M3 PILOT

Steve Smart - BMW Enthusiast

Thanks for the Binaural Head Trip, Bozzy!

Get your headphones ready! But first, check out this interview with one of your favorite YouTube content producers.

YouTube offers one of my favorite forms of entertainment. Maybe like you, I spend too much time watching videos of race cars, kart racing, auto detailing and other car related stuff. It’s all part of the addiction.

Several years ago I stumbled upon a guy’s channel named 19Bozzy92.  If you’ve chosen to read this, you’ve probably seen his work. His specialty is high end sports cars and race cars, especially their sound. His videos of BMW Z4 GT3s at Monza are among my favorites in audio pleasure. The snarling, growling and popping does something special for me. The fuel bark on the downshifts sound like gunshots. Here’s a link to one of them.

Bozzy has taken his videos to the next level with binaural 3D sound recordings. Gotta say, these should come with a label. “Warning: Addiction Ahead!” Seriously, though, this aspect of Bozzy recordings really got my attention with the video below, covering the 2017 ELMS test at Monza. Don’t ask me why it’s special. Just grab your favorite set of cans and listen.

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Leather Headrest Restoration on BMW E36 M3 Vaders

E36 M3 Leather headrest restore

Some things are better left to the experts, even when you have some DIY pride. For me, one example is the headliner I replaced a couple years back. Always interested in saving a little dough, I read up on the process, and figured I’d be over my head on that one. Still, I did save some bucks by removing the headliner baseboard myself. I had a pro remove the old fabric and glue in the new stuff. I’m glad I took that approach.

Caring for leather is just a matter of regular maintenance in my world. Restoration, on the other hand, is out of the question. No research, no DIY, just head straight for a pro. In this case, it’s Brandon Merz. Pretty much every day, he’s working his restoration magic on one kind of collectible or another. I figure he knows his stuff.

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Encounter with the NP01

NP01.3

I’m not a racer. Not a real one, anyway.  I am a frequent flyer at local arrive-and-drive karting tracks, but that’s a different story. As a racing fan, NASA’s Elan NP01 caught my attention a few months ago. While recently at Gateway Motorsports Park on business, I was very happy to have a chance encounter with one. Up close and personal.

Being relatively new on the scene, I’m pretty sure that the NP01 is generally unknown by the average motorsport fan. This Mazda powered prototype, however, captured my interest when videos circulated on social media.

The car was developed when NASA approached Elan Motorsports Technologies to design and build an affordable prototype race car. It fulfills its mission through tube frame construction (no carbon) and smaller body bits that are less costly to replace than large panels. If the Elan name rings a bell for you, it’s because the Braselton, GA company was founded by Don Panoz of ALMS fame.

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Ernie Peters – Door Handle Ninja

My E36 M3 is known to be one of the nicer examples in the St. Louis area, despite having 109,000 miles on the clock. In reality, it shows its age in ways that sometimes bugs me.

Such is the case with a few pieces I’m replacing these days. The cracking door handle gaskets and a piece called the windshield wiper cowl cover are at the top of my list.

I read up and watched some videos on the door handle gasket. I’m somewhat mechanically inclined, but my skills are limited. Frankly, I’ve found that my interest in wrenching has been diminishing as I age. These days I pretty much keep it simple and stick with what I know. Not as “game for adventure” as I used to be. Kind of a shame, but there it is. Having done my my research, I figured that I would need help with this. I was right.

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I thought I was fast, until…

Many of my friends know that I’m a great fan of arrive-and-drive kart racing. Indoor, outdoor, gas or electric, I’ll take it any way I can get it. Most of the time I’m at or near the top of the charts, but I have to admit that I don’t often compete against the fastest guys in town. Such was the case at my recent visit to the Gateway Kartplex with some friends from the St. Louis BMW Club.

In the first race I was gratified to get the jump on my friend Wayne, the guy in front of me, at the green flag. I lapped most of the pack and took second place. Oddly, the winner of the fastest lap was the guy I passed right out of the box. “Yeah, I think my fast lap was when you passed me and I followed your line,” he said. Maybe that was it, or maybe he’s just faster. I did, however beat Wayne in race #2. We had some great back-and-forth between us .

The second race was also rewarding with lots of passes. I thought I was doing really well. Indeed, the time sheet would show a great improvement; about 1.5 seconds over the first race. That’s a sure sign that I’m on the early side of the learning curve at this facility.

What surprised me in race 2, delighted me in fact, was to see three other guys pass me (at 7:52 and 9:16) like I was a turtle. Sure, I like being at the top, but it was great to see these guys working on a whole different level. I noticed the way one leaned forward in the kart, presumably to add weight to the front, thus reducing understeer, and increasing speed through the turns. A true artist indeed. I’ll be sure to try that next time.

RACE 1

 

RACE 2

2016 IMSA Race with the BMW Club

One of my favorite places in the whole world is pit out at Road America. I’ve attended several sports car races there, starting in the days of ALMS. I miss that series, but still enjoy going there for the IMSA races. Being a member of the BMW Car Club of America makes the experience even better.

Clay Filson on the Rahal Letterman IMSA Team

I’ve often been impressed to see the highly choreographed efforts of the Rahal Letterman Team when the BMWs are pulled in from a session on the track. They work like a finely tuned machine. I had the opportunity to talk with Clay Filson about that when I was at the 2016 IMSA race at Road America.

Clay provides support from the BMW factory to customer teams like RLL. He shares his observations on why the team works so well together, along with some challenges related to working with a car that’s in the first year of its development.

IMSA Hot Lap in a BMW M3 at Road America

Of the many things I enjoyed about the IMSA WeatherTech sports car race at Road America this year, the hot lap was certainly memorable. I’m glad I got it on video. IMSA has a Hot Lap program, designed to get fans on the track in cars represented by the racing field. The drivers of the 2 BMW M3s, were instructors at the BMW Performance Driving Center in Greer, SC.

I have to admit; It wasn’t the all-out, change-your-underwear mind blower I thought it might be, but it was still great to have that rare experience. I got my ticket (very limited in supply) through the BMW Car Club, of which I’ve been a happy member for over a decade.

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