: Impressions from first driving school at Putnam Part Raceway



Trionalaw
08-01-12, 12:02 PM
First let me give you a disclaimer. I have gone to 12 driving schools. I started at age 50 which allowed me to learn quickly but be far from overly zealous on the track. After four BMW sponsored driving schools I was promoted from the two lower categories (D and C) where the emphasis was on braking in a straight line, learning the track's line, watching your mirrors and gradually increasing your speed while learning somewhat what the car was doing.

In BMW's B category, the trail braking technique was taught and the instructors continued to push for more speed. Nevertheless, at times drivers in the lower categories were probably faster than me.

I began driving schools in an E 46 M3 with SMG. I went to one driving school in a 2008 Corvette C6 6 speed manual with the Z 51 package. It was at Putnam Park and I was in fourth gear the entire time. The torque in that car is of course incredible. Plus, I averaged 32 MPG to and from the track! My last car was an E 90 M3 with a six speed manual.

I went to my first driving school last Saturday at Putnam Part Racecourse in Indiana. It was sponsored by http://www.1010thsmotorsports.com, which in my opinion is a much better deal than other driving schools. You can purchase one or two days of driving. Each day you are guaranteed 2.5 hours on the track which is I believe 33% more than with other driving schools. It offers three categories: novice, intermediate and advanced. If there are enough instructors you will have them in intermediate. The novice category always has instructors.

At the event last Saturday, intermediate drivers did not have instructors. I was in the intermediate category. I had been in that category at my last 10 /10ths Motorsports driving school. There were enough instructors that I had one at that event. He felt that I had continually improved in each session to the point that he signed me out for the last 2 sessions.

To show you why I like 10/10ths Motorsports school so much, here's what it did to make certain I got all my track time. There was a shortage of instructors, so there were none in the intermediate category. Because I was unfamiliar with my car, I was clearly the slowest car in the intermediate group in the first session. However, I had watched my mirrors carefully and held no one up. Nonetheless, I was asked if I would feel more comfortable running in the novice group. Often, is not nearly as much fun if you are constantly worried you were holding someone up. It was solely my decision. Since I leave my ego at home when I go to a driving school, I readily agreed.

When the differential overheating problem occurred, which caused me to end my sessions halfway into them, I went to the event coordinator and inquired if I could run both in the novice and intermediate categories because of the problem. He immediately agreed.

In any event, here are my impressions about my 2012 CTS V Coupe 6 speed manual with only one modification: I plasti dipped all the chrome except the V symbols. Not a great job so I'm going to redo it before I place pictures. However, I'm sure it made the car faster!

1. It is no news to anyone that the car is stupid fast. Fastest car I have ever driven on the track. The fastest car I've ever driven with a C6 Z06.


2. The brakes are the best I have ever experienced.


3. While the car seemed somewhat heavier than my previous cars, I was pleasantly surprised at how well it did handle.


4. The differential cooler sucks. In my first session, I probably ran at 5/10ths. I shifted at the three shift points I use on this track: 4-3 at the braking point in the middle of turn 1; 3-2 at I believe turn 7 which is a 90 right-hander (you can see I don't memorize the turn numbers well) and 3-4 on the long front straight needing to turn 1. I had no problems with differential overheating during the first session.

5. When I advanced to 7/10ths (at least as I feel it) in the next session, halfway through it –15 min.– the differential overheating light came on. I of course left the track. To slow down enough to cool it off would be unfair to the other participants.


6. In my next session I did not downshift to 3rd gear in the middle of turn 1. I downshifted to 3rd gear at what I believe is turn 7 and then shifted to 4th gear before the next corner. I stayed in 4th gear until the middle of turn 1. That made no difference. After 15 min. the differential was overheating.


7. Because I was unfamiliar with the car, I ran only with the suspension in the sport mode until the last session. I did not use the competitive mode until then because as I read the owner's manual it eliminates stability control which was being activated intermittently during my sessions. Just about half way through my last session, and before the differential overheating warning light came on, I placed it in the competitive mode. I was already in the suspension sport mode.For the remainder of the session the differential warning light did not come on. I presume it would notwithstanding the fact I was in competition mode. Am I wrong? When the session ended, I immediately switched off the competition mode and the differential overheating light did not come on.

8. In competition mode I had no problems with regard to the handling, although I wonder if I had subconsciously dialed back a little. I found the steering to be much better in competition mode, which I understand added some weight to it.


9. I have the stock tires on the car. I ran cold pressure temperatures at 37 pounds. There was no uneven wear anywhere on the tires, particularly the outside edge.The ambient temperature was in the high 80s

So my overall impressions are that the car handles better than expected. Whether it will handle better than my E 90 BMW M3 remains to be seen sense I clearly did not go as fast as I could have because of my unfamiliarity with the car.

It is obviously faster than any other car I have driven on a track. And as I said, its brakes are phenomenal.

I am probably foregoing 10/10ths Motorsports next driving school at Mid-Ohio in August because I'm certain the temperatures will be equal to what they were last weekend. I'm going to attend its October event at Putnam Park Raceway when I suspect the ambient temperatures will be greatly reduced. I intend to drive the entire time in the competition mode hoping that it (if in fact it has a role to play with differential temperatures) has some role with regard to reducing differential overheating. Of course that makes little sense to me because what the differential is doing, at least in my limited knowledge, would be the same whether there are computer driving aids in force or not. By the way, am I correct that there is no stability control in competition mode?

Should the differential still overheat, and I find that I am controlling the car well, and therefore will enjoy additional driving schools, I will bite the bullet and invest in an aftermarket differential cooler.

Those of you who are more skilled than me probably will find this of little value. However those of you inching up to age 60, and still want to see your grandchildren born, may find this of some benefit.

As always, my appreciation to all of you who continue to give me and others advice on this one.

Thanks,

Jim

PeteK
08-02-12, 12:00 AM
Jim--

You mention a differential cooler, which is a little confusing, because most of the V's (barring export models) don't have a cooler. The folks with experience can chime in here, but it seems like the cooler is pretty much a necessity at bigger tracks and/or hotter ambient temps. The GM one has proven to be a phantom of GM's imagination for us state-side folks, but I understand the D3 cooler is a good product (and I'm eyeing it myself), or more enterprising folks here have rolled their own.

M5eater
08-02-12, 09:09 AM
By the way, am I correct that there is no stability control in competition mode?


competition mode turns off traction control, but keeps stability control on in a low-intrusive mode. I know it certinally doesn't feel like it, but then again I haven't spun the car around 180 degrees, so it's probably doing something. . There's another setting to turn everything off. I believe they changed the way it tells you what's on/off in the 12s, in my 11 I had to press & hold the button and it would shoot up that everything is off. In the 12 I just press it another time and it lists what's on/off.


Of course that makes little sense to me because what the differential is doing, at least in my limited knowledge, would be the same whether there are computer driving aids in force or not
I'm not sure if our traction control uses braking force or timing control to limit slipping. If it uses the brakes, this might make some sense.

Xaqtly
08-02-12, 12:59 PM
Yeah, as far as I know here's what the TC button does:

1 push: Turns traction control off but all stabilitrak is on.
2 pushes: Turns on competitive mode, which turns traction control off but still leaves Stabilitrak on, but it dials back the nannies, letting you slide more before kicking in.
Hold for 5 seconds: Turns everything off, you are on your own.

This is how it works in my '11, don't know if it's different in the '12s. For moderately experienced amateurs like me, I would probably use competitive mode on a track. For experienced drivers or semi pros, they can probably turn everything off. If you're pushing the car at 7/10ths or more, you're probably hurting your times by leaving stabilitrak all the way on since it tends to kick in at even very minor sideways slippage. You want a little flexibility to be able to exit corners fast.

Trionalaw
08-02-12, 01:51 PM
I guess I thought the V had a differential cooler. Now I know I will have to invest in one.

Much appreciated\,

Jim

Trionalaw
08-02-12, 01:53 PM
Thanks. That is what I thought in terms of some stability control especially since the C6 Corvette's manual was clear it dialed stability control back and shut off traction control. The V's manual seems to suggest that "Stabili-Track" is completely shut off in competition mode. I will read it again.

Much appreciated,

Jim

Trionalaw
08-02-12, 01:55 PM
I may now go to Mid-Ohio next week and go with Competition mode and hope that helps with differential temps.

Thanks to everyone for doing what is so much appreciated on the forum: imparting knowledge to those of us seeking it.

Jim

jenlain
08-02-12, 08:57 PM
I've gotten the hot diff warning at multiple tracks in all different stabilitrak modes. It seems that anything over 20 minutes in track for me will trigger it.

My solution has been to change the diff fluid before and after each event with redline diff oil. Going to try a higher viscosity for the next event to see if that keeps temps down. No damage or metal shavings in the fluid so far. Based on the condition of the redline oil after the last event, I think it has a higher temp capacity then the stock fluid.

thebigjimsho
08-03-12, 08:49 AM
I've gotten the hot diff warning at multiple tracks in all different stabilitrak modes. It seems that anything over 20 minutes in track for me will trigger it.

My solution has been to change the diff fluid before and after each event with redline diff oil. Going to try a higher viscosity for the next event to see if that keeps temps down. No damage or metal shavings in the fluid so far. Based on the condition of the redline oil after the last event, I think it has a higher temp capacity then the stock fluid.Agreed. It seems to happen less often for me on fresh fluid...

Trionalaw
08-03-12, 09:34 AM
I will try that. Thanks.

as always much appreciated,

Jim

PS: What viscosity to you recommend?

thebigjimsho
08-03-12, 09:51 AM
I run 75W-90 Amsoil Severe Gear w/ LSD additive...

Trionalaw
08-03-12, 10:58 AM
much appreciated, big guy. I assume the LSD additive means limited slip differential additive. Does Amsoil make one?

Sorry to be such a pest. I probably remind you of a recurring rash.

Jim

M5eater
08-03-12, 11:03 AM
much appreciated, big guy. I assume the LSD additive means limited slip differential additive. Does Amsoil make one?

Sorry to be such a pest. I probably remind you of a recurring rash.

Jim

They do not.

Just buy the GM stuff, it's <$20.

propain
08-03-12, 11:24 AM
You feel it was quicker than the Z06 on the track?

jenlain
08-03-12, 11:29 AM
The z06 is the faster track car if driver skill is equal.

C66 Racing
08-03-12, 07:51 PM
I assume the LSD additive means limited slip differential additive. Does Amsoil make one?


They do:
AMSOIL Severe Gear Extreme Pressure Synthetic 75w90 (http://www.c66racing-synthetics.com/Product%20Bulletins/SVGPB.htm) (Product Code SVGQT)
AMSOIL Slip-Lock Differential Additive (http://www.c66racing-synthetics.com/Product%20Bulletins/ADAPB.htm) (Product Code ADATB)
Note: Though the Severe Gear 75w90 comes with friction modifier already in it and extra additive is not needed to prevent diff chatter in previous gen GM high performance diff, GM's current diffs seen to need extra additive to prevent diff chatter. I run this fluid in my 02 Z06 without extra additive (and ran it in my 06 CTS-V without extra additive while it was my daily driver from 06-09).

More than happy to get AMSOIL products for forum members at dealer wholesale pricing, about 25% below retail, via the AMSOIL Preferred Customer Program (http://www.c66racing-synthetics.com/Preferredcustomer.htm). Drop me a PM if interested. :cheers:

Trionalaw
08-04-12, 12:28 PM
Thanks, C66:

Much appreciated,

Jim

thebigjimsho
08-05-12, 08:40 PM
much appreciated, big guy. I assume the LSD additive means limited slip differential additive. Does Amsoil make one?

Sorry to be such a pest. I probably remind you of a recurring rash.

JimSorry I didn't respond more quickly. C66 Racing is the guy to go to for Amsoil! Like he said, they do have the additive.

My V1 didn't need extra additive. My V2 definitely does. And if you order Amsoil fluid, GET THE HAND PUMP!!! Very much worth it...

M5eater
08-06-12, 08:52 AM
Ohh-- they do offer the additive. O_o

Trionalaw
08-06-12, 11:48 AM
I took my car into the independent BMW service facility I use for my BMW oil changes between the computer oil changes – which with my driving style was about every 18,000 miles! He stocks Amsoil products. He owed me a favor and got me in this morning to change the differential fluid. Good thing I decided to change the fluid. The fluid was burnt and there were metal shavings! I immediately went to my dealership. Services getting me a new differential under warranty. I explained everything that happened at the track. My service manager essentially said Cadillac discusses this car as a track car. Therefore, it should perform as advertised. I was going to a driving school Thursday but now have to cancel as he warned me the differential could lock up under track conditions.

When I get the new differential I'm going to ask for the heavier viscosity in an additive. I assume that will be okay and not affect the warranty. I will check with my service manager and let you all know. By the way,my dealership is Thompson-McConnell in Cincinnati, Ohio is a great dealership. Couldn't recommend it more highly.

Thanks for all the advice. Had I not received it, I would've gone to a driving school with the potential of having a differential lock up which would not be good at Mid--Ohio!

Much appreciated,

Jim

V Wagon
08-06-12, 05:18 PM
If you don't have gear whine there's nothing wrong with the diff! Some metal is normal and the diffs have a magnetic drain plug for that reason. It is the nature of the gears used and how they contact each other.

Trionalaw
08-06-12, 05:24 PM
My buddy at the independent BMW service facility said my differential fluid shouldn't be burnt like this at 7000 miles. Service manager at the dealership immediately said I needed to differential as well.

I don't have any gear whine that I know of. The service manager, as I noted, said I was at risk for the differential to lock up by the driving school. What do you think?

Thanks so much,

Jim

V Wagon
08-06-12, 05:30 PM
The fluid is obviously burnt as a result of having over heated, thus the DIC message you got saying such. Having to replace it after tracking is normal and may even be recommended by the owner's manual.

There's no risk of it locking up on the track. As stated, some metal shavings are normal. If you replace it and never drive on track you will get them with the new diff too. You'll get them just breaking the diff in. If there's a big chunk of metal you have a problem but some shavings are from normal wear.

Trionalaw
08-06-12, 06:00 PM
As I recall, my BMW guy said the metal was only on the drain plug.I would assume if there was a big chunk of metal I would be hearing some major whining, wouldn't I? I may sign up for the school tomorrow. However, if the differential locks up and I smashup my car, will you reimburse me?

Much appreciated,

Jim

Cadillac Cust Svc
08-06-12, 07:26 PM
I took my car into the independent BMW service facility I use for my BMW oil changes between the computer oil changes – which with my driving style was about every 18,000 miles! He stocks Amsoil products. He owed me a favor and got me in this morning to change the differential fluid. Good thing I decided to change the fluid. The fluid was burnt and there were metal shavings! I immediately went to my dealership. Services getting me a new differential under warranty. I explained everything that happened at the track. My service manager essentially said Cadillac discusses this car as a track car. Therefore, it should perform as advertised. I was going to a driving school Thursday but now have to cancel as he warned me the differential could lock up under track conditions.

When I get the new differential I'm going to ask for the heavier viscosity in an additive. I assume that will be okay and not affect the warranty. I will check with my service manager and let you all know. By the way,my dealership is Thompson-McConnell in Cincinnati, Ohio is a great dealership. Couldn't recommend it more highly.

Thanks for all the advice. Had I not received it, I would've gone to a driving school with the potential of having a differential lock up which would not be good at Mid--Ohio!

Much appreciated,

Jim

Jim,

Saw your post and was wondering if you would like assistance with this? If you would like to message me your full name, phone number, address, mileage, VIN and involved dealership I would be happy to follow these repairs for you!

Ashley (Assisting Katie)
Cadillac Customer Service

jenlain
08-06-12, 07:29 PM
As I recall, my BMW guy said the metal was only on the drain plug.I would assume if there was a big chunk of metal I would be hearing some major whining, wouldn't I? I may sign up for the school tomorrow. However, if the differential locks up and I smashup my car, will you reimburse me?

Much appreciated,

Jim

Do what you think is right. Those of us that track the car regularly are simply sharing with you our experience that metal shavings on the diff drain plug are normal during the first fluid change and foul smelling burnt fluid is typical after a track day.

Trionalaw
08-06-12, 07:54 PM
I think I'm going to go ahead and go to the school Thursday. Thanks so much for everyone's advice.

Jim

Trionalaw
08-06-12, 07:55 PM
Ashley,

So far my experience with the dealership (Thompson McConnell Cadillac) has been great. If I have problems at any time I will follow-up with you. Appreciate your interest.

The car is phenomenal.

Thanks,

Jim

C66 Racing
08-06-12, 08:32 PM
Never tracked my V1 but been tracking my 02 Z06 for about 10 years now and my experiences are similar to those posted above. I change my diff fluid at the start of every season and have had it rebuilt as preventative maintenance several times over the last 10 years. The metal on the diff plug (I put in mag plug when new) is common - all below the threshold of what I'd call shavings. More just normal wear products.

If you haven't discovered used "oil" analysis yet, pretty handy tool to tell if something is trending wrong on your car. Here are the results from the first factory fill samples I did on my V1 (not tracked) for engine, tranny and diff as examples.
06 CTS-V Factory Fill Engine Oil Sample (http://www.c66racing-synthetics.com/TestResults/Used%20Oil%20Analysis%20Reports/CTS-V%20Mobil%201%206-10-07.htm)
06 CTS-V Factory Fill Tranny Fluid Sample (http://www.c66racing-synthetics.com/TestResults/Used%20Oil%20Analysis%20Reports/CTS-V%20Dexron%20III%20Tranny%206-10-07.htm)
06 CTS-V Factory Fill Diff Fluid Sample (http://www.c66racing-synthetics.com/TestResults/Used%20Oil%20Analysis%20Reports/CTS-V%20Factory%20Fill%20Diff%206-10-07.htm)

All the above where done when I changed the respective fluids to AMSOIL. I buy samples prepaid from Blackstone by the six pack so I always have a bottle laying around. Generally try to sample each of my vehicles periodically to catch early signs of problems.
:cheers:

V Wagon
08-07-12, 09:40 AM
As I recall, my BMW guy said the metal was only on the drain plug.I would assume if there was a big chunk of metal I would be hearing some major whining, wouldn't I? I may sign up for the school tomorrow. However, if the differential locks up and I smashup my car, will you reimburse me?

Much appreciated,

Jim

If there were just shavings on the diff plug that is 100% normal. What you are describing is actually the reason some things in cars do NOT get a magnetic drain plug. Someone pulls the drain plug, sees metal, and freaks out and thinks the part needs replaced when it really doesn't.

If metal in the oil was indicitive of any problem, your rear end would be whining like a banshee.

I'm no insurance company but there is track insurance available if you're worried about smashing your car up on track. From what you have described, there is no more risk in tracking your car on the current diff than there would be tracking the car on a new diff and there is absolutely no reason to be changing the diff. A quiet diff with some shavings on the magnetic plug is totally normal.

Proper diff break in is a torturous thing to do. Driving around for a while at light throttle, never going constant speed (light accel and coast to ensure both sides of the teeth are worn in). Don't change a diff that doesn't have problems.

M5eater
08-07-12, 09:48 AM
If there were just shavings on the diff plug that is 100% normal.
and that's not because the gears wear or something. it's because it's a clutch-pack LSD.

Clutch meaning friction material, meaning that in order to work, it has to move against each other. IE, just like your transmission clutch(s) it's going to produce debris.

Trionalaw
08-08-12, 01:00 PM
I have decided to attend the mid-Ohio driving school tomorrow. If there are problems, I will let you all know.

Thanks so much for all the input. Much appreciated.

Jim

C66 Racing
08-08-12, 08:20 PM
I have decided to attend the mid-Ohio driving school tomorrow. If there are problems, I will let you all know.

Thanks so much for all the input. Much appreciated.

Jim

Good luck and have fun! Many fond memories of that track. My avatar pic was taken running up to the Keyhole.