The Ram's Eye - A Driver's Blog: Cool Local Race Cars



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Friday, 29 July 2016

Cool Local Race Cars




Mk3 VW GTI: The first one is the 95 GTI IT-B car which, frankly, isn't too cool. It is a great car to drive (read more about my first race here) but besides that, there is nothing special about it. Until you find out about the work that went into it. I'm not just talking about the standard stuff, which in itself took a lot (a lot) of time and money to have the car as it is today, but I learned something even more impressive during the last race weekend.




The team apparently ran the cars on stock OEM hubs and never had a problem with them. Then, VW decided to switch the manufacturing for the hubs from Germany to China. The change in quality was dramatic. How dramatic? The wheels would fall off. The team tried to source the same hubs but to no avail. The solution? Build them. The team builds their own wheel hubs because they can't find the right parts. Brian Gay, who takes care of a lot of the maintenance and repairs on the race cars, machines the hubs for the cars. He also races (primarily) an E36 M3, which I mentioned in the last post about the last race weekend (The Ram's Eye is Racing (Again)!), and a Mk5 VW GTI. Speaking of which..




Mk5 VW GTI: I like this car because of the potential it has. It is owned by our team, Vantage Motorsports, who has been working on it to get all the issues sorted out and it's not quite there but it finally ran well the last race weekend. By well, I mean no boost leaks, no computer limp mode, etc. The suspension is still getting tuned and there are some fueling issues to keep up with the new found power..






The team turbo swapped to a K04 turbo and is putting down around 330 hp and 330 lb-ft torque - a massive increase from the stock 197 hp. It weighs around 2,600-2,700 lbs I believe so power to weight ratio is really good too. The team also added a helical gear differential to help put the power down. The car is now running 1:18's but I suspect it'll be able to go much quicker once it's all sorted out.



E36 BMW M3: Finally, there is this E36 M3. At first, it looks unsuspecting. Then you notice the funny looking exhaust. Then you hear it and you realize it's very different.




The car is V8 swapped. It has a small block Chevy out of a Cadillac Escalade. They said it was out of a first generation Escalade but I'm not sure if they are referring to the actual and short lived first generation up to 2000 or the second and far more popular GMT800 Escalade. The car is putting down around 450 hp, far, far more than all other race cars, with the exception of a Monte Carlo Stock Car that was not running in the June race weekend. The car was a bit tricky, though, as I was told it was set up for drifting, including the diff, which makes it very tail happy. It's a lot of fun to watch but would be tough to drive fast, although it is already a quick car, running a best time on Saturday of 1:16.243. The team had some car trouble, unfortunately, and didn't run on Sunday but once the car is sorted out, including probably being tuned for road racing, the car should be even quicker. Some would consider an LS-swapped M3 sacrilege but I think it's cool. Which do you think sounds better, the first (blue) one or the second (white) one? Watch the video below and decide.





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