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      07-23-2008, 12:44 AM   #110
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Join Date: Apr 2008

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The 135i is really coming along. We've nick-named it "Stubby" but this weekend it looked meaner than a car with that name. The square wheel/tire setup and the brake dust from the proper race pads gave the car a real race car look. It also got covered in tire marks as I was often following cars closely - the heat of the track shredded tires making them booger easy flinging up at me.

Note-worthy things…

Seat Time - I was in the 135i every session and although I missed driving the M3 this weekend, it was fun to play in the middle of the pack and have to work for every pass and work harder to hold people off. Knowing all the racers well I was able to stay out of the way of in-class battles. The San Diego Chapter did a fantastic job organizing the event and the racers were very thankful to the chapter to include us. I hope it becomes a trend with other chapters.

:headbang: Car Prep - Impact Engineering did a fantastic job addressing remaining items and new things we wanted done after the Willow Springs weekend. The seat slider is awesome, everything works (sunroof, windows, AC, radio, horn, etc.). They put in the brake pads I got from Turner Motorsports and even mounted tires for us and delivered the car to the track without drama. Scott did his usual incredible job preparing as well.

Braking - Far improved over stock… like night and day. Proper Hawk HT-10 pads custom made by Turner Motorsports and the bigger front tires really slowed the car well. Buttonwillow is an extremely hard track on brakes and even though we did not have our brake dusts in yet, the car braked straight and firm every time lap after lap with no fade at all. Nice to not have to worry about brakes… especially at a track like Buttonwillow (one of the hardest tracks on brakes anywhere).

:w00t: Cornering - way better. Bigger tires, more front negative camber and setting the shocks to their almost stiffest setup all really helped. I have a lot of track time at Buttonwillow in heavy street cars so I was able to use the weight of the car almost to an advantage - although I'd love to drop 500lbs - don't get me wrong. The Nitto NT-01 tires held up better than I even thought they would. They went away very little, wore even, stayed consistent, didn't chunk, blister or anything. They were brand new and not shaved and I beat the snot out of them - they kept coming back for more. Scott and I are willing to share tire data with anyone running Nitto tires - try them, they really are fantastic.

Limp Mode - If that's what it is called then fine. I call it a dynamic rev-limiter. It seemed to me that the rev-limiter would simply drop to between 4000 and 5000 depending on conditions. What amazed me was how quickly the car came back and was drivable at speed again. It took me 2 sessions to figure it out and manage the car to keep it from happening and still keep my lap times decent. I used a few enduro racing tricks which basically boil down to short shifting and lifting early - where necessary. Where there was little to gain by staying on the gas… I was off the gas. Where it was important to blast out of a corner at full-throttle… then that's what I did. The hard part about driving like that is keeping the late threshold braking, cornering speed and exit speed maximized. It's easy to let those things slide when you are trying to save gas, cool the car or run in enduro mode. I also ran every session with the heater on full blast which I'm sure helped.

Track Conditions - The track conditions changed every time we were out there. It was hard to get the pressures right because one session the track would be slick and the next it would be worse. It wasn't as easy as checking the track temp first either. Lap times varied by seconds from session to session for most racers.

Misc Items - We learned that the front sway bar links are pieces of crap made of aluminum and made in Japan. We broke one and replaced both with real E36 (or maybe E30 ones).

135i Utility - We had to get the car home and I had a couple customers to visit in the area on Monday so I stayed over in Bakersfield, visited my customers and drove the 135i home on the street with the AC on, radio, everything. I just had to have In-and-Out for lunch so the 135i just had to go through the drive though. I even stopped at the grocery store and picked up a few things for the family Monday evening before returning the car to Scott. The car got more looks than a fly-yellow Ferrari, that's for sure.


Overall it was a real fun weekend. Hot as hell and no one brought any margarita stuff, but other than that it was a blast!

Again, I can't say enough about Scott's level of preparation and planning. His preparation, the trailer, his tools, the spares and plan-ahead thinking really make the weekend run smooth. Every session, both cars were pretty, ready to go, gassed up, pressures set, etc. He even fixed a torn off bumper on the other car in a matter of hours. The spare bumper even had the custom sticker job on it already! His buddy Craig was a big - I mean HUGE help. He was bummed about the heat I could tell, but he was on things quick and really was a huge help to Scott and I all weekend.

I'm already looking forward to the next race. I'd actually like to autocross this thing some day.

-Ralph Warren