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Thread: Educate me about track BMW, why are they so popular ?

  1. #21
    Sir flink
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    I think I've done everything there is to do on an e36 apart from rear wheel bearings and removal of the crankshaft and although I do have about $40 worth of special tools, I could do it all without them.

    NASA GTS is an interesting class because it pits all German cars against each other on a power/weight basis. As far as I know, the BMWs are competitive against Porsche/Mercedes/Audi/etc. So the pogo-stick suspension doesn't seem to hold them back a lot. e46 is said by some to have a modest advantage over e36.

    My take on the e36: it's a very simple car, performs OK, is very well understood and documented and there's a decent amount of competition available if you have one. Apart from stupid SCCA who don't appear to have a class in which GTS and BMWCCA cars will come even close to fitting.

    Also, you don't need to wear gold chains or a frilly frock to drive one.
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  2. #22
    Member 78kona's Avatar
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    Spec E30 is popular because the cars are cheap. Parts are cheap. The rules are tight. The competition is great. The cars are bullet proof. Midnight Oil gives us great support. They provide any part we need trackside. They give endless advice on setup. And they maintain several cars. On top of all that, at least in So Cal, we have a great group of guys that race hard and drink a beer together afterwards. Personally, I like the interior space. I am 6'4" and climbing into a SM or Spec 944 did not sound that good to me. Performance is not the reason guys drive spec e30. The min weight is 2700. Most cars have around 150hp at the wheels. Why guys drive other BMW's? They have not raced a SE30 yet.
    Last edited by 78kona; 07-16-2012 at 04:19 PM.
    Allan Hauser
    2011 So Cal SE30 Champion
    2012 So Cal SE30 Champion

  3. #23
    BMW Master bawareca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 78kona View Post
    Spec E30 is popular because the cars are cheap. Parts are cheap. The rules are tight. The competition is great. The cars are bullet proof. Midnight Oil gives us great support. They provide any part we need trackside. They give endless advice on setup. And they maintain several cars. On top of all that, at least in So Cal, we have a great group of guys that race hard and drink a beer together afterwards. Performance is not the reason guys drive spec e30. The min weight is 2700. Most cars have around 150hp at the wheels. Why guys drive other BMW's? They have not raced a SE30 yet.
    Sounds exactly the same as SM

  4. #24
    Member 78kona's Avatar
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    Yeah, I just edited and added the size issue. I think a nationally competitive SM cost a lot more than a nationally competitive SE30.
    Allan Hauser
    2011 So Cal SE30 Champion
    2012 So Cal SE30 Champion

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    Senior Member bellwilliam's Avatar
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    didn't know OEM parts are that cheap. pretty surprised....

    does BMW have similar program as Mazda ? that competitors can buy parts at wholesale ?
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    dirty smack talker hakeem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flink View Post
    NASA GTS is an interesting class because it pits all German cars against each other on a power/weight basis. As far as I know, the BMWs are competitive against Porsche/Mercedes/Audi/etc. So the pogo-stick suspension doesn't seem to hold them back a lot. e46 is said by some to have a modest advantage over e36.
    That's because all the other cars have pogo-stick suspension, or worse!

  7. #27
    http://www.trackhq.com/Banners/yellowsitesponsor.gif emilio700's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 78kona View Post
    Yeah, I just edited and added the size issue. I think a nationally competitive SM cost a lot more than a nationally competitive SE30.
    Let see the numbers

    Consumables Costs for track cars
    WWW.949RACING.COM
    SuperMiata

    Aside from their cost I never understood why people race them.
    But obviously I just dont get it. -fatbillybob

  8. #28
    Member 78kona's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellwilliam View Post
    didn't know OEM parts are that cheap. pretty surprised....

    does BMW have similar program as Mazda ? that competitors can buy parts at wholesale ?
    No. BMW does not have anything like that. For parts and support I don’t think any company can compare with Mazda. There are many vendors to get quality parts for BMW's, at reasonable prices. If you go to a dealership one will pay twice what you pay on sites like pelican parts, for the exact same part.
    Allan Hauser
    2011 So Cal SE30 Champion
    2012 So Cal SE30 Champion

  9. #29
    Chest hair required Olitho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flink View Post

    Also, you don't need to wear gold chains or a frilly frock to drive one.
    You're jealous of Redtopz chest hair!
    To the right of The Sheriff. Isn't everyone?

  10. #30
    BMW Master bawareca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 78kona View Post
    Yeah, I just edited and added the size issue. I think a nationally competitive SM cost a lot more than a nationally competitive SE30.
    I meant,SM looks like war,any time of the day BMW camaraderie is amazing wherever you go.
    Some of us may look a bit jumpy over the internets,but that is only when chalenged by overly agressive SM drivers

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellwilliam View Post
    no, I am not shopping for one.
    but it seem they are really really popular now a day.
    last few races I've attended, it seems BMW is now the #1 brand (at least that's what it seemed to me). or at least, it is catching up to Mazda really fast in California.

    what am I missing here ?
    1. The average putz in the office is more likely to be impressed when you casually refer to your BMW track car.

    2. The average putz in the office is less likely to question your sexual orientation.

  12. #32
    Senior Member fatbillybob's Avatar
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    On a different site my buddy an engineer not a BMW driver and I were dicussing how that weird BMW "pogo" stick suspension as posted here can work so well. BMW's are funny cars. There are 6 of them in my family. They just plain "work." FWIW I'll reprint his statement here.
    <<<It's geometry, stiffness, bearings/bushings, and sprigs/roll-bars.

    C&D or R&T did an article on 3 series BMW suspension a dozen-odd years ago. There are a host of interacting components; but basically it comes down to complete freedom of motion in the directionis you want things to move, and complete lack of motion in thoes you do not.

    So the suspension bushings are low friction in the movements required as tires step over bumps, or the car rolls, dive and squats, but the bushing strongly resist forces in the 5 other degrees of freedom.

    The springs and shocks are pointed towards the center of the contact patch laterally, and there is a small but stable amount of pneuumatic trail longitudinally. {The difference between pneumatic trail and caster is that one is an angular measurement the other is the linear measurement on the surface of the road.}

    The kingpin inclination also points near the center of the contact patch, but you want "just that bit" of pneumatic offset where on the king pin as opposed to the springs and shocks.

    The pair of geometric points causes road surface iregularities to create understeering effects, which comforts the driver. Thus, wind gusts, bumps, potholes, and other effects
    are absorbed with aplomb.

    In the steering plane, you want the kingping inclination to be near the center of the contact patch so the steering effort has to pull the outside of the tire and push on the inside of the tire with the least amount of force. For example; conside the situation where the kingpin inclination intersects with the inside of the front tires. The steering effort has to scrub the whole width of the contact patch forward. This has 4 times the effort as when the KPI points at the center of the contact patch.

    All the bearings in the steering need to be perfectly stiff in the non-rotation directions, and perfectly free in the rotation direction. Wheel, shaft, steering box/rack, tie rods, hubs,...

    Up front, one wants just enough toe-in to obtain the proper front tire temperature (so they don't run too cold compared to the rears), just enough camber for a nice rectangular/oval contact patch, such that the pneumatic trail is well within the contact patch, but significantly forward of the center. This generates the self centering effects so the car drives straight when there is no hands on the steering wheel.

    Out back, one want just enough camber to generate long tire milage and proper tire temperature, and a hair of toe-in to prevent toe-out under any circumstances of brake, power, corner. Having the rear toe-in just a bit more than the front (in a force sense) creates aerodyamic understeer response to wind gusts. That is: the rear toe-in in times the rear tires width is just slightly greater than the fron toe-in times the front tires width.

    Spring rate and sway bar selection: Consider a car under maximum deceleration (brakes). The front end dives, the rear end raises from weight transfer. Now consider the transition from maximum braking to maximum latteral accelration. Herre is the trick, you want the outside front tire and the inside rear tire not to move (up/down) durring the transition.

    A typical wheelbase (100-odd inches) is about 50% bigger than the typical tract (66 inches). Thus, to have the same (up/down) movement on the suspension at the contact patch for both maximum braking and maximum lateral, one needs the anti-roll bars to generate 1/3rd of the force of the spring on the contact patch. If you do this then the outside front and inside rear tires "do not move" durring the transistion.

    The suspension engineer can then transfer some of the rear anti-roll bars force to the front antirool bar by making the rear bar smaller in diameter and increasing the front bar's diameter. This transfer of force from the rear to the front creates understeer.

    Summarizing: low friction on [parts you want to move, no movement in directions you don't want movement, and then making the geometry of the suspension components "point" at teh right places, and fianlly, setting up the suspension so that all external inducements of force crate understeering responses from the car. BMW then goes the extra mile (so do a few others) so that the driver can command oversteer under power (i.e. understeer never becomes excessive.)>>>

  13. #33
    Member crzywhiteman01's Avatar
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    As a majority of my track day friends are BMW guys, I would just say that the M3 and 3 series cars just inspire track days and what better way to get the most out of your " ultimate driving machine" than a track day. Then after your first track day you see how much fun it is and you go tell all your friends how much fun you had. It becomes wildfire. Most of my friends are between 21-30. Most have a e92 m3 or e46 m3 and to this day I have yet to drive a car that is as easy to drive fast as a e92 m3. Its massive but the car just talks to you so well. You just point and shoot; as well as steering the car with the throttle,it's soo much fun to drive. All I can say is from my friends is that once the track bug bit one of us and the rest got a taste it became an even we all could enjoy together and safely.

    Here is just a group of friends at a SV event @ 13cw
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 310986_10150401191533185_1770205633_n.jpg  
    Last edited by crzywhiteman01; 07-17-2012 at 02:41 AM.

  14. #34
    Senior Member Gian's Avatar
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    BMW's are fun to drive. Low cost to run. Beemer people hang out with beemer people. Unless you own one don't understand and you don't fit in. Sure they will talk to you, and be nice to you. Just what ever you do. Do not show up at a BMW event and take top time in a Datsun. Or you will not get your trophy for over a year after it has bounced around in the back of someones trunk.
    bawareca and rhouck like this.
    That's not a Typo, I just can't spell no so well.

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    Administrator ucfbrett's Avatar
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    So, if you can beat BMWs with a Datsun, why not just get a Datsun?

  16. #36
    Senior Member bellwilliam's Avatar
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    I was at a BMWCCA autocross few years back. took my race Miata, which isn't close to ideal for autocross... I was 3rd fastest of the day. first 2 were Vettes......couple behind me were S2000.....
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  17. #37
    Administrator ucfbrett's Avatar
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    I took my Miata to an autocross in Spec Miata trim, which didn't work as well as it used to. A Miata still needs power steering in autocross.

  18. #38
    Senior Member bellwilliam's Avatar
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    back to my question:

    so E30 parts are cheap.
    how about E36 and E46 ?
    isn't all the M parts ridiculously $$$ ?

    I used to own a Z3 and a Z4, I don't remember parts being cheap...
    Hakeem's water pump example don't count. BMW water pump is like S2000 brake rotors, you change them while doing oil changes (heck, BMW now changes oil every 20k+ miles).....

    how does BMW's free maintenance program affects its used cars.. I think I owned my Z4 for 3 years and 36k miles, only thing BMW changed was 1 oil change and may be 2 wiper blades....
    by the time they are 10 years old... they've gotten like 3 oil changes as maintenance ? as BMW has some advanced technologies that allows for lifetime coolant, transmission and diff fluid....
    Last edited by bellwilliam; 07-17-2012 at 10:02 AM.
    Supermiata S1, SuperMiata S2, Supermiata S3
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    17 GT350 !!
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  19. #39
    Senior Member bellwilliam's Avatar
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    so far, reading through all the threads. the positives are:

    1. E30 OEM parts are cheap, E36 may be, not sure about the E46. (but aftermarket parts are $$$)
    2. they handle well considering its 1950 suspension design
    3. they fit big people.
    4. great track support from Midnight Oil (if you are from SOCAL)
    Supermiata S1, SuperMiata S2, Supermiata S3
    13 Tesla, ma: no engine !!
    17 GT350 !!
    08 M3 - Carmax warranty !!
    96 NSX
    06 EVO MR
    15 Mini Cooper S

  20. #40
    Smack-Talkin' Member J. Tyler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellwilliam View Post
    I was at a BMWCCA autocross few years back. took my race Miata, which isn't close to ideal for autocross... I was 3rd fastest of the day. first 2 were Vettes......couple behind me were S2000.....
    LOL. Sounds like a typical BMWCCA event.

    Only auto-x I've ever run was a BMWCCA event at Fontana. I was there to help show off HP Autowerks' new 1M and give ride-alongs. It was lightly modded on street tires; definitely not the fastest auto-x machine... I set the 2nd fastest time of the day and won the M Modified class by like 2 seconds.

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