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      03-31-2012, 11:30 AM   #1
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Pre-purchase question: What options & mods for road + track?

Hello, I'm about to buy a M3 as a daily driver & for semi-regular track use (~5 events/year). I'd like to know first which options I should prioritize, and secondly for which mods I'll need to budget.

I've currently got a '07 A4 quattro MT6 with the NA 3.2L V6 engine. Mods: alcon brakes & SS lines, coilover suspension, rear anti-swaybar, center diff, Schroth 4-point harnesses, and 18x8.5" forged wheels with 255/35R18 BStone RE-11's on 'em. These mods + quattro have made it very forgiving and probably a good beginners car. In it, I've done half a dozen 2-day HPDE's, including a winter school.

In terms of mods, I'm interested in the basic track stuff that doesn't significantly compromise daily drivability. The coilovers on my current vehicle are rather firm and pushing the limits (not so much for me, but for my female passengers). This makes EDC seem attractive, but I know the RS4 has a similar system that's leaky and adds a lot of weight, and which most people seem to rip out and replace with ordinary coilovers.

Since I'll be buying used, is there any reason (from a track perspective) to prefer one year(s) over the others? I know about ZCP, but it's a new option and anything after 2010 model year starts to look pretty pricey.

Thanks for any info & apologies if this is all answered in a FAQ somewhere I didn't see.


Last edited by Drifty//; 03-31-2012 at 11:38 AM.
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      03-31-2012, 11:49 AM   #2
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if youre looking for used, you should get a car without the edc since youre getting coils, edc becomes useless unless you just get a sleeve over kit or just springs. but if youre planning on just riding on the stock suspension, you can just get the ground control front camber plates, and play around with the camber setting for better cornering, thats what i read on another post. but goodluck finding a right car for you!
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      03-31-2012, 12:06 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kchu221 View Post
if youre looking for used, you should get a car without the edc since youre getting coils
But I don't know if I'm getting coils. I'm here to find out whether I should, or whether EDC is fine for track.

Let me put it another way, is there any aftermarket suspension that's better than EDC on the track, but still passenger-friendly on the street?
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      03-31-2012, 03:08 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kchu221 View Post
if youre looking for used, you should get a car without the edc since youre getting coils, edc becomes useless unless you just get a sleeve over kit or just springs. but if youre planning on just riding on the stock suspension, you can just get the ground control front camber plates, and play around with the camber setting for better cornering, thats what i read on another post. but goodluck finding a right car for you!
Another option is to get a Ground Control kit, which uses EDC.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Drifty// View Post
But I don't know if I'm getting coils. I'm here to find out whether I should, or whether EDC is fine for track.

Let me put it another way, is there any aftermarket suspension that's better than EDC on the track, but still passenger-friendly on the street?
EDC is ok initially, but you'll soon want something better - either a full coilover kit (KW CS, Moton, JRZ, etc) or Ground Control kit (see the following thread):

http://www.m3post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=385429
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      03-31-2012, 04:17 PM   #5
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I'd say the M3 is almost track ready out of the box. It is the main reason for me getting one . Definitely get EDC though, great option to reduce the compromise between DD and track .

The only necessay mods IMO would be better brake pads and camber plates. Unless you want to run in competitive events, then more mods may be required.

EDC is nothing like the RS4 set-up, so far has demonstrated to be pretty reliable and barely adds any weight. My wife drives a B7 S4. I find her suspension a bit to harsh for the street and to soft for the track.

Last edited by CanAutM3; 03-31-2012 at 04:52 PM.
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      03-31-2012, 04:47 PM   #6
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Zcp will force you to run 19" tires if you use the factory wheels, not worth stretching for a newer car especially if you are going to change anything in the suspension
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      03-31-2012, 06:51 PM   #7
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M3 is a good track car out of the box. Just upgrade the brake fluid and get better brake pads (to avoid fading).
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      03-31-2012, 07:09 PM   #8
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Have to agree with others here that the M3 package out of the box is pretty awesome for dual purposes and yes that's why I got it. That being said, if I had it all to do over again, probably would have ditched the EDC for some coilovers, but the only thing really necessary to make this a great dual threat is a brake upgrade and some camber plates. Depends on the track, but sometimes just a pad and fluid swap will do, but for faster tracks (eg. Road America) a BBK may be in order. Anything and everything else is just slippery slope down "track car" lane... good luck
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      03-31-2012, 07:52 PM   #9
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Like others have said, all you need is brake fluid, race pads, and an extreme summer tire like the RE11 or Yokohama AD08. Save your money. You don't need anything more, especially for just 5 events. Good luck!
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      03-31-2012, 09:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drifty// View Post
Hello, I'm about to buy a M3 as a daily driver & for semi-regular track use (~5 events/year). I'd like to know first which options I should prioritize, and secondly for which mods I'll need to budget.

I've currently got a '07 A4 quattro MT6 with the NA 3.2L V6 engine. Mods: alcon brakes & SS lines, coilover suspension, rear anti-swaybar, center diff, Schroth 4-point harnesses, and 18x8.5" forged wheels with 255/35R18 BStone RE-11's on 'em. These mods + quattro have made it very forgiving and probably a good beginners car. In it, I've done half a dozen 2-day HPDE's, including a winter school.

In terms of mods, I'm interested in the basic track stuff that doesn't significantly compromise daily drivability. The coilovers on my current vehicle are rather firm and pushing the limits (not so much for me, but for my female passengers). This makes EDC seem attractive, but I know the RS4 has a similar system that's leaky and adds a lot of weight, and which most people seem to rip out and replace with ordinary coilovers.

Since I'll be buying used, is there any reason (from a track perspective) to prefer one year(s) over the others? I know about ZCP, but it's a new option and anything after 2010 model year starts to look pretty pricey.

Thanks for any info & apologies if this is all answered in a FAQ somewhere I didn't see.

Seems like your A4 is already a track monster. Have you ran VIR with it?

As far as the M3, you'll definitely need to upgrade the brakes. That is literally the only weak spot on this car. The EDC works great for me at the track even after its been lowered on Eibach springs.
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      03-31-2012, 10:10 PM   #11
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maybe look for a stripper with low low options so as to keep weight down to accentuate the already great attributes of the M3.
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      03-31-2012, 10:23 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by armyav8tor View Post
Seems like your A4 is already a track monster.
I love it. I really do. Turn-in is crisp and you have to push hard to get it to understeer. It's pretty beastly in the lower gears, and a refined and nicely appointed cruiser the higher ones. The engine note is way better than the 4cyl 2.0T and probably one of the better-sounding V6's. And with my snow tires, the white stuff is an absolute blast.

I actually got the brakes, wheels, and suspension before ever tracking it. I'm not close to maxing out its potential, though I feel the power is a bit lacking on tracks with lots of fast corners (well, Limerock, to be specific). Otherwise, I can catch some faster cars under braking & cornering.

The only way I'd willingly part with my A4 is knowing how much better the M3 will be. That, and the knowledge that I'm getting close to some significant maintenance, if I hang onto it. I'd rather put that $$$ towards an upgrade.

Quote:
Have you ran VIR with it?
I have not been to VIR, but my goal is to hit every track within a day's drive of Boston. But since I have family in DC and Ohio, that might extend my reach a bit. My primary constraint is time, as my job only gives me 3 weeks of vacation per year.

Last edited by Drifty//; 03-31-2012 at 10:38 PM.
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      03-31-2012, 10:39 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drifty// View Post
With my snow tires, the white stuff is an absolute blast.
M3 is real blast most of the time . But you will miss your A4 in the white stuff .

Having both parked in the driveway, when there is a lot of snow, it is an easy choice between the M3 and the S4 ...
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      04-01-2012, 12:25 AM   #14
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Something else I'm sure I'll unlearn quickly in the M3 is how quattro lets me go WoT in any gear. Seriously, I can clutch dump @ 4k in 1st gear and still not spin the wheels if the pavement is dry and has enough texture.

Even in the rain, I don't need to worry about mashing the go pedal at speed, and that's without traction control coming on. The rain does reduce the traction enough that I can do some powersliding and AWD drifts.

1st gear gets me up to about 45 mph. I can hit 60 in 2nd. That's a lot of WoT and explains how such a heavy car can hit 0-60 times of 6.2 sec with only 255 bhp. It makes pulling away from traffic lights pretty exciting. Especially uphill, in the rain.

Last edited by Drifty//; 04-01-2012 at 12:35 AM.
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      04-01-2012, 05:54 AM   #15
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Quattro!!!!!
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      04-01-2012, 09:41 AM   #16
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Suggest CF roof, as little factory extra add ons as you can find, DCT, EDC etc are great for street or track. As others have stated, brakes will have to be changed. PF pads with stock cal. and rots. running with steel brake lines and fluid upgrade will do fine, and do not necessarily need to be changed after track. They may squeek a little, but okay for street use. Rims and tires will most likely need to be considered. There are several options - I use a square set up, 275/35/18 BFG R1 compounds mounted on Apex rims. They do require changing before and after track events.

There is a lot of track difference between the two cars, and I think that you will find the M3 to your liking. Point it in the direction you want to go, then add power and attention. Good luck.
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      04-01-2012, 12:17 PM   #17
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I wouldn't even assume street pads would be appropriate for track. I'm used to swapping brake pads before/after events. Is pad swap an involved procedure with stock M3 calipers?

For comparison, my Alcon calipers are held on by two bolts. I just pop off the wheel, remove the caliper, maybe use the caliper spreaders, and I'm done. In the rear (stock calipers), I just remove the wheel, remove one nut and loosen another to open the caliper.

What about rotors? If you use track pads, do you also swap rotors? Is that much more involved than just changing pads?
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      04-01-2012, 12:42 PM   #18
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Changing pads in the M3 is very simular. About 15 min per corner once you get used to it. As I said, I do not change pads back and forth until the end of the season, then I return the system to stock. I have never replaced caliper or rotors, so cannot comment on that, but I do check them very carefully prior to each event. If change were necessary, that would be done at the BMW store, under warranty hopefully.
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      04-01-2012, 04:23 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drifty// View Post
I wouldn't even assume street pads would be appropriate for track. I'm used to swapping brake pads before/after events. Is pad swap an involved procedure with stock M3 calipers?

For comparison, my Alcon calipers are held on by two bolts. I just pop off the wheel, remove the caliper, maybe use the caliper spreaders, and I'm done. In the rear (stock calipers), I just remove the wheel, remove one nut and loosen another to open the caliper.

What about rotors? If you use track pads, do you also swap rotors? Is that much more involved than just changing pads?
As vonzoom said for pads. I change my pads when I swap my wheels when I get to the track on my first event of the season. It ads maybe 20-30 minutes to the total wheel swap.

Changing the front rotors can be challenging. The rotor is held in place by two 7mm hex screws that get jammed pretty good. You do need that special punch to be able to untorque them.

I have not changed my rear rotors yet. However they are of a similar configuration than my previous E46. There is a bit more involvment as the center of the disc is used as a drum for the hand brake shoes. It is as if you are changing two brakes at once, a disc brake and a drum brake. But having a seperate brake shoe for the parking/e brake is very usefull, as you can use it without risking of imbedding your rear pads when they are hot .

Last edited by CanAutM3; 04-01-2012 at 04:28 PM.
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      04-01-2012, 06:13 PM   #20
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Quote:
But having a seperate brake shoe for the parking/e brake is very usefull, as you can use it without risking of imbedding your rear pads when they are hot .
Wow, I did not know that. (Amazing)
Thanks for the info.
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      04-01-2012, 08:53 PM   #21
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Most all BMWs and other car/truck with disc brakes has the ebrake in the rotor hat.
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      04-01-2012, 11:27 PM   #22
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If you are only doing 5 events per year, I would simply stick with factory suspension. Boston has the worst roads I've seen in the USA. EDC or no? To be honest I've driven countless M3s and on the track it won't even matter that much. EDC might have better resale value though.

First upgrade? Brakes brakes brakes. Safety always comes first. Depending on your HPDE level you may be OK with simply using dual purpose pads and perhaps a front BBK upgrade if you really push it.
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