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2011 Season Opener

My, how time flies when you’re having fun… We have spent the past two months feverishly prepping for the NASA season opener at HPR. That event came and went this past weekend, and we’re happily exhausted.

First off, I’m proud to announce both Jeff and I passed the Instructor School Saturday. NASA was confident in our abilities and promptly hooked HPDE1 students into our chatterboxes Sunday. (You may recall Jim passed the same school last year.) We’d like to thank anyone who has shaped us as drivers via instruction and coaching to get us to this point. And now we understand why folks enjoy instructing so much. It is an incredibly rewarding experience!

Now to specifics about the weekend. In between instructing track newbies Sunday, we finally got to DRIVE.

Jeff was able to get his car out to the track 2 weekends prior, but this was really the first chance he had to put ‘Little M’ through its paces. He decided to add coolant Friday to prevent any freezing since the car was spending the night out at the track Saturday. ‘Burping’ took longer than we’d anticipated. The back end still seems a little squirmy under load going around uphill corners. But we’re not complaining. Because this car rose from the ashes and is a gleaming example of what a track-prepped E36 should be.

Jim was excited to try out some new shoes this year. He ordered and had mounted a fresh set of NT-01’s and scrubbed them in on the drive out to HPR Saturday morning. He was grinning like a little kid with a giant lollipop after feeling them out on the track later that day. Then Sunday morning… someone left a trail of shrapnel on the line heading into Turn One. Sadly, the resulting gash finished the passenger rear tire off, along with his day.

‘Big M’ was lucky to have new shoes too! I ordered a set of 18×10 APEX ARC-8 wheels for a track setup and called on our friends at Turner Motorsport for a set of Grand Am Koni Challenge Continentals (compare to a harder compound Hoosier R6) to wrap them in. My first two sessions out Sunday were with passengers so I was required to keep myself in check a bit. But the last session I was all by myself. I put the new setup through its paces. To say I was pleased is an understatement. The car felt planted in a way I’ve never felt before. So. Much. Fun.

We can only hope our first event is a precursor to a wildly successful, safe and fun 2011 season. More looks back at the E36 build are coming, along with reviews of products we’ve been thrilled to use on our cars. Cheers!

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