Saturday, November 24, 2012

Rod Bearings on S54

Most know the rod bearings are a weak part of the BMW S54.  Recall "fix" or not, my opinion is the narrower bearings and higher rev range versus the S52s cause premature wear.  I've resolved to pretty much concluding that rod bearings on S54s are a routine maintenance item.

The following picture was taken from a 154k mile 2003 M3.  These look BAD.  Don't let the high miles fool you though.  Ive seen similar when I tore down my racecar's motor (90k).

Not trying to scare people, but if youre over 100k miles on a street car, it's probably a good idea to replace.

The one nice thing I noticed this time around, was BMW has replaced their older packaging method for rod bearings.  They used to be shrink wrapped on hard cardboard which was quite annoying.  Now they are individually bagged and boxed!

The job pretty much consists of getting an engine support (Harbor Freight has these cheap).  Then you have to drop the front subframe.  After the typical removal od the undertrays, etc, the process is fairly straightforward and requires unbolting of various tubes and lines to the exterior of the oil pan, then removal of the oil pan itself.  The power steering pump will have to be unbolted and moved out of the way as well.

You need 12pt 12mm sockets (rod caps), 18mm sockets and wrenches, 10mm sockets, 13mm sockets, hex sockets (removal of oil pump), e-torx sockets (bolts between transmission and oil pan) and of course a 32mm socket to rotate the engine.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Watkins Glen Data Crunching

So typically when I get back from a track session, I'll go back and look at my data to analyze.  I'm going to start to try to post some of my findings here to help as sort of a basic data "coaching" process.  This is the basic of the basics.  Just looking at speed and how that translates to time.  Of course, Im available for hire too :P

So here goes:

Here is the first screen grab.  I usually prefer my AIM data, but Traqmate presents a more colorful layout for us to look at.  In this plot to your right, the main difference coming out of T2 is a shift difference.  But as you can see from the red line, it translates to about a 1-2MPH difference in a good portion of the track (roughly 1000').  That equates to a 0.1 second time difference alone.  Might not be much, but from the whole track, those tenths add up fast!!!

The next glaring and obvious difference in the plot is the entry for the Bus Stop (in the turquoise color section at roughly the 6500' mark).  In the red plot, I brake a good 200' before the blue plot.  This results in a bus stop entry speed difference of 7MPH translating to a bus stop exit difference of roughly the same (6MPH).  Now again, this distance traveled is "only" about 1000' but that difference in entry and speed results in a whopping 0.75 seconds of time difference.  Are you keeping track?  We're at 0.85 seconds of improvement already.

To the far right of the plot, we have the carouse or the "outer loop" as they call it.  By looking at the plot, you only really see a hairline difference between the plots.  3MPH to be exact, but youre travelling a fairly long distance.  This results in 0.2 seconds!  Still keeping up w/ your math skills?  Now we are at a little over 1 second gap!

The next plot here is the T9-T11 complex.  As seen by the red line, braking just 100 feet earlier and a 4MPH difference in minimum corner speed here, we get a whopping 0.5 seconds.  HUGE.  Now were at 1.5 seconds!

Again, the exit of T9 appears to be just a hairline difference in speed of only a couple MPH, but that's another couple of tenths!  (1.7 sec delta now).

As we enter T10 and T11, there is a 2MPH entry difference.  Mid-corner speed difference is 4MPH in T10 (a very high speed area and worth lots of time).  The T11 entry speed also differs by 4MPH and this segment yields another 0.5 seconds of time (2.2 sec delta now).

I will say though, out of all the corners, obviously T1 is critical. I could not find a good lap by lap comparison to highlight this as there were various inconsistencies (traffic, shifts, etc) to show a good back straight time difference.  One portion I will highlight is T1 braking and T1 exit as this is equally important.  As seen in the plot to the right, we brake 100' earlier in th red plot and there is roughly 4MPH speed difference.  The blue plot is obviously preferred as you can see by the parabolic shape that gradually enters the corner that trailbraking is being applied in entry.  That speed is carried into the corner and you can get a speed which is similar on exit, but you've now travelled that distance 4MPH faster.  Time?  0.5 secs.  (2.7 sec delta now).

If I could plot out a good back straight comparo, you'd likely see a 1-1.5 second difference if you exit T1 4-5MPH faster.  That's it for this episode of WongData Crunch.  Hope it was helpful.  My best laps logged was a 2:02.55 in GTS3 trim.  HP dyno'd was a healthy 282.  Impound weight after the race was 3116#s which is right at the limit pretty much.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Watkins Glen 2012 NASA Recap

So as is the case every year, going into the event meant constant forecast checking.  Rain or no rain?  Though this year did have one curveball.  We have a baby due!  My wonderful wife let me make the trek and I was ready to book it home if needed.  Lucky for us, baby held off.

It ended up being dry on Sat but a cold, rainy, and wet Sunday.  My goal this weekend was to try to reset the track record held by Josh Smith for the past couple of years.  Back then, he first started racing his E46 M3 and it was pretty undeveloped.  A lot has changed in two years for E46 builds.  We now have very nice GTS3 detunes which keep torque up but peak horsepower low (EPIC Motorsports).  There are new aero parts courtesy Bimmerworld as well as a new suspension package from Motion Control Suspension (MCS) (the old school Moton guys).  That time was a 204.7 in a 300hp car weighing over 3300#s with a stock diff.

Fast forward to now.  Both me and Josh have almost every part imaginable for our cars and they are fairly identical.  I think the only difference really is he has Ground Control swaybars and I have Hotchkis.  I've also got completely stock calipers with Performance Friction Direct Drive rotors (

So in the race, I had to make my way around some faster out of class cars before I got open and clean track.  Unfortunately, my SmartyCam was not working (just one of my electrical issues this weekend, more to come on that) so all I have is a choppy live stream video via UStream through my iPhone.  You can view it here:

Once I got open track, the last two laps would prove to be the fastest.  My logger said 202.55!!!  That is a full 2.2 seconds faster than the prior lap record and sure to fuel talk in the paddock.  Unfortunately, this is where my second electrical issue came.  My transponder quit working.  After 10 years, I guess the wire is now hard and brittle.  It snapped at the fuse link connection rendering all my times unconfirmed and unofficial.  My race win was even not showing up.  I ended up having to plead my case to multiple race officials who ended up ruling that I did in fact "win".  But without official timing and scoring, I dont get the joy of nabbing that record :(

Here is a data plot of my two fastest laps.

It shows I was entering the bus stop over 90 MPH which is insane in my opinion.  Top speed was only 138MPH using a T1 exit of roughly 75MPH.  As a comparison, Josh's old data pegged him at 145MPH top speed.  I also voluntarily put in a "black box" because I knew there would be paddock talk of fast times.  I sat down and analyzed the data with the GTS director and Im confident that it doesnt show anything out of place.  We compared his car's acceleration slopes and they were much steeper than mine implying I actually might have had less horsepower.

Sunday's race was wet and rainy.  I managed to qualify top 3 overall in the race group which is good in a rain race because of possible carnage in the starts.  I lost some ground in the start and some Vettes go by, but I managed to retake the lead and win overall.  Couple of videos:


I almost forgot to mention that having remote reservoir shocks is freaking amazing.  This was me pre-race after it was apparent the rain would not let up.  Instead of dilly dallying with spring changes, swaybar disconnections, etc... all I did was drop the canister pressures down and the car felt amazing!  Only downside is that it takes surgical skill and precision to bleed out the proper amount.  First time I lost all pressure in one but luckily a nearby Vette crew had nitrogen ready (I had a tank but not setup w/ regulator, etc and it was 10 min to grid!).

Sunday, September 16, 2012

2011 GMC Sierra 3500HD Denali "Story"

OK, so not a racecar post, but I thought I would update on one year of ownership of my truck so far.  As many of you may know from talking to me and many of you might not know, I traded in my old 2005 Ford F350 Lariat in about one year ago.  So a little background there, I bought that truck used despite multiple warnings from people regarding the "6.Blow" engine.  I did not take their advice thinking the truck was still under warranty, and I would just buy an extended warranty in case anything should go wrong.

Well, stuff started going wrong almost immediately.  EGR coolers, Oil coolers, and injectors were the all starting to get replacements on a routine basis.  Lucky for me, all of these failures happened around town.  Being a bit scared, I decided to buy an Allstate RV Roadhelp Roadside Assistance Plan (kind of like AAA but for people who tow).  That came in handy more than a few times.  First time, my HPOP (High Pressure Oil Pump) failed leaving me stranded.  Once that was fixed, more troubles came.  Transmission transfer case switch broke leaving me with no 4WD in a big snowstorm.  Then my turbo was sticking and I was having boost issues.  That was replaced and finally, from the very tow last year to Mid-Ohio Nationals, I was stranded on the side of the road for 4 hours waiting for two tow trucks to come haul the rig and trailer.  Second turbo had blown.  I was still under extended warranty, and my whole plan of having a truck under warranty did not seem so great now that I was sitting on the side of the road.  Did not factor in what would happen if the truck broke while I was far away from home.

So I decided to buy a new truck.  I was considering a Ford since their new trucks were very nice, but then their customer service absolutely turned me off.  At first, Ford sent out investigators before they would approve the warranty work telling me it was routine.  I viewed it as them trying to skirt the repair.  Mind you, the 2nd "new" turbo was JUST put in by on of their other dealers.  Then I had to pay for my transportation 450 miles back home.  I had to call a buddy to take me to Columbus to fly home, paid my own plane ticket and paid for the return trip back out to get my truck.  What if I did not have a buddy in Columbus?  Would I have had to foot a bill for a rental car and hotel room for the 2 weeks it took them to fix the truck?  Ford would have none of it.  They declined to even entertain the thought of reimbursing me anything.  Being that I tow all over the place, I thought the least they could do was extend my warranty some for piece of mind.  No dice.  So F-you Ford!  I started looking around for new trucks and made it a personal mission to not recommend Fords to any of my fellow racers buying new trucks based on my horrific experience.

After lots of research, I ended up trading in the Ford for a 2011 GMC Sierra 3500HD Denali.  Being end of year, I had slim pickings.  Searched almost the entire east coast before finding one from Sharrett GMC (Hagerstown, MD).  Super easy to deal with and got a sweet deal and awesome trade in price for my Ford.

That was about 1 year ago.  Here I am a full year and 12,000+ miles later.  That's almost 12k miles of tow duty and nothing else.  The truck has performed flawlessly.  So in an effort to help those who use these trucks for the sole purpose of hauling, I decided to do short review if you will of my experience thus far.


  • I liked the GM layout better than the gaudy Ford toy looking interior.  Gauges are laid out nicely and all within sight.  I wish the "DIC:Driver Information Center" was a bit more informative to give me more data.  How about telling me when the truck is in regen-mode?  How much boost Im making?  EGT temps?  Im used to racing a car with data for every little thing and all this data should be in a data-bus somewhere.  The Ford wins out here with their color display showing everything.  Granted the GMC is from 2007, it is a bit dated.  Hoping their new truck in 2014 will address this. 
  • The seats are super comfortable.  Heated/Cooled.  On long hauls, your butt stays nice and comfy.  I found the Ford seats to be a bit firmer.  Rear seats are nice and they fold up leaving a nice flat storage area.  I rarely use the rear for seating and mainly for storage and I find it ample.
  • Needs powered, telescoping mirrors.  Yes, I tend to forget, and then have to pull over, and yank them out.  No big deal normally, but when youre towing a 44' trailer, it can get annoying.  
  • Needs way  more interior storage.  The glovebox is tiny and the center console is equally tiny compared to both Ford and Dodge.  Lacks cupholders which comes in handy on long trips when I need multiple energy drinks! 
  • The NAV is typical-GM and is adequate.  I would have loved a better interface with my iPhone for not only music but making calls, etc.  Again, this truck is based off a 2007 design.  Inputting all your own contact lists into the truck is cumbersome and should not be needed.  I should be able to just grab anything I want from my phone via Bluetooth.  When I was looking at the Dodge, the one thing I noticed was the sub-par Garmin-based system they use.  Low resolution and looked like a zoomed in app 2X mode on iPad.  That turned me off on the Dodge.  Granted I rarely use my NAV anyways (I prefer my iPhone), a "truck mode" or "towing mode" would be helpful so I dont get trapped somewhere while towing.
  • Speaking of Dodge, the GM does a nice job of hiding all the random seat rails, bolts, etc.  Cannot say the same about the Dodge I test drove.  The metal seat rails were exposed, the metal seat mounts exposed with bolts, etc.  A $60k MSRP truck should definitely have all minor details addressed. 
  • Heated steering wheel is a nice touch, but it takes too long to warm up.  They should also have tied it into the remote start.
  • When trying to hookup a gooseneck, it seems the rear window is too short?  I cannot see the ball (and Im tall).  Maybe add in a 2nd camera for hooking up a gooseneck or 5th wheel trailer.


  • The truck sits lower than my old Ford did.  Gets you into parking garages, etc. 
  • The high polished wheel option only polishes one side of the wheels which means you can't rotate them without it looking silly.
  • Clearance lights on roof are all LED in a low profile design.  Very nice. 
  • Telescoping Mirrors needed (see above). 
  • The headlights are amazing for a halogen based system.  Very nice horizontal cutoff. 
  • Truck does not sag much despite the weight it is carrying. 
  • The OEM side step rails need to be lower.  They sit way too high so when youre wearing thick boots or shoes, you hit the truck.  
  • The one AWESOME thing about this truck is the hitch receiver adapter.  It has a flared end edge so the adapter doesnt keep sliding into the hitch when trying to line it up.  I don't tow a TAG trailer often, but when I do, it makes hooking up a breeze.  My Ford friends have a huge hassle here when they are trying to slide their receiver balls in.  Unsure about Dodge.
  • This is where the GM shines.  The Duramax/Allison combo is a blast to drive.  The shifts are near seamless despite being almost 26k GCVW.  
  • Ive been getting roughly 10-11MPG towing a 44' enclosed gooseneck.  About 15-16MPG "city" and 18-20MPG highway.
  • Everyone complains about having to fill the DEF (diesel exhaust fluid), but it is a non-issue for me.  Pop the hood and refill.  You can go quite a while before refilling it.  I refill when I get home from a long trip and never worry about it.  The stuff is pretty cheap at truck stops (Pilot, TA, etc) around $2.79/G.  You can also get it at your local parts store for around $10-15 for 2.5G.  
  • Did I mention it is a hoot to drive?  I typically tow across PA to OH a few times a year through the mountains and the truck did not miss a beat.  Granted I usually drive on the side of saving MPGs, I never had any issues.  My Ford would sound like it was about to blow up.  The clatter was loud, the fans blaring and the turbo high pitched.  
  • The engine brake is amazing.  As said, in those mountains, I could just let the thing coast down the grades many times without even touching the brakes.  
  • When tooling around town to grab food and fuel when at the track, the truck rides very nice.  No doubt the independent front suspension aids in this.  The engine is quiet and the steering response is VERY good.  Im used to driving a car with accurate feedback and the steering wheel is not super loose like the Fords I have driven.  
In conclusion, I am super happy with the truck.  Ive been regularly hauling around 26k GCVW which is near CDL levels.  The truck handles it perfect and Im sure it could handle more with ease.  Next update will come after winter.  Hopefully it snows a lot and I get a chance to put a plow on ;) 

And some more pictures of the truck doin' work: 

O yea, and a picture of the HUGE hub: 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

2012 NASA Nationals Wrapped Up

Well that was exciting.  Woke up early to find that my grid position was not all that bad!  10th overall and 3rd in GTS3.  The start was decent as I maintained my position.  We raced under green for a very short time before a GTS4 Porsche driven by Jay Matus flipped over.  Driver is ok.

About this time, my car started acting funny. Felt like a real bad misfire and it would not go away.  I even tried bumping curbs to try to get it to go away, but no dice.  So here I am running on 5 cylinders trying to maintain a podium finish.  We then got a double yellow which was good because it ate up time, but at the same time it was bad because it bunched us up.  I had gotten a decent lead at this point.  I was hoping the race would end on double yellow, but we got some NASCAR green-white-checker action.  I was able to get a good start and maintain somewhat of a gap.  On the last lap, the competition was closing in, but I was lucky to put a slower GTS4 car behind me and then make myself super wide so neither could pass me.  Being boxed in, the next in class car couldnt get by in the only area where I would be hurt real bad w/ 5 cylinders (Thunder Valley).  Once I made it through there, I knew I was good.  Took the checked in 3rd place!  Wish my car was firing on all cylinders so I could try to play with fellow friend and racer, Josh Smith. He ended up w/ a fairly banged up front end from an incident.

We all then proceeded to impound where there was some shuffling of positions.  P1 got DQd and I moved up a spot to 2nd!  That was a nice bonus!  Josh then moved up to Champion status.

Unfortunately I forgot the memory card in my camera, but I did live stream the race!  So this is all I got:

2012 NASA Nationals Update

Day 1:  After turning some personal bests in warm up, things were looking super optimistic.  However, in a rush to grid for qualifying, a helper accidentally pushed my fire button.  I went out with AFFF foam spraying me in the face and qualified somewhere near last.  It did not matter, as the officials would DQ me for not having a fully charged fire bottle out on track.  So in the qualifying race, I would need to make up as many positions as possible.  In a SHORT 8 lap sprint, I made my way from dead last to about 18th.  Not too bad.

Day 2: Again, after some blistering fast warm up times, I was pretty excited for qualifying.  But again, I would have some random issue.  This time, I forgot to remove a wheel spacer, so my tires were rubbing.  A grid worked pointed it out at about 5 min to go and I was able to rush back to the garage to remove one spacer but no time for the other.  I managed to qualify 3rd in GTS3.  The race was pretty darn insane.  A strong, quick moving T-storm provided some interesting driving.  My windows fogged, my glasses fogged.  One of the main competitors in GTS3 gambled and went out on full slicks and came in before the race started which helps m greatly.  Managed to preserve a possible 7th overall finish and 3rd in class.  Will see what grid sheets say tomorrow!

Follow along live with NASA Speedcast:

Or my live in-car broadcasts at:

Official Results:

Sunday, September 2, 2012

NASA MidAtlantic Summer Breeze Recap

GTS racers descended on Summit Point for NASA Mid-Atlantic's Summer
Breeze event.  Weather was perfect this year with some really close
racing in GTS, specifically GTS1 and GTS2.  On Saturday, DJ
Fitzpatrick would go into qualifying telling everyone he only had old
tires and not to expect much.  Was it just some pre-qualifying
strategy to catch his competition off guard?  Perhaps that was the
case, but in a spectacularly rare event, he would qualify with an
identical laptime down to the thousandths with Michael Dayton.  In
cases such as this, the pole goes to the second fastest lap, which was
held by Fitzpatrick.

The race shaped up to be a good one, with very tight battling in the
early laps.  Dayton hounded Fitzpatrick for the top spot and
unfortunately for Fitzpatrick a bobble in T10 provided some
spectacular sideways showmanship for the crowd and the competition
behind.  Paul Alexadre who normally races Spec986, joined GTS2 this
weekend provided the best quote, " is this E36 M3s at Hypefest? That
is a lot of angle!".  Dayton would have to go four off to avoid
contact which slowed him considerably allowing Jim Khoury to take
advantage.  Fitzpatrick would have to retire early as the incident
would result in some nice cords showing on his tires.  Dayton would
challenge Khoury up until the checkered flag but Khoury held off for
the win.  Jeff Emanuelson rounded out the podium in third place.

On Sunday, the T10 activities continued.  In GTS3, Eric Wong led Josh
Smith for a few laps until a C4 Corvette spun in T10.  Nearly coming
to a stop to avoid contact, Wong would cede the top position to Smith.
 Jeff Curtis, who would finish third joked, "I obviously didn't pay
the vette guy enough".  Forty minutes of hard racing kept the two
close.  The gap would widen and shorten depending on traffic which
proves you should never give up.  A fortunate last minute traffic
incident would enable Wong to overtake Smith in the second to last
corner of the last lap and taking the win by 0.129 seconds in a near
photo finish.

In GTS1, the drivers were turning near identical fast lap times with
Matt Marks taking the win.  Big Joe Boschulte was unable to challenge
the win as he decided to do some heavy lifting by having a power
steering failure.  He could only man handle the car for a lap before
his arms tired out.  At least that was the story conveyed from fellow
competitor Dave Gibson when he recalled after the race, "Joe blew a
power steering belt on Sunday which with 275 meat up front even "Big
Joe" couldn't muscle it around."  Gibson would battle hard with Max
Fischer in a rented Bent Splitter Racing GTS1 BMW.  Gibson would
emerge ahead of Fischer and after the race had some thoughts on why,
"Max came up to me after our epic battle saying what a blast it was to
race GTS-1!  He said he is used to GTS-4 hard breaking and gobs of
horsepower and in 1 its easy on the brakes and carrying speed...which
he said is a little scary!"  Fischer would end up finishing fourth
with Rob Carpenter taking the last podium spot.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Not so Secret Weapons for Nationals

In an effort to regain the lead in the bling bling spending wars between myself and Josh Smith, I decided to buy a sexy Bimmerworld Carbon Intake Box.  I was looking for a slight advantage here with increasing midrange torque and at the same time, adding a headlight duct to get some "off dyno" gains.  Ive run two events with this new modification and the car seems faster.  True test will come in about a week at Nationals.  Updates to come!

The dyno plot below is from an unrestricted tune that I have.   As shown, midrange power and torque rises a good deal.  The GTS3 detune pulls out the upper HP and leaves me with nice middle gains!  Unsure what added HP effect the headlight duct adds but even a few horsepower is better than nothing!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Summit Point Testing Update

Last event before Nationals and th car felt more dialed in.  Changed up some spring and alignment settings for this event and the car seemed to handle the transitions better.  Overall I am happy going into Nationals and hope to have something for my competition.  Hoping for a MidAtlantic 1-2 between me and Josh.

Sunday results were not posted online, but Im linking from here.  I got super lucky on last lap traffic to get around Josh.

Sunday Summit Breeze Results

Monday, August 13, 2012

MCS Mid-Ohio Testing

So an update from the last post.  Went to MidOhio to get some testing done with these new MCS gizmos.  My initial impressions are that these shocks absorb imperfections in the track way better than my prior Moton Street Sport Doubles.  Im not a suspension engineer, but the valving profiles might be softer?  The only way I can describe it is that it feels like Im driving a "Cadillac" in that the car feels less upset and smoother.  This allowed for easier (and earlier) power application.  I toyed around with different rear spring rate and that can be apparent when you look at the Sunday video compared to the Saturday (oversteer central!)

I was not able to do a lot of testing since it was wet the first day but I did get enough time under the suspension to finish on the podium in 2nd place behind Josh Smith (who is also on MCS).  On Sunday, I finished the same, but due to a weight snafu, I was DQd!  First DQ ever by the way and it was something nutty (70# under prior day with exact same setup).  

So one more race weekend left before Nationals at Summit Point this coming weekend.  Im going to try to do some more testing and fine tuning.

Here are the race videos from the weekend: 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

New Weapons

Welp, I couldnt resist the deal MCS was giving GTS racers for Nationals.  (See here).

Will install and test at Mid-Ohio next weekend and report back my findings.  Hopefully positive as I seek to gain an advantage over the competition and try to win this thing!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Just completed a weekend at VIR with Grassroots Motorsports UTCC (Ultimate Track Car Challenge) followed with NASA racing.

After finding success with laptimes at Summit Point the event before, I was looking on improving on my previous best laptimes.  With my unrestricted tune in place, I ended up firing off some low 2:03s!  My final time would end up being a 2:03.193 which was good enough for 12th overall out of 44 and 3rd fastest BMW behind James Clay's awesome E92 M3 and Steve Bassen's S54 E30.


On Saturday, I skipped qualifying since there was only 3 guys in GTS3.  Before the race, it rained and I had considered switching over to my intermediate tires.  In hindsight, I should have since in my haste of rotating tires, a hub centering ring got stuck on the hub.  Not knowing and thinking everything was torqued down, I lasted about 2 laps before my wheel almost fell off.  First DNF in a very long time :(

On Sunday, I decided to race unrestricted.  I ran in GTS4 and qualified on the pole. After snagging Josh Smith's GTS3 record at Summit, I was hoping to snag the GTS4 record from Omar Lopez.  Unfortunately, an out of class Porsche held me up.  Though I don't think I woulda made it happen anyways as these tires saw 2 UTCC sessions, 1 partial GTS3 race on Sat, qualifying on Sunday and now the race.  That was on top of the already 8-9 HCs on them!  The BFG R1Ss did great though and I came through with the win.

Stay tuned as I travel to MidOhio 8/10 weekend.  Hoping to test out some new secret weapons.  Soon to be disclosed here!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Hyperfest 2012

Hyperfest was packed and competitive as usual.  This year it was not as hot though and I was testing out some BFGoodrich R1S tires.  These are supposed to be similar to the Hoosier A6 compound.  They worked great on Saturday and I had a nose to tail fight with Josh Smith the entire race.  We both ended up turning laptimes within tenths of each other and with me snagging the track record over him by a mere 0.019 seconds.

On Sunday, I used the BFG R1S again, but they couldnt hold up to the stresses of a 40 minute race.  After briefly getting the lead from Josh, I got held up in traffic and he got by.  Never really could catch back up and he took the win.

Looking forward to VIR in July.  Battle again with Josh!

Video of Sunday Race:

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Welp, I decided at the last minute to make the trek up to Watkins Glen for a BMWCCA Club Race.  I had just did some wrenching on the car to fix an oil leak and wanted to make sure I had fixed it.  Since it only leaked while on track, I did not want to wait until Hyperfest to see if the fix had worked.

The C-Modified class was light on the heavy hitters this weekend and I actually had a shot at winning it.  The thought of winning overall was enough to convince me to go :)

Unfortunately, the fastest CM driver there, Jean Luc Bergeron was actually way faster than he was in the past.  I did fire off a 2:03.8 in qualifying which was a personal best.  I knew I would have to stay close to Bergeron to be a factor since he could motor away.  In the race, he took the green and raced over to the left and got on the brakes early leaving a HUGE opening for me to take.  I did not hesitate and got in front of him in T1.  I held him behind me all the way up the esses, but he had way more power and I had to take a defensive line.  We played the game of who would brake later.  That was enough to force a mistake with Bergeron doing some lawn mowing.  I stayed fairly close afterwards but he slowly was pulling away.  Then all of a sudden, he started slowing down.  Something must have been wrong I thought.  Turns out, his grille was filled with grass and he was overheating.  He would have to pit in and therefore I got the win!

Video of start to Bergeron's pit in:

Once again, I was on stock calipers with stock ducting.  No issues with fade at all with my Performance Friction 01 pads (available through ;) )  I cannot say the same about my Hoosiers though.  After ONE 45 minute race, I ended up cording the left front.  I guess there was a LITTLE bit of understeer, but me forcing the car to turn killed the tire I guess :O  The picture to the left is the aforementioned front left tire and the left rear for comparison.

In the remaining races and enduro, I would be no match for Bergeron.  He took the wins in those races and I came in second. I thought I had a chance in the enduro because of a double yellow, but Bergeron also got the "golden pit" as they call it.  On the restart, I was a few cars behind and traffic kept us close.  Was some really fun times passing 3-wide up the esses.

Was super fun hanging out with all my familiar BMWCCA faces and look forward to it again.  Though next time it may be in GTS4 (or GTS3)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

April Summit Point Showdown w/ NASA

What a weekend.  Going into it, weather forecasters had been predicting 60% chance of showers which meant packing all my rain tires (full wet, intermediate) as well as dry tires.  The thought of having to put the car on jackstands and anxiously looking at radar maps was not very appealing to me.  However, as I arrived at Summit Point on friday, the weather was absolutely perfect.  Latest forecast was now delaying the rain!  For those of you who don't already use it, NOAA's "forecast discussion" feature is very informative.  Written in some cryptic government worker shorthand, it provides valuable discussion on how the fronts are moving, etc.  Anyhow, enough of my newfound meteorological skills.

I had relatively low expectations going into this race.  I had some old friends over at RRT (FYI: under new management now) corner balance the car and tweak my alignment settings.  I pretty much just wanted the car to perform ok given that it was down on power the previous shakedown at VIR (BMWCCA Race weekend).  There was an oil leak in the oil separator o-ring which I hoped would be gone with its replacement.  For the first session out, no dice.  I could smell burning oil again from it dripping onto the headers.  I decided to just run with it and run with it I did.  I was clicking off 1:19s in qualifying which was good enough for a new GTS3 track record.  Now all I had to do was replicate that in the race.  That typically is a little bit harder to do since there tends to be traffic.

In the race, I leapt out to an early lead and being light on traffic, I decided to go for the flyer lap.  1:19.3 is the new GTS3 Summit Point track record now.  My logger showed possible 1:18s!  (though high 118s ;) ).  I was in pretty good position to win the race, but on the last lap in the last corner, a Mustang spun out in front of me.  At first I made a quick decision to go for it, but as the car came back around from its spin, I could tell the driver did not have "both feet in" as they say, and the car started rolling back.  Not looking to destroy my front end, I checked up fairly hard.  Unfortunately, my competition from behind was coming at full speed.  I lost the lead and finished in 2nd place 0.4 seconds behind :(


On Sunday, I qualified with a 1:18.8!!!  I knew the 1:18s were there!  With a solid time, I had no worries about the upcoming race.  However, at the start, Scott Bresnahan in a 996 leapt ahead.  I was slightly worried I would end up getting stuck in 2nd place again not being able to pass a more powerful car down the straights.  I gambled with a more risky pass inside the carousel and my dive plane paid the price.  I would eventually get a fast run out of T10 to make a quick pass and then never really looked back after that.  Being a 40 minute race and being on Hoosier A6s meant I had to nurse the tires a bit so I just maintained my lead.


Despite running no brake ducting, continued testing of my brake fluid of choice, Wilwood EXP600, proved it could handle the heat.  The fluid is fairly "value priced" and in my opinion, better than Motul RBF600.  I had also been using PFC01s all around on stock sized rotors and PFC DirectDrive rotors.  All of which can be purchased through  :)