My first race of the 2020 season is in July. It has been a crazy year with COVID19. To add to it, I was still recovering from a serious injury from the big crash in 2019 at Thompson. Getting out of a cast and off crutches in late March meant physical therapy for weeks before being able to walk even a mile without pain.
I had never been to Roebling before but I love learning new tracks. My car ran into some issues with overheating on the test day. We flushed the system and changed out the thermostat. Huge improvement the next day. Ran into a sound issue blowing 106dB but had a creative solution to direct the sound the other way.
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Once upon what seems like a very strange time, this was my first car. It was a CPOed 2009 BMW 328i xDrive. I knew nothing about cars at the time but this is the car that eventually helped me find the motorsports community. It took me a while to find my way. Under the influence of e90post.com and Bimmer Alliance (a local car community), I put some 19″ Breyton wheels on the car along with some carbon fiber additions. Had the roof wrapped in 3M carbon vinyl, put some Koni yellows on it, and went to all the weekly car meets and cruises.
We spent a ton of money on gas as we cruised to Philly for a cheesesteak sandwich for lunch or a midnight run to Times Square just to be able to drive through when the clock struck 12. There was a sense of community as we got up at 5am just to get some parking spaces with each other in front of Katie’s for Cars and Coffee. This car helped forge friendships that are still strong many years later, even though we have all moved on from our cars.
The one thing I always felt was missing during this time was performance driving. We were spending money on upgrades that I didn’t feel like were being put to use. Highway cruises with friends were fun, but those summer tires weren’t really being pushed to the limit.
Then I discovered autocross. With the assumption that motorsports was too expensive, I always assumed it was out of my league. Discovering that an autocross session was only $35-$50 was a game changer. I did my first autocross in this car and life was never the same after that. Those four minutes of my life that day made me crave more. I signed up for every event that I could. The alarm clock would go off at 5am and I’d drive up to an hour to help set up a course instead of shining my wheels in a parking lot.
Autocross was my gateway drug to racing. It was affordable and could be done in a daily driver. The low cost of barrier entry gave me a taste of racing a minute at a time. While the E90 did not stay with me for long, the memories are everlasting.
My fuel pump in the new #12 Hi-Speed x TC Design E46 M3 racecar was transferred over from the crashed original E46 M3. The pump actually broke apart into several different pieces in the impact, but I was able to put it back together with no visible damage. It was just the plastic pieces that were knocked out of place, or so it seemed. While we had no performance issues with the fuel pump, it was making a louder than usual whine along with not displaying the accurate amount of fuel on the gas gauge. Both of which are unnerving while driving on track wondering if the pump will fail during a race, or if I even have any fuel left.
We run a dual fuel pump setup on the E36 and E46 racecars because of the saddle tank design. The g-forces with aero and some grippy Hoosiers means that often all of the fuel will slosh to one side of the saddle tank through a turn. Cars often experience fuel starvation despite having half a tank of fuel which is a solid 8 gallons. With the dual fuel pump setup, there is a fuel pickup on each side of the saddle and it prevents fuel starvation through the turns. We can run the tank down to less than 1/4 with no fuel starvation issues.
A fuel pump can start to fail for a myriad of reasons. Often age is a factor in these cars that are still on OEM pumps. A failing fuel pump often has a much louder whine than usual when it is pumping fuel. If it gets really bad, it might even sound like the groan of a dying animal. Pumps can overheat and get burnt out if they are being run with no fuel in the system. The end result will be the same where your car will no longer start. Remember the three things you need are: Fuel, Spark, and Air.
The process for changing out your fuel pump is very straightforward and you can DIY it at home in about 30 minutes.
Check it out in the video above and don’t forget to subscribe! This is the first video with the new #12 but you’ll get to see more of it this year!