2016 saw Brian and the boys take on a new challenge. Now with full understanding on the MX5, a full awning of cars and Brian winning 2 MX5 titles. It was time to take on a new car and challenge.
Looking at affordable championships, the choice was narrowed down to three contenders;
- MK3 MX5 – Close, affordable racing but in the same paddock we have been in for some 5 years.
- PORSCHE BOXTER – A bit more power and a classier car, but there is already a Boxter team in our local town.
- BMW M3 E46 – Awesome fast road car, Brian’s preferred configuration of RWD front engine, but a completely fledgling series.
After much talking it was decided that the M3 would be a nice refreshing change and something different for the team to learn in an unfamiliar paddock. The Tegiwa M3 Cup is a one make championship with lots of regulation parts and a BHP limit so it should be all down to setup and driver ability, something that Brian and BC Cars Motorsport thrive on.
“I haven’t got a big budget for racing, so always look at single make, highly regulated championships. It’s no fun getting beaten by a bigger budget and a poorer driver” says BC Cars Motorsport owner Brian.
Brian bought a 2001 road car from Oxford in November 2015 and drove it around for a couple of weeks to make sure there were no gremlins in the drive train.
The car was pulled apart in December and Brian spent Christmas 2015 in the workshop building the car. The only part of the job not done in house was the roll cage fitting which was done at SW Motorsport. First job upon the cars arrival after the cage fitting was to remove the roof skin as the build car had a sunroof. A donor complete skin was sourced and fitted. The rest of the build was straight forward. All safety devices installed and plumbed in. The dashboard and a little heater are the only creature comforts when strapped into the racing seat and harness.
Underneath, the rear sub frame was removed and polybushes fitted along with rear adjustable camber arms. This was the perfect time to weld some strengthening plates to the chassis where the subframe bolts on (this is a common place for the E46 shell to fail). Shocks and springs were removed and regulation coilovers were fitted along with a big brake upgrade up front and a stiffer front roll bar. Front polybushes where fitted where applicable and some rear front arm bushes to add some caster to the factory setup.
The original engine had covered 160,000 miles. Brian decided this could turn into a money pit and decided to leave the engine untouched to see how competitive it would be in standard form. Just the air-conditioning pump and hoses were removed. A lightened clutch on a standard clutch was the only mod made here.
The car was finished with all regulation parts bolted on and ready to test by end of January 2016.
A handful of test days were booked at Snetterton and Silverstone over February and March. The test days went well with no failures or gremlins so Brian could get to work honing the setup. The only grumbles from Brian were the nuisance of the ABS that had to remain working and the shock absorbers not being the greatest units. But every car in the new championship had the same parts so would all be on the same level.
As the cars were of a new spec there were no times to compare to on track so the team would only know the pace of the car at the first race weekend…