On Saturday, October 20th I attended BMW CCA GGC‘s Car Control Clinic. This is the second clinic I’ve been this year but this time I wanted to take my little blue e30.


I got up at 5:00AM, drove over the mountains on highway 17, past Capitola and then to Marina. Once there I filled up the e30’s tank for $17.00, inflated my tires to 38 PSI and parked the car outside Tommy’s Restaurant. It wasn’t 7:00 yet but the locals were already lined up at the door. I picked this place because of it’s 4-start Yelp review. I didn’t realize that it earned each of those stars for price, not necessarily quality. I had the $0.99 “working man breakfast” and coffee. Total bill came out to just over $2.00 and I left a $1.00 tip. The food was not terrible and not salty. But it’s kind of hard to mess up eggs, hash browns and toast. I’d probably go back.


It was not yet 8:00AM but I drove to the airport and found a spot at the end of an already long line of cars. I introduced myself to other drivers and said hello to the familiar faces from other BMW events. Quite a few people came up to check out my e30 which was the oldest car there. By 9:00AM we had our briefing and shortly afterwards broke into groups for the day’s exercises.


Skid Pad

This execise is “Steering by Throttle”. I immediately realized that my car is way more capable than I am. Handling, power were all more than adequate for the exercise. The problem was between my brain and my body: the problem was all on me. I ran over and off with 3 cones the first time and 2 cones the second time which earned me a couple “Cone Pirate” stickers. I did alright but I didn’t exactly nail the exercise and needed the instructors to guide me for the first 3 rounds even though I’d done this before in our e39 touring. The touring was much more complimentary for my skill level but the e30 is a different animal. I improved on each run but probably needed a 4th turn to really nail it. But I I still learned something about myself and even more about my car.



Performed alright, still have some room for improvement especially on the 180’s. I need to remember to look at the far gate before initiating my turn about. Had some great instructors on this exercise and this was by far my favorite exercise.



Totally blew this, even though I had 4 or 5 runs. For starters, the ABS on my car is not working so even though the car braked as I predicted (from 45 mph to a dead stop in 2 car lengths) my wheels locked up which actaully reduces stopping power and control. Then I was taking the runs too fast, and getting flustered by the signal lights and I ended up going sideways through the cones. This cemented my status as the event “Cone Killer” (see photo below of my trophy). The m20 engine in my car only generates ~150 HP (estimated) but it accelerates fast in 2nd gear and approaching redline. Going a little slower helped me get through the exercise without killing any cones. Again, I learned a lot about both myself and my car.


I was planning on going to track school in November but with Christmas coming it’s time to be budget conscious. My future plans are to take some high performance driving clinics with the BMW club next year and track school after that.

I had such a good time I may go take another CCC next year just for fun.

October 22, 2012 events