In the beginning, I was all about the stance and slammed life. I graduated college in 2010, and my first car was a 2009 Volkwagen GTI. Naturally, I modified the car for the stance route. Back then, a majority of VWs were known to look really good stanced and hard parked. From 2010-2015, my GTI went through several changes from the OEM plus look with the Mercedes Benz Alphards (still my favorite look today), to super aggressive wheels with double digit negative camber with crazy stretched tires just to make it fit and poke a tad from the fender haha. In 2013, I had 1991 Mazda Miata and that was also stanced with double-digit negative camber and super deep dish wheels. The Miata became the daily driver, and GTI more of a show car. Both my cars were static low, just inches from the ground. They would attract attention anywhere I went. At the time I thought it was cool swerving around bumps and throwing sparks. I just really liked that style, super low and aggressive fitment.
Then in 2015, one day I was leaving the gas station just banging though the gears in my GTI. There was also a Ford Lighting at the light and I heard it just rip the same time I was leaving the gas station. I was probably 2 car lengths ahead, but on 3rd gear I just see this red Ford Lighting just walk on me and leaving me as I started shifting for 4th gear. I had full bolt ons and a tune. Anymore power and I would have to upgrade the turbo and injectors. When I saw that Lighting just dust me I knew I had to get a better car with more stock horsepower.
The next month I parted out my GTI & Miata and sold them. I recently got married and my wife was actually glad I sold the cars because she hated the ride quality. It was bumpy and scraping everywhere. But hey! Stance life right? I started looking into higher horsepower cars, but not any newer models because it was out of budget. Thanks to depreciation, I found a 2009 E92 BMW M3. I knew it came stock with ITB's (Independent Throttle Bodies), and the only generation to have the V8 motor.
First thing my friends asked was, “Are you going to stance it?” There was a brief moment when I thought about doing it. I had recently watched a Top Gear episode where they featured the E92 M3 vs C63 AMG & Audi RS4, and Richard Hammond was raving how well balanced it was at the track. I had to feel what that was all about.
Around the summer of 2015, I attended my first track day at Circuit of the Americas. If I was going to try tracking for the first time, I thought I might as well do it proper and pop my track cherry. My M3 was mildly modded with springs and Volk TE37RT wheels. I had an instructor to teach me the lines and driving etiquette. It is a requirement to have a instructor if you have little track experience. The moment I went over 100mph, redlining the gears, I knew this was something for me. Since my first track day in 2015, I have attended a track event every couple months. Before I started tracking, I was getting a speeding ticket every year. Now, I have been ticket free and I don’t have the urge to speed on public roads. For one speeding fine, you could actually pay that for a track event!
You’ll learn how to safely drive proper, and that is something you will never gain racing on public roads. For example, when you initially drive fast at the track, your vision narrows as the speed increases. You get so focused on what is in front you that you forget to use your peripheral vision. I remember my first time at the track, I couldn’t even count how many flag stations there were. My instructor would have to notify me that a yellow flag was waving. As I began tracking more, I got comfortable with the speed and car’s behavior. Then my vision widened to a point where when I’m going over 100mph I can see whether or not there is a flagger. I can take that skill and use it on the street! Going the speed limit, I can quickly glance at on object and tell what it is. I don’t need time to focus.
The stance game didn’t really improve me as a driver. In all honestly, it showed you how to make a car handle worse then stock and was only to get the attention. Some people are into it, like I was, but when you track and you start to get familiar with your car’s behavior, your skill as a driver improves. Its like growing together with your car. As you track more, your senses increase and you can tell what your hands and feet need to do based on the cars feedback.
There are two ends of the car enthusiast spectrum: People that are into car shows, and on the opposite side you have people into tracking. Tracking is something you’ll know if it fits you on your first event. I have friends I introduced to tracking that got hooked, and others did not really care much for it. I just wish I started sooner.
Post Partner: Natsukashi Garage