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.