Getting Into Racing, ?.?

Autox, road racing, etc
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Ryki
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Getting Into Racing, ?.?

Postby Ryki » Fri Jun 14, 2013 8:22 am

So, I've now got myself a clean E30 and all the maintenance is done on it and I have 3 spare sets of rims and another 3 sets of street tires piled up and I would like to get into things. I've spoken with Tony and gotten some insight into things but I figured I would get everyone's input.

Such far I'm not changing anything and starting bottom of the barrel. Figured I would upgrade things as parts wear out or class allows it. From my discussions with Tony I would think breaks and a good set of tires would be first. What would you say to other things to get in increasing order of helpfulness? What upgrades have y'all liked and which didn't help as much? Hoping to get as much info as I could.

This leads into wondering how you got into the scene? How did you find your club? What did you fins good or bad about it and what kind of advice would you give a new member joining yours? I know I'm going to be in a different situation being in Germany but advice is advice : )

Other thoughts that I have planned would be to acquire a project car to work on, hopefully an M3. If something doesn't work out I definitely have the money saved for a s50b32 setup. I have also bought books for force I abduction and I'd like to try my hand at a turbo build but with a slow windup, a lot of research and plenty of preparation and smart buying. Those of you that have done turbo builds would be more than welcome to put your two cents in. I'd like to turbo my M42 now if I can figure out what would be usable down the road if I wanted to do it to a M20 instead (turbo, intercooler etc.) So thoughts on that would be wonderful!

Thanks to anyone that chimes in and gives what advice or help they can! Here's to hoping I can at least out my toes in the water by going to some events this summer, if only to watch : )
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Re: Getting Into Racing, ?.?

Postby Ryki » Fri Jun 14, 2013 8:32 am

Oh, and would more than the basic maintenance be worth it? Say replacing bushings (sub frame, motor, steering, sways etc.), replace seals in the engine to prevent any leaks (got some oil weep age) so maybe pull it and do a rebuild (valve adjustment and such) and maybe some CV boots and drive belts (chain aligner was done but not much else.
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Re: Getting Into Racing, ?.?

Postby Yoshi » Fri Jun 14, 2013 11:04 am

So much to type...

First, if your car isn't consistent, you can't be consistent. So things like bushings should be checked and everything should at least be at factory level. EG the rear subframe bushings like to die out. Usually on one side. So the car won't react left to right. I would check bushings first and go from there.

Second, I prefer to sandbag new drivers. Make the car have low limits but also be difficult to drive well. Low limits like shoddy tires where they slip at a moment's notice. This makes it difficult to hug the line of traction on your tires. But, it's very easy for you to dabble around those limits while in safe speeds. That way, you can learn what it feels like when your front tires are ABOUT to understeer and you can adjust accordingly. THEN when you get stickier/wider tires, you can more easily find those tires limits of grip. If you learn the hard way, it'll be much easier when it's easy. A good car can mask a bad driver. A bad driver in a bad car is obvious. A good driver in a bad car is obvious.

For car setup progression, I agree with Tony. Brakes brakes brakes, and nothing will shave times off your laps like a good pair of tires. Although the good pair of tires goes against my last paragraph. IMO trade sets out at the track and literally feel the difference between them yourself. From there, fix stuff as it breaks or it needs it. A bucket seat is a good investment so you don't have to hold yourself in around corners. I'm used to having to work the clutch while in a corner so a seat helps. You shouldn't really NEED that as it's bad racing juju to shift in a corner... but it helps A LOT.

When it comes to a suspension, either go J-stock or full coilover. HR race/sport/whatever won't cut the mustard. They are all street suspensions as far as I'm concerned. J-stock is what gruppe N used to run but with a progressive rate in the front to make the car more cushy for street driving while maintaining track awesomeness. BUT, I prefer coils as you can hot swap springs at a moment's notice.

After that, it's personal preference. Most people go bigger sway bar. Here are my thoughts on that: http://www.slidewaysonline.com/?q=node/46 You will probably also need to stay in class rules so that should easily dictate what next mods will be. They are usually that simple.

How I got into it. Ironically, I hated cars. I had to work on my 85 325e because I was poor. Got it for $5 from my dad's friend (my dad owed him beer). Had to replace the CSB, and a few other things. Had a few friends that were into cars so I just hung out with them. They poked me one night for a late night drive and I was pretty late teen angsty so I went. Rolled the car. A few weeks later they showed me some drift videos and told me they found some local events to go to. The sentra I bought as a replacement wouldn't work so I bought another 89 325i (current drift car) and went from there. First tire on track was like crack. I've never been a speed person so drifting fit me well. I can test myself based on my control and not my times. But I understand that control == better times, meh. I like fucking around in a parking lot for my jollies.

/life's story
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Re: Getting Into Racing, ?.?

Postby blasphemy101 » Fri Jun 14, 2013 5:28 pm

I can't wait to get to this thread later today. Too much to type for work.
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Re: Getting Into Racing, ?.?

Postby Nsquared97 » Fri Jun 14, 2013 9:39 pm

blasphemy101 wrote:I can't wait to get to this thread later today. Too much to type for work.

Haha this.
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Re: Getting Into Racing, ?.?

Postby M20_fever » Sat Jun 15, 2013 6:30 am

I've been a gear head since before I could walk. I grew with my parents owning cars like Corvettes, Camaros, 240z, Fiat X19, Scirraco, etc...I started drag racing, but going fast in general was all I ever wanted to do. I always owned muscle cars except for my Wrangler, until I bought the e30 as an economical way to get to work. I instantly fell in love with the car, and started modding it. A guy I worked with at the time was a member of Midwestern Counsel and invited me to their free racing school. Like Yoshi, it took one lap of track touring and I was hooked like crack.
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Re: Getting Into Racing, ?.?

Postby Ryki » Sat Jun 15, 2013 8:01 am

Well thank you Yoshi, I understand what you're saying about the tires and its probably a good thing that I'm starting with a M42 and not something crazy. I'll probably figure out which rims are lightest and get a good set for them but for now it seems my tire collection will be good for learning. Definitely need to get her up on a lift and reinspect all the bushings as well as the pads and rotors and make a replacement list. Y'all recommended stock rotors and how were those new pads y'all tried? I can get OEM for dirt cheap here but I'd like some good pads.

I can't wait to get to this thread later today. Too much to type for work.

Heh, I always forget the time difference but t I'm sure you and Nick have some input worthy of waiting for :D

As for Tony, I actually come from the same kind of background. My dad did street racing and drag racing, even made it semi pro on motorcycles that he made. I still have my 70 Javelin SST with its tiny 304 and 3 speed auto but I love her. I am actually glad my Jetta broke as I wouldn't of had a reason to go to the lemon lot to find a car and find such an amazing example of a clean E30 and start a passion for BMW. I know we've spoken but if you'd like to add to here for anyone that may be where I'm at I would appreciate it :3

Man I'm excited to race but its a little daunting with the culture and language barrier. Though, I don't think it'll be rough since Germans do love their BMWs : )
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Re: Getting Into Racing, ?.?

Postby Yoshi » Sat Jun 15, 2013 12:33 pm

I wish I was born into it. I started driving hard when I was like 19 or 20. By then, learning anything was so much harder than if I had started at 15 or younger. Even go karts. blah.

I haven't found pads I like so I can't give advice. I think stoptech was on the list of ones I wanted to try based on another thread.
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Re: Getting Into Racing, ?.?

Postby M20_fever » Sat Jun 15, 2013 9:12 pm

I'll be trying the stoptechs, but for your purpose the HP+ is going to be a great pad both on the track and the street.
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Re: Getting Into Racing, ?.?

Postby Nsquared97 » Sun Jun 16, 2013 6:32 am

Alright, sorry it took me a it longer to get back on this, don't really have internet at my new place yet. Anyway, here's how I got into autoX, cars, motorsports etc;

My dad has been autoXing since before I was born. Growing up, it seemed every other weekend we were down in Indiana, across the state, or wherever the race was. I was always his little helper, pit crew, etc. Both at events, and in the garage. I still remember sitting in his racecar, barely able to reach the pedals, helping him bleed brakes (sat in the same car today, and my legs don't fit well enough to actually race it now lol). For perspective, my dad is a 2 time national champ, I went to nationals with him for 2 years when I was in middle school. Such an awesome event, 1200+ drivers, all at the very top edge of the sport. I did a couple events in his Miata once I got my permit, and then started doing events in my own cars once I got my liscense. So you could say I was kinda born into it haha, been hooked ever since I could remember. It's a bit nostalgic now over the last year or so, I was away from home for school for a couple years, and now I am going and doing events as a driver myself at places I used to go to all the time helping my dad, but haven't been to in 5+ years.

Anyway, as far as what I would recommend for you, a lot of what both Tony and Yoshi said. I do have to ask, what are you looking at getting into, road racing, autoX (I believe referred to as autoslalom over there), etc etc? As far as autoX goes, if the car is safe to drive on the street and will make it a couple hundred miles, you're fine. Road racing I would definitely hold to a much higher standard as far as safety of the vehicle goes, speeds are just that much higher. Brakes are definitely important. I can't speak from experience, but I doubt OEM would stand up to track abuse. No idea what you have for selection over there, but like Tony mentioned HP+ are good. DON'T GET HPS!!! lol.

But definitely start small. Cheapish tires, don't worry about the car aside from making it safe to run. refreshing suspension components is never a bad idea, but that's something I would upgrade as you go, which is exactly how I am doing it. Once you get better, what you want to do class wise will really be the determining factor for what mods you do, unless you just want to mod the car how you like it and not worry about being competitive. Tires will make a huge difference, but stay away from slicks for a while, that ties in with what Yoshi said, slicks can mask bad driving habits. Modern street tires are really becoming very, very good. I have heard from multiple people they (the extreme performance summer category as Tire Rack calls them) are as grippy as slicks from 10 years ago were, but they wear good enough to be use-able on the street. After tires, you are going to want to do something to make the suspension stiffer, E30's are very soft stock. Just adding a big front swaybar made a huge difference for my car. It is pretty generally accepted that springs/shocks are a better way to control body motion than huge sway bars, but again that came down to class restrictions for me.

Lastly, let's focus on YOU. Best mod you can do to any car is to tighten down the loose nut behind the wheel haha. I can't say what it will be like at the events you'll be at as i don't know the culture, but ask for help if you can. Have people ride along, ride with them, and if possible, and if you trust them enough, have them drive your car while you ride along. Ask lots of questions, just try not to be too annoying lol. Usually people are very willing to help someone out who is enthusiastic and new to the sport. Just be open to criticism, and don't be like most guys who think they have an incredible God given gift behind the wheel. Also, one big thing about learning/advice, etc. You will find lots of people that will be more than happy to tell you exactly how to drive, setup your car, whether or not you want to hear it. Seek out the guys that are actually fast, talk to them, and disregard the other BS from people who are always at the back of the pack. A great example of this was the last event I was at, a bunch of us were BS'ing around after the event was done. A couple of guys were questioning why I took the line I did at one point, when one of them was like "Well, he did beat all of us, so aparently it worked!" And some of them were in faster cars ;) I usually try to be fairly modest as I know I'm not anything spectacular, but I do love when others point out the obvious for me lol.

One last tidbit, practice on the street. And NO, I do NOT mean go all Fast and Furious on the autobahn. But, there are plenty of things you can practice and good habits to get into. Namely being smooth with every input, make it instinctive. Practice heel-toeing, double clutching, rev-matching, and becoming proficient enough that it will actually help (in other words, that it will make you smoother and keep the car better planted when on the track). Especially steering, people develope bad habbits in day to day driving that bleed over when they hit an event. I rode with a guy this year that did most of the course with one hand on the wheel, the other on the shifter, at least until I yelled at him for it. 2 hands on the wheel 10/2-9/3ish, depending on what's comfortable, don't hook your thumbs around the spokes/the backside of the rim, you can break them if you get in an accident and the wheel is jerked violently. Try not to grip the wheel with a death grip, and keep in mind fingertips are more sensitive, thus pick up more info the steering is trying to tell you. Also practice anticipating corners and moving your hands on the wheel, especially with how long of a ratio stock E30 steering has. Basically, if you have an intersection coming up and you're turning right, move your hands to the left side of the wheel, so that when you are in the middle of the corner they are at the top of the wheel or past it a little bit, otherwise if you just tried to turn the wheel without moving your hands they would end up on the bottom of the wheel, which isn't ideal.

Sorry for the novel, but there is a reason I didn't want to type this on my phone haha. Oh and I forgot, biggest thing: HAVE FUN! Seriously, just stop if it isn't. Believe me, I am a very competitive person, but always keep that in the back of your mind. If you start to take it so seriously you lose the joy, you will burn yourself out and lose all interest in it.
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Re: Getting Into Racing, ?.?

Postby Yoshi » Sun Jun 16, 2013 1:23 pm

double clutching? <_<
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Re: Getting Into Racing, ?.?

Postby Nsquared97 » Sun Jun 16, 2013 9:56 pm

Idk, it's fun and a lot easier on the Synchro's. For what I do if I ever really need to get into first (pretty rare) it's about the only way my car will let me do it.
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Re: Getting Into Racing, ?.?

Postby M20_fever » Mon Jun 17, 2013 3:23 am

Great advice. Double clutching is kind of needless unless your running a real race transmission with straight cut gears. Generally rev matching is what you want to focus on. Heel/toe is also difficult to do on the street since you really need to stand on the brakes in an e30 to get the real feel for it. Another bit of advice, get all of your breaking done BEFORE the corner. Trail braking is something that should be left to experienced drivers in cars they know like the back of their hand. Not all cars take well to trail braking, and an inexperienced driver will become a passenger real quick if it goes badly. Like Nick said, smooth = fast, so don't try going fast, try being smooth and the speed will come naturally. When people try to drive fast, they end up going slow if that makes sense.
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Re: Getting Into Racing, ?.?

Postby ten2doyle102 » Mon Jun 17, 2013 7:25 pm

So much awesome information in this thread for someone who's just starting out. Like most have said and many will continue to say, you need to focus on yourself before you really start messing with the car too much. Simply getting some seat time will teach you how to just drive in general giving you more return than any other mod could do. I kind of wish I would have started out with a bare bones stock car when I began playing in the autox scene. My first e30 was all done up but I could never compete with it. I wasnt fast. Nowadays I think it would be different, but then it was just frustrating.

What I suggest is just take it as is (assuming the major suspension components have been checked out) and get some wheel time. I would also recommend having someone right with you for your first run. Or, perhaps just go out the events and ask for a ride along. Most drivers don't mind giving ride alongs so ask away!

Lastly, if you do do anything to the car, tires first, then brake pads, then coilovers and sways.

I got into racing just cause I like going fast. Lol. No one in my family is into it at all and none of them have a clue what a car can really do. I put my moms husband into the red car once and took him for a spin once...that was epic. Lol. I eventually found my local fvscc group and the rest is history. One event and I was hooked!
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Re: Getting Into Racing, ?.?

Postby Ryki » Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:19 am

Well I had a few pages typed out in response to everyone's post and not once but twice my computer decided it would restart on me This would be a third attempt but a crying baby has now taken my attention. Thank you to everyone that posted, gave me insight into how they got into things and shared all that wonderful advice that makes this community great.
Nick thank you for thinking of things I can do in my daily driving and get an idea on how my first steps should be taken.
Tony thanks for your award winning input (get it, cause you win races :D) and I'll make sure to go at things the right way, slow and proper with plenty of research and question asking.
No worries about getting into it late Yoshi, all my experience is with drag racing with a father who's terrible to deal with. I haven't really gotten into cars until recently and I can actually blame a steady income and my first E30 for that :D
Mr. Doyle, I'll definitely be looking forward to some wheel time after I can replace some seals and bushings and know what I'm getting into. I plan making a budget and doing my research into each component before it breaks so I can ask for input and be ready when it does : )

Thanks again everyone and I can't wait to get some wheel time in. Maybe I'll buy a camera and start a post for the newbie racer? : ) May also allow me to do more write-ups since I'll be breaking things at a faster pace hehe.

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