Friday, May 15, 2009

Sat 5/16 @ 1PM - Come see the 1 Lap car at our new facility in Winter Park!

Yes, it's kind of last minute, but if you've got nothing going on tomorrow(5/16) and 1PM, you're welcome to come by our new facility in Winter Park to hang out and check out the E46 M3 that won it's class, it's manufacturer title, and 3rd place overall in a field of 63 cars at the 2009 One Lap of America. We're going to be hanging out, talking cars and playing Wii from 1PM until whenever, so be sure to stop in and check us out!
5/16 @ 1:00PM

828 Cherry Street
Winter Park, FL 32789

Saturday, May 9, 2009

One Lap of America 2009 Results:

The End:

A week of racing in the One Lap or an hour race always comes down to who crosses the finish line first or in this case with the most points. We are entering this event down 15 points on the 3rd overall position. For the final skid pad event we run an inverted field with the slower cars starting first. The wind is blowing what feels like 50mph and the temperature is dropping around 10 degrees in the next 40 minutes it feels like it has dipped under 40 degrees. Even better it is spitting rain.

We take cover under the overhang at the Tire Rack to get out of the wind and wait for our turn on the line. As I wait on the line the car is moving around from the wind gusts just sitting still. I launch the car with some nice Michelin black marks and try to get up to speed right away for my counter clockwise run and then spin around for my clockwise loops. Jose has pumped up the tires to our normal hot temps and then some.

The M3 is really hooked-up and hugging the middle of the circle, and even though this is billed as a dry skid pad event in reality the pavement is wet for the front running cars including me. I pull in to park and hear that the car has turned over 1+g on the run, good enough for 2nd Overall. Our competitors with the Subaru are a bit of unsure what is going on since they did not hear the announcement for all the other cars. Later I am going inside to change back to street clothes and hear from someone is scoring that the event that we have nailed down 3rd place by 5 points!

A long, noisy but satisfying week has come to an end. We have beat our goal of a top 5 finish for the Supercharged M3. The car has finished the event without any major issues despite its pre event teething pains created by a stock part failure and the tow truck guy wiping out the rear suspension piece. I am pretty sure that this is the highest placing BMW in the One Lap event, matching my 1999 finish in my 318ti with a AA Turbo system.

At the awards banquet we take home 3 trophies:

1st in Class SSGT Small Bore

3rd Overall

Manufacture Trophy, for top placing BMW.

Next year? Well nothing in stone yet. There is a rumor of a luxury sedan possibility. That might be a nice change after this years’ car with racing seats and a noise level that will be with Jose and me for the next several days. I also forgot to mention one of the best pieces of news when we returned back to Tire Rack. Jonathan Czarny (M5 driver) suggests leaving the car at Tire Rack for the guys at Exotic Car Transport to come and pick it up and bring it back to Orlando, we can jump on a plane with them from Indy and get back to Florida. Now that is the best news I have heard besides our coming in 3rd! I must be getting old.

After a fiasco at the airport securing a rental car, Hertz was completely sold out of everything! Avis (who tells us HERTZ put the HERTZ on us) set’s us up with a SantaFe Sport Ute and head over to Jonathans’ house for something to eat and get some much needed sleep, but only after a little Forza video game play on his 100” theater set-up!

Until next year…

Day Seven: BeaveRun | Tire Rack Headquarters

We arrive in Beaver Falls PA around 2:30am our ears are ringing from the exhaust. The cars line up early for the first run. Skies are cloudy but it is not raining. Last year I enjoyed my run on this track, but it is really bumpy in the fast sections at least this years M3 is pretty compliant.

I am now behind the Subaru by 40points so I need to gain as many positions as possible and get closer in the points to get near 3rd overall.
The Active supercharged M3 is running great and delivering solid handling.
The first session results give us a 2 second gap over the Subaru and allows for the Corvette to slip in and some more precious points.
Second session is similar but no car is able to slip in an steal points from the Subaru. We leave event 15 points out of the 3rd overall spot.

It will come down to the skidpad to decide our fate.......

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Day Six: Carolina Motorsports Park | BMW Performance Center

Some bench racing was had at Fatz restaurant the night before with party of 12 or so. We get to bed around midnight to humidity but clear skies. The morning weather report is wet, it poured at some point last night and the rear wing is filled with H2O.

The day looks like it will clear but my first session is WET and this track wet is gorilla snot slippery. I do everything I can not to accelerate too aggressively, if I do the tire light up and forward motion stops.

Turns are not better, the car is slipping and sliding. My competition for 3rd overall is in a 4wheel drive Subaru, this is not good. I do the best I can to keep it close but I hear the Subi edges me out by less than a second.

Unfortunately the track is drying out quickly the sun is out, so the later track cars will go way better than us. Cars are still running so we will have to see what is does for our point’s battle. Update in the afternoon.

1st round results are in and I miss beating Tony’s run in the Subaru by a few tenths of a second, ouch.

For the second session the sun is out and the humidity is gone. The track is dry so hopefully I can get enough ahead of the Subaru to open the door for a few competitors to slip in and steal some points.

Yikes it is dry but the grip is still lacking quite a bit. I run as hard as possible and perhaps overdrive the car, one enty into turn 1 was a late braking affair and I barely pull entry into the corner off. Let’s see what the results yield…a solid 2 second gap ahead of the Subi, but no one slips a time in between us to steal any points from him.

So at the end of the CMP event we are still a solid 4th overall position but are still 15 points off the 3rd overall we are shooting for. On to the BMW Performance Center for a fast autocross on their mini track.

BMW Performance Center

I jump on my competitors bicycle for a quick ride around the mini track. One of the wildest parts of the track is the back section where they set up cones to send you over blind downhill and going down are 2 semi banked turns leading into a decreasing radius 90 that then takes you up the hill to the left at a good clip.

At the end there is a very tight gate to slow you down before blasting past the start finish. This tight gate of cones was near the bottom of 3rd gear in the Active SCM3 so on the last lap of this trial I decide to try 2nd gear to see if will shave a bit off my time…BAD IDEA I cannot get 2nd gear to even consider an engagement ok lets go back to 3rd…nope. While I am through the gate and rolling I have lost all forward momentum and the clock is running, I grab 5th and go back to 3rd and it goes back in.

Well, so much for gaining ground with that event. Luckily that mess up only drops me to 6th for the event and we drop a bit farther off the Subaru’s stellar 2nd overall finish to the GT-R’s 1st. I was not the only one with bad luck, my Team Cannon Fodder GT2 hit 2 cones on what would have been a 1st place finish and ended up with 19th Overall. Same old story with One Lap, don’t mess up.

Now we are are on the longest leg of the event a 562mile drive to BeavRun Raceway in Pennsylvania. The GPS has us arriving at 2:30am add one more fuel stop, figure around 3am arrival. Then get some sleep for the 7am wake up to walk the track and the last 2 road course events on the schedule.

This week has flown by and we are within reach of 3rd overall.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Day Five: Daytona International Speedway

The day starts early with our friends from PSI knocking on my door at 6:00am, “we are here with a computer to load the new program into the ECU, keys please”. Awesome I hope this will fix the power issues we were having at Sebring. It did not show in the results but I feel that we would have been closer to the top cars if I had the extra 30mph on the straights, and there are a lot of them at Sebring. Daytona is another story it is around 75% straightaway and power is essential to a decent lap. Fingers are crossed for the new tune.

1st session the car the results of the tune are evident, the car pulls all the way through 6th gear to an indicated 170+ on the optimistic speedo. The StopTech brakes are fantastic giving me all the confidence to carry the throttle as deep as possible into the brake markers. The only challenge is the hood is lifting around 4 inches at top speed acting like a airbrake, and allows for the car to feel really light in the front at speed.

Along with this the front ducting is creating lift. Either way after one hot lap is see the temps rising up, the stock radiator is having trouble dissipating the heat the new tune is generating at speed. I have to take the 2nd lap easy and only run 140 to 150 on the banking to avoid a failure. After doing this I am able to get back to throttle in the infield and not leave too much there. In the end I find out that we have been edged out by Danny in his Vette. I think he was able to keep his foot down the whole time.

2nd session are similar, Jose taped down the hood & front holes so let’s see how is does. As well we flatten out the rear wing so it creates less drag. Wow what a difference I see an indicated 180+ and the front end is now planted. Unfortunately after a lap and a half the temps start to rise up again, but not as badly. So I do some short shifting and keep the speed down to let the temps come down. Luckily there is little drama elsewhere.

Results we manage a 5th overall in the first session and a 4th overall in the second due to the signal “snot green” GT-R’s engine troubles.

Day 4.5: Last Minute Tune Revisions before Daytona International Speedway

With Karl Hugh keeping a close eye on on the behavior of the car at Sebring yesterday, he thought it was time to revise the tune slightly due to it running abnormally rich. Fast forward to Daytona Beach the same night after the Gainesville drag racing and we're scrambling to coordinate meeting with the driver/car to upload the new tune we received from Karl and Barry earlier that afternoon. Here's a quick timeline of how it all went down.

5/5 10:30PM:
We meet up with Catesby and Jose at the Daytona Ale House. After sharing a drink and shooting the breeze with them and a couple others, it's time to upload the new file to the car. Sean, Surina and I step outside to do so, which is typically a 15 minute process start to finish. Long story short, it doesn't end up working, something with the laptop was not allowing our program to run to access the car's DME.

5/6 1:00AM:
After quite some time trying to get the program up and running, we call it quits for the night, and head back to the shop in search of a solution for the morning.

5/6 2:00AM: Back at the shop, we had an idea to try one of our desktops that had a serial port; it worked! Now it was time to pack all that up, and be in Daytona at 6AM to get the flash uploaded.

5/6 6:00AM:
Short on sleep, Sean and I make our way back to Daytona and arrive at the Ramada Inn at 6AM on the button. We get right to work and set up our makeshift workstation; finally some pics!

A closer look at Precision Sport Industries' Mobile Flashing Unit:

Waiting for the file to be uploaded to the DME

Success! Now time for a quick test drive and a couple gratuitous pictures of the 1 Lap car alongside the Precision Sport Industries E46 M3 with Horsepower Freaks stage 2.5 turbo.

Now you know why this update is called "Day 4.5" since it transcended the end of day 4 and the very beginning of Day 5. We're just glad we were able to get the job done, and the car back on the track with some more power for that back straight at Daytona. More updates coming soon from the track!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Day Four: Sebring International Raceway | Gainesville Raceway

Press on to Sebring a mere 8 hour drive from Talladega. We arrive to our hotel at the track at around 10:30pm. Looks like we are the 2nd or 3rd One Lappers to arrive and settle into the bar for a beer (or 2) before turning in for the night. The weather is breezy and around 75 when we arrive but the predicted high for the day is 90plus. A little background on Sebring and me, I have been driving Sebring ever since my early driver education events after getting out of college. So I have a little experience here and mostly in early pre 90’s Porsche 911’s and BMW’s.

In 2000 I had the opportunity to drive the Sebring 12hour IMSA race with my friend Carlos DeQuesada and Boris Said in an ex-PTG BMW M3. Check that off the list of racing events that I want to do. LeMans, 24hr Nurburgring (which I would have done instead of the One Lap this year except for business scheduling conflicts), 24hrs SPA and some others.

Getting back to the day’s events, I started out the day having breakfast with Howard LaFever and Mark Grzella who are running a new CTS-V and besides making it to every event for the competition their other goal is to visit as many Adult “dancing” establishments as possible along the way, I must say they look a little tired. Then head over to the track to unload the car.

Funny thing is in the middle of the night someone affixed a little devil pig sticker to the rear bumper of the M3…wonder who did that? Anyway the temps are heating up but the track remains cool to the touch. The first session is really felling good in the car, the track is delivering a ton of grip and everything feels great. The only problem is after my 1st lap I notice the power not pulling me to an expected, indicated 160+-mph. This continues once I hit the top of 4th and 5th gears so my speed on all of the straightaway's is not there. Nothing I can do except try to maintain the most speed in the corners and get an ok overall time.

I later find out that this turns out to be worth 3rd overall behind the Stewart/Leir GT2 and Taylor/Rankins GT-R. So results were not bad but I am not thrilled since I know I could do so much better. Coulda-Shoulda-Woulda this is the One Lap. I suspect that the car is running out of gas since the tank was not totally full.

Luckily Karl Hugh and Barry are here to cheer us on from Active Auto in Miami and take a look at the situation. They feel that it is something else like the boost pressure is dropping with the ambient temperature of over 90 making the mixture too rich. Their solution is to modify the ECU tune, and they tell us someone will meet us in Gainesville to re-flash the program. Don’t forget this supercharger is a prototype system and the HKS charger is SN# ending in 001 so a few bugs are possible.

The afternoon session is really heating up, did I mention that one of the Subaru WRX’s grenaded his head gasket blowing coolant all over the motor and smoking up the back straightaway. Too bad because now they have to tow the car home to … Wisconsin or will they find a motor and show up later?

I head out for the 2nd session and try to short shift the car and keep everything as cool as it can be. I does not make much of a difference the car is not getting to the top of 4th and 5th gears. On top of that the track has lost the fantastic grip we had in the morning. I find out that it did not hurt me too much, or as much as I anticipated, we end up 4th overall for the session and remain in 4th place overall only 25 points down on the 3rd place Subaru.

It’s sunny and 96 degrees on the temp gauge as we arrive in Gainesville at around 5:30pm. On to the drag races, not exactly a BMW forte.

Gainesville Raceway

A short drive and we are back north at the Gainesville Raceway for a single ET drag event where the fastest cars in the ¼ mile will be rewarded with points and then a bracket drag event to reward the most consistent. My goal is to save the clutch and diff for the many remaining events we have till the end on the dry skid pad on Saturday.

So I am shooting for a repeatable and consistent time. Good plan I thought. In the ET with a really easy launch the M3 does a 13.13 at 113mph, I am pretty sure that I could knock quite a bit off (1sec?) that if I went for it.

So for the bracket drags I dial in a 13.0 figuring if I do the same thing I won’t break out. Well unfortunately I was gridded next to Hugh Bate in his 997 911 Turbo and guess what a 911 AWD is pretty good off the line.

I guess I should have had a Red Bull because I think I fell asleep at the line with a stellar .9xx reaction time and then I figured that Hugh had red lighted the start with his reaction time…but no, he killed me. Game over I am out of the rotations. Sort of to be expected in this car.

It was good to see some BMW fans out at the track, thanks for stopping by.

On to Daytona for a new flash on the ECU and some fun tomorrow.

Well not so fun for Jose, Officer Prevatt has just pulled us over in Bunnell, FL. She tells us that we were doing 80 in a 60 zone. Graciously she reduces the speed to 74 in a 60 so Jose is facing less points in along with the $191 fine. Luckily he had just slowed down from a speed where she might have been a little less pleasant.

I think we need a beer. Last year we covered 8000 miles without an infraction....