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I took my SLK to a road course for the first time Sunday. Tracked at Pueblo Motorsports Park, it's a 2.2 mile road course with 10 turns and some hills and blind turns. A section of it is used for a 1/4 track, got closed to 120mph, had to brake for other slower cars. I'm somewhat familiar with the track as a I did some corner work with BMW CCA last year, also rode with instrutors for a few laps. BMW CCA did not allow my car on the track w/o roll cage so I didn't run. I think this road course is great for beginners, it's not an easy track, easy to go off track (many did), but not extremely difficult.

here's the track layout.



Here's my car, all setup and ready for it's first lap.



I wanted to be number 350 but this number was taken



I was not nervous at all, I thought I would be once I got into the car and get on the track but I was more anxious and excited to get started. I was on the proper line most of the time, except turn 7 (hairpin) that was a bit tricky. The instructor was suprised at how calm and relax I was, normally beginners are all over the place and didn't fly off track on turn 4 (uphill blind turn). I felt like I belong on the track and should have done this years earlier, man did I missed out on all the fun. I guess all my time watching track videos on youtube did help. :)

My only other track experience was autoX, did that all last year, it was fun but nothing like going on a road course with the high speed and turns. AutoX is too short, just when you are getting into it, the fun ends. Also alot of rough turns, it's not as smooth as a road course.

Things I have to work on according to my instructor, smooth shifting, I was rough a few times, he said I needed to learn to heel and toe, I'm okay with heel and toe in my old bimmer b/c it was easy to do. The SLK was nearly impossible, the gas petal is too deep in and or the brake petal to high up. I need to adjust it. Will create a separate tread for this. I remember slktyperice had the same complaint. I wanted to try it a few times but was not comfortable in doing it, I can barely do it on public roads going at a safe speed, not going to risk it at high speeds.

About the car. What a blast, it handles well, now I don't really know how it compares to other cars yet, there were alot of nice cars in HPDE1 and 2, Subura STI's, 350Z, M3's, Corvettes, Vipers, etc but we were all beginners and noone was really pushing it that hard, including myself, except for the last run, what a difference it makes when you hit all your apexes and take the proper lines. I was flying thru corners at an incredible speed and the car remains balance. It's a big difference when you have to correct all the time, you can just feel it when you have it right. Will be tracking my brother's M3 sometime in the future for comparison. I did not have to shift much, left it in 3rd gear mostly, had enough torque to power out of most corners. Only used 5th gear on the straights.

About NASA, what a great job they did to organize this event, this is only their second year here in Colorado and the first event this year and was filled up easily, had five people on the waiting list for HPDE1 and didn't get to participate, my friend included but he was not disappointed, their were time trials and actually racing so he had a great time watching. Some of the guys went all out and was flying off track, hitting each other. The spec miata and spec 944 racers was just plain crazy, thought they were going to flip and hit the walls many times but had enough skills to correct themselves and get back on track. It was a joy to watch. Don't think I will ever get that serious.

Wow, just went back to proof read a little and noticed it's a long thread already that's what happens when you are still excited about it. The next one is going to be less than a month. My brother is trying to get his car ready for La Junta, it's looks like a simple track, isn't as technical as Pueblo. Pueblo was 1 1/2 hours drive, La Junta is 3 hours, will only go if my brother is coming, dont' want to drive that distance w/o company. Next one at Pueblo is going to be in July, I don't think I can wait that long, so will try and make it to La Junta.

In summary, the SLK is a joy to drive on the track, my instructor was very surprised, he didn't think MB made cars that can handle, had many people compliment the SLK. It's the best and safest way to enjoy your SLK, everyone has to do it at least once in their lifetime otherwise they will never know how well balance, how well it handles, brake, and exccerates out of corners. Highly recommended.

Will post more pics later on, think that's enough for now. :tu:
 

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Glad to hear the SLK handles itself well on the track. Sounds like you had a blast there! Do you think the Brabus suspension components made a difference in handling at the limits?

I have a BMWCCA membership and am thinking of attending some of their AutoX events when I get my car. Are the BMWCCA folks receptive to non-BMWs attending their events?

Post more pics :tu:

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It's low, sticks to the ground, no body roll, so yes it helps alot, I've never tracked or drove hard with the OEM springs, so I can't compare the two, would assume the brabus ones are better.

Half of the cars at the BMW's autoX were from other groups like SCCA, PCA, etc, they were getting more practice for Solo Racing, aka autoX. There were Evo's, STi, tons of civics and other cars. I was the only Mercedes there, so alot of shock and surprised, everyone was extremely friendly. Car fanatics loves cars in general so if you have a nice car, you should be fine.

Have to resize all the photo's will work on it tomorrow.
 

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Awesome mate, You can now see why I got a little addicted and was doing pretty much 2 weekends a month at the track. It's awesome fun, it's really the only way to find limits, of your car, tyres and yourself and become comfortable with having the car working on the edge of its performance envelope. Really look forward to the images.
 

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Ynot,

I'm happy to see you enjoyed your time at the track. Like you, I've experience several AutoX events but it seems lacking. The road course is an entirely different beast. You get to really learn your and your car's limits. I wish more people would give it a chance because it's so much more than the perceived 'racing.' It makes you a better driver. For me, it also made me believe that the 355hp is fine for now. I wouldn't mind 400hp but until I can truly capitalize on it's existing power, there's no need for the supercharger just yet.

Anyways, if there's anyone in the NorCal area that wants to attend one of these sessions, there's quite a few coming up at Laguna Seca, Infineon, and Thunderhill. They're all great tracks and well worth experiencing your car's capabilities.
 

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Nice, Id love to drive my 55 on the track, the closest track is 4hours away from me.
The next one is in a month's time and is 3 hours away, I'm probably going, just have to wait for my brother to change his radiator on the bimmer and we're going. It's really fun and addicting. Give it a try. :tu:

I didn't get any rolling shots obviously I was driving, my brother sent me this link. My friend said he took some pics of me on the track, he said he kept taking pics of the camero (z28) b/c it was also silver and had a pointing nose so in the viewfinder it looked the same. I say he needs a new prescription. :D I'm waiting to see what he took, will post if it's worthy. :)

Rubert Berrington was the professional photographer for the event, here's my photo's. There was also pics of time trials, comp school, and HPDE3/4, feel free to browse around. Alot of nice cars at the event.
http://www.printroom.com/ViewGallery.asp?shopperid=3DF65BELTJQ98LMPXFX5UPMN6AK61RV6&userid=rupertberr&gallery_id=634731&curpage=1
The Viper was behind me on turns but just blew right pass me on the straights. :)

I'm too lazy to resize my photo's, so I'm going to borrow some from the other guys who took them. So here they are.

The spec Porsche 944 were really fun to watch, they were really competive and the cars were pretty much even so it was based on driver's skills.





Ariel Atom, that looks like a go kart and goes like one too, must be fun to drive.

Atom testing the brakes.


Noble M400, it was a damn fast car, was throwing flames at every corner, makes a blow torch humble. :D




Spec Miata drivers were crazy, they kept running each other of course. Extremely fun to watch.


Raced prep Acura NSX, I really wanted to watch him and the Noble together, they were both killing everyone on the track but the Noble had problems after the first run so it didn't happen.



The Acura Integra and RSX was pretty much playing cat and mouse the whole time they were on the track.



Ariel Atom leading the way.


I didn't see these hot babes on Sunday, it must've been taken Saturday.


Nice blue corvette.


More Atom


This Mitsu Evo killed everything in his class, great driver, looks like he was taken it to the limits on every lap.


Suburu wagon showing everyone even 4 wheel drive doesn't help when you go into a turn to hot and have to over correct. Pueblo's track has alot of dips and drops when you don't stay on track, easy to flip your vehicle, this is why BMW CCA will not allow convertibles w/o roll cage.


Pretty fast Porsche, he was trying to chase the noble but when it came to the straights, the noble just blew it away.


I think he's a little bit off track.


That's it for now, if you want more, I can get more. :D
 

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Boys enjoying their toys, that is what its all about. Great pics man appreciate being part of your joy.:biglaugh: :biglaugh: :biglaugh: How many is that??? am I close yet??? Work is cramping my style or lack thereof. waiting for the aircraft to return from a flight so I can finish the training today and go home.:Beer: :Beer: :Beer:
 
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