BMW M3 Forum (E90 E92)

BMW Garage BMW Meets Register Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Go Back   M3Post - BMW M3 Forum > E90/E92 M3 Technical Topics > Track / Autocross / Dragstrip / Driving Techniques
 
ESS Tuning
Post Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
      06-23-2012, 02:48 PM   #1
radiantm3
Apex Everything!
 
radiantm3's Avatar
 
Drives: >1000 HP in my garage
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Danville, CA

Posts: 3,766
iTrader: (6)

Garage List
2011 E92 M3  [4.80]
2013 BMW X5M  [4.33]
Feel guilting for modding the car to get faster times?

So this has been on the back of my mind for awhile now. Everyone knows the best mod to go faster is to become a better driver. From what I've seen the best stock E9x M3 time at Laguna Seca is around 1:42-43. (You all probably know the fastest stock M3 time for your local track as well.) Right now I have an Akrapovic Evo with ESS software, KW V3' and Pilot Sport Cup tires. I'm running 1:48 at the track. Obviously I have lots of improvement to make, but even when I do eventually get to the low to mid :40's I feel like I'm cheating because of the mods. Any of you feel the same? I know there are some mods that are more for safety (but also help provide better performance) like upgrading brake components, but I'm talking about mods like suspension, power mods, aero, tires, and weightloss.

So my point of this thread is, do you think it's feasible to be able to get close to the stock record times while being stock or is being able to drive that well just a pipe dream for most of us? Or maybe it's more about not risking driving the car at 10/10 to get that kind of time? I'm just curious about what some of you more experienced guys think about the whole subject of modding the car vs improving yourself as a driver.

I love modding my car and it makes it so much more fun to drive, but I also feel like with each mod I add, I'm raising the bar for the time I expect myself to be able to get. I want faster lap times because I'm becoming a better driver, not because I'm making the car faster. Thoughts?
__________________
(1:40 @ Laguna Seca, 2:03 @ Thunderhill, 1:52 @ Infineon)
radiantm3 is offline   United_States
0
Reply With Quote
      06-23-2012, 08:53 PM   #2
paradocs98
Major
 
paradocs98's Avatar
 
Drives: 2014 991 Carrera S
Join Date: May 2009
Location: NY

Posts: 1,342
iTrader: (0)

While it's probably a laudable goal to shoot for a time close to the local stock track record in a fairly stock car, there's always going to be someone else who comes along with an even faster time.

Those of us who track get better with experience and some get pretty good, but hardly any of us will ever develop the speed of a Leh Keen or a Michael Marsal, or even the speed of a top-level club racer. So we should just enjoy the track for what it is--a challenging, fun learning experience.

Enjoy your mods and don't feel guilty. Maybe do one at a time so you can appreciate the difference each makes. And with our cars, you probably get more utility out of suspension and brake upgrades than power increases.
paradocs98 is offline   United_States
0
Reply With Quote
      06-23-2012, 08:58 PM   #3
Sauce
Lieutenant
 
Sauce's Avatar
 
Drives: Montego 135
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Studio City

Posts: 527
iTrader: (1)

You are definitely on to something. How many people can truly drive their car as fast as it can go? But you should NOT feel guilty because honestly, the M3 itself is already such a high starting point. If you wanted to do it right you would need to sell that sucker and go buy a miata or an s2000. If your experience is better because of what you have done to the car then that's all you need. If your mods make you more comfortable pushing the car than that's worth something as well.

If you want to take some of the ability away, back off on the tires. That is where people SHOULD feel guilty. Most people go to r-comps way too soon, until your car on street tires is your b*tch than stick w/ those cheap V12's.
__________________
KW V3's, Sparco Pro2000's, Vorshlag CP's, JB4, Heat Wrapped Raceland DP's, aFe stg. 2 Sealed Intake, Miro 111's, Hankook RS3's 225/245 (for now), Seibon M3 CF Hood, Turner Motorsports Alum. Radiator, Big Tom IC, BMW Performance bumper.


Last edited by Sauce; 06-26-2012 at 11:20 AM.
Sauce is offline  
0
Reply With Quote
      06-23-2012, 09:25 PM   #4
sleepless
Private First Class
 
sleepless's Avatar
 
Drives: 11 E90 M3
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Redmond, WA

Posts: 116
iTrader: (0)

I think you are overthinking... Just have fun ... Really
__________________
'11 E90, Cantrell brake ducts, Apex 18x10 ARC-8, 265/35 PSS, RS19 pads, -2.2 camber, CMS Lap Timer Pro
sleepless is offline   United_States
0
Reply With Quote
      06-24-2012, 07:39 AM   #5
dawgdog
Colonel
 
dawgdog's Avatar
 
Drives: 2010 Porsche GT3RS
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Seattle, Wa.

Posts: 2,140
iTrader: (0)

I have modded the car and improved the driver over the past almost 4 years. My car is so composed with my suspension that I couldn't see driving a stock car on the track. And my BBK is a huge advantage on the track as well.

Only recently did I purchase an Aim Solo timer and therein lies the issue. Once you start timing it can become an obsession. I notice now if I don't get some unobstructed laps I'm disappointed. I'm going to try to not be so into the timing issue in the future. We'll see how that works out.
__________________
AW on Fox Red Extended, Alum trim, ZPP, ZTP, DCT, 19" wheels, Heated front seats, HD radio, Sat radio, I-pod & usb, Premium sound, AP racing BBK, 18 Volk Racing TE 37s, Akrapovic Evolution exhaust, AST suspension
dawgdog is offline  
0
Reply With Quote
      06-24-2012, 09:55 AM   #6
CanAutM3
Brigadier General
 
CanAutM3's Avatar
 
Drives: 2015 M4 DCT
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Montreal

Posts: 3,531
iTrader: (0)

Garage List
2008 BMW M3  [0.00]
2006 Audi S4  [0.00]
IMO, modding and lap times should be seen as two very distinct passions (unless you are a pro racing team that is ).

I used to be a mod junkie myself and I had tremendous fun doing it. However, modding can quickly get very expensive. Every time you change something on the car, the next weak link pops out, and you need to keep on modding. As I said, it can be a lot fun until you reach the point where you start loosing reliability .

After 18 years of tracking, I now consider that fast laps should be more focused around the driver. I keep on learning everytime I am at the track. Pro coaching is a good option. Once you have acquired enough experience, data loggers are also a great tool to improve yourself. You can compare your sector times and speed with your buddies and try to improve the next time out. For example, if one of your buddies is faster than you over a given sector, ask him to ride with you, he might be able to give you some pointers. By learning from each other, we can all improve . I know it can become frustrating once you reach a plateau, but be patient a keep at it, you will have a brakethrough eventually.

My take: if modding makes you happy, than by all means keep on modding. If you want to be faster, work on your driving skills.

Last edited by CanAutM3; 06-24-2012 at 10:14 AM.
CanAutM3 is offline   Canada
0
Reply With Quote
      06-24-2012, 09:57 AM   #7
Car54
Captain
 
Drives: 1999 Z3 Mcoupe | 2008 M3/4
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Lutz, FL

Posts: 837
iTrader: (1)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sauce View Post
You are definitely on to something. How many people can truly drive their car as fast as it can go? But you should NOT feel guilty because honestly, the M3 itself is already such a high starting point. If you wanted to do it right you would need to sell that sucker and go buy a miata or an s2000. If your experience is better because of what you have done to the car then that's all you need. If your mods make you more comfortable pushing the car than that's worth something as well.

If you want to take some of the ability away, back off on the tires. That is where people SHOULD feel guilty. Most people go to r-comps way too soon, until your car on street tires your b*tch than stick w/ those cheap V12's.
I don't know exactly what you said at the end but I agree with the tires point in general. Go to street rubber and practice going faster. I think it's more fun to drive the car as fast as possible vs chasing a number. Besides, sticky tires just wear you and the car out sooner. I've never understood people who run really sticky tires at HPDE...not DOT tires, but slicks and such.
__________________

Craig Brickner
BM
W CCA/PBOC/Chin Motorsports DE Instructor
Click to Join: BMWCCA # 366493
Car54 is offline  
0
Reply With Quote
      06-24-2012, 10:42 AM   #8
radiantm3
Apex Everything!
 
radiantm3's Avatar
 
Drives: >1000 HP in my garage
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Danville, CA

Posts: 3,766
iTrader: (6)

Garage List
2011 E92 M3  [4.80]
2013 BMW X5M  [4.33]
Don't get me wrong, I'm having tons of fun at the track. I'm just a very competitive person and at the track I'm competitive with myself. Lap times are a quantitative way of measuring my skill and improvements as a driver so that's what drives me. I just feel like the mods diminish the value of my times a bit especially when comparing times with other M3 drivers who may be closer to stock.
__________________
(1:40 @ Laguna Seca, 2:03 @ Thunderhill, 1:52 @ Infineon)
radiantm3 is offline   United_States
0
Reply With Quote
      06-24-2012, 10:53 AM   #9
In Extremis
Jordan C
 
In Extremis's Avatar
 
Drives: 09 MR E92 M3, 65 GTO
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Long Island, NY

Posts: 371
iTrader: (1)

I've been thinking the same thing, especiallys after going with wider tires and kws. I also agree every mod raises the bar. However, I accept that I'll never be a professsional driver and think I should just enjoy it. Customizing cars was something that came first for me and I just can't give up. The research involved and tailoring a car to yourself is half the fun for me.
__________________
Melbourne Red E92 M3 DCT Sparco CF/Alcantara DTM Seats.KW3 Coilovers.Apex Wheels.OEM Performance Spoiler with CRT Theme & Splitters.Turner Subframe Mounts.Vorshlag Camber Plates.RD Sway Bars.AD08s 265/295.15 lb. Braille Battery.Catless Gintani Race.ESS Tune.Dinan Pulley.MS2 Intake.100 Octane Mix.Schroth Harnesses.Challenge Harness Bar in MR.Challenge Toe Link.Krics R40.Turner Studs/Pedals.SS Lines.Rear Seat Delete & more I can't remember
In Extremis is offline   United_States
0
Reply With Quote
      06-24-2012, 02:25 PM   #10
FR01
First Lieutenant
 
FR01's Avatar
 
Drives: 2011 E92
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: San Jose

Posts: 347
iTrader: (0)

Garage List
2011 BMW M3  [0.00]
1995 BMW M3  [0.00]
Its interesting, as I've actually been thinking about this very topic. A coworker asked about what causes a difference in lap times when the cars are the same model.

The "stock M3" time of1:42.9 vs. my best 1:48.7ish semi-modded, has many factors. The packaging of the car also could be a factor, not sure if its a stripped car with no options other than DCT/comp pkg or are they a similar fully loaded model as well as various traction control settings. I know some of the best times for a car were done during the various magazine testing, the articles even state that some makes have engineers prepping the car. We don't usually have that level of expertise assisting us.

Other factors, in the case of some the more common mods (BBK & tires) don't play as high of a role during their testing/drives IMHO. Its usually a few hot laps, assuming what we see on the various TV shows are true (5th/Top Gear). I have BBK and a square set up yet (Mich PSS instead of PS2). My BBK was due to OEM pad/rotor wear, the square setup was s longevity as well.

I do time just as a measure various lines, tire pressures etc. Overall it boils down to driver skill/experience. I think in the end as long as you work towards bettering your skill and modding what is necessary to keep that possible, you're fine. I personally plan to stay away from R-compounds, engine power upgrades and maybe even suspension changes until I can get closer to that 1:42.9 number. I've been contemplating some of the race schools and perhaps working on my own skills.
__________________

2011 M3 Dakar Yellow-Black Leather-Comp Pkg-DCT-Akra Evo-AP BBK Front-VOLK RE30/BBS GT4 18x10" Square
1995 M3 Boston Green - Chipped - Ground Control Coilovers - APEX ARC8
Past: 2005 Porsche Boxster S-Silver-6spd-Fabspeed Exhaust
FR01 is offline  
0
Reply With Quote
      06-24-2012, 02:47 PM   #11
Car54
Captain
 
Drives: 1999 Z3 Mcoupe | 2008 M3/4
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Lutz, FL

Posts: 837
iTrader: (1)

I think those of you who are really interested in going faster should have another (faster) driver you trust drive your car. With you in it timing them, or DAQ so you can overlay your info.

For those who haven't seen that done...here's an example.

From some friends:

Paul vs Paul vs Eric. My best from this weekend in Blue 1:25.012 , my best from April Summit in Black 1:26.014 and Eric in my car from April Summit in Red 1:24.054



You can really see how a different driver can drive the same car differently.
__________________

Craig Brickner
BM
W CCA/PBOC/Chin Motorsports DE Instructor
Click to Join: BMWCCA # 366493
Car54 is offline  
0
Reply With Quote
      06-24-2012, 02:51 PM   #12
Erhan
Colonel
 
Erhan's Avatar
 
Drives: Cooper S
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Seattle

Posts: 2,466
iTrader: (0)

The way I look at this is you have to do certain mods, like brakes and tires. But pick something, and stick with it. If you keep getting stickier and stickier tire, you won't know if you're improving.

Also, THE best way to improve is to do track days at wet. Every mistake you make will be amplified. I have done couple rainy days in one of our local tracks, and I can tell the difference between myself and who haven't done any.
__________________
2011 MINI Cooper S
previous cars: E92 M3, Z4MC, Z4 Roadster, E36 328 Sedan
Erhan is offline   United_States
0
Reply With Quote
      06-24-2012, 04:18 PM   #13
kaiv
Major
 
Drives: E92 M3
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: San Diego, CA

Posts: 1,232
iTrader: (15)

I wouldn't worry too much about it.

Truth is it is going be very tough -if ever possible- for us mere HPDE peasants to match the lap times of pro drivers.

It shouldn't stop you from modding. IMHO at the very least the car needs suspension, brakes and tires.

Not so much for lap times but just so that you can enjoy the car lap after lap without eating the outer shoulder of your tires or fading the brakes.

Have fun with your track buddies and compare lap times with them instead
kaiv is offline   United_States
0
Reply With Quote
      06-24-2012, 04:23 PM   #14
kaiv
Major
 
Drives: E92 M3
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: San Diego, CA

Posts: 1,232
iTrader: (15)

Also keep in mind it can be difficult to replicate a certain lap time since all things are rarely ever equal.

For one, it was REALLY hot when we were there. Heat kills lap times. You might very well shave 3 seconds off on your first session on a 60 deg. day.
kaiv is offline   United_States
0
Reply With Quote
      06-24-2012, 08:51 PM   #15
yyoo
Private First Class
 
Drives: 2011 E90 M3 DCT
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: California

Posts: 191
iTrader: (0)

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaiv View Post
Also keep in mind it can be difficult to replicate a certain lap time since all things are rarely ever equal.

For one, it was REALLY hot when we were there. Heat kills lap times. You might very well shave 3 seconds off on your first session on a 60 deg. day.
So true. I ran a 1:45.86 in March at Laguna Seca in 50-degree weather on RS3s and stock suspension. Last Sunday my best effort was a 1:46.2 on NT-01s and a brand new suspension in 80-degree weather.

Last edited by yyoo; 06-24-2012 at 08:58 PM.
yyoo is offline  
0
Reply With Quote
      06-24-2012, 09:09 PM   #16
yyoo
Private First Class
 
Drives: 2011 E90 M3 DCT
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: California

Posts: 191
iTrader: (0)

Mods are two-edged swords. They don't always make you go faster, particularly if you radically change the handling characteristics of your car and you're not ready for it. However, that's also a part of the challenge and the fun...to dial the car in and to adapt your own style to the car's characteristics.

When I started doing HPDEs over ten years ago I was an extreme "don't mod the car" kind of guy, doing nothing but brake fluid for the first 18 track days, and my first mod thereafter being more aggressive street pads. I think in some ways that held back my development as a driver. I became really used to understeer and the slow response of my suspension. I think I would be a better driver today if I had modded my car to be neutral or a bit oversteery from the start. However, that's not without its risks, particularly for beginners.

Last edited by yyoo; 06-25-2012 at 03:10 AM.
yyoo is offline  
0
Reply With Quote
      06-25-2012, 10:09 PM   #17
Porschefile
Major
 
Porschefile's Avatar
 
Drives: E92 M3
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Tennessee

Posts: 1,232
iTrader: (6)

Don't feel too bad. I agree with the above poster that said modding and getting quicker are separate things. As long as the mod doesn't hurt the learning curve dramatically, i.e. slicks, there's no problem that I see. Going to the track for me is about fun, and it is more fun to drive a faster, better, track car (up to a point I suppose).

And there are people running full blown racecars with little experience too, so no matter what you do you can't be the only guy with that level of mods for your experience level. I hear you on the comparing lap times stuff though, it does make it difficult to compare, if that matters.
Porschefile is offline  
0
Reply With Quote
      06-25-2012, 10:49 PM   #18
sin911
First Lieutenant
 
sin911's Avatar
 
Drives: '13 E92 M3
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Miami

Posts: 304
iTrader: (0)

Do not feel bad, because in racing how deep your pockets has a lot to do with who ever is doing the best times. I've learned this the hard way

In Sebring, people say below 2:30 is a reputable time. I was doing 2:24.8 the last time I was there, my car only had Toyo RA1 (-2 seconds per lap) and solid rose joints (-1 to -1.5 seconds per lap), so I was running good times. Still I was getting sh!t from people.

I even hired a pro driver to help me out, and he said I should be racing in amateur division. Which is a good sign.

It is possible to get close to record times, but at what cost? When I did a cost analysis I realized it cost me about $1k per track day with the GT3 not counting the wear and replacement on the engine and the transmission. Hence the reason for me to quit and sell the car.

There are two factors to becoming a faster driver:
-Natural, God given talent
-Seat time

The more talent you have, the quicker your lap times will drop. More seat time will allow you to become more comfortable with your car, approach it's limits, learn where the car understeers and oversteers. We all make mistakes, go off the track, spin, don't get discouraged; but learn from them! Listen to your instructors, most of them have more experience and know more.

I have done 40 DE days, hired a coach for helping me lower my lap times who at the end of the day said I had talent and suggested I get into amateur racing. I wish I could but I don't have the budget

Anyways, there are guys that I know with deeper pockets, better cars, more experience and more cheater parts who are running better times. There's nothing I can do about that. It's a bottomless pit.

Because of the length of the track, I'd say your tires, suspension and brakes give you an advantage of more or less about 4 secs over a stock car (-1 to -1.5 secs for tires, -2 secs for suspension, -1 secs for the brakes). Keep that in mind and aim higher
sin911 is offline   United_States
0
Reply With Quote
      06-26-2012, 12:46 AM   #19
thorny
Captain
 
thorny's Avatar
 
Drives: 2007 X5 E70, 2011 M3 E92
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Houston, TX

Posts: 947
iTrader: (9)

I love the feeling when my next mod helps me to drop times, I do one thing at a time and every mod thus far has made my car better on the track. What s the point of struggling with say grip when all power the car has to offer goes to waste when coming out of the corners with some shitty tires. Or why not to utilize all grip and life a particular tire has to offer by running stock suspension and stock alignment. Oveeheating stock brake pads and stock brake fluid is just plain silly.

As long as the mod makes sense and results in a better composed car for track, i dont see why one should have hard feelings. It is no cheating, i feel like modding your car and "modding" yourself by learning are two different things that go along with each other to produce better times.

I am like you, time motivates me the most. I dont go out there for quantity, if I post great times I feel good about myself and my car.
thorny is offline   United_States
0
Reply With Quote
      06-26-2012, 01:10 AM   #20
ixm3
First Lieutenant
 
Drives: M3x2
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: DE

Posts: 350
iTrader: (11)

There are many reasons for modding your car, including but not limited to: performance, longevity, safety, vanity, or even just an opportunistic opportunity (e.g. a deal that was just too good to say no to at the time). As long as you enjoy the modding it should be all good.

Regardless of how the car is set-up, I think a safe goal should be to learn how to drive the car- first at your limit, and then at the car's performance limit (in an appropriate setting like HDPE).

Some mods may make this easier or harder to achieve this along the way, but seat time and humility will usually get you there. For example, tracking a loosely sprung, underpowered car will likely force you learn about weight transfer effects faster than driving a tight, light, stiff, powerful monster. Doesn't mean you can't learn in a Cup car, just that its threshold for feedback is higher vs. a 2002. That said, just because you can wring out the 2002 consistently lap after lap, doesn't mean you can replicate that immediately on a Cup car.

Timing yourself for the purpose of measuring your performance is really only relevant once you are driving the car safely at its limit consistently around the racetrack. I understand that different people go to the racetrack for different reasons, but in the HDPE setting learning is generally everyone's primary motivation and timing equipment is a very advanced tool. I've seen relative noobies bring a hot racecar to the track to prep for racing and compare lap times...but while driving the thing superfast, they also blow through flag after flag as they experience dangerous tunnel vision associated with driving too fast/too soon for everone's comfort. You could argue that the timer enables an accelerated learning experience, but I don't think this outweighs the safety compromise of missing flags in any setting.

One of the most interesting skills I have seen on track was seeing how an advanced driver explores and approaches the limit of a new-to-them car. A club racer once took me for a ride in my car and gradually pushed faster and deeper into the corners until the limits of the car were reached, and then he worked to consistently push to just inside those limits lap after lap until the session was complete. Sounds a lot easier then it was, especially with traffic.

HTH.
ixm3 is offline  
0
Reply With Quote
      06-27-2012, 09:38 PM   #21
Drifty//
First Lieutenant
 
Drives: A4 quattro 3.2 MT6; E92 6MT
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Boston

Posts: 310
iTrader: (0)

Mods or no mods, I'm just in it for fun.

Measuring my times is a useful for the insight into the progression of my skills. Comparing them to others' is useful as a way to have some idea how much more I might improve. That's really the only reason I care about others' times, though.

I'll never be one of the best amateur drivers, and the pros are on a completely different level. So I just try to have fun and seek new experiences.
__________________
Drifty// is offline   United_States
0
Reply With Quote
      07-01-2012, 02:25 PM   #22
bigjae1976
Takes threads off topic...daily
 
bigjae1976's Avatar
 
Drives: 11 E90 M3 Individual
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Milwaukee, WI

Posts: 5,311
iTrader: (12)

Garage List
2004 BMW M3  [4.50]
2011 BMW E90 M3  [5.00]
2013 BMW 328i  [5.00]
No. I think it puts more pressure on you though...from yourself.
__________________


Sponsored by Momentum BMW #593...We Bleed BMW BLUE!
bigjae1976 is offline  
0
Reply With Quote
Post Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:30 AM.




m3post
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.0
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
1Addicts.com, BIMMERPOST.com, E90Post.com, F30Post.com, M3Post.com, ZPost.com, 5Post.com, 6Post.com, 7Post.com, XBimmers.com logo and trademark are properties of BIMMERPOST