Improving my BMW’s on track performance with an e36 brake upgrade.
Brake upgrades are often overlooked when it comes to modifying a car. However, they are also one of the most important upgrades you can do. Especially, if the car has already been modified for more power and faster speeds! This becomes even more important if the car is a track day car or race car. In that case, upgraded brakes is a must. Not only for safety, because a weak brake system will not stop the car after a few hot laps. But, also for performance and reliability. For this phase of my e36 brake upgrade process, I have picked up a new set of high performance rotors and brake pads. I went with Stoptech slotted rotors front and rear, as well as Hawk DTC-60 brake pads. This combo should provide the stopping power I need while also being consistent lap after lap.
It is winter time and I need to find out if my 1994 BMW 325is will start! The car has been sitting for about a month so I am not sure if I will have a successful start. If all goes well, I will record some of the glorious e36 exhaust sound and revs that come from this car. Since I have numerous engine upgrades, this is not an ordinary 325is. The upgrades on this car include an aFe intake and also a TMS computer chip. In addition, I have engine bolt-ons that consist of TMS headers and a Bimmerworld lightweight race exhaust. This makes for a pretty loud and angry sounding BMW!
A scary e36 autocross event ends up incident free.
Front Range airport is the site for this autocross event. This would turn out to be one of the last STX autocross events in my 1994 325is. I had a great day from a competition point of view and also a lot of fun as well! Some drama ensued as it turned into a slightly scary e36 autocross event. With cars sent close together and on a tight course, keeping things on schedule is tricky. As a result, we have a few instances of corner workers being in potentially dangerous situations. Thankfully, there were no incidents and everything went well. In addition, some valuable lessons were learned in how to better run a course when we encounter such conditions (a tight course and tight schedule).
Finally, I have my video released from the 2015 SCCA Solo National Championship! We had a great time at the 2015 Solo Nationals and also met some great people as well. The event was an overall success. Although I ended up placing mid-pack, it was still a ton of fun driving the big nationals courses. The e36 BMW is just not up to snuff to be competitive at a national level with all the great drivers. Comprising the large majority of the STX grid is the Subaru BRZ and the Scion FRS. These cars prove to be the most dominant in the class and are hard to beat!
After replacing all of the common cooling system parts, my e36 BMW is finally back on the road. As part of this e36 radiator repair work, I needed to replace the radiator and upper/lower radiator hoses. I also replaced the sensors and expansion tank for good measure, even though the existing ones were OK. The maintenance was pretty simple, except for draining of the coolant (which always gets messy). Everything is now running great and the result was good at the last SCCA autocross event. The location for autocross event was Front Range airport, a common site for us. A fun course and great weather made for an awesome day of racing!
e36 radiator leak brings my race day to an abrupt end for my BMW 325is.
My last autocross event with BMW club was not so successful. During the first run of the morning, I was bit by an e36 radiator leak and as a result, my 1994 BMW 325is was slipping and sliding all over the course. Not good, and not to safe for myself nor the driver behind me. It turns out that the plastic end cap on the radiator cracked off and was leaking the coolant everywhere. This is not uncommon for e36 radiators, unfortunately. Next task at hand is to find replacement parts and hoses to get her back on the road!
My first visit to Lincoln, NE for the 2015 Spring Nationals.
This year I took my Project 325 BMW to Lincoln, NE for the 2015 Spring Nationals. This event happens every May and is a fantastic experience. The site at the Lincoln Air Park is the pinnacle for autocross! Long, fast courses make for very exciting and also very intense autocross action. While my co-driver and I had a good time and the BMW drove great, our results were less than stellar. There were a few other e36 BMW’s at the race along with ours. In addition, a mix of other cars including Subaru BRZ, Scion FRS, Mini Cooper, Mazda RX-8, and more could be found.
The winter season chugs along which means more off-season upgrades for my e36 BMW. Today I have an un-boxing video of my new TMS shorty headers. The headers are from Turner Motorsports who are well known for their quality products. Furthermore, they have their own racing program which translates to track tested products for their cars. The headers come with a ceramic coated finish which looks good while also reducing heat dissipation. In addition to my headers, I will also install a lightweight exhaust system. Together, these upgrades should yield some pretty decent power gains for the e36.
Sparco Sprint V racing seat, a great fit for my e36 BMW.
My latest video features a pretty nice upgrade for my 1994 e36 BMW. I picked up a set of lightly used Sparco Sprint V racing seats! The seats provide a nice and snug fit to keep the driver in place, while tossing the car around a race track. In addition, the seats are very lightweight, dropping nearly 40lbs per seat over the heavy stock seats. I bought these Sparco seats used from a fellow racer, which also came complete with the Sparco mounting brackets and hardware. They were pretty much a plug-and-play setup, quick and easy to bolt-in to the BMW.
I have been spending the last few months getting my 1994 e36 BMW ready for racing. My e36 first autocross event was this past weekend at the Rocky Mountain BMW CCA autocross event #4! The car great and was very fun to drive. In addition, I came away with a surprisingly good result in my class. Right now, the e36 has all the basic suspension and component upgrades installed, the first step in getting the car race ready. The video below not only covers the car setup, but also some autocross race footage.