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Thread: Retractable hardtop convertibles

                  
   
  1. #1

    Retractable hardtop convertibles

    I used to have a 95 M3 and loved driving schools. I now have a 2007 335i Convertible and I know convertibles have not been allowed in HPDE events in the past due to insurance concerns but I was wondering if there was any chance in revisiting this question.

    I can't imagine the liability would really be that much higher and I'd be happy to pay the premium difference. There are a lot of convertible BMW owners out there who would love to participate in HPDEs but can't afford and don't have space for a dedicated track car.

    Mark

  2. #2
    Senior Member 1996 328ti's Avatar
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    It's not a question of one person paying a higher premium.
    A retractable is considered a convertible.
    Club insurance premiums are based on our minimum standards.

    Some BMW CCA chapters will allow convertibles with roll bars and the proper safety equipment.
    Strictly a chapter decision.

    The BMW CCA Driving Events Committee make those decisions.
    You can find their names in Roundel on the Club Services page.
    NCC is the South Atlantic region.

    Honestly, the question of convertibles comes up so rarely, I don't think as many people as you think want to track their convertibles.
    And there are instructors who don't want to instruct in one.
    Last edited by 1996 328ti; 03-01-2014 at 01:06 PM.
    ...steven
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  3. #3
    Thanks for your response. I, at least, wanted to ask the question. I hadn't thought about instructors not wanting to ride in them but can certainly understand that.

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    Senior Member 1996 328ti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by m3mark View Post
    Thanks for your response. I, at least, wanted to ask the question. I hadn't thought about instructors not wanting to ride in them but can certainly understand that.
    It's worth bringing it up.
    You are not the first, nor will you be the last. It is a topic at many BMW CCA driving events conferences.
    I know it's a decision that has been given a lot of thought.
    ...steven
    BMW CCA #146825

    318ti.org | bmwcca.org/forum

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    Other CCA chapters are not as strict as NCC. This chapter seems to have the most generic definition for a "convertible" and the strictest rules. I have a friend with a C6 Corvette Grand Sport but NCC will not allow the car because of the removable targa top. Tarheel, for example, says:

    Open cars are defined as cars with retractable tops, whether soft-top or folding hard-top.
    And:

    All semi-open cars, having factory reinforced, permanent structural member in the top of the car such as: T tops,
    Targa's and Porsche 914s must run with hard tops firmly attached unless they have a full SCCA + BMW Club Racing
    approved roll cage or an additional roll bar that meets the above standards, including harnesses and wrist restraints.
    It's unfortunate that our chapter considers anything with a top that opens to be a "convertible." I got him to join BMWCCA so he could come to our events but instead he can only go to Summit Point with other BMWCCA chapters and other clubs, such as PCA.
    Last edited by pseto; 03-05-2014 at 04:33 PM.
    2011 E90 M3 Sedan | BMW Welt Delivery on 09.20.2011

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    Senior Member pseto's Avatar
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    Other CCA chapters are not as strict as NCC. This chapter seems to have the most generic definition for a "convertible" and the strictest rules. I have a friend with a C6 Corvette Grand Sport but NCC will not allow the car because of the removable targa top. Tarheel, for example, says:

    Open cars are defined as cars with retractable tops, whether soft-top or folding hard-top.
    And:

    All semi-open cars, having factory reinforced, permanent structural member in the top of the car such as: T tops,
    Targa's and Porsche 914s must run with hard tops firmly attached unless they have a full SCCA + BMW Club Racing
    approved roll cage or an additional roll bar that meets the above standards, including harnesses and wrist restraints.
    It's unfortunate that our chapter considers anything with a top that opens to be a "convertible." I got him to join BMWCCA so he could come to our events but instead he can only go to Summit Point with other BMWCCA chapters and other clubs, such as PCA.
    I have a convertible too that I would like to track, so I fully understand this issue. Our instructors in the past decided to not allow convertibles, but I'm not sure if this has been re-visited lately. I'll reach out to the DSSC and try to get an answer.
    Paul Seto - NCC Board Member & Social Chairman

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    Quote Originally Posted by pseto View Post
    I have a convertible too that I would like to track, so I fully understand this issue. Our instructors in the past decided to not allow convertibles, but I'm not sure if this has been re-visited lately. I'll reach out to the DSSC and try to get an answer.
    Thanks, Paul!
    2011 E90 M3 Sedan | BMW Welt Delivery on 09.20.2011

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    Convertibles are allowed in Autocrosses. Our chapter has many. You can practice car control skills there.

    John H
    Last edited by jhm5; 03-09-2014 at 06:40 PM.

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    This has been discussed frequently by the DSSC. Yes, we know we take a strict interpretation of the rules. However, we are guided by chief instructor as well as our instructor corps on this issue. A majority position is that even T tops are insufficient protection in a roll-over and as a result we do not permit them in schools. As an instructor who spends a number of weekends each year in the right seat for several clubs, I understand and support this decision.

    Dave Miller
    DSSC Chairman

  10. #10
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    I am posting the following on behalf of our Glen Speakman our chief instructor:


    "I am the Chief Instructor of the National Capital Chapter. Our rule is simple - if the top can be removed with anything less than a Sawzall, then it cannot run at our HPDE events. Well, why not? Good question, glad you asked.

    It's not an insurance matter. Properly prepared convertibles can run and be under the BMW CCA insurance umbrella. However "properly prepared" means that it has a roll cage or roll bar that meets SCCA specifications. Besides all the technical qualifications of the roll bar/cage material, design, and installation, the roll bar must provide the helmeted driver with at least two inches of clearance between his head and a straight edge from the roll bar to the structural member forward of the driver (usually the front fender structural supports - the windshield is not structural.) If you could envision that, it would require an extremely short driver or an extremely high roll bar. A full cage can usually meet this requirement easily. But most folks driving a convertible don't want a full cage.

    However, even if your convertible met the above roll bar/cage requirements, it is up to each chapter to allow or not allow them to participate in their HDPE events. We have made the decision to not allow them to participate.
    This decision is based on safety concerns for the instructor who must ride with the student. Our instructors are volunteers, and have chosen not to expose themselves to the additional risk in a rollover situation, of being in a convertible.

    One can argue both sides of this, reasonably. And there are HPDE programs out there that will accept a convertible - with or without a roll bar. But we will not. I know that we disappoint some of our chapter members with this decision, but it is our decision, and it is based on keeping our instructors and our students as safe as we can.

    Maybe you can rejoin us with a 95 M3 Coupe again. We'd love to have you back - but not in a convertible.

    Glen Speakman"


    Dave

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