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The Showroom
This is the place to show off your BMW to other members of the community. Post pictures and videos of your car and the modifications you have done to it. If you need a picture of something on a coupe, sedan, convertible or touring you will probably find it here!

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Old 03-21-2017, 08:48 PM   #61
chrisjames654
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Excited to see some updates on this!
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Old 04-11-2017, 09:49 AM   #62
Fair
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Project Update for April 10, 2017: Its been way too long since my last post, and we have done a good bit of work on the 330 "over the winter break". This work includes building a new custom header and exhaust, a ballast weight mount for the trunk, seat belt added to passenger side, Mishimoto cold air kit, a new aluminum flywheel/clutch/pressure plate, added a fire bottle + quick release mount, then a half cage and harnesses were added.



We also entered the car in two events since the MSR 1.7 test last November 2016: a NASA Time Trial event at MSR-C (1.7 CCW) in early March, then an HPDE event in late March with The Driver's Edge on the 3.1 mile MSR-C course. This update is running too long so I will skip covering these two events for now and just show the fun stuff - the mods!



A lot has been going on in the months since my last post here, which might explain why I'm so behind in updating our many project build threads. We launched our all new website for Vorshlag (which took months of work), started a 2nd business (engine shop called Horsepower Research) and built out that commercial space + website, had a TV shoot in our Vorshlag shop (Fast-n-Loud episode - where Aaron Kaufman built an E36 LS1 monster using our swap kit, MCS dampers, flares, 18x11" wheels and more), we hosted our annual open house / SCCA tech day event, had employees leave and then added new hires, attended track events in some of our other project cars, my daily driver truck was totaled in a wreck (which benched me from racing for a bit), and much more. I'm also been remodeling my house for months (to put on the market to sell), and of course overseeing regular Vorshlag business. I just need to add a few hobbies to fill up the rest of my free time, ha!



I will try to cover the latest round of mods to the 330 and then show the next phase planned on our #DailyDrivenTrackCar. We've also got some cool parts inbound or already here for the next round of stuff - carbon hood, proper flares, and a giant rear wing!

PRE-MARCH 2017 UPGRADES & REPAIRS

Finally... after a year of racing a bone stock powered M54, its TIME FOR MORE HORSEPOWER! Like I tell so many new HPDE drivers, autocrossers, customers and friends: you have to tackle a lot of other things on your track car build before you go looking for horsepower. Most people want to do hp mods FIRST, but it should really towards the BOTTOM of your mod list.

And after we had spent the time and money to upgrade the suspension, wheels and tires, then the necessary oil pump reliability and balancer mods... THEN it was time to install some go-fast parts. Since we use MyShopAssist for all of our shop tasks - even shop owned cars like this one - I can account for every second of work it takes. I'm going to try to show the hours for the various upgrades on this 330 this time, so you can get an idea of what to expect if you pay a shop or how long to budget for yourself to do this type of work on a similar car.

Cold Air + Elbow Kit = 1.42 hours

First up was a cold air kit from Mishimoto. The released one last year specifically made for the E46 330.



Mishimoto sent us one of their first production units, which we test fit on our car last year in order to send them feedback.



The silicone tubing bits before the MAF sensor are one kit (elbow kit, above right) and the post MAF angled tubing, air filter and airbox are the second kit (cold air kit, above left). We listed these under the "engine performance" sub-heading for the E46 chassis.



Brad put this kit onto our 330 in place of the OEM air box and inlet tube, and elbow from the throttle body to MAF. We didn't do an "after" dyno test or any dyno tuning with this Cold Air mod alone, but you could hear the engine a bit more and the sealed airbox fit the car nicely. Maybe a 5-10 hp bump using my super accurate ButtDyno. :p

DISA Valve Repair = 2.45 hours

While the guys were adding all of the Mishimoto intake hose bits I had them rebuild the DISA valve for reliability.



We don't sell this kit but I have linked to videos and websites that do. We did this upgrade based on input from local shop owner Andy from Clownshoe Motorsports, who said he has seen DISA failures on E46s that caused parts to go into the engine. Good advice.



The DISA valve is a BMW gadget that is mounted to the plenum of the intake manifold on the M52, M52TU, and M54 engines. This valve changes the length of the intake runners to help improve low end torque at low revs (by diverting the intake flow path to longer runner lengths) and higher RPM power (shorter runner lengths). This is a somewhat slick system but this video shows how they fail.



We bought the DISA upgrade/repair kit from German Auto Solutions. This kit replaces a bunch of plastic parts (that get brittle and fail over time) with CNC machined aluminum and titanium parts. You should also order new O-rings for the valve when you do this upgrade. This DISA upgrade helps prevent leaks, sticking or fluttering valves, and worse - prevents damaged parts from coming loose and being ingested - which will destroy your engine!

Some might wonder why you don't "just get a new one", but the OEM and aftermarket DISA valves are all still made with the same "low cost plastic" parts, and they will eventually fail. Not to mention a new DISA valve is expensive; this DISA upgrade kit is under $80 but is better than the new $400 replacement units.

The DISA unit in our car was pretty sloppy and needed the rebuild - so we avoided some issues by doing this. The new bushings included in the kit we got were VERY tight to the shaft, however, so they had to be "massaged" a bit and it took nearly 2.5 hours to do this repair. I suspect it would be less than an hour most times, if the parts had worked together more smoothly.

Custom Full Length Header Fabrication = 25.86 hours

I have long said that the OEM exhaust manifold for the M54 engine is one of THE worst designs ever put into a modern automobile. The primary tubes from each port are no more then 5" long, they all turn into a log manifold, which then dumps into a catalytic convertor.



The popular solution (outside of SpecE46, which mandates an OEM E36 M50 manifold) is to use these cheap eBay knockoff headers which run from $100-200. I've also said for a long time that "you get what you pay for".


We went that route on our blue E46 TTD 330 back in 2010 and the results (with a custom tune and a cold air intake) made a dismal 211 whp nd 205 wtq. Advice: DON'T BE FOOLED BY SHINY, SPARKLY PARTS FROM CHINA!



You can see how different the lengths of the primary tubes are in these cheap headers above. We wanted to make a better designed and more equal length long tube header for the M54. I have been wanting to make this for years and finally have the team in place to be able to do it.

With the before/after chassis dyno testing on the stock M54 engines, my earlier blue 330Ci with the eBay header + custom exhaust, and this red 330Ci with this custom header + exhaust (stock tune), I can already see that this design has been a fundamental success - and we haven't even done any EFI tuning on the red car yet. Let's take a look at the construction of this header.



Our head fabricator Ryan built this tri-Y header design using primary lengths, diameters, collector sizes and collector placements that we came up with as a team. I worked with Ryan, our fabricator, and with Jason, our engineer, to come up with this design. Numbers were calculated using some common header design formulas as well as our collective experiences.



The primaries are 1.625" diameter, the collectors are 2.500" dia and the final merged exhaust pipe is 3.000" dia. We started with mandrel bent 304 stainless steel tubing. The header flange and merge collectors were built to order. Lastly we added O2 bungs for the primary oxygen sensors (but left the secondary sensors and cats off - for now).



The 304 stainless steel flange was CNC machined for the stock M54 head port shape with 1.625" diameter ports. These are made for a round 1-5/8" dia tube that you have to "oval-ize", which Ryan did using the custom made fixture shown above right. This includes both a mandrel and set of dies he machined here. A section of round tubing is worked into the dies and opened up with the mandrel.



After the flanges were completed with their short oval-ized tubing sections he began the primary header design using the ICE engine works plastic layout kit (you can see the orange bits above) to get the primary tubes routed and the lengths "as close to equal as makes sense" as they worked their way back to the two 3-into-1 merge 2.5" dia collectors.



These made to order 3-into-1 merge collectors were massively delayed - 5 weeks late - and this delay kept us from making the January NASA race at MSR-Houston. These were well made but they blew their ETA by a lot. I wasn't going to do another NASA TT race with stock power again.



When the primary tubes were cut, fitted, and tack welded the two 3-tube header assemblies they were removed from the car and final TIG welded on the bench. This involved Argon back purging each tube as they were final TIG welded. The 3-to-1 merge collectors are a slip-fit into the primary tubes but each tube is secured with a pair of flanges and bolts to allow them to be removed and tightened (not shown).



Getting 6 long header tubes packed together on one side of the engine makes it all look a bit busy, but overall I'm very happy with the fit in the car and with the overall shape and lengths. From here we needed to make a new exhaust system that matched the flow of the full length header. Doing a custom header like this is VERY time consuming, and the fact that it only took 26 hours (including about 1.8 hours getting some stubborn exhaust studs/nuts removed) to build shows how having good tools and equipment saves time. We didn't cut any corners, no sloppy welds or hammer fitting things in place.

Exhaust Fabrication = 19.78 hours

With the higher flowing header we need a higher flowing exhaust system behind it. Another time consuming but necessary job to make the after-header system match the capabilities of the new custom header. We went for a quiet, high flowing system using a layout we have used on BMWs in the past. Normally I'd quote closer to 15 hours for this job, but in this case there were some aspects of the custom header and how that mated to the collectors that added some time.



Previous custom exhausts we have built on multiple E46 M3s with the more powerful S54 3.2L engine were built here using 2.75" or 2.5" collectors merged into a 3.5" main exhaust pipe and muffler (see above). We've seen the dyno results of these S54 builds and those results + our calculations and experience drove us to a 2.5" collectors and a 3.0" main exhaust system on this 3.0L M54.



The OEM E46 330 exhaust bits are heavy and restrictive. They do a good job and make the exhaust note almost silent, even with the vacuum controlled flapper in the exhaust (which does almost nothing). After 17 years of use the system looked nearly new - so it was definitely robust.



We weighed the stock bits back in 2010 and we cut out 50% of this weight with the eBay headers and the system I built back then. Problem was it was loud and I didn't want a lot of exhaust noise this time around. We have had good results with a few Magnaflow models in the past few years which we have done before-after exhaust sound tests with and had incredible results - with both power and sound attenuation.



The case uses a 5"x11" oval shape with a massive 22" case length. On the S54 powered M3s we use the unit above with the 3.5" tube (it also comes in 4.0") but for our little M54 powered 330 we went with the 3.0" tubed version. I know this muffler can cut sound and still make power - but it comes with a higher weight. Since we are already having to add ballast (see below) and its all going to the back, this muffler is as good of a place as any for ballast.

continued below
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Old 04-11-2017, 09:52 AM   #63
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continued from above



The Magnaflow stainless muffler is bigger than the OEM unit but still fits in the stock location on the driver's side rear. That was hung first and then the 3" tubing and bends were routed forward. Ryan also added a 3" V-band connection just forward of the rear axle.



The 2.5" dia tubing sections after of the collectors were run back to about the middle of the car. Here they were merged into a 2-to-1 merge that brought the exhaust up to a single 3" tube. This was routed back to the muffler section aiming for the V-band connector.



The exhaust tucks up into the tunnel nicely with no loss of ground clearance - even going to much larger tubing diameters. We went for a turn-down aft of the bumper, which I show below in the "sound test" video.

PDR Repairs

Donnie's brother Kris stopped by on a rainy day and performed PDR on the 330 in our shop. He spent a few hours and removed about a dozen little hail dings on the trunk, roof, and hood.



It was a little thing but it made the car look a bit better. We've got a lot more work to do in "looks" department for this car, and with a new carbon hood and new fender flares being added soon I have already scheduled time at our painter's shop during the summer break.

Clutch & Flywheel Upgrade - 4.57 hours

If you read my October 2016 TWS race write-up you might remember we noticed some clutch slippage in 5th gear. We put off the replacement until we had time to research a better option and then snatch the transmission out of the car to do the repairs. We ran the November test in 4th gear at MSR, but 5th was pretty much useless - and it wasn't going to get any better. With a TWS event scheduled for April we had to tackle this, so back in January we made time to replace the clutch. But what should we use?


Details and pictures from our blue 2001 330Ci raced 2009-11

Some of you remember my blue 2001 330Ci which we raced 2009-2011 (which has its own build thread) with much less racing success compared to what this red 330 has had already. We built it for SCCA DSP class but raced it a couple of times in NASA TTD, where it still runs today with it's new owner. Right as we added the eBay header + custom exhaust on that car we upgraded the clutch and flywheel to a mish-mash of Sachs OEM clutch parts (made for some other BMW) along with a Fidanza single mass aluminum flywheel, shown above.


Details and pictures from our blue 2001 330Ci raced 2009-11

The factory M54's clutch and pressure plate (worn) weighed in at 13.6 and the OEM dual mass flywheel weighed 24.8 pounds. The Sachs clutch parts weighed a tick more than stock, but the aluminum flywheel we used then helped that setup drop 12.8 pounds. The Sachs/Fidanza setup worked well and had an OEM like engagement feel - because it was some OEM Sachs clutch and pressure plate. Still, losing flywheel mass is always appreciated and this setup worked for many years without issue. The current owner of this 330 tracks the car 2 times a month and had a clutch failure back in 2016, so he got a good 6+ years of abuse out of the Sachs bits.


New hotness! ClutchMasters FX350 kit we have installed on our red 330Ci

Its 2017 and I wanted to find something better than OEM Sachs parts this time. Some other BMW racers had talked me to ClutchMasters products and we have used a number of their clutch and flywheel kits recently with excellent success. Since this E46 was built for us to test new products with before we would consider selling them, I figured I would try the 330 option they make. We picked up this FX350 clutch kit with the optional single-mass aluminum flywheel.


Left: The red car's clutch/pp/flywheel weighs 39.5. Right: FX350 system weighs 26.2

We re-weighed the stock bits and it came in at 39.5 pounds. We replaced the worn OEM flywheel and clutch/pressure plate parts and replaced them with this 26.2 pound FX350 flywheel and clutch kit, for a loss of 13.3 pounds. And while that's only a fraction of a pound more weight savings than the Sachs/Fidanza setup we used 8 years ago, this FX350 kit is a full clutch/flywheel system engineered together, not some assortment of OEM bits and a flywheel that happened to work with that. This FX350 clutch has more clamping force but not a tremendously firmer clutch pedal effort.



Donnie did the install of this kit. First he started by removing the exhaust covers, driveshaft, trans, and shifter. The clutch and PP were removed, then the stock flywheel. Which looked like crap! You cannot resurface dual mass flywheels so this was scrapped - which we had planned to do anyway. The pilot bearing was checked and it felt loose, so that was pushed out of the crank and replaced.



The rear main seal had a small leak so the rear engine cover was removed and resealed, along with adding a new one-piece rear main seal. I hate fluid leaks on my cars! If I see a drop of anything leaking it really spins me up. This is why I try to keep my engines spotlessly clean on all of my personal vehicles - to spot any leaks.



The ClutchMasters flywheel went in next, with cleaned bolts applied with and Blue LocTite. The clutch and pressure plate went in with an alignment tool and torqued to spec as well. The clutch slave cylinder and engagement arm both looked a bit janky so they were replaced. RBF600 Motul fluid was flushed through the clutch hydraulics, so everything is new in the clutch system.



I've shown the "rebuilt" shifter we did on this car, which just uses a shorter Z3 shift handle and some new bushings. It shifts "well enough" but I am avoiding the typical aftermarket BMW shifters that I have used on previous builds. Instead I've got my eye on something better, like the CAE shifter. We'll see if that is in the budget, but until then I'm sticking with the upgraded OEM shifter.

Test Drive: Exhaust + Clutch Sound

A 3" turn-down was added to the rear of the exhaust to divert sound away - its not made to be JDM-YO! cool looking, but instead serves a purpose. Keeps sound levels low.



I took the car for a test drive after the header, exhaust, cold air and clutch upgrades were complete. Very happy with the clutch engagement and added power I could feel.



The exhaust note was also pleasantly quiet. You could "hear" the engine but it wasn't LOUD AS HELL like some race systems are. Much quieter than say... a SpecE46 or a SpecMiata. The video above was me driving around the paddock at MSR in March, trying to show the sounds of the clutch (minimal noise added) and exhaust (ditto). You will see in the track videos what it sounds like at full tilt, but for now this is what its "street sound" is like. Mild, throaty, and very reasonable. That's not by accident.

BEFORE/AFTER DYNO TESTS

I thought about not posting dyno charts until after we have had a chance to get the computer custom tuned, but EVEN WITHOUT tuning this is still good data to share.

Let's start with the STOCK dyno test on our red 2001 330Ci as well as the FINAL dyno test on our blue 2001 330Ci with the eBay header, exhaust, cold air and a custom tune.



Left: Red 330 stock dyno test in 2016. Right: Blue 330 dyno test with headers/exhaust/CAI/tune in 2010

Now some have said that our red 330's stock chassis dyno power number (195 whp) looks a little low, which is probably due to the fact that it had 164K miles when we tested it last year in stock form. The Blue 330Ci's dyno was with a "custom" e-tune, header, exhaust and cold air - where it made 211 whp/205 wtq.

Yes, there are some SpecE46 cars making more power than that, I know. Those use the M50/52 OEM header + a $600 tune from EPIC + a race exhaust, and it isn't a bad setup. The common SpecE46 cars tend to make 205-225 whp with the full suite of "spec" components, and the higher numbers on that scale tend to be on freshly rebuilt motors, not 164K mile used engines.



This is the UNTUNED dyno chart for our red E46 330Ci after the header/exhaust/CAI: 216 whp/220 wtq. A solid +5 whp and +15 wtq more than our blue car, with similar parts and tuned. Did I want to see more than that? Sure, but its still on the factory tune with the stock computer. I assure you we will have this tuned and re-dyno'd before my next big thread update, where I hope to see +10 or more whp added. Surprisingly it drives fine like this, just has a bunch of "check engine lights".

continued below
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Old 04-11-2017, 09:54 AM   #64
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continued from above

OTHER REPAIRS AND UPGRADES

There were a number of small repairs and upgrades that happened either right before or just after the March NASA event but before the TDE track weekend we went to, which I will cover below.

Ballast Weight Box (2 hours) + Corner Balance (1.5 hours)

In our last NASA race of 2016 we ran TWS at 3115 lbs declared race weight. We could do that because we had so many unused "mod points" to burn, and our power was well below the class P-to-W limit (244 whp) for the 3285 "base weight" this car is assigned. We used up all 12 mod points to be able to legally run 160 pounds under weight, with driver. In January 2017 after adding the header/exhaust (+5 points) and cold air (+1), and while we had increased power by a bit, we lost 6 of those "weight loss" points, so we have to add some weight back to be legal (80 pounds worth).



After the header + CAI we still had 6 unused points for TTD, so we shot for a 3205 pound race weight (80 pounds under, plus a 15 pound buffer shown above at 3220) for the March '17 NASA event at MSR. To get there we had to add 80 pounds of ballast from before (20 in bracket/bolts + 60 in weight plates).



We have built ballast weight brackets before on many cars but last year I came up with an idea to utilize a bench press bar and associated weight plates to make for an easier "quick change" ballast system. This idea was first tested on Jamie Beck's ST3 classed Mustang, where he has to add ballast to stay within that class' power-to-weight limit. On that car we added two "stacks" of weights with the ability to fit 250 pounds of ballast in the back quickly.

Like the race prepped Mustang, our TTD prepped E46 is getting lighter in the rear faster than the front. When we had to add this 80 pounds of ballast we built a similar rear trunk mounted ballast rack - bolted inside the spare tire well. Ryan fabricated this structure using thick walled 1"x2" rectangular tubing, generous mounting flanges, and large bolts to the chassis with reinforced nut heads.



This time we used only a single square threaded bench press bar post (passing thru and welded to the tubing on both sides) and a single stack of weights. Plates of weight can be added to reach our final race weight goals quickly, and removed for test days and HPDE events to reduce consumable wear. With two locking collars secured to each other on the threaded post, the weights stay tight all weekend. This system passed NASA tech on two cars on multiple occasions, so we're going to keep using it.



Once we had the weight bracket built, the weights added to hit our 3205 goal (3220 with buffer) and half a tank of fuel (the minimum we can run without fuel starving) the guys corner balanced the car with me in the driver's seat to get our diagonal weights at 50/50. The 52.4% front weight bias is shown in the picture above, which was an improvement of 2 points from before (before ballast). With some fluid changes we were now ready to race with NASA in March!

Replace Control Arm = 0.79 hours

During the March NASA event I may have been a little overzealous with some of the curbing on a few laps, which can bite you there. I was trying to reset the TTD track record by enough that it would "stick" for a while (and did - by nearly 4 seconds) so I was using all of the paved curbing on track out (gator teeth style) and even some of the FIA inner curbing (much of which is REALLY tall here). I was also forced off track at the highest speed corner that weekend by driver with a minor lack of situational awareness.



Those two circumstances (high speed off + some curbing) may have led to to a prematurely worn control arm ball joint up front. I started hearing some knocking noises and checked it track side that weekend, but it wasn't bad enough to warrant repair there.



After this March MSR event - like after every track event - I had our crew perform a thorough pre-track inspection. Ryan found some play in the inner mounting ball joint of the LF control arm. I had ordered a less expensive set of Febi/Bilstein control arms when we replaced the original stock arms a year ago, and once again I learned "you get what you pay for". A more costly stock replacement Lemforder arm was installed this time, which is a brand we have had better results with.

Passenger Seat Belt Added = 1.76 hours

When we ran the 330 at TWS last year we wanted to run as light as possible, so only one racing seat was installed. We had made brackets for the passenger seat and installed it briefly, but it was left out to conserve weight for that event (running 3115 pounds). After that event it was installed but in in the rush to prep the car for the November test we forgot to add the lower seat belt buckle. We had since thrown the ratty old stock seat and never thought to save the seat belt parts (which are attached to the bottom of the stock seat).



I never noticed that because after we had the 2nd race seat installed I hadn't taken a passenger with me - just doing MSR testing by myself. It wasn't until I tried to take my student at the March '17 NASA event for a ride, and he tried to buckle in, that it was noticed it wasn't there - Doh! So after this event we looked high and low in the shop for a stock E46 lower seat belt buckle, to no avail. A new one was ordered from BMW ($120!) and I had our new fab guy Aaron install it. Which is harder than it might sound.



Running a 3-point OEM belt with racing seats might seem crazy, but for street use it is actually much safer to use retractable OEM belts rather than cinched down 5-7 point racing harnesses. So we will always add the OEM lower buckle from a BMW seat to the chassis bracket or side brackets when we do a racing seat install in a DUAL PURPOSE car like this. Our "Daily Driven Track Car" is the definition of dual purpose.



This was one of Aaron's first fab jobs on one of our shop cars, so I had him remove the driver's side seat to copy the threaded bung Olof had machined and welded to the driver's side OMP steel side bracket a year before. Aaron machined the matching steel bung on the lathe, tapped it for a big M10 bolt, then welded it to the passenger side steel bracket.

This worked perfectly (correct height and placement) and the upper OEM seat belts now have something to buckle into on the passenger side. The task gobbled up more time than I would charge a customer, but I guess if we had done this when both seats at the same time initially this might have only added about 45 minutes of work or less.



While using OEM 3-point belts on racing seats is far from ideal for the actual track use portion of this dual purpose car, it does work and passes tech (when the belts are routed through the racing seats correctly). There was just nothing to mount the shoulder harnesses to - up until last week. We had been talking about adding a 4-point roll bar or 6-point roll cage for some time, and have finally have done that (I will show more details next time). But long story short: now we can add real 6-point harnesses to both seats for track use, and keep the 3-point OEM belts in place for street use. The things you have to do on a dual purpose car...

Fire Bottle & Quick Release added = 1.72 hours

Speaking of good safety ideas, adding a small fire extinguisher is always a good idea to a track car. We always like to add a 2.5 pound Halon-type fire bottle within easy reach of the driver. These work well to put out small fires - like a grass fire, if you drive off track and have to stop (mechanical), or small electrical fires. Full blown engine fires might need a 10+ pound fire bottle from a corner worker, but little flame ups can be squashed with these smaller 2.5 pound bottles.


A multi-nozzle Aqueous Foam fire suppression system coupled with a small fire extinguisher is a great combo in a race car.

Often we will add this little 2.5 pound fire bottle and quick release mount to a race car that also has a full fire system. Why discharge your (required) fire system and fill the car with foam for something that a small Halon style bottle could extinguish?



We like to use a Drake billet aluminum quick-release mount, which is an approved fire bottle mount that allows for "quick release" from the chassis. This can mount to a roll bar or flat surface. In this case we put it just under the front edge of the passenger seat, which is easy to reach to from either side, yet out of the way of passenger's legs. Then we mount a 2.5 pound Halon-substitute fire bottle to that Drake mount. Pull the red pin, slides right out, and then you can head to the flames.



On a race car this is easier, as we don't have 2" inch thick padded carpet in the way and we can just bolt the Drake mount to the floor or trans tunnel. But on this BMW I had Aaron make a pair of spacers to bring the mount above the thick OEM carpet. These were made with some custom machined aluminum hex bar, which is threaded at both ends. The lower side bolts to the floor from underneath and passed through small holes in the carpet and foam padding. The upper holes are threaded for the countersunk stainless bolts we use with the Drake mount. Keeps the mount rigid and above the carpet. This is yet another added wrinkle necessary with a dual purpose car vs a race car (which takes 15 minutes to mount to the bare floor).

330 FENDER FLARES - FIRST TRY



If you watched my "exhaust sound" video above you will notice some serious tire rubbing in the rear when going up inclines. In my track videos you will have heard the tires rubbing on some bumps or curbing, too. The 17x10" wheels we're using just have too much width and offset to work with the stock E46 rear fenders and the wide-ish 245mm Hoosiers. The front tires are touching the fenders as well - which is not good.



I have got to do something about adding tire clearance to all four corners, and we've run out of room on the fenders with heavy hammer massaging. It looks terrible with what I've done already, but the tires and fenders are still "touching inappropriately". #SafeSpace I didn't want to go through the trouble + bodywork expense of the modified front/grafted on rear OEM E46 M3 fenders on this car like I did on the blue 330. The E46 M3 front fenders we used before have nearly doubled in price from the dealer, at almost $600 per fender (that's $2400 + fab work + bodywork + paint). There has got to be a more cost effective way to flare this car for these wheels/tires.



I searched the forums and that led me to these fleaBay bolt-on "generic" fender flares, which some said they had good results with (but I couldn't find any installed pics). For less than $120 shipped from "Latviaistan" I figured, "how bad could they be?"

Answer: VERY BAD. These flares don't fit these BMWs at all, as the wheel arch on the flare is much smaller then what the E46 needs. The overall shape is also way off, and would take hours of cutting and notching to make them "fit" around the contours of the fenders. They will also never look good. So I bit the bullet and just ordered HARD Motorsport E46 bolt-on flares, which should be here next week. We will post up the pics of that install next time, which will involve cutting and fab work to clear the tire, but the flares themselves should more or less "bolt on".

WHAT'S NEXT?

Like I said at the beginning, there have been two track weekends in March 2017 that I need to get pictures and video together for to chronicle here. Just showing work done on mods in this update.



At the March NASA event we beat the old 1.7 CCW TTD track record to bits, which I will show next time with video in my event write-up. Very happy with the results (1:23s), but with "6 more points of mods" in TTD and more power (from a proper tune) we could go even faster (1:21s is where the record needs to be).



The long overdue addition of a custom half cage (welded in 4 point roll bar) was completed last week, which I will show next time. The Schroth harnesses are here and those will go in once the roll bar structure is painted. We should see the correct fender flares soon as well, so we can hopefully show that install in a future update. We have another NASA event at TWS in a couple of weeks that we will be hunting for the TTD track record at, as well as a NASA event COTA in May. Then Hallett in June, then the summer break where we will get some paint work done to this car.



There is also an "extra" AJ Hartman carbon fiber hood (9.5 pounds!) that we ended up with last month from another project, which will go onto our red 330 soon. Hopefully before TWS, but the schedule is pretty jammed up so I don't know if we will get it installed in time. Getting more weight off the front axle and onto the rear axle (as we add ballast) is a continuing goal, and this lightweight hood should improve that further. We're at 52.4% front weight bias now, improved from 54% before, so we're heading in the right direction.

Until next time,
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Old 05-12-2017, 02:37 PM   #65
Fair
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My Ride: Various BMWs
Project Update for May 11th, 2017: We've done four track events since my last update in here, including one HPDE event, two NASA race weekends where we were chasing TTD track records, and an SCCA Club Trials event - I cover the first 3 in this update. The added power of the CAI + header + exhaust were much appreciated, and you can read about that below. The E46 is getting faster on track, but the "streetable" aspects are starting to diminish, too. That is not shocking news - as a car gets racier, it gets less streetable.


With proper roll bar and harnesses I could do some right seat coaching with Amy at TWS

We still haven't had the engine tuned yet (after the custom header/exhaust/CAI), but we have the hardware and software on hand and are working towards that goal. We did tackle the long overdue safety upgrades by building a custom 4-point roll bar / welded half cage. Then Schroth harnesses were added, finally. As I write this the HARD Motorsport flares are being added - will show some of that also.

WHAT ABOUT THAT CARBON HOOD?

Last time I teased a picture of carbon fiber hood built by AJ Hartman that we weighed at 9.5 pounds. We have an extra one we got that will go on this 330 soon, but not in this update. The hood was originally ordered for this E46 M3 shown below.



This is a customer build we are doing with an E46 M3 chassis, big nasty V8, major aero mods, massive tires, and lots of other go-fast tweaks. You can read more about this in that car's forum build thread here.

NASA at MSR-C, MARCH 11-12, 2017



Running our red TTD prepped 330 at MSR-Cresson, once again chasing a track record in March 2017 was a weird case of deva vu. In 2016 we were chasing the TTD record in our red 330 with stock power, overweight, on dead 245mm Hoosiers. But even way back in 2010 we set the (soft) TTD record with our blue 330, also on the wrong tire and with stock power. Here's a quote from that old forum build thread for the blue car:

Quote:
3/24/2010: I set the TTD track record at MSR-C with a dismal 1:29.8 last weekend. ... I'm not proud of that as a "lap record", being that its slower than the TTE record, but it was a good shake-down run on the wrong tires with a slug of a motor. We'll go back and run MSR-C soon with more tire (Hoosier 285s), more power (header + exhaust + VANOS repaired), and see if I can get into the 1:25-ish range. That's what I think the car is capable of at MSR in TTD trim. Won't be able to work on the lap record until 2011, though... and by then it might be in TTC. Oh well.

Left: Blue E46's 2010 TTD record setting setup on 265mm Yokohamas. Right: Same car on 285 Hoosiers was MUCH faster

Not one week after that 2010 NASA event I had flared the blue car to fit the (then TTD legal) 285mm Hoosier R6 tire, using M3 front fenders and hammered rear fenders. Shortly after we added the CAI, eBay header, and a custom race exhaust. We should have gone back to reset the TTD record in 2011, but by then we had suffered a "number of engine failures" that soured me on the M54 engine and I sold that E46 330. Since then the NASA rules have changed and the E46 330 has both gained weight and lost 7 class points in the base classing, plus the tire rules changed, which makes the old setup on the blue 330 impossible to do in TTD today. Shame, as I really liked the 285s on that car - wider tires really woke it up!


Our old blue E46 330 is still running on track in 2017 - and it is still quick

The guy we sold the blue 330 to is still running it 2+ times a month on track, now on 275mm Conti slicks. He's working on getting his TT license and in the pictures above (April @ TWS) he was doing lead-follows with Amy in our 330, with them both running in HPDE4.

Event photo gallery: https://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-...-MSR-C-031117/

So back to the MSR race weekend: unlike last year's March MSR-C event with NASA, where I could run no quicker than a 1:27.604 on a dying set of Hoosiers, this time the 330 had a fresher set of Hoosier R7s (3 events on them instead of 7!) - and fresh tires can make all the difference in the world. We also had more horsepower (+21 whp), less weight, real MCS coilovers, Whiteline swaybars, and a year's worth of testing to put us closer to our goal of resetting the TTD track record. The old record coming into this 2017 NASA race weekend was a 1:27.5, but like I said in 2010, I felt like it should have always been closer to a 1:25.0. I have been continuously mystified as to why the TTD record was so "soft" here at MSR for the past 7 years.



We got to Cresson late afternoon on Friday to unhook the trailer, but I was REALLY sick with bad allergies. Violently sneezing, coughing, stopped up, blurry eyes - I had never had an allergy attack this bad. The weather was also wet, unseasonably cold, and with with high winds all weekend. I ended up being sick all weekend, plus was still really sore from the truck wreck I had weeks earlier, which all kept me from driving at 100%. I was also instructing and working with 4 different students, giving three check rides, so super busy that weekend. Friday night I barely slept 2 hours, which put me in worse shape the next morning. All in all this was not one of my best weekends of driving, but it still went pretty well.

Saturday

Since it had rained a bit the night before, it was cold and windy Saturday morning. So I went out in the BMW in the "TT Warm-up" session on a green track. I was buried in traffic and only ran a 1:25.5 lap, about a half second slower than my November test (1:25.0, see lap video links below). A TTC classed M3 in front of me the entire session was spraying my car with SHEETS of fuel (he had a busted fuel filler cap) so I came in after getting a good enough time for gridding in the next session. Still running the Sparco EVO II seats with OEM seat belts, which meant I had to brace my upper body, so my injured back was killing me.


Left: Lots of S2000s ahead and behind me on grid. Right: Jamie's Mustang doing well in ST3

In the first official TT session an hour later I busted off a 1:24.085, smashing the old TTD track record by 3.4 seconds. The R7 tires were showing their age and taking 4+ laps to come up to temp before they had real grip. After a lot of sliding around they were working better and giving some decent lateral g numbers, but in laps 1-3 they weren't performing.



I went out in the third session (TT session 2) and ran a similar 1:24.154 to back up that time, but the weather and traffic in the middle of the LARGE field of TT drivers wasn't favorable.



I ended the day then, skipping the last session, hoping for some traffic free laps in the "golden" first session of Sunday morning. Picked up a trophy for the day but also the 2016 Regional TTD championship trophy at the NASA banquet that night. I was feeling pretty terrible and was just dying to get some sleep at the hotel.

Sunday

The day again started off with lousy weather - overcast, windy, and cold with ambient temps of 43F and wind chill in the 30's. I skipped the 1st session but there were some fast times, and I regretted not going out. I was still gridded fairly well for session 2 and I told myself that if I had times in the 1:23 range, I'd put the car on the trailer and call it a day. We had already smashed the record, and not having a single TTD competitor that weekend made running every session somewhat pointless. I also wanted to save the remaining tire life on this set for another event coming up (HPDE).


shows the new TTD record lap on Sunday

In session 2 after several laps of getting the tires up to temp I finally ran a 1:23.789 lap, beating the old track record by almost 3.7 seconds and even beat the record I set the day before by a few tenths. You can see from this list of videos/lap times I have run at MSRC how far we've come in this 330:
  • - 1:29.630 in the 2013 Scion FR-S with camber and front brake upgrade
  • - 1:26.212 in the Focus RS on coilovers and camber (which then ran a 1:23.658 on 275 Bridgestones later that day)
  • - 1:25.075 in our TTD prepped E46 330 (195 whp) on MCS + Hoosiers (Nov 2016 test)
  • - 1:23.789 in our TTD prepped E46 330 (216 whp) on MCS + Hoosiers with power at this event
  • - 1:22.63 in the stock 2012 C6 Z06
  • - 1:22.56 in the modded 2013 1LE Camaro on Hankook RS-3 tires
  • - 1:21.90 in our TTC prepped 1992 Corvette (288 whp)
  • - 1:21.89 in stock 2017 Corvette C7 Grand Sport
I guess we reset the track record closer to what it should be, but with no other TTD competitors we once again didn't have a chance to win any tires - and we would need a fresh set before NASA @ TWS in April. We still don't have a max prepped TTD car, and with better conditions (and better driving) a full tilt TTD car might inch closer to the 1:22 or even 1:21 range. TTC record was reset by an S2000 by a LOT this same weekend, down to a 1:18.691 (from a 1:21 previous record), which was an eye opener. That was the second quickest TT time of the weekend, behind a 1:17.444 time from a TT3 M3. I have the end of day results posted here as well as in the photo gallery.


Time Trial Results for both days (each day is a different points event)

Pros and Cons: Tire rub - all weekend I could feel the tires hitting the edges of the fenders in one corner. Oddly enough the left side tires had contact on this predominantly left hand turn course. It was from a series of bumps on the driving line at the entry of Buzzard Neck (T4) which were causing the suspension to compress on the left side enough to touch. I kept an eye on this all weekend, but its been doing it ever since we installed these 17x10" wheels. I thought I had re-rolled the front and rear enough times to clear but apparently it needs more. Drastic measures required.



On the plus side the extra power from the header/exhaust/CAI was apparent - and now all I can think is, "I want some more!". The exhaust sound was also pretty tame, which was what we were going for. The video below shows the exhaust sound at normal sub 2500 rpm levels. The new ClutchMasters flywheel and clutch worked great.


shows a short exhaust sound test driving around MSR Cresson

With class wins both days we had scored 200 more points towards the regional TTD championship, and we were glad to get out of this crazy weather - we hung out inside the trailer during down time the rest of the day, and had the car loaded in the trailer before lunch. I stuck around until the last HPDE run group to instruct then we hit the road. The driving wind and cold just took everything out of us both, Amy never even drove a single lap (she wasn't feeling it, I dunno), and I was sick as a dog all weekend. Glad to put this event in the rear view... but we still celebrated our New First Tack Record in the TTD car.

TDE at MSR-C 3.1 MARCH 25-26, 2017

Amy signed us up to The Driver's Edge HPDE event on March 25-26, 2017, two weeks after the NASA event and at the same facility. She was more excited about running this HPDE event on the 3.1 configuration of the same track for some reason than she was at the previous NASA weekend. She really likes the little 1.3 mile course - which has lots of elevation change - and when joined with the 1.7 course becomes the 3.1.



Lots of Vorshlag customers go to these HPDE events so we were there for support and to see friends. She ran in the yellow group on the 3.1 mile course on Saturday and had a lot of fun in all 4 sessions. Since I wasn't an instructor for this group I couldn't do any right seat coaching, which would have likely helped her find more time - but she was quick for the yellow group.



We split the 2 day entry so I hopped in the 330 and ran it all day Sunday in the red group. Lots of corners, hard to remember, but its a fun track. We didn't take any in-car video since we were just out having fun.

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Old 05-12-2017, 02:39 PM   #66
Fair
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continued from above



I had a "evaluation ride" by one of the Instructors that runs with TDE a lot on Sunday to see if I "have what it takes" to run in the red group and possibly be an instructor with this HPDE organization. He had read the build thread for this car so he was excited to ride along - even if we didn't have harnesses in the car yet (they were installed shortly after).



I hadn't run the 3.1 mile configuration at MSR-Cresson since 2013 so I was a bit rusty, but managed to run some quick-ish times (2:33.593) in two of my three sessions. The weather was beautiful and we had fun - but the lack of competitive element always leaves me... wanting. Amy had a blast and finally drove the 330 for an entire day. She got more comfortable in this car than ever before, and really liked the brakes, handling and grip. By my last session Sunday the tires were really falling off and I was slowing down. It was time for a new set of Hoosiers...

4-POINT ROLL BAR FABRICATION

After the TDE event the next track on the schedule was TWS with NASA, and I was determined to not run at this track again without a roll bar and real harnesses. This track has a tendency to "eat cars" - each year it seems there are more cars damaged at TWS than at all other road courses in the state of Texas combined.



Making the decision to build this welded in roll bar involved some internal debate over which of these 3 "rollover protection" options we should use for this car:

1. Buy a pre-made 4-point roll bar and fit it, weld it together, and bolt it in
2. Build a custom 4-point roll bar and weld it into the car
3. Build a full 6-point roll cage that is welded into the car.

Option 1 wasn't really exciting to me as these bolt-in roll bar kits tend to be made to fit around interior bits (headliner, full interior panels, back seat) which we no longer have in this car. Plus I had done this in the blue 330 before. The compromises of building around the interior keeps the tubing 2-3+ inches below the roofline in a semi-gutted car like ours. The rear downbar mounts (below right) are also "less than ideal" and not fitted well. I get why they do that, but its just a compromise.


Bolt-in 4-point roll bar kit fitted, welded together, and bolted into our blue E46 330

Option 2 - a custom, welded 4-point roll bar - would fit better than Option 1, but the time it would take was a bit of an unknown. Why? We don't do this type of "half cage" deal often.

Option 3 - a full roll cage - didn't fit this car's "daily driven track car" goals, as its almost impossible to make a "safe" roll cage that isn't dangerous on the street. Hitting your head on an upper cage/door bar without a helmet on is risky. We can sometimes pull this off with shorter drivers or larger cars, but for me, in this car... wasn't going to ever be safe. We also know a full cage would eat up 60 hours of "lost billable hours" + $800 in materials, so that's pretty expensive even for a shop owner (we always have a waiting list of customer fab work we can do). So we went with option 2.



I was still worried about the amount of time a custom 4-point it would eat up, so I kept a close eye on that. And in the end it took about 1/3rd the time (a hair over 20 hours) to completely fabricate and weld in this custom roll bar. Pleasantly surprised, and with the hours and materials added up compared to the cost of a typical 4-point bolt-in bar + install, it comes to about the same price. Due to that realization we are going to do this type of custom 4-point more often rather than the 4-point bolt ins, with fewer compromises.



The rear carpet section was removed and the floor was cleaned where the steel mounting plates would be welded in. Leaving the factory shoulder belt anchors in the B-pillar was a point of contention, but I wanted to keep the OEM 3-point belts functional for a while longer - in case this car was still street driven (turns out that was a good idea). This kept the main hoop from touching the metal B-pillar structure, so the rear interior panels were also left in place - for now. Using a template from previous E46 cages, Ryan bent up a slightly narrower main hoop out with 1.75" dia x .095" wall DOM tubing. The tubing still fits very tight to the roof - inches closer than the bolt-in rollbar kits made for this chassis.



Like I pointed out above, one of the main drawbacks from the pre-made roll bar kits is where they mount the rear downbars to the chassis - at the rear sheet metal inner wheel wells, which aren't the strongest location on the E46. I asked Ryan to mount these diagonals to plates welded on top of the formed rear frame rails instead. This might cause some controversy, but its something that makes the most sense to us. Some folks fixate on mounting these rear downbars to the shock towers, or tying into or rear subframe mounts, but we don't feel that either location is ideal for a majority of the roll cage equipped BMWs out there, nor this car. We don't ever plan to use a "coilover rear shock", nor do we see rear subframes ripping out of BMWs when large chassis reinforcement plates are welded in properly.



Ryan wanted to zip some welds along the cross bar at the base of the main hoop (which are never on bolt-in cages), as they fit tight to the tub here. But no, that wouldn't be TTD legal. If we go to TT1/2/3/4 with this car, however, it might get some additional tie-ins to the chassis at this location and the B-pillar. If we want to turn this roll bar into a roll cage it would require cutting out the body mounts or removing the roof - and the latter is preferred (swapping to a carbon roof in an E46 isn't as hard as I once thought).

A single diagonal was added into the plane of the main hoop and another diagonal was added from the same junction between the two rear downbars. Two horizontal bars were also added - one at the base of the main hoop and one between the two rear downbars - which are above and beyond a normal bolt-in 4-point roll bar. Everything was TIG welded together other than the plates to the chassis, which were MIG welded to the tub. Much more substantial, and better fitting, than most bolt-in 4-point roll bar kits can offer.



Once Ryan had finished the fab work, Brad used ScotchBrite on the entire cage and then cleaned it up for paint. Using paper around everything left on the interior he applied two coats of VHT "Roll Bar & Chassis Paint" in semi-flat black.



With the paint drying overnight we could remove the tape and paper and had a pretty damn good looking, custom fitted roll bar. We had test fit seats into the car before the harness bar was added, and even with the seat slid back for me there was no need to "kick" the harness bar back behind the plane of the main hoop.



With the roll bar completed Aaron installed the Schroth Profi-II 6-point harnesses into the lap belt (reinforced at floor) and anti-sub (anchored at seat bracket). Then the seats went in and everything was adjusted to fit.



Hours before we were going to load up the car to go to TWS, the sticker set of Hoosier R7s arrived and were mounted up on our lone set of 17x10" wheels. I'm worried about only having one set of race wheels - which is just asking for trouble - but with a multi-month backlog for existing orders, we will look at other options. There is a plan in place for "the next two sets" of race wheels, which I will talk about in a future post. These 17x10's will become the practice/street set then.


Right: Corner weight shown with driver and fuel level as shown.

I blew the dust from fabrication out of the interior, Aaron vacuumed the remaining bits of carpet (in front of the front seats), and Brad washed the exterior before the 330 was loaded into the trailer Friday before the TWS event in April. The rear carpet section would need extensive trimming to fit around the main hoop and lower cross bar so it was left out. The curtain airbags were also removed, as they would be routed over the main hoop at the roof line, possibly making them dangerous if they were deployed in an accident. We weighed the car and the roll bar added about 50 pounds, so two 25 pound plates of ballast were removed (we also had a full tank of fuel in the car).



The car is looking better, except for the ratty bumper cover, hammer clearanced rear fenders, and tires touching at all four corners. Gotta work on flares next - but the ones we ordered showed up for the wrong car, so we didn't get them on before TWS. I will show that work soon...

NASA at TWS, APRIL 22-23, 2017

With the fresh set of sticker tires, newly added roll bar + harnesses, and a bit more power than when we ran at TWS last October we towed down to College Station on the Friday before the NASA race weekend to unload the trailer. We parked "on the beach" once again and grabbed some dinner at one of the wide variety of local restaurants, then we went to crash at our friend's. the Costas', where I helped wrench on his GT1 Camaro a little. We started with the #JankyStick to point out the less than perfect things on this car.



Which didn't matter - it still set the fastest lap time for the event that weekend, running in TTU. Paul Costas is an old racer buddy who has co-driven together with me in autocrosses and track cars for nearly three decades. He set the fastest lap time in our TTD E46 last October, finding two tenths where I wasn't looking for time at all. Thousands of laps and hundreds of wins at TWS can do that for ya. He's also an excellent "Setup Coach" and if I had the time and money I suspect he'd help us find more time in this car using his data logging skills, real time tire temp array, and driving tips.

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Old 05-12-2017, 02:42 PM   #67
Fair
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continued from above



The #JankyStick did show real power this weekend, tho - these two cars above got pictured with it: the Miata blew up the motor, and the Acura had all sorts of running issues all weekend. It is with great power comes great responsibility...



TWS is only run in this configuration now: the 2.9 mile CW circuit. There used to be other configurations and even the CCW direction, but due to the track "winding down" for some years now there haven't been repairs needed to run the other configs. So this is it.



And rumor has it that our October 27-29 NASA event here will be the last... but they've been saying this for the last 3 years. Who knows; they stopped doing real maintenance on this track long ago.

Saturday

It was spitting rain when we arrived early to the track Saturday morning, which normally is a good excuse to skip a TT session. But that session is used to grid us up, and there were a LOT of cars, so I went out in the TT Warm-up session with the Hoosiers and wipers on.



Was looking for a time here to get a good grid position but we didn't even get a full hot lap before the session was black flagged. One TT driver didn't latch his hood - which flew up and smashed into the windshield at the end of pit out. And then one of my TTD competitors (new guy from out of region) in a Honda had a big off after turn 8 and got stuck in the mud. With two wreckers dispatched in the first lap they called the session off before there were any usable lap times.



Since nobody had times the first "real" TT session was a crap shoot at grid. I managed to get there early and finished 14th quickest of the session and also ran my quickest time of the weekend - a 1:58.172. That was surprising because it was still spitting rain on the out lap, but it was drying quickly. It took me a few laps to get heat into the tires and clear some slower traffic ahead of me (TT3 M3) but the ambient temps were still cool and that usually means "good times" are possible.


shows the new TTD lap record at TWS - note rain on windshield

That was a new track record by almost a second, so I was happy with that. It was overcast, windy, and cold and Amy could have made some laps but she decided to wait and drive the car on Sunday when the sun was supposed to come out. New record means I was sent straight to scales, where it weighed 3246 pounds - about 40 pounds over our declared weight.



The AiM was showing a 1:57.95 lap but the AMB and TrackAddict timers were both showing slower times in the 1:58.1 range. After looking at the video closely I have manually marked the Start/Finish line for TWS about 100 feet later than reality on the AiM. I probably set that up 4-5 years ago, so I'll purge the "manual map" I made for TWS and download one from AiM with a more accurate S/F line.

I went out in the 3rd session but was again stuck behind the same M3 - slow in the corners but motored away on the straights. At TWS there are a number of big straights, too. He finally let me by but it took many laps crowding his mirrors. Backing off to build a gap didn't help, as I'd be in the way of cars behind me. I skipped session 4 due since it was warming up so much.

Fellow TT racer Mark showed me his Track Addict data and app setup and convinced me to try it on my phone. I ran it in a couple of sessions that day, and with the settings tweaked right was pretty accurate. The times were within a tenth of the AMB loop, which on this track was more accurate than my AiM lap times.



The video it produced was super-shaky-cam due to a RAM X-grip mount that "rocks" in use. It was nice seeing the instant feedback of lateral g, speeds, etc. I ordered a new mount plus a OBDLinkMX wi-fi and Bluetooth module to both datalog and stream data to my phone. If I can get the phone to record video smoothly I might switch to this for lap videos - it sure is easier than recording video on a vidcam, logging data on the AiM, removing via RaceStudio2, merging video and data in DashWare or RaceRender, then editing the final video in Pinnacle Studio.


Left: The $45 RAM X-grip mount is TERRIBLE for taking video. Right: This $15 "squeeze" mount produces rock solid video.

Just ordered an array of cheap suction cup phone holders + RAM bolt-down ball-mount bases and arms to hold a phone in a race car. I'll try these plus the OBD data module and Track Addict app on my phone at our next track event, and might switch to my old faithful Sony VidCam mounted on the new roll bar too.



We stuck around for the NASA party, ate bar-b-q and received our 2016 Regional TTD championship (attendance?) award, plus the trophy for winning the TTD class of 3 on Saturday. We didn't set a single TTD track record in 2016 but we're 2 for 2 in 2017, showing the progression of our E46's capabilities. Its just so easy to drive now that even a hack autocrosser can smash class records.

Sunday

Got too the track early to help Costas prep his GT1 car. He had run a 1:40.914 TTU lap record and win on Saturday and logged wins in both SU races as well - and he did the same thing on Sunday, even fighting some small issues.



Went out in the first session at 55F, again cloudy and cold, and stuck in traffic the entire session where I only managed 1:58.336 - passing 2 cars on my best lap. The BMW had a bit of a "push" all weekend but I didn't run enough sessions to get to dialing it out - I kept blaming it on a green/cold track. Several other racers noted the same thing - but there were still new track records times in many classes.

Sunday results: http://timingscoring.drivenasa.com/N...20Day%20v2.pdf

After my first TT session I came in, Amy hopped into the right seat and we went out in the HPDE4 session - where she actually rode for two whole laps before she had enough! This hasn't happened in years - she hates riding with me. I was taking some tame 2:01 laps to show her the lines, braking points, and grip levels.



We came right back in and went to grid and switched seats, then she drove the HPDE3 session - 3rd session in a row for the car, back-to-back. With some coaching she got down to a 2:05 lap pretty quickly and ran that consistently. The places where I had time on her in the car were all in high speed braking sections. She's just not yet as comfortable in this car as I am, as she has a fraction of the laps in the E46 as I do.

She took the rest of the HPDE 4 sessions that weekend and had a blast. She even did some lead follow laps with one of our customers, showing him the line. The brakes did great with all of this hot lapping, and the Powerbrake pads still have 3/4 pad life left after ~14 months of track abuse.

Lessons Learned: I managed to come in from the track "hot" once in this crazy sequence of driver swaps and that let the pads sit on BAKING hot rotors for a few minutes, which put some pad deposits onto the rotors. Once back on track that now feels like warped rotors. We need to get this stuff off (turn the rotors) or replace the Powerbrake rotor rings, soon. Always need to do a cool down lap to shed brake heat, with any kind of brakes.


With -3.8 camber up front we're still seeing significant bodyroll - maybe time for more spring rate

I also noticed some significant front tire lock-up on the LF tire when braking into the high speed left hand Turn 1, slowing from 125 mph in this off camber corner. It shouldn't do this with ABS, but as you can see at full tilt cornering the inside tire is barely touching the ground. We are seeing 1.3-1.4g lateral loading and its causing more bodyroll than I think is appropriate, even with 600F/750R spring rates. I will have the crew here crank up the swaybar settings, but it might be time to jump to higher spring rates, especially once we add aero and/or wider tires to this car (more on a potential "class jump" later). We ran 750F/900R on the blue 330 on 285 Hoosier A6 tires before and it worked great.

I also felt too much tire rub on the rear fenders in several corners (T1, T4, T9) due to excessive suspension travel and insufficient fender room. Its time to flare this car, and if the parts had shown up in time this would have been done before this event. I will show this "next major mod" next time.


Left: Jeff's Miata in our trailer and Right: driving our E46 to Dallas

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: After Amy ran the last HPDE4 session we were going to put it into the trailer, but one of our TT competitors (Jeff) blew the motor in his NB Miata, and he had no way to get it back 3+ hours north to Dallas. So another racer loaned us street wheels/tires and those were mounted to the E46, which he drove back while his Miata was in our trailer. Not really the street use we had in mind for this "daily driven track car" but he said it was a comfy ride, radio cranked and AC blowing cold. He commented "I'd daily this setup" and "It makes a lot of torque."


Left: Saturday end of day TT results (unsorted). Right: Sunday end of day TT results (sorted)

Overall the results from this NASA race weekend were good - Day 1 we won by 8 seconds, day 2 by 5. So we're not really getting pushed anymore, which is frustrating. And with less than 5 competitors in TTD once again we failed to win any tires. We seem to be stuck in a pattern now, but maybe that changes next time, who knows?



We were once again fastest for TTD class and quicker than TTE, which is pretty strong in our region. Without "maxing out" the car for TTD I'm happy with that.

NO TIRES = SWITCH FROM TTD TO TT4?

At this TWS event TT4 class once again "made a class" (5 min) with 5 cars (mostly S2000s). A win there both days would bring home 4 free Hoosiers. Heck at most events this class has enough (7+) to bring home 1 tire for 2nd place each day, too. Granted they were 5.4 seconds ahead of us, but its a logical transition. TT4 would allow a splitter, wing, LSD, 275mm tires, and more power... gotta run the numbers and see if it makes sense. But our "not-maxed-out" TTD car is already ahead of many of the TT4 cars at most events now...



The TT-Number classes are much more likely to stabilize, whereas the TT-Letter classes have had rules changes and disappearing classes.... they will all be gone eventually. There is just too much points gaming you gotta do to be fast in TT-Letter, and it often pares the potential candidates down to few or even one chassis. We would have a LOT more freedom to show "what we can build" in TT-Number classes, and the E46 would be a LOT faster, too. Winning TTD and setting track records is nice, finally, but having to race in a car that is this slow relative to the rest of the field... is. Killing. ME.

For now we tenatively plan to keep this car in TTD for NASA @ COTA May 26-28 and NASA @ Hallett on June 24-25. If we keep doing well in TTD we might wrap up the Texas region class championship by then. So... maybe during the summer break we could make the switch? Its a possibility, and I'm itching to make this car a lot faster. Jumping up 2+ classes and losing the "points" handicap could allow this E46 to speed up.

WHAT'S NEXT?

On the long drive to Dallas the power steering pump broke once again (3rd time!) so we researched a better brand replacement and installed that. We also received the E46 Non-M 2-door flares from HARD Motorsport, and those were installed. I'll show that work next time.



We just did an SCCA Club Trials event on May 7th at MSR-Cresson running the 1.7 course CW, which is backwards from what most groups do. I drove the 330 there, instructed 2 students, plus drove 3 other cars. Busy weekend, but again excellent results. I will cover what we learned there next time. And now we have less than 3 weeks until NASA @ COTA, so we will go over the car carefully before we run at this HIGH speed track. There are also a few "mod wish list" items we might try to tackle, too.

Until next time,
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Old 06-10-2017, 03:06 PM   #68
Fair
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Project Update for June 9th, 2017: We did 3 track events as well as another round of upgrades to our #DailyDrivenTrackCar. As we expected going into this project, as the car gets faster the compromises to street use multiply. Its still streetable at this point but after the next round it might not be. Two more competition track events and a track test day since my last update. This included an SCCA Club Trials event on May 7th at MSR-Cresson, a test day at MSR (only took one session in the 330, then coached in another car), and a NASA race weekend at COTA May 27-27th.



We also installed the HARD Motorsport flares, which finally let me push the car HARD at COTA (see above) without tire rub. The flares fit very well - I wish we had done these sooner. We fixed the power steering pump (#3) that broke on the long drive back from TWS last time. We have also started an "investigative tear down" of a complete M54 engine looking for more: displacement, power, and reliability. If/when we move up to TT4 we will need a good bit more power and I'd like to keep a Naturally Aspirated it M54 under the hood.

POWER STEERING PUMPS BE TRIPPIN!

This is the third time we've had to replace a power steering pump in this 330 and I don't know what's killing them. They always break on the street, not on track, so its not curb jumping (which I don't do) or high RPMs that is killing them. We've used a rebuilt CarDone (cheap Chinese brand), rebuilt AC Delco, and now this new Allied Atlantic Enterprises unit.



I'm hoping the slightly more expensive NEW unit lasts longer than the rebuilt ones we have failed before. Its not a difficult or expensive fix, just getting tired of it happening. This brand has better reviews for E46 pumps so we'll see how long it lasts.

FENDER FLARING OPTIONS - DIFFERING TECHNIQUES

This section is long, and some folks might not understand why "covering a tire" could take up this much text. I try to show a lot of examples of flaring race cars before we get to the actual flare install on our red 330, detailed in the next sub-section.

Why flare? The two most important aspects to make a car faster on a road course or autocross include: Power-to-Weight and Tire Width-to-weight ratios. Many people understand the first ratio but ignore the importance of the second. Tire-to-weight is even more important in autocross, but still very important to road course times.


18x10.5" wheels and 295 Hoosier A7s on NC MX5 Miata, which we added flares to

Adding tire width to drop lap times is something often overlooked but we've fought "internet wisdom" over the last 30 years of racing on autocross and road race courses by using ever wider tires. We STILL get the Debbie Doubters that say "you won't get enough heat in that tire!" or "that wide tire will slow you down!". We have not yet found the limit to "too much tire width" on our builds. The 180 whp Miata above got faster with each tire width upgrade, our TT3 Mustang RAN OUT OF TIRE OPTIONS at 345mm and got faster in each jump as we went from from 255-345mm tire widths, etc. I can name dozens other cars we have built/raced/tested that people told us would "slow down" with wider tires, and yet kept getting faster, easier to drive, and longer lasting.



My friends who race a V6 powered Firebird in WRL (see above - we built some systems on this car) just did a great tire test. Day one at a 2 day endurance race weekend they ran a 275mm tire (new Conti), and wore them out. Day two at the same event/same drivers they ran the 315mm sized tire I begged them to use from the beginning (on a worse compound - Falken). The 315s were faster, are projected to last about 4 times longer, and the car was easier to drive. They can pass Miatas in turns and outbrake everything. Just another of many examples where "bigger is better" with respect to tires. We don't even argue this anymore - the timers don't lie. WIDER IS BETTER.



The Firebird can swallow 315s under stock fenders with the right tweaks, as can a few other cars. But sometimes getting wider tires to FIT UNDER FENDERS (ie: not poking!) takes a lot of work. Sometimes people are just lazy and use a wheel with the wrong offset - like the two cars above (which can tuck 11" wide custom wheels correctly but the common is an 18x10.5" that pokes). About half the cars I see on "big tires" are sticking past the fenders, but the owners often try to say otherwise. If they are honest with themselves they know that if they drive the car hard the fenders will cut into the tires, which causes handling issues and potentially can damage the fender or tire.

I've done it myself - I'm by no means perfect - but each time I paid the price. I either compromised the alignment setup or ride height to try to prevent tire rub, or just dealt with the tire rub - like we have for over a year on this red 330. But tire poking is bad, and we need to call out friends when they are trying to justify their pokey wheel fitments. #SayNoToPoke


Left: This C6Z06 has 18x12" wheels we had built on 335mm tires. Right: C7GS comes with 20x12" rears and 335s

Some car makers are waking up to the realization that tire width works. The hotted up Shelby GT350, 1LE Camaro, and GS/Z06 Corvettes come with wider tires - and they are faster for it.


Left: C6 Z06 with 315 front, 345mm rear tires

Then there are the BIG tires... 335, 345, or even 355mm. Very few cars come with enough extra fender width to fit these massive sizes. That's one of the biggest advantages to cars like the C6 Z06 is that they can swallow 335 (front) and 345mm (rear) tires without any fender work. Driving these cars on massive tires is just: easier and faster. There's no situation with turns involved where these cars would be faster on narrower tires.



To fit bigger tires you often need to cut and modify fenders for clearance. We get a lot of questions about fender flares because I've done a lot of BMW flares myself and have shared a lot of pictures in several galleries and on dozens of forums of various methods to flare a car. Over the past 13 years Vorshlag has grown and now we have proper fabricators that know their craft and can do sheet metal work beyond what I ever could, so we tackle tougher flare jobs that other shops can't. We have also learned more about aero drag, fender/hood venting, and other aspects that have changed the way we make flares since our early days.



Sometimes a "widebody" cut-and-splice is the better option, or traditional "box flares" that widen more than half the body - and we've done that also. This tends to work on cars that are already "boxy", like the E30 and GD Impreza above.

Some of you have seen the custom flares we have built on various cars in previous build threads, like these below on our TT3 Mustang (to clear 335mm tires). The rears are bigger to clear our NASA TT3 rear tire (345 Hoosier A7), so they look a bit oversized in the image below.



The front flares were made from 18 gauge steel by our fabricator Ryan at approx 10 hours per side. These were improved from a previous design I had helped build with a steel/fiberglass mold and thermoformed ABS plastic flares, which I sheared off in a crash at Road Atlanta (the patched up plastic flares are visible in the picture below at left, in red). The new steel flares could take cone hits much better, which was useful for autocross events we ran in this car (Optima and SCCA).



We are currently building something even wilder for for a customer's V8 E46 M3 now (for 335F, 345R tires), which is talked about in this build thread (which I linked to before).



This is one has a bit of over-the-top styling but that matches the utter ridiculousness of this whole project. On a car getting the biggest wing, the widest DOT Hoosiers, and with a giant 7.7L V8 making 700+ whp, you don't do "just whatever works" - you go big on the flares.



The thing is custom flares like these take a LOT of fabrication time to make, plus they always require bodywork and paint. So on our 330 I was looking at costs - It gets a bit spendy, even for a shop owner. Every hour we are working on a "shop car" still costs $105/hour in lost income - because we have more backlog than we can complete.

On my previous blue TTD/DSP E46 330 - a car I made a number of mistakes on, which we are rectifying with this build - I flared the front myself. This car was built around an 18x10" wheel and 285/30/18 tire at all four corners, which was legal at the time for TTD.



I showed how we first rolled then flared the fenders on this E46 in this gallery. By grafting new E46 M3 front fenders (which are way more expensive now!) with small sections of factory 330 front fenders it made for an SCCA legal "flared fender".



This took a number of hours to fab up cleanly, then some bodywork and paint to make pretty. I did all of the fab work at 2 am the night before an SCCA National event, but the paint work came later. The rear was another story...



Initially I just hoped to roll the rears enough to clear the big tires. First I mounted a 265/35/18 onto the 18x10" wheel, and with aggressive rolling that fit. Of course I had to grind the "gunk" out of the rear fender joint first. This is where 3 layers of sheet metal join up on the rear unibody to form the fender lip, which has a big lip. The factory fills this lip with hardened "goo" that you have to chisel out with tools and grinders.


Clearing these relatively narrow 265/35/18 Yokohama Race tires with 18x10" wheels only took fender rolling

Aggressive fender rolling at both ends (plus the "grinding of the goo" on the rear lips) was enough to clear the 265s and it didn't tear up the paint at all. I ran the car like this for a number of months but it needed more tire to be competitive in DSP and TTD, and since I had the TT points... it was time to swing some hammers.


It was ugly and took a lot of hammer swings but we made the rear fenders clear a 285/30/18

I beat the piss out of the rear fenders to clear the 285mm tires. Hours of swinging a 5 pound sledge hammer from the inside. Full swings, till your shoulders and arms hurt, banging away. It distorted the whole rear fender, and my paint and body guy begged me to NEVER do this again.



My bodyman fixed all of my hammering sins (above) but it took a lot of hours of massaging, fab work, and filler on his part to clean it up. It has held up for many years since, but I never liked the disparity in how different the front and rear fenders looked. This time I vowed to "do it right".



Flaring the rear fenders correctly on a unibody car involves a lot more work than just "cutting the fender lips off" like the front. It takes hours of cutting, moving metal, checking bump travel of the tire, then patching the rear fender sheet metal back together. I've done this on a number of cars and it is never fun. There are 2 or 3 layers of sheet metal that have to be cut and re-joined with more clearance. We'll show more of that below.



This picture above shows my old blue 330 and my current red 330. The blue car is on 275s and has tons of tire clearance to the fenders. The red car is on 245s and is rubbing in big corners. Time to fix this...

continued below

Last edited by Fair; 06-10-2017 at 03:07 PM.
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Old 06-10-2017, 03:10 PM   #69
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continued from above

FLARING OUR RED 330 FOR 275MM TIRES

Let's cover the flares we picked for our 330 - which should work for both TTD (wide 245mm) and TT4 (275mm).



As you know we fit the these freakishly wide 245/40/17 Hoosiers (9.7" of tread width) onto custom spec'd 17x10" wheels early on. The TTD class points pretty much limit us to a 245mm tire and this was the widest option out there in a competitive compound. For the last season and a half we have been seeing tire-to-fender rub when the car takes a bump on track or if I rub the FIA curbing. Sometimes it does it on flat pavement - like when I have the car loaded up transitioning into a corner, the rear fender can sometimes grab a tire and make the car rotate violently. This has kept me from pushing the car consistently - it can make that level of grip in sustained corners with a gentle entry.



Because this issue is holding the car back, the fender interference had to be addressed. I never suspected I'd need to flare an E46 with only a 245mm tire, but this is really wide when mounted on a 10" wide wheel. The front fender is rubbing also, just not as badly as the rear. BMW makes the fender lips lower on rear fenders of a lot of their cars, so the rear tire "tucks" under the lip much sooner than the fronts (see above). And the rear is much harder to flare... we'll get to that below.

After running the numbers on making custom flares, and test fitting the generic eBay junk, we settled on flares made precisely for this car model from HARD Motorsport.


HARD Motorsport E46 flares, which come in 4 door and 2 door versions (Left = Sedan, Right = Coupe)

These thermoformed ABS plastic flares built in the USA, and being a HARD dealer we wanted to try them out ourselves. We purchased kits for both a 4 door E46 Sedan as well as another for our 2 door E46 Coupe; I'll show the sedan flares being installed on the E46 328 "Track Rat" project in a later post (also getting 17x10" wheels). These fit really well around the stock body panels of the non-M E46 chassis, even the factory trim, yet provide clearance similar to the E46 M3 fenders.



We've already hammered the rear fenders more than I wanted to on this red 330, which I've shown in previous updates. This was done in stages and each time I had to push it more I was worried about the bodywork bill that would inevitably come when we had finished the clearancing and committed to a tire long enough to get this car to paint. Those sections would be cut off or covered by the HARD flares, which we could have painted off the car (avoiding bodywork and an expensive "full respray").



I wrote a post to show the installation details but will summarize it here: first the front flares were test fit and the outer edges marked. The offending fender lips were then cut off to add more room for bump travel for the front tires. Ryan then mocked up, marked, and drilled the fronts for bolt holes. Normally folks will rivet these on but we wanted something that made them removable, so in the shot above Clecos were used to temporarily hold them in place before we added threaded inserts to the sheet metal.



If we were making custom flares we'd cover the leading edges of the tires to reduce aero drag - a spinning tire in the air stream is bad - but the TT-Letter rules don't allow canards, tire walls, or "proper" flares that extend to the front like this without taking points. Which we don't have to spend now. What about TT4? The rules there are also very limited with respect to aero and don't allow canards at all. So we just needed a "traditional" set of flares here - that cover the top of the tire. We wanted them to be big enough to cover a 275mm tire, for when we move up to TT4, too. So that made these HARD Motorsport flares perfect for this build.



After the front fenders were cut it was time to cut the rears - no more hammers. After briefly mocking up the flares out back, Ryan marked the cut line (blue tape) and then cut the fender lips off again. This left a gap in the rear fenders that needed to be patched and welded back together.



The rear fender clearancing and patch work is by far the hardest part of any flare job, but one most folks gloss over. The images above are from the E46 M3 we're building around a 345mm rear tire and shows the details better. The fender is cut WAY up and away from the protruding tire - adding enough bump travel to keep the tire from rubbing. The 3 layers of sheet metal are then patched and welded together. Then the area is primed with paint suitable for raw steel. Removing the paint and undercoating beforehand is the messiest part of the job, of course.



The flares are formed well and "self-fixture" themselves to these cars - they go on one obvious way. Once they were taped in place Ryan laid out the hole spacing, drilled through the flare and fender, then added the Clecos temporarily.



Since we want the flares easily removable, we added nutserts to the holes instead of rivets. With the fender side holes enlarged, nutserts were installed with a special threaded rivet gun, which expands the threaded insert behind the sheet metal securing it in place. This was done to all flare locations, and even plastic front bumper cover mounting holes - we used a different type of expanding nutsert for use with plastic or fiberglass there. Pro tip: coating the inside of the nutsert with epoxy helps keep them from spinning in place once installed.



With the final threaded hardware installed the flares were done - total installation time was 11.51 hours, including the welding of the rear unibody and some "follow up" clearance work after the Club Trials event below. Making custom flares can take 10 hours a corner, plus bodywork and paint, so this was a much more cost effective flare install. We can unbolt them for paint, repair, etc. We used stainless countersunk M4 bolts to thread into the M4 nutserts with countersnk stainless Tinnerman washers to spread the load. With everything bolted in place the car now has much more tire clearance and was ready for a track test.

SCCA Club Trials at MSR 1.7 CW, May 7, 2017

This was another SCCA Club Trials / PDX event that the Texas Region SCCA held at MSR-Cresson. These events are their way of breaking into the Time Trial / HPDE type of ladder system that NASA has integrated so well into their club racing weekends, but the SCCA is keeping these separate from their club race events - for now.

Photo gallery: https://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-...CW-May-7-2017/



In the past the SCCA has tried to just lump all cars into one Club Trials group but they have wisely moved to a tiered HPDE system, using the traditional Green/Blue/Yellow/Red. The Green PDX 1 (total noobs) and Blue PDX 2 (some track experience) groups had instructors, with Yellow (Club Trials) and Red (Instructors/Club Trials) run in separate groups. I applaud the move to standard tiered groups and hope they can continue to grow their events - and hopefully someday integrate these into their Club Racing weekends.



At this event they ran the 1.7 mile MSR course ClockWise, or backwards from the normal direction. The track isn't really paved to run this way (runoff curbing isn't there) but the 1.7 CW it isn't completely unheard of, so we entered to support the event and get some seat time in this configuration. I signed up as an instructor and was assigned TWO students, one in PDX1 and one in PDX2. Neither had ever been on track, but at least my PDX2 student was a skilled autocrosser and she did great.



This group still has the instructors drive the student's cars for a couple of laps in the first session, which I don't like to do (and isn't allowed anymore in many HPDE groups) but I went along with the program. At least this black 328is was a car we had worked on extensively at Vorshlag - it was shop manager Brad Maxcy's car, and the student in question was his wife Jen, who I know well. I took two "75% laps" and showed her the line, which I knew from previous 1.7 CW events. Then we came into the hot pits, switched places, and she drove again for the rest of the day. I did the same with a 3rd gen Viper owner in PDX1 and rode through with both of them in every session that day. The order was Instruct/Rest/Instruct/Drive... then repeat 5 times.



There were 65 entries and 44 in Club Trials, so it was busy on track. 44 is an impressive TT number even for NASA, and at this SCCA event they broke us up into two run groups (Yellow and Red). For results they lumped cars together in classes based on SCCA autocross categories, then used an autocross PAX factor to equalize the times... its kind of silly, but until they get some sort of direction from National office on real CT classes its what they do. I will let the meme above speak for itself...



Come to find out I was in the largest class of 8 "Street Prepared" cars, which my TTD car fits into best (DSP). I was joined in this category by faster SSP, BSP, CSP, and ESP cars as well as two other DSP cars. I was effectively in the slowest PAX "class" within the SP category for track cars and I figured I'd get clobbered in my little 245mm R7 equipped BMW with 220 whp, but we'd check both raw and these "PAX factored" times and see how we did after the event.



Turns out the little 330 did all right! Only 3 cars at this event posted faster lap times: Ken O's TT3 E46 M3 (80.635), John Wallace's TTC classed S2000 (81.962), and Feras' CAM-S classed C6 Z06 (82.851 - which I also drove). We've worked on 2 of these 3 cars at Vorshlag, and Wallace is blazing fast in TTC, so I was pretty happy with that list.


The best lap of the day is in the video above

The video shows some of session 2 in our red 330, and on lap 8 I ran my best lap of the day at 84.566 (1:24.566), before the weather turned unseasonably warm (shot up to 88F). We had a lot of traffic so it was difficult to get a quick lap in. I ran again in sessions 3, 4, and 5 but by then the track temps were too - mostly I was just giving students rides. This was the "fresh" set of tires we purchased and ran for TWS (and the May MSR track test/coaching day I am not showing) and I needed to save them for at least 1 more event (COTA), but when my own students ask for rides I'm a softie and always give in.

Watching that video and listening to my audio notes a month later it almost seems like it was a bit more frustrating of a day than I now remember - but I'm still glad I went. Sure the timers didn't work in the first session, the traffic was pretty bad, I fought all day for a clear lap, and I didn't get a moment's rest. The Club Trial group was also very different from a NASA TT group. Some were NASA TT folks and you could tell - they made it easier to pass when there were cars behind them. Others here had less situational awareness and were tougher to pass. Our TTD car is far from "fast" and I'm lucky to be gridded mid-pack in NASA, but being 4th fastest of the day here kind of shows where this group is. But SCCA Club Trials is new in North Texas and the roster of CT racers will only grow and get faster.

http://www.texasscca.org/trials/

This is where I'd normally point you to the schedule for this new series. But today as I write this, the Texas Region SCCA page for PDX/Club Trials has no schedule listed, no dates, and the results from this event are not posted (almost a month later). The schedule is kind of important, let me make some phone calls.

REMAINING 2017 CLUB TRIALS SCHEDULE for TEXAS REGION SCCA:
  • August 26, PDX and Club Trials, MSR-Cresson 1.3 mile
  • November 18-19, 2 day Club Trials event on the CLUB RACE WEEKEND
Got this list via text from someone in the SCCA, and I suspect it will end up on their website eventually. Looks like they are moving to merge CT and Club Racing on the same weekend (November), which is a smart move both for financial reasons (shared insurance/track rental costs) as well as the "getting all of the racers together in one place to breed more Club Racers" reasons. Emulate what works so well with NASA = brilliant. August in Texas is beyond hot so I doubt I'll make that event on the 1.3 mile MSR-C course, not to mention passing there is nearly impossible. Maybe if we get a Cool Suit system in the car, we'll see.



In one of the yellow groups I also drove this Corvette C6 Z06, which we've worked on at Vorshlag. This is a car with coilover Penske's, heads/cam/headers upgrade, and 18x12" wheels (which we spec'd) and 335mm Rival-S tires square. We also recently installed a prototype Powerbrake BBK up front, which I really needed to feel/drive on track before we told Powerbrake to release this new prototype fitment.

continued below

Last edited by Fair; 06-13-2017 at 08:08 AM.
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Old 06-10-2017, 03:12 PM   #70
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continued from above



Well the brakes WORKED WELL, and so did the handling, and so did the power. Driving this car broke something inside of me... but in a good way. I hooned TF out of this car. Man, it was a religious experience. Amy and I custom ordered a 2005 Z51 when these first came out in 2004, and the temptation to buy another C6 is strong. When my C4 Corvette race car sells it might happen.



The day of this event started in at z brisk 59F but ended at a sweltering 88F. I ran 5 sessions in the BMW (giving ride-alongs after lunch), plus the two student cars, plus the C6 Z06, and then rode with students a lot in 8 or 9 sessions. I was a little light on my water intake and got pretty wiped out from the heat. Still, it was a lot of fun - especially those handful of laps in the Z06. The right rear tire was still touching the fender a bit on the 330, so that was on the list to inspect after this event.


Our trailer became the "run heat posting" board for this event, so I kept all of the run heat printed times after the event. The fastest laps were all done in Red heat #2. Again, I was just happy to be 4th fastest of the event in a little TTD prepped 330 - we don't get to say that often!

REAR BUMPER & FLARE ADJUSTMENTS

We got back from the Club Trials event and the main issue noted there was the tire rub at the rear. Turns out they weren't touching on the fenders or the flares.



Ryan removed the rear bumper cover and trimmed the leading edges where they meet the fenders, which is where the rub was. We'll keep an eye on this and might need to trim more.



There are rear bumper relocation brackets that come with the kit, but we didn't see them helping so we left them off fr now. We might swap these in if there's still rub happening here. On BMW E36 rear flares I've done in the past I did space the bumper way out to match the flares I built but these HARD Motorsport rear flares don't have a lot of added width in the rear, and they line up fine now.

MODS TO THE 328i SEDAN - OPERATION TRACK RAT

We picked up this 1999 328i two years back to possibly build into a ChumpCar or WRL endurance race car, but shortly after buying it our priorities changed. Since then we've been slowly turning this into a dual purpose track/street car with some new or lightly used parts from other projects. This car recently sold and the new owner wants even more track prep done, so I'll start to show a the upgrades in the next handful of thread posts.


Left: The initial weight was 3229 pounds. Right: 2.5 hours later the weight was 2795 pounds.

Weight reduction is the easiest way to make a race car faster, and this E46 sedan is a good example of getting a lot of weight out in a short amount of time. In only a few hours this E46 lost 430 pounds, which is a tremendous amount for $0. Of course we would need to replace the front seats, which we did below.



This 430 weight loss included the front and rear seats, the carpet, headliner and door panels. At 2795 pounds the car still had 100% of the factory exhaust, the entire AC system was still there and functional, heavy 17x8" wheels, 72 pounds of sunroof, and all of the glass. Normally it takes about 6 hours to strip all of this out but there were 3 people and they made quick work of it.



Next up was more weight loss, this time in the power retracting sunroof cassette. This was removed in about half an hour and it weighed a staggering 72.0 pounds. Removing this + the headliner adds 3-4" of additional headroom which is super useful for taller drivers. All of this weight is at the highest part of the car as well. We have a little post showing install tips on this carbon sunroof delete panel in more detail.



What went back in was this dry carbon fiber sunroof delete panel from AJ Hartman Racing. We've used a number of these on E46 chassis and it only weighs 1.4 pounds. This is real deal, Motorsports dry carbon part, so it has minimal epoxy and no glossy gel coat (weight) added. It needs to be painted, wrapped, or clear coated before it sees sun/rain.



There is a flange for bolt holes around the perimeter, but you need to be extra careful on the rear as there are no factory holes to use. Self tapping screws need to be VERY short or you risk poking into the roof sheet metal. Ask me how I know...



I have a LOT more prep to show on this 328i next time, but to summarize we have added: 330 brakes, Bilstein coilover suspension, Powerflex bushings, rear subframe reinforcement, roll bar, racing seats & Schroth harnesses, custom aluminum door panels/center console/false floors, Magnaflow exhaust, Jongbloed 3-piece wheels, and more. And before the next installment it will have: new balancer, oil pump shaft, oil pan baffle, HARD Motorsport flares, 17x10" wheels, and a few more goodies.

NASA AT COTA May 27-28, 2017

Got a lot to cover and not much space left in this post. I'll summarize: I signed up for COTA with fairly low expectations of this track being fun. I had only run parade laps on 2 occasions before. It felt like driving anything slower than an F1 car here would be boring. I was wrong. With 20 turns, lots of elevation changes, and tons of challenges this place is a mind bender. We got to paddock inside their beautiful facility, had some great racing, endured some hot weather, but left with a huge smile on my face.



We loaded up the 330 and towed down to Austin in Clifford (the big red truck), with Amy I leaving Dallas at 12:30 Friday. Due to Memorial Day weekend traffic and never-ending highway construction from Dallas to Austin we didn't get there until 6 pm. Should be a 3 hour drive with no traffic, but "traffic" soon became a theme of the weekend.


NASA paddock at COTA panoramic pic

We did get lucky and managed to find one of the last open spots in the paddock, near the garages. We quickly parked and unhooked the trailer, unloaded the 330, then moved all of our stuff into the garage space we rented. Not something we normally do but someone suggested early on that this would be an ideal spot to watch races from - as the F1 garages back into the pit lane on the front straight. There were also air conditioned "Driver's lounges" right off our garage, which was next to the massive video control room. The garage rental was a wise choice.


Our garage preview video - showing the insane machines parked next to our lowly 330

Each F1 style double garage was shared by up to 8 cars, which made for one hilarious discrepancy in the level of machinery we had in our two units... there was a GT4 classed McLaren, three GT3, Cayman race car, C7 GS, and our janky E46! I went over to driver info and ask "Are you sure you have us in the right spot??" Due to the average costs differences, the #JankyStick got a workout - with our own car.



We had a LOT of racers in W2W and TT (NASA Texas record), and HPDE3-4 was fairly busy, but HPDE1-2 had fairly low attendance (18) - probably due to the $1200 entry fee for Saturday Sunday (most HPDE groups charge $900 for a weekend here). It was another $500 to run Friday's test day, so we skipped that and I thought "I'll just pick up this course as I race". Big mistake - this was a tough track to learn for me. Skipping Friday's warm-up probably cost me a couple of seconds...

COTA Event Photo Gallery: https://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-...A-COTA-052717/

We took a number of pictures, videos, and bought the digital images for the good track stuff from MohFlo. Gallery above has what we got.

Saturday TT

There was an EARLY Instructors meeting at 7 am, then a quick TT meeting where a lot of out-of-region racers joined us. We literally had entries at this event from every single NASA region in USA + some racers from Mexico and other countries. The weather was very overcast early and the forecast was for rain all weekend, but we lined up on grid and went out in the first TT session, the Warm-up. Here times are taken but only used for gridding purposes in the next session. I stayed out a while and was mired in traffic, only running a 2:46 lap. Very frustrating, I was lost and not in the groove at all.



I called Paul Costas and asked him for some pointers for this track, which he has raced in W2W (WRL), in his GT1 Camaro, in his 911, and more. Paul sent me a link to a video of one of his laps at this track in a WRL car (#TeamPontini) and walked me through each corner. I will share what I can remember from his coaching... if there are any mistakes they are mine.

COTA TRACK TRICKS - The main thing is to exploit the generous, paved track limits and to setup well for a number of critical corners that are linked by previous corners. The braking point into T1 (see below) required extremely late braking. As you head up the steep hill after the front straight it helps you slow down just from the vertical elevation. If you brake before the 100 foot mark it was too soon.



The esses (see below) in T3/T4/T5 should be ATTACKED, and the first two should be taken nearly at WOT with as much red/white curbing as you can get without touching the big yellow curbs. Then T6 has to be compromised for a good line into T7 (use plenty of track limits out), and T8 compromised for T9 (with lots of track out). T10 can be short cut almost to the grass on the inside, which cuts off distance on the short chute down to the critical T11.



Turn T11 is super important because it is tight, located before a long straight, and requires a VERY late braking at the 100 foot mark or later. BIG yellow curbs on the exit you have to avoid, though. T12 and T15 are also both tight, slow corners and unforgiving, with T13 and T14 linked. The BIG right-hander sequence at the base of the "tower" for T16-T18 is FAST, but you have to prepare for a sizable bump exiting T18 (not an issue with good dampers). T19 is super critical - most people brake hard, downshift and take the corner too slowly. You can find a lot of time if you keep your speed up through this corner, track out WAY past the rumbles, and just miss the inside yellow curb at the apex. T20 is tight and slow, and it will bite you if you go wide on exit with more big yellow curbs - but is right before another long straight, so you gotta get it right.

There are BIG yellow curbs (see below left) that are bolted to the track surface for some events like this one, and hitting those can put your car airborne, bend wheels, or pound the underside of your car. One car supposedly drove over one of these, busted an oil line loose, and cause a major car-b-q. I rode along with Amy when she clobbered these on the exit of T20 and T11 both, making me lose my mind. My HPDE1 student hit the ones in T20 also, putting us in the air. They will BITE!



I coached right seat with Amy (above right) in one session Saturday and another Sunday; she co-drove the 330 in HPDE4 all weekend. She rode along with me in an HPDE4 session for a few laps on Sunday, so I could show her the line, track limits, and braking points. I had a student who I rode with on 6 of his 8 sessions and then I took him for a ride-along on Sunday in HPDE4 also. I drove 6 of the 8 possible TT sessions, as I really needed to learn this track. Temps both days creeping up past 96F and humidity you could cut with a knife. The hectic schedule combined with the heat drained me - I was pounding water and Gatorade both days but just couldn't get fluids in fast enough. I need to start to "pre-hydrate" on the days before.


Left: Lordy this LMP with an LS engine was fast!! 2:08 lap times?! Right: Mike was flying in AI at 2:30s

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Old 06-10-2017, 03:15 PM   #71
Fair
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continued from above

The NASA National office folks were there to observe with rumors of NASA Nationals here? Couldn't find a better place to host a major NASA event at the country's only active track on the F1 schedule. The facilities are immense and world class! I guess when you spend $450M to build a track that is to be expected.

I wore my driving suit all day Saturday and part of Sunday, but shed the soaking wet garment late Saturday when I was feeling the heat. Its not the safest way to drive on track obviously but neither is passing out from sweating so much you get heat stroke. I hope the organizers remember how hot it is in late May/early June when they plan this event next year's calendar. This far south it gets HOT quick.



Traffic in the TT sessions was pretty rough. I don't know why its so hard for drivers to get off line and give a point by when you are holding someone up, or on your cool down lap. I have never seen a NASA TT event this bunched up, on a track this huge, in all of my years with this organization. We had over 45 drivers, but not everyone was driving in each session. If I felt like I was holding anyone up I would bail on that lap and point them by - obviously I had made a mistake on that lap, or they were just faster. The sooner they got around me the sooner we could settle into our class / grid rankings and get clear laps.



Saturday's "TT session 1" (our 2nd session of 4 that day) was a good bit faster for me than the Warm-up, with a 2:43.932 lap, mostly just learning the lines from Costas' notes. I went out again in TT session 3 but the ambient temps were so high and traffic SO BAD that I never got a faster lap time. I skipped session 4 due to the temps being at 96F after lunch, and my total lack of energy by that time. Still coached Amy and instructed my student.



By day's end that 2:43 lap was enough to win the 5 car TTD class by 1.5 seconds and set the first ever TTD track record here (this was NASA's first event at this track). After this hot day I drank the best cold beer I ever had! We were goofing around and found cutouts of the F1 drivers so of course I had to get a shot on the F1 podium with Hammy. We stuck around to get a trophy but skipped the Saturday night "party crawl" to go to dinner (inside air conditioning, with lots of water refills) with friends Joe D (SI racer) and his family (including my student), plus American Iron racer Stewart M. After that meal I slept like a rock that night.

SUNDAY TT

Up early again for the 7 am HPDE meeting for Amy, then I lined up on grid to look for a better time in the coolest temps of the day - Sunday was once again "the money session". Unfortunately there were 4+ cars gridded ahead that were holding me up badly between T2-T10 and again in T13-T19 in the opening laps. There are such long straights with so many turns in between here that the "momentum" cars like TTD really do have to fight the powerful cars for track space. It didn't help that we had some "TT Tourists" giving ride-alongs in the TT competition session, driving laps 5+ seconds off their normal pace - who couldn't give a point by to save their lives. I complained to the higher ups but got a "Too bad - go faster" response. I managed a 2:42.848 lap making a pass in heavy traffic, temporarily giving us a 4 second lead over 2nd place.



For TT session 2 I talked to the 3 guys gridded behind me and told them I was going to build a massive gap (100+ yards) to the slower cars gridded ahead of us on the out lap. This might give us a lap without being held up in the twisty bits. Now we're not supposed to do this gap trick, but people aren't supposed to block either - so we did what we had to do. "Too bad". I still caught them by the T2-5 complex on the first lap, then backed way off and let 3 cars behind me go by. I let them get ahead for a lap, built another gap, then found a good chunk of time. I ran my best time of the weekend of 2:42.340 this way, but it was still hotter than the ideal track conditions of the first session.


Video from Sunday Session 2 - best lap of the weekend

As you can see in the video above I wasn't exactly happy with that lap, and there were multiple driving mistakes that cost time. The rear tires were also struggling by that point - too hot, too many heat cycles, just never "came in" in this session. I was slower in the esses than in previous sessions, just finally was able to patch together a quicker lap without all of the traffic. I never really got a lap all weekend where I nailed all of the high speed braking markers, clipped every apex, used all of the track out room, and maxed out what the car could do... a combination of learning the track, TRAFFIC, tire age, TRAFFIC, little driving mistakes, TRAFFIC, and track temps. These factors combined to never allowed me to sync up what I felt the car should do (2:40-2:39) on a "full tilt" lap. Oh well, maybe next time.



I still had nearly a 4 second lead over 2nd place after session 2, and with the rising ambient/rack temps and my level of sweating I felt we had seen the best track conditions already - so I skipped TT session 3. For once I gave Amy the car (she always ran right after me) without blistering hot tires and brakes. Now she could work on her lap times (she was still "gaining courage" up until the last session) without boiling tires. The 2nd place TTD car was an NC Miata that had aero and power - he was pulling me on the straights - but luckily was braking super early and going slower in the esses. He was usually gridded 1 or 2 cars behind me and could see my lines, and I could see that he was getting faster. He went out in TT session 3, found a bunch of time, and got within a second of me?! Uh-oh.

OK so now we have some serious competition, this time from someone out of region I don't know, and I have one session left to stay ahead. Do I go out, do I skip it? Will he? If he finds any more time in session 4 I could not only lose for the day (and potentially 2 tires) but lose the track record (which I had reset in session 2). I went to grid for TT session 4 with some serious pressure, but no other cars were there yet (see below left) when we were scheduled to go out - just me. Maybe I could get a "solo session" and work on my lines, maybe still find some time in this late afternoon heat? Slowly more and more and more TT drivers arrived to grid, and my closest TTD competitor was supposed to be gridded right behind me. If he showed up to grid I was going to stay out there in front of him for the entire time, to see what he could do.



With a long delay due to a Spec Miata crash the last TT session was stuck sitting on grid for an eternity - 45 minutes passed in sweltering high 90s heat, and by then 10 TT drivers had arrived. I stayed on grid, looking for that TTD Miata. 5 minute warning. 3 minute. 1 minute. No Miata. Right before TT took to the track DARK clouds rolled in (see above right) from a looming MEGA storm.

Amy said "He's not coming. You won - now go out there and drive!" So I did. I drove the piss out of the car, knowing I had a fresh set of tires coming from Hoosier for the next race. Held nothing back, pounded out laps. And consequently had the most fun of the weekend with no pressure any more. I narrowly missed a TTC S2000 spinning right in front of me entering T10 on the first lap, but other than that I finally had my first traffic free laps of the weekend. With this set of Hoosiers essentially cooked out (with a combined 5 weekends of driving among 3 drivers) I still managed to run a 2:43.5 lap in the highest temps of the weekend. I stayed out a long time, just stringing corners together, pushing the car more and more. This track is LOTS OF FUN!



I finally came in when I started to run out of fuel (the long T16-T18 corner would fuel starve with anywhere near 1/2 tank) and Amy was watching live times on the Race Hero app. She said none of the other TT cars went any faster, so we took the Sunday win and track record for the weekend. Hot damn! They had some champagne and trophies for Sunday class wins also (I guess $1200 entry fees pay for a lot!), but we rushed to load up all of our stuff in the garage, stuck the car in the trailer, and high tailed it outta Austin by 7 pm with rain starting to fall. We weren't a mile from the track when the skies UNLOADED and we slogged through one of the worst storms I've ever driven through.



Plenty of traffic heading north through construction so of course we had a trailer tire explode. It happened during a 10+ mile construction zone with no shoulders, right outside of Waco. Brand new tire, not a month old. GRR! I quickly dove into one small stretch of shoulder 100 feet long, stuffed the right side of the trailer almost in the dirt, then did a super fast tire change in the rain with traffic whizzing by. Super sketchy location with no way to exit back into busy high speed traffic without backing up and getting a spotter - it was on a curve with concrete barriers on both sides. Texas DPS pulled in behind me right as I finished the tire change (to our last spare!) and helped make a lane for Amy to pull the truck and trailer out into. Well its time for all new wheels AND a new brand of tires on this trailer, and two new spares.

Luckily the following Monday was a holiday for most folks (our shop was closed) and we got to catch up on some sleep before I headed in to catch up on work. Watched some of my laps, noted the massive traffic and blocking, but I've got to just realize that without the Friday test day I put myself in a bad spot by having to learn the track during competition. With a better Saturday TT Warm-Up time I could have moved up the grid ahead of the slower cars sooner, avoiding much of the traffic. Can't take any new track for granted - we have to learn them at a test day.



Amy (see above) had a lot of fun and was running her fastest times of the weekend right at the end. She was finally getting more seat time in this 330. Its hard to share a car that is also running in competition, because tires are a very finite, temperamental aspect. We really want to get her car (FRS) more track worthy and try to sell this 36' trailer and get a 2 car (44-48') for next year. We'll see. My DE1 student learned a TON and I got him a check ride for DE2, which he passed easily - probably ready for 3, but I won't rush him. Great racing, well run event, and other than the high temps, the weekend was a complete success. If they move NASA Nationals here.... man that would rock!!!

COTA Official Results: http://timingscoring.drivenasa.com/N...ts/May%20COTA/

The Sunday results are being contested in TT (one of the other class entries magically dropped 20 seconds in one session) but the Saturday results are up and our class results were not protested. This pair of class wins put us at 600 points for the year, and the next closest TTD racer is at 255 points. We'll run "D" at Hallett in late June and if we can continue our unbeaten streak and score two more wins (+200 total) that would put us far enough ahead in class mathematically to cinch the regional championship. We have some new 245mm Hoosiers coming that we won at COTA so at least we won't be on this dead set of tires any longer. Our E46 here isn't going to NASA Nationals East or West - two tracks I have never driven and that are super far away - so Hallett might be our last TTD event, then the car might jump up to TT4 soon after.

WHAT'S NEXT?

I've been hinting in this build thread about a possible move from TTD to TT4 for a while. The "TT-Number" classes are much more open and almost entirely P-to-W based (compared to the "dying or gone" TT-Letter classes). We'd need a big injection of power, a big drop in weight, or a bit of both to get from the 14.25:1 ratio of TTD to the 12:1 ratio of TT4. So we're working on both aspects now while still staying in TTD for one more event. TT4 allows us to have a splitter, wing, LSD, a max of a 275mm R7 tire, and more power (without chasing "mod points") so it is very enticing.



To get a head start on TT4 prep a lot is going on with our little E46 this week. I will cover this work next time but we have already added an AJ Hartman carbon fiber hood, AeroCatch hood latches, HARD Motorsport rear quarter Lexan windows, a Lexan rear window, aluminum rear bulkhead, dual fuel pump upgrade, and more. All of this is currently TTD legal, and we can easily ballast-up to meet the TTD weight, but these mods do help us get closer to TT4 later.



Our sister shop HPR race builds engines. Since I race with an M54B30 engine... and so few shops build these up... I've been pushing the guys to look at these a bit closer - with an eye towards a 300 whp engine. So last week we began tearing apart an M54 to look at what we can do to make that power level or beyond. Master engine builder Erik Koenig took a lot of measurements and ran a lot of numbers on this block & crank and we think there is a lot room for a "considerable amount of additional displacement" in this all-aluminum M54 engine - more than I have ever heard anyone reaching. I will talk more about this next time and over the summer as we explore the possibility of a more powerful M54 engine. If we don't like the costs or constraints within the block or head, we can always put a small displacement LS engine in this car (like a de-tuned 4.8L) to make the numbers we need.

Until next time - drive fast and take chances!
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Old 06-12-2017, 10:46 PM   #72
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Thank you Terry for your informative posts as i have learned a ton from your vast knowledge. I wanted to comment on your Wider is Better wheel/tire rant.
I have done a few track days in my E70 X5 drive 3.0 with the Msport package. That gets you the same size tires as the real deal X5M 275/20 fr, 315/20 rr. It does things it should not do, largely because of these massive tires. Now if i could get those 315's on the front......
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Old 06-26-2017, 01:10 PM   #73
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That header is a work of art. Amazing.
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Old 07-18-2017, 03:03 PM   #74
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Project Update for July 17th, 2017: Since our last update in June our crew did a number of upgrades to the red 330, including a carbon fiber hood, Aerocatch hood latches, HARD Motorsport Lexan quarter rear windows, a Lexan back window, and a custom aluminum bulkhead for the trunk to cabin opening. We even show carbon fiber repair techniques this time.



These weight removal changes required us to add more ballast to stay within TTD class rules, but its all part of the planned move to TT4 later this year (where we can run less weight/more power/more aero). To reduce our fuel load reduce our fuel load requirements and fuel starvation issues in right hand turns we also performed a popular upgrade by adding a 2nd fuel pump. The driver's seat was also upgraded with a halo style racing seat. As predicted, the more "racey" the 330 gets the less "daily driver" friendly it becomes.



We took the 330 to the NASA Summer Shootout at Hallett and won all 3 Time Trial events over the weekend and set two new track records, which we will cover below. This brings our TTD track record total to 5 for the year in this car. This actually wasn't an easy weekend and we had some tight competition chasing us.



We will also cover more of the upgrades to "Operation Track Rat", an E46 328i sedan we bought a while ago. This update shows the suspension upgrades, brake upgrades and chassis reinforcement. This car recently sold but I will continue to share all of the work we did before this customer took ownership. I recently bought yet another E46 coupe that we're going to tinker with, to keep a steady stream of E46 cars coming into Vorshlag.

NOTE: We have closed down the thread on corner-carvers, as they don't want build threads posted by shop owners there anymore. Hope you found your way to this thread from another location.

CARBON FIBER HOOD UPGRADE

Please suffer me this small tangent to explain how our 330 got a carbon hood. The E46M3 V8 monster track build we are building for a customer received a lot of AJ Hartman carbon fiber parts, including the roof panel and hood. The quality, weight, fit and finish were all exceptional.



But getting this sizable part from New Jersey to Texas proved to be a bumpy road and one hood was damaged in shipping. A second hood was sent for this M3 and got here in perfect shape. So we had one extra, damaged hood on hand. Hmm, what could we do with it? Shipping it back costs a lot of $$, and its always tough to sell a repaired carbon fiber part - the weave will never "look perfect" again.



Above is some tool (me) holding the AJ Hartman E46 carbon hood with one hand. I cannot do that with the stock steel hood on the 330, I assure you! This hood weighs 1/4 of the stock piece, and we needed to concentrate on front weight removal, so this might be the right mod for our red 330 right now.



44.5 pounds vs 9.5 pounds, so this would shed around 35 pounds. Weight saved over the front tires, and fairly high relative to the cg. Too good to pass up...

CARBON FIBER REPAIR

To be able to use this hood we needed to repair the shipping damage. Ryan used to work on carbon fiber race cars so he knew what materials to order. Carbon fiber fabric plus the epoxy resin and hardener to set it up. He also had me order some heavy gaffer tape, which was used to hold the outer shape of the repair during curing.



Now I've done fiberglass repair before but this was a little different. We aren't going to be painting this hood for a little while so we didn't want to do any bodywork on the repaired section just yet. The key to this repair was to get the repaired area on the outside to match the shape of the hood as much as possible.



The cracked section was cut back a bit to trim up the fibers at the break. This was so the cracked area would line back up - otherwise the pieces would try to mesh together at a funny angle. Patches of carbon fabric were cut in increasing widths, with the thinnest patch near the crack, then a wider one above that, for about 4 layers. The first batch of resin was mixed up in a disposable measuring cup.



The material pieces were soaked with the mixed resign, which was applied to the broken area in layers - thinnest, then wider, then widest on the outside. Some resin was brushed onto the hood section first, too. Gaffers tape was placed on top of the repaired area while it was still wet. Then some formed aluminum pieces (made beforehand) went on top of the gaffers tape, which acted as a press on both sides of the repair. Clamps were placed against the aluminum and it was allowed to cure for 6 hours.



The same repair was done at the end of the day on the outside surface of the hood. Resin, material, gaffer tape, aluminum plates, and clamps to give it pressure. Then that cured overnight.



Above left is the broken section repaired on the back side only. Above right is the finished repair with the outer patch completed, which was somewhat smooth. This area will be cleaned up with some bodywork before paint, but is functional and strong. With $80 in materials (and lots left over) and a couple of hours of work we salvaged a pretty busted up section of the carbon hood. Like all motorsports grade dry carbon parts it needs to be painted or wrapped, and we plan to paint this and some other panels on the car later this summer.



The hood was bolted on using the factory hinges and lift struts but you will notice the underside only has about half of the inner structure. The forward portions are omitted for weight reasons. This is meant for race cars, not street cars, and no provisions for the two forward factory latches were there.



Instead Ryan added two Aerocatch hood latches. Installing these takes a lot of measuring, careful cutting, some drilling, and patience.



Similarly the hood pin instillation is a bit harder than it looks. These have to be mounted at the precise location to line up with the hood latches, with the correct height and angles to align with the latching pin. The mounting holes were reinforced with TIG welded plates and the threaded fasteners for the pins have good anchors to hold against now. A small section of rubber hose act as adjustable hood height spacers, as well as a good cushion against the closing of the hood. Works great.



This is how the raw hood looks right out of the mold, with no clear coat, no heavy gel coat. So while I wasn't planning on buying this lightweight hood the shipping damage and repairs we did made it more affordable, and it will help us as we move this car to TT4 class. For now we'll have to add 35 pounds to the ballast rack in the trunk.

MORE ON THE E46 TRACK RAT BUILD

Back in the June 9th 2017 update I showed the first stages of mods to this 328i sedan, which is becoming a dual purpose street/track car.



As we've shown in this thread before the easiest brake upgrade to any E46 322/325/328 is an upgrade to the E46 330 front brakes, which are 1" larger diameter rotors. We had previously upgraded our 325Ci (the original #JackDaniels) to 330 front brakes and noticed quite a nice improvement. So when the red 330 (our TTD car) got an a front BBK upgrade to Powerbrake bits we took the fresh 330 rotors/Carbotech pads/330 calipers off the red car and donated them to the 328i here.



The Stoptech rotors and Carbotech pads were fresh and had only done 2 events on the 330 since new, so they went right on. The 330's calipers also looked fine, so those and the longer 330 caliper brackets were transferred over. The 328i got a full brake flush with Motul RBF600 and an upgrade to our 90mm wheel studs and lug nuts (I hate lug bolts!).



Right after this brake system upgrade it was time for suspension. Again, new parts we had briefly track tested on our red 330 were put to good use on this 328i, like the Bilstein PSS kit we had converted to 60mm coilovers.



"Waste not, want not" - these very same Bilsteins had been on the red 330 for the first 3 track weekends and still looked brand new. We had robbed the camber plates and spherical rear shock mounts so those were replaced with new Vorshlag bits on this 328i. We re-used the Hyperco 60mm coilover springs (450F/550R) and the modified Bilstein rear ride height adjustable platforms from the red 330, too.



There is always the Achilles Heel of the E46 to fix: the rear subframe mounts at the chassis. As we have discussed before, these can crack easily on any E46 car and must be reinforced for all street and track cars. Without these reinforcements an E46 is hard to sell; with them done correctly the value goes way up.



We break in all new fabricators who start at Vorshlag on an E46 rear reinforcement job. Its dirty, nasty work and requires hours of overhead wrenching and TIG welding.

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Old 07-18-2017, 03:05 PM   #75
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continued from above

We let them do their first one on shop owned cars - because the hours can run long on your first attempt. If they can pull this off without complaint and their welds look good, they usually work out.



With the subframe out we always replace the sloppy rubber bushings with poly or aluminum. This car got Powerflex Black race polyurethane in the 4 subframe mounts and two front and one rear differential mounts. No more slop to wreck havoc on the rear sheet metal.



Once the rear subframe was all buttoned up in the car the front control arms were replaced. The front lower control arm bushings at the "lollipop" were replaced with Powerflex 2-piece race poly bushings as well. We always drill and tap the housings for grease zerks and drill thru the outer part of the 2-piece bushing to allow grease to get to the inner joint. That wraps up the brakes, suspension and subframe reinforcement - we will show more work on the 328i next time.

ALUMINUM REAR BULKHEAD TO TRUNK

We showed the welded custom 4-point roll bar in the red 330 back in a previous update to this thread. I have been very happy with the fit and rigidity of this 1.75" x .095" wall DOM tubing structure.



When we remove the back seat and add a roll bar like this there is an open hole left to the trunk. If we had a fuel cell mounted in the trunk there would NEED to be a metal firewall added close off the fuel tank from the passenger cabin. Of course the E46 has the stock fuel tank under the back seat floor section, so a metal barrier already exists. I noticed a lot more road noise (and a clunk we later traced down) with the back seat out, so I asked our guys to build an aluminum bulkhead - to quiet this noise and make the car look more finished.



Ryan usually does these sheet metal jobs and as usual he made this task look easy - which it isn't. He started by making templates from heavy craft paper, which were then transferred to .080" thick 3003 aluminum sheet. This structure is made in 3 pieces - an upper shelf, then a 2-piece vertal panel that fit around the rear down bars of the 4-point roll bar.



These were cut, bent, and drilled for mounting hardware. The panels were designed to work with bolts and threaded inserts (see below right) - but in this step the familiar Cleco fasteners were used during construction.



Now since we weren't building an air tight firewall the panels were fitted close to the roll bar tubes but this will still help keep fluids and gases out of the cabin from the trunk - whatever those might be.



As you can see the rear window was out to gain access to make this series of panels. With a coupe of coats of semi-flat black paint (to minimize glare in the back window) the final panels were bolted in place using a number of stainless button head bolts and M5 threaded inserts added to the chassis. Very happy with the finished panels, looks great.

LEXAN QUARTER REAR AND BACK WINDOW UPGRADE

In an effort to remove more weight and to test out some additional parts from the vendors we work with, I ordered the HARD Motorsport rear quarter windows and a Lexan rear window from 5 Star Bodies. I didn't weigh the factory rear glass or the replacement panel, which was a silly mistake.



The back window was fitted to the car, holes were drilled for hardware, then the border was masked off and painted semi-flat black.



The border has to be taped off and masked. Taking your time here makes a big difference in the final look. The holes in the rear window frame had M5 threaded inserts added, but the painted border on the Lexan panel covers up these areas and the body colored sections you might otherwise see.



A bead of black weatherstrip adhesive was laid down before the Lexan was put in place. Countersunk stainless M5 bolts went in above countersunk Tinnerman stainless washers were inserted into the holes drilled in the Lexan to make for a flush mounted hardware installation. Now it was time for the rear quarter windows. This car also had a bad OEM rear actuator for the stock glass windows (these weigh .5 pounds each).



The glass pieces weighed 11.2 pounds for the pair with the actuators, the Lexan added up to 3.6 pounds, so it isn't huge savings potential but it all adds up. These come with a cut vinyl border so you don't have to mask and paint them like we did the back window.



The OEM pieces were easy to remove - a few bolts on the front edge hinges and then the actuators which also unbolt. Then the weatherstrip gasket was pulled out of the channel.



The mounting brackets and hardware that came with the HARD kit made the install very easy. We save over 7.5 pounds with the Lexan side quarter windows. I am extrapolating (uh-oh!) that to the rear glass to Lexan upgrade to be closer to 15+ more pounds dropped, since we threw out the old glass and didn't weigh those bits...



50 additional pounds of ballast was added to the trunk to get the 330 up to the weight we wanted, which is 25 pounds over the 3205 pound number we are claiming in TTD class (we are burning 6 class points to dip 80 pounds under the 3285 pound class minimum for this car). This is with a 1/2 tank of fuel and the 210 pound driver in place. This made for 51.2% front weight bias, which is the best we've seen in this car since the beginning.

DUAL FUEL PUMP UPGRADE?

The factory plastic fuel tank assembly for the E46 chassis is a "dual saddle" design, shown below. This is how many modern sports sedans and coupes run their fuel tank (our 2011 Mustang had a nearly identical design). It puts the fuel under the floor sheet metal, usually under the back seat. It straddles the driveshaft and exhaust with a raised center portion. Fuel is usually fed from one side by an in-tank fuel pump but there is usually a feed tube that goes to the other side, fed by a jet pump or vacuum. The E46 fuel pump (with a level sender) is on the right side and a second fuel level sender is on the left side. The two level senders "average" the readings to send to the fuel level gauge on the dash.



Most of the road courses we frequent are built to be run in a Counter Clock Wise direction, a layout which produces mostly left hand turns. These turns push the fuel into the right side saddle, which helps to keep the E46's fuel pump pickup covered in fuel. Right turns would slosh the fuel load into the left side saddle, possibly uncovering the fuel pump pickup....



Fuel starve on right turns in this car has been noted at some tracks but hasn't been a huge issue in this car until we ran COTA, which had one massive right hand turn. Turns T16-T18 are linked to make for a fast, 4th gear, flat out right-hander that would starve the fuel pump on anything less than 3/4 tank in our 330. Running 3/4+ tank is a LOT of fuel, which we could "just run as ballast" but we are trying to get weight down for the next class. It was time to tackle this right hand fuel starve issue.



There are numerous kits sold by various shops for a "dual fuel pump" upgrade, where the left side fuel level sender is replaced with a 2nd fuel pump which has another integral float and level sending unit. We looked at the options and decided we could make a better kit for less. The pictures above show the fuel sender and jet pump on the left side and the other round port is where the fuel pump resides, in the right side saddle portion of the tank.



Now one thing we noticed when Aaron had the factory sender and jet pump line (internal crossover hose) out of the car was that the feed line to the "pump side" of the tank was kinked, hard. Maybe we just had a restriction in the factory bits? But so many other BMW owners complain of the same issue that this couldn't be just a kinked line affecting this car. So we moved ahead with the second fuel pump addition - and this kinked hose was replaced in the swap..



Wiring in the second pump was fairly straightforward but plumbing it took some new lines and a custom adapter fitting. This was machined from aluminum and allowed a connection with some crimped Oetiker hose clamps for the feed line. I'm not exactly sure how other dual fuel pump kits do this, but this made the most sense to us. Both fuel pump feed lines were connected via a "Y" and feed the main supply line running to the fuel rail.



This feed line is then routed over to the other saddle, under the floor, as shown above left. An internal crossover for the return was made inside the tank using submersible fuel line - specially made so the outer jacket is impervious to continuous submersion in fuel (which makes it damned expensive). With the two steel access covers bolted in place (above right) it is all secured under metal bulkheads. With 1/2 tank of fuel verified visually before buttoning this all up we were set to test this at Hallett, which has some fast right-handers on the CCW course and where the entire course would be run CW for one session Sunday...

continued below
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Old 07-18-2017, 03:07 PM   #76
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continued from above

SPARCO CIRCUIT II SEAT SWAP

The stock seats that came in the E46 330 look a bit "sporty" but in reality they are terrible. Downright scary on track, especially once you have real race tires and race suspension. We yanked these heavy bastards out early in this build (and they went into the 325Ci "JackDaniels").



We have been racing this 330 with a COBRA Suzuka GT width driver's seat for the past season and a half. This is a great seat which we have used in multiple shop cars over the years. This Kevlar composite 1-piece FIA racing seat has higher leg bolsters than the Sparco EVO II seat that is on the passenger side. These hold your legs better in cornering but make for a higher "step over" when getting in or out. It makes it more challenging to use in a daily driver, but it is a better racing seat because of it.



I like COBRA seats but in the last year we have setup a better relationship with Sparco, and have begun stocking and selling more of their seats. The Sparco EVO line of seats (they make a total of 4 versions... EVO I, II, II US, and III) are very popular and probably comprise 80% of our sales. The E46 M3 SMG below got a pair of EVO IIs for dual purpose street/track use.



Since we had no seat in the right side of our 330 for a while I decided to add a a Sparco EVO II there. Since this 330 stays at our shop I can let customers who stop by test sit in our 330 in this seat.



We ran our 330 with the COBRA on the driver's side and the OEM seat on the passenger side for a while. Then we pulled the heavy passenger seat out to try to make weight, and ran it with just one seat for a while. For the last ~6 months or so it has had this Sparco EVO II on the passenger side using a fixed mounting bracket (no slider). It is more than adequate for the occasional passenger - I usually take my HPDE students, friends, customers, or Amy for ride-alongs. And I've ridden in this right side seat with Amy driving many times, too. Works great.



As the #DailyDrivenTrackCar E46 becomes more "racey" with Lexan, Carbon Fiber, and an offroad-only exhaust, we have been increasing safety to match the speed of the entire package. The 4-point roll bar ("half cage") was added, and while technically suitable for a dual purpose car, this is one of those things that cannot be un-done easily. These things are all adding up to make this into a race car, and I'm OK with that. That means some aspects of street driving naturally get compromised.



One thing we just added that really is not appropriate for a street car is the halo-style Sparco racing seat on the driver's side. This Circuit II seat helps prevent neck and head injuries in a side impact with this massive chunk of seat surrounding your head. The Sparco Circuit also has very high leg bolsters, for leg protection, like the Cobra Suzuka.



Compared to the Cobra and EVO II (above left), the Circuit II (above right) weighs about 3 pounds heavier. Of course we weighed them, who do you think this is???



I've been keeping 2+ Circuit II seats in my lobby because they are going into more and more race cars. I've sat in these 4 Sparco seats dozens of times and the Circuit II just fits me best. The Pro2000 is a good alternative to the Suzuka, with better hip/leg bolsters than the EVO line. Between the Pro-ADV and Circuit, the head halo comes inches higher on my head on the Circuit. The seat fits my frame and we decided to pull the Cobra driver's seat and add the wider "II" version on a new, stronger slider & bracket assembly.



Last year when we first installed the Cobra driver's seat I had Olof make a super low profile bracket and trimmed the carpet around the factory floor mount structures. With the stock headliner and sunroof in the car I needed every possible inch of headroom. Some of you criticized this bracket and it wasn't as rigid as I like, so we built an all new bracket using much thicker materials this time.



This chassis bracket is built with 1x2" rectangular tubing and angle iron and is about an inch taller than the original. With the retracting sunroof and headliner removed height is no longer an issue and at the new seat height Amy can finally see over the dash. We uses the same Cobra dual locking slider and modified OMP side brackets. The old chassis bracket was light and thin, whereas the new bracket is beefy and could kill a man if you swung it at his head. Unsurprisingly the new bracket keeps the seat more rigid in the car.



The Circuit II is the Kim Kardashian of racing seats, with a much more curved bottom (see below left). This is why I fit better in this seat than the PRO-ADV, which visually has the same height as the Circuit II but a flat bottom. Mounting this Circuit II required some adjustment in the side brackets - which we did after I ran the car at Hallett - to get the seat height correct for me. Since this seat was added about an hour before we left for the race, I ran it at Hallett sitting a bit too high for my liking - but it was still a great fitting seat.



Now that we had a few more minutes to modify the side brackets and change the mounting holes, it is adjusted better to my torso height and I can't wait to get back on track with this seat. The slider is super smooth and locks positively.



We left the OEM 3-point seat belt anchor off of this set of brackets, and that along with the halo seat's natural blind spots make street driving a thing of the past. #BecauseRacecar The car still has a steering wheel airbag, steering wheel radio controls, a radio and front speakers, and an ice cold AC. Some tough decisions lie ahead for this red 330.

BRAKE PAD LIFE

Before we loaded up the car to tow to Hallett we had the car on the lift for a quick pre-track check-up. We pulled the wheels, checked the brake pads, caliper temp strips and rotor tamp paint.



The Powerbrake PB23 compound pads that came in our "large 4 piston" front Powerbrake upgrade kit seem to be lasting an insanely long time. after 14 months and countless laps the Powerbrake front pads are still 3/4 depth! Its crazy - I abuse these brakes, and they are wearing very well. I'm used to replacing pads every 3-4 weekends, but it might be every 2 years at this rate.



Even the rear pads seemed to be wearing better than expected. Maybe with the massive upgrade to the front brakes it took some work/wear off the rears. And even through we won some tires at COTA, we only won 2 total, so the existing tire set was examined and looked OK to run one more time at Hallett.



With the large number of "little upgrades" and the car checked out by our staff I felt confident in the upcoming Hallett Race. There were 5 signed up in TTD so I was hoping the class might "make" - but many were strangers from outside of our region so I had no idea if there were some new folks that could challenge us.



With the car and gear loaded into the trailer, Amy drove us out of Dallas around 4 PM on Friday for the 4-5 hour tow to the hotel in Tulsa Oklahoma, about 40 minutes from the track. We would blast out to the track early the next morning to unhook, unload, and get to grid.

NASA SUMMER SHOOTOUT, HALLETT, JUNE 24-25, 2017



Hallett opens the gate early, but to get into the paddock area you have to crossover the track surface, so they close the track by 7:30 am and you would have to wait to enter between sessions after that - sometimes for as long as an hour. Yea they need a bridge or a tunnel, but it has worked for 30+ years this way.



The track is built in a way that it can be run in both directions, but predominantly they run it CCW. And NASA runs it this way for the racers, HPDE and TT groups - except for the last sessions on Sunday for HPDE and TT. Oddly enough NASA Texas Region counts the last ClockWise session as a separate event, and track records can be set in this one and only session. They do it as a way to get people to stick around for the last Sunday session, but points is points and track records are my favorite thing, so we ALWAYS stick around.



I've set track records at the 2013 and 2014 NASA Summer Shootout in our red Mustang above. Some folks are intimidated by one particular corner, T9, which is called "the Bitch". A number of cars have had big shunts there, but I love that corner and always seem to be caching competitors there. I'm on/off the gas and brake 3 times entering T7/T8/T9, usually jumping two different curbs on the entry. We always come away from this NASA Hallett event very pleased with this track - the lush green rolling hills, the elevation changes (which we don't see much in Texas), and the amazing track officials and photographer Tim - he always takes great shots! I bought the photo CD from this event like I do every year. If you see a non-watermarked pic in this post, it's from him.

SATURDAY RACE #1 - 1.8 CCW

Saturday we got to the track and quickly unloaded the car, setup the camera and lap timer, and installed the AMB transponder. Tire pressures were 28psi cold all around to start shooting for 33F/32R hot. The Time Trial group started with a meeting, and we had a large number of folks there. So I figured TT would be a mad house of traffic with only 1.8 miles of track.

Event Photo Gallery: https://vorshlag.smugmug.com/Racing-...ne-24-25-2017/



And sure enough, traffic in the TT warmup session was a hot mess and I only ran a 1:29.1, stuck in a lot of traffic (I'm used to 1:21 times here in the Mustang). That time at least moved me up to 11th on the grid out of 26 that made it to this session. I had a TTD competitor that was close on my heels with a 1:29.5 in a white Acura Integra Type R. Ambient temp was a low 73F, which is crazy for late June in the south, so we were loving it.



In TT session 1 the temps dropped to 71F ambient, and my times dropped down to a 1:27.983. The whole time I was fighting to get a clear lap inside of a huge a pack of TTC S2000s. That was the fastest TT session of the day - but I still felt like I had more in the car. The white Integra popped off a 1:28.108 in that session - whoa!

continued below
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Old 07-18-2017, 03:08 PM   #77
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continued from above



That margin was too close for comfort so I lined up for TT session 2, where temps had crawled up to 82F. Once again had to fight for track space with faster cars ahead of me that were holding me up in all of the braking zones and into T9. All I could muster was a 1:28.032 in the ever increasing heat. The TTD Integra slowed down to a 1:29.904 best lap, which was a big drop off for him.



There was still less than a tenth of a second between us, so I went ahead and ran the last TT session of the day Saturday in fairly hot conditions (86F), not expecting much improvement - but the competition was too tight to sit this one out! I found a break in traffic and on lap 4 ran off a 1:27.950 for Saturday's best. It was only .027 sec quicker than my TT session 1 time but good enough for the win and a new TTD track record.



I walked the paddock to go look at this Integra Type R but couldn't find him, so I figured I'd look again on Sunday. TT competitors can ask to see other TT racers' classing sheets - and I just wanted to take a peek and see where his points were spent. Having never seen an Integra run competitively in TT before I was just curious. We had four TTD cars run during the day but one got DSQ'd in the Warm-up, so only 3 on the class results at the end of the day - which meant "no tire payout" for the win once again.



Overall the car did well that day, just needed more horsepower to get some passes done. The only good place I found to pass was under braking into T2, which is a fast downhill braking zone. But if you pass there it throws you offline for T3 and you lose a lot of momentum going up the hill into T4 so it blows the lap. All day I was picking off TTC, TT3 and even TT1 cars in the early laps where I could, trying to move up the grid. Inevitably some of those folks would put in a flier at the end of a session and sneak past me on grid the next time. Frustrating being down on power.



Even with only 86F showing it was hot and humid at the end of the day and Amy and I both needed to cool down. There was a "paddock crawl" party and even fireworks, mostly attended by folks camping at the track. Since we had a hotel with air conditioning 40 minutes away we jetted back to there, cleaned up, and had a nice meal downtown instead.

SUNDAY RACE # 2 - 1.8 CCW

Sunday we got to the track right before they closed the gates at 8 am, whew. We had 3 sessions to get our best lap in on the 1.8 mile CCW circuit. I got to grid and began looking for the white TTD Integra. He never showed, hmm? Even with lots of traffic I went out and ran a 1:27.592 in the first session, taking 7 laps looking for a clear track. It was 79F but temps were climbing fast after this session.



In the video above from this session I can see many driving mistakes, especially my line into T4 and entering T5. Hindsight is 20-20 and all but even at the time I knew I was butchering the late apex at T4. Just couldn't get my brain to turn in later on this uphill, blind, off camber corner. Frustrating, but I still found nearly 1/2 a second from my best times Saturday - which is what the AiM predictive lap timer kept telling me I could run.



I went out in TT session 2 but it was getting hotter (82F) and the tires were getting greasy quickly. There was no traffic and I ran my best lap of the session (1:28.274) on my first lap, with times steadily slowing down after. I also ran a few laps in the HPDE 4 session that followed taking Jeremy W for a ride-along, running some 1:29.1 fun laps.

Nobody was dropping time, so I skipped TT session 3 when it was getting into the low 90F range - and everyone slowed way down. The fuel starve issue was as bad as ever and if the fuel load was anywhere near 1/2 tank it would fuel starve in T9, the long right-hander. Meanwhile one of our E46 M3 suspension customers Dennis Clevette (below) won the TT3 class and reset the lap record to a 1:20.385 - Nicely done.



My lap in my first session CCW lap was enough to win the 3 car TTD the class by 7 seconds, with a new TTD/PTD Miata competitor joining the fray for Sunday (the Type R never showed up). I was saving what was left of this ragged set of tires for TT session 4 - our only ClockWise session of the weekend. I've only run this CW course twice - in the last session of the 2013 and 2014 NASA events.

SUNDAY RACE #3 - 1.8 CW

This last session was damn hot but since it was worth another 100 points and a potential track record I was going to run it. To complicate matters many of the Houston and Austin NASA officials were leaving a bit early to get a jump on the 7-9+ hour drives home they had. Our TT director asked me to step in and run that session.



So I got to grid and talked to all 10 of the TT drivers, giving out copies of the map and showing folks who had never run this way where we needed to "bunch up" and "go green" on the out lap. I also tried to show people where to watch out, brake early, and not to mess up (T3 entry done wrong will put you across the track outside of T2!). Amy and I then filled up the 330 with the very last of our Texas 93 octane fuel we brought, for 3/4 tank indicated. This is the fuel load that worked on the CCW course without starving so far. I felt like the car would be fine even with all of these right-handers...



Since I was helping folks on grid I was the last driver to get belted into their car, HANS linked up, gloved up, timer turned on, vidcam started, etc. I waved the field by while I was getting strapped in and caught the back of the field on the out lap, bringing up the rear. Even with only 10 cars running this CW session I had a LOT of traffic to get through and I spent the entire session trying to find a clear lap. And fuel.

The fuel starve issue was HORRIBLE running ClockWise, even with 3/4 tank! It fuel starved on Every. Single. Corner. My best lap came on lap 7 of 7 with a pitiful 1:31.158, fuel starving its guts out, short shifting, and making 2 passes on that lap. Driven well and without all of these other issues the CW direction should only be about 1 second slower, not 3.5. Still that was good enough for another TTD win (+100 points) and another track record. The lap is so bad I'm not even posting it, yuck. Obviously we need to revisit the fuel system setup.



To help fill in for the HPDE group leader, I came back into the grid area after my last TT lap, quickly parked under a tree, jumped out then helped get the last session HPDE drivers (also their only CW session of the weekend) up to speed, passing out the maps and telling them what to look for on this course run in this unusual direction. Once they got going on track I checked the results and noticed that of the 7 TT track records reset this weekend our little 330 set 2 of them. The old CCW TTD record was a 1:28.6 and the old CW record was a 1:36.6, so we reset them both by enough. Our TTD times were pretty far off the new TTC records set by Wallace, but that's been his M.O. all year - obliterating the old TTC records in his dyno-reclassed S2000 (below left).



By the time I got back to our trailer, parked by the pond at the back of the paddock near T9 (above right), the heat was pretty brutal and Amy had overheated a bit (she took pics and helped me in the car all weekend, but didn't drive any sessions). We loaded up the E46 and hit the road soon after, with 3 wins and 2 new track records under our belt.



Jamie Beck's ST3 classed Mustang did well on Saturday scoring two 1st place finishes. In Sunday morning practice 3rd gear on his second Getrag MT-82 transmission broke, but he could still run the whole course in 4th. He still managed to score two 2nd place finishes in the next two races, putting him in the points lead for the season. We have a T56 Magnum XL being built now that we will install in this car soon.



The recently added cool suit / cooler / controller we added to his Mustang worked perfectly, even with the CoolShirt "vest" he ordered from us. With as bad as the heat has been affecting me lately I need to get one of these setups. Oddly enough the high temps at Hallett didn't kill me this time, but I also wasn't doing double duty with instructing and racing.



While at Hallett I looked at a friend's 48' aluminum gooseneck trailer and fell in love. It has a generator, air con, queen sized bed, room for two cars - gotta step up to one of these some day. My 36' trailer is now for sale...

WHAT'S NEXT?

Obviously we need to take another look at the dual fuel pump "upgrade" and see if we routed something wrong or if this is just normal when you corner at 1.3g lateral. If we find a flaw on our layout we have a test event coming up where we can check with various fuel levels. If not it might be time for an external surge tank/pump setup, like the LS1 powered E36 M3 (see below) we are plumbing now.



A fellow TT competitor was chatting with us in our paddock and noticed two small issues at the Hallett event - a ground strap had broken and the Mishi air filter had started rubbing the radiator support. Not much of a concern, and I did some quick paddock repairs for that weekend, but I'll show the real fixes for these two items next time.



There's a good long break before the next NASA event, which isn't until late September at TWS (either on the regular 2.9 mile CCW course or this 1.8 mile abomination they are threatening to make us use). This break is done because Texas summers are damned hot and it will be 90-100F for the next 2 months. People get heat stroke racing in those conditions. We'll spend that time working on our little E46 building it for TT4, of course. I'll try to show another update here before that event. There are some other big surprises in the works as well. Stay tuned!

Cheers,
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