Michiana BMWCCA (GingerMan 26-27 Sep 98)

I attended the Michiana BMWCCA event at GingerMan this weekend. As usual, a fun time at one of my (emerging) favorite tracks… ran into a bunch of good folks who had nothing but good things to say about the NSX crew, notably Bryan and Ken, and the usual gaggle of admirers (our lead instructor Kieran Gobyn was a big fan, and characterized our car as a "streetable F-1 car").

This was the Michiana chapter’s inaugural event at GingerMan, and as done with a lot of input/assistance from the Windy City folks. I think they did a fine job, and I would recommend their events to anyone interested… its a fun, challenging (mild elevation change, linked turns) track, and its reasonably close, and features some of the best track food I’ve seen (this is key!).

One interesting feature was a deal with a local Bimmer dealer that had an array of new cars we could use for touring laps (2 laps, 50 mpg max (yeah right), no helmets). I tried an M Roadster and an M3 convertible (slushbox with hardtop on ;( ). IMO a great way for dealer/marque PR and I’m sure it helps sell cars (!). Phenomenal brakes on the former, decent handling (progressive power steering IMO excessive, although it helped pull decent 65 mph slalom patterns all the way up the homestretch straight 10-11). The latter reminded me of a less-rigid (upper) but mildly-stiffened (lower) cousin of my Camry coupe (!). Also (keN SaX), their dinner event included a DIY ice cream sundae bar… (saves you a trip to Sherman’s).

There were also some interesting items… after I warped my rotors (Comptech cross-drilled) one instructor showed me his (custom DIY) water-cooled braking system on his M3 E36 (!). This is my 4th track event with these rotors (maybe Bryan’s advice is finally sinking in?), and still have enough metal to turn them when I get back… I was pleasantly surprised to see them kick me up to "intermediate" (was expecting "novice/intermediate") class; even more surprised that we did okay, although I credit Tochigi engineering, Dunlop, RM/Dali and Comptech for the latter.

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