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      03-10-2017, 11:21 PM   #1
Ecoce1
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Epic Road Trip - NYC - Tail of The Dragon - BMW Performance Driving School

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Past weekend I turned 30 and decided to do something memorable for my birthday. Considering that I love driving, it only made sense to do a road trip.

I have always heard about the BMW Performance school and never had a chance to make it to the school (also did not really want to spend all that money). I figured this would be the perfect time to go to the school.

I heard about the Tail of the Dragon from a lot of biker friends of mine and always had the idea of driving on the road, if I ever made it to the BMW Performance School.

Even though I use my m4 as a weekend car, I really wanted to make this trip all about driving and decided that the only car to take was the m4! I invited my dad, because he is the only person that I know that likes BMW's and driving more than I do.

Our trip started in Brooklyn, NY. Instead of getting in to all the details of which way I drove, here is the entire trip:



We pulled out from Brooklyn on Saturday Morning (6:00am). Made it to North Carolina on Saturday at about (7:30pm). We got a hotel about 50 miles away from Tail of the Dragon. This way we were able to drive The Tail of the Dragon, during the day on Sunday. The Tail of the Dragon is 11 miles long, but all the roads before the tail are very curvy as well. The road was amazing and I enjoyed the Tail and the roads before it. The one thing I liked about the roads before The Tail of the Dragon, is that you are able to get more speed. During the Tail of the Dragon, you really are not able to drive it fast, due to the tight turns (that just do not stop). Either way, I really enjoyed the road.

Here are some photos:

















I did make sure to get a good parking spot. At least I didn't park in the middle of the two spots (even though I was tempted)



I honestly thought that the trip could not have gotten any better, after driving all the roads. ....Until I made it to the Performance Driving School on Monday!









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      03-10-2017, 11:22 PM   #2
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I was very surprised to get so much time behind the wheel. The day started off in a classroom for about an hour, but right after that it was none stop driving. We switched between M3, M4 and M2. Once you get out of one car, we had about 5 - 10 minute brake and we were back in another car.

Here is a video of all the difference types of races that we did throughout the day. I did not add music to the videos, because I just love listening to the engine sounds roaring close to red line.



Here is a video of just having fun on the oval circle:



Here is another:



Here is a video of a drive along with the instructor. This is where I was able to see what these cars are really capable of and how the track is supposed to be driven:




This was an awesome trip! I was back home on Tuesday night. Basically the entire trip was just driving. The entire trip was very memorable. I honestly thought that my M4 would have been a lot worse on a long trip like this and that I would have gotten a lot more tired. The seats are not the softest (which I probably felt the most, on the way back home) but they were not completely unbearable after 1700 miles in 4 days.

I definitely enjoyed the BMW Performance Driving school the most out of the entire trip. The Instructors were awesome and it was amazing to finally be able to drive these cars, for what they were designed. I have learned that these cars handle very well, even with traction off. I definitely also learned that I want competition package on my car, especially because of the extra "pop pops" "burbles".

I have already started planning my next trip to the BMW Performance Driving school. I am going to sign up for the two day school next time around. I recommend this school for everyone. It is well worth the money! Besides being fun, I learned a lot about the handling capabilities of the M cars.

On a side note, this was my first time driving an M2. The car handles very nicely and feels like it can take a lot tighter turns than the M4......buuuut, it did not have as loud of an exhaust as the M4, which was a minus for me. It also did feel a bit more sluggish on straight a ways. I was also not too impressed by the interior of the M2, in comparison to the M4. Either way, the M2 was still pretty impressive, but I would not trade my M4 in for it.

I figure I share my experience for anyone that might be considering either the BMW Performance school or just the tail of the dragon trip. I highly recommend both!!!!
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      03-11-2017, 12:50 AM   #3
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Sounds like it was an awesome trip, great pics and videos, thanks for sharing. I have been thinking of going the BMW performance driving school this year.
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      03-11-2017, 09:34 AM   #4
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Thanks for the review and videos. Definitely have this on my list of things to do.
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      03-11-2017, 02:09 PM   #5
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Great write up and cool vids. I did the 2 day M school in the fall in conjunction with a PCD and then did The Dragon (as they seemed to call it there) on the way home. It was a great experience, although I got quite nauseous on the longer lapping sessions (with me driving!). I was sad that I apparently didn't hit record on my phone when the instructor was doing his "watch me drift and not care about time" demo around the upper oval skid pad.
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      03-11-2017, 02:53 PM   #6
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Awesome write up, thanks for taking the time. In the last two years, I have done two Dragon trips from Wi, both in the former RC F. While the Dragon itself is a lot of fun to drive, I found the surrounding roads to be more fun, still tight and twisty, but allowed for some more speed, and we not nearly as congested with traffic.

I will have to look into the M Driving school, it looks like a blast, and a great way to learn the cars. Did you get to Bridal Veil Falls on your way through the Dragon? Pic I took after driving underneath. Such a beautiful part of the country.
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      03-11-2017, 04:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snareman View Post
Great write up and cool vids. I did the 2 day M school in the fall in conjunction with a PCD and then did The Dragon (as they seemed to call it there) on the way home. It was a great experience, although I got quite nauseous on the longer lapping sessions (with me driving!). I was sad that I apparently didn't hit record on my phone when the instructor was doing his "watch me drift and not care about time" demo around the upper oval skid pad.
I already started to look in to the 2 day school. Aiming for October. I never get nauseous, but can definitely see why many people would (including me). We were doing the autocross on the M2, for probably over 25 minutes straight and I was getting close to thinking it might be too much, but after we took a break, I was good to keep going.

Quote:
Originally Posted by F1nLMSFan View Post
Awesome write up, thanks for taking the time. In the last two years, I have done two Dragon trips from Wi, both in the former RC F. While the Dragon itself is a lot of fun to drive, I found the surrounding roads to be more fun, still tight and twisty, but allowed for some more speed, and we not nearly as congested with traffic.

I will have to look into the M Driving school, it looks like a blast, and a great way to learn the cars. Did you get to Bridal Veil Falls on your way through the Dragon? Pic I took after driving underneath. Such a beautiful part of the country.
Yea, the roads before the "Dragon" were awesome. They were bassically a stretched out Dragon tail, which made it possible to drive on them a lot quicker.

I did see the waterfall, but was too concentrated on driving and did not stop. Definitely looks like an awesome place to pull over for a photo....next time.
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      03-11-2017, 04:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ecoce1 View Post
I already started to look in to the 2 day school. Aiming for October. I never get nauseous, but can definitely see why many people would (including me). We were doing the autocross on the M2, for probably over 25 minutes straight and I was getting close to thinking it might be too much, but after we took a break, I was good to keep going.
Yea, there were even more of those long lapping sessions the second day and as much as I loved the driving, at points I'd start thinking, "is it time for this one to be over yet?" They had the entire class in all 3 car variants all at the same time doing that big outer loop that you showed in the vid. It was just all of the repeated hard braking into quick turns that added up to affect me. It was amazing when you'd do the demo laps with the instructors how they were an entire different level of aggressive driving. I took some Zofran both days as lunch and it helped a lot. The breathers between sessions definitely helped calm things down a bit as well.
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      03-11-2017, 07:42 PM   #9
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Guys what's the dragon? Is it a back road where you can explore the limits of your car?
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      03-11-2017, 07:48 PM   #10
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Congrats on the great trip. I have done a similar trip in my F10 M5 and in my E46 M3 in the past. I just avoided the I 95 part like the plague. I use 78 to 81 to 77 when I go to NC. I hate driving I95 north of NC
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      03-12-2017, 04:09 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M4FOREVER View Post
Guys what's the dragon? Is it a back road where you can explore the limits of your car?
It's a road with 318 turns in 11 miles with some beautiful scenery. You most definitely can not use it to explore the limits of your car though, unless by limits you mean how well it corners going 25 mph which is about as fast as you can safely go on it.

http://tailofthedragon.com/
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      03-12-2017, 07:48 AM   #12
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Thanks for posting.

I'll be doing the 1-Day M School this June with my brother-in-law who will be picking up his M4 at the PCD.

I was able to apply a courtesy 1-day Car Control School (since I already experienced that school) for the M School, plus applied my BMWCCA 15% off, and got the M School for under $600!!! And they are throwing in the 2 night hotel
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      03-12-2017, 12:44 PM   #13
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Did it rain while you were there? We had perfect weather, but I wondered how rain might affect things other than the skidpad.
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      03-13-2017, 11:38 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMWM5NYC View Post
Congrats on the great trip. I have done a similar trip in my F10 M5 and in my E46 M3 in the past. I just avoided the I 95 part like the plague. I use 78 to 81 to 77 when I go to NC. I hate driving I95 north of NC
I did not like the I-95, because it was a straight line. I like the other roads, because they were curvy and made the drive a lot more enjoyable. The way back home the I-95 was not bad, very few cops.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kief View Post
Thanks for posting.

I'll be doing the 1-Day M School this June with my brother-in-law who will be picking up his M4 at the PCD.

I was able to apply a courtesy 1-day Car Control School (since I already experienced that school) for the M School, plus applied my BMWCCA 15% off, and got the M School for under $600!!! And they are throwing in the 2 night hotel
WOW! That's an awesome price. I need to find a deal like that, because this school is definitely not cheap, but worth every penny.

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Originally Posted by snareman View Post
Did it rain while you were there? We had perfect weather, but I wondered how rain might affect things other than the skidpad.
It rained in the morning, but by the time we were on the track, it stopped. The first few laps, the track was a bit wet, but it dried up for most of the driving. The wet, did make it a bit more challenging, but I am sure it would have been a lot worse (or more fun), if it was raining the entire day.
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      03-13-2017, 04:30 PM   #15
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A tip from a veteran of the Dragon/Skyway/Hell Bender, etc. and other assorted roads in that area.

I call myself a veteran because I've logged 40 trips down there. The first 34 trips on two wheels, the last 6 in my M4. I simply refuse to run that area Friday through Sunday. Only Monday through Thursdays. Weekends are busy with slower traffic on two wheels and in four wheelers and others at the other end of the speed spectrum. One other tidbit. Proper driving decorum for the area. If a vehicle is running quicker than you are and comes up behind you, at the earliest opportunity, pull over into one of the many turnouts and allow that vehicle to pass you and continue on their way.

So if your scheduling allows it, plan on being in that area Mon-Thurs. and not the weekend.
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      03-13-2017, 06:13 PM   #16
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Because of the many many slower turns I think the TOTD is much better on 2 wheels.
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      03-14-2017, 10:36 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rotherd31 View Post
A tip from a veteran of the Dragon/Skyway/Hell Bender, etc. and other assorted roads in that area.

I call myself a veteran because I've logged 40 trips down there. The first 34 trips on two wheels, the last 6 in my M4. I simply refuse to run that area Friday through Sunday. Only Monday through Thursdays. Weekends are busy with slower traffic on two wheels and in four wheelers and others at the other end of the speed spectrum. One other tidbit. Proper driving decorum for the area. If a vehicle is running quicker than you are and comes up behind you, at the earliest opportunity, pull over into one of the many turnouts and allow that vehicle to pass you and continue on their way.

So if your scheduling allows it, plan on being in that area Mon-Thurs. and not the weekend.
I can deffinetly see that it gets really busy during the weekends. I got very lucky. I am guessing it was a combination of things. It is just the begging of the season, so there were not a lot of cars or bikes and also I was on the road around 9am, so that probably helped out. I caught up to a few cars on one way (one guy moved over and the other cars were driving preatty quickly). One the way back through the Dragon, I did not catch up to any cars at all (felt like I had the whole road to myself). Also only saw a few cars pass me by on the opposite lane.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AIRPOWER View Post
Because of the many many slower turns I think the TOTD is much better on 2 wheels.
This road on a bike, is definitely a big win!!! I did enjoy the drive on the car, but it helped to be on a sports car.
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      03-14-2017, 03:38 PM   #18
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Fantastic, thanks for sharing!
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      03-14-2017, 11:09 PM   #19
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one of these days, I will make this trek
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      03-15-2017, 11:52 AM   #20
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looks good
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      03-15-2017, 01:36 PM   #21
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It looks like an awesome trip for you. Great videos. Thanks for sharing!
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      03-16-2017, 02:17 PM   #22
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Wow congrats! Great pics and videos! Thank you for sharing. The Spartanburg course is really an incredible thing! Hope to see you around Brooklyn!
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