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Going in Green: The story of taking both a Car and Driver through the ranks of NASA’s HPDE program

Going in Green: The story of taking both a Car and Driver through the ranks of NASA’s HPDE program

Performance driving education is an exciting and rewarding adventure. This is especially true in the NASA Florida region, where brand new drivers can expose themselves to iconic tracks such as Sebring and Daytona.

This blog will document the journey of 16 year old Logan Dewar who will be starting HPDE 1 in early 2023 in a track built BMW E90 325i. 

The Driver 

Logan is a High School Junior with a good amount of sim racing experience thus far. He also daily drives an E36 M3 and has a good idea of the kind of humility and dedication it takes to get through the performance driving school ranks. His goal is to ultimately race competitively in the NASA Spec E9x class with the same car he is currently using in HPDE.

The Car

Logan intelligently chose a 2006 BMW 325i , which was available locally on Facebook Marketplace. The car was bought as a running project to say the least and came with nearly 240k miles on the clock.

With some TLC, dirty hands, and time, it would soon become track ready.

As usual, to do the build right, the process began with a detailed cleaning all around and gutting of the interior.

 

Following that, obvious maintenance was long overdue including, valve cover and oil pan gaskets and a full suspension overhaul.

One of the most efficient and rewarding suspension modifications one can perform on any RWD E9x is the upgrade to M3 control arms, particularly in the front. These offer some additional negative camber which is super helpful on track and they are also made out of a stiffer polyurethane material from the factory which proves more direct in terms of steering feel and more durable as well.

 Additionally, Logan chose to replace the tired original shocks and springs with the high performing Ohlins Spec E9x coilover system. From there, he also opted for Condor Speed Shop rear subframe and differential bushings as well as engine and transmission mounts. Beefier 330i brakes all around paired with Condor Stainless Steel Brake Lines and brass caliper guide bushings would finish off the race setup and collectively,

these upgrades would take the car from a sloppy, wallowing mess to a sharp, precise track ready machine. 

For engine upgrades, Logan sourced a 3 stage intake for maximum power potential. This would also require an accommodating ecu tune. Other than that and the aforementioned maintenance items, the only other engine component needing to be addressed would be to add a Condor Speed Shop Oil Baffle Kit, which would be essential in maintaining oil pressure in the extreme summertime heat at Florida’s demanding race tracks.

It should be stated just how stout these engines are, especially when maintained correctly. A perfect fit for modern grassroots racing applications.

Interior would keep some creature comforts such as radio and AC since it would still be driven to and from events. Everything else would be gutted to where only the essential OMP racing seats, steering wheel, cluster and oem dash would remain.

As the build entered it's final stages and the car was driven a bit more, Logan and his crew noticed some grinding and resistance within the transmission. This quickly led to them replacing the gear box, flywheel and clutch, including an upgrade to a single mass flywheel. 

Naturally the finish and touches would include wheels and tires and again, since this car would remain on the street he chose some stylish Flow Form wheels on Yokohama Advan Sports tires, true to the Spec E9X sizing of 17x9.

 

With car and driver ready, the first event will be January 13-15 at Homestead-Miami raceway. Be sure to check back for updates as Logan embarks on his rewarding journey through the ranks.

Comments

Kingston Zellich - January 20, 2023

Logan, great work so far! Welcome to the wonderful world of track driving & racing!

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