BR Racing Blog

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

it

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.

YOU DREAM IT…we build it.  BRracing, making smiles.

Get out and DRIVE!!!!!

Porsche 991.2 911 Carrera T – MORE POWER!


It’s not often that we get the chance to have timing work perfectly for a combination of a new project, a brand new car, and brand new technology.  But that is the case with Josh’s new Porsche 991.2 Carrera T, and one that was custom ordered.  This is not Josh’s first Porsche, so he knew exactly what he wanted when he custom ordered the new car, and was able to take delivery at the Porsche LA Experience Center.

What an amazing canvas to start with.  A custom ordered Carrera T, w the Carbon Fiber sport bucket seats, manual transmission, steel brakes.   Josh’s last car was a Porsche 996 GT3… but he saw something special in the new turbo engined Carrera…could it be even more than a current gen GT3?  Ahhhh….the basis for the project.  The new turbo engine brings lots of promise, and we have seen from some of our other recent Porsche 991.x Turbo or Turbo S projects, that there is a lot of potential lying within.

As mentioned at the start, it’s not often that the timing for a project also coincides with the launch of new technology and performance products.  But that was the case here, as TiAL (a reknown developer of turbo base engine performance products) was starting to bring to market a whole new range of 3D printed products, and ones that allowed a whole new level of enhancement and refinement.

While on paper the new turbo based engines offer a lot of headroom, the packaging itself and complexity required to implement a total solution were the hurdles to be overcome.  We often see aftermarket performance product manufacturers take a piece meal approach as well…introducing a piece of the solution, but not addressing the whole.  TiAL took a view at the whole…and brought all the pieces together, which in the end, produced massive gains.  But lets take a look at the constraints and the complexity that must be addressed:

This is the view from below of the new Porsche Carrera twin turbo based engine.  While much the same, at the same time, differences exist in almost all areas.  Realize the pieces that must be addressed, at least for this first phase of the project, are the intake, intake plenum, intake tubes, intercoolers, turbos, cooling, and software.  Where the complexity of the packaging can start to be understood is the view of the topside w the bumper cover removed.

In the image above, we can start to appreciate the amazing job Porsche has done to cram all the pieces into the rear of the car, and yet find ways to develop a new standard in power and torque. Unlike the Porsche 911 Turbo and Turbo S, flow must be incorporated into the rear of the car for the intercoolers and intake (whereas on the Turbo / Turbo S, there are the front intake ducts into th leading edge of the rear fenders).  While hard to identify all the pieces in the image above, the big ducts are the air leading to the intercoolers, and the exit of that air to the lower edge of the rear bumper cover, yet you can also see the intake tube from the air filters to the turbo, and the turbo intake output tube that leads back to the intake throttle body.  The “cage” the surrounds all of this also forms the sub-structure for the rear bumper cover. Care needed to be taken to find ways to optimize the flow, cooling, boost, and yet, maintain this cage.

Here is another view…this time w the Intercooler ducts removed to show the intake and turbo output tubes.

TiALtook full advantage of the “total design” approach, and didn’t just think about designing some new products, they did the research into where the limitations existed, and then, how could they be optimized. 

INTAKE PLENUM

Lets start with the intake plenum.  Huge benefits existed here, whereas, the actual intake manifold did not show to be the limiting factor.  To validate that, they “flow tested” all elements.  Here is the stock intake plenum installed on the flow bench, to create the baseline.

In the image above, you can see where a flow bottleneck exists.  The numbers proved this as well. Using laser mapping to understand the space requirements and limitations, a new intake plenum was designed.  Here is an image of the new intake.  Take special note, this is NOT a cast part, as was the method of production in the past.  This is an ALUMINUM 3D printed part.  This allows even further optimization of the design of the part, not just for fast prototyping, but in the actual manufacture of the part as well.  The insides of the new intake are perfectly smooth, all elements have been refined, not like the old “CAST” method of production.

Size, flow, fitment were all optimized.  Yet, it is a true “plug and play” replacement.  Mates perfectly to the stock intake manifold, and has the perfect face to match to the throttle body.  Again, this is a complete 3D printed solution.  Just amazing.

But, they didn’t just produce a pretty part, they tested it as well, and compared the results of the new design against the baseline of the stock unit.  Unlike prototyping in the past, 3D printing allows time and expense to try various approaches, and using full CFD flow analysis, there is no guess work involved….CFD shows you the flow, and the flow bench validates the results, not just hypothetical results.  Here is the new intake plenum being flow tested as well.

With the new part, we can start the assembly of the new solution. Here is the new intake plenum installed to the intake manifold.  OH MY, what a BIG MOUTH you have oh new intake!

Look at how smooth and perfectly curved the new intake plenum is.  WOW!

Next, let’s attach the current Porsche throttle body.

The next part of the puzzle or total solution needed to be the intake tubes.  If you are going to optimize the power of a turbo solution, you need to feed the turbos more air, as they are going to product more boost…and you then need to optimize the flow of the increased boost to the intake…and, along the way, cool the turbo output thru the intercoolers.  So, in looking at the OEM solution, the intake tubes were way too small to accomplish the goals.

INTAKE TUBES

While visual evidence again existed…you can see that the current intake tubes were a bottleneck, TiAL took a proper full design approach.  They again used lazer mapping to understand the space constraints, and to map the attachment points so that the new solution would also be “plug and play”.  Here are the images of the intake tubes, also made of aluminum.

For those of us that have been in this business for a while, these new parts are truly amazing and a marvel.  The design, flow, and weight are exactly what you would want.  No tradeoffs, no downsides.  They mate perfectly as they should, no special accomodation needed in the install.  Sensors are the perfect location.

Is there really a difference….both visual inspection and testing bare that out…here is a visual view of the stock intake tube, and the new TiAL tube.  You can see how the stock intake tube constrains the incoming air flow…almost choking it off.

But, the real test is in the flow bench test and CFD analysis.  You want the color to be Green or Blue….

Moving on to the next piece in the puzzle….the Intercoolers.  This piece has some of the hardest design elements….must fit into the OEM cage / location, must provide for existing sensors, and must solve two (2) flow issues.  Both increase the flow of the cooling air that passes thru the intercooler that accomplishes the thermodynamic heat transfer, and yet, must optimize “delta T” and “delta P” for the boosted turbo output air.  Most other Intercoolers mainly solve only a partial solution here, and are not fully optimized. They may also improve or reduce “heat soak”, but the goal is overall increased performance, not just reduced heat soak.

INTERCOOLERS

Again, TiAL took full advantage of laser mapping to determine the fit, space, and layout constraints.  There is a lot here in the complexity of the design…the plastic cage that holds all the pieces together and in proper location, and that also serves as the superstructure of the rear bumper cover. 

Yet, at the same time, some learning from Porsche is also possible here…to see what they did between the 991.x Turbo, Turbo S, and finally, the GT2RS, Porsche themselves identified some of the solution. 

Here are the new Intercoolers.  One of the old fluid dynamic rules is that any 90 degree change in direction of a fluid flow results in upwards of a 12% loss of pressure.  There are a ton of Intercoolers in the market today for all sorts of turbo based solutions, and you can usually instantly tell which ones have been properly designed versus those that have not, just by looking at the Intercooler end tanks.  TiAL used the new 3D printing solution to fully optimize the production of their Intercoolers.  Just look at the end tanks alone!

TiAL maintained the complete plastic cage, and came up with amazing unique 3D printed “clips” to allow the same superstructure to be used, but since the IC are thicker, it created these clips to allow the structure to be extended.  As a result, the IC’s fit perfectly.  Amazing, creative.

HOSES

What we appreciated here, in working w TiAL, was the complete attention to detail  First, it was the completeness of the solution, next it was the design and manufacturing methods to fully optimize the solution, not just doing it, but getting the most from the upgrades.  That even included the hoses.  Most aftermarket turbo manufacturers realize that stock hoses can not cope, nor last, under the higher boost loads.  But, TiAL went farther, not only producing silicone & reinforced hoses, but incorporating the hose ID and OD into the design…such that there are no “separation” or vortices induced into the flow due to the mismatch of the hose and elements, and disruption of the flow.  Finally, they incorporated elements that ensure the hoses will fit, and stay attached. 

Notice as well…they didn’t just produce silicon hoses, they double wrapped them, both for heat protection, and to eliminate expansion under load or boost.  The outer covering also ensures long life, as they will be cutting, wearing through, or coming apart.

So, how do all these pieces fit together?  Just like they were designed from the factory.  This is product eye candy in the full sense….not only functional, but truly beautiful.  There is some trimming of the plastic cage and surrounding plastic elements, but that’s only natural to fit larger parts.

INTERCOOLER / INTAKE INSTALLED

This first image shows the new TiAL intercooler, complete plastic cage, and the new TiAL intake tubes.  (blue tape still on inlets for protection during install).  OH MY…look at the size of the intercoolers…WOW.

Closer view of the intercooler, and plastic extension clips holding the intake duct to the intercooler. OH MY, look at the size of those intake ducts.  This is design for serious amounts of power!

TURBO

The piece that most projects focus on when building more power from a turbo based engine are the turbos themselves, and these certainly got the full consideration here too.  But, they were designed with specific specs, gains, objectives in mind….not just bigger.  TiAL implemented them in two parts…part was to use the existing housing, but change the internals and the impeller / compressor wheel, the other was to make a complete new housing on the exhaust side to maximize the results.   In other words, get the exhaust impeller to spin faster, quicker…get the intake impeller to produce more boost and to spin faster.  The other part, to ensure they fit in exactly the OEM position, location, mounts. The new turbos (which are slightly different side to side, the right and left looking similar, but due to the cooling lines, mounts, diverter valves and actuators, are not) bolt right in, along with the cooling lines and fittings. The simple answer, yes, the turbos are bigger

Since there’s nothing that we need to do to units, lets get them installed

Now that we have the turbos in….lets start getting the rest of the elements installed  (NOTE – this is a California car, so, for the time being, we are staying with the stock OEM catalytic convertors. Another part of the solution coming is the replacement of the stock exhaust manifolds). The new Porsche OEM cats are much larger than before, and don’t provide as much blockage as in the past.

FINAL INSTALLATION

Now, the remaining pieces can be added, the intercooler / intake tubes / bumper cage, and the hoses connecting them all.

Everything in…except the intercooler ducts.  Intake, intake plenum, turbo output tubes, intake tubes, turbos, intercoolers, vacuum lines, sensors, stock cats and exhaust.

Now, below, the intercooler intake ducts in place.  Tight fit.  Just the mating of the intercooler ducts, the air intakes / air filter to the rear deck lid is amazing.

TUNE

Having all the new pieces in place is nice…great…amazing….great fit…but, to make them all sing, you need a custom tune to take advantage of all of this.  Cobb Tuning already has an “off the shelf” tune available for this car (and many other Porsche’s).  Just plug the Cobb AccessPort into the car, learn the base configuration (and save the base file), upload the Stage 1 tune, and you’re done.

COMPLETE

At this point…we are only running a custom Stage 1 tune.  The Stage 2 custom TiAL tune is in development, and will be installed soon.  The target for the Stage 2 tune is 700bhp…..Yep…you read that right, 700HP.

The result, even w the standard Stage 1 tune, is amazing.  NO turbo lag, torque on tap at almost any RPM, power all the way thru the RPM range.  Exhaust sound / tone is better.  No downsides, unlike most other major turbo upgrades…..WE LOVE IT.

AND, there is more to come.

BRracing – producing smiles for miles.

PCA Tech Talk 2019

PCA-GGR 2019 Tech Talks
Hosted by : BRracing

BRracing – Campbell Shop Location
2875 S. Winchester Blvd. in Campbell, CA

Event Schedule 2019

Saturday, Jan 12, 2019 – Tires 101 – COMPLETE
10am-Noon Choosing tires/compounds for track use.
Managing tire pressures at the track.
Q & A.
(had about 75 attend – WOW)

 Saturday, Feb 9, 2019 – Brakes 101 – COMPLETE
10am-Noon Choosing pads/rotors/fluid for track use.
Aftermarket brake kits & brake lines.
Bleeding brakes at the track.
Q & A.

Saturday, March 9, 2019 – Suspension & Alignment 101
10am-Noon Choosing suspension components for track use.
Sport springs, coilovers, bushings, control arms, sway
bars, PASM controllers.
Alignment considerations for the track.
Q & A.

PCA Club Race – Nov 10-11, 2018

Final time at Buttonwillow Raceway in 2018. We have PCA Club Racing once more. We will be running the road course set up (configuration 13). 


Registration details will be posted a few weeks before the event. For Time Trial registration visit MotorsportReg. For club racing registration, visit the PCA registration website.

Need help or have questions?

PCA Club Race – Oct 27-29, 2018

Final time at Sonoma Raceway (Sears Point or Infineon or whatever you remember it as) in 2018. We have PCA Club Racing once more. We will be running the road course set up, on what many consider the most technical track in the Western United States.


Registration details will be posted a few weeks before the event. For DE registration visit MotorsportReg. For club racing registration, visit the PCA registration website.

Need help or have questions?
Registration questions: GGRRegistrar@gmail.com
Student or Instructor questions: GGRDEcdi@gmail.com
Club Race questions: GGRRacereg@gmail.com
GGR DE/TT Chair: GGRTTChair@gmail.com
Or, visit the GGR Online Community for some on-line bench racing:
http://bbs.pca-ggr.org/phpbb3/index.php

BRracing will be there…both with a large contingent of DE track customers (in the NASA DE run groups), along with a large group of race customers.  Come join us…great people, great event, great FUN!

BRracing – accelerating your JOY

PORSCHE RennSport Reunion VI – Laguna Seca – September 2018

PORSCHE RENNSPORT REUNION VI – 2018 – Laguna Seca

The sixth Rennsport Reunion will take place this year at Laguna Seca, and will be held September 27-30, 2018. PCA will take part in and help facilitate the festivities as it has in past Rennsport gatherings.

For those who may not know what, exactly, is a Rennsport Reunion, picture this: tens of thousands of car enthusiasts and hundreds of Porsches of all types on display and racing on track. Among the thousands of people scattered about the infield are famous race car drivers, engineers, designers, company executives — basically the who’s-who of the Porsche world.

PCA will provide a hospitality tent with refreshments and presentations by Porsche insiders for members in attendance.

At Rennsport Reunion V, PCA member-owned Porsches in attendance topped 1,300. PCA Club Racing contributed to the racing with its own run group, named the Sholar-Friedman Cup after PCA founder Bill Sholar and PCA Club Racing founder Allen Friedman. (Note – in which BRracing won!)

The first Rennsport Reunion was held in 2001 at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut, followed by the second and third at Daytona International Speedway in 2004 and 2007. The fourth and fifth Rennsports took place at Laguna Seca in 2011 and 2015, both of which attracted 40,000+ spectators. Given that Porsche has moved the event to many other locations, and has been on the West coast for the last two events, there is some speculation that the next Rennsport Reunion may move back to the East coast…..this may be the last time for many years to experience this amazing event.


“Choosing the Monterey Peninsula once again for our unique Porsche family reunion builds upon what we learned from previous Rennsport Reunions,” said Klaus Zellmer, President and CEO of Porsche Cars North America. “We had close to 80,000 fans, enthusiasts and owners come through the gates of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to celebrate with us in 2015, and California’s picturesque central coast provides an ideal backdrop. The Golden State as a whole has always been like a second home to Porsche.”

There is also the working rumor that Porsche is bringing the Porsche 919 Evo…not to just show, but to break the outright track lap record.  Porsche has done that this year at SPA and Nurburgring. Those two events have been mind blowing, such is the speed of the Porsche 919 Evo.

So, if you like Porsche’s, if you like Porsche race cars, if you like Porsche car racing, if you like to see all of Porsche racing history, if you want an experience of a lifetime, then being at Laguna Seca in late September needs to be on your calendar.   Come join us…. BRracing will have eight cars participating, and will have two of our SEMI transporters there, a full suite overlooking the front straight, and upfront exposure to the Porsche 919 Evo, and front seats for the record lap run.

Don’t delay, call or talk to us about this event.

BRracing – experiencing the JOY of driving…driving Porsche’s