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Spec E46 racing class forum
Official Spec E46 racing class forum.

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Old 11-27-2013, 06:49 PM   #21
bee-em-dougle-u
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Originally Posted by evanlevine3233 View Post
I'm not sure that's an argument I can follow, LMP1 and LMP2 died with ALMS this year. They merged with Grand-Am and created the IMSA TUDOR United Sportscar Challenge, which only has 4 classes total from what used to be what, 7?

There already are sub-classes of cars, it's called SE30, GTS, AI, PT, ST, SM, Honda-Challenge, etc, etc, etc.
You're missing the point. The LMP1/LMP2 example was meant to illustrate that if you have some slightly slower cars in the field, it makes for more passing opportunities and more exciting racing in general, with more people involved. I want to see your series succeed, and more people racing E46s will help you toward your end goal.

Consolidating classes in professional motorsports makes sense when there are limited sponsorship dollars to be had (e.g., IMSA TUDOR United Sportscar Challenge), but it's not a major consideration in amateur road racing where the funding is usually coming straight out of the driver's wallet.
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Last edited by bee-em-dougle-u; 11-27-2013 at 08:41 PM.
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Old 11-28-2013, 06:21 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by bee-em-dougle-u View Post
You're missing the point. The LMP1/LMP2 example was meant to illustrate that if you have some slightly slower cars in the field, it makes for more passing opportunities and more exciting racing in general, with more people involved. I want to see your series succeed, and more people racing E46s will help you toward your end goal.
I don't think I'm missing the point, I think we just disagree, which is fine. Do you have much experience with club racing? It's already mixed class, many of those I mentioned earlier race at the same time, in the same race. SE46 will be one of 7-10 other classes racing in any given race with NASA, BMWCCA, etc. There already are slower cars, faster cars, and so on.

Just like ALMS, there's already too many classes in club racing, our goal move more people to a new competitive spec series much like SE30 and SM have done. Diluting our own solution to the problem of too many would be counter intuitive. People building poor race cars with no where to run them because it happens to be the car they owned to begin with are how club racing has gotten so divided to begin with. This will offer a solution.
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Old 11-28-2013, 06:46 PM   #23
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People building poor race cars with no where to run them because it happens to be the car they owned to begin with are how club racing has gotten so divided to begin with.
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Old 11-28-2013, 10:04 PM   #24
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I don't think I'm missing the point, I think we just disagree, which is fine. Do you have much experience with club racing? It's already mixed class, many of those I mentioned earlier race at the same time, in the same race. SE46 will be one of 7-10 other classes racing in any given race with NASA, BMWCCA, etc. There already are slower cars, faster cars, and so on.

Just like ALMS, there's already too many classes in club racing, our goal move more people to a new competitive spec series much like SE30 and SM have done. Diluting our own solution to the problem of too many would be counter intuitive. People building poor race cars with no where to run them because it happens to be the car they owned to begin with are how club racing has gotten so divided to begin with. This will offer a solution.
But adding 325s to the mix wouldn't create an additional class; just a larger field in SE46. When I said "sub-class" before, I meant 325s and 330s running together, not an entirely different run group or class. I agree on keeping a lid on the proliferation of classes; I've been to numerous NASA HPDE events and competed in the 25 Hours of Thunderhill twice in an NB Miata, and I know how the run group list can get very crowded in a hurry, and how a single blown-motor oil-down event (and delay) on the track can wreak havoc with the schedule.

More cars in one class. That's all I'm saying.
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Old 11-28-2013, 10:26 PM   #25
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appreciate your feedback and enthusiasm (seriously i do) but i can tell you absolutely positively without question that the 330-only aspect of spec e46 will not be changing any time soon. we anticipated this and addressed it on the faq section of the website. hope that doesn't sound rude, but this particular issue is a non-starter.

Last edited by jtower; 11-28-2013 at 10:26 PM.
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Old 11-28-2013, 10:39 PM   #26
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appreciate your feedback and enthusiasm (seriously i do) but i can tell you absolutely positively without question that the 330-only aspect of spec e46 will not be changing any time soon. we anticipated this and addressed it on the faq section of the website. hope that doesn't sound rude, but this particular issue is a non-starter.
Thanks for the civilized response. I appreciate your position, and as this is a discussion forum, I'm just offering my take. I just want your fields to be big enough for everyone to have a great experience...racing in a class with only a couple of other guys can suck for both the drivers and the spectators.
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Old 11-28-2013, 10:45 PM   #27
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Thanks for the civilized response. I appreciate your position, and as this is a discussion forum, I'm just offering my take. I just want your fields to be big enough for everyone to have a great experience...racing in a class with only a couple of other guys can suck for both the drivers and the spectators.
First off to say I think the specE46 sounds awesome! My only issue is that this announcement came too late and I am almost completed with my NASA PT build.

beeem...I agree that a small field will make an uninteresting series. Currently limiting the car to the 330 is a good idea. However, I would imagine if turnout is not adequate that other options would be pursued to increase participation?
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Old 11-29-2013, 04:26 AM   #28
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Interesting sub forum good to see more life in the motorsports section of E46F
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Old 11-29-2013, 09:57 AM   #29
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I love the concept, but really question whether this rule set will create a compelling racing class... I think one of the reasons spec racing is attractive is that it's cheap, it's not an arms race, but a lot of your rules are promoting significant costs... The things you've left open will be the same things that competitors would be tuning in non-spec classes with an E46, so I'm not sure why they wouldn't prefer to run a series with more vehicle diversity if they're going to have to test and tune all that stuff for each track anyway. I'll discuss some of the issues I see individually:

- LSDs - Any LSD for the E46 is expensive, but you've left that completely open, so you're essentially telling competitors to go buy a $3k+ OS Giken, and then to spend a whole bunch of time and money testing various ramp angles and clutch disc setups. If a spec suspension is set up well, you probably don't even need an LSD at all, provided everyone in the field is running the same thing. Also, I think a 3.46 is a little aggressive for an M54 motor, I see a combination of a LOT of shifting required, and a lot of dead motors. I'd recommend either working with a manufacturer like Performance Gearing, Diffsonline, Wavetrac, or OS Giken to determine a spec LSD package with a discount, or removing the LSD requirement, and either way specing a 3.23 as the most aggressive gearing. Do some testing with your preferred suspension and swaybar setup to determine whether you *really* need the LSD or not.

- Suspension - MCS singles with 750/850 springs are a nice setup for sure, but very expensive. Wouldn't a set of H&R race springs and Bilstein sports be just as fun, with a much lower price point? (though this may make the non-LSD setup less workable) The other problem with single adjustables is that the compression or rebound might not be right on, requiring revalving and testing for every track. (what do you think race teams did before adjustable shocks?) Also, what happens when MCS goes out of business because they're a small specialty shop run by just a couple of guys, rather than a major manufacturer? I'd recommend H&R Race / Bilstein sport with stock valving, or a double adjustable Koni yellow setup, or at the very least specifying that the stock valving on the MCSs can't be modified.

- Camber plates - Leaving camber plates so wide open *will* allow some *very* creative & expensive custom fabricated setups. I'd be running 5* of camber and 9* of caster under these rules. I'd recommend some sort of fixed camber plates and slotting only allowed to achieve a spec camber amount.

- Swaybars - they're open? Really? You're essentially requiring the front runners to custom fabricate and test a million permutations of two different swaybars with various types of control arm mounts. (I've done this, on a more limited basis, just for autocross) I'd recommend the 30mm H&R M3 front bar, and no rear bar if you're going to get rid of the LSD allowance, or H&R front and rear, and specify the bar setting either way, or allow adjustment between just the stock settings on those bars, if you want to allow for some tweaking.

I apologize if this sounds like a long list of bitching, as someone with experience competing in an E46 and writing the rules for SCCA Solo, I understand how difficult it can be to clearly define what you want to do, and make sure that the rules you write will get you where you want to be. I hope the series goes well, and I hope some day I'll have the kind of money required to come play.
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Old 11-29-2013, 10:06 AM   #30
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Also, I don't think you'll be happy with the "stock E36" (which could mean a few different parts) exhaust manifold on the M54, I've actually used that on my car and it totally killed the low end power. I didn't tune for that, so maybe that totally solves it, but I'd think there are better options like the bimmerbrakes setup, or one of the E36 "shorty" options mated to a custom bimmerworld downpipe and 3" exhaust.
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Old 11-29-2013, 10:43 AM   #31
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Another thought - Tires - Especially if you're stuck with a 3.46 diff, you'll want to run 245 tires, not 235. I run 17x9" wheels with 255 BFG R1s, Star Specs, or RS3s, and those all fit under the fenders just fine.
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Old 11-29-2013, 11:20 AM   #32
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I think murph brings up some good points. Your spec series leaves a TON of money on the table for development costs and basically allowing the guys with the biggest pockets to get on the podium. Part of the reason Spec Miata is so popular is the lack of engineering required to get fast. You call Mazda and say, "I need Spec Miata suspension plz" and you get your dampers, springs, and bars. You don't have to buy a copy of Milliken and Milliken to understand what's going on.
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Old 11-29-2013, 06:01 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by murph1379 View Post
I love the concept, but really question whether this rule set will create a compelling racing class... I think one of the reasons spec racing is attractive is that it's cheap, it's not an arms race, but a lot of your rules are promoting significant costs... The things you've left open will be the same things that competitors would be tuning in non-spec classes with an E46, so I'm not sure why they wouldn't prefer to run a series with more vehicle diversity if they're going to have to test and tune all that stuff for each track anyway. I'll discuss some of the issues I see individually:
Thanks for taking the time. We had 3 cars order parts today from us, and we aren't the sole supplier of anything except the exhaust. Others are being planned. So far the initial response is tremendous. The thing is, there is a market for spec racing in cars that AREN'T diverse, and feel like real racecars - that is the market we worked to hit.

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Originally Posted by murph1379 View Post
- LSDs - Any LSD for the E46 is expensive, but you've left that completely open, so you're essentially telling competitors to go buy a $3k+ OS Giken, and then to spend a whole bunch of time and money testing various ramp angles and clutch disc setups. If a spec suspension is set up well, you probably don't even need an LSD at all, provided everyone in the field is running the same thing. Also, I think a 3.46 is a little aggressive for an M54 motor, I see a combination of a LOT of shifting required, and a lot of dead motors. I'd recommend either working with a manufacturer like Performance Gearing, Diffsonline, Wavetrac, or OS Giken to determine a spec LSD package with a discount, or removing the LSD requirement, and either way specing a 3.23 as the most aggressive gearing. Do some testing with your preferred suspension and swaybar setup to determine whether you *really* need the LSD or not.
Not really NEEDED, but neither is anything outside the safety arena of the car. But it certainly makes the car faster and more fun, and is a big bang for the buck on dollars spent. And since we don't intend to open up and inspect diffs at the track, we left the rules fairly open here - that way there is no illusion of cost control like some other spec classes, which clearly use fast parts. And everyone doing this gets the benefits of our testing and setup work and will get the right parts. If someone is really spending all that money and time testing parts for Spec E46, I think we will all be both flattered and baffled. But I can also say that outside of pro racing there doesn't seem to be a lot of actual testing on these things to the level that will give anything other than a placebo result. I think we made the right decision here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by murph1379 View Post
- Suspension - MCS singles with 750/850 springs are a nice setup for sure, but very expensive. Wouldn't a set of H&R race springs and Bilstein sports be just as fun, with a much lower price point? (though this may make the non-LSD setup less workable) The other problem with single adjustables is that the compression or rebound might not be right on, requiring revalving and testing for every track. (what do you think race teams did before adjustable shocks?) Also, what happens when MCS goes out of business because they're a small specialty shop run by just a couple of guys, rather than a major manufacturer? I'd recommend H&R Race / Bilstein sport with stock valving, or a double adjustable Koni yellow setup, or at the very least specifying that the stock valving on the MCSs can't be modified.
The beauty of going with the MCS was to use a product that was durable, that didn't need to be rebuilt or repurchased to truly stay fresh when combined with a real track spring rate. You can always get better and I prefer 3-Ways, but that is out of the scope of the class. There is plenty of massaging going on in other classes (on the cheap parts too), and again, we aren't going to be taking shocks apart at the track - instead we prefer to spec the right part so all this massaging has less benefit. We have discussed with MCS and we feel confident with the choice.

Additionally, we discussed cheaper, and that is not the intent of the class. It is cost contained, but not "cheap". However, you can buy all the parts to build a winner for $15k, and $20k gets you a topped out car - build lists coming, so we did hit our cost mark. We decided we all like close, competitive racing with some cost containment - not necessarily driving crappy cars so they can be closely competitive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by murph1379 View Post
- Camber plates - Leaving camber plates so wide open *will* allow some *very* creative & expensive custom fabricated setups. I'd be running 5* of camber and 9* of caster under these rules. I'd recommend some sort of fixed camber plates and slotting only allowed to achieve a spec camber amount.
With the spring rates speced and the likely tire choices, not too many people would follow your creative setup I suspect. Again, if we put the right parts on the car, there is no reason to get fancy in the areas we intentionally left open for some freedom of supplier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by murph1379 View Post
- Swaybars - they're open? Really? You're essentially requiring the front runners to custom fabricate and test a million permutations of two different swaybars with various types of control arm mounts. (I've done this, on a more limited basis, just for autocross) I'd recommend the 30mm H&R M3 front bar, and no rear bar if you're going to get rid of the LSD allowance, or H&R front and rear, and specify the bar setting either way, or allow adjustment between just the stock settings on those bars, if you want to allow for some tweaking.
Again, flattered. We tried to spec the important stuff and leave some stuff open. There is no magic bullet in either the parts we spec, or chose not to spec, but clearly anyone can rub on something as much as they would like. You are allowed to choose what you want to run, and if there is some magic setup that works better than what we have found in running these cars for 10 years, we will make the part for the job so everyone can enjoy it. I have my preferences and we are in the process of putting them on a list.

I love the feedback - keep it coming. We will look at it all, but I can also tell you a vast majority has already been considered. I helped out on the rules here and have done Spec E30 and BMW Club rules in the past with successful results. I am aware of the two sides to many of the concerns from seeing them on a daily basis for many years. At the end of the day, Spec E46 won't be right for everyone, but it is a durable, fast car, with as few loopholes as possible to hide in, and hopefully without the hidden costs of many of the spec cars.

James
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Old 11-29-2013, 06:27 PM   #34
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Your spec series leaves a TON of money on the table for development costs and basically allowing the guys with the biggest pockets to get on the podium. Part of the reason Spec Miata is so popular is the lack of engineering required to get fast.
I think that's a stretch. Unfortunately this is racing, the guys with the biggest pockets are always going to find ways to make that work for them, and the guys without will bend rules quietly without anyone noticing to keep up. Spec Miata isn't a cheap class, especially if you're trying to get on the podium. Front runners in Spec Miata are spending more on motors than this entire SE46 suspension, diff, and donor car will cost. If we can keep power wars from being an issue and allowing outrageous spending on motor rebuilds, we'll have done a lot to level the field where SM and SE30 have not, and let people put that money into more important things than 5 hp worth of decked heads and overbore blocks.
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Old 11-29-2013, 10:51 PM   #35
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Welcome to Spec E46!

What I think is great about using motors with decent power and a chassis with decent weight is that spending $10k to chase 3hp won't be nearly as worthwhile as in spec miata.

The downside is the M54 is kinda fragile, and I hope they don't start grenading left and right...


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Old 11-30-2013, 09:42 AM   #36
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I just wanna see this get big. I would love to do this someday, but not if I'd be the only car in my region.

Are there any provisions/encouragements to upgrade cooling systems? I saw "stock size" in the rules, does that mean oversized aluminum radiators are disallowed?
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Old 11-30-2013, 11:07 AM   #37
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I just wanna see this get big. I would love to do this someday, but not if I'd be the only car in my region.

Are there any provisions/encouragements to upgrade cooling systems? I saw "stock size" in the rules, does that mean oversized aluminum radiators are disallowed?
Its tough where you are to create momentum for a racing class. If something is going to get big, it will be a NASA class. There is interest from a couple of guys there.

Stock size - meaning something that fits properly in the stock location. A bigger radiator rarely does much - efficiency doesn't get much better as the core gets thicker and you can actually lose some. Since you can't go taller or wider (both rule and physical constraints), what you need is a more efficient core.
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Old 11-30-2013, 11:11 AM   #38
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Its tough where you are to create momentum for a racing class.
Ain't that the truth. Me and my buddies were really hoping SE30 would get more popular, but looks like that isn't happening.
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Old 11-30-2013, 11:14 AM   #39
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What about safety? Full cage needed? Seats?
I would assume so but just asking since the cage is the first thing that has to built if needed.
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Old 11-30-2013, 12:42 PM   #40
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What about safety? Full cage needed? Seats?
I would assume so but just asking since the cage is the first thing that has to built if needed.
From the rules:

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5.7. The roll cage must be of the standard six point design, or a 6+2 design with an additional
two bars and associated chassis attachment points added for foot protection, provided that
the foot protection bars do not go through the front firewall. No additional tabs or
attachment points are permitted.
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