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Old 09-24-2019, 04:08 PM   #61
Strebor
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Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Denver, CO
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My Ride: 2002 330i
On August 24/25 NASA Rocky Mountain hosted a race at Pueblo Motorsports Park. This would be my first official TT. Everything was on the line- points, contingencies, awards, oh my! We arrived at the track on Friday night and the track was still running their Friday Night Drags. I unpacked, watched some local drag racing for a few minutes, and then tried to get some sleep.

Hereís a picture of my car all stickered up and ready to race.




My class (TT5) had six participants at this event. I knew I wouldnít be the fastest but I thought I might take a podium. Day 1 went pretty smooth- There was some confusion with gridding, but we all figured it out. The second session was cut short when an E46 M3 lost an oil cooler and we all had a couple scary moments through a fast right hander. The track was HOT so times didnít improve much throughout the day. I was finding speed in a couple places but there was no hope to catch the class leaders who are running Hoosiers, aero, and are maxed out on power/weight for the class. I ended the day comfortably in third, about 4s away from the leaders.



Day 2 was much the same, stuck in third place. I did put up a new personal best 1:46.7, which is almost a one second improvement from my last time out to this track (similar conditions). I had a 1:46.1 predicted lap later in the session but it got ruined by a slower TT3 car. I am still learning the art of track position management.



In the end I finished third on both days. Iím a few seconds off the pace but I think Iíll be right there with another year of development.





I weighed the car after one session, I am now at 3088lb (1/8 tank, with 180lb driver). This is about 50lb less than my last weigh-in. The difference isnít huge, but I do feel it on the track and see it in the data. Iím starting to think about more drastic measures to get below 3000lbÖ
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Old 09-24-2019, 05:02 PM   #62
Weste46
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My Ride: Has 280k mi.
Year: 2001
Model: 330ci
Transmission: ZF320
Nice going! Getting a podium on your first TT event must feel good.
Do you not have fuel starvation issues with that little fuel in the tank? I don't remember seeing any fuel slosh mods that you've done, maybe I missed them. I start to fuel starve below half a tank.
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Suspension: Ultimo front coils, Swift 10k rear, Rob43 9-way shocks, TMS ARB's, Meyle FCA's, 95A FCA, 75D subframe, 95A RTA, 95A RUICA
Drivetrain: LTW FW, MFactory gear LSD, S65 mounts, 95A 5sp, 88A diff, SSK, intake, headers, x-pipe, open-loop EU2 tune
Brakes: Hawk DTC60/StopTech309, ECS front lines, DIY ducts
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Exterior: Custom CF sunroof delete
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Old 09-24-2019, 05:45 PM   #63
Strebor
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Originally Posted by Weste46 View Post
Nice going! Getting a podium on your first TT event must feel good.
Do you not have fuel starvation issues with that little fuel in the tank? I don't remember seeing any fuel slosh mods that you've done, maybe I missed them. I start to fuel starve below half a tank.
Thanks! I am very happy with the result. At the same time it's sad because I know if I want to go faster I have to start spending more money.

I installed the M3 fuel baffle as one of my first mods. I've had no fuel starve issues with it down to 1/8 tank or less. I did try one session with even less fuel and I finally got fuel cut 2 laps after the light came on. I regularly see 1.1-1.2 g sustained so I think the baffle is working great, especially for the price!

My current methodology is to start race days with a 1/4 tank and then refill 2-3 gallons after each session to keep the level between 1/8 -1/4. For open lapping days I start with a 1/2 tank or more.
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Last edited by Strebor; 09-24-2019 at 05:47 PM. Reason: details
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Old 10-01-2019, 05:12 PM   #64
Strebor
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I have felt for a while now that Iím getting too much body roll. I already maxed out the rear anti-roll bar and found a good balance with the front bar. Going any stiffer on the front bar made the car understeer too much. It is time to bump up the spring rates. I initially specíd my Fortune Auto 500ís with 8k/10k (450/560 lb/in) spring rates but with a firmer damping profile to handle uprated springs in the future. That future is now. I chose to go with 11k/14k (615/780 lb/in) in their premium chrome silicon line of springs. This is a significant bump in rate, almost 40%, and slightly more rear biased to increase roll stiffness at that end. My goal is to soften the swaybars and let the springs handle a larger percentage of roll resistance. Changing the roll stiffness distribution should loosen up the rear end slightly in the mid-corner phase and allow me to fine tune the entry and exit phases with damper adjustments.

I did a full tear down of the suspension components to check for damage or wear. Everything looked great so I cleaned it all up, swapped in the new springs and bolted everything back together. I did make a couple control arm reinforcement plates for the rear upper arms. I have seen where others had problems with the cast aluminum arms cracking when running high spring rates. I made a paper template and cut out two plates from 12ga steel.




I sprayed on a couple layers of truck bed lining to protect the surfaces then bolted them in under the rear spring adjusters.






My new Toyo RRís showed up recently too. I got them in 255/40-17 which is the Spec E46 size. They should measure just below NASAís TT5 class maximum of 266mm when mounted width on my 9Ē APEX rims.




I also started to measure for a front splitter. Iíll be working on a design for that this winter. My splitter mounts are going to be height adjustable and easily removable. Iíll share my ideas for this system later.






While I had the front bumper off measuring for splitter mounts I went a little crazy with the hole saw and trimmed some weight off the aluminum bumper support. I only took 4lb out here so maybe it wasnít worth the effort.

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Old 10-04-2019, 04:44 PM   #65
Strebor
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Continuing with my weight reduction plan, I have now removed all the front carpeting and insulation. Like the rear passenger area, I started with removing the seats, console, and trim. I also had to take out the dash- which is pretty easy, but not an insignificant amount of effort and time. Once the parts were out of the car I could go about removing the carpet. I chose to cut the center section of the carpet and remove it in two big pieces. The alternative is to remove the entire HVAC system and dash bar, which is where I drew the line- so out came the utility knife. With the carpet out of the way I could remove some other ducting and padding. This mess of stuff weighed a total of 26 lbs.




I then set about removing the adhesive backed tar insulation with the ďheat gun and scraperĒ method.






I collected all of it in a 5 gallon bucket again and weighed the result Ė 12 lbs.




The adhesive and tar remnants were removed using mineral spirits and a Scotch-Brite pad. I masked off all the stuff I didnít want painted and then blasted the bare panels with some gloss black enamel. The painted stripped interior looks pretty decent. I also wrapped the exposed wiring in some split loom to protect and hide it a little bit.




For the driverís foot well I made a panel to provide a smooth and flat surface right at the bottom of the throttle pedal. I chose to cover and block off all the wiring that runs along the door sill with a large flange coming up from the floor piece. I also wanted to keep the OEM kick panel and integrated foot rest so I added a couple pieces of aluminum angle that the plastic panel bolts to. I had to do some minor reshaping of the plastic and add a little reinforcement to make sure it doesnít shatter when I lean on it in a 1.2g corner.






I painted the panel with a few coats of truck bed liner. This should give a grippy and tough surface for me to get in/out of the car and work the pedals from. The panel is held in place with a handful of 10-32 button head screws that thread into rubber ďwell nutsĒ. This type of hardware is great because all you do is drill some holes in the sheet metal body and slip them in. The rubber expands when you tighten the screw and it holds the panels together firmly but with a rubber insulator between them. The finished product fits great, looks pretty good, and works perfectly. The floor pan weighs in at 3lb.






For my next NASA race at High Plains Raceway I should be right at 3000lb wet weight with driver. This includes removing the passenger seat. Iíll be about 100lb from maximizing my class weight/power but this is still a significant improvement. Last time out to High Plains I ran a 2:06.6 on worn 200 TW tires and about 130lb heavier. If the weight savings gets me a second and tires get me 2 seconds then I am right in there with the three fastest TT5 drivers from the last event. Iíll report back soon!
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Old 10-11-2019, 03:51 PM   #66
benny_b
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Great thread.. I'm up north in Windsor.. just picked up a 330Ci to play with.. coming from a nissan/drifting background.. but quickly moving to the bmw/road racing world.. drove in the WRL 24 at HPR this year..

Would you say the Fortune coils are a good choice? I was thinking Spec E46 build, but have found we are short in the area for racers.. so $2500-3000 for MCS 1 way dampers alone is suggesting i go another route..
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Old 10-11-2019, 06:37 PM   #67
Strebor
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Originally Posted by benny_b View Post
Great thread.. I'm up north in Windsor.. just picked up a 330Ci to play with.. coming from a nissan/drifting background.. but quickly moving to the bmw/road racing world.. drove in the WRL 24 at HPR this year..

Would you say the Fortune coils are a good choice? I was thinking Spec E46 build, but have found we are short in the area for racers.. so $2500-3000 for MCS 1 way dampers alone is suggesting i go another route..
Hi, thanks for following along. I missed the WRL 24 this year but I have done it a few times in the past. It's a great event with a good group of racers and organizer.

I am still 100% loving my Fortune Auto coilovers. I too couldn't justify the MCS price so I took a chance with FA and have been very happy with their customer service and on track performance. I have a NASA event this weekend with new spring rates (+40% stiffer) so I'll know more about their flexibility in adjustment soon. I have no reason to believe they won't work great.

Not sure if you saw it or not but I did a detailed install and review here: https://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?p=18415503

If you're in the area this weekend (October 12-13, 2019) and want to see them in person I'll be at High Plains running in the NASA TT group. Stop by and say hi.
Tim
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Old 11-13-2019, 12:01 PM   #68
rwd7
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Awesome thread! Looking into going full Spec E46 but may follow your steps for budget purposes. Looking forward to an update!
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Old 11-14-2019, 04:20 PM   #69
Strebor
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Awesome thread! Looking into going full Spec E46 but may follow your steps for budget purposes. Looking forward to an update!
Thanks for following along! I am actually working on the next post now. I should have it up soon.
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Old 11-15-2019, 07:04 PM   #70
Strebor
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The final NASA Rocky Mountain event of 2019 took place over the October 12th/13th weekend. I had my freshly mounted Toyo RRís on the car, my new stiffer springs, and a decent amount of weight pulled off the car again. I was hoping for the best. The weekend almost didnít happen for me though. My daughter came down with a nasty ear infection and I thought I might have to stay home and help with her. Fortunately I was given the green light to race and I headed to the track late on Friday full of optimism, and a little guilt.



Saturday morning was super cold, 30 degrees at sunrise. By the time we rolled out for the warm up session at 8:15 the temperature soared to 37. My new Toyos were super slippery for the first couple laps. They did eventually scrub in and started to give me that R-comp grip I was expecting. Traffic and a shortened session due to a disabled car only yielded a 2:08 lap. Bummer. The next sessions were much better as the track warmed up and everyone got their grid spacing sorted out. I dropped into the 2:05ís, then into the 2:04ís as I started to understand how to attack braking zones and corner entry with these tires. I finished the day 3rd in class with a best time of 2:04.8.



Sunday morning started off a little warmer than Saturday. I got to grid for the first session a little late and once again the grid order was all out of whack. I was stuck in the middle of the group of very expensive high horsepower cars that apparently canít brake or turn worth a crap. We tripped over each other for the first few laps- me holding them up in the acceleration zones, and them holding me up in the braking zones and corners. Once we finally spread out enough to get clean laps I laid down a low 2:04 followed by a 2:03.7! I never improved on my best time after the first session. I had numerous 2:04 laps but never pulled everything together the same way. It was probably a combination of deteriorating track conditions and overly ambitious driving. I finished the day in 3rd again, about 2.5s away from the leader (who finished 4th at Nationals a few weeks prior).



Here is a video of one of my 2:04 laps later in the day.


I weighed my car after the second session and tipped the scales at 3012lb with 1/8 tank and me in the driverís seat. I did remove the passenger seat for this event. It weighs a bit more than expected, 34lb. I am still 80lb away from my class limit so I have some work to do still. If I remove the AC and go to a carbon hood Iíll be right there. I am also planning to add a splitter and wing which will add some weight back. I have lots to consider over the winter break.

What is neat to see is the data comparison between my current best lap, 2:03.7, and my previous best at this track, a 2:06.6. Obviously a big part of the improvement is the tires (Toyo RR vs Hankook R-S4), but I am also riding with 134lb less weight in the car. You can see the speed trace in red (2:03 lap) is much faster in the corners and that speed carries into each following straight. But what is interesting is the slope of the acceleration, especially on the longer straights. Less weight = more acceleration. Newton was right all along.



To close out the year I gathered up all my track buddies and we met up for an open lapping day at High Plains on November 10th. The photos below tell the story:





Thatís a GT3RS, GT3 Touring, my car, M2CS, Lotus Elise, MX-5 Cup race car, and a track prepped E36 M3. Quite the collection of cars! We all had a blast driving and riding in each otherís rides. My car got lots of praise for being surprisingly fast and slow at the same time. It makes me wonder what an injection of 100+ horsepower would do to the lap timeÖ Maybe someday a S54 or LS V8 will live under the hood and Iíll find out.
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