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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Tracking, Autocrossing, Dragstrip, Driving Techniques > What is the best all-around track car for the $$



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      10-15-2010, 05:11 PM   #23
orionredwing
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Originally Posted by TJDiCandido View Post
First, don't listen to your spouse when choosing a performance car EVER again! What were you thinking?
LOL, totally agree.

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Second, a 335i with slushbox will never be a proper track car, so don't even think about it. Third, Porsches aren't exactly "everyday family cars", so you probably want to stay away from them anyway.
Eesh, don't take offense, but you're still stuck in the early 2000 thinking. Slushboxes are no longer slushy these days. They actually shift faster than MTs, just without the 'feeling' that we all love.

Ironically, many of the 335i guys I met at the track have an automatic, including myself. When you're shifting between 3rd & 4th most of the time, it doesn't take much.

But if you're referring to tracking your car in terms of 1/4 mile drags, then you may be right.

Don't get me wrong. I still love to drive MTs for the feeling of control. Nothing beats the feeling of shifting. And I will own MT cars again in the future. But performance wise, they are no longer a negative. In fact, it's a positive.
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      10-16-2010, 07:25 PM   #24
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So I'm probably late to the discussion and do not know you, but have you done any track days yet? While I'm not familiar with the BMW club rules, or the rules of the other organizations where you might run, I think you could take the 335i out even with the automatic.

I've been racing with SCCA since ~2000 and flagging with SCCA since 1985, and the best thing you could do is spend some time adjusting the nut behind the wheel. I run a 1981 Mazda RX7 in a limited prep class (WDCR SRX7 rules) and I'm still learning. My best time around VIR is 2:30, my best time around Summit Point is 1:36, and my best time around Carolina Motorsport Park (CMP) is 2:02. The fast guys in my class run VIR in 2:25, Summit in 1:29, and CMP 1:58. So I have a ways to go, and that's OK. It's a car I built up from a street car because I wanted to do that, and I don't run a full schedule so I'm still tuning the car as much the driver. That's OK, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TJDiCandido View Post
First, don't listen to your spouse when choosing a performance car EVER again! What were you thinking?
I listened to my wife, but then she's a speed junkie, too, but a little sadistic. She loves her Alfa Romeos... It's also why I married her. She was the only woman I dated that didn't try to talk me out of racing.

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Originally Posted by TJDiCandido View Post
Even though the Miata lacks HP, don't sell it short. With some minor mods and R-Compound tires, the Miata does very well on a momentum track (like Lime Rock Park). Depending on your local track/car club rules, you'll probably have to install a roll bar in the Miata for track duty, but it will still be one of the cheapest track cars to run and maintain.
Miata's are a lot of fun to drive, even stock. Mods are relatively cheap and parts/spares are readily available everywhere. Go for a ride in a track Miata at the hand of an instructor, you'll be amazed.

Good luck and I hope to see you at the track!

Cheers,

- John
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      10-17-2010, 12:49 PM   #25
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Can you still put the top up on a Miata after installing a roll bar? The roll bar would be an absolute necessity for most clubs, but can you then still use it on the street unless it's guaranteed not to rain?
Not an issue. Lots of roll bar options that let you use the rag or hard top. Did one for my son's Miata a few years back.
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      10-18-2010, 03:23 PM   #26
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Not an issue. Lots of roll bar options that let you use the rag or hard top. Did one for my son's Miata a few years back.
Good to know, thanks.
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      10-18-2010, 03:50 PM   #27
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Good to know, thanks.
I bought the roll bar from http://www.mmmiata.com/ and his turbo from http://flyinmiata.com/

Hope that helps.

jl
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      10-18-2010, 04:07 PM   #28
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Has anyone considered the 135i? Stripped down ( <3000lbs ???) for the track it must be a little powerhouse.
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      10-18-2010, 04:35 PM   #29
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1 series isn't exactly affordable. When most people think track car they refer to something that is cheap to maintain and won't bankrupt them when they put it into a wall. Guess everyone's definition of "budget" are different though. Just look at the Berk Technology car... that thing is nuts.

I think for the money the E36 M3 is your best bet or an E30. Or on the flip side... Honda's if you can deal with FWD--- I can't so it pains me to even mention them.
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      10-18-2010, 04:36 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgalaxy View Post
Has anyone considered the 135i? Stripped down ( <3000lbs ???) for the track it must be a little powerhouse.
1. The same heat issues that plague the 335i would plague the 135i.

2. The 135i STOCK weighs 3,350 lbs. To get it below 3,000 lbs you'd have to strip 350+ lbs. 50-100lbs is easy. 200lbs is HARD. 350+ lbs will require $$$ and lots of it.

3. A bare bone 135i cost close to $40,000 out the door. Anyone who's got pocket deep enough to do so, should probably pick up a Lotus instead.
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      10-18-2010, 06:27 PM   #31
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Quote:
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I think for the money the E36 M3 is your best bet or an E30. Or on the flip side... Honda's if you can deal with FWD--- I can't so it pains me to even mention them.
haha, they are not for everyone, but they can be setup pretty well if you know what you are doing. Most of the cars from 1988-2000 have the good suspension. And there is always the S2000 if you have the extra cash.
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      10-18-2010, 08:23 PM   #32
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Quote:
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1. The same heat issues that plague the 335i would plague the 135i.

2. The 135i STOCK weighs 3,350 lbs. To get it below 3,000 lbs you'd have to strip 350+ lbs. 50-100lbs is easy. 200lbs is HARD. 350+ lbs will require $$$ and lots of it.

3. A bare bone 135i cost close to $40,000 out the door. Anyone who's got pocket deep enough to do so, should probably pick up a Lotus instead.
1. I haven't had any over-heating issues to date on my 335 even when running full open track days. Runs hot, but never a limp mode. Hot oil, add an additional core.

2. I'm seeing 2008 135's going for $25K second hand out there. Like anything for the track you would do a full strip. Seats, carpet, headliner, hood, exhaust, etc. replaced by race seats, cage, exhaust, hood & fire suppression. I dont think it would be difficult to get it down to 3000lbs.

3. I disagree on the Lotus. Everyone that I have ever pushed has always suffered from snap oversteer in the quick transitions and have had to move aside on the straights. The C6 Grand-sport would be a much better bet.
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      11-09-2010, 03:27 PM   #33
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Miata. Cheap car. Cheap consumeables. Very reliable. Well balanced. Teaches you to conserve momentum. The go pedal has very little go in stock form, so more forgiving. Endless supply of aftermarket products and support. Spec Miata are everywhere, and can be had for the cost of upgrades needed for the E92 to be track ready.
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      11-11-2010, 10:00 PM   #34
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Miata. Cheap car. Cheap consumeables. Very reliable. Well balanced. Teaches you to conserve momentum. The go pedal has very little go in stock form, so more forgiving. Endless supply of aftermarket products and support. Spec Miata are everywhere, and can be had for the cost of upgrades needed for the E92 to be track ready.
They are an interesting track option especially with flyinmiata.com add-ons.
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      11-13-2010, 12:53 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDomer View Post
Miata. Cheap car. Cheap consumeables. Very reliable. Well balanced. Teaches you to conserve momentum. The go pedal has very little go in stock form, so more forgiving. Endless supply of aftermarket products and support. Spec Miata are everywhere, and can be had for the cost of upgrades needed for the E92 to be track ready.
Agreed. I've spent a lot of time on the autocross and then track scene. There hasn't been a miata (1st, 2nd, or 3rd generation) that didn't impress me.

Really a fun car that you can play around with on the track.

1st gen spec miatas can be found for very reasonable prices, and a close friend of mine (he's an instructor, now) consistently beats up on z06s and 911s in his spec miata. He also says it's super reliable, especially for how hard he pushes it.
So go find a good one and get to the track!
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      11-13-2010, 01:06 AM   #36
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HOnestly, the 335 is NOT a track car...its a daily driver that gives you a bit of sporting pretension!

M3's...of any sort would seem to be a track ready car that is usable everyday.

Thats all...maybe an RS from audi or AMG from mercedes as well if you want auto. also IS-F but not as good as m3
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      11-13-2010, 01:28 AM   #37
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Lotus Elise with a blown motor. swap a K20A2 rsx-s motor with a supercharger

this > *

or just get a new sti. upgrade some internals with tune and you'll be owning porches
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      11-15-2010, 06:24 PM   #38
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A spec miata is also another great choice. Check your local racing chapters and see what kind of events are available to you. Depending on your location, there may be a large number of classes you can run your miata in.
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      11-16-2010, 08:00 AM   #39
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E36, 944, or an S2000 are good choices.
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      11-16-2010, 09:02 AM   #40
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+1 on the Miata

More expensive options are a M3, Z06 vette, any lotus, or a Porsche Cayman (I'd stay away from the 911)
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      11-16-2010, 10:20 AM   #41
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What you already know and some more

By the posts so far it's clear that both e36M3 and Miata are top 2 choices and I agree.
These are certainly not the only options though so to mess w you a little, I instruct for bmwcca currently with a stock 2008 Bmw M3. I used to track a stock E36M3.
It's more $ to run the 2008 M3 BUT:
- stock car w r-comps if very balanced
- 414HP come handy on passing
- good automatic if you want (DCT is very good at the track)
- it can be your only car so you save on no second car
- lease it and pay just for consumables tires / brakes - no engine / chassis / transmission / diff / etc issues that you would have to pay $$$ for yourself otherwise*
- insure it at track events for ~$300-400 per event (multiple days same price) for peace of mind
In the instructor group the only cars that pull away are 911 GT2s and Corvette z06/ZR1s. On most tracks it's pretty close to a new 911 GT3s performance which is a $140K car!

When in the e36M3 it's still fun but getting that point by at the track can sometimes be frustrating and this will be worse in the miata as you'll basically be fast in corners but unless a 911 / M5 gets off the throttle completely you won't be able to pass.

* this requires a very good relationship with your service guy at the dealership.

To sum it up:
- e36M3 and miata are great choices
- there are ways you can make other options work for you at a similar cost
- remember that this choice is a good problem to have ;-)
Oh yeah if you want real performance forget about street cars and switch to karting ;-) (I would advise "TAG series" )

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