Date: June 27, 2004
Venue: Miller Field - Dalhart, TX
Results: 1st in Class (3 total), 2nd Overall (20 total)
This event was great as far as good weather and my new tire trailer working out great, but I was a little frustrated with the course and how the M3 responded to it. The tire trailer makes getting ready for the events so much easier and convenient, and I can have everything packed up and ready to go days or weeks before the event date. All I have to do is pull the M3 out of the garage in the morning, hook the trailer up to it and go. Plus, the gas mileage from driving the M3 to and from the events is so much better than towing it on a trailer with a truck.
I was the second person to arrive at the venue in the morning, and Rod Whitney was already setting up the course and was working on the back half, so I helped him lay out that part of the course. However, the first half of the course was very tight, and the M3 didn't like the multiple tight low speed corners at the start, and I had a lot of difficulty getting through it fast. The back half was still a little tight, but it flowed well enough that you could move through it fairly quick. With the front air pressures up to 40psi cold, the M3 went through the turn-around sweeper pretty good, but more negative camber would've been good for the tighter sections as it was understeering pretty badly. Those tighter sections were also so slow that the M3 wouldn't accelarate out of them quick enough. I believe more negative camber up front (about -2.75 degrees minimum) and a 3.38:1 ratio rear differential (from a '96+ M3 with an automatic transmission) would've made a big difference on this course. For once, I felt like the limiting factor was the car setup and not my driving ablility. Steve Sucsy told me that he even felt the course was tight for his '00 Honda S2000, but his car was still very quick.
Although I was still faster than all of the other cars in the field, I still wasn't able to run as fast (raw or PAX) as Steve in his Honda S2000. My raw time was 0.002 seconds slower, and my PAX time was 0.699 seconds slower. I was able to win my class, but came in second Overall again.
The next WTR-SCCA event is at Kimbrough Stadium in Canyon, TX, so I'm going to trek up to Colorado to attend two back to back Rocky Mountian Solo events (Saturday and Sunday) to get more seat time against several National caliber drivers. After the Colorado events, I'll be installing the '96+ M3 upper strut bearing plates (swapped left to right) to get more negative camber (along with shims at the bottom of the strut to get approximately -2.75 degrees), but I'll probably wait until after the 2004 season to find, purchase, and install a 3.38 differential as they are quite expensive (approximately $900 for a used one! ).