BR Racing Blog

Monterey Car Week – 2019

Monterey Car Week 2019 was one of the best we have ever seen…and we have been to all of them since 2005. There were more individual events, more special events, more auctions, more race cars, more parties…in a nut, more of everything.

And we can not remember where Monterey Car Week was used to introduce so many new cars (like the Drako GTE, the Pagani, first showing of the new Porsche 718 GT4, new Mercedes AMG, etc). So, if you want to see all that we saw, click here to go to our gallery to see all the pics we have saved (over 200 images).

http://www.brrperformance.com/gallery3.php

Then…select EVENTS, then MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2019.

Enjoy…..we sure did.

Internet Sales – CA Sales Tax

In the past, an online seller (Internet Sale) who sold to customers located in a particular state had to have some physical presence in that state before the state could require the seller to collect and pay state sales tax. Think of online car parts retailers like Amazon, ECStuning, Turner Motorsports, Tire Rack, Pelican Parts, etc. However, the requirement for physical presence was overturned in the Supreme Court’s decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair Inc. in 2018. Like many other states, California has updated its laws for Internet sellers in the wake of Wayfair. California calls sales taxes collected by out-of-state sellers “use taxes,” but they are the same as sales taxes.

New Rules on Collecting Sales Tax for Remote Sellers
Effective April 1, 2019, retailers located outside of California (remote sellers, Internet Sales) are required to register with the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) and collect California sales tax if they sell more than $500,000 in tangible personal property for delivery in California. The registration requirement applies if you sold more than $500,000 in property during the prior calendar year. It also comes into effect any time you sell more than $500,000 during the current year. For example, if they had more than $500,000 in California sales during 2018, they must register and collect sales taxes.
These rules apply to all remote sellers located outside of California that sell tangible goods for delivery into California through the Internet, mail-order catalogs, telephone, or by any other means. The $500,000 sales threshold includes sales made by the retailer itself and people related to the retailer. This includes family members and any person or entity that owns 50% or more of the retailer’s business.

These new rules supersede all of California’s prior tax collection requirements for all retailers.

If they make their California sales though an online marketplace such as Amazon, they must still register with the CDTFA. However, the online marketplace may collect and pay the sales taxes on your behalf. If they make sales directly from their own website, they must collect and pay these taxes.

Retailers with a Physical Presence in California
Even if they don’t meet the $500,000 sales threshold, they’ll still need to register with the CDTFA if their business has a physical presence in California. Examples of a physical presence in the state include, but are not limited to:

  • maintaining inventory or office locations in California
  • having representatives in California to take orders, make sales or deliveries, or install or assemble tangible personal property; and
  • leasing equipment, including computer servers, in California.
    Think of CA retailers like GMG, BBi, TRG, Tarett, APEX Wheels.

Online versus Local Shop
Up to this point, there was an advantage in buying parts online, versus buying the same part from a local retailer or shop. As the online retailer did not have to charge CA sales tax, but the local shop did. However, that will no longer be the case. Whether you buy online, or from a local shop, California will now require sales tax to be collected on the sale.

When Driving – Your Car “Hums” – Could It Be Your Tires?

The short answer is yes, bad tires can cause a humming sound. But normally customers think there is some other major root cause…like a wheel bearing, or a drive axle, or a CV joint going bad. These indeed are causes that can create a humming noise…but, more often than not, it is the tires.
Can Bad Tires Cause a Humming Sound?
If the humming sound is constant and never seems to change, then it is indeed likely one of the other items. Some unscrupulous tire companies have even be known to intentionally set the tire pressure wrong or make the tires out of balance in order for you to need tires faster.
But wheels do need to be rebalanced from time to time as a normal maintenance, depending on how rough your roads are and if the condition of your shocks and alignment are poor.
Uneven tire wear is the most common cause of humming noise from the tires, especially on our customers cars like the BMWs, MINIs and Audis. Weak rear shocks (especially on front wheel drive cars like the MINI and Audi models), wheel alignment issues, improper tire pressure and other problems can cause wear that creates a humming sound when you drive. If the tires have worn oddly with weird patterns (humming most often comes from the rear tires “cupping”, a high and low pattern in the rubber that causes a change in the surface area that touches the road. This wear will most often occur on the inner edge…a place that is often hard to see or detect, and a casual review of your tire wear may not make this issue jump out at you, but it is likely there. Take a very close look at the inner area of the tire (the 1 -1 1/2” inner tread area), and feel the surface as you rub your hand around the perimeter of the tire tread. The tire may also look smoother in this area than the other areas of the tread. Another diagnostic test is to move the rear tires to the front and the front tires to the rear (if you have symmetric tires sizes front and rear (meaning the same size)), you can diagnose the likely cause of the wear by looking at the tread.

If you detect this uneven wear pattern, you have a couple of decisions to make. First, to eliminate the noise, and if you want to maximize your tread life, moving the rear tires to the front and vice versa should eliminate the noise for a while. However, sooner than later, you will need to now replace all four tires with a new set of tires. If you’re not sure, you can always have us check it out…a quick visual exam is usually all it takes.
If it is not the tires, then the exam and road test should point out what other issue is present. A bad wheel bearing is also the cause of a noise that will sound as if it’s coming from the tires. But it is less of a humming noise and more of a high-pitched squeak or grinding noise. This issue needs to be fixed right away. If not fixed, it could allow the wheel bearing to get so hot from internal friction that it could seize.
Get It Checked Out
Don’t let concern anxiety drive you nuts…just stop by and ave one of our techs at BRracing perform a quick exam – your tires and check some things like wheel bearings, wheel rims, brakes, the tire wear patterns and balancing. We’ll figure out the cause quickly. Drive safe.

BRracing – expertise whenever you need it.

BMW M2 “Race” Introduced


BMW, along with many other car manufacturers (Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Ford, GM, Nissan) is continuing to invest /develop in its customer racing program, and another new race car is on the way. Since the M235i Racing (M235iR) became available back in 2017, the popularity for BMW’s entry-level race car has soared, and racing grids across the U.S. and Europe have become home to stronger BMW representation ever since. Following up on the success of the M235i Racing, BMW released the M240i Racing (M240iR) last year, and the updated B58-powered model has since become quite popular, and proven itself a worthy competitor on the circuit and in many series as well. This is not to take away from club racers that have developed the E36 M3, the E46 M3, even the E92 M3, but there is a significant step forward with a factory race car.

BMW Motorsport offers more potent race cars, like the M4 GT4, M6 GT3, and the M8 GTLM, all of which also enjoy a strong presence in their respective classes. But the high cost to run, service, maintain, and other barriers to entry to such a high level of competition still mean the market for such vehicles is rather limited. With the previous 2 Series M Performance Racing models, BMW has provided an avenue into motorsport that is attracting more individuals to the sport, and an excellent stepping stone for those looking to move beyond spec and club racing (and vice versa, the prior 2 series models are now making their way into Club Racing and DE events). It had been reported BMW was going to announce development of a M2 Competition-based vehicle that is built specifically for the customer racing program last month. In the time since, BMW has released camouflaged press photos of the car, and this past month, brought it out to the VLN Endurance Championship at the Nürburgring, where it completed 28 laps for the sole purpose of gathering real-world data in a real-world race environment. What could be referred to as the M2 Racing has also already completed testing procedures at other tracks, like Portimão and BMW’s own facility in Miramas, France. After running at the Nürburgring, BMW Motorsport Junior drivers reported positive results and a great experience, adding that driving the new car was a lot of fun—as we might expect.

The M2 Racing brings a number of improvements to the table over its 2 series predecessors. While the M235i racing used the respected N55 engine, and the M240i the slightly more robust B58, the M2 Competition, the model upon which the M2 customer race car will be based, uses a true BMW Motorsport engine, the S55. Couple this with improved suspension and running gear from the M3 and M4, which was also present on the original M2, and the M2 Racing starts to take shape as a serious upgrade. Technical details aside though, BMW also has a few years of providing a form of factory support to customer racing in the form of the M235i and M240i Racing models under its belt now, and the lessons learned here are undoubtedly being directly applied to M2 Racing development (parts, support, software development, ABS settings, traction control settings, tire wear, etc).
The first deliveries of the new M2 Competition-based customer race car are scheduled to begin during the second quarter of next year (2020). It will be offered in two versions; a conventional Racing trim, and a better-equipped Clubsport setup.

BRracing Motorsports 2019 Track Schedule

2018 was yet another development and platform expanding year for BRracing Motorsports (BRR Motorsports), as our “track customer” base continued to grow in all manners (I know, we just keep saying that), and our customers again traveled all over the scenic United States to sample all sorts of tracks, hotels, airports, restaurants, and other cultural hangouts as part of their track day or racing experience. And we thank all of our customers for such a great year…and for having such a great time together as a group.

Due to our experience base, and service offerings…we had several new customers join BRR Motorsports in 2018, and the scope and type of cars we supported expanded that needed full race or track support (this is a large sample of the type of cars we currently are supporting: Spec Boxster, Spec911, 997.1 Cup Cars, 997.2 Cup Cars, 991.1 & 991.2 Cup Cars, F458 & F488 Challenge Cars, BMW race cars, Audi TCR, Porsche 718 GT4 Clubsport)….extending BRracing beyond just sports cars, we also had a customer acquire the brand new Le Mans Prototype 3 class Ligier LMP3).

BRracing Motorsports offers the following services for track activities: (1) Race Car or Car Storage, (2) Transportation, (3) Track / Crew support, (4) Setup / alignment / corner balancing (5) Full track car / race car service / maintenance / upgrades, (6) Tires / Mounting / Balancing, (7) Instruction, (8) Video analysis, (9) Complex data acquisition and analysis.

Here is our current outlook for 2019 – these being the events customers have already targeted to participate in. The schedule will change regularly, so check back often:

February 9, 2019 – Thunderhill (Sat / Sun), HOD  (DONE)
February 16, 2019 – Thunderhill (Sat / Sun), PCA DE (DONE)
March 22-24, 2019 – Thunderhill, PCA – PCA Club Race, DE (DONE)
March 28-31, 2019 – COTA (Circuit of the Americas) – PCA Club Race / DE (DONE)
March 28-31, 2019 – Fontana, PCA Club Race / DE (DONE)
April 17, 2019 – Thunderhill – BRR Private Day (DONE)
April 17, 2019 – Thunderhill – Private Test Day (DONE)
April 27 – 28, 2019 – Thunderhill (5 mile), PCA DE (DONE)
May 1, 2019 – Thunderhill, Droids Day (DONE)
May 7, 2019 – Thunderhill – Private Test Day (DONE)
May 17-19, 2019 -Buttonwillow – PCA Club Race, DE (DONE)
May 27, 2019 – Thunderhill – Private Test Day (DONE)
Jun 19-20, 2019 – Thunderhill – Private Test Days (DONE)
Jun 28-30, 2019 – Laguna – SpeedVentures DE (DONE)
July 16, 2018 – Laguna – Private Test Day (105db)(DONE)
July 18-21, 2019 – Laguna – PCA Club Race / DE (103db)(DONE)
Aug 9, 2019 – Thunderhill, Private Test Day (DONE)
Aug 20-21, 2019 – Thunderhill – BRR Private Day
Aug 31, Sept 1, 2019 – Laguna- POC (92db)
Sept 6, 2019 – Thunderhill (5 mile), PCA DE (Diablo)
Sept 7-8, 2019 – Thunderhill – PCA Club Race, DE
Sept 13-15, 2019 – Laguna – Pirelli Cup
Sept 20, 2018 – Thunderhill – Private Test Day (DROIDS)
Oct 18-20, 2019 – Laguna – PCA DE (92db)
Oct 25-27, 2019 – Sonoma, PCA Club Race
Nov 1-3, 2019 – Buttonwillow, PCA Club Race, DE

Mercedes E550 – Sporty!

Each project we do is defined / catered to each individual customer and their objectives and desires.  For this customer, he wanted to spice up his Mercedes E550.  Better looks, better power, better styling, better exhaust sound and tone, better handling.  That just about covers all the bases.  This is not meant to be an agressive, over the top, upgrade, but the refinement of the car to make it look, sound, feel, and perform in a sportier manor.  The base Mercedes does not illicit much emotional response, either to look at, drive, or listen too.  We mean to change all that.

Unlike some requests we get, the good news here is that the Mercedes E550 offers a great platform to start with.

TUNE / SOFTWARE

Tunes and software upgrades are most effective when we are dealing with some form of “forced induction”.  And that is just what this Mercedes has, and it has known “head room” for tuning upgrades.  There are two primary tuners out there for Mercedes (Weistec and Renntech).  We choose to go with the Weistec upgrades for this car, as they offered a bigger diversity of engine upgrade options.

Weistec offers a software upgrade that works with CA 91 Octane fuel, and produces some amazing results: 540 HP, 715# Torque.  The upgrade is a traditional “flash” of the core ECU / DME software, and also requires the spark plugs to be upgraded (colder temperature range spark plugs).  A few additional benefits are the eliminated the top speed limiter, and improved throttle response.

CHARGE PIPE / BLOW OFF VALVE

One might think about the intake, but most OEM intakes these days flow well, are CA legal, and often are a true “cold air intake”.  All of the above is true for this Mercedes.  So, we looked to other parts of the intake system that could be optimized.  One of those is the “charge pipe” and either “blow off valve” or “recirculation / anti-surge valve”, depending on how the engine was designed.  While the engine compartment is very nice looking, and very densely packaged, this was an area that could benefit from an upgrade.  Weistec offers this as part of their engine performance solutions, and not only that, but it looks awesome in the engine bay.  Here is the stock setup before upgrades:

Here are the parts to add slightly larger intake tubes, and to add the “blow off” valve (the Mercedes stock engine does not have a blow off valve, which inhibits the ability of the turbo to stay spining without back pressure when the throttle is closed).

Strong, reliable, and easy to install.  The blow off valve works off engine vacuum, which is activated when the throttle is closed.  Here is the new system fully installed (but with some of the engine vanity covers still off):

And a closer view of the vacuum / blow off valve area.

EXHAUST

If you are going to add to the engine power, then, the exhaust needs to be dealt with as well.  Not only from a performance stand point, but from a sound perspective.  You want to hear the car….

The stock Mercedes is very quiet, very subdued….not befitting a twin turbo’d engine with 540HP. The main issue with the stock exhaust is the rear mufflers.  Big, large, heavy, and quiet.  Those must go.  Since this is a turbo car, the turbos and the catalytic convertors already tone the exhaust sound way down, both making it quiet, as well as muting the tone.  So, out goes the rear mufflers, replaced with a set of Renntech rear mufflers (much smaller, flow great, perfect fitment, and a much better tone). 

But, even that is not enough.  Much like we do to many other turbo based cars, there is a center resonator in the exhaust system, and we cut that out, and straight pipe that section. Now you can hear the engine, and it’s not loud, not obtrusive, but it sings to you.

One of the things that happens in an upgrade process, is that one upgrade often drives the next piece of the solution.  If we now have an engine with more power, and better acceleration and top speed, then we need to think about the brakes.  What should be do there?  What should we do, or what can we do?  Hmmm…I think the only proper thing to do is to go big…big brake kit that is. And since we want this to look completely integrated, well conceived, as if the factory had done the right thing from the start, then we need to go big front and rear.

BRAKES

If we want to stay with the factory look approach, then the only choice is BREMBO.  They offer a complete kit for this Mercedes, and an amazing kit it is.  Just like all Brembo BBK (Big Brake Kits), it upgrades the rotors to a 2-piece, floating rotor design, the fronts using their newer “Type 3” slotted rotors, while the back uses the older “Type 1” slotted rotors.  Calipers are bigger, stronger, greater surface area, longer mment arm for the braking center of pressure…everything you would want in an upgraded caliper.  Plus, they look killer.  New stainless steel lines, sport brake pads (better bite, and 50% less brake dust).  Balanced braking efficiency front and rear, so works perfect with the stock ABS and traction control systems.

Here is the new front setup installed:

Who wouldn’t want that as part of their car?  Massive 6-piston front caliper.  Here is the rear setup (4 piston rear caliper, 2-piece floating, slotted rear rotor).

Here is a comparison of the old, original front brake, to the new Brembo BBK front brake system.

The look, the performance, the braking feel, the confidence….just what we wanted.

As we mentioned, often one step drives another.  We knew from the start that we wanted to do the Brembo brakes, and to ensure proper fitmnet inside the wheel, we had to know what wheel we were going to go with.  Just like all the other decisions, the customer wanted the best product available.  If you ask us what the best possible wheels are, that is easy, HRE Wheels. Then that decides it, HRE it is.

WHEELS

Everything you would want in a wheel is available from HRE.  Design, style, style options, fitment (so we can also get wider tires in the stock, unmodified wheel wells….and experience with these cars from other projects we have done, has shown that there is tight fitment in the rear wheel well…but the HRE’s fit perfect), color, strong, light weight…but most of all, they just look amazing.

Front HRE wheels w the new Brembo BBK installed –

Rear HRE wheel w the new Brembo BBK installed –

Now, there are a lot of directions we could go with the suspension.  But, this is not a hard core race car, this is meant to be the AMG type upgrade as if it came from the factory.  The handling is fine therefore, but the ride height is not.

SUSPENSION

There are so many ways to go on the suspension, but, we don’t need “coil-overs”.  That would not be staying consistent with the objectives and needs of this project.  We don’t need to change or upgrade the suspension bushings, the control arm bushings, the sub-frame bushings, the sway bars….we just want to firm up the ride slightly, and lower the ride height.  The easy answer then is to install sport springs.  For the Euro cars, we prefer the H&R sport springs for street cars.  While they don’t publish their spring rates, we have tested the springs from H&R and others, and find their choice to be a better result for street cars.

To truly make this a complete “project”…we can’t ignore the interior of the car.  We have done little touches to the outside, along with the major visible exterior upgrades (wheels, brakes, trim, window tint), but we want a complete solution.  Given the theme and approach, the interior was too plain, and didn’t match the theme of “sporty”…..so, the trim inside needed to be upgraded as well.

INTERIOR TRIM

Given the colors of the car, wheels, brakes, and exterior paint color, the best solution was to introduce Carbon Fiber trim to the interior. 

The NET….success.  As the customer stated, this is JUST THE WAY I wanted the car to be from the factory.  It works in every way.

BRracing – producing JOY for our Customers!

Everything You Need To Track Your 991 Porsche GT3 / GT3RS

We have had countless conversations with customers on what do they need to play at the track. We have also been blessed with customers, who engage with us, and allow us to learn what works best in their cars. Here is a complete list of all that you may need if you want to take your Porsche 991 GT3 / GT3RS to the track. Many of these items apply to all cars, but many other cars require a variety of upgrades to be as suited for track use as the 991 GT3 / GT3RS. Talk to us if you have any questions on the items in this list….this is not hypothetical, this is a proven list. Add to this, use this as a guideline, build on it. There are certainly other things you CAN do as well, but this covers all the bases.

PRODUCT / ITEM / TASK
QTY NOTE
Porsche 911 GT3 / GT3RS – 991.1 or 991.2 1 A
Track Oriented Alignment – stock sucks    
Brake Flush w Track Level Brake Fluid    
Track Tires    
GMG WEC Harness-Rollbar 1 B
GMG Sub-strap Mounting Plate 2 C

GMG CF Window Triangles for anti-buffeting kit
(Tested to 158mph at COTA)

1 D
Schroth GT3 6-Point Racing Harness 2 E
Dundon Lifetime Muffler Quiet Version for Laguna Seca 1 F
Dundon GT3 Lifetime Center Muffler Turnaway Tips 1 G
DSC Controller for Porsche PASM Shocks – replace OEM PASM shock controller 1 H
Girodisc Front 2pc Floating Cast Iron Rotor Conversion for 991 1 I
Girodisc Rear 2pc Floating Cast Iron Rotor Conversion for 991 1 J
Track Suitable Brake Pads (Front and Rear) 1  
VBOX Video HD2 1 K
VBOX Bar Mount for VBOX Video HD2 1 L
VBOX Unterminated CAN Interface Cable 1 RLCAB015 1 L
VBOX Roll Cage Camera Mount 1 RLACS260 1 L
VBOX Roll Cage Bracket 1 RLACS267 1 L
VBOX Accessories (Various – quantities to match your desired install) 1+ M
Rennline Folding Tow Hook – REV2 991.2 GT3 – Front 1 N
LWBS Bolster Covers – reduces wear on the outside bolsters on LWBS – increases resale value 1 O
BlendMount Action Camera Aluminum Specialty Mount, GoPro 1 P
JOES Racing Production Mounting Clamp 1” Tube – for use with the Above BlendMount for mounting the VBOX Camera – will need a rubber ‘wrap’ around the camera to secure it – the tube is slightly too large. 1 Q
GT3 Mods thread that was most helpful 1 R
Front License Plate Tow Hook Mounting for California Front License Plate 1 S
“Universal Vehicle Mounted Carbon Fiber Blue Spun Car Safety Belt Insert – Seat Belt Buckle Clip 2 Pack” 1 T
APEX Pro as a reliable and very functional lap timer 1 U
400 – 600 lbs Long Torque Wrench For CenterLocks 1 V
“iPod touch to serve as the “cars” device for interfacing with the Porsche, APEX Pro, Box – advantage of an iPod touch is it’s NOT a phone – and therefore won’t ring while on track!!” 1 W
64GB or Greater SD Cards for the VBOX 2+ X
Dedicated car SD Card readers for iPad and Computer – reading SD cards while at the track USB & USB C Y
USB Cables in all shapes/sizes/lengths 1 Z
Empty Metal Altoid Mint boxes are perfect for storing SD Cards 1 AA

Links / Notes for all the items above (BRracing can supply / source / sell / Install any or all of the items in this list, we can even get you the car if desired) –

A: Porsche
B: GMG WEC bar
C: GMG Sub bar
D: GMG CF Window Diffuser
E: Schroth Harness
F: Dundon GT3 Exhaust
G: same as above
H: DSC PASM Controller
I: GiroDisc Front Brake Rotor Upgrade
J: GiroDisc Rear Brake Rotor Upgrade
K: VBOX
L: VBOX accessories
M: VBOX accessories
N: Rennline Tow Hook
O: Light Weight Bucket Side Bolsters
P: BlendMount Camera Mount – GoPro
Q: Joe’s Racing Mount – VBOX Camera
R: GT3 mods forum post
S: Front License Plate Mount
T: Seat Belt Clip
U: APEX Pro
V: CenterLock Torque Wrench – multiple options
W: Apple IPod Touch
X: 64Gb cards – Amazon
Y: SD card reader – Amazon
Z: USB cables – Amazon
AA: Altoids boxes

BRracing – making happiness happen at the track

Porsche Spec Boxster – Rules Change – Shocks

Porsche Club of America, Club Racing – Rule Change Relating to Spec Boxster Shocks

Due to product supply issues beyond PCA Club Racing’s control, we are forced to find an alternative to the current Spec Boxster damper / shock system. The Club Racing rules committee, SPB class advocate, and National Chair reviewed systems from several vendors for compatibility, performance characteristics, financial impact and serviceability in order to determine a system that will be generally available going forward. The current spec damper system, in its existing specification, will continue to be allowed for competition.

PCA’s goal was to find one that would not provide an immediate competitive advantage to racers who bought the new system, would have excellent customer support, quick serviceability and benefit the class in the long term. After reviewing all aspects and doing some on-track testing, we have decided to go with the system from Motion Control Suspension (MCS).

MCS has been a supporter of Club Racing, they have a proven record of customer support on and off the track and excellent product quality. Their components are made in the USA, are individually serviceable, are available for purchase as individual units, and the performance envelope is very close to what competitors are accustomed to with the existing system.

Current SPB racers can use their existing springs with the new MCS system, those building new cars will have to buy a spring kit designed for the MCS system. 

MCS is also offering a contingency program for the SPB class for racers competing with their system. The MCS Contingency Program information is available at: https://pcaclubracing.org/contingency/mcs-sbp-program/.

More program details are available at: http://motioncontrolsuspension.com/specboxster/.

Here is more info on the MCS shock approved for use in the Spec Boxster Class:

Motion Control Systems MCS 1WNR
The MCS 1WNR damper is a single-adjustable damper with an adjustment range of 18 settings. Built as an “entry-level” (yet still race-capable and winning) damper, MCS 1WNR dampers are upgradable to our other damper systems. The modular design of MCS damper systems use interchangeable parts for an easy upgrades, without the need to invest in a new package. All MCS dampers are fully rebuildable, serviceable and can be custom-valved and upgraded any time.
These dampers are packed with technical features with elegantly clean execution. The monotube design is very stable with more oil capacity and better heat dissipation than twin tube dampers. Large shafts give extremely high, low-friction side-load support unmatched by shocks inverted and converted for strut applications. The large main piston gives quick, accurate damper response and the divider piston separates oil and gas, eliminating cavitation which often causes noise and sloppiness.

The MCS 1WNR damper system rings tremendous value and capability in a clean, easy to install and use package; and for these very reasons, was chosen to be used for NASA Spec E46 and NASA Spec Iron racing series.

Adjustability
The MCS 1WNR damper is a single-adjustable damper with an adjustment range of 18 settings.
Application specific valving covers a wide range of spring rates and eliminates the need to constantly revalve every time you want to increase or decrease your spring rate. MCS has engineered its adjustment mechanisms so each click can be felt, but never feels like you’ve gone too far.

18 Clicks of Rebound Adjustment
With 18 clicks of rebound adjustment, the user can easily introduce more spring control or change the balance of the car.
1WNR dampers are built standard with a linear piston and a digressive piston option is available.

If you have any questions about this announcement, or are interested in getting a set of MCS dampers for your car (BRracing has installed MCS dampers / shocks on a large variety of track cars, and has found them to be very reliable, easy to service, and predictable.)….give us a call.

2018 Car Dependabilty / Reliability Results

Each year, JD Power researches hundreds of thousands of owners on their experiences with their car. The J.D. Power 100-Point Score rates vehicles based on quality, dependability, performance, depreciation and the dealership experience. The survey is not the experience in just one year, but the totality of the experience over the last three (3) years (2016, 2017, 2018)

Over the years we have been doing service, and servicing your cars, we have seen three trends in the reliability of the cars we serve. We serve predominantly the European based manufacturers (Audi, BMW, Mercedes, MINI Cooper, Porsche, Ferrari, and Aston Martin), but we also are starting to work on some Ford (Mustang’s, Raptor’s, F-150), Chevrolet (Camaro’s, Corvette’s). From 1996 – 2006, the reliability of almost all cars was not high. Manufacturers were more concerned about growing their product lines, adding more new cars, truck, models, adding many new technological features, and therefore, not focussing on reliability, or serviceability.

Next, we saw from 2006 – 2013, overall reliability improved. Still not great, but no question, the focus and attention had shifted, as had the economy, and we were seeing the first influx of hybrid and electric cars.

Now, since 2014, we have seen a major shift in focus to include and improve on the reliability of the cars. The serviceability has gotten harder, not because the manufacturers have chosen to do so, but the inclusion of more features, and the push for ultimate fuel economy, has made the engine compartment a very crowded area, and very technologically complex solution.

One of the reasons though for this article, besides providing useful information to our customers, is that the reality is not what often our customers perceive. We often get the comments when working on their car, “why isn’t my car more reliable?”, or why isn’t my car as reliable as a Honda. Well, surprisingly to many, ALL EURO cars are MORE reliable than their Asian counterparts, even better than those who are being heralded recently, like Hyundia. Take a look at the results below…we hope this info is useful, but it may be a little surprising.

THE most reliable brand by a long shot is PORSCHE. This is not something new, this is continuing the trend for several years. While being some of the most sophisticated cars on the planet, Porsche has not let their focus on performance detract from their reliability. (Again, based on a 100 point score). Porsche was the only car manufacturer to have an Average in the 90’s, and almost all cars in the 90’s as well.

Porsche
91194
Macan91
Cayenne90
Boxster90
Cayman90
Panamera84
Avg90

Next best in the European car manufacturers was Mercedes. Mercedes only had one car score in the 90’s, all others were in the 80’s, showing the commitment to reliability all across their product line.

Mercedes
S Class92
GLC89
C Class88
E Class87
GLE87
GLS86
CLA83
GLA82
Avg87

BMW had taken their eye off of reliability, and focussed more on technological enhancements and car model line expansion during the 1996 – 2006 period, and we have seen much improved reliability since. The cars manufactured between 2006 – 2013 were a definite step up versus the prior period, and now that change in focus has shown in the most recent reliability results as BMW has climbed to near the top of the charts:

BMW
7 Series90
X688
X387
5 Series87
4 Series86
3 Series84
X584
2 Series82
X180
Avg85

Due to the far broader product line from BMW, there are a lot more cars (and more cars sold as well versus Porsche and Mercedes), but BMW also won four Quality / Reliability awards in 2018. This is the most for BMW ever.

Audi still lags their premium European car manufacturers in quality. As we have said to our customers, Audi has some of the prettiest cars across their product line, and they offer many attractive features, but reliability has never been as strong. Their results in 2018 show some significant improvement, and we have seen the same type of improvement over the last three periods (1996 to 2006 – quality not so great, 2007 – 2013, improved, and now, 2014 to present, better yet).

Audi 
A586
Q585
A484
Q784
A382
A682
Q379
Avg83

Last in our grouping of the European cars is MINI. They have always been a little off the pace in terms of reliability. The first gen of the new MINIs (R50, R52, and R53, 2002 – 2006 years), the MINI was a new model line, and included a lot of parts from other suppliers, not sourced or made in house. Due to this, the reliability of the car suffered a little. The model line changed again in 2007 (R55, R56, R57, R60), and grew, due to the initial success of the new MINI, but many of the parts were still sourced from outside suppliers. The quality in this period was much like the same as the first production series. In 2013, the MINI product line had become an overall staple in the overall BMW / MINI production, and BMW decided to move the sourcing of the parts internal, w the MINI now sporting an engine designed and developed in house. As a result, the MINI quality has improved, but not to the level of the other European suppliers (also be mindful, that a less expensive car, like the MINI, has less expensive parts, which are less reliable overall).

And, to put this in perspective, the MINI product lines is much better than Toyota or Honda (see those results later in this article). MINI also won the award for best quality in the small SUV market!

MINI 
Countryman83
Clubman78
Hardtop78
Avg80

So, this all begs the question….we now know how the Euro manufacturers stand in themselves, but how do they compare to the other major car manufacturers. This is not a fully inclusive list of all car manufacturers, but those that we thought either buck the current perspective when we talk to our customers (Toyota, Honda), or those that are the new players in the market, and are those that may be considered by our customers as product alternatives.

Toyota – in general, the overall perspective is that Toyota and Honda are reliable brands…very reliable. Yet, the data does NOT support that. Let’s look at the Toyota data first:

Toyota
Corolla83
4Runner82
Sequoia82
Tundra81
Highlander80
Avalon78
RAV478
Camry77
Sienna76
Tacoma75
C-HR74
Prius74
Yaris73
Prius C66
Avg77

Toyota’s best…barely make the quality grade compared to the worst of the European car manufacturers. And, to no surprise, Toyota Prius is one of the WORST car manufactured from anyone.

How about Honda?

Honda
Accord81
CRV78
Pilot77
Ridgeline77
Civic76
Odyssey73
Clarity69
Fit68
HR-V66
Avg74

Honda scores very low, worse than Toyota, and only had one car in the 80 point range at all. They also have three car lines in the 60’s…that is one third worse than Porsche….not even in the same game.

Finally, what about the newer car player….usually, when a new car manufacturer enters a market, they focus on two things, reliability, and lower cost. This is exactly the strategy that Hyundai took, and in the last 5 years, they have started to work on newer features and overall style, look. They too want to play now in the premium class, where the profit margins are far more attractive, and to win here, you have to have quality, style, and performance. At the top of their product line, the reliability is strong, but on the main stream products, not quite the same results.

Hyundai
Genesis G9093
Genesis G8090
Santa Fe79
Elantra77
Sonata77
Ioniq70
Avg81

So, when you consider your next car to buy, remember this data…and have fun.

BRracing – providing help to all our customers, all the time.

MINI COOPER S JCW R53 GP + MORE

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Normally, our customer projects start with a bare or base model, and the customer wants to take it to another level.  But, in this case, the same objective existed, to take it to another level, but instead of starting with a base model, we started at the top of the food chain for MINI’s….the GP (specifically, a 2006 MINI Cooper S JCW GP). In MINI’s view…this was it, this is the best MINI of that generation there was….what more could be done, what more should be done?

Ah, we have our ways.  This car will be a dual personality car, being used for daily driving, but also used for Autocross and track day events. Therefore, that defines the canvas and the needs…we need to improve the engine, the suspension, brakes, and tires.  The GP is mainly distinguished from the other MINI’s or even the JCS (John Cooper Works) versions with body and trim upgrades.  The engine, brakes, exhaust and suspension are the same as the JCW versions.  The trim upgrades are the hood inlet duct (carbon fiber), the mirror caps, the interior trim (carbon fiber), the wheels / tires, the rear wing above the rear hatch, the rear trunk lid handle (carbon fiber), and the rear lower diffuser.

ENGINE

The JCW / GP already has many upgraded parts, and many that we would install on a base Cooper or a Cooper S.  Example, we believe the “cold air intake” on the JCW to be the best solution on the market…better than any aftermarket “cold air intakes”.  The JCW has the upgraded exhaust manifold…the JCW has the colder spark plugs, the JCW has the upgraded SC reduction pulley. So, what’s needed?

The crankdamper offers an opportunity …for two reasons.  It is available in a reduction size…further reducing the parasitic drag on the engine, and freeing up Horsepower, but also, it comes in a design that addresses a fundamental shortcoming as delivered by MINI.  Even if we weren’t looking for HP, we would recommend the upgrade to the aftermarket crank pulley.  The stock unit, which acts as the damper, has a rubber center core.  This is located right beneath the passenger side valve cover.  If the engine develops an oil leak at the valve cover……yes, it will happen, it’s only a matter of time, then the oil can drop right on the damper, and the rubber in the center core.  If it does, or if the rubber just ages out, then at some point the crank pulley will just shear, and the MINI will be stranded.  The engine will run, but everything else dies, including the power steering and the cooling system.  NOT a good thing.

In our view, the best aftermarket crankshaft damper is the one from ATI.  And, to beat that, it comes in either stock size or a 2% reduction.  We will take the 2% reduction please.

SUSPENSION

This would be the big area of change….mainly because the other features that distinguish a GP model are not suspension related, so this is indeed an area that could use some attention.  As we have written about before on the R53 MINI Cooper, the suspension is rough, has limited suspension travel….but of all the various generations of MINI’s, the R53 has the lowest center of gravity.  If the car is going to be used for autocross and track use, then even though the MINI sits relatively low, it is not set up well.  We need still lower ride height without compromising the ride, we need more camber, we some of the suspension bushings to be upgraded to provide more crisp response, we need different and adjustable sway bars to allow for better initial turn in or corner rotation, and some of the control arms need to be upgraded in terms of strength, and we need more camber adjustment front and rear.  Simple, right?  In reality, yes it is, but quite a few parts need to be changed.

CAMBER (Front and rear)

Almost all cars, when they are going to be used for autocross and track, can use a much higher setting on camber front and rear.  Depending on the customers use, we have defined six different alignment setups to accomplish the customers goals.  Whatever level the customer wants, on a MINI Cooper, there are no stock adjustments available for changing the front camber.   Therefore, we need to change that.  The most straightforward way is to add a set of adjustable front camber plates.  In our view, and all of our testing, the BEST set of adjustable camber plates is made by Vorshlag.  Strong, better bearings than all others, thin (reduces the stack height), and easily adjustable, this is just what this car needed.

At the rear, the stock MINI (all of them), has some rear camber adjustment built into the rear lower control arm.  However, depending on how much camber you want, this may not be sufficient (and also remember, we will be lowering this car, so we will gain some natural negative camber from the geometry of the suspension, but we will still need more).  That’s need part A on the rear….the other need on the rear lower control arms is strength.  We have seen MINI’s, where the strain on the rear suspension, has caused the rear lower control arm to buckle or break.  The stock rear lower control arm on the MINI is very soft, very thin, you can even grab it with your hand, and both twist it and distort it.  Yet this is the arm that bears most of the force under cornering.  So, another benefit of introducing an adjustable lower control arm is strength.

The MINI….all of them, much like many BMWs, comes with a slightly amount of understeer when driven hard.  However, for autocross or track use, this is not desirable or optimal.  We want the car to turn in crisply, quickly, and controllably.  The easiest way to dial out some of the front understeer, is to change the rear sway bar…..to make it bigger, and adjustable.  However, this is another area where going bigger does not mean go BIG, we just need a tad bit more torsional rigidity in the rear bar, not a lot.  If you go BIG, you actually will make the MINI twitchy, and it will not feel confident inspiring.  On the R53 MINI, you need an 19mm, solid, rear adjustable sway bar.  There are lots of them out there, most are nearly the same, normally we would lead with the NM Engr rear adjustable sway bar (better mounts, bushings), but in this case, we went with the H Sport adjustable rear sway bar (mounts can be lubed externally).

Along the same line, if we want the car to rotate and turn in crisply, the other area on the MINI then needing attention would be the front lower inner control arm bushings.  The stock bushings are soft, rubber, and allow too much deflection under load.  There are a variety of options here…and thought needs to be applied to understand the need and application.  Just because we want to upgrade the bushings, does not mean we have to go with the hardest, stiffest solution.  That would induce noise, vibration, harshness, and yet, not really provide much of a difference in handling response.  In our view, the proper upgrade here is to go with a polyurethane bushing.  Much more solid than stock, but it does not induce any noise, vibration or harshness, and, they are warranted for a lifetiime, even better than stock.  We do not believe that all the other suspension bushings need to be changed, nor the engine or transmission mounts. Changing most of the other bushings either does not return a lot, or induces negative aspects into the car.

Finally, the area that is most in need of change, are the shocks / springs.  This is a difficult choice, as we mentioned earlier, the stock MINI is limited in the amount of natural suspension travel….mainly due to the front lower suspension interacting or being limited in travel due to the front lower subframe rail.  So, changing out the MINI’s suspension with sport springs is usually not a good approach. The car will sit lower, but the ride is awful, and the car has such limited suspension travel that it just bounes down the road.  Putting on just any coil-over isn’t the right choice necessarily either, and almost all, if they are adjustable, are NOT.  Due to the location of the shock adjuster on most coil-overs on the rear…the rear adjustment knob is on TOP of the shock, where you can’t ever reach it or get to it once installed.  Finally, you want….you need a shock that is adjustable, since indeed, this is a dual personality car, and you don’t want to be bouncing down the road, you want to enjoy driving your MINI.  The only solution that we have found that works great is the Bilstein PSS (B16) solution.  There used to be two versions, a PSS9 and a PSS10. Originally, Bilstein made the PSS9 for the R53 MINI Cooper….however, in 2018, Bilstein upgraded the coil-over for the R53  MINI, and now makes the B16 version in the PSS10 design.

Notice how on the Bilstein PSS10 there is the BIG shock adjustment knob on the bottom of both the front strut and the rear shock….this is the big difference.  Big, easy to reach, can be adjusted softer or stiffer in seconds…versus others that are adjustable, but not reachable.  Implementation makes all the difference.

BRAKES

The good news with either the MINI Cooper JCW or the GP model, is that both come with the JCW brake upgrade front and rear.  The real benefit is in the front brakes…instead of the stock brakes, the JCW and GP come with a larger, 4-piston, full floating caliper and larger rotor.  Due to the size of the caliper, the brake pad size is also increased.  The stock MINI brakes, if driven hard, are just NOT up to the task.  The good news is the JCW / GP brakes are…no need to move to a true big brake kit (BBK).  So…does anything need to be done here?  Always…the fluid needs to be upgraded (to one of seven different grades of brake fluid that are better than stock, and can take the heat abuse from either autocross or track use)(fluids like StopTech 600, StopTech 660, Motul 600, Motul 660, Brembo HTC-64t, or Endless….in this case, we would choose Brembo HTC-64t (the choice is more guided by frequency of abuse and budget)).

But, there is more…the rotors.  The stock JCW /GP brake pads work well for the occassional street / autocross / track mixed use.  High carbon content, stronger, harder brake rotors are what is needed to sustain the ongoing aggressive use.

The picture below is  the complete JCW / GP brake kit…as this kit can be installed on a MINI Cooper S to upgrade the complete brake system.

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Get out and DRIVE!!!!!