I ended up being right behind the instructor in the 2nd car, but with cunning use of T-junctions, roundabouts and traffic lights I managed to free up a gap allowing me to give it a bit of the G-mans love :D and it's a corker.

    The engine is a peach... 163bhp, mid 7's to 60 and almost 140mph flat out... but that's not the whole story. This car comes with a thumping 251lb ft of torque at 2000rpm, that means that its in-gear times crucify a Porsche Boxster and it gives you a kick in the kidneys that you really wouldn't believe, really is very impressive... especially in 2nd, 3rd and 4th, I was hugely impressed by VW's Golf TDi PD 150 and it's mid range ability, but this just nails that as well, you'd need to be in a much quicker petrol car on song to get near it, it's that quick!

    After that, we got to drive a 118d on the skid pan, and cone avoidance. Now this is the bit that made me scratch my head, after weaving through the cones, you get to spin it round cone and then get to speed through a cone lined chicane that is a little wider than the cars and very tight, now after spinning it around the cone, in 2nd I punched the accelerator and was greeted with the mother of all flat spots, almost like flooring a petrol car in 4th @ 30mph, nothing... I was expecting the turbo to spin up and sling me down the road but it just didn't happen, so I had to slot 1st to get the turbo to kick in, completely unlike the 120d that is punch and go in any gear, had to be duff!

    However what did impress me was that on the skid pan, you get to drive around a big inflatable thingy on a soaked track with the DSC switched on, full lock, 2nd gear and boot it... lift off, boot it and the back stays planted, with only the mildest of understeer that is easily sorted by easing off the throttle, carry out the same maneuver with the DSC switched off, and all you get is 2 arms of understeer... not a whiff of oversteer and the back stepping out at all, which was totally different to what I experienced on the race track when the car was rather lively at the back, it appears that at slower speeds the chassis is dialed in to offer more manageable understeer, and at higher speed the rear becomes more lively and offers up more oversteer for the more dynamic and demanding driver.

    After experiencing the 120d on the road, had to give it a spin on the track... wasn't sure if it would be best suited to track driving because of it's limited rev range, funnily enough I got the same instructor (Paul) who'd taken my brother out the first time, and he remarked with a smirk that it looked "entertaining" when I overtook them on our first run... heheh, he was a pukka instructor as well... giving REALLY good advice on lines for the first lap, but letting me get on with it after that... only chirping in the area's he thought I could tighten up.

    Shouldn't have worried about the 120d on a track though, such is the torque available that many corners didn't require changing down to 2nd (the hairpin being the exception), it's a very quick car, again demonstrating a lively rear end when approaching its limits, but easily controllable. The steering is sharp, direct and well weighted.. and grip levels are exceptionally high for a rear wheel drive car.

    It was also much quicker on the oval section, it's more than a bit sobering when you're doing 100mph+ around a moist banked corner with a concrete wall a foot away from you, fun though even if the lines are different to what I was expecting. You basically come out of the last corner and the instructor tells you to head for the wall at an angle that seems a little steep, and then as you approach the corner banking onto the main straight you move down to the left and hug the white line much tighter than you'd imagine accelerating until you feel the car beginning to slide before easing out to the wall as the banking straightens out, I was expecting to take a much higher line around the corner, but it's certainly something going flat around a damp, banked corner! get it wrong, and it'd be a spectacular f**k up!!

    On the last lap though, going flat down the straight... I hit a bird that was just taking off, so not good at 120mph+, I saw it beginning to take off, the instructor went "oh sh*t" and before I could do anything it smacked into the bonnet leaving a rather fetching dent and smear up it, luckily it didn't hit the windscreen as the last thing you need at that speed, when you're about to enter the braking zone for a tight chicane with a concrete wall next to you is have a smashed, bloody windscreen with feathers obscuring your vision! :eek:

    Afterwards he did say I had excellent steering, throttle and car control, which I was really chuffed with considering I don't get to drive all that often at the moment... but I honestly could've stayed out doing lap after lap after lap... Soooooooo much fun, more so when you've got an instructor giving you feedback all the time, you learn so much more than you do on a usual track day!

    So yeah as I said at the beginning... was fan-fookin'-tastic!

    Below is the circuit layout that was used on the day!! corker!
     
  9. medea macrumors 68030

    medea

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    #9
    Sounds like a lot of fun down there, too bad about the bird though.
     
  10. iGav thread starter macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2002
    #10
    it's a great facility... would love to do a proper performance day there, which allow you access to the M3, CSL and M5 which must be fantastic on what is very much a power circuit!

    the bird was a heartstopper though, not sure if it was a pigeon but by the time I saw it, there was nothing I could do at that speed... :(

    Here's part of the oval...
     
  11. iGav thread starter macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2002
    #11
    Here's turn 1, notice the tight chicane bang in the middle of the photo, so that the cars don't go around the banking at max speed after the straight... :eek: :p

    Even though it was tight, after wiping off abit of the speed at the end of the straight, it's actually a flat 3rd gear chicane, with the pitlane exit on the left, then merges straight back on to the oval.
     
  12. WinterMute Moderator emeritus

    WinterMute

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Location:
    London, England
    #12
    Nice one Gav, those deisels have really come on haven't they, I nearly bought the 130bhp TDi Toledo after testing it, the V5 has it from a standing start, but it's close through the gears no mistake, plus the turbo is MUCH more open to "fiddling".

    I've never been much on BMW, but it sounds like these are going to be popular.
     
  13. evoluzione macrumors 68010

    evoluzione

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Location:
    down the road, that's where i'll always be
    #13
    glad you had a "baaahhhrnstorming" day :) (in the voice of the great Murray Walker)

    you ever applied to become a writer for a car mag? if not, why not? that was a good, informative read and i'd certainly look forward to more.

    you also got me wanting to do another track day!

    nice one fella :D
     
  14. iGav thread starter macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2002
    #14
    The 120d nails a Boxster between 50-70 in-gear by a good couple of seconds probably more, it also outpunches an Impreza Turbo (225bhp) as well. It's a very quick car, what kills it's 0-60 time is that 1st gear is utterly useless, you have to change so quick that it knocks a couple of tenths off it easily, but in 2nd, 3rd and 4th it just flies.. espcially in 3rd! :D

    With all that torque, it's kinda lazy driving... but damn is it impressive, you could catch so many cars off guard, and by the time they've focused, dropped it down a gear or 2 you'd be off... :eek: :p


    I'm not a big fan either... more of an Audi man myself... :) love the new 5 Series hate the 3 though... it's as banal as they come.

    But the 1 Series feels like a much bigger car, and is so well screwed together, with quite fantastic attention to detail that it just pummels everything else in it's class into the ground... looks abit too much like an Astra from behind though! :eek: :p

    If you get a chance to drive a 120d on the road... do it, trundle along in 2nd or 3rd and hold up some traffic, especially something alittle faster ;) and pref up hill... then just floor the throttle, it'll bring a right smile to your face!
     
  15. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #15
    I didn't understand 2/3rds of what you said, but it sounded like fun. :)

    And how on earth can you say things like, "this is better than a usual track day"?? I didn't even know that regular folks can have a usual track day, or any track day. :eek:
     
  16. iGav thread starter macrumors G3

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    Mar 9, 2002
    #16
    The majority of the racing circuits in the UK have track days every week ;) usually you just take your car and drive, although some require you have some tuition on that specific circuit, or might have noise restrictions (I believe that the Ferrari CS is banned from some circuits 'cos it's too loud!) can be any car (as long as it's road worthy) and you don't need a special license either.

    Tracks days are seriously cool... but I found that my experience was enhanced by having a instructor next to me all of the time, offering advice and feedback on my driving, that's priceless!! A couple of corners caught me out (even though I didn't know it) and had I not had an instructor next to me, I probably would've kept pounding the laps in, but not maximising my time due to those corners.

    It's also a buzz when they compliment you on your driving... I appreciated that.

    But yeah... we have lots and lots of track days here! :)
     
  17. rhpenguin macrumors 6502a

    rhpenguin

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    Location:
    London, Ontario
    #17
    Looks like a very fun circuit to drive.

    I try and do about four to five track days a year in my 240Z with the Ontario BMW club/Ontario Z Car club. Those tracks include Mosport (just outside of Toronto in a little town called Bowmanville), Watkins Glen (New York), Watford Hills (Michigan), and usualy Shannonville (a really crappy track in Ontario).

    Lots of fun.. Too bad i can only afford to bring my car out of storage to drive it a few days a year though :(. Ive got a small video of myself doing a hotlap on the big track at Mosport ill paste on here sometime (once i find it :))
     
  18. evoluzione macrumors 68010

    evoluzione

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    down the road, that's where i'll always be
    #18

    are you going to Watkins Glen next week??? it was great last year, that was when i got to drive a Cobra :)
     
  19. iGav thread starter macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2002
    #19
    Me and Chris Bangle are like that *crosses fingers* :p

    Actually... I used to work with a designer, who now works at BMW in Munich and I casually mentioned I was on the look out for some wheels, and he sorted me out. :)

    He's very handy to know... for ages I wondered what the purpose of the 'Shark Fin' on the roof of the 7 (and later the 5) was, and he told me. ;) I sleep alot better now :p
     
  20. iGav thread starter macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2002
    #20
    what... with a sentances like
    :p :p :p I'd end up being lumbered with the KIA range or something every Roadtest!! :eek: and that'd be a right kick in the balls!! :p


    It's was fookin' great... you'd love it ;) what makes it better still is that the instructors aren't arseholes, which is surprising consider most BMW drivers are... :eek: :p :p

    It's worth it just for the Oval section alone! ;)
     
  21. evoluzione macrumors 68010

    evoluzione

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    down the road, that's where i'll always be
    #21

    it's an aerial isn't it?? GPS perhaps? i've often wondered, but not enough to stay awake over ;)
     
  22. rhpenguin macrumors 6502a

    rhpenguin

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    Location:
    London, Ontario
    #22
    I wish.. Can't afford to tow the car down there right now and driving it without insurance is definatly out of the question (stuck in a poor paying job for the time being). Also i need new tires because the ones on the car right now are hard as rocks (Toyo Proxie RA1's @ $250/tire). Isnt the Zippo weenend next weekend at the Glen?

    Last time i was at Mosport, some fool let me take his Subaru WRX out for a beating.. Let me tell you, that was boatloads of fun, but it was nerveracking when he had my 240z.
     
  23. iGav thread starter macrumors G3

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    Mar 9, 2002
    #23
    yep... :)

    at first I wondered if it was one of Bangles aero-aids... :p
     
  24. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    Sod off
    #24
    1 Series

    Sounds like fun, iGAV! The only problem is that here in the States I won't be driving the 1 anytime soon, and if we get it it will be a sedan only from what I've read. No Alfas either :( .

    Anyone want to trade a few thousand Hummer H2's for Noble M12s? anyone?

    It's great being able to drive a new car that is not yours at speed :)
     
  25. iGav thread starter macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2002
    #25
    I know... I was reading that the American BMW dealers don't want to sell the hatch, although if BMW squeeze in some inline sixes then they're interested in selling the 2 Series (coupe version) and possibly (I think likely) the cabriolet version. ;)

    It's a shame, you guys are missing out on a great little car in the 120d...

    Weren't Alfa Romeo due to re-enter the U.S market in 2005? but put that back to 2007? Alfa have a sweet range at the moment... not quite Merc, BMW or Audi but a damn sight cooler than anything from Ford etc etc. The little 147 is a corker, even in 1.6 TwinSpark, with a 7200rpm redline in the base model, and is arguably one of the sweetest sounding engines you can buy at any price :)


    heheh, certainly is... ;) :D
     

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