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My road to racing (E30 content)

  E30 318iS x2
Today I tackled my bulkhead blanking panel. Such a 'simple' panel, which no one will ever see certainly tested my patients today! Any way, it's finished so I can tick it off and chill! Mounted to the panel is the ECU and also a cold air feed for the heater box.




And a nice easy one was to bolt up the wide mirror. Even though my cage is 45mm and I bought the mirror kit to fit 45mm tube, the brackets were too tight and did not fit very well. So I used a barrel sander on a die grinder to open it up a bit so it fits around the tube.


Gave the drivers side floor and seat rails a going over with paint so I am ready to bolt the seat in when my new aluminium runners arrive.


'Cracked on' and got my windscreen back in and fitted the front door windows. All sealed up now :)


Also got the fuel tank back in and all connected up and ready to go :thumb: Going to wrap up a few more little jobs tomorrow and then will be collecting the engine monday :cool:
  E30 318iS x2
Quite a lot has happened here's a run down:

Wrapped the exhaust in Titanium heat wrap. It was custom made on the car and does hug the underside of the car quite well. To prevent any thermal issues I decided to cover it:



Finally plucked up the courage to take the protective wrapping off the windows from, pushed it outside and see how it looks. The front is still high as obviously there is no engine.




Collected my engine from DY engine services (



This is one of the reasons that having the engine inspected and rebuilt proved to be extremely worth while:


Got that thrown in and running:


My seat arrived from Cobra. To say I'm happy with it is an understatement :D :D I cannot get over how light the aluminium side mounts are compared to the steal ones as well, such a weight saving to be had for only £30 odd extra over the cost of the steal ones.




Also had my delivery from Millers Oils too. This lot should keep be going for a while winkeye


Now the engine is in and running I fitted my gauges from SPA. I've got DG201 oil temperature and pressure gauge for the engine and DG207 which is fuel pressure and battery voltage:


I have mounted the pressure sensors with rubber lined P-clips using existing threaded inserts in the engine bay. One for the fuel filter and another for the PAS reservoir, quite handy as it saves drilling and arising around in general.

Line for remote t piece for oil pressure:


Oil pressure sensors (one for gauge and standard pressure warning light):


Oil temperature sensor using one of the blanked off bosses on the front of the oil filter housing:


Fuel pressure sensor:


The gauges are mounted to my carbon centre console. I will eventually mount other switches etc on this hence why they aren't slap bang in the middle. I had a little play and changed the units of measurement and also adjusted 'low' warnings etc. these are very cool bits of kit 8) :


Finally for this week I fitted my Laranca quick release steering boss. I had previously bought a cheaper one on eBay thinking it was the product of a more expensive brand but it proved to be utter toss so I have replaced it with this. Tis rock 'ard!



In 2 weeks time is the first roll out and shake down so fingers crossed it all goes well! :)
  E30 318iS x2
Thanks for the comments guys. Has been a while since I have updated this again so here it is.

March time the car was ready to rock and roll and I did three airfield track days with Motorsport Events at Keevil airfield. Nice and cheap, £99 a time was the perfect place to shake the car down, find any issues and bed the engine in. All 3 were very successful, a few small teething problems came up as always with a new build car but all was well. Some pictures:





I've been bored at work so been sorting out my battery charger, put an Anderson plug on it and also made a jump battery/tyre inflator box:


I borrowed the scales from the race team I worked for and weight the car with my Team Dynamics 1.2 rims with 195/55/15 Dunlop Direzza 02G tyres. Quite happy with the weight. There's still a few places I can lose a couple of KG so will have a look at that at some point. The car wasn't on a flat patch hence why the corner weights aren't right.


New tyres in the shape of Dunlop DZ03:


And I've mounted my lap timer in one of my dash vents:




Got some number boards (aka a square of white vinyl) and put them on a long with my number 62. Also changed the 'POLAR' sponsor logo for a larger one in white so it stands out more:


Fitted a t-piece and dry brake to the fuel system so I can pump the fuel tank out. This enables me to work out fuel usage over a lap, session etc. plus it allows me to only run the fuel I need for a race rather than having to 'guess' how much is in the tank and how much to add:



I bought a BBTB and fitted that up, remains to be seen if there is any noticeable performance increase but every little helps. After I ran it to check it all worked ok I noticed the alternator belt was slipping. Went to adjust it but the teeth on the adjuster were toast so swapped it for a new one and all is good under the hood 8)


A couple of weeks ago I was at Castle Combe. The sun shone which was lucky as I was running on my free set of worn Dunlops. The fronts just about lasted the day but one had a giant flat spot on it and that started to effect the performance quite early on. Regardless it was good to finally drive the car on a proper circuit, even if it is one as beaten up and bumpy as Castle Combe. Had an issue with fuel pump relays for some reason which caused a bit of a faf half way through the day but that is hopefully sorted now. I had the passenger seat fitted, was my 'old' Cobra Suzuka Pro so I was able to take the family and mrs out for a ride which they enjoyed. Time for some pictures, thought'd I'd take this as a chance to upload some pictures of when I first bought the car coming up on 8 years ago:




....And some pics of the race car and the road car together:






I was supposed to have raced at Silverstone with the Pre 93 Touring car championship in June. All was well and ready to go, then I ended up with a job at Lotus F1 and had to go to the Canadian Grand Prix the same weekend I was supposed to be racing. Hopefully I'll be able to find some time to race next year. Will probably see this year out with another track day so I've had some use out of the car :cool:
  E30 318iS x2
Just had a couple of pics through from a chap who was there on the day from Rymer Automotive Photography




  182cup & 172 racecar
Rich, Track Attack who run our tricolore trophy series, are also doing one for german cars.
Just s thought.
  E30 318iS x2
Tis going well thanks guys. Pre 93 touring cars is the aim, got a few mates who do it in BMW's and other cars. Just need the time!

Seeing as I now have both steeds in the garage together, I took it as a good opportunity to compare the engines and try and get to the bottom of why when my cam sensor is plugged in, the engine won't run.


The theory I had which was that the cam sprockets with the 'trigger lug' for the cam sensor, were fitted wrong previously, was about the only logical explanation. So I pulled the cam covers off both and put cylinder 1 to TDC on both and compared:

Race car:


Road car:


Spot the difference? The cam sprocket on the race engine is 180degrees out, so when turning over, the ECU is firing the injectors at the wrong time hence why it won't run. This must have happened before I bought the engine, as it didn't run the first time I fitted it, I then had it rebuilt and the engine builder rebuilt it as it came apart. He wasn't to know that these were wrong. So now that has been identified I have booked him in for a couple of weeks time and we are going to rectify it :thumb:

Lastly, my harnesses had different dates on the lap straps to the wrest of the straps. Seeing as I need them to be in date I spoke to TRS and they sent me a pair of new straps which match the dates on the rest of the straps FOC. Good service from them :thumb:

  172 race build
Come on rich you better have some time for a track day over the winter so that I can battle u in my Clio

Didn't realise your thread was also on here
  E30 318iS x2
Yeah Tony the straps were wrong out of the box. I only noticed it when refitting them with the new seat. Had a bit of a moment thinking 'Jesus these were £200 and I only bought them 2 years ago'. TRS did like I say send me a new pair no fuss at all.

Dave I doubt it mate, although I would love to, and need to really. I have a 4.45 LSD to try out instead of the 4.1 I currently have fitted. Just won't have the time.
  E30 318iS x2
Cannot believe how much time flies! More updates including actually racing it!

The car has laid dormant under a cover since last year. A rare spare weekend has come up between my work and I have put an entry in for a CTCRC Pre 93 race at Donington on the 6/7th of June!

A couple of small jobs were required on the car. I fitted some switches to my dash. Only two of them are wired up at the moment. One powers the rad fan manual over ride and the other for my heater/demister. I also rewired my gauges as well so they are on an ignition fed live as opposed to being connected directly to the battery feed. Wired the switches up to the light comes on when the switch is active:



The other requirement was to fit my transponder which is what tells race control and the timing which car is which. I've used the redundant screen wash pump ignition live to power that and mounted it at the front:



So after all this time my first race weekend has been and gone! What an experience. My prior experience with track driving has been a few flurries at Castle Combe (my local) and most airfield days because they were cheap and neigh on next door to my house. It feels great to have finally ventured out and driven a proper race track like Donington. I'd been for passenger laps before with a couple of the race teams I've worked with so I roughly knew which way to go.

Scrutineering: This was my first sort of worry. I knew I had built the car to regulation and it was just a matter of having a scrutineer cast their eye over the car and my safety equipment (helmet, boots, overalls, hans etc.). I had my fire extinguisher serviced before the event so that was all tip top and everything else was brand new so no drama's there. Dispite it being a lovely sunny day and the forecast for the Sunday was the same, I was asked to show them my 'rain light'. This can either be a single light in the centre or both standard fog lights. I am running the latter but for some reason they didn't work :cry: With little time a 'quick fix' was required but it got me through and I will have to investigate further at a later date.

Qualifying: I made sure I was 'fashionably late' for the assembly area so I was at the very back as we went out on track. This way I wouldn't be getting in any ones way early on and I could find my way round. The first few qualy laps were very steady. Just taking in the feel of the circuit and its characteristics. I set a time of 2:04:237 which put me 15th out of 21 on the grid. Happy days can't ask for any more or less than that!

Race 1: This didn't go to plan. On my way to the grid my brake pedal went very very long and any heavy pressure caused the rears to lock up. The fluid was quite old and I suspect may have boiled during the qualifying session. To ensure I didn't DNF (or worse DNS) my first race, I made the decision to just take it steady and get to the flag. This way I also get my first signature on my novice national B licence. The part of the grid I was on had a lot of novices but they had done races before. On the green flag lap I focused on getting the tyres warm and trying to get a feel for how I could use what little brakes I had. Queuing up on the grid and keeping an eye on the red lights waiting for them to go out. Out they go and off I went, 1st.........4th..... crap, find a gear any gear! 2nd! during that little curfuffle I naturally just want backwards and ended up right at the back. In all fairness I was happy with that what with the braking issue, I could properly keep out of every ones way. There was however one issue with that plan in the shape of a class E Honda CRX which was almost going slower than me, did he have the same issue?? Eventually he left such a wide gap I overtook him going into red gate corner. Other than that it was, as you can imagine, pretty boring affair. The positives to take were I had a practice at starting (ballsed it up), actually overtook some one and then when it came to the much more powerful cars blasting through to lap me, a bit of practice with dealing with traffic. Soon enough the chequered flag came out and I could breathe a sigh of relief! into the paddock and while the car was hot, a good thorough brake bleed and fluid flush to get the old crap and any air out!

Race 2: A much more enjoyable affair although I was nervous as anything whilst waiting to go to assembly. I had made a bit of a set up change in the shape of a few extra clicks on the dampers to stiffen the car up a little as it had been rather soft. Starting from near enough the back this time, I only had ground to gain over the cars in front. Green flag lap this time was more vigorous getting the temperature into the brakes and tyres. Queued up on the grid again watching the lights *don't put it in 4th, don't put it in 4th*. Lights out....1st......4th.....b****cks....2nd.... ah I'm at the back again :roll: . Never mind push on. By the time we got to Red gate I was back with the pack and made up a place as we exited and made our way down the Craner Curves. closely following a VW Scirocco and passing him on the back straight on the opening lap still. After him was the Honda CRX and an Alfa Romeo having a tussle which I caught up to about half a lap later. The pair were being very feisty shall we say and I didn't want to get caught up in any silliness. Sure enough though a lap later, the Honda put a wheel on the grass which fired him sideways across the front of me. As he did he also clipped the back of the Alfa causing him to go into the grass too. I slowed to avoid collection either of them and made my way through the gap to take both their places. With that one car remained in near distant view. A Rover P6 3.5L. Me and him had been on the same row of the grid for race one but he had a gearbox issue so didn't make the race. 2 laps later I was behind him and going on the attack! His 3.5L engine certainly had the legs on the straight but it was woefully bad in the corners and this is where I made up my time on him. For the last 3 or so laps of the race we had a fantastic battle. My car nimble in the corners but his car having the grunt certainly made for an exciting end to the race for us. I made a mistake coming out of the hairpin on the Melbourne loop and caused the rear end to get very snappy, this enabled him to get past me and it was up to me to chase him down. We spent most of that lap side by side. It all came down the the finally corner, he was in front and it in all honesty was his place. He went super defensive into the final hairpin and locked his brakes, in doing so he over shot the corner and went onto the grass leaving me to keep it clean and claim the place back right before the flag. Afterwards in Parc Ferme we had a great chat an the two guys who had the earlier contact came over and were talking about the race too.

Sum up: to round up quickly I had an amazing weekend. It started a little stressful I must admit but by the end I just wanted to get back in and go again. My track day experience is fairly limited as mentioned above however I cannot ever see a track day fulfilling the same feeling that the racing did. Sure it's expensive to get started in and the track time is substantially less in comparison, but there is nothing like being able to race other people. It sounds strange but it took a bit of time to sink in that 'oh I can overtake this person and hound them for a position', as opposed to the track day rules of only over take on one side and with consent etc.

For now some photo's which my dear mother took:








Had a little post Donington/pre Brands Hatch prep day yesterday. I had bought a few bits and bobs to put on the car this last week. First is a Direnza aluminium radiator. It has a slightly thicker core so will hopefully take more heat away from the engine and keep those oil temperatures in check as a result.




At Donington I forgot to ask any one to put my lap timer beacon on the pit wall, net result is I wasn't able to get my lap times on my OTTO lap timer. This wasn't the end of the world as it was more about just getting into the swing of things but the info would have been nice. 'Back in the day' when I used to look after cars in Kumho BMW Championship all of them used Race Technology DL1 data loggers with a Dash 3 display. The DL1 uses a GPS sensor to map the circuit and give you your lap times based on this. You can set markers and do quite a lot of stuff with it which I have yet to sit down and properly look at. So the bonus of this is my lap times will be displayed without having to place (and potentially forget) a beacon on the pit wall and the data is recorded so it can be analysed after the session. One of the chaps who I used to do some bits for in that championship did me a bit of a deal on his old DL1 Mk2 and Dash 3 full pairing so I had that off of him.

I'm going to mount the whole lot in the dash vents so I have removed them and will take it all to work and make it all fit in to fit when I get to Brands Hatch. I have fitted the GPS sensor and wired the basic power in so all I need to do is plug it in.



Finally for this time, many of you said I would need it when I fitted my bonnet originally and after the weekend I decided it probably was a good idea, to fit an Aerocatch to the centre of the bonnet. It wasn't lifting too badly but it was starting to flap a little bit on the long straights. I had one which was my emergency spare as I've seen them snapped and broken quite a few times by people being rough with them or in a collision.

I took a bit of time getting it lined up with the badge and trying to fine the best place for the pin. I used a pencil grinder to cut the hole out which made life much easier than previous efforts stitch drilling and filing due to lack of compressed air. I need to get some more arrows so they all match now and that'll be a good job done.


Brands Hatch CTCRC weekend is the 25th/26th. Myself and Mike Sheraton will be there representing the E30's

  E30 318iS x2
Was it the Clio? My mrs has it now with my number plate on. She goes that way to Gaydon from Towcester. I've got an orange 1 series now.
  E30 318iS x2
So, a couple of weekends ago saw my second outing in the old girl. I hadn’t previously considered doing this weekend due to being busy with work but I thought better of it and signed up.

Checking the weather all week leading up to the race the forecast was switching from fair and sunny, to torrential rain. This would change on a ‘bi-daily’ basis. When we arrived Friday it was hammering it down and very grim. The awning would be much appreciated this weekend that’s for sure!

Saturday came round and things were looking up. Clear skies, a bit on the windy side but… no rain! Bonus. Having never driven there before or in the wet I was keen that there was at least one dry session or day for me to get the hang of the circuit.

Qualifying: As with Donington it was a case of going out there and finding my way round. As we were on the short Indy circuit and we had 15 minutes, there was plenty of time to get the laps in. My goal was to do a sub 1 minute lap time which is what I remembered the class D Kumho cars doing round there. I got up to speed with it fairly quickly and my best time was a 59.553. Target achieved. Quick PBMW guys are doing low 59’s/high 58’s and the 325i E30 in my class did a 56.677 so I am still a way of but it’s all about seat time, which I have little of thus far. But 16th on the grid of 25 wasn’t half bad plus this put me 3rd in class.

Race 1: I was pretty nervous about this. Paddock is a daunting corner on it’s own without piling into it with a gaggle of other cars. I had made some adjustments to the suspension to stiffen the car and also lower the rear ride height in a bid to help my performance. I had a bit too much wheel spin off the start but I managed to go from 1st gear to 2nd gear this time so that was a positive as far as I was concerned. 16th is on the outside of the grid and this put me on the outside for Paddock Hill and Druids, not ideal. I lost a couple of places off the start but kept on the back of the cars that passed me and I set to work on getting the places back. I was racing a couple of VW’s and it was interesting to see which cars were stronger in which areas of the circuit. I overtook a black Golf GTi which was in my class going into Paddock Hill, not some where I was expecting to duck down the inside of some one at, but it stuck and that place was mine. Next up was a Scirocco, which was again in my class (D). I kept getting a good run on him coming down from druids to Graham Hill then along the back straight to Clearways. I was so close to the back of him I wasn’t able to make a proper stab and carry my speed, as I had to use his braking points. I tried to sneak past with a lapping E30 M3 but I didn’t quite have the legs. I did eventually pass him going into Clearways and started to pull away. It was after this I had a bit of space and if I’m honest lost focus for a lap or two and had a couple of rubbish laps. It then dawned on me the car just ahead was another class D VW and I was catching him. I got my head down and set to get on him. Sadly the flag came out with a 2.370 second gap from him. Time I probably lost with my off laps and being stuck behind the Scirocco for too long. So I finished 3rd in class and 13th overall. Happy days. The ‘podium’ means all the more when there were 6 cars in the class. The car felt very good but it was apparent I set my cold pressures too high as they definitely went too high towards the end of the race effected my grip.


Race 2: Sunday came, it was raining. Lots. Crap. I set about making changes on the car and preparing for going out in the wet. Fog-ex and Rain-ex on the windows. Blank the brake ducts. Soften off all the suspension. Tape up any holes to stop water getting in. Tyre pressures. I only have one set of tyres; Dunlop 03G and these are a cut slick, not a wet weather tyre by any stretch of the imagination. Other people were changing to Toyo R1R and Uniroyal Rain sports. My goal for this was simply to get the experience of racing in the wet and get to the end unscathed. We had 2 green flag laps before the start of the race. Weaving for tyre temperature was a bit of a waste of time but I gave it a go, the thing I gave most attention to was the brakes and making sure they had plenty of temperature in them. Time to start the race. The lights go out and I am wheel spinning my arse down the straight being overtaken by, well, nearly every one. I kept it tight into paddock and made the trip up to druids. Around druids I got on the power and with the slightest push on the pedal the rear and came around. All the steering lock in the world wasn't getting me back round and as I slid I was looking out the side window trying to avoid the cars, which were behind me. I reacted pretty well if I do say so myself. As the car got to 180 degress I wound the lock off to make sure I was facing straight up the hill and didn't veer left of right into the path of the cars, which were already starting to avoid me any way. They all went by and I turned myself back around and carried on my way. The rest of the race was just being safe and keeping out of every one else way. Get to the end; get my signature and job done. It is annoying to have lost the places and with them the points but I'd rather have my car in one piece. Here is a little video of the start and the moment. Notice my friend Mike in the other class D E30 having the same problem at the bottom of Paddock Hill:


Sum up: I am glad I made the effort to get to Brands. Saturday being dry was a bonus and I wish I could have had another stab at it in the dry on the Sunday but its all-good fun. Pembrey is the next round in August but I doubt I’ll be able to make it due to work. Snetterton is the one after that on the 19th/20th of September, which I will probably get myself entered for.

Some photos from race 1:

Paddock hill for the first time:


Chasing down:




On the hunt again:




On me tod:


Thanks for reading

:) :)