E36 M3 Track Car Build Log - Page 6 - BMW M5 Forum and M6 Forums

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Old 6th November 2007, 17:33   #51
jcrist
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Track weekend went great. I slapped R'man around on Sunday but he quickly made that ground up and leveled off the competition. I had been to the track previously in my E36 so i was a little ahead in the learning curve from the M5 to M3 switch. The weather was perfect and we had GOBS of track time. I did 263 miles on Monday alone! R'man has pictures, stay tuned.
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Old 6th November 2007, 20:50   #52
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All I can say is "wow!" As much fun as the M5 was to track, this is in an entirely different category. Everything about the car sceamed "precision." Turn-in is instantaneous, the grip is phenomenal, and the ability to place the car wherever was needed made for a tremendously enjoyable experience. Perhaps most tellingly, the two parts of the track where I felt the least comfortable in the M5 (for those familiar with VIR -- Turn 3 and the tricky downhill Rollercoaster/Hogpen complex) were the most enjoyable in the M3.

Trailbraking was a breeze. At the end of the long back straight is an uphill left turn that sets up the Rollercoaster. Ideally, this left is used as the continuation of the braking zone so that braking can begin later. I was reaching over 130 mph in the straight, braking at the "1" marker and the car would obediently make the left with no drama.

Understeer is practically nonexistent, except for a couple of times when I barreled into Turn 1 way too hot, but even then the E36 platform is so wonderfully forgiving that corrections are relatively easy.

Brakes were tremendous. Stock calipers. Brembo blank rotors. Hawk HT-10 pads. Stainless steel brake lines. Brass brake guides. BBK seems utterly unnecessary at this point.

Having had his M3 on the track once before, Jason was scorching off the bat. I progressively placed trust in the car and the speeds increased dramatically. By the end of yesterday (after only as couple of days in these cars), we both were running within 2-3 seconds of the best laps we had achieved in the M5s after months. And this is on the VIR full course, where HP really does help. For example, on the back straight, instead of 160, I was around 135, on the front straight, instead of 145, I was around 130, and on the bridge straight before the uphill esses I was at 115 instead of 135. Gives you an idea how much faster were were through the turns. There are considerably better times to be had from these cars once we learn them more and trust them more.

In sum, the M5 remains a tremendously capable car for someone who wants to visit the track occasionally. For someone who has been bitten as hard by the track bug as Jason and I and plans to track regularly (i.e., several times each month or more), a dedicated track car is definitely the way to go.

A few photos will follow.

I am hoping for two more days this month and then embark on some winter projects that may involve engine work.
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Old 7th November 2007, 00:10   #53
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Sounds great. There are guys in E30 325i's that can hang with the big HP cars due to their handling.

At my one time at VIR, I also had issues getting comfortable with the roller coaster/hog pen combo in the E39 M5. I may have been always too hot thru 14a (sharp right) and rarely apexed 15 (first left) as good as I saw you on your long video in the M5.

Any suggestions other than "Try slower thru 14a"?

One thing I look forward to on the 550i is the paddles. Even though an automatic, I should be better than a manual as I never mastered the heel & toe downshift and trail brake. I had to do my braking/downshifting on the long straight because I wasn't quick enough to downshift on the short one after the shallow left. Once I tried and nearly spun the M5 as I came off the clutch entering 14a.

Have you tried heel & toe in the M3 yet? The E39 M5 pedals were too far apart for me to contort my ankle comfortably. Whats it like going back to a manual after the SMG?

PS, I'm looking forward to the pics (and possible video???)
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Old 7th November 2007, 00:38   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard in NC View Post
Sounds great. There are guys in E30 325i's that can hang with the big HP cars due to their handling.

At my one time at VIR, I also had issues getting comfortable with the roller coaster/hog pen combo in the E39 M5. I may have been always too hot thru 14a (sharp right) and rarely apexed 15 (first left) as good as I saw you on your long video in the M5.

Any suggestions other than "Try slower thru 14a"?
Jason and I were just talking about this yesterday. I noted that I went through 14a faster than I had intended a few times. We agreed that the M3 can still be whipped into the left apex of 15, and at full throttle at that. The bigger sedans I would exercise more caution. There is a lot to be said to set up 15 well so that you can roll on the throttle early and hard, taking full advantage of the short straight before Hogpen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard in NC
One thing I look forward to on the 550i is the paddles. Even though an automatic, I should be better than a manual as I never mastered the heel & toe downshift and trail brake. I had to do my braking/downshifting on the long straight because I wasn't quick enough to downshift on the short one after the shallow left. Once I tried and nearly spun the M5 as I came off the clutch entering 14a.
Sound familiar, J-Dog?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard in NC
Have you tried heel & toe in the M3 yet? The E39 M5 pedals were too far apart for me to contort my ankle comfortably. Whats it like going back to a manual after the SMG?
I certainly confirmed what an advantage SMG is on the track. I was trying heel-and-toe the entire two days, with varying degrees of success. By the second day I could get the shifts fairly well, but if I moved my foot too far left to apply the brake, I could not reach the throttle. Definitely critical to finish the clutch engagement before a turn. Once, with Jason riding shotgun at the end of Day 1, I was still letting the clutch out as I bent the car into the perilous Turn 10 at around 90. Nothing bad happened, but he correctly pointed out to me that this is not a good idea.
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Old 7th November 2007, 00:55   #55
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Thanks for the replies. I recall turn 10 being one of the first turns "I got". I don't recall a downshift there.

I have on video seeing a 944 half way thru the up hill esses ahead of me and catching him quickly by the time I was between 10 & 11. I then said bye bye on the long straight.

Man, I can't wait until I'm there.....
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Old 7th November 2007, 01:08   #56
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Thanks for the replies. I recall turn 10 being one of the first turns "I got". I don't recall a downshift there.
Depends on whether you shift to 5th to go through the esses. If you do, you will want to downshift to 4th before Turn 10 to have enough grunt to power down the hill toward Turn 11. Just remember, if you wind up early apexing 10 and going wide off the right side of the track (even with just one or two wheels), stay off. Do not try to come back on because if you do, you will gain immediate traction and go shooting across the track into the wall on the left. You will see plenty of skid marks in that section demonstrating that maneuver.
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Old 7th November 2007, 01:13   #57
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OK, here are some photos.

First, the two new weapons, nose to nose:


Before too much track grime took hold:


Several Turn 3 shots:





Just completed a pass between 2 and 3 and chasing Jason:

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Old 7th November 2007, 01:58   #58
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Quote:
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Depends on whether you shift to 5th to go through the esses. If you do, you will want to downshift to 4th before Turn 10 to have enough grunt to power down the hill toward Turn 11. Just remember, if you wind up early apexing 10 and going wide off the right side of the track (even with just one or two wheels), stay off. Do not try to come back on because if you do, you will gain immediate traction and go shooting across the track into the wall on the left. You will see plenty of skid marks in that section demonstrating that maneuver.
I have a video of that Oops. A Noble M400 at C&D One Lap did just that.

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Old 7th November 2007, 11:23   #59
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A well sorted E36 M3 is a great track car. Totally different than driving the E60M5 on a track but the fun factor is higher I think.
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Old 7th November 2007, 14:17   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard in NC View Post
At my one time at VIR, I also had issues getting comfortable with the roller coaster/hog pen combo in the E39 M5. I may have been always too hot thru 14a (sharp right) and rarely apexed 15 (first left) as good as I saw you on your long video in the M5.

Any suggestions other than "Try slower thru 14a"?
That's the first thing I would try. Just dialing back the entry speed by 0.5 mph can make a huge difference if you are pushing the front tires over the peak in the tractive force curve. Try entering mid-track into 14 and slow a tad more than you think is necessary...build up from there. Build up the line from below not by overdriving the entry...i.e. slow-in, fast-out.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard in NC View Post
Have you tried heel & toe in the M3 yet? The E39 M5 pedals were too far apart for me to contort my ankle comfortably.
Wow, I can't imagine them being too far apart?? I really don't think there is any way BMW could make them closer for a street car. I looked for the narrowest shoes I could find for both my M5 and ZHP so that I could easily manage heel/toe. I ended up with Simpson driving shoes that have worked nicely. I think the pedals are perfectly placed, and I've never had a problem with rev-matching downshifts -- do it every day driving the car. Well, now that I think about it, one time into 1 at VIR I got onto the throttle and brake at the same time due to foot placement...you know, one of those things you get to "enjoy" when tracking. If you want to drive an ankle-bender, my S4 requires a triple-jointed ankle -- guess its Audi still worried about the 80's though, lol.

MRichmond,

Enjoying your thread and build! Don't forget to exchange notes with Redshift...he'll have you calling Bimmerworld with that Euro 321hp motor thought burning a hole in your pocket before you know it. I was pretty amazed at his wheel hp curve...it has a really broad range of peak power, amazingly broad, peaking over 275 whp I believe.

Edit: Just found his link comparing his old US motor (with mods, I don't recall what though) versus the stock Euro motor: clicky here. The "area under the curve" difference up high, in the powerband, is incredible.
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