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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Tracking, Autocrossing, Dragstrip, Driving Techniques > Why aren't there more track cars?



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      09-17-2021, 02:21 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by wagonwheel View Post
Myself and some others think so. Look up BigInBoca on here. Dude has built a NA monster.

Because everyone is skipping over the NA e9x cars they are CHEAP fun on the track. Many can be bought well under $10k. Most guys I talk to at the track paid $16k on the low end and $20-25k on the average. Bolt up M3 suspension and 335 brakes and you have a fun haver.. Personally, I'm all in on the chassis.
I've used my 107,000 mile e92 328i for my first two HPDEs. The first outing I was running 3 year old AS/3+ tires that had felt a bit spooky ever since I overhauled the suspension with Bilstein B8s, M3 control arms, and poly RSFB. For my second HPDE I installed fresh PS4S tires, and then the chassis felt very smooth and predictable.

I've been wondering how the E90 driving experience on the track compares to alternatives like the BRZ or Miata?

I'm also curious to see how the N52 holds up to track abuse. I did a LOT of maintenance work between 80,000-100,000 miles, so the car is in great shape right now. Would the OFH and VC gaskets go bad any faster with track time? I had my original gaskets replaced at 85,000 and then surprisingly again 2 years later at 105,000 when I noticed them leaking again at my first HPDE. The only major maintenance I haven't done yet are the coolant pump, oil pan gasket, and upper transmission seal. I'm hoping I can leave those alone...
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      09-17-2021, 02:25 PM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fleetfoot View Post
I've used my 107,000 mile e92 328i for my first two HPDEs. The first outing I was running 3 year old AS/3+ tires that had felt a bit spooky ever since I overhauled the suspension with Bilstein B8s, M3 control arms, and poly RSFB. For my second HPDE I installed fresh PS4S tires, and then the chassis felt very smooth and predictable.

I've been wondering how the E90 driving experience on the track compares to alternatives like the BRZ or Miata?

I'm also curious to see how the N52 holds up to track abuse. I did a LOT of maintenance work between 80,000-100,000 miles, so the car is in great shape right now. Would the OFH and VC gaskets go bad any faster with track time? I had my original gaskets replaced at 85,000 and then surprisingly again 2 years later at 105,000 when I noticed them leaking again at my first HPDE. The only major maintenance I haven't done yet are the coolant pump, oil pan gasket, and upper transmission seal. I'm hoping I can leave those alone...
No BRZ or Miata can keep up with my E90, and my is xDrive (it is a ski vehicle in winter).
You really, really want oil cooler as that will prolong your OFHG lifespan. Again, I run mine at 5,000ft altitude. Altitude is the biggest cooling issue, far more than ambient temperature. At 102 degrees and this altitude, my oil temperature was 125c, although I was on track for an hour. Your gaskets are going to appreciate that!
Also, think about set of tires that you just use on the track. Anything happens to those tires, you have your street set. I found Yokohama Advan Apax V601 225/45 R17 for $116 in Discount Tire. Excellent max performance tire. Cheap!
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      09-28-2021, 04:46 PM   #47
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FYI, after pricing out a bunch of different HPDE insurance providers this spring, Lockton Affinity seemed to be the most reasonable and folks had good feedback. I used them for both of my previous track days this year.

I was setting up my insurance for my HPDE this weekend and price compared the policies with 10% and 15% deductibles...for me this changes the deductible on the policy from $2000 to $3500. I was expecting there to be a cost savings from this change, but there isn't! Apparently there's a minimum premium that doesn't start to change until your car is worth more than $27,000. So if you car is cheap, be sure to pick the 10% option since the premium will be the same, but your deductible will be lower if you make a claim.

note: apparently there's some technical issue with their website right now where if you navigate there from Google, then it breaks the checkout process...right at the end. So go directly to https://hpde.locktonmotorsports.com to avoid that issue.
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Last edited by fleetfoot; 09-28-2021 at 04:58 PM..
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      09-29-2021, 11:59 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by edycol View Post
No BRZ or Miata can keep up with my E90, and my is xDrive (it is a ski vehicle in winter).
*Stock* BRZ or miata lol.

I see so many miatas at my days and they are usually the fastest out there(other than the mclaren on hoosiers) but Im actually surprised 328/128s arnt the next track day cars in numbers. It is a solid car that can be had for cheap now
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      09-29-2021, 12:05 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by neilvan View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by edycol View Post
No BRZ or Miata can keep up with my E90, and my is xDrive (it is a ski vehicle in winter).
*Stock* BRZ or miata lol.

I see so many miatas at my days and they are usually the fastest out there(other than the mclaren on hoosiers) but Im actually surprised 328/128s arnt the next track day cars in numbers. It is a solid car that can be had for cheap now
The problem with Miata or BRZ here is size of an engine. Track I am at is at 5,000ft and it is extremely challenging power wise due to air density and definitely most challenging track in North America when it comes to cooling (I am not aware of any other track that allows open lapping that is at higher altitude).
So, even if engines are slightly modified, more displacement and especially turbo are better. Problem with turbo is of course additional heat and again, cooling at this altitude.
But, I also run stock engine with no power modifications and two child seats in the back
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      09-29-2021, 12:19 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by edycol View Post
The problem with Miata or BRZ here is size of an engine. Track I am at is at 5,000ft and it is extremely challenging power wise due to air density and definitely most challenging track in North America when it comes to cooling (I am not aware of any other track that allows open lapping that is at higher altitude).
So, even if engines are slightly modified, more displacement and especially turbo are better. Problem with turbo is of course additional heat and again, cooling at this altitude.
But, I also run stock engine with no power modifications and two child seats in the back
Very good point, MOST quick miata's(like mine) run a fuck ton of boost like so the air density does have a huge effect. Cooling on them is pretty good(lots of bolt on effective mods) but then again altitude will work against you there. The only ones that get by that are the K-swap or the LS-swap ones.

Don't mean to shit on the thread but miatas have been the main core of track days for as long as I've known. Last few years prices have shot through the roof and the cos to risk ratio doesn't make sense. I honestly expected the 128 to take over that spot (BRZ has a boxer)
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      09-29-2021, 12:30 PM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neilvan View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by edycol View Post
The problem with Miata or BRZ here is size of an engine. Track I am at is at 5,000ft and it is extremely challenging power wise due to air density and definitely most challenging track in North America when it comes to cooling (I am not aware of any other track that allows open lapping that is at higher altitude).
So, even if engines are slightly modified, more displacement and especially turbo are better. Problem with turbo is of course additional heat and again, cooling at this altitude.
But, I also run stock engine with no power modifications and two child seats in the back
Very good point, MOST quick miata's(like mine) run a fuck ton of boost like so the air density does have a huge effect. Cooling on them is pretty good(lots of bolt on effective mods) but then again altitude will work against you there. The only ones that get by that are the K-swap or the LS-swap ones.

Don't mean to shit on the thread but miatas have been the main core of track days for as long as I've known. Last few years prices have shot through the roof and the cos to risk ratio doesn't make sense. I honestly expected the 128 to take over that spot (BRZ has a boxer)
So, when I say I can take on Miata successfully I mean stock or just slightly modified. Now, going some serious stuff, that is another story. And I see a lot of them here and it is impossible to keep up with them in corners particularly.
Cooling wise, here it is impossible to do anything even remotely fun without radiator type oil cooler. Just ask unsuspecting VW GTI owner. I run 335 oil cooler and considering the fact that N52 doesn't have turbo, it is an overkill, but that is what you want here.
IMO 128 should be perfect track car. I might actually get myself one just for that. Strip down everything to bare bones, do some engine modifications and just enjoy.
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      09-29-2021, 12:39 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by edycol View Post
So, when I say I can take on Miata successfully I mean stock or just slightly modified. Now, going some serious stuff, that is another story. And I see a lot of them here and it is impossible to keep up with them in corners particularly.
Cooling wise, here it is impossible to do anything even remotely fun without radiator type oil cooler. Just ask unsuspecting VW GTI owner. I run 335 oil cooler and considering the fact that N52 doesn't have turbo, it is an overkill, but that is what you want here.
IMO 128 should be perfect track car. I might actually get myself one just for that. Strip down everything to bare bones, do some engine modifications and just enjoy.
If you have long tracks(straights) then ya I can totally believe that. Having a stock miata (116hp) to current (best guess is 400-420) its a change. The stock was fun in the corners but straight away's you'd basically wave at everyone flying by you.

We are 75m above (250ft ish) so cooling is less of an issue vs tire temps. Even my track car has an ebay all alu rad and a (relatively)dinky oil cooler which is almost overkill

If I were to do it again a 128 manual trans +manual seat sport pack would be a good all around option. M3/330i bolt ons and you have a fairly cheap reliable car to toss around. Whats a manual 128? 3100lbs?
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      09-29-2021, 12:44 PM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neilvan View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by edycol View Post
So, when I say I can take on Miata successfully I mean stock or just slightly modified. Now, going some serious stuff, that is another story. And I see a lot of them here and it is impossible to keep up with them in corners particularly.
Cooling wise, here it is impossible to do anything even remotely fun without radiator type oil cooler. Just ask unsuspecting VW GTI owner. I run 335 oil cooler and considering the fact that N52 doesn't have turbo, it is an overkill, but that is what you want here.
IMO 128 should be perfect track car. I might actually get myself one just for that. Strip down everything to bare bones, do some engine modifications and just enjoy.
If you have long tracks(straights) then ya I can totally believe that. Having a stock miata (116hp) to current (best guess is 400-420) its a change. The stock was fun in the corners but straight away's you'd basically wave at everyone flying by you.

We are 75m above (250ft ish) so cooling is less of an issue vs tire temps. Even my track car has an ebay all alu rad and a (relatively)dinky oil cooler which is almost overkill

If I were to do it again a 128 manual trans +manual seat sport pack would be a good all around option. M3/330i bolt ons and you have a fairly cheap reliable car to toss around. Whats a manual 128? 3100lbs?
Actually we don't have too long straight. I can go 102-103mph at very hot day (100f) maybe 110mph when it is 50-60f ambient temperature. It is fairly technical.
Yeah manual is maybe 3100lbs. Rear suspension you can do pretty much everything I did on 328 from M3, plus solid bushings. Front some. 330 intake, MILV, headers etc. probably you can strip down 300lbs from interior.
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      09-29-2021, 01:05 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by edycol View Post
Actually we don't have too long straight. I can go 102-103mph at very hot day (100f) maybe 110mph when it is 50-60f ambient temperature. It is fairly technical.
Yeah manual is maybe 3100lbs. Rear suspension you can do pretty much everything I did on 328 from M3, plus solid bushings. Front some. 330 intake, MILV, headers etc. probably you can strip down 300lbs from interior.
I think weight is the biggest downfall of this chassis from a track standpoint.

My 335 (RB turbos+all bolt ons, M3 suspension/sways etc) at 3600 lbs is so much sloppier than my miata (2200lbs w/ half cage, all the bracing and suspension and $$). and also substantially slower in a straight line too)

Now coils on the E90 might make it a lot more predictable and responsive im sure but I think high 2000lbs range at least is where an E90/E82 would need to be to compare to the driving feel.

Also to point out the miata is from the early 90s where the only option was power steering; All the E90/E82 power options, stereos, sunroof and all that add 100s of pounds. Even the Amazing 700hp hellcat weighs 5000lbs which makes the power to weight very beatable. 300hp(crank and assuming) to 2800lbs is kinda respectable

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      09-29-2021, 02:29 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by neilvan View Post
I think weight is the biggest downfall of this chassis from a track standpoint.

My 335 (RB turbos+all bolt ons, M3 suspension/sways etc) at 3600 lbs is so much sloppier than my miata (2200lbs w/ half cage, all the bracing and suspension and $$). and also substantially slower in a straight line too)

Now coils on the E90 might make it a lot more predictable and responsive im sure but I think high 2000lbs range at least is where an E90/E82 would need to be to compare to the driving feel.

Also to point out the miata is from the early 90s where the only option was power steering; All the E90/E82 power options, stereos, sunroof and all that add 100s of pounds. Even the Amazing 700hp hellcat weighs 5000lbs which makes the power to weight very beatable. 300hp(crank and assuming) to 2800lbs is kinda respectable
I think 128 without seats, stereo, amplifier, speakers, rear deck, seat belts, etc. etc. is a good competitor and 300 on the crank is doable.
I customized the audio system on my 328. Has two amplifiers, 6 1/2 inch speakers in the deck, Pioneer 8inch shallow subs in modified original BMW sub enclosures under the seat (pool noodles have so many uses) and each is 8 lbs, so I am not sure I am doing myself any favor on track But, I enjoy it though usually, I am the slowest guy .
Hellcat is running on an almost 30yr old Mercedes platform. Of course, it is heavy.
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      09-29-2021, 02:59 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by edycol View Post
I think 128 without seats, stereo, amplifier, speakers, rear deck, seat belts, etc. etc. is a good competitor and 300 on the crank is doable.
I customized the audio system on my 328. Has two amplifiers, 6 1/2 inch speakers in the deck, Pioneer 8inch shallow subs in modified original BMW sub enclosures under the seat (pool noodles have so many uses) and each is 8 lbs, so I am not sure I am doing myself any favor on track But, I enjoy it though usually, I am the slowest guy .
Hellcat is running on an almost 30yr old Mercedes platform. Of course, it is heavy.
My closest comparison is my brothers 328 sedan: manual, rwd, 3400lbs.

It has some weighty options(but necessary for daily) like xenons, power seats and logic 7.

But also non-i drive, sport pack and some oem+ mods that were found at pic n pull yards for literally nothing: 3 stage mani, #114 metal shaft disa, N54 throttle body, 330i front brakes, E60 water/oil cooler, strut stop cut/alignment pin removed, 330i cat back, xi 15mm rear swaybar, E92 c pillar plates, E92 rear subframe brace and CDV delete. These cars are lego so setting them up and mods is easy.

Also have MILVs and a secondary cat delete but good mods can be had for nothing for these cars and its also a fun car on the street; imagine with 600lbs less.
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      09-29-2021, 03:10 PM   #57
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Originally Posted by neilvan View Post
My closest comparison is my brothers 328 sedan: manual, rwd, 3400lbs.

It has some weighty options(but necessary for daily) like xenons, power seats and logic 7.

But also non-i drive, sport pack and some oem+ mods that were found at pic n pull yards for literally nothing: 3 stage mani, #114 metal shaft disa, N54 throttle body, 330i front brakes, E60 water/oil cooler, strut stop cut/alignment pin removed, 330i cat back, xi 15mm rear swaybar, E92 c pillar plates, E92 rear subframe brace and CDV delete. These cars are lego so setting them up and mods is easy.

Also have MILVs and a secondary cat delete but good mods can be had for nothing for these cars and its also a fun car on the street; imagine with 600lbs less.
Mine is xDrive, so add 200lbs.
xenon, sport seats etc, but non-idrive (purposely).
I had to go xDrive as I ski 1-2 times a week, so it is very fun car driving to ski resorts here in the Rockies, especially on local roads.
I added oil cooler from 335, M3 wishbones, polyurethane subframe bushings, Bilstein B6, and now getting ready to install front brakes from F30 335, and rear from 135.
I already have euro intake (I am from Bosnia, found one there for $50 and my brother sent me here ). Then three stage intake, possibly MILVS, and will see about headers. I might. I also drive kids in this and do not want to be that asshole in front of the school and daycare. But will see, maybe catless headers but leave secondary cat in.
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      09-29-2021, 03:18 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by edycol View Post
Mine is xDrive, so add 200lbs.
xenon, sport seats etc, but non-idrive (purposely).
I had to go xDrive as I ski 1-2 times a week, so it is very fun car driving to ski resorts here in the Rockies, especially on local roads.
I added oil cooler from 335, M3 wishbones, polyurethane subframe bushings, Bilstein B6, and now getting ready to install front brakes from F30 335, and rear from 135.
I already have euro intake (I am from Bosnia, found one there for $50 and my brother sent me here ). Then three stage intake, possibly MILVS, and will see about headers. I might. I also drive kids in this and do not want to be that asshole in front of the school and daycare. But will see, maybe catless headers but leave secondary cat in.
My brother is a real estate agent so ya it still had to be classy(ish). Even in canada with snows the rwd+snows does surprisingly well but we get less than you im sure. the secondary cat delete and 330i muffler are louder but still oem sound(you could even go a touch louder and still not be in "exhaust" territory)

My E61 5series wagon winter beater has the x-drive and is surprisly good but they lack the suspension mod/upgrades that the rwd cars do which suck. Also the very limited front suspension travel is a killer
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      09-29-2021, 03:37 PM   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neilvan View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by edycol View Post
Mine is xDrive, so add 200lbs.
xenon, sport seats etc, but non-idrive (purposely).
I had to go xDrive as I ski 1-2 times a week, so it is very fun car driving to ski resorts here in the Rockies, especially on local roads.
I added oil cooler from 335, M3 wishbones, polyurethane subframe bushings, Bilstein B6, and now getting ready to install front brakes from F30 335, and rear from 135.
I already have euro intake (I am from Bosnia, found one there for $50 and my brother sent me here ). Then three stage intake, possibly MILVS, and will see about headers. I might. I also drive kids in this and do not want to be that asshole in front of the school and daycare. But will see, maybe catless headers but leave secondary cat in.
My brother is a real estate agent so ya it still had to be classy(ish). Even in canada with snows the rwd+snows does surprisingly well but we get less than you im sure. the secondary cat delete and 330i muffler are louder but still oem sound(you could even go a touch louder and still not be in "exhaust" territory)

My E61 5series wagon winter beater has the x-drive and is surprisly good but they lack the suspension mod/upgrades that the rwd cars do which suck. Also the very limited front suspension travel is a killer
So tightening rear suspension got understeer to the point to not feel bad. But snow on a side, and climate here is actually really nice as there is a lot if sun, problem is serious up and down configuration. I ski local resorts and some of them don't have paved parking lots. Often xDrive has to work hard to get out after day of skiing in snowy weather regardless of winter tires. So RWD was not an option.
But, on track it is fast through curves as xDrive keeps it planted enough to do controlled sliding without oversteer. I had several guys with RWD 328 trying to keep up in curves and they can't. On straight they are not that much lighter to make up distance.
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      10-04-2021, 11:49 AM   #60
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I had my 3rd and 4th track days over the weekend at Atlanta Motorsport Park, which is a counter-clockwise circuit. I started the day with 8/32" of tread left on my Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires, which are 6 months old and have 1 track day on them at Road Atlanta (clockwise circuit). On the second day at AMP, I started getting some vibration from the front passenger tire, and after the session we discovered excessive wear on the front passenger tire along with cupping. The other three tires looked good. I swapped the front wheels, and the vibration issue resolved itself. Could shoulder wear lead me to need to replace the tires even if the rest of the tread is still deep (7/32")?

I'm wondering if there are any easy changes I could make to reduce the likelihood of this type of tire wear in the future. I'm currently running 34/36(cold) 39/42(hot) front/rear tire pressure. I have M3 control arms and camber up front is -1.2 degrees. Gran Turismo East (track-focused alignment shop) told that's the best the most they could do on front camber.

I am considering moving to a 245 square tire setup with Apex EC-7 wheels once these tires are worn out so I could start rotating tires. Should I also look into camber plates? Any additional suspension upgrades that might help?

This is the passenger tire that was cupping, but it doesn't look as bad now that I moved it to the driver side:
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Last edited by fleetfoot; 10-04-2021 at 01:18 PM.. Reason: added photos
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      10-04-2021, 08:27 PM   #61
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re: fleetfoot

Yup. Racetrack is really hard on tires.

Camber plates, increase roll stiffness. BMW's love giant front swaybars.

Get a second set of wheels for track tires. Go square, the car will be faster and you can rotate them. Get accustomed to swapping them inside-out half way through the tread.

I recommend Hankook RS4, affordable, they like heat, are fast, and wear very well. Breakaway is a little more abrupt than A052 or RE71, and the RS4 is slower than both. I generally get 10ish hours of track time out of a set on an e36. Perhaps 8h on a heavier e9x?
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      10-06-2021, 01:00 PM   #62
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You need more front camber, a lot more. Pull the alignment pins, install dinan camber plates. You want something closer to -2.5 at least.

I own both a nc miata and a 328i. Not a fair comparison, but my nc has a 2.5 swap with cams and I am looking to rebuild it with high cr pistons in the coming months. There is no doubt the miata is faster than my own bmw. Its almost 900lb lighter and puts out about 190whp.

I still like the power delivery much better on my n52 and the high speed stability, but the braking and handling is literally two worlds apart. That being said, that's why one is going to become a daily and one being a dedicated track toy.
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      10-18-2021, 12:07 PM   #63
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Final Track Day of the Season

Weather was perfect. Missed half of Saturday swapping out my starter but got a lot of good track time!



[IMG][/IMG]

Photos are bonus pics. Nice little e92 lineup.

M3, 335is, and my 328i
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      10-19-2021, 05:55 PM   #64
Thumbie
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edycol: In a perfect world where you could have two cars, would you take a RWD version of your car for track use? Or is the xDrive pretty good on track?

I ask because in my hunt for the perfect 328i I have some some that check every single box except they are xDrive, which I prefer not to have...unless it doesn't take away from driving feel.
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      10-19-2021, 06:45 PM   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumbie View Post
edycol: In a perfect world where you could have two cars, would you take a RWD version of your car for track use? Or is the xDrive pretty good on track?

I ask because in my hunt for the perfect 328i I have some some that check every single box except they are xDrive, which I prefer not to have...unless it doesn't take away from driving feel.
Absolutely RWD.
It is not drive. Drive is good. Actually, you are faster in corners as you have 4 driving wheels.
It is everything else:
1. Maintenance. More parts to break down. Harder access to oil pan if gasket needs to be changed (and it will be). Harder to change water pump. You cannot use M3 control arms and thrust arm.
On xDrive you can only go poly bushings (which I will).
2. Transfer case maintenance. Fluid in TC in normal exploitation should be changed ever 50-60k. Track? Every 20-25k. It is DIY, but pain in a butt if no lift. Not to mention it is not unheard of for them to fail.
3. Understeer. It is there. Polyurethane bushings in rear helped. Going polyurethane in thrust arms will help I hope. But, you are packing front differential, axels in front. Then added weight of TC. I would say 200lbs compared to RWD, and of those probably 140lbs in front.
4. Sport package in RWD is having actual performance upgrades on suspension. On xDrive sport package is limited to interior and exterior. Suspension is base.

One benefit, and this is purely speculative, is that I read somewhere that oil pan in xDrive is much better for track use as it prevents oil starvation in hard left turns. Purely speculative!

I would wait honestly. I waited for a year until I stumbled on one I wanted. I didn't want iDrive, I absolutely had to have xenon lights and sport package (seats, steering wheel). But, bcs xDrive comes with base suspension, there is a lot of work to get it track ready to truly enjoy.
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      10-19-2021, 09:46 PM   #66
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Get a 2WD. It'll be about 400lb lighter.

The 4wd will do nothing the assist on a race track unless you're north of 400hp. Even then it's not a GTR, the T-case won't deliver more torque to the front than it does from the factory no matter how much power you're pushing so there still isn't much help. Certainly not enough to overcome the weight penalty.

As mentioned above, easier maintenance, better factory parts, less understeer, easier to change direction. Better starting point all around.

It's neat to try an Xdrive on track once. The car takes a unique set when powering out of corners with the front wheels driving.

---------- Ninja Edit

The 4wd might have better front wheel bearings. The sealed 2wd front hub assemblies don't seem to last nearly as long as the press-in. Hard to say. That front left does a lot of heavy lifting.
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Last edited by Brian86; 10-19-2021 at 09:50 PM.. Reason: add information
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