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.
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.
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.
First car is the M3 race car I bought a few weeks ago. It has been loaded into a container and onto a ship. That ship left Australia on January 9th headed for Seattle. It should arrive sometime in early February.
The Willis and all its extras left Racecraft’s shop yesterday morning. It will head south to Arizona where it will be photographed for the Bonham’s Auction catalog for their Amelia Island Auction that is happening on March 8th. Here’s a link to the auction site.
The Willis is not yet listed among the Lots on offer but should be soon:
Last but not least, my Hyde Park Motors Trans-Am 2002 is headed back to the BMWCCA Foundation museum in Greer, SC where it will be a part of the display honoring the 50th Anniversary of the 2002.
I spent a couple of days cleaning him all up. I then took him up to Portland to meet the same truck that is hauling the Willis.
The car will be on display starting in March through January. He will get a well deserved rest for this summer.
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.
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.
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 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.
The car was spectacular, and had the exceptional history that I prefer. The price was well below a comparable DTM car, so I made the purchase.
Here’s a brief synopsis of the history of M3 1/60
In 1987 BMW produced what is the most successful racing / touring car of its type – the M3. During its 5-year reign it achieved 1436 victories and continued to dominate well after 1992, winning races in the Group A’s events in Europe, Japan and Australia.
In all 260 cars were produced in Touring Car trim, which could race in Group A, DTM and Group N. An additional 40 – 50 rally cars were also built.
The M3’s were built for the express purpose of winning the European Touring Car Championship (ETTC), but were rushed into production to challenge for the World Touring Car Championship (WTTC).
In the first race at Monza in 1987, M3’s filled the first 6 places but were later disqualified for running what was known as ‘cheater panels’.
The success made everyone sit up and take notice especially the Ford Motor Company who were campaigning some fast RS500 Sierras and were determined to win the WTCC.
The racing that year was close all season and battles were order of the day right down to the last race with the Schnitzer M3’s of Charlie Lamm, just beating Ruedi Eggenberger’s Texaco Sierra, BMW only just taking the title.
BMW were still considered the underdog and they were aware that they needed to do something special if they were going to keep in front of Ford’s RS500 Sierra, hence the ‘Evo’ (evolution) label was added to the M3’s various improvements.
These included more grunt from the engine, better aerodynamics, lighter body panels and more amenable driving positions.
The ultimate Evo package was developed in 1990 for Group A cars. At that time Australia had created their own Group A, as had DTM.
Japan, however, stayed faithful to the original Group A concept and followed FISA (FIA) rules for racing. The reason why is not too clear and could have been for many and varied reasons, after all Nissan (for one), had spent an absolute fortune developing the R32 GTR which dominated Group A.
Whatever the reason, the ‘golden age’ of Japanese racing saw tracks filled with BMW, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota plus the occasional Mercedes 190E joining in the fun.
Middlebridge Racing purchased two of the top spec EVO BMW M3’s and prepared them to run in the 1993 season of the JTCC.
Chassis M31 / 60 was campaigned by Anthony Reid, who was a well known stunt driver, BTCC contender and British Land Speed record holder. Anthony also managed to get on the podium at the ‘Le Mans 24hr’.
His 1993 JTCC campaign was backed by Tomei Sports, with Asahi Kiko and Valvoline sponsoring him in what was the last and most exciting year of the JTCC Group A.
The car was painted in Valvoline’s corporate colors and had all the latest Evo upgrades. Reid achieved many podium places, including a win in round 5 of the JTCC at the Ti Circuit Aida. At the 1993 season’s end, Reid was in second place behind the Auto Tech M3.
That was the end of that particular racing class, and the car was bought by a businessman who continued racing it in the Valvoline livery. Valvoline requested that he changed the paint as he was clearly no Anthony Reid.
The car was then bought by a Swiss racer who used it in hill-climbs back in Switzerland. It was later sold on again to Classic BMW-expert, Alex Elliot, who sold it to Australian, Adrian Brady. Brady, who had a number of special BMW’s, sold it on to its current owner, Ecurie Bowden.
The car was extensively restored over a 12 month in 2011 and in its racing debut in 2012 came 3rd in feature race at Muscle Car Masters. It has been raced in the Australian Group A Historic races since.
The car is currently in transit from Australia to the US. It should be here in early February. Stay tuned for additional updates.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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:
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.
The Racecraft Team is going to race the 25 Hours at Thunderhill again this coming December. We have purchased an E46 M3 that had been used as a track day car and are in the process of getting the car ready.
The 25 Hours of Thunderhill is becoming the premier long distance race on the west coast: https://nasa25hour.com. The race is put on by NASA each December. Because of the time of year the night is VERY long, and the weather unpredictable.
We ran the event in 2014 in a tired E30 Pro3 BMW and managed to finish 2nd in our class. It was a very fun event, and one that we all would like to enjoy again. Here’s the video I did of that event:
Below are the designs for the wrap we will be putting on the car. I will update the preparations going into the car from time to time:
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.
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.
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 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!
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: