Category Archives: Races

M3- First Race

The boys are ready to race!

We had our first race last weekend with the M3 at the HMSA Spring race at Laguna Seca.

Let me first give a big shout out to Pall, Luis, and Kevin for coming down and cheering us on. It was great fun to meet them and talk about all things M3! And if you haven’t looked at Pall’s Flicker album yet- don’t miss it. He got some really great shots of the car.

This was my first time in the car and I always approach a new car with the idea of just getting comfortable with it, the controls, the feedback its giving me, and making sure everything is operating nominally.

Saturday morning was cool and damp. The track was dry, but off-line there were damp patches. I used the first few laps of the session to just get comfortable in the car and to build a little heat in the slicks. I also needed to scrub the mold release off their face.

My first race with the new M3. What a sweet car!

After a few laps I began to build up my speed. The gearbox in the car is pretty amazing. It is a Getrag 265 case with Samsonas innards. The cluster features straight cut gears and it has a dog ring so the clutch is not necessary once you are moving. I chose to use the clutch for now so as to not add another complication to my learning the car. Later I’ll work at shifting w/o the clutch. The gear throw is VERY short; just a flick of the wrist and you’re in the next gear. Really sweet.

The car felt very neutral and I kept having to push myself deeper into the corners before braking as they are much more effective than any of my other cars.

Saturday afternoon the rains came. It started just as I was sitting on pre-grid for the qualifying race with my 2002. By the time our race was over there were puddles starting to form on the track so I decided not to take the M3 out.

Sunday morning was sunny and warmer. I took the car out for the morning warm-up session. The second time in a new car is always better. I feel like I at least know more what to expect, plus I am more comfortable with the steering, pedals, and shifter. So I turned it up another notch.

As I began to push the car harder it began to show more of its personality. The first thing I noticed was a little bit of under steer on turn in. As I reached the apex and added power the car instantly neutralized and came off the corner like a freight train. There are in cockpit adjustments for the sway bars and brake bias. I will begin exploring those later. I have left them at the settings the previous owner recommended.

The engine in the car is great. It dogs below 4500, which you would expect. Once you reach 5500 it really comes alive and pulls hard up until the red line. I was choosing to shift at about 8000-8200. red line is marked on the tach at 8500.

I was gridded for the feature race in 4th behind 2 2018 Porsche GT3 Cup cars, and a 1990 Olds tube frame GTO car. How did we get 2 brand new GT3 Cup cars on the grid of a vintage race? Good question. I asked but never got a straight answer from HMSA. I’m guessing the reason was financial. There was also a 2012 GT3 Cup car in the field. He was gridded at the rear of our group because he didn’t have a qualifying time.

As the 2 GT3 Cup cars sailed off into the distance I chased the GTO car. I decided I would just follow him and keep him honest while I was still learning the car. My best lap was a 1:40, about 2 tenths quicker than the GTO’s best lap. A few laps into the race the other GT3 Cup car came forward and passed us both so I finished 5th overall, but 2nd in the ‘vintage’ class.

Old reliable slogs through the rain to a 2nd place finish in our qualifying race.

I also raced the Koepchen 2002 in Group 4. The car was just plain ripping all weekend long. We had the new Ivey engine in the car and it performed very well.

In Saturday’s qualifying race I had a great dice with Dennis Racine in his yellow Mini. I was finally able to pass him in Turn 11 on the last lap to finish 2nd.

In the feature race I was able to pass the lead Datsun 510 going through Turn 2. He missed a shift going into Turn 5 and I opened a lead on him that I was able to keep throughout the rest of the race.

My best lap was a 1:49.7. The best I have ever done in the 2002 at Laguna Seca.

NSU Fulfills a Dream, and Answers Questions

Looking a little like a Corvair, these cars have many similarities with their US cousins.

Along with BMWs and MBs my father’s dealership sold NSUs. So when I started racing he suggested I find the holy grail of NSUs, a 1200 TTS. I found one for sale in NJ and went with my friend Peter P. to collect it and bring it back to MN.

NSU was an old manufacturer. They began in the late 1800’s as a knitting machine manufacturer. Soon they became a bicycle manufacturer, and then in the early 1900’s began making cars and motorcycles.

After the war they continued making excellent motorcycles, winning races in Europe and setting many speed records at Bonneville. Their cars were small, but of high quality, and were also quite successful on track.

Their most successful model on the track and at hillclimbs was the TT and its successor the TTS. These cars came as 1,000 ccs and 1200 ccs, and were named for the race where NSU had had such success, the Isle of Man TT races.

Power comes from a 1,200 cc 4 cylinder, OH cam, air cooled motor derived from their motorcycle engines.

In the late 1960’s they developed a Wankle engined car called the Ro-80 that was a marvel. It was a beautiful design, but the engine proved unreliable, and the warranty claims put the company in jeopardy.

VW/Audi took over the company in 1969 and the NSU brand disappeared.

I ran my TTS in a few auto crosses in the fall of 1969, setting several FTDs, and then raced it on the Ice in the IIRA series in 1969 through 1971. I never got a chance to race it on a track because I sold it and bought a Mazda RX2 to race in 1972.

The question of how well these cars go has always rattled around in the back of my empty skull, so I decided to take steps to find out before I was too old to care.

Here are some pictures of my latest acquisition. It is a 1970 1200 TTS. It has a OH cam 4 cylinder air cooled engine, sitting on a 4 speed transmission. And no, I will not be doing any bump drafting with that oil cooler hanging out there.

It has independent suspension all around. Up front are unequal length arms, with coil springs and a sway bar. In back are swing axels locate by trailing arms, with coil springs and shocks.

I found the car in the Netherlands, and it is on its way via ship to Seattle. No Baby Corvair jokes please.

Stay tuned to follow the adventures of this little Bad Boy!

E30 M3 Arrives

My new E30 M3 arrived on Friday February 2nd from Australia. It was loaded in a 20 ft. container and shipped up to Seattle, with stops in Aukland, Fiji, Honolulu, and Vancouver B.C.

Jim Froula, from Racecraft, met us at the shipping company’s office with a trailer. It was quite a thrill to walk back into the warehouse and find the car sitting there ready to go.

The car is beautiful! It is nicer and better prepared than we had imagined. Hats off to Eric Bowden and his crew.

My new E30 M3 sits in the Racecraft shop after we picked it up.

This car was raced in the Japanese Touring Car series from 1988 through 1993. It raced for 4 different teams during those years. Its most successful year was 1993 when it powered Anthony Reid to 3rd in the drivers’ championship.

In 1991 the car was raced by the Cherena Team in this striking blue and white livery.

Following its time in Japan the car went to Malaysia for a few years before coming back to Switzerland where it ran some hill climbs. It then sat for several years before going back to Australia where it underwent a complete restoration back to its 1993 red/white/blue Valvoline livery.

Here’s a link to the full back story of the car:

I am very excited to get the car on track. From the in-car videos I’ve seen of the previous owner racing the car down-under it looks to be fast and fun!

Weathertech Challenge 2017

In July we took the Chevron and Luigi to Road America for the 2017 edition of the Weathertec Challenge.

One of the highlights of this event is the race car parade and concours on Friday night in downtown Elkhart Lake. The folks really turn out for this event with the route lined 4-6 people deep all the way into town.

I accept the “Best in Class” award for Group H.

We entered Luigi and were rewarded with a win in Group H!

Unfortunately this was the highlight for Luigi as well. On the way to his qualifying race on Saturday he stripped his oil pump drive belt.

We had another one on the truck but Jim and Terry were worried about internal damage to the engine so we parked the car for the weekend.

Unfortunately Luigi had an engine problem that kept him from racing.

It is too bad because on time he qualified 14th in a grid of big block cars. It would have been fun to race him and see ho he did against the Corvettes, Camaros, and Mustangs.

The Chevron went very well. Was able to finish 7th in my group of sports racers with a best lap of 2:33 and change.

The Chevron did well against much more powerful cars.

The opening lap of my race was hairy! A couple of the GT-40s got together going into Turn 1. They hit the car in front of me, and the car behind me, but I managed to squeak through.

Here’s the video from the weekend.

Luigi Crosses the Bricks and Drinks Some Milk

The Holy Ground of American racing.

We made the trip back east to participate in  SVRA’s Brickyard Vintage Invitational held each year at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

This venue is steeped in history. They have been racing at the Brickyard for over 100 years. It is mind boggling to think about all the drivers who have raced there over the years, as well as all that has happened there.

It sends shivers down your spine the first time you drive off pre-grid, under the “Gasoline Alley” sign and out into the canyon of the main grandstand along the front straight.

The track we used was made up of the front straight and portions of the F1 course. The twisty bits are pretty tight and are separated by 2 long straights. It is just over 2 miles around.

We took the 1800 and Luigi. The 1800 raced in Group 3, and Luigi in Group 12A.

I spent the Thursday  practice sessions learning my way around the track. It isn’t hard, but to get a good time requires some precision. It is very easy to overdrive some of the corners and your lap time will suffer.

Friday had 2 qualifying sessions for each car. Because it was hot (91 degrees and 75% humidity), I chose to just run the morning session in each car. I didn’t think the lap times could be any faster in the heat of the afternoon.

There were several other series racing with the vintage cars during the weekend. The SCCA Trans-Am series was there, along with the Pro Spec Miata series. It was fun to have a close look at the cars and to watch them on track. The Trans_am cars can really haul the mail!

The 1800 suffered down the long straights and I was able to only qualify in 10th with a lap of 2:01.5. Luigi, on the other hand, loved hooking-up coming out of the corners and flying down the long straights. He qualified on pole with a 1:43.8, 2.5 seconds faster than the 911 of Tom Clark.

The feature races on Saturday were in the morning when it was a bit cooler. I managed to finish 12th in the 1800 after a race-long battle with Allen Goode in his TR4.

At the drop of the green flag Luigi surged away from the field and never looked back. I ran the entire race with out any issues and finished almost 20 seconds ahead of 2nd place.

An all BMW podium. Bill Glavin in 2nd, and Kevin Ruble in 3rd.

It was very special to stand on the top step at Indy and get to drink the milk and kiss the bricks.

Sunday morning I ran the 1800 in the 1 Hour Vintage Enduro. It was wet and already pretty hot when the race started at 8:00 AM. I only ran about half the race as I had 2 more races to run later in the day. It was fun racing on a wet track with some big-bore cars. I could have fun with them in the turns, but then they would leave me in the dust on the long straights.

The 2 feature races on Sunday went well. I had back-to-back races, with the 1800 out first. As with the Enduro I only ran a few laps before coming in and cooling down before jumping into Luigi.

Couldn’t do it without Mary’s support. Thank You!

Luigi’s Feature race went just like it did on Saturday. I surged ahead at the green flag and never was challenged.

2 wins at Indy for the old guy- Luigi not me. After 40 years he still knows how to get the job done!

These are the guys that make it happen- Erik, Terry, and Jim (L to R).

Here’s the link to the video from the weekend:

Brickyard Invitational 2017- Groups 3 & 12A Highlights

Inaugural Spring Classic @ Laguna Seca

This year SCRAMP started a new race with hopes to build it into a premier vintage race in the coming years. It features cars from the 1970’s through the 1990’s. There were groups for  F1 cars, Atlantic cars, and big block Trans-Am cars. However, the largest grid for this first event was the 2.5 Trans-Am Sedans.

Group E was made up of BMW 2002’s, Alfas, 510’s, a Mini, and several Porsches. 34 cars total!

I entered my #34 2002. This car has always been a race car. It taken off the truck at Hyde Park Motors and built into a race car. In fact, it was the first BMW to win points in a Trans-Am race at Riverside in 1968.

34 got to mix it up with many of the same cars he raced against back in the day.

There were some fast drivers and fast cars in our group, including Sam Smith in a 2002, and Troy Ermish in his always fast Datsun 510.

The racing was some of the best I’ve experienced for several years. I managed a 4th in the feature race, which was not too shabby given the quality of the field.

Here’s the video, I hope you enjoy the great tin-top racing:

SOVREN Spring Sprints

#34 ran well all weekend despite not having the best gear in the diff for this track.

I ran the #34 2002 at the SOVREN Spring Sprints held on April 28-30 at Pacific Raceway outside Seattle.

It was a fun weekend with lots of track time. I had some good racing with several other cars.

I should mention that this car has the old style long-neck differential in it. Because of that there are a limited number of diff ratios available for the car.

Seattle has a very long front straight and with the gear I had in the car I was hitting 8,000 RPM about 1/2 to 2/3 0f the way down the straight. So I had to feather the throttle and this was costing me about a second a lap.

Here’s the video from the weekend:

David Love Memorial Races 2017

Two classic 2002’s at the David Love Memorial Races 2017

Our 2017 season began with the David Love Memorial Races at Sonoma Raceway on March 31 – April 2, 2017 put on by CSRG. I brought my Koepchen 2002 to run in Group 8, and my Chevron B16 to run in Group 7.

It was a beautiful weekend, mid 70’s and lots of sun. Quite a change from our long, cold winter here in Oregon. With all the rain they have had in CA the hills around the race track were a bright green. A perfect setting for a weekend of racing.

The K2002 performed well all weekend.

Let’s start with the 2002. I was trying a new set of the Avon ZZS DOT radial tires this weekend. They are a little wider than the Toyos we normally run on this car (215 mm vs. 205 mm). I found I liked them a lot. They were very consistent through a run, and didn’t seem to be as affected by temperature as the Toyos.

I love driving this car at Sonoma. It is a track that suits the 2002 perfectly. As a result the car punches above its weight. By that I mean it can compete well against cars it normally would be easily beaten by. I was able to turn a 1:55.3 on Saturday morning during qualifying! That is a lap average of about 90 mph.

The car runs in Group 8 at CSRG events. This group is made up of sedans and sports cars from the mid 1960’s up to the mid 1970’s. There are GTO Corvettes, Camaro, Porsches (911’s & 914’s), and Datsuns (510’s and Z’s). Quite a mixed bag of cars.

David Martin gets his GTU Z car out of shape in front of me in Turn 7.

I qualified 10th out of 23 cars and began the race outside of David Martin’s GTU 240Z. I was able to get ahead of him at the start, but on lap 2 he tried to out brake me going into Turn 7 and got behind on his steering and I was able to repass him.

I held off David and 2 other Z cars for the next 6-7 laps until he was able to out brake me again for Turn 7 and get by. Then down in Turn 11 the other 2 Z’s snuck by me. I ended up finishing 10th with a best race lap of 1:56.4.

I chase a Lola T-70 through Turn 2 at the David Love Memorial Races.

I also entered my Chevron B16 this weekend. I am still trying to learn to get the most out of this car. It is quite different than my other production based cars. My biggest problem is that I don’t fit very well in the car so I am not comfortable and confident. I really struggle with consistent footwork on the pedals. Jim @ Racecraft will be doing some modifications to the pedals to try and help.

The car runs in Group 7 with CSRG. This group is made up of both closed and open wheeled cars. There are a lot of Formula Atlantic cars, some Can-Am cars, an mid-1980’s F1 car, and a few 2 liter sports racers in the group.

I started 10th and finished 9th in my race, with a best lap of 1:48.7. My goal was to log laps and work on feeling comfortable driving the car. My best guess is that I will be turning 1:45’s once I get more experience with it.

Here’s the video from the weekend. Thanks for watching!

2016 Season Recap- Part 4- The Hot Summer Months

A box among the Bats. My newly refurbished 1800 Ti got its first track test at the Northwest Historic in Seattle.

The mid part of our season consisted of races in Seattle and Portland, both events close to home.

The Northwest Historic put on by SOVREN are always a fun event. This year was no exception.

This weekend was especially fun in that I was able to track test my recently refurbished 1800 Ti. Terry Forland from Racecraft did a superb job of creating an homage to  proper mid-1960’s touring car. Here’s the short video I made of that test:

I had my trusty Koepchen 2002 at this event. The racing was very tight all weekend. I was in a large group of mixed production cars, sedans, and older sports racers. The grid of the race was mixed up because there was a rain shower for qualifying and some of the faster cars chose to start at the back of the field. Take a look at the video from the event:

The Portland Vintage Festival was the weekend following Seattle. I raced the 1800 Ti and my Chevron at this event.

The Chevron and I were still coming to terms. I was getting a much better feel for the car, but still needed to work on downshifts. I had a fun race with a Lola in the feature:

The race debut for the 1800 went really well. It ran flawlessly all weekend. I learned quite a bit about its idiosyncrasies and had a fun race with Steve Smith in his potent VW:

2016 Season Re-Cap- Part 3- Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival

brake issues we need to sort.
Luigi is still having some brake issues we need to sort.

Our next race was at the Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival put on by SVRA. Held each spring, it is a great event with lots of great cars, and big crowds of spectators. SVRA does a great job with this event. One of the highlights each year is the R&R party they put on on Saturday night.

At this event I raced the Willis Special and the Luigi CSL. Both cars ran well all weekend, and I was able to finish 7th with the Willis and 6th in the CSL with a best lap of 1:53.4.

John Murray and Ed Matuisha are two people we enjoy spending time with at the races.

I ran pretty much all alone in the Willis. The car slots in between the much faster F1 cars and the much slower cars in the group. One of the great things about this group is the sites and sounds and smells of all the old cars that run in this group.

My 1935 BMW 315/1, “The Willis Special,” in turn four.

The Willis is a very difficult car to drive. It is extremely loose in the rear end. This trait is particularly noticeable in the Carousel where the road drops constantly as you make the 180 degree turn.

In the CSL I had a great race long battle with Bill Lyon in his 914/6 Porsche. We have raced together many times and we always have fun, close racing. At some tracks he is quicker, and at some I am quicker.

Sonoma seems to favor my CSL because of the torque the car has. I am able to really pull Bill coming out of the slower corners.

Here’s the video from the weekend. Hope you enjoy it: