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      07-18-2010, 06:52 PM   #1
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Is the E92 M3 the right car for HDPEs?

Hi Guys,

as we are in the middle of the Summer, I can't wait for my next HPDE. In the meantime, I have been wondering about the 'best' way to be able to do more events at probably a better budget than with my E92 M3.
So, I know that this will be a very general question, but I would appreciate any help or advice about what car, set-up, budget estimates you guys would have concerning a track-dedicated car.

What I know for sure is that that I still want to be able to drive to/from the track and not use a trailer, etc... .

Should I get a used E46? Older?? Etc, etc.

Any help/advice would be appreciated.

PS: I really feel I am at a cross-road between holding to the car or trading it. The car seems too nice for a daily driver, very expensive for HPDEs, etc... so I look forward to reading your input.
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      07-18-2010, 07:01 PM   #2
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Recommendations are based on what you wish to spend, turn key, or prepare the car for the street/track. Any BMW in the 3 series can be made into one heck of a track car. I was just in the car at VIR with a novice student driving a 325 E30, street legal. It was one fine track car, had a lot of track improvements, and he was very fast (did not belong in novice class). My other student, intermidiate, drove a E36 M3, street legal, but with a lot of work done to the car. On R comps, it was fast, handled well, and made for a very good track car. So, I hate to say it, but price will ultimate determine how good a car you get. I like BMWs.
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      07-18-2010, 07:22 PM   #3
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When starting a project like this, and if operating costs are the main driver for going for a less expensive dedicated track car, my recommendation is to look into the replacement/rebuild costs of a new motor for the different cars you are considering. The replacement does not necessarily need to come from the manufacturer. It could simply be a used motor your purchase on the market. All BMW M series motors are relatively expensive to rebuild or purchase new/used. And, don't just assume your motor will be fine.
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      07-18-2010, 08:26 PM   #4
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How many days a year are you doing now? How many are you wanting to do?
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      07-19-2010, 11:19 AM   #5
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I was in the same boat as you at the end of last year. I ended up buying a fully done up E46 M3, and I must say it destroys the E92. I can't say it's cheaper than the E92 other than the tires seem to last longer, but the pads for the BBK are very expensive and so are the rotors. Then I also had to get a trailer since the car doesn't have cats, sound deadening, or even a stereo. Oh and the heavy springs and stiff suspension would destroy my back and bend my rims if I hit something. I thought that I would just save money by buying an already heavily modded car rather than a mostly stock one and doing my own mods, and in the end that might be true. However, in this case I have a non-streetable car, so you might want to get a fairly stock E36 or E46 so that you can still drive it to the track and have fun. I met two guys from NYC who have well street/track modified E46 M3's and they are stupid fast at the track. So, in the end remember that the best thing you can do to lower your lap times isn't a BBK or coilovers, it's seat time at the track with good instruction.
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      07-19-2010, 12:58 PM   #6
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I see a lot of modified Miatas and they are excellent track cars.

They are extremely light and can be modified (Forced Induction) to have about 300+ WHP , Limited slip differential and rear wheel drive.

Because they are so light they dont go through tires/brakes as often.

I realize this is a BMW forum but that is probably one of the cheapest/best bang for the buck track cars you can get. You can pick one up used for under 10k and spend another 7 to 10 k to make it an amazing track car.

I always see these Miatas at every track event I go to.
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      07-19-2010, 01:22 PM   #7
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Miatas are great track cars but they have serious aero issues. If you start getting in the 300+whp range they can easily achieve 140+mph on some tracks and things start to get pretty dicey up there, and the short wheelbase doesn't help.

For a high-powered track car, I'd rather have an E36, and I used to race a Miata. But if you MUST have a V8 and you don't want to buy 18" tires, just get a Miata and drop a small-block ford or GM LSx engine in it. You can do that (and make it reliable for the track with an upgraded diff, bigger brakes, and cooling) for less than what most new M3 owners spend on option packages. A cage which ties the firewall to the rear of the car is a must at that point because the chassis will twist itself in two.
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      07-19-2010, 02:13 PM   #8
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I was in the same boat as well. I had 2006 e46 m3 with comp. pkg. for 3 years. Took it to the track about 7 times during this period and that car (stock) was one of the fastest in the intermidiate group.When it was time to return it (was leasing it) bmw wanted too much for 3 years old with more than 50 k miles on it. So i decided to get new e92 m3. But i chose to get another car that would be street/track dedicated for the same reason:e9x m3 is too nice, too heavy, too expesive for HPDEs. Now i have 2011 135i with DCT as my second car that will see hopefully a few track days a year. Tis car is ok in stock form but suspension is too soft for serious tracking. My plan is to modify suspension and if set up correctly this car can be as fast or faster than e9x m3.
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      07-24-2010, 06:05 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BRDHNTR View Post
I was in the same boat as you at the end of last year. I ended up buying a fully done up E46 M3, and I must say it destroys the E92. I can't say it's cheaper than the E92 other than the tires seem to last longer, but the pads for the BBK are very expensive and so are the rotors. Then I also had to get a trailer since the car doesn't have cats, sound deadening, or even a stereo. Oh and the heavy springs and stiff suspension would destroy my back and bend my rims if I hit something. I thought that I would just save money by buying an already heavily modded car rather than a mostly stock one and doing my own mods, and in the end that might be true. However, in this case I have a non-streetable car, so you might want to get a fairly stock E36 or E46 so that you can still drive it to the track and have fun. I met two guys from NYC who have well street/track modified E46 M3's and they are stupid fast at the track. So, in the end remember that the best thing you can do to lower your lap times isn't a BBK or coilovers, it's seat time at the track with good instruction.
I just read your response and will assume that the two guys you are talking about are my good buddies. If not I apologize, but they fit your description.
I attached a pic as their cars are somewhat unique.


The E90 is a much better car then the E46, but it is significantly more expensive to operate. Consumables cost more and wear out quicker. I am considerably faster in my lightly modded E90. (coils, brakes, tires) then my friends in more highly modded E46's (Motons, Brakes, tires, Gears, Headers, weight reduction) As a point of reference we were equal in speed when I had a similarly prepped E46.

It all comes down to how much you want to spend and what the purpose of the car is.
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      07-24-2010, 09:07 AM   #10
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If you are not bling-bling, at you place I would get a 120d/320d as a daily driver, and an M3 E46 as a track car, with which you could still drive to/from the track and not use a trailer. There are some modded ones, for not too much. HERE is one for example, with porsche brakes, coilovers, roll cage, track tires,...

M3 E92 is better than M3 E46, but not so "simple" as the older. The size of E46 is just perfect, and that is why I look forward t o the M1 E82 which has the same size, and also I6.
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      07-24-2010, 10:54 AM   #11
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In 3 years the 2008 E9X is going to make a monster track car.

My advice is to go to a SCCA or NASA event and talk to people. You will see a very wide range of track/TT/Race prepped vehicles and it will open your eyes to the possibilities. I recently got to drive a student's S2000 (the track version with lots of rear aero), and it was the most fun I've had this side of a true race car.

Another thing, it's always cheaper, especially in this economy, to buy a track car than to build one. A very good source of info is in Bimmerforums, you will find an entire thread devoted to people documenting their builds.
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      07-25-2010, 12:31 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jml View Post
In 3 years the 2008 E9X is going to make a monster track car.

My advice is to go to a SCCA or NASA event and talk to people. You will see a very wide range of track/TT/Race prepped vehicles and it will open your eyes to the possibilities. I recently got to drive a student's S2000 (the track version with lots of rear aero), and it was the most fun I've had this side of a true race car.

Another thing, it's always cheaper, especially in this economy, to buy a track car than to build one. A very good source of info is in Bimmerforums, you will find an entire thread devoted to people documenting their builds.
+1 ... We havent come close to seeing a track tuned E9X like I see the E46's at.
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      07-25-2010, 12:53 PM   #13
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Lots of very useful and insightful advice here. Thanks guys! For the time being I am looking around for a used E36 and will take it from there. I need a DD anyway... so hopefully a Sedan will come along.

....BUT I must say: I LOVE my E92 and just can't think of selling it!!
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      07-25-2010, 01:08 PM   #14
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I do one track day/HPDE every month and use my M3, which is also my DD. I feel like this car is the best available mix of both. The primary track mods are wheels/tires, brake pads, high temp fluid, and stainless steel lines. Though, I'm leaning towards a Recaro pole position and harness.

The big worry for these cars on track is the brakes and the fact that the power steering reservoir leaks all over the engine bay. While rldzhao has started a thread about the steering issue, I've yet to fine a long term fix.
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      07-25-2010, 01:55 PM   #15
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The M3 is two cars in one, but to some extent you pay for the two cars. For the price of an M3 you can practically get a new 135 and a used Elise, and the Elise is much cheaper to operate on the track than an M3.

As much as I love my car and the fact that no other car does everything better, it makes more and more sense to me to have two cars: a less expensive DD and a light dedicated track car. The benefits would be not only lower costs of consumables, but also no more tire/wheel/brake pad swapping.

Another "solution" that I find very tempting would be an Ariel Atom and a beater DD.
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      07-27-2010, 09:27 AM   #16
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or you can buy a used e46 m3 and prep it for track. cheap.

then keep your e9x m3 for DD duty.
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