As featured on M3POST HOMEPAGE
I have had my fair share of fun and joy in my M3 since Fall of ’08. My M3 has definitely seen its fair share of snow, hideous Philly pot holes and smooth track tarmac in the last 2 years. Earlier this year, I had an opportunity to take on a job for the summer out in San Fransisco and thought it would be a wonderful experience personally to be living out in the west coast for the first time. I have visited LA and SF numerous occasions – but it is never the same when you actually live in the area. So I took it up, and with that I embarked on a whole new journey out the Wild Wild West.
How the car is so far..
Never knew how important offsets are until I met this forum
and of it goes to the wild wild west...
Coincidentally, I also chanced upon Redline Time Attack in NJMP in April. I posted a thread on it a few months back (http://www.m3post.com/forums/showthr...highlight=njmp
). Surprised with my good performance, I was set to participate in two more events out in the West this summer once in Autoclub Speedway on May 29th & 30th and another in Willow Springs on July 4th weekend.
I painted my APEX wheels GT3RS red and decided to move the car from Philadelphia to West Coast.
I arrived in San Fransisco Thursday evening from Singapore and proceeded to drive down from SF to HP Autowerk shop in Santa Barbara. It was my first road trip in the west coast and I must say you guys have it very good here, the roads were very smooth and you have a spectacular view.
For those who followed the NJMP thread, I was set on a suspension upgrade for my race in autoclub speedway. Along the way, I also managed to pick up some very “light” sponsors who were willing to give me some discounts on products. HP Autowerks participated in the previous Redline Time Attack event in Las Vegas running a custom suspension setup with TC Kline D/A Coilovers and Swift Springs; they went through a good year’s worth of testing before they got their spring rates right alongside with the additional aero (Wing and Lip). For those who are skeptical about Aero… trust me, I’ve sat in some of the 335s and 135s with and without aero and they make a huge, huge difference. There’s one thing to look like a ricer but it is another go fast. With that I was committed to try the TC Kline D/A Coilover with Swift Springs and Vorshlag Camber plates, 500(F) and 800(R). Unfortunately, the car arrived 4 days late in HP Autowerks shop – it only came in Friday afternoon whereby the race was taking place on Saturday and Sunday. Harold still managed to flush the fluids with Castrol and I switched out to a new set of race pads HAWK DTC-70s.
First time out in Autoclub Speedway was not easy at all. I have been on an oval track in Poconos but being out in ACS Roval was a new ball game for me. The infield was tight and Turn 1 and Turn 2 were not easy to nail it down. My times were pathetic during the 1st sessions, I was in the roaming around 2:05-2:10 region. At the end of the HPDE/practice session on Saturday, I managed to go down to as close as 2:04.
Sunday was the Time Attack race and it was closed up to only race participants. The winds died down and conditions were better. I managed to clock a 2:00.6 for qualifying and a 1:59.9 for the time attack session which barely squeezed a podium finish – 3rd place in Enthusiast RWD class. Needless to say, high 1:59 isn’t exactly the best times around but I still have a lot to learn and improve on and look forward to getting a chance to drive around the roval again this summer. The fastest car in my class was AE Performance’s 370z driven by Paul Dentice smoking everyone in the field clocking a 1:55 lap (even managed to do a 1:53 lap during practice) which is very impressive for a NA 370Z given that it has possibly every single track mod you can imagine. AE Performance really knows what they are doing with their Zs and were very nice people to chat with.
HP Autowerks gave me a lot of help providing track side support. It was unfortunate that they could not retain their victory from Las Vegas and came in 4th place in the very competitive Street RWD class clocking in a 1:53.1 with a 335 sedan driven by Jeff Tyler. They couldn’t compete in the 2nd session of time attack as they had an unknown engine malfunction error due to some boost issues. Podium for Street Tire RWD class was 1:51.2 (240 SX), 1:51.3 (Berk Technology 135i) and 1:52.4 (ER 135i).
The event was a record turnout and there were a good mix of cars both EURO, JDM and exotics.
I switched from Motul RBF600 to Castrol SRF; on the basis that I will be tracking a fair bit summer and didn’t want the hassle to bleed the brakes mid-season. The Castrols have higher wet boiling point 518F compared to Motul’s 420F and I have heard from some people that they do pay-off and justify the higher price through the season.
The HAWK DTC-70s held up a whole lot better than HAWK HP+. I think I learned my lessons in that there’s no point to run street/track pads if you intend to push the car hard on the track. Despite plenty of grip, my HAWK HP+ in NJMP melted and left some pretty harsh residues on my rotors. I had a hard time trying to get the deposits off the rotors and it was eventually caked it resulting bad vibration during street driving. DeSimone BMW out in Mt. Laurel NJ eventually replaced them for free under warranty. The DTC-70s gave even more braking power when they are heated up, withstood the high operating temperatures and did its job pretty well.. My rotors are pretty badly worn, considering it is only 3 months old… but that is the downside of running race pads. For those who want more info, there’s a fantastic thread posted by rldzhao earlier this week: http://www.m3post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=396763
Lastly, I wanted to share my experience with Powerchip. I am currently running their street tune and am very satisfied with them. I contacted powerchip about my RTA events and they were willing to come in to provide a race fuel tune for the events. However, upon further deliberation, Matt from powerchip came back to me stating that my car was recently flashed by the 2011 anti tune software and they were unable to crack it yet. I am assuming that the dealership must have flashed my ECU when they replaced my rotors. I just got off an e-mail from Matt at powerchip yesterday and they have finally cracked the 2011 anti-tune ECU and should be releasing these new tunes to the newer car soon and I am very excited to hopefully work with them again for a race fuel tune in July.
Plans for July 4th in Willow Springs:
I’ll be heading down to Willow Springs for July 4th weekend and will be staying down in LA. The car will hopefully make it down to HP Autowerks a week before for all the work. I will be running the suspension setup mentioned above with 500F 800R spring rates, -3 cambers upfront and probably 0 toe. The suspension is height adjustable but I shouldn’t be lowering the car anymore than 0.75” to make sure I don’t upset the suspension geometry. I will definitely keep everyone updated with the suspension work.
I have been in touch with Eddy over at Apex Race Parts for them to fabricate a set of brake ducts that they will soon release to everyone. As of now, he has all the parts done except the backing plate which isn’t too difficult to do it ourselves. I should hopefully be running a brake duct set-up in Willow Springs and will share my experience.
Looking at BMWs with wings and huge lip doesn’t necessarily go easy. But looking at how the street tire class’ car has evolved in the last 6 months has been very interesting. A lot of the teams have realized that Aero is one of the cheapest and most cost efficient ways to shave down seconds in the car. The downforce you get from the wing can be balanced out nicely with a functional lip and really gives the car significantly more grip on the track. In the Enthusiast Class, our cars are limited to no aftermarket aero parts. However, we are allowed to run OEM Aero… so as such, I am tempted to try the BMW ZCP rear spoiler – apart from its look, I often wonder whether they are functional at all.. Do you think it’s worth a try? For those who’s not sure what I am talking about, link here: http://www.m3post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=368359
New set of tires
The AD08s that I ran for Autoclub Speedway were the same ones that I used in NJMP. They were brand new then but now the tires are pretty beaten up considering I drive the heck out of these tires (sometimes overdriving). I am looking at possibly running a set of shaved Hankook RS-3s or Bridgestones RE-11s, it is tempting to give RE-11s a try because bridgestone is a associate sponsor of Redline time attack and 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners of each class gets $600, $400, $200 cash respectively. That is quite tempting indeed. I plan to shave them down to 5/32s and run them only for the Time Attack sessions.
I have always wanted to run a set of 4pt harness to hold myself planted into the Recaros. The stock seatbelt doesn’t really provide good support. I think many forum members have been waiting on the Scrotch Quick Fit Pro Harness that they make for our E9X cars but it’s been pending for a good 6 months now and we have yet to hear any news on them. I saw a couple of cars on this forum running a bolt-on harness bar:
AE Performance are willing to fabricate a bolt-on harness bar for around $400 price range. These harness bars can be powder coated in any color and are made from T-304 Stainless Steel, all mandrel bent tube, TIG welded. They will only do so if they can break-even which is producing 5 bars. I am definitely taking one and we need 4 more buyers for them to start making it. Please drop me or AE Performance an PM if you are interested to purchase one and we can figure something out.
The last two weeks being out in the West Coast has been different but nothing short of amazing. The weekend over at the NorCal Dyno Day was my first taste of west coast car culture; the people are easy going and everyone is willing to share their experience. Seeing PencilGeek's beastly RS46 ESS Supercharged M3 was humbling yet mouth watering. That is indeed a stark difference from the East Coast car culture. I look forward to tracking on a couple of iconic places like Laguna Seca and Thunderhill so if you guys chance upon a trackday in the next few months, post up a Roll call thread on the track section of this forum.
For some who are wondering what JDV means, it stands for Joie de Vivre which is Joy in Life. I just constructed a website briefly to keep track of what I have done to the car and share the joy of owning this M3 for the past 2 years. It is still “Work-in-progress” but I hope to get it up and running properly soon. In which I want the website to capture the essence of owning the M3, how versatile of a car it has been to me, and essentially changing my perspective on cars. As stupid as it sounds, the M3 and this very forum has really made an impact in how I perceive car related topics; in a way it made me a more mature car owner who appreciates and understands more than the average Joe. In that I have to take this opportunity to thank the forum, it has been one hell of a journey and the best is yet to be.
Pictures were all taken by me, Chris Phung or Larry Chen.
Some high res photos are here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/22021727@N07/