Tag Archives: E30 M3

Rolex Monterey Races- 2019

On the Thursday following our trip to Road America I suffered a mild heart attack. It came totally out of the blue- I had no warnings, nor did I have the usual precursors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes.

It did cause me to miss the Portland races the following weekend but I recovered enough to make the trip down to Monterey for Car Week. I had to skip the Pre-reunion races, but we arrived in time to take the Asahi M3 to Carmel for the Concours on the Avenue.

The Carmel Concours is always such a fun event. The race cars that are entered convoy over to the event from the race track on the public highway accompanied by a contingent of CHP motorcycle cops.

The Asahi M3 placed 2nd in the race car group at the Concours on the Avenue.

This year we placed 2nd in the race car group to a beautiful green Aston Martin DB5. The judges said they had a very difficult time deciding but ultimately went with the more historic car.

After the event the race cars all head back to the track by heading out Carmel Valley and going over the scenic Laureles Grade. It’s quite a fun adventure.

Thursday and Friday are practice/qualifying days at the track. Each of the 12 run groups gets one session on track each day. With 3 cars entered I had a lot of seat time on each day. By Friday evening I was feeling a bit tired. The CSL is especially wearing to drive because of the suspension geometry.

The CSL was in Group 5A- 1973-1981 FIA IMSA GT, GTX, AAGT. This group is a real mixed bag. The fastest cars in the group are the turbo 935 Porsches and big block GT cars like Decon Monzas and Corvettes. The next group of cars in terms of speed is primarily RSR Porsches and CSLs like mine.

Luigi ran well all weekend. In the feature race we finished 10th with a best lap of 1:40.3.

The CSL raced both races on Saturday, the Bonham’s Cup race in the morning and the Rolex Feature race in the afternoon. I had qualified 12th in a group of 38 cars so I was pleased. My main rivals were 3 RSR Porsches driven by Erich Joiner, Alan Benjamin, and Cameron Healy.

I was able to get by all of them going into Turn 2 in the morning race. I held them all of until the last lap when Erich Joiner was able to get by. I ended up 10th. The morning race sets the grid for the Feature Race in the afternoon.

In the Feature Race Alan Benjamin forced his way by at the start and kept me behind him until about 4 laps in. I was able to get back by him between Turns 2 and 3 and pull away, finishing about 12 seconds ahead of him. I ended up 10th again with a best lap of 1:40.3.

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The 1800 Ti was in Group 4B- 1961-1966 GT Cars Under 2,500 ccs. I qualified 35th out of 45 cars because I never got a good, clean lap during my qualifying sessions. There were just so many cars on track. I knew the car was quicker than we qualified. It made for a very interesting first lap as I was able to pass 6 cars by Turn 5!

The Big Box ran well all weekend. The car is a lot of fun to drive.

Because I was not up to full song I chose to only run the morning race. Still, I finished 25th out of the 37 cars that finished. There was a few more places to be had if only . . .

Terry drove the car in the Feature Race in the afternoon and finished 20th with a best lap of 2:06.3.

Both races were marred by long yellow flag sessions. Both Terry and I were passed under yellow by fellow competitors. Sometimes that happens.

The M3 ran in Group 6B which is made up of IMSA GTO, and GTU cars from 1981-1991. It is a pretty quick group of cars. Still, I managed to qualify mid-field out of 32 cars!

While the car showed well at Carmel it was not a great weekend for the M3 on-track.

Unfortunately the car had some issues all weekend. It began to have a miss during the Thursday practice which got worse each day.

For the Sunday morning race I was able to only make 2 laps before I came in. I was afraid the miss would damage the engine. I never started the Feature Race.

As it turned out once Jim had a look at it we needed to replace a sensor and the distributor cap and the car was fine.

So it was kind of a mixed bag of a race weekend. The CSL did very well. The 1800 showed its potential, and the M3 showed well in Carmel but had some problems on track. Given my health scare I was just glad to have been there racing!

We did get some nice publicity for the M3. Automobile Magazine blog did a nice piece on the car. Here’s the link:

https://www.automobilemag.com/news/monterey-car-week-2019-concours-avenue/

Car Throttle also did an interview of me on Saturday. My interview starts at about 4:00. Here’s that link:

http://www.facebook.com/carthrottle/videos/447996349127467/

SVRA Trans-Am Festival At Laguna Seca

On the weekend of May 3-5 we raced in the SVRA Trans-Am Festival held at Laguna Seca Raceway outside of Monterey, CA.

I took the NSU and the E30 M3 down for the event. We enjoyed great weather and a lot of fun racing.

The NSU ran in Group 1 which has small bore sedans and sports cars built before 1972.

The NSU raced in Group 1 which has small bore sedans and sports cars built before 1972. It has one of the smaller engines in a group made up of highly developed Minis, 356 Porsches, TVRs, Austin Healys, and Sprigits.

I was still trying to feel out the car after my crash last summer. I am still just a bit tentative with the swing axel rear suspension and the short wheel base. As the weekend progressed I was starting to pitch it into the corners with much more confidence, and my lap times showed my improvement.

The MIGHTY NSU ran well all weekend in Group 1.

I did have one scary moment in the car. I was going up the hill into the Corkscrew right beside a Morgan during practice and the throttle stuck wide open. At first I just jammed on the brakes but quickly realized that wasn’t going to hold the car, so I quickly reached over and turned the kill switch. Frantically waving to the cars around me I coasted down the hill and back into the paddock. Jim quickly diagnosed the problem as a broken internal return spring on one of the Weber carbs. The piece that broke off had fallen and jammed the throttle open.

I finished 16th out of 24 cars in the Feature Race on Sunday. I had a great race with the Morgan, a TVR, and a Spitfire. Great fun! My best lap for the weekend was a 1:57.9.

The M3 ran strong in a group with cars with much larger engines.

The M3 was put into Group 10 which is made up of GTO and tube frame Trans-Am cars from the 1980’s and 1990’s. They have engines that are 300 CI and larger. Jim and John Murray also had their Datsun 240 GTU cars in this group. Unfortunately John had a transmission issue on Saturday and was unable to run on Sunday.

This was the first race for the M3 with the rebuilt engine. Terry Tinney did a great job with the rebuild getting over 280 HP at the rear wheels. It was immediately noticeable driving the car. I spent the test day sessions logging miles on the motor, keeping the revs below 7,200.

On Saturday I began to take the motor to 7,500, and then 8,000 RPM. What a glorious sound! And what power. The motor really switches on about about 5,500 RPM, and pulls hard all the way up to where I shift it. THANKS TERRY!

I qualified 8th for the Feature Race on Sunday. I got a great start and came out of Turn 2 in 6th place. I was able to hold my own until about 2 laps from the end when I spun in some oil in Turn 5. I managed to finish 9th overall with a best lap of 1:39.04. Jim finished 3rd overall with his Datsun. We finished 1-2 in the 12B small engine class.

Jim and I finished 1-2 in the 12B small engine class.

This was the first event for SVRA at Laguna Seca. They brought along their West Coast Trans-Am Series. These cars are pretty quick with the leaders turning mid 1:20’s. Their races are 70 minutes long so tires and brakes have to be nursed to go the distance. The T2 race was won by the car that started in last place. They put on a great show.

I’ve put the video from the weekend up on YouTube. The link is below. If you enjoy these videos please give them a ‘Like,’ or subscribe. Your comments are always appreciated as well. Thanks for watching!

https://youtu.be/j5MemO3789M