2015 Spring Nationals in my e36

My first visit to Lincoln, NE for the 2015 Spring Nationals.

This year I took my Project 325 BMW to Lincoln, NE for the 2015 Spring Nationals. This event happens every May and is a fantastic experience. The site at the Lincoln Air Park is the pinnacle for autocross! Long, fast courses make for very exciting and also very intense autocross action. While my co-driver and I had a good time and the BMW drove great, our results were less than stellar. There were a few other e36 BMW’s at the race along with ours. In addition, a mix of other cars including Subaru BRZ, Scion FRS, Mini Cooper, Mazda RX-8, and more could be found.

TMS shorty headers for my e36

New TMS shorty headers for my 1994 BMW 325is.

The winter season chugs along which means more off-season upgrades for my e36 BMW. Today I have an un-boxing video of my new TMS shorty headers. The headers are from Turner Motorsports who are well known for their quality products. Furthermore, they have their own racing program which translates to track tested products for their cars. The headers come with a ceramic coated finish which looks good while also reducing heat dissipation. In addition to my headers, I will also install a lightweight exhaust system. Together, these upgrades should yield some pretty decent power gains for the e36.

Sparco Sprint V Racing Seats

Sparco Sprint V racing seat, a great fit for my e36 BMW.

My latest video features a pretty nice upgrade for my 1994 e36 BMW. I picked up a set of lightly used Sparco Sprint V racing seats! The seats provide a nice and snug fit to keep the driver in place, while tossing the car around a race track. In addition, the seats are very lightweight, dropping nearly 40lbs per seat over the heavy stock seats. I bought these Sparco seats used from a fellow racer, which also came complete with the Sparco mounting brackets and hardware. They were pretty much a plug-and-play setup, quick and easy to bolt-in to the BMW.

e36 first autocross!

My BMW e36 first autocross event is here.

I have been spending the last few months getting my 1994 e36 BMW ready for racing. My e36 first autocross event was this past weekend at the Rocky Mountain BMW CCA autocross event #4! The car great and was very fun to drive. In addition, I came away with a surprisingly good result in my class. Right now, the e36 has all the basic suspension and component upgrades installed, the first step in getting the car race ready. The video below not only covers the car setup, but also some autocross race footage.

APEX ARC-8 wheels

APEX ARC-8 wheels are in for my e36 BMW.

APEX is well know for their high quality, and also lightweight racing wheels. In addition, they are a very popular wheel for BMW’s. Again, these APEX ARC-8 wheels are very light, coming in at just under 18lbs per wheel in the 17×9″ size. The lower weight helps reduce the rotating mass which enables the car to accelerate quicker. Furthermore, I can now fit larger sized tires on the 9″ wide wheel. The plan is to get 255/40/r17 tires for the car which should provide a big increase in available grip. The ARC-8 styling in the silver color should also look great on my 1994 BMW 325is!

1994 BMW 325is race car project!

My new project car has arrived, a 1994 BMW 325is.

It’s about time for an update and boy, do I have a good one today! 🙂 It has been a few months or so since I sold my last autocross and track car, the 1999 Mazda Miata. That car was outfitted with quite a few suspension goodies and was a blast to drive. However, after driving Miata’s for the past couple years, I felt like I needed a change. I wanted something with a fixed roof, was relatively lightweight, RWD,  and cheap. It also had to be a good platform for an autocross and track car. After much consideration, I decided to look for a e36 generation BMW. These cars meet all my requirements and on top of that, are hugely popular and have tons of aftermarket support.

The search was on and it took about 6 months of on and off craigslist hunting to find the car that met my requirements and was in my budget (<$2000). Finally, I found a 1994 BMW 325is with about 197k miles on it, for a mere $1700! The car is jet black with black interior and runs strong with a good shifting 5 speed manual transmission. It is in need of some cosmetic care and minor maintenance, but what 20 year old car isn’t? As for the future plans, I will be preparing the car for the STX class in SCCA autocross. Stay tuned as I plan to video log all my upgrades as well as racing activities on my YouTube channel, The BTR Garage.

1994 BMW 325is

2013 Rocky Mountain Match Tour

2013 Rocky Mountain Match Tour in my 1999 Mazda Miata.

The SCCA National Tour team came through town this weekend. Pikes Peak International Raceway is the venue for the 2013 Rocky Mountain Match Tour. The event proved to be a great success with its multiple race format weekend. Saturday consisted of a normal 4 run autocross event while Sunday was a bracket type shoot out.  32 drivers from Saturday qualified for the Evolution Super Shootout, which is on Sunday. In addition, a last chance qualifier would add another 16 drivers into the shootout. Lastly, 8 drivers would be drawn randomly and the top 8 ladies made up the final 16 driver bracket. My 1999 Mazda Miata performed well and I also had a decent run into the Sunday shoot out!

1999 Mazda Miata

This blue beauty is my 1999 Mazda Miata, 10th Anniversary Edition!

I bought a 1999 Mazda Miata to use for various racing activities. The Miata will be primarily for autocross but also HPDE or Time Trials events. This particular car is a 10th Anniversary Edition model which includes nearly every option available for the cars. This includes an LSD transmission and hard suspension. In addition, it has unique leather interior and styling. Furthermore, it has anti-roll bars and strut tower braces that complete the 10th Anniversary package. I am currently getting it race ready by getting some regular maintenance completed. This is one great looking Miata and I really look forward to getting it out for some autocross and track action!

Dinan exhaust BMW 335i

Dinan exhaust sounds from my 2009 BMW 335i.

Dinan is well know for their high quality performance parts for BMW’s. They produces various parts from engine upgrades to suspension upgrades. In addition, they also have engine tuning options which change the ECU variables for more power. This company is unique in the aftermarket world because their parts still support factory BMW warranty. My personal BMW 335i has a handful of Dinan upgrades including a stage 2 ECU flash and suspension. In addition, I have the Dinan axle-back exhaust as well as some cosmetic upgrades. The Dinan exhaust produces a unique sound for the turbo-charged 335i which can be heard in my startup video below!

BMW gloss black grills

A couple cosmetic upgrades for my BMW 335i including BMW gloss black grills.

I bought a couple more cosmetic parts for my BMW 335i just recently. A set of paint matched Alpine White front reflectors that replace the stock amber colored reflectors as well as some OEM BMW gloss black grills. The install of the reflectors was a bit tricky. You must peel the stock reflectors from their double sided tape on the inside of the fender. I ended up pulling off the wheel well splash guard to make things easier. In addition, I used a wood chisel to slowly pry them off. Be sure not to twist the blade when prying the reflectors off, because it will bubble the outside of the fender. The instructions (from JleviSW) say to use a flat head screw-driver but that will very easily damage the outside of the fender. In any case, take care when removing the stock reflectors.

The BMW performance gloss grills were a snap to install. Simply remove the 4 hex screws that hold the bumper on the top, reach behind the bumper, and pop off the snap tabs one by one until you can pull out the grill. Snap the new ones in then re-install the 4 screws and you are done.  A few pictures below and more notations on the picture site: