Summertime. The racing season has slowed down a little bit and it is time to look at some non-race projects. In the back of my mind, I have been thinking for a while that I see a lot more E46 M3 cars at the track these days. Then when Grassroots Motorsports announced that their 2010 Ultimate Track Car Challenge (UTCC)
would be held at VIR again this year, the wheels started turning.
Anyone know this car?
Unfortunately, it was rearranged last year at Mid Ohio, but maybe this shot of it is a little more familiar?
The owner contacted me after the wreck with an offer to buy the car which he had fortuitously insured with nice trackday coverage from my friend Ryan at Lockton Affinity
. So with the insurance company looking to offload what was still an awesome car and at a more awesome price, I jumped and squirreled it away thinking it might be a driveline donor for an S54 swap or something.
Then this whole GRM UTCC think popped up and remembering that I know a guy names Steve Bassen, bodyman extraordinaire responsible for many miracles in our race program, we shook the dust off of the E46 M3 that we had in storage. After a couple of weeks of his magic, the car was back in our shop and ready for a dose of our own.
My goals in building this car is to build something representative of what people take to the track. We have built E46 M3 racecars and this isn't one of them. It is hard to contain myself to a good degree - I am working on the build list and surrounded by parts sitting on a shelf looking for a home. Compound that with the fact that I like to win and knowing I am coming into the UTCC with self-imposed limits isn't usually my preference, but I am going to do my best to stay true to my initial vision.
So what does this mean? I am going to impose some budget limitations. I am not going to name a number because frankly, I know I will let it creep a little to hit the secret VIR Full Course time I have in the back of my mind. But it means I am approaching this with some absolute objectives that I won't compromise on [much at all]:
- This car will be street legal. Maybe not a date car, and you guys in CA may not want the CARB guys poking around, but it will have tags and an inspection sticker.
- Nothing will be put on the car for bling. This is a performance car and in deciding the budget, the parts used will be to provide speed and enough flexibility to allow road use.
- We will be making new BimmerWorld products for the project where none exist that fit the budget, performance, or quality (or some combination of all of these) that work in the goals of our build. Due to the tight timeline, we will be using prototypes in some areas or skipping some parts I feel are important and revisiting in future updates.
So for example, I will pony up for a Moton suspension so it can be mild on the street and fast on the track, both with a decent amount of spring behind it. I will NOT be throwing on big brakes - I love the Performance Friction parts we sell, they make a difference and are a good performance part, but the incremental difference in lap times doesn't justify the cost for this project.
With an event date of July 23, less than a month away, it is time to get started. I am usually behind the shop a little, and they have been starting on the roll hoop and some light stripping of the car. And since I am declaring some vacation time, I will have to catch up on the pictures and updates next week most likely.
Until then, enjoy!