Bob’s Donut’s Trackday Buttonwillow Raceway 11/28/14

Up bright and early for a 3hr 20min drive to Buttonwillow Raceway! Not sure how I made it being on only two hours of sleep, allergy medication, as well as ibuprofen after acquiring a horrible cold into the night.

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Made it to Buttonwillow Raceway and got my keys to the garage I rented. For $75 having an entire bay to yourself, guaranteed shade, and a place to store your stuff and chill, these easily pay for themselves. I had a ton of work to complete between sessions, so this was worth it to me.

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A few pics I took before my first session.

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Not going to lie, my first two sessions I did horrible. I had no familiarity with the track (unlike Laguna Seca or Thunderhill), nor had I studied the lines prior to driving it. Big mistake! My first session I bested a 2:36 time in the high intermediate group, which plain sucked. Did a little better the following session, improving another 8 seconds to a 2:28.

Around lunch time I studied the lines, watched a few videos to get an idea of how to take the lines better and familiarize myself more with the track. This helped a ton! Improved another 8 seconds, and this trend continued throughout each session. By the end of session 5, I had bested a 2:13 lap time, still improving around 8 seconds per session. I finally had the track down and was able to really push it.

Here are some pics from the end of the day, as well as that lap I pulled the 2:13.

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Next time I am aiming for at least a sub 2:10, hopefully faster in the current configuration. Even here, I left a lot of room for improvement, and know I can get to at least a 2:10 by heel-toe downshifting into a few turns I should have been in 3rd, where I stupidly decided 4th gear would be fine. Lol.

Had a blast, and felt pretty accomplished from where I started, to where I ended for my first time at Buttonwillow. It’s now my new favorite track in Nor Cal so far!

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I’ll be at Thunderhill Raceway running the East configuration next Sunday 12/14 as part of a package deal with SpeedSF from the Buttonwillow day. Should be a blast, and will be the perfect medicine to cure me from working my ass off this week during finals. Thanks for looking!

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Preparing for Buttonwillow Raceway

Been a while since my last update. Sorry guys, I’ve been incredibly busy lately with finals approaching. Let me start where I left off…

With Thanksgiving approaching, more specifically Black Friday, I was in the midst of getting my car ready for the annual Bob’s Donut’s event at Buttonwillow Raceway with SpeedSF. Before I could do so, I had a quite a few tasks to complete before the event.

After my last update, a forum member noticed that my front rotors were facing backwards (Doh!) since the cooling vanes were pointed in the wrong direction. Now I never had any serious problems in the year that I’ve had them installed like this, but up until now, I also wasn’t at the same skill level of driving to push the car hard enough in order to pose a problem with heat evacuation. Went ahead and swapped the front rotors left to right as well as pads to the corresponding sides in order to limit the likelihood of a potential problem with the transfer layer of the pads.

Before:

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After (Note the orientation of the curved vanes):

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Following that, I went ahead and did a proper bed-in with the PFC-08s. Now that’s a proper transfer layer!

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The night before Thanksgiving I had planned to begin cleaning and taping up my car for the track, but instead a large group of my friends decided to come over and prevent that from happening. In the back is my buddy’s Dinan S3-R with the M-Cloth interior as well as my other friend’s E36 M3 track build, and another E36 M3 track build behind it.

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Spent the entire Thanksgiving Day cleaning my car and taping it up for Buttonwillow. Tried out a new product called Trakk Tape, which is a 5-7 mil layer of clear vinyl that you can apply anywhere on the car to protect it from rock chips, scuffs, bugs, etc that all obliterate your car on the track. My car is still in really good condition exterior wise, so it’s hard not to get OCD over these things. The fact that I can track and DGAF about what hits my front end is just peace of mind in my opinion. This stuff is awesome and is way less loud than the green tape I’ve been using. Should have ordered an extra roll since I ran out 80% of the way, hence the rest being green tape.

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Sold an extra set of OEM 19s Style 67s that I acquired on Craigslist for a steal. Got my asking price as well as some little extra trinkets. The buyer insisted I take 6 cases of gum he wanted to get rid of. LOL!

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Rattle Hunting

Not much has happened in the last week as I have been extremely busy with school. Decided to begin tackling some rattles that have been bothering me for quite some time. Took apart the rear door panel and removed the B-pillar in order to insulate it with heavy duty housing insulation in order to prevent it from rattling against the chassis. I basically just cut the insulation into squares and hot glued it to the panel. Will be doing this with the C-pillars soon as they have a ton of play. Also went ahead and replaced the clips holding on the door panel with the updated ones that have the foam washer to limit rattles.

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Playing around with some camera angles

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That’s all for this week. I will be attending a track day at Buttonwillow Raceway next Friday, November 28th for the annual Bob’s Donuts event with SpeedSF, so I’ll have quite the update proceeding that event for next week. Thanks!

Preparation and Tracking at Laguna Seca Raceway

Now that I have taken you through the long journey of my car’s transformation up to present day, it’s time for a more recent update. Although I’ve been extremely busy with school, a lot has changed since my last update in preparation for a track day I did with SpeedSF at the world famous Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca back on November 1st 2014. Before I get to that, let me begin where I left off with my last update in preparation for this track day.

First thing I decided to tackle involved replacing my worn OEM engine mounts with brand new Lemforder units. At 75k miles, they weren’t terrible, but did fail the two-finger clearance test between the oil pan and the front sway bar (I had one finger of clearance), so I went ahead and replaced them. Being 11yrs old, the rubber had degraded, lessening clearance between the oil pan and the swaybar, so this was not only for piece of mind, but I knew from previous cars, the difference tends to be drastic.

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Raising the engine to remove the old mounts and swap in the new ones. Pretty easy, other than the effort required to loosen the passenger side mount. This was easily rectified once I realized that if you attach the socket underneath the car to the bolt securing the mount to the subframe, it’s effortless. Would have saved me an hour of time. Lol.

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Original 11yr old engine mount on the left, new Lemforder unit on the right. IIIRC around a 2-3cm difference in clearance between the original and the new engine mount.

Most of you probably are like “2-3 cm? Big deal. Who would notice?” Wrong! Once I finished, I drove the car around the block and the difference was immediately noticeable, from the moment I disengaged the clutch. Throttle response is much smoother and responsive, blipping is much easier, shifting is smoother since the engine is level with the transmission now, and lastly the car doesn’t buck anymore when I let out the clutch. I have a stage 3 clutch, so your results may vary with a stock unit, but for me, the difference is drastic! I can guarantee you that it’s not just a placebo effect either.

That same weekend, I attended the Performance Technic Annual Open House event and had a few friends meet at my house so we could caravan together to the event. The purple E46 M3 in the middle is not Interlagos Blue like most people would guess. It’s actually an incredibly rare 1-Owner BMW Individual Velvet Blue on cream interior (can’t remember the exact color name).

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At the Performance Technic Open House which had a great turnout. Met up with a bunch of enthusiasts and friends I have met over the years within the community. Spotted Eurosonic and his LSB build, as well an a guy who claims to have the second E34 M5 Touring in the Bay Area which has been imported directly from Europe, and a guy who was running the Fluid Motor Union velocity stacks in place of a manifold on the S54. I personally would never do these, but they look and sound cool nonetheless. wpid-imag1731.jpgwpid-imag1734.jpg

 

With only three weeks to spare and Laguna Seca approaching rather quickly, the real preparation was about to begin. I wanted to pace myself by completing around one task a night or so in order to be able to literally clean my car, tape it up, and head to the track the night before. This also allowed me to not have to worry about school getting in the way last minute, which it clearly did, not even the slightest bit of remorse given.

First I decided to tackle my leaky CPV O-ring using the Mpower22 updated replacement to permanently knock this off my to-do list. Mine was barely leaking, but I wanted this off my checklist, as well as out of my pile of parts to install that was gradually begging to decrease due to my recent maintenance trend.

Replacement wasn’t too difficult; around half the time spent was with me contemplating if I would strip the valve over anything else. The o-ring on mine had clearly seen better days as it was hard as a rock. Went ahead and deep cleaned the reinforcement plate as well.

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Received my parts for the upcoming track day, which included:

-PFC-08 Race Pads

-Liqui-Moly 10w-60 Oil Change Kit

-Bimmerworld Brass Brake Guides (F+R)

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Wasted no time installing everything.

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My car isn’t actually resting on the jack stand for those of you wondering. I was lazy and just placed it under the control arm as a safety net incase my jack was to somehow fail.

Hanging out in downtown Danville after class to conduct some marketing research.

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November 1st had finally arrived, and I spent the entire Halloween night taping up my car for the track day at Laguna Seca Raceway with SpeedSF. I’ll take a track day at Laguna Seca over partying any day of the week.

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On the way to Laguna Seca, I wasn’t so fortunate had to travel through an area of heavy rain where only the tape on the hood held up, so I removed the rest before I even arrived at the track…

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Arrived at Laguna Seca bright and early just in time for the driver’s meeting. The S2k on the right is my friend’s and is heavily modified for competition, while still being his daily driver.

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Met up with Ryan (LemansM) and ended up splitting a garage in the paddock with him for the day. The garages are awesome, especially since the weather was spotty up until lunch and I had a research project to work on between sessions. Lol. After lunch, the weather dried up and I was able to move up to a much faster run group as well.

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Overall, I had an absolute blast and Laguna Seca is easily one of my favorite tracks to date. Here are some pics I acquired from the photographer who was onsite.

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Saw this epic 991 GT3 which already had a set of Recaro Pole Positions installed. My friend made a joke about the silencer stating, “Isn’t it funny how even stock cars can’t pass the 90db sound requirement?” Lol.

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I had no issues with my Status Gruppe Muffler, even going WOT in 3rd near the sound box.

Made it home, and my car was FILTHY! Cleaned the front wheels that night just to make sure the race pads didn’t stain my wheels. No problems at all, even going through rain, drying, then tracking for three sessions in the dry. Cquartz held its claim for durability, even through tracking conditions!

Took me almost 10 hrs to clean my car inside and out, over a week period due to time constraints. This included foaming the sides rear of the car, decontamination with IronX, removing and cleaning the wheels, as well as the wheel wells.

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Before:

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During:

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After (Note the paint is bare at this point without and wax or sealants):

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Since I had stripped all the sealant IronXing my entire car, I reapplied two coats of Klasse sealant glaze for durability.

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Decided to realign my front bumper the proper way to fix the dreaded gap that has driven me up the wall for the past few months.

Before:

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After:

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Laguna Seca track layout added to the window to check off on my Nor Cal track bucket list.

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All clean and pristine!

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Thanks for viewing! My next major update should be around Black Friday when I attend the annual Bob’s Donuts Track Day with SpeedSF at Buttonwillow Raceway on the 28th. I’ll try and throw in some minor updates before then though.

A New Beginning

Summer had finally come to a close, and I was finally back at school for my Senior year at Saint Mary’s College of California. I had an awesome summer and finished everything I needed with the car, plus some more before school had started.

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A few weeks later, I decided that I wanted to permanently seal the wheels from the elements to protect the finish. I had another upcoming track day in October where I would be installing racing brake pads, so I wanted to ensure the wheels received full protection during the event.

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A few days later I received my long-awaited Status Gruppe CSL race lip for the OEM bumper via the Group Buy that Mike Migs had initiated. Opted for a 1×1 carbon fiber pattern with the Xpel clear bra film as I want the lip to be protected on the track and from chipping during the 1-2 days per week that I actually drive my car to school this year.

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And it’s on!

Fitment turned out to be pretty good overall. I’d say about 90%, but you guys probably all know by now I don’t settle for less than 100%, so with the help of a friend, we did the silicone mod around the mating areas of the lip and bumper to ensure gap free fitment. The silicone also provides some slightly additional adhesion on top of the double-sided tape and screws holding the lip to the bumper. I used all three methods to guarantee this lip goes nowhere at speeds of 130mph on the track.

God I love this thing. Really pulls together the look of the car and couldn’t be happier with the quality. Went to a monthly BMW Meet in Concord after class last night, which is composed mainly of enthusiasts (only reason I go), where I received a large amount of compliments on it. Yee!

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Hit a milestone on the way home. 75k miles and the car couldn’t be running any better. Overhauled outside of a Bimmerworld race radiator when the OEM one gives out, and a Vanos rebuild when mine starts to give. No signs yet, and it was thoroughly inspected by member Playsk001 during the valve adjustment at 60k.

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And that’s all for now. My next update will be tailored around my soon to be upcoming track day on November 1st.

Massive Changes: Summer 2014

Alright, so it was now summer and my goal over the break was to get the car completely overhauled by the time fall came around. I had a big checklist of things I had wanted to complete throughout the year, so it was finally time to get started.

Began an extensive paint correction at CarolinaM3’s house:

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Notice the clarity:

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Restored my gauge cluster lens by removing some scratches:

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Subframe reinforcement:

Ok so my first major change this summer occurred when I had my rear subframe reinforced with the Turner Motorsport kit last week at Performance Technic using their brand new shop in Dublin, CA. I also had them change out my rear subframe and front diff bushings, center support bearing, driveshaft guibo, as well as my steering coupler while they were in there. My car literally felt brand new after the refresh, and being able to launch again without worrying about structural damage was a huge plus.

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Subframe out:

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It’s E46 M3 day at Performance Technic:

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Hanging out at Apex Race Parts picking up some 20mm wheel spacers for the front after I sold my 15mm spacers that day, hence the sunken front fitment

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Doing some coding via NCS Expert to enable hidden features:

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Window switch hardware mod

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Epic summer sunset on the way home from work

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Purchased some Hankook RS3 tires for an upcoming track day:

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At Thunderhill Raceway for my first ever track day via NCRC driving school on 8/2/14. What an experience and the classroom instructor wasn’t joking, I was hooked!
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Rubber for days. Came right off with a 50:50 Isopropyl alcohol/ water mix

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The end of a successful first ever track day in 105 degree temps with no problems whatsoever!

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So tracking in 105 degrees does this to a brand new set of RS3s. Lol
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At the end of August, I was invited by a group of friends to attend yet another track day with NCRC. With summer coming to a close, attending was a no brainer.

About a week before my next track day at Thunderhill Raceway, I began the preparation by first changing my coolant ratio to an 80/20 water to coolant mix plus a bottle of water wetter for extra cooling.

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Received all my parts in preparation for the track day in a timely manner. Some had to be expedited. Lol. These parts included (the last two are unrelated to the track day) :

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-Rogue Engineering stainless steel clutch line

-Schroth 4pt quick fit harness

-New idler pulley and brass bleeder screw from Pelican since my pulley was squeaking due to a shot bearing and the bleeder screw O-ring was leaking

-OEM updated alarm siren

-New passenger aluminum trim strip from ECS Tuning

Up bright and early to get an awning spot at Thunderhill. Arrived to the track at 7am and was greeted by my group of friends.

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Decided to bleed my brakes after the track day since I boiled the cheap ATE Typ 200 fluid this time since I was much faster than the first day I was in driving school. Picked up some Motul RBF600 fluid and ended up bleeding the ABS with INPA as well to remove all the air that entered the system.

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Decided to paint correct the OEM Style 67s to remove some marring and restore them to their better days. Utilized a two-step correction via my Griot’s Garage DA buffer using HD UNO on a Lake Country orange pad, followed by Menzerna Super Finish on a black pad, and sealed with Klasse Sealant Glaze. Wheels were prepped with a proper clay beforehand to remove stubborn track rubber and brake pad residue from a few weeks ago at Thunderhill. Results speak for themselves.

Before:

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After:

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Let the Modding Begin!

Over the past year, since my car touched down on California soil in my hands, a lot has changed. Let me take a moment to walk you through that transition right now.

Beginning the night I brought my M3 home from the shipper, I wasted no time and began the modding addiction. That night, I went ahead and installed the OEM AUX input, hardwired my V1 radar detector, and retrofitted the OEM homelink.

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In December of 2013, I went all out and spent my winter break knocking out all the maintenance required for Inspection II as well fixes for the common faults of this car as I was approaching 60k miles, but wanted my car to be bulletproof for piece of mind. Those items, as well as a few modifications that took place in the process include:

-OEM BMW transmission fluid change

-Castrol TWS 10w-60 oil change

-OEM BMW differential fluid change

-Rogue Engineering rear shock Mounts

-Rogue Engineering upgraded transmission mounts

-CDV delete (Clutch Delay Valve)

-ATE Typ200 brake and clutch fluid bleed

-Rear clutch fan delete with new serpentine belts

-New fuel filter

-Updated rear differential mounting bolts

-Meyle HD rotors with Stoptech Street brake pads

-Valve adjustment via M3forum member Ray (Playsk001)

-NGK sparkplugs

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At this point my car was running great and the maintenance was mostly up to date, so I decided it was now appropriate to take the next steps in my upcoming modding saga.

Began by wrapping my dash trim in 3M blue steel vinyl to add some contrast to the grey interior.

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Purchased a Bimmerworld Jaffster race shift knob to combat the notchiness of my UUC short shift kit. This made shifting effort a thing of the past.

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Flashed my DME with the Euro tune, this made driving much more enjoyable

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Purchased a Status Gruppe Muffler with CSL length black tips

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Started to develop a slight leak from my water pump, so went ahead and replaced it preventatively. Went with an OEM waterpump, thermostat, gaskets, BMW coolant flush, new serpentine belts, and removed the fan clutch.

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Tried the whole “Amber” thing for a few months

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New AL headlight lenses and seals to restore the “new look.” Also added updated roundel center caps for the wheels.

Before and after (left to right)

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Back to clears and posted in Walnut Creek studying during finals week

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Last final of my Junior year at Saint Mary’s College in the Business program. HELLO SUMMER! Ended up with 3 A’s and 1 B even with the M3 successfully distracting me in the process. Lol

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And that’s about it for the highlight’s of my M3 build during my Junior year at Saint Mary’s College. Next week I will take you through the massive changes that occurred over this past summer, leading up to present day.

Corey's 2003 TiAg E46 M3 Build