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      01-26-2013, 10:52 AM   #1
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Which e90 For NASA TT & Semi DD?

Hey Guys,

I am new to the forum....and very close to trading/selling my '10 GTI for an e90 but need some advice from experienced track guys. I want to go back to a RWD vehicle to compete in NASA Time Trial and to use as a semi daily driver. It must be a 4 Dr, safe (for occasional transport of kids when our SUV is in use), fun, reliable and not super expensive to run. Thus, I am looking at the e90.

By way of background, I have been doing track events since 2006, which includes W2W in a spec miata and NASA TT in a '99 e36 M3 and '10 GTI. Although I really like the GTI, it is just not as rewarding as my previous e36. (Note: please don't say just get an e36 or e46; I want something newer, safer, and 4 dr. ) My question is this: assuming each car is in good mechanical conditions, which e90 would be best for me as a semi DD and NASA TT car between:

1) an '08 - '09 328i with around 35K miles;
2) an '06 330i with about 75K miles; or
3) an '08 M3 with about 50K miles?

Please note I am not trying to pick which of three are fastest, but which would be most competive in their respective class in TT and make a decent DD. The 328 and 330 would be prepped for TTD while the M3 would be prepped for TTB (after a dnyo re-class to start in TTB car rather than TTB**).

I have done some research on this and have come up with the following pros and cons for each car, but would appreciate your advice and constructive criticism if my reasoning is off:

Option 1 - 328i:
Pros: Easy to find '08 or '09 in clean condition with low miles for about 20K; relatively light weight / easier on consumables; and can increase hp from 230 to about 260 with intake manifold from 330i and software for about $1,5000 in parts.
Cons: Slowest of three out of box; requires extensive and expensive modifications like LSD, BBK, M3 suspension bits and bushings; and has least desirable transmission.

Option 2 - 330i:
Pros: Good engine from from start; weighs a little more than 328i; stock brake calipers may be adequate with ducting; and is cheapest option at around 15K to 18K for a relatively clean one.
Cons: Very hard to find a clean and low mileage example anywhere in country; oldest option (2006 only) suggesting more likely to need repairs; and still requires an LSD, as well as M3 suspension bits and bushings.

Option 3 - M3
Pros: Awsome engine and platform; only suspension modification need are coilovers; and easy to find '08 with moderate miles in condition.
Cons: Most expensive option at around 32K in moderate miles; grossly overweight for track car requiring expensive consumables; bad gas mileage; and will probably need a BBK for an advanced driver running 20-25 minute sessions.

So there is my analysis, flawed or not. The M3 option seems to be the simplest but I'm not sure it would be, in the end, the most rewarding for me. I found the power on my stock e36 M3 to be suffient and enjoyable; the suspension and relative light weight was bliss on track. However, I'm not sure I can acheive such a rewarding experience with any of the e90 options. I'd definitely prefer the lower cost consumables of the 328 or 330 but not if it means it I would be bored or let down by the power. (Note: any of the 3 options would ultimately be equiped with AST coilovers plus Vorshlag camber plates.) Thank you in advance for your thoughts and suggestions...

Last edited by JMK007; 01-26-2013 at 10:57 AM.
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      01-26-2013, 11:45 AM   #2
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M3 is the most fun and obviously the fastest, but is the least competitive unfortunately. TTB is full of S2000's with wings and e36 racecars, a pretty much bone stock E92 would get raped. You start with 14 point penalty in the M3, leaving only like 5 for mods, so really the M3 is a TTA car.

For a car that won't be purely track the M3 is more enjoyable because it is so much faster and has an awesome engine note (with an exhaust). If TT is that important to you then I'd pick none of the above, and if it isn't I'd pick M3.
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      01-26-2013, 12:17 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Porschefile View Post
M3 is the most fun and obviously the fastest, but is the least competitive unfortunately. TTB is full of S2000's with wings and e36 racecars, a pretty much bone stock E92 would get raped. You start with 14 point penalty in the M3, leaving only like 5 for mods, so really the M3 is a TTA car.

For a car that won't be purely track the M3 is more enjoyable because it is so much faster and has an awesome engine note (with an exhaust). If TT is that important to you then I'd pick none of the above, and if it isn't I'd pick M3.
Porschefile,

Thank you for the advice. I agree a bone stock e90 would get raped by starting in TTB**. However, under NASA TT Rule 6.5, a car can be dyno re-classed into a different base class. I have specifically confirmed this with the National TT Director and know a guy with a 350Z who was re-classed into TTD* from TTC. Thus, if the car comes in at about 3,700 lbs plus 150 lbs for me (with a stock engine), I believe I can be dyno re-classed into TTB or TTB*. Assuming that is true, do you believe the e90 M3 can be competitive with AST coilovers and Nitto NT-01s 255s in TTB* or Hoosier R6 265s in TTB)? Thank you in advance for your thoughts...
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      01-26-2013, 02:39 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMK007 View Post
Porschefile,

Thank you for the advice. I agree a bone stock e90 would get raped by starting in TTB**. However, under NASA TT Rule 6.5, a car can be dyno re-classed into a different base class. I have specifically confirmed this with the National TT Director and know a guy with a 350Z who was re-classed into TTD* from TTC. Thus, if the car comes in at about 3,700 lbs plus 150 lbs for me (with a stock engine), I believe I can be dyno re-classed into TTB or TTB*. Assuming that is true, do you believe the e90 M3 can be competitive with AST coilovers and Nitto NT-01s 255s in TTB* or Hoosier R6 265s in TTB)? Thank you in advance for your thoughts...
You're not getting an e90 M3 in TTB, sorry. Even if you're somehow re-classed which is unlikely, any upgrades will bump you up to TT3 (formerly called TTA). I hate to say this but under the current TT rules, a near-stock M3 is not competitive in any class. You can spend a lot of money and go after TT1/TT2 (former TTU/TTS) but then again there are better/cheaper ways to rule those classes.

Perhaps it's time to look into joining one of non-TT NASA races? You mentioned you have TT experience so that may be the next logical step.

HTH
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      01-26-2013, 03:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mid-corner fun View Post
You're not getting an e90 M3 in TTB, sorry. Even if you're somehow re-classed which is unlikely, any upgrades will bump you up to TT3 (formerly called TTA). I hate to say this but under the current TT rules, a near-stock M3 is not competitive in any class. You can spend a lot of money and go after TT1/TT2 (former TTU/TTS) but then again there are better/cheaper ways to rule those classes.

Perhaps it's time to look into joining one of non-TT NASA races? You mentioned you have TT experience so that may be the next logical step.

HTH
Mid-Corner-Fun,

You seem very confident Greenbaum would never have me dyno re-classed to TTB (from TTB**). You may be right but I have an email into him on this topic now. Assuming I cannot, I wholeheartedly agree I could never be competitive in TTB and do not care to make the investment to compete in TT3.

You also say, even if I were dyno re-classed, any upgrade will bump me up to TT3. Why do you say this? My question is not intended to be argumentative but, truly, to learn why you believe this. Maybe there is a reason that I don't know? If was re-classed into TTB, I would do the following:

6 Pts..........AST Coilovers (inverted)
13 Pts........BFG R1 265/35/18 (or Hoosier R6s 285/35/18 for 12 pts).

Total Points = 19pts (or 18 Pts)

If I was allowed to do this, do you still think the car would be inherently uncompetitive? If so, please explain. I'd want to know so I don't make the mistake of buying an expensive uncompetitive car. I know for a fact some near stock cars can be competitive in TT (e.g., the BRZ/FRS in TTD and a '10 GTI in TTE, which set two track records at Gingerman and Road America last year).

Lastly, as for going back to W2W (since I have already done Spec Miata with SCCA and Midwestern Council), that is just not practical for me right now. However, I appreciate the idea. My buddy is the Race Director for Spec e30 in the Midwest and he is constantly on my ass to get in.

Once again, thank you for your advice and thoughts.

Last edited by JMK007; 01-26-2013 at 04:47 PM.
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      01-26-2013, 08:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMK007 View Post
Mid-Corner-Fun,

You seem very confident Greenbaum would never have me dyno re-classed to TTB (from TTB**). You may be right but I have an email into him on this topic now. Assuming I cannot, I wholeheartedly agree I could never be competitive in TTB and do not care to make the investment to compete in TT3.

You also say, even if I were dyno re-classed, any upgrade will bump me up to TT3. Why do you say this? My question is not intended to be argumentative but, truly, to learn why you believe this. Maybe there is a reason that I don't know? If was re-classed into TTB, I would do the following:

6 Pts..........AST Coilovers (inverted)
13 Pts........BFG R1 265/35/18 (or Hoosier R6s 285/35/18 for 12 pts).

Total Points = 19pts (or 18 Pts)

If I was allowed to do this, do you still think the car would be inherently uncompetitive? If so, please explain. I'd want to know so I don't make the mistake of buying an expensive uncompetitive car. I know for a fact some near stock cars can be competitive in TT (e.g., the BRZ/FRS in TTD and a '10 GTI in TTE, which set two track records at Gingerman and Road America last year).

Lastly, as for going back to W2W (since I have already done Spec Miata with SCCA and Midwestern Council), that is just not practical for me right now. However, I appreciate the idea. My buddy is the Race Director for Spec e30 in the Midwest and he is constantly on my ass to get in.

Once again, thank you for your advice and thoughts.
My comments were based on re-classing attempts I've witnessed via fellow racers & friends but I did not mean to discourage you, unlikely does not mean impossible.

As far as bumping up class-wise, let's say you do end up in TTB somehow. The calculations you made leave a margin of 1 or 2 points before up classing. That's a very tight margin, it leaves no room for future (planned or unplanned) adjustments. Were you not planning to run camber plates? No aero eventually? Sorry, not on a computer so I can't look up the exact points right now.

Also, how is the field in your particular region? Is there decent competition in TTB or TTA/TT3?

Either way, my point is that investing in a platform based on the hope that a reclassification may make it relatively competitive is risky. I would rather plan for a competitive setup based on an existing class + add-on points but that's just me. BTW, in my region DE4 & TT run together in most events, I opt to run with DE4 as I'm squarely in TTA territory and off by ~4 secs from the leaders, no way to get closer without losing some serious weight or do serious upgrades to this platform.

Hope you sort this out, always good to have more people in the TT groups!
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      01-27-2013, 11:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mid-corner fun View Post
My comments were based on re-classing attempts I've witnessed via fellow racers & friends but I did not mean to discourage you, unlikely does not mean impossible.

As far as bumping up class-wise, let's say you do end up in TTB somehow. The calculations you made leave a margin of 1 or 2 points before up classing. That's a very tight margin, it leaves no room for future (planned or unplanned) adjustments. Were you not planning to run camber plates? No aero eventually? Sorry, not on a computer so I can't look up the exact points right now.

Also, how is the field in your particular region? Is there decent competition in TTB or TTA/TT3?

Either way, my point is that investing in a platform based on the hope that a reclassification may make it relatively competitive is risky. I would rather plan for a competitive setup based on an existing class + add-on points but that's just me. BTW, in my region DE4 & TT run together in most events, I opt to run with DE4 as I'm squarely in TTA territory and off by ~4 secs from the leaders, no way to get closer without losing some serious weight or do serious upgrades to this platform.

Hope you sort this out, always good to have more people in the TT groups!
I will not buy an e90 M3 for TTB if I am not first reasonably assured by the TT Director of a dyno re-class based on a reasonably expected power to weight ratio. A stock 4 Dr M3 weights about 3,725. The minimum base weight is 3,625 without driver. I weigh 155 lbs for a total weight of 3,880 or 255 lbs above the minimum weight. If the penalty for being 200 lbs underweight is 14 pts (and 18 pts for 260 lbs), then I would hope to get at least 14 pts back for being between 225 and 255 lbs over weight. (BTW: camber plates are free.) However, again, I totally agree it's too risky to buy the car on this assumption without hearing from the TT Director first. (Note: he previously told me I could dyn-reclass a '09 and up RX8 from TTD* to TTD or even TTE** depening upon how the power to weight ends up.) I just want to know if an e90 M3 can be competitive starting in TTB rather than TTB** (and/or whether I would be better of with 328 or 330 in TTD)?

Regarding the TTB and previous TTA/now TT3 competition in the Midwest, TTB has been faster than TTA on occasion. At Autobahn South last September, the fastest TTB time was a record breaking 133:178 by an S2000 with every go fast part, followed closely by a heavily prepped Solstice (Turbo), Cayman, e46 M3, and another S2000--all within 3 seconds of each other. The fastest TTA that day was 133:75 by a Vette, followed by five others including a Cayman S, e90 M3, and heavily prepped 350 Z--all within 5 seconds. However, the new TT3 rules will likely make the class uncompetitive except for a fully prepped race car. (If was to buy a semi DD for TT3, I would get an Evo--which I'm sure is blasphemy on this forum)

All of that said, a 328i starts in TTE. If I prepped for TTD, that gives me 39 points to play with. Thus, I would have tons of room for modifications but it would cost a fair amount and would probably not be as fun--at least on the street.

Thanks again for the input.

Last edited by JMK007; 01-27-2013 at 03:08 PM.
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      01-27-2013, 12:53 PM   #8
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Excellent discussion so far. I am very interested in same topic, thinking of getting dedicated TT car, type/class to be determined. Thanks.
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      01-27-2013, 04:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMK007 View Post
Porschefile,

Thank you for the advice. I agree a bone stock e90 would get raped by starting in TTB**. However, under NASA TT Rule 6.5, a car can be dyno re-classed into a different base class. I have specifically confirmed this with the National TT Director and know a guy with a 350Z who was re-classed into TTD* from TTC. Thus, if the car comes in at about 3,700 lbs plus 150 lbs for me (with a stock engine), I believe I can be dyno re-classed into TTB or TTB*. Assuming that is true, do you believe the e90 M3 can be competitive with AST coilovers and Nitto NT-01s 255s in TTB* or Hoosier R6 265s in TTB)? Thank you in advance for your thoughts...
If you can actually do that, then yeah it could be competitive. But you know if you get reclassed (which is difficult to do anyway) and then seem to have an advantage over the other TTB competitors they may take away the leniency. I love the M3 for what it is, but I don't think it is a good TT car.

E46 M3 is still a pretty good TTB though.
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      01-28-2013, 01:13 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Porschefile View Post
E46 M3 is still a pretty good TTB though.
+1

Possibly TT3 too. There's an E46 M3 in NE TTA that posted great numbers in 2012.
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      01-28-2013, 01:31 PM   #11
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I've been running my e90 fairly competitively in TTA for 3 years now but am not sure what to do this year since TTA is being replaced by TT3 - where I will get slaughtered.

I'm interested to hear if greenbaum has changed his tune in the dyno reclass on the e90 M3 given his response to me last month.


"I really can't do anything with that car to re-class it down in base class, despite its weight. It has a ton of power, and the car is built to handle well, even at that weight. "

I know you didn't want to hear this, but the e36 M3 is your best bet for a tt car that will pay for itself vs an e 90 M3 after a couple seasons of mods and wear items. The e36 CAN be dyno reclassified if you want to keep the interior for street use.
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      01-28-2013, 04:19 PM   #12
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Option 1 without a doubt.

I ran nationals this year in TTC in my S2000. It is on the aforementioned dyno reclass. Not much out there can touch it, except a very well prepped and driven e36 M3 and even then, its only due to the power the M3 has over the s2000.

Edit** - Oh, and Emilio from 949 Racing in their "Crusher" miata. That thing is wicked fast.
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      01-28-2013, 04:42 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMK007
If was re-classed into TTB, I would do the following:

6 Pts..........AST Coilovers (inverted)
13 Pts........BFG R1 265/35/18 (or Hoosier R6s 285/35/18 for 12 pts).

Total Points = 19pts (or 18 Pts)
I think your TT math is off a bit here. Inverted shocks are +7 or +10 depending on singles or doubles. Don't forget that springs also add 2 pts.

E. SUSPENSION:
1) Non-BTM shocks/struts/dampers with an external reservoir or more than two ranges of adjustment—must still take points for springs below +10 (example: compression (bump) and both high & low rebound adjustments).
2) Non-BTM shocks/struts/dampers with a “Piggy Back” external reservoir (fixed reservoir without a connecting hose) OR with shaft diameter 40mm or greater—must still take additional points for the springs below +7
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      01-28-2013, 04:42 PM   #14
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JMK, here are my personal videos from Mid Ohio and Gingerman - didn't realize you were in Chicago like me.

Remember, this is from my s2000 in TTC

NASA Nationals - almost a national champion


Gingerman the day after NASA Nationals. 1:42.1 - .5 off TTA Record, 1.5 seconds or so faster than the TTB record, and 4 seconds faster than TTC record, all in TTC trim. Gingerman doesn't pull top level drivers, so I don't count lap records there with as much regard.

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      01-28-2013, 04:47 PM   #15
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^nice! So either keep the E36 or go S2k. I stuck with the M3 because TT wasn't important enough to me to have a slower track car. The V8 M3 is just fun.
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      01-28-2013, 04:58 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Porschefile View Post
^nice! So either keep the E36 or go S2k. I stuck with the M3 because TT wasn't important enough to me to have a slower track car. The V8 M3 is just fun.
Some friends and I were trying to figure out if the S2000 is the car to have for TTC or if fast drivers just gravitate towards them. If I had the resources, Id build up an FRS for TTC in a heart beat. I think that they can be s2000 killers.

That being said, an e36 M3 beat 4-5 s2000s at Mid-Ohio nationals in 2011.
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      01-28-2013, 05:10 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTM_Challenge View Post
Some friends and I were trying to figure out if the S2000 is the car to have for TTC or if fast drivers just gravitate towards them. If I had the resources, Id build up an FRS for TTC in a heart beat. I think that they can be s2000 killers.

That being said, an e36 M3 beat 4-5 s2000s at Mid-Ohio nationals in 2011.
When I paid attention to NASA TT, which was a couple of years ago, pretty modded S2Ks and E36 M3's won TTB too, so there is some flexibility to make the car faster and still be competitive too.
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      01-29-2013, 07:33 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickyBobby View Post
I've been running my e90 fairly competitively in TTA for 3 years now but am not sure what to do this year since TTA is being replaced by TT3 - where I will get slaughtered.

I'm interested to hear if greenbaum has changed his tune in the dyno reclass on the e90 M3 given his response to me last month.


"I really can't do anything with that car to re-class it down in base class, despite its weight. It has a ton of power, and the car is built to handle well, even at that weight. "

I know you didn't want to hear this, but the e36 M3 is your best bet for a tt car that will pay for itself vs an e 90 M3 after a couple seasons of mods and wear items. The e36 CAN be dyno reclassified if you want to keep the interior for street use.
Crap! I'm sure I will get the same answer. TTA looks tough for anything but a fully prepped car. The idea of running in TT3 competitively in a car with a full interior seems impossible. Out of curriosity, what was your set up in TTA?

The e36 M3 would be a great choice in TTC (which I ran in TTD in near stock trim). As another member pointed out, the e46 would also be a nice choice in TTB. However, I need a super safe car with lots of airbags when I need to occasionally transport my kids (when my wife has the SUV). The e90 fits that bill.
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      01-29-2013, 07:42 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickyBobby View Post
I think your TT math is off a bit here. Inverted shocks are +7 or +10 depending on singles or doubles. Don't forget that springs also add 2 pts.

E. SUSPENSION:
1) Non-BTM shocks/struts/dampers with an external reservoir or more than two ranges of adjustment—must still take points for springs below +10 (example: compression (bump) and both high & low rebound adjustments).
2) Non-BTM shocks/struts/dampers with a “Piggy Back” external reservoir (fixed reservoir without a connecting hose) OR with shaft diameter 40mm or greater—must still take additional points for the springs below +7
Math is not my strong suit but I believe I am correct. Specifically, I would not purchase shocks with "external reservoris or more than two ranges..." (under rule 1) or a shaft more than 40 mm (under rule 2). Instead, I take 4 pts for "inverted shocks" (under rules 3 and 4) and 2 pts for springs (under rule 5):

3) Non-BTM or modified/re-valved shocks/struts/dampers +3 (all others)(springs not included)
4) Changing the mounting orientation/design of the BTM shock and/or spring perch in order to
invert the shocks/struts (includes non-BTM inverted shocks/struts) +1
5) Non-BTM or modified coil springs, leaf springs/spacers/brackets, or torsion bars +2
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      01-29-2013, 07:48 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTM_Challenge View Post
Option 1 without a doubt.

I ran nationals this year in TTC in my S2000. It is on the aforementioned dyno reclass. Not much out there can touch it, except a very well prepped and driven e36 M3 and even then, its only due to the power the M3 has over the s2000.

Edit** - Oh, and Emilio from 949 Racing in their "Crusher" miata. That thing is wicked fast.
I think you may be right on Option 1 but I'm not certain. It appears a 328i with an intake manifold (stage 3), BBK, and LSD would be close to an e36 M3 and I would still have extra points for other things (especially if I lighten in up by at least 150 lbs). However, that is not a cheap set of upgrades. I would probably need to go with light weight seats to get the weight close.
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      01-29-2013, 08:01 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMK007 View Post
I think you may be right on Option 1 but I'm not certain. It appears a 328i with an intake manifold (stage 3), BBK, and LSD would be close to an e36 M3 and I would still have extra points for other things (especially if I lighten in up by at least 150 lbs). However, that is not a cheap set of upgrades. I would probably need to go with light weight seats to get the weight close.
To be the most competitive in TT or PT classes, Id opt for the option Dyno reclass.

The way my car was sitting without a dyno reclass, I has 211 whp at +18 points and 2850 base weight. At my current reclass - TTC base class, 215whp, 2770 lbs, I was able to shave 70 lbs, and gain 3 points back. I competed at nationals at TTC +17.

The idea of TT and PT is actually to dyno reclass at higher levels - which makes sense because at a national race, they can throw you on the dyno to see if you're compliant vs. having you tear the motor down in the tech shed to prove all your internals are legal.
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      01-29-2013, 10:07 PM   #22
klammer
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This is a great discussion. Would love to get together in Chicago and discuss this a bit more. I know nothing about this, but know these tracks and would love to discuss racing here in the Midwest. Good luck
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