After a number of setbacks over the past few years, I was finally able to run the M3 in an endurance race, teaming up with my usual enduro partner Eric Krause to run the third annual Four Hours of Pacific Raceways. Pictures by Randy Krause.
|Getting Eric in for the second (and only, for us) pre-race practice; just enough running around to get him ready for the start.||I don't know about you, but I think that's one good-lookin' car. :) Clean, too... for now.|
|Entry to Turn 9 during practice.||The first time you see your car drive off without you is a slightly surreal experience.|
|A very fast and well-engineered car less significant for its presence in the race than for its engineer and co-driver: Jerold Lowe [Editor's note: The significance doesn't kick in until the off-season between 2010 and 2011.]||Datsun 280Z with a Chevy V8; aerodynamic and fast!|
|We've just gotten Eric strapped in the car so he can drive down to pre-grid for the start of the race.||The front four rows (we're in row 2) exiting Turn 9 on the way to the green flag.|
|The three yellow cars in this shot finished in the same order overall. The white CRX you can see toward the front in the right-hand column spent much of the day parked outside Turn 7. They did finish the race, though.||The green has just barely started waving and Eric's already in first place... gotta like that!|
|By the end of the first lap, we were down to 4th overall again, but still first in class.||I forget who it was that clipped them, but this is Mike Helton's M3 that we would do battle with for much of the later stages of the race.|
|Three quarters of the way through the race and the car still looks good.||A couple laps later, just before this 240Z moved over on me in the kink and almost made the car look "less good."|
|As you can see, I was gaining on him in a hurry, but either he somehow didn't see me or was trying to race me. Silly either way and forced me to jump on the brakes or risk clipping the end of the wall driver's left.||Putting another lap on a P3-classed Miata... uh-oh, what's that yellow car in the background?|
|Coming in during a full-course caution with about 40 minutes to go, we finally gave up the overall and class leads.||Scott adding the 8 gallons we'd need to ensure we finished the race. The stop itself only took 10 seconds or so but you lose an entire lap pitting in the "enduro pits" at Pacific Raceways.|
|Pat Boyle was driving Helton's M3 at this point and is one seriously fast driver.||Pat returning to the track after their unexpected splash & go.|
|The shot that says it all: We retake the class and overall lead.||...and then take the checkers! :D|
|Rolling to a stop as the latest overall winner of the Four Hours of Pacific Raceway.||Why is everyone laughing? Because they've just found that I—inexplicably—had no idea we'd won the race.|
|"I'm king of the world!" [Editor's note: I'm not really 8 feet tall; I was standing on the door sill.]||Passenger side: Scott, Cam, Jacob
Driver's side: me, Eric, Gil, Randy, James
|(l to r) 1st, 3rd, and 2nd overall. Also 1st in P1, 1st in P2, and 2nd in P1. Apparently, today was a good day to be driving a yellow BMW 3-Series...||I don't know what Eric's looking at, but I'm apparently biting my lip to keep from breaking into a fit of giggles... we won!!|
|That'll do, Pig, that'll do.|
The first video is a series of clips that I clipped from someone else's collection of clips so that you pretty much only see my car. Contrary to what the last clip in the video shows, we actually finished in front of the "other" yellow M3 to win our class and the overall race. (32.5MB)
Using a combination of clips from Maciej's video and footage from the camera we put in my car, Eric (black/orange driving suit) made the following clip for YouTube. Considering the age of the tires we were using, I'm truly amazed we did as well as we did.
I wasn't able to get everything squared away after the enduro in time for the first race of the season at Portland, but I was ready to go for the first regular-season race at Pacific Raceways.
The Group 4 race promised to be a fun one, what with Lou Greenberg and his M3, Eric Krause and his 968 with fancy new suspension bits, Wayne Monahans' super-fast Evo VIII, and Bruce Beachman's surprising little E30 BMW 325 with an S52 engine swap (same as mine). Unfortunately, I was having some issues with the fuel cell—more importantly, with the fuel gauge—and I started the race with a whole lot less fuel than I intended, with the result that the engine started cutting out and losing RPMs well before the end of the race. (82.5MB)
Ah, what might have been: Because I wasn't able to get my new tires shaved in time, I was essentially running on intermediate wet tires the whole week-end. With a wet track at the start of the race followed by additional rain, I should've finished at least one position in class and two overall higher than I did, given that I had the perfect tires for the conditions. I just couldn't get past the idea of scattering body panels all over Creation if I crossed the limit on tires I was still getting used to... (63.8MB)