Noob looking for a place to race in the Chicago area

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ivprodigy
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Noob looking for a place to race in the Chicago area

Postby ivprodigy » Fri Jun 21, 2013 5:48 pm

I have been a BMW fanatic since I got my first '92 E36 318i.

I've been a fly on the wall of this forum for about two months after I found myself buying a track prepped '89 325i (gutted m20b25 with 285 cat cam, vac motorsport springs, and adjustable cam gear, DIYPNP Megasquirt 2, 17' Hoosier slicks, 6 point roll cage, eibach sports, GC camber plates, UUC swaybarians).

The engine is in pieces and I'm slowly working on putting it all together. It's a slow process but I hope to have it buttoned up (maybe even tuned) by mid July (that will likely get delayed by something unexpected like it usually does).

This leaves me with what to do with the car ones it's up and about.
After 15yrs of driving BMW's i've joined BMWCCA but I'm not sure that this will be the right place to track the car.
I'm a novice to racing so I thought I start slow.
I've considered SCCA even NASA, but I can't say what club would offer me the best opportunity to drive and learn.

Let me know what you think and any suggestions of where I can get started.
Oh, I'm in the Chicago land (west burbs)

Here's the car after I picked it up from Alabama:
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Yoshi
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Re: Noob looking for a place to race in the Chicago area

Postby Yoshi » Fri Jun 21, 2013 6:19 pm

Car looks nice! Personally, I have no allegiance to nasa or scca. Try both. see which you like. Seat time is seat time. Go for the one that gives you the most for your money.

welcome aboard!
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Re: Noob looking for a place to race in the Chicago area

Postby blasphemy101 » Fri Jun 21, 2013 6:55 pm

Looks like quite the start for a "noob!" Welcome!

I'm with Yoshi. I would recommend trying a couple of different clubs/organizations and just going with the one you have the most fun with. It's largely about getting the most seat time/bang for your buck. However, other things like safety, club members, etc. also play a factor. You might also find certain clubs frequent some tracks more than others.

While I'm not exactly a "track rat" I autocross pretty regularly. My favorite club generally runs at a location about 1.25 hrs from my house and runs big, open courses where keeping up speed and braking points are very important (a high power car doesn't hurt, either). Another club runs about 20-30 min. from my house, but they set up very tight, technical tracks that emphasize car control and light cars with sticky tires. My cars have a greater advantage on the latter's coursers, but I prefer the former club because I like their attitude and the way they run their events.
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Re: Noob looking for a place to race in the Chicago area

Postby ivprodigy » Sat Jun 22, 2013 1:30 am

Thank you guys.

I think I may be a bit over my head but when the opportunity presented itself I couldn't pass it up.
I am putting the bottom end together. I am waiting on some dowels for one of the piston rods to arrive at the dealer while contemplating using an eta crank and rods with the i pistons for a mild stroker but that's a different conversation.

I will probably go to some of the upcoming meets for BMWCCA, SCCA, and NASA and see where I'd be able to fit in best.
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Re: Noob looking for a place to race in the Chicago area

Postby ten2doyle102 » Sun Jun 23, 2013 2:09 am

I am sure that Tony will be a big help to you being that he is in the area. I know he races at Blackhawk with Midwest council which looks like a good time.

Nice first car! Looks mean!
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Re: Noob looking for a place to race in the Chicago area

Postby M20_fever » Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:17 pm

Welcome aboard! I highly recommend Midwestern Council, but I'm a bit biased since I'm a certified instructor with them :) . In all honestly though, I was in your same position a few years back, and MC was by far the most bang for the buck, and the friendliest group I ran with. I have friends who are instructors with BMWCCA, and they run some great ($$$) events, but the crowd wasn't a great fit for me personally. Nothing bad, just much older, much wealthier members who think any car over 5 years old is a pile, unless its a $50 2002 restoration or something. What burb are you in? My chapter is the North Suburban Sports Car Club (NSSCC), which happens to be the largest chapter in MCSCC. We run awesome events with tons of track time, on real race tracks, no cone courses (not that there's anything wrong with that ;) ). We offer full wheel to wheel, and High Speed Auto Cross (HSAX) which is my specialty. Feel free to PM me with any questions, or post them here.

Check out our sites:
http://www.mcscc.org/

http://www.nsscc.com/

and a taste of what we do (skip to 1:17):
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Midwestern Councel C Prepared class champion 2012
North Suburban Sports Car Club C Prepared class champion 2012
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Re: Noob looking for a place to race in the Chicago area

Postby ivprodigy » Tue Jul 09, 2013 2:05 am

Thank you for chiming in.

That video is fantastic. Its what I'm looking for (though wheel to wheel racing may be out of my depth - and my roll cage may need modifications to comply).

I live in Aurora, but I work in Hoffman Estates so the NW burbs are part of my daily routine.
Things have been hectic so I haven't had much time to spare but I hope that I'll get the engine in the car in the next 3-4 weeks. In the meantime, I'll look into the N&MCSCC. It looks like there was an event at the Autobahn last weekend. I've been there for other events and it was a great time.

At this point I took a detour on the engine building by getting the 2.7 lower end and I'm putting the e bottom with i head stroker. Having never dealt with E30's and M20's I'm cautiously optimistic.
I found some Mini Cooper wheels and tires to replace the slicks so that I can drive it to and from the track (to avoid spending $$$ on a trailer).
Since its an '89, the car will be 25 by the end of the year which should qualify it for an antique plate but I'm still debating on whether to register it normally in the meantime...
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Re: Noob looking for a place to race in the Chicago area

Postby M20_fever » Tue Jul 09, 2013 2:33 am

Best suggestion I can make is look at the GCR for either MCSCC or SCCA (very similar) and look at the points assessments for modifications. I can tell you already, if your car is gutted, and has a stroker and stand alone ems your probably going to be in at least a modified class if not a race class. Problem with that is you won't be competitive. I would sell the stroker parts, build a nice fresh balanced and blue printed 2.5l and manage the rest of your mods so you can stay in a prepared class where your car will be comparable to the competition. Your not going to gain much, if anything from slapping a 2.7 bottom with a 2.5 top end. A quick search here will explain why its not worth the investment or effort, and the points will kill you. The only "right" way to make a stroker is to use the 2.7 crank with 135mm and custom pistons ($$$). If your the type that is OK with not being competitive with any other cars in your class, go for it, but personally I thrive on competition and would hate not standing a chance even on my best days. If your going to be in a race class your only chance is boosting. Its my next move after shooting for the track record in my current class, and my math tells me I need to be making a minimum of 350whp to be in the championship points race.

That video isn't wheel to wheel, its the morning practice sessions for the HSAX, which is what I do. Afternoon timed runs are 1 lap on cold tires from a standing start. They space the cars out so you don't catch each other, so its just you and the car versus the track and the clock.
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Re: Noob looking for a place to race in the Chicago area

Postby Yoshi » Tue Jul 09, 2013 11:03 am

Personally, I dislike the 2.7 with the 2.5 top :)
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Re: Noob looking for a place to race in the Chicago area

Postby ivprodigy » Thu Jul 11, 2013 4:49 pm

Hmm,
I'm starting to have my doubts about the 2.7 too.
The piston rods I got with my 2.5 didn't inspire much confidence (they didn't appear to be a matching set) and I came across a complete 2.7 bottom end for $100 so I thought what the heck, everything is still in pieces, might as well make it bigger (and lower compression would lend itself to a mild turbo down the line).
Can one of you guys tell me the following:
I am using the 2.7 block with the eta crank and rods and want to use the 2.5i pistons.
Would getting a Cometic .040 head gasket (.030' thinner than stock) be a worth while investment?
Would it defeat the purpose of the lower compression the 2.7 stroker creates for FI down the road?

Thanks!
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Re: Noob looking for a place to race in the Chicago area

Postby M20_fever » Fri Jul 12, 2013 3:32 am

Cliff notes on why the 2.7i isn't worth it.

*2.7 rods are 130mm, even with a thinner HG the compression is going to be stupid low, like 7:x:1ish, which will be a dog off boost. Stock 'i' 8.8:1 is perfect for boost and still peppy NA.
*2.7 pistons are flat top, the combustion chamber of the 885 'i' head is domed to match 2.5 pistons, terrible combo in regards to squish and quench.
* 'i' and 'e' blocks are the same. The difference is in the late vs old model blocks. The crank bearings are different, but late bearings can be modified to work on early blocks.
*Power gains will be nominal at best, and even that will be ruined by the characteristics of power delivery due to the bad CR and rod ratio using 130mm rods and 84mm pistons with the 2.7 crank throw.
*To make it even somewhat worth it, you need stand alone EMS, and tuning will be a PITA.
*A fresh 100% stock 2.5 will out run a franken 2.7 any day, period, and be more reliable. People have run 22+psi through 200k stock 2.5s making 400+whp, these engines are damn near indestructible until you get into the insane power levels.
*It will be far quicker to rebuild to stock than hack a 2.7i together only to be disappointed.
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Re: Noob looking for a place to race in the Chicago area

Postby Nsquared97 » Fri Jul 12, 2013 4:51 am

So, why not just a complete 2.5 'i' motor with an eta crank? Or would that smash pistons into the head?
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Re: Noob looking for a place to race in the Chicago area

Postby M20_fever » Fri Jul 12, 2013 5:18 pm

Yeah, you either need shorter rods which is not ideal, or custom pistons with the wrist pins moved up accordingly so you can use 135mm rods.
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Re: Noob looking for a place to race in the Chicago area

Postby blasphemy101 » Fri Jul 12, 2013 5:35 pm

Tony is hitting the nail on the head. I was originally going to build a 2.7 stroker, but stuck with my 2.5i motor for boost. I can't imagine having less power off boost.

You might be able to see a slightly broader power curve from a 2.7 stroker on a dyno, but you won't feel it. At least from what I've found with virtual dyno, the 2.5 already has a pretty nice powerband. If you decide to go turbo, the 2.5 is more than adequate and will be on par or outperform a 2.7 frankenmotor at the same amount of boost. It should make enough extra power to make up for a (debatable) smaller power band.

I'm pretty convinced that the motor to build off of is a M52, but that's probably out of the question for classing reasons.
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Re: Noob looking for a place to race in the Chicago area

Postby M20_fever » Fri Jul 12, 2013 6:17 pm

Engine swap = direct ticket to unlimited race class. Have fun trying to keep up with those guys with less than about 550whp, lol.
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