Track days - P's build thread

#1
I think it was @Skid_Marc_ that suggested I start a thread about a little journey I've embarked on, so here goes.

It's a little dream of mine I've had since I was old enough to go to my first British Touring Car Championship event at Brands Hatch all those years ago, I've been hooked on everything with an engine and wheels since as long as I can remember, and after that first visit to the track when I was a wee lad I was specifically hooked on anything involving a race track. Well, life had a way of always making me focus on anything else but my passion, although over the years I have owned a few fast road cars, I never felt fully comfortable using those vehicles to their capabilities on the road. In my advancing years I am of the firm opinion that driving cars like my old Nissan 300ZX's (3.0 V6 Twin Turbo tuned to 320bhp (Auto) and 410bhp (Manual) respectively), Ford ST220 (3.0 V6 mapped to 240bhp), Mitsubishi Evo IV (2.0 Turbo tuned to 360 bhp) to their full ability is dangerous on public roads.

So... I've decided to stop putting it off and actually go for it and build myself a car for the sole purpose of having fun blasting around the tracks in the UK (mostly my local track Brands Hatch). I had a great year last year at Brands Hatch, thrashing their GT86 rally cars around two rally stages for the day, then flying around in a track prepped BMW M4, and an F4 single seater on another day. Here's some pics from those days;

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These experiences really drove me (see what I did there?) to actually do what I've always wanted to do, and get some real track time under my belt.

I currently drive a Vauxhall Astra 1.6 SRi Turbo (Not slow by any means, 180bhp is enough to make swift progress) as my daily, but this wouldn't do for my plan to trailer my track car around. I needed something with more grunt, and a towing capacity capable of what I needed it for.

I tried to be sensible, I really did, but as this was going to be my daily as well as my trailer car I went for the middle ground. I'm picking this up Friday and am pretty excited to own a 3 series, it's a car I've always wanted, and is widely regarded as all the car you ever need. BMW have really stepped up their game recently with their new models after the increasing threat from Audi and Mercedes, so I'm lucky to be in the position to get a 3 Series while BMW are on fire with this model. I went for the touring model (need space for spare tyres and parts etc.) which would make it the ideal family car and support vehicle!

So on Friday i'll be rolling home in this BMW 3 Series M Touring (with paddle shifters, I've always wanted paddle shifters...) in the classic M colour - Estoril Blue which BMW brought back for this model.

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This will be the support vehicle for what is currently sitting in my garage as of 10 days ago, an EP3 Honda Civic Type-R;


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I put a lot of thought in to what car to get for the track. Do I go FWD, RWD, 4WD? Big power and big car or lower power and smaller car? Several models came to mind, Mazda MX-5's, various Ford hatchbacks, BMW E36's, M3's etc. etc... In the end, and after taking far too long to decide, an opportunity to buy an absolutely mint, low mileage Type-R off a friend came up. He needed the money after an unfortunate change of circumstances, I needed a track car. It just felt right.

So, I will be updating this thread as I go with the build, at the moment the Type-R has a Typhoon induction kit and a rare genuine Mugen twin loop exhaust system which is perfect for getting around our stupid noise limits on UK tracks. They test your car before you go on the track, and if you are above 105db at 3k rpm measured a foot away from your exhaust, and 95db using a trackside sensor on the straight you are black flagged and told to kindly p*** off. It's stupid but hey, if you want to go on track, these are the rules we have to abide by. The great thing about a VTEC car like this Type-R, especially with the Mugen exhaust, is it's relatively quiet up to 6k rpm, then VTEC kicks in (yo) and all hell breaks loose right up the 9k redline (the engine is an absolute screamer!). This is great for the static noise test, and if I get a warning from the drive by sensor I can just go below 6k down the straight past the sensor.

First job is to strip it out, which is starting soon. Some big weight savings can be made on these cars although they are light anyway, with just stripping the interior out I will be able to get it close to 1000kg. 210bhp per ton is a good recipe for some fun! I've gone into this not interested at all about being the "fastest". One thing I have learnt from owning fast cars is there is always someone with a faster car than you. Always. My sole objective is to have the biggest grin around the track, not the biggest ego.

To that end, I'm not going to be tuning the engine any further, I may map it to get the best out of what's there and possibly lower the VTEC trigger but that will be the extent of it.

My main focus with this build is going to be lightness, stiffness (no giggling at the back) and er... stopness (yes that's a word now). So on order will be;

- full interior strip
- a half rollcage and strut braces
- a limited slip differential (JDM Type-R's had them but not EDM) which makes all the difference getting the power down
- track focused discs and pads, braided brake lines, racing brake fluid to eliminate the track day driver's worst enemy - brake fade
- full polybushing to tighten up the chassis
- track spec coilovers with full adjustment
- some sticky track tyres

I've also bought myself a gopro with mount which is cleared for track use as long as it's tethered. I bought myself some stainless steel tethers to pass track inspection, and I also got a telemetry system that links to the gopro, so I will be able to share videos of my track time that shows throttle position, gforces, track map, speed and all that jazz using a bluetooth OBD2 sensor plugged into the Type-R's OBD2 port.

Well, that's enough for now, I will update the thread semi regularly with my progress as and when it happens around my other commitments, and of course I will put some videos up later in the year when I get some track time going.

Thanks for reading!
 
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#3
Well, I promised myself I wouldn't do anything to the BMW but I've already gone and had it remapped... whoops.

Seemed rude not to though...

Gains were;

Power: 190 bhp up to 240 bhp

Torque: 400Nm up to 470Nm (70 more than the previous generation M3...)

All while adding a little boost to the mpg... Well worth it!

0-62 mph dash down from 7.3 to the mid 6 seconds now with launch control, not bad for a 2.0 diesel tourer!

I gave it a nice clean after some "spirited" testing of the remap on the way home (safely giving it the beans on some dual carriageways) ;)

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Also done some work to the Type-R this afternoon, coilovers are now on, sitting nicely now @ 30mm lower and it has transformed the handling. It's now razor sharp and feels absolutely planted. Very happy with it, but will have to take it to the track for a proper test, I'm not one for blasting round on twisty public roads, especially round our roads in the UK. You just never know what's around the corner, it's not worth risking other road users safety or myself imo.

You can see the difference compared to the picture above on standard suspension...

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Next up... the big interior strip! Should save between 250 - 300kg once we are done. That will make a huge difference to acceleration and handling, further complimenting the coilovers.

More updates to follow.
 
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#6
Yeah, 306 BHP 2.0L turbo with a six speed manual. It's a monster. It'll probably be late this year before I buy, but yes, that is the plan. Civic Type-R as a daily.

To be clear though, I live in a major city with good public transit. "Daily driver" to me is mostly weekends and trips to the shops, since I just ride the train two stops to work.
 
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