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Old 11-23-2016, 05:03 PM   #29
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Paul took all 7 laps of the session from green flag to checker, with 5 laps at full speed. For some reason the number of cars on track in that session was very low, so traffic was way down. There was a small coolant leak that slowed him on his last lap - which is shown at the end of the video above. No damage was done and the leak was so small it didn't even leave a trail of water, nor did it lose much fluid. It just caused a loss sudden of pressure and a temp spike, so he shut the motor down and coasted for a cool down lap, when it fired up and ran fine. We put it in the trailer and skipped TT session 4, but the track temps were so high by then there wasn't a chance to go any faster.

Originally Posted by Costas
I wanted to say how balanced and easy the car was, how awesome the brakes and dampers were. Just a stupid easy car to go fast in.
I've watched Paul's laps and mine many times and it came down to Paul using 3rd gear in two corners where I was keeping it in 4th (Turn 6 and Turn 8 both). I had tried those corners in 3rd in some earlier sessions (where I fought traffic) and didn't see an improvement, but he did it more effectively and found 2 tenths. I guess I need to watch out for a tendency to trust predictive lap timing TOO much, especially in early laps when the conditions or traffic are not favorable. The phrase, "there's always going to be someone faster than you" is true.

Earlier in the weekend Costas had gone out to Turn 10 (slow and flat/no camber) and snapped some pics of the 330 loaded up in this corner. The zoomed in image below shows a lot of detail: we can see tire pressures, dynamic camber, even body roll from this shot.

Click the image to open in full size.

I also wanted to show the before and after "lean" pictures of the 330 on the same tires and MCS coilover and spring setup. The image below is at TWS in April in Turn 13 (flat/no camber) BEFORE we added the Whiteline 30 mm front and 20 mm rear swaybars.

Click the image to open in full size.
Our car in April with MCS TT2 and 600F/750R spring rates, with the stock swaybars. LOTS of roll.

Now this image below is AFTER we added the larger Whiteline swaybars. Notice the difference? It can be both seen and felt, and the grip numbers have ticked up slightly higher. Why? Well its because the inside two tires can handle more of the load in a corner when you limit how much bodyroll the car sees.

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In October at TWS Turn 10 with the same MCS setup but Whiteline swaybars. Less roll.

The images below show some front end damage we noticed between these two TWS events. Some jackass backed into the front end while the 330 was parked behind our shop. We think it was some of our neighbors, who are none too careful where or how they park.

Click the image to open in full size. Click the image to open in full size.

This car wasn't a cream puff, but dang it this still ticks me off. We've had some words with them and it hasn't happened again. At least it wasn't a customer car.


Of the 7 weekends that counted for points in NASA Texas in 2016 (14 separate TT races) we ran in 8 days worth and missed 3 weekends (6 events), and there were 4 drops. After missing the string of 3 weekends we quit looking at the end of year points results for TTD class, but that was a bit hasty.

  • MSR Houston January 2016 - Vorshlag finishes 1st & 2nd place
  • MSR Cresson March 2016 - Vorshlag finishes 1st & 1st place
  • TWS April 2016. Vorshlag finishes 6th & 5th place (dismal weekend!)
  • NOLA Region May 2016 - missed
  • Hallett June 2016 - missed
  • MSRH September 2016 - missed
  • TWS October 2016 - Vorshlag finishes 1st & 1st place

Points are awarded for each TT day as a separate race: 1st gets 100, 2nd gets 90, 3rd gets 85, 4th gets 80, 5th 75, etc.

Click the image to open in full size.

Somehow with our strong finishes at both the beginning and end of the season, and out lasting the rest of the TTD entries (14 total cars ran this class over the season), we pulled out a Regional Championship win for 2016 in NASA Texas. This was in no way one of our best seasons in NASA, and in fact included a race weekend with our worst class finishes in all my years of NASA racing. So there was an element of persistence that gave us the season points lead.

Click the image to open in full size.

The 330 was still painfully under-prepared for TTD class and we ran 6 of the 8 events at +150 pounds over minimum weight (until Oct TWS) and the whole season -50whp under the maximum dyno'd power allowed. We also didn't have some of the suspension mods completed until the last NASA weekend of the year at TWS (the swaybars). The final 2016 TWS event sealed the TTD class championship for the year, which helped make me want to keep prepping this car for 2017. That and the fact that we don't have the extra manpower to build a faster and just as competitive TT1/TTU car. ;)


After getting the 330 back to the Vorshlag shop after the TWS event of course I wanted to know what happened to lose coolant pressure in the last lap of Costas' Sunday afternoon stint. There wasn't a DROP of coolant in the trailer from where the 330 sat for a few days, so the leak had to be minor.

Click the image to open in full size.

It took some digging but it was - of course - the only piece of the cooling system we didn't replace: the factory plastic coolant reservoir. Due to a number of factors (new thicker radiator + janky busted plastic fan shroud we didn't replace) the plastic tank had rubbed into the power steering pulley. It worked for a half dozen sessions with the new radiator installed but it finally wore through on Costas' last hot lap. Its got a hole barely big enough to see and it just let the pressure sneak out, but once the pressure subsided it leaked no coolant.

Click the image to open in full size. Click the image to open in full size.

Brad got this swapped in and re-bled the cooling system (100% water + some Redline Water Wetter). Funny thing is, this same thing happened back in December 2011 - where the same style stock plastic tank wore through in the same spot on our blue 330, also after adding an aftermarket radiator with a thicker core. Gotta keep an eye on that reservoir mount, which is somewhat sloppy.

Click the image to open in full size. Click the image to open in full size.
Fixing this same issue on our blue 2001 BMW 330 back in 2011

After test fitting an aftermarket aluminum tank that replaces the OEM style (which still needs some work before it fits) we bought a new OEM plastic coolant tank and installed that with a little more care, making sure to secure it as far away from the pulley as possible.

Click the image to open in full size.

In the long term we might try to make a custom tank remote mounted elsewhere in the engine bay, like we do for our BMW E36 V8 swaps (shown above) - where we remove the radiator mounted plastic reservoir tank and put a fabricated tank in the passenger rear corner of the engine bay, higher above the engine and well away from the engine. Gives us some much needed room and added height for easier system bleeding mounting the tank remote like this.

Click the image to open in full size. Click the image to open in full size.

Another thing we noticed was a noise in the rear suspension. We checked this on the lift and there was some slop - we had never replaced the factory upper control arm bushings on this car, which are rubber sealed sphericals in a number of locations. We ordered some OEM replacements and Brad tackled this job.

Click the image to open in full size. Click the image to open in full size.

Using parts of several elaborate "bushing press" tool kits we have, and a massive C-clamp press that is portable, he pressed the old bushings out of the uprights and in went the Lemforder replacements. Took out some slop and wear on both sides, cleared up the noises, no more dynamic camber loss in these worn out, 165K mile originals.

Click the image to open in full size. Click the image to open in full size.

The aluminum factory undertray brace ties into the subframe in 8 places. It acts as both a flat undertray (aero benefits) and a brace for the front suspension loads. It was slathered in old oil and muck from the many fluid leaks we fixed in the last round of mods (oil pan, oil filter adapter, intake, etc). I used the pressure washer and got this thing spotless, then Donnie straightened a few bent tabs and reinstalled it.

Click the image to open in full size.

The rest of the engine block was cleared of old oil residue as well, thanks to the pressure washer when we did all of the leak repairs. We still need to build a flat aluminum front undertray (+0 points) to tie into the crossmember brace and go up to the lower lip of the front bumper cover. Its almost as if we are driving around with a parachute open under the car right now, ugh. We've been weighing the "splitter vs undertray" ideas for too long - finally made a decision, so this can be built soon.

Click the image to open in full size. Click the image to open in full size.

Another much needed upgrade was to install a passenger side racing seat. We ran TWS with no right seat and I regretted not being able to take my student on a ride-along in an HPDE4 session, to help with instructing.

Click the image to open in full size. Click the image to open in full size.

We've been doing a lot of Sparco seats lately so I picked the EVO II for the fixed mount passenger seat to go along with the Cobra Suzuka GT seat on the driver's side. This makes it convenient to let people sit in both seat styles in a car that is usually at our shop. We keep about a dozen racing seats in our lobby, but nothing is better than sitting in a seat in a real car.

Click the image to open in full size.

With these little items updated, repaired, or installed we loaded back up for a test at our local club track, Motorsports Ranch Cresson (MSR-C). We ran here back in March but we wanted to go back to "set a new baseline" and see how close we were to the TTD track record, before we do any of our list of Winter Updates (power, aero, safety).


One thing I've learned over the years is NOTHING tells you the true story like on track testing. We try to test with good tires on the same track configuration every time, so we can more easily chart improvements or changes. In early 2017 we started testing at MSR-C regularly, and we go to this track about every two weeks on a week day, if they are running the 1.7 mile config CCW (they alternate running member days on the 1.3, 3.1, and 1.7 CW).

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We scheduled this test day to get a new bench mark lap in the current "light but powerless" setup on the TTD 330, as well as to test some new parts on our 2013 Scion FR-S "test mule" and to do some shake-down laps in a customer's ST3 prepped 2013 Mustang GT with some new brakes. I ended up driving in 5 sessions in 3 different cars this day, including in two 30 minute sessions back-to-back in 2 cars each. It is quite hectic jumping out of a car after 15 minutes of hard driving, quickly moving video/mic/data logger into another car, then rushing out for the 2nd half of the session.

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On these days we pay per session, so I am trying to squeeze in as much testing for the dollars spent. In hind sight, after this event I am going to stop rushing it and just pay a little more to keep it to driving only one car per session, as I was making driving mistakes and getting pretty overheated jumping from car to car with no break in between. These events require a full race suit, so even at only 75F I was soaked in sweat after thrashing in 5 stints before lunch.

Click the image to open in full size. Click the image to open in full size.

Of the three cars I drove, our E46 330 was by far the easiest to drive. It had the most grip, the most neutral setup, and best brake feel, and notched up the 2nd fastest time of the 3 cars tested. The FR-S is still on crap street tires and the ST3 Mustang is on 315mm Hoosiers, so it was quicker.

Click the image to open in full size.

Photo and video gallery:

Here's a listing of lap times I have run at MSR on this same 1.7 mile CCW configuration in a wide variety of cars:

Back in March with NASA I ran a 1:27.604 best of the weekend and won TTD both days, narrowly missing the track record (by a tenth). I will usually say that at MSR-C lap times under 1:30 are respectable for street cars, running under 1:25 is pretty fast, and under 1:20 is hauling ass. So the 330 at a 1:25.075 is at least getting into the "fast" zone now.

Click the image to open in full size.
Click here for the in-car video of our 1:25.075 lap in the 330 at this test event

Technically this is 2+ seconds faster than the current TTD track record here and we're still 50 whp down. We really hope to have the power added and maybe the aero tricks by March 2017 to get into the 1:22 to 1:23 range and really stomp the old track record (1:27.5) hard.

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