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Discussion Starter #61
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.

Here’s a picture of my car all stickered up and ready to race.




My class (TT5) had six participants at this event. I knew I wouldn’t 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 didn’t 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. I’m a few seconds off the pace but I think I’ll 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 isn’t huge, but I do feel it on the track and see it in the data. I’m starting to think about more drastic measures to get below 3000lb…
 

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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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Discussion Starter #63 (Edited)
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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Discussion Starter #64
I have felt for a while now that I’m 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 spec’d my Fortune Auto 500’s 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 RR’s showed up recently too. I got them in 255/40-17 which is the Spec E46 size. They should measure just below NASA’s TT5 class maximum of 266mm when mounted width on my 9” APEX rims.




I also started to measure for a front splitter. I’ll be working on a design for that this winter. My splitter mounts are going to be height adjustable and easily removable. I’ll 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 wasn’t worth the effort.

 

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Discussion Starter #65
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 “heat gun and scraper” method.






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




The adhesive and tar remnants were removed using mineral spirits and a Scotch-Brite pad. I masked off all the stuff I didn’t 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 driver’s 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 doesn’t 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 “well nuts”. 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. I’ll 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. I’ll report back soon!
 

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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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Discussion Starter #67
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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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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Discussion Starter #69
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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Discussion Starter #70
The final NASA Rocky Mountain event of 2019 took place over the October 12th/13th weekend. I had my freshly mounted Toyo RR’s 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 didn’t 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 2:05’s, then into the 2:04’s 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 can’t 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.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGcC4o60NAk

I weighed my car after the second session and tipped the scales at 3012lb with 1/8 tank and me in the driver’s 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 I’ll 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:





That’s 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 other’s 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 time… Maybe someday a S54 or LS V8 will live under the hood and I’ll find out.
 

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Hey, question for you. What size spacers are you running?
I have brake ducts that just barely miss my tire and I'm running 17x8.5 ET50 with a 20mm spacer. I can't imagine those 17x9 ET42's clearing easily, they would be around 18mm closer to the strut than my current setup.
Right now I'm planning to go to a 17x9 ET30 with a 10mm spacer. I could just live with not being able to go to full lock, but I'd rather not lose any inner clearance. Also worried about too low of offset causing fender clearance issues.
Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #72
Hey, question for you. What size spacers are you running?
I have brake ducts that just barely miss my tire and I'm running 17x8.5 ET50 with a 20mm spacer. I can't imagine those 17x9 ET42's clearing easily, they would be around 18mm closer to the strut than my current setup.
Right now I'm planning to go to a 17x9 ET30 with a 10mm spacer. I could just live with not being able to go to full lock, but I'd rather not lose any inner clearance. Also worried about too low of offset causing fender clearance issues.
Thanks!
With my stock 17x8.5 ET50 style 68's I run a 15mm spacer on all four wheels. At full lock I get a little bit of rubbing on the 3" brake ducts. In two years I haven't managed to wear through the ducts yet. My 17x9 ET42 race wheels use a 5mm spacer. I need that for tire clearance to the coilover spring perches. I get slightly more rubbing on the brake ducts with this setup but it's manageable. I only rub in parking lot situations.

17x9 ET30 with a 10mm spacer will be WWWIIIIIIIIDDDDDEEEEE. You will need to flare for sure. I guarantee you won't hit the brake ducts though! I contemplated doing 17x9 ET30 but didn't think I could fit under the stock fenders with a 245 Hoosier or 255 Toyo RR. Seeing how my car sits now I probably could have made it work with a slight fender roll.

I wish Apex made a 17x9 ET35. It's the perfect size IMO. Konig makes a couple styles in that size, plus they have a killer NASA discount. Might be my next set of rims...
 

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I am planning on running the 255/40/17 Toyo RRs and am curious to know the clearance you had within the 266mm requirement.
 

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Discussion Starter #74
I am planning on running the 255/40/17 Toyo RRs and am curious to know the clearance you had within the 266mm requirement.
I am 1-2mm from the 266mm limit with my 17x9 ARC8 wheels. I thought I had a picture saved to share but I can't seem to find it now.
 

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Discussion Starter #75
It’s been a while since I posted an update. I’ve been busy with things other than my track car- I took a job building a roll cage for a fellow TT racer in the NASA Rocky Mountain region. He runs a E36 M3 and wants to race in GTS2. I also have a major home project underway that should be done in the next month or so.

First though news about my car. It failed Colorado emissions testing in December. The HC and CO were barely under the limit, and the NOx was twice the limit! Colorado does a crazy dyno sniff test where they hook your car up to an in-floor dyno and drive it on a simulated driving test to analyze real world exhaust output. Only a couple states go to this extreme. I suspected the $40 Amazon high flow cat I put in my custom exhaust wasn’t doing anything. The car smelled like a non-catted exhaust every time I drove it. I ordered a real Magnaflow cat that is twice the size of the China cat, and picked up a couple V-bands to install it with. That way I can remove the cat and put in a straight pipe for races. I got all the bad parts cut out and the new stuff welded in. It passed with significant margin. Lesson learned. I’ll snap a couple pics of the NEW exhaust configuration next time I’m under the car.

The E36 cage is an interesting sidetrack so I’ll keep it brief so we can get back on subject. I like to take on one or two jobs like this per year as it helps fund my track addiction. I met the owner of this car back in May at a BMWCCA event. We hung out at a few more NASA events and then he brought his car out to the last lapping day of 2019. He was asking me who I recommended for cages in the area and I told him that I was looking for a project, and that I had all the tools and knowledge to pull it off. We agreed to terms and he dropped the car off just after Thanksgiving. Here it is on drop off day.



I’ll skip a lot of steps here and just show the major progress stages. First up is the main hoop and mounting plinths.



Next is the A-pillar bars, dash bar, and roof bar. I also added some corner gusset tubes and a roof diagonal.



Next are the door bars. I integrated a jacking point through the floor to the center of the door X too. This makes lifting the car MUCH easier. I will do this on all future cages.



He also asked me to do some race prep items like install the center net, window net, kill switch, and some gauges. Here’s a pic of the final interior before paint.




With the money earned on the E36 project I have started buying parts for my car. First up is a MFactory 1.5-way plate LSD.





I am going to pick up a 3.46 diff from the junkyard soon and begin the process of swapping in the LSD. I can’t wait to try out this unit. At my last NASA race the 1-Wheel-Peel was a serious issue. I also think the LSD will cure the mid corner understeer I have been fighting with this car from the beginning.

I also ordered a 9livesracing.com Builders Wang. I’m buying just the airfoil and end plates. I’ll be making my own mounts so I can integrate a “quick” detach system. I don’t want to drive around town with a giant wing hanging off the back of my car. Here’s a preview of what I’m looking to do with the mount. Everything will be built to the maximum of the NASA TT rule set.



To balance the wing I am going to build a splitter. It will also be mounted with a quick detach system. I’ll hang the front mounts from the frame spars. The mounts will be adjustable for height and will use a quick release pin to lock the splitter in place. I haven’t decided on a material yet, either ½” Birch plywood or ¼” Alumalite. I’m leaning towards the plywood.





I am contemplating a carbon fiber hood too. They are stupid expensive, but probably worth it to lose 30+ lbs and gain some hood venting for more downforce and better cooling. This is what I’m leaning towards:



Lastly, I have nearly convinced myself to ditch the AC. It’s another 35+ lbs of weight loss over the front axle. I am still very overweight relative to my class minimum and I need to lose weight to move up the podium. NASA just reworked the ruled for my class and now the TOYO RR gets and even bigger weight advantage. I ran the numbers and I can run my weight all the way down to 2830lb. I am currently at 3012lb, a difference of 182lb!!! I don’t see how it’s possible to get there reasonably. If I switch to Hoosier R7’s I can run down to 2930lb, a difference of only 82lb. That is totally doable…

I’ll keep updating as I get into the builds of the diff, wing, and splitter. Should be an exciting 2020!
 

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Discussion Starter #77
OK wow! This is a crazy time to be alive. Since my last post COVID-19 has taken over the world and disrupted nearly every person and activity on earth. Enough of that though, I’m sure we’re all sick of it [sorry for the pun].

During my recent month at home, in between trying to work and provide daycare, I have been busy with my next upgrades- SAP delete, Kassel Performance tune, and a carbon fiber hood.

SAP Delete & Tune
I have wanted to delete the SAP for some time. It is a big eyesore under the hood and has no functional benefit after cold start. Removing the SAP is simple- three bolts on the strut tower, one vacuum line, an electrical connector, and two bolts on the cylinder head. The fully removed SAP system weighed right at 5lb.




To cap the hole in the cylinder head I made a block off plate from some scrap 3/8” aluminum.




Here is the block off plate compared to the giant mess it replaces.




While I was in there I removed the washer fluid reservoir too. It weighs 4lb when half full.




With the washer tank and SAP removed I have so much room next to the engine!





While I was busy making the block-off plate and removing parts from the engine bay I shipped off my DME (engine computer) to Kassel Performance for a custom EU2 tune. Because of Colorado’s emission testing protocols I need to keep a functioning Check Engine Light. The typical EU2 tune disables this light. I spoke to Kassel and they said they could alter the EU2 to keep the CEL and remove SAP alarms. I nervously shipped my DME on a Friday and had it back several days later. I plugged it in and fired the car up- the CEL still worked and no codes popped after a 20 minute test drive. Success! 9lbs lighter now with a tuned ECU that’s supposed to be more powerful? I doubt it, but the dyno will tell later this year.

Carbon Fiber Hood
Last update I was contemplating replacing the hood with a lightweight vented version. I decide to pull the trigger and order the Carbon Creations DriTech GTR style hood I showed previously. Their marketing materials led me to believe it would be lighter and a more motorsports driven construction than typical tuner carbon body kit stuff. A couple weeks after ordering a freight truck dropped off this-








The construction wasn’t what I’d hoped for but I am happy enough. It appears to be a single layer of carbon over weaved mat. The carbon weave looks great and the surface is nice and glossy. Weight came in at 24lbs out of the box. It also has a full inner structure that mimics the OEM hood. My plan quickly evolved to reduce the weight of this hood to under 20lb. I also picked up a set of Aerocatch hood latches so I could remove the heavy OEM latch components.
The first test fit of the hood went well. I did have to adjust the hinges and fenders slightly to reduce gaps and get the headlights to line up properly. I then chose a location on the radiator crossmember for the hood pins and then marked and drilled.




Then I had to remove some of the hood’s inner structure to access the back of the hood surface. This allowed me to mark the location of the hood pins.




With the center of the pins located I could lay out the cutouts for the latches. I chose to angle the latches parallel to the hood ridge and vents.






Then I cut using a combination of hole saw, cutoff wheel, and die grinder with various cutting and smoothing tools. The latches bolted right in without a problem and they look great.




I also removed the BMW emblem from my old hood and reinstalled it on the carbon hood. The drill locations weren’t marked so I spent some time eyeballing the fit till it looked right, then drilled for the bushings and pressed everything in place. Looks perfect to me.




Next I went to town with the cutoff wheel and removed all the excess inner structure from the hood. I left a span in the middle to keep a little bit of stiffness through that area. In total I removed 3.5lb of material, plus another pound for all the mesh that was glued over the openings.








Final weight came out to 19.5lb with the latches installed. The OEM hood plus latches weighed 43.5lb. A total weight savings of 24lb and all over the front axle and above the center of gravity. This is more than the expected weight of the splitter I will be making soon.
Finally, here are a few shots of the completed and installed hood. I just need to cut some vinyl for the class letters and car number.







 

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Very enjoyable build thread! Looking forward to saying hi out at HPR or Pueblo this year.

Keep it up - somebody's gotta hassle Bryce! :)

-Jake
 

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Discussion Starter #80
Thanks guys! Stay tuned for more. I'm building the diff now and starting to work on the splitter and wing too. I should have updates to follow each step.
 
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