December 2016

Donation of a Classic

Yale Rachlin's `1974 2002tii will be making the trek up to the Greenville area, from Duluth, GA, for donation to the BMW CCA Foundation Museum. The museum will be open for a tour / open house. The convoy up from Georgia is open to any BMW; you can get all of the details on the Facebook page for the event.

Although I will not be joining the convoy, I do plan on heading down to the museum; Photos and coverage of the event will be available here afterwords.

State of the Site: 2016

Hi everyone.

I hope you had a fun Holiday. I just put out a new video outlining my plans for the site and the YouTube channel. I'd recommend watching the video for all the details, but I'll break it down here as well. I plan on putting out a minimum of twelve videos in 2017, about one per month. There may be more than that, but, I am committing to making a solid effort to put out at least twelve videos in 2017. They will be a mix of driving events, how to's, and project videos.

Please keep the feedback coming; I love hearing about what you like, and what you don't. You can leave feedback by navigating to the Contact page, via the navigation menu.

Filming Equipment

Someone asked me recently what I'm filming with. To date, everything you see here had been shot with a GoPro Hero 3 White Edition. That said, I've often found myself limited by having a single camera, as far as picking a single location & angle to film from during track days and the like. Pick a bad angle? You are stuck with it until you next come off the track; potentially ending up with a not-insignificant pile of useless footage.

So, with that, I recently picked up a Hero Session, so I can record a second angle simultaneously. So, with that said, here is all of my gear, in all of it's neatly laid out glory:

December 10th CCA AutoX

Yesterday's BMW CCA AutoX at the Performance Center was probably one of the more enjoyable December sessions I recall. The morning started out quite cold, and there was very little grip on the track. That said, the turnout was fantastic, and I was quite pleased to see I wasn't the only E28 out there!

The morning sessions passed rather uneventfully, although I did manage to hit the right hand cone at the entrance to the last corner twice in a row. The lack of grip was definitely an issue for a few people out there, including one gentlemen I saw running race slicks. In looking at some one the lap videos that are already showing up on Facebook, it looks like everyone was having some trouble with traction.

For the afternoon session, the timing gear came out and things started to get interesting. As it got a bit warmer out, the track surface got a bit gripper, and people seemed to be getting more confident with the course. During the first set of afternoon laps, I set what I am pretty sure is a new personal best for me, a 1:39.4. I'd love to see what I can do on these tires, on a warm day, when the track isn't slicker than snot. Even with the slight lack of grip, I personally had a blast, and it looked like everyone else was having an equally good time.

The lack of grip didn't present much of an issue until later in the afternoon. The morning session mostly saw a lot of cones knocked over. As there day wore on, however, and the sun got lower, the track once again turned slippery. More and more cones were getting knocked over. And then, it all went terribly wrong.

I was on my 1st lap of the 2nd afternoon session, everything was going perfectly, and I felt like i was on track to set a stunning lap time. I was nailing almost every apex, the car and I were of one mind, and everything felt perfect. Right up until I was coming out of the last corner. The back end of the car decided to take the lead, and ended up mowing the lawn in the infield. Thankfully, other than my ego, there was no damage to me or the car, and I was able to drive off the track.

The same, however, cannot be said of another individual, who shall remain nameless, who's day ended in a more unfortunate manner. I was standing in the timing booth, discussing my off, when I heard the screech of tires, and some rather colorful language. I turned to see a track stripped E36 M3 departing the track surface in nearly the same spot I had. Sadly, The driver, who I shall not name here, had the misfortune to impact a cement drainage structure that I had thankfully missed. Although the driver was able to walk away without injury, the E36 M3 he was driving will not be returning to the track anytime soon.

For me, that marked the end of the day. I elected to forego my last two laps, collect my camera equipment, and head home.

Despite the misfortunate events of the afternoon, I am already looking forward to my next opportunity to hit the track. If you have not attended one of these events, I would highly recommend it. I cannot say enough god things about the BMW Performance Center staff, and the volunteers from the BMW Car Club of America that make these events as fun and safe as possible.

Ready for Shenanigans

The Sandpaper CCA chapter autocross is tomorrow! The car is prepped, the GoPro is charging, and I'm about as ready as I'm going to get. If you are in attendance, stop by and say hello!

Event commentary and video will be posted here early next week, so, keep an eye open! Also feel free to drop us a comment (contact us page) and let us know if you were out there!

Preparing for Shenanigans

We're under a week away from an autocross, and the preparations have already begun. By this Friday, I will have checked all the fluids in the car, adjusted tire pressures, cleaned out the trunk and door pockets, ensured the battery is securely fastened down, and double checked that the wheels are bolted on properly.

Once the car is all squared away, I will need to prepare my video equipment. The batteries for the GoPro will need to be charged up, fresh SD cards formatted, and all of the needed accessories packed into a flight case.

It will be an early start on Saturday, as tech inspection starts at 8am. The weather at that point isn't looking too great; It should be clear, but cold, with projected temperatures in the 20s.

I'll have coverage posted here, starting on Sunday, with video to follow shortly thereafter.

Stay tuned here, and follow @SeansBMWGarage on twitter for trackside updates!

Be safe out there

I witnessed an accident last night. Although I was not directly involved, I thought I would note it here as a cautionary tale. It was a bit after seven, and as it is now getting towards winter, it was fully dark out. The accident occurred on a twisty back road, with no overhead lighting.

A lifted truck coming the other way had it's high beams on. This blinded the driver in front of me, causing him to misjudge where the center line was. He moved over the the right, and caught a drainage ditch that was about two feet wide and two feet deep with the front right tire. Following a not so graceful pirouette, the vehicle ended up blocking my lane, perpendicular to the road. The front right wheel rolled to a stop a short distance later against a fence.

I stopped, put my hazards on, and approached the now very disabled and slightly bent Kia. The driver extricated himself, despite my urging to remain seated, and claimed he was not injured. It took about twenty minutes for a police officer to arrive, during which time I directed traffic, as the road was down to one serviceable lane. I left once the police cleared me from the scene, after once again ensuring that the driver of the crashed vehicle was coherent, and did not require further assistance. In looking back at this one, there were likely a few factors at play here:

Irresponsible use of lighting
I see this one all the time. The roads around here are dark. And yes, I do have enough lights on my truck to signal E.T. The key issue is responsible use. It's great that we have lights that are powerful enough to turn night into day. They should not, however, be used on a public road, and certainly not when there is oncoming traffic.

Even without massive off-road lights, it seems a fair number of drivers in South Carolina run with their high beams on all the time at night, even if there is oncoming traffic. This is not only annoying, it is incredibly dangerous. If all I can see are your headlights, I cannot see the road, nor what part of it I am on. Please, be responsible with your lighting.

Poor lighting of the roadway & nonexistent hazard marking
This is a common issue here, and truth be told, I don't really mind it. Less light pollution is a good thing. That said, it does require extra care be taken when driving at night. As far as this specific incident, however, either a streetlight or a simple reflector on a stick may well have prevented this accident.

Degraded positional awareness
The key here is knowing your car, specifically where the wheels are in relation to the roadway, as well as knowing the road. In this category, I can't really fault the driver too much. He was driving a company-branded vehicle (so, not his own), on a road he may not have been familiar with. With that in mind, building an awareness of tire placement, as well as a familiarity with the road, will make you a safer driver. The next time you are out for a spin, take some time to think about vehicle placement, and pay attention for road hazards that you may have overlooked previously.

In closing, I am not writing this to assign blame, or to complain about roadway conditions. My hope is to get you, the reader, to be more active in the driving process, so that we all have more time to enjoy great driving roads.

Now, go out there and (safely) smoke some tires!