BR Racing Blog

BRR Motorsports – 2020 Schedule

2019 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 2019, 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).

BRracing Motorsports offers the following services for track activities: (1) Race Car or Track 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 2020 – these being the events customers have already targeted to participate in. The schedule will change regularly, so check back often (we will also be adding in our own “private” track day events):

Jan 24-26: Audi Club (Thunderhill) (Going)(DONE)
Feb 1-2: Lucky Dog Race (Buttonwillow)(DONE)
Feb 14-16: SCCA Race License School (Thunderhill)(Going)
Feb 21-23: MVP Tracktime DE (COTA) (Optional)
Feb 28- Mar 1: PCA DE and CR (COTA) (Going)
March 17-18: Porsche Trophy Cup :Testing: (Thunderhill) (Going)
March 28-29:  PCA DE and CR #1 (Buttonwillow) (Going)
April 17-19: Porsche Trophy Cup (Thunderhill) (Going)
April 24-26:  PCA DE and CR #2 (Thunderhill) (Going)
May 15-17: Porsche Trophy Cup (Sonoma) (Going)
May 22-24: PCA DE and CR #3 (Laguna Seca) (Going)
May 29-31: Porsche Trophy Cup (Laguna Seca) (Going)
June 5-7: PCA DE and CR (Utah Motorsports Park) (Optional)
June 19-21: Porsche Trophy Cup (COTA) (Going)
July 10-12: Porsche Trophy Cup (Portland) (Going)
July 11-12: Porsche Owners Club (Sonoma) (Optional)
August 7-9: Porsche Owners Club (Laguna Seca) (Optional, *92db limit)
August 20-23: Porsche Trophy Cup (Road America) (Going)
August 28-29: PCA CR only #4 (Sonoma) (w/ NASA) (Going)
September 3-6:  PCA DE and CR (Road America) (Going)
September 18-20: Porsche Trophy Cup (Utah Motorsports Park) (Going)
September 26-27: PCA DE and CR #5 (Thunderhill) (Going)
October 2-4: Porsche Trophy Cup (COTA) (Going)
October 10-11:  PCA CR #6 (Sonoma) (w/ NASA) (Going)

Tesla 3 – Track Ready

We’re in the midst of a major shift / change in the automotive world. For the last 100 years or so, we have been marching down the path of the internal combustion engine (ICE), and refining it along the way. Now, due to the changes in technology, battery development, we are seeing the shift to Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV). The leader in this shift, for the most part, has been Tesla. As Tesla has refined their electric car model line, batteries, and charging network, it’s only natural that we would see the advent of customers taking their electric cars to the track.

They offer some real advantages….great acceleration, re-gen braking, lower center of gravity. However, they were not meant to be track ready. Even with the advent of Tesla’s Model 3 Performance variant, they are still not track ready (and, we have tested both a Model S (too heavy, poor battery life, too long to recharge)), the prior Model 3 (non Performance version), and now the Model 3 Performance model). The Model 3 Performance version gives us a platform that we believe can be made track suitable.

We aren’t doing anything to the batteries, the electronic motors, or the charging network. But, the other standard areas of track suitable upgrades lies in wait. Brakes, suspension, tires, safety. After testing and driving the various Tesla models on the track, we know indeed that it could benefit from these upgrades. Stay tuned here, as this will be a long term project, and will have more features / upgrades added in the future.


Just about everything here needs to be upgraded, made adjustable. The shocks, the springs, the mounts, the bushings, the adjust-ability in the alignment (toe links, camber arms).

For shocks, we needed better dampening (better valving), and the ability to adjust or tune the suspension to create the handling characteristics we need to fix. We needed to be able to lower the ride height. We needed stiffer springs. All that spells a set of dual adjustable coil-overs.

Aftermarket suspension is something that can make or break the enjoyment of a vehicle. Unfortunately for Model 3 owners, the car is very high from the factory and runs into the bump stops over just about any bump – and they are always engaged once a car has been lowered on springs (we have tried this, this was the first easy suspension change, and while it did provide some benefits, there were too many downsides. Therefore, we needed a more complete solution). This means that the shock absorbers must be changed when lowering the car to allow for a compliant chassis over bumps, and to avoid damaging the vehicle when driving aggressively – as the bump rubber can only compress so much before effectively becoming a rock / solid. Repeated extreme impacts can damage the top mounts and put unnecessary shock through the entire vehicle, and upset the platform when driving at the limit.

Enter a set of KW v3, dual adjustable shocks and upgraded springs. This set is custom designed for the Tesla 3. The upside here to the custom development, is that the actual shock travel has been increased from stock. Many times, when you install sport springs or coil-overs, you will actually get a shorter shock travel, which can allow the shock to bottom out, the ride to become very rough, harsh.

For most suspension systems, when you lower the car, the alignment is going to get altered significantly. Normally, as the car is lowered, you gain in negative camber. However, that does not mean you got camber where you wanted it. Therefore, as part of the solution, we need some means to adjust the camber and toe, most likely, beyond what the stock suspension allows. Track conditions can also induce additional forces on the suspension arms, so, in upgrading the suspension adjustment, if we can gain some strength there too, that would be desired.

Here then are the first pieces in the suspension upgrades: KW V3 dual adjustable shocks (front and rear), new custom front strut mounts, KW V3 sport springs, adjustable rear camber arms, and adjustable rear toe links.

Pay close attention to the adjustable camber arms and toe links. Generally, in the aftermarket world, many of the product manufacturers take the easy road, but not necessarily the proper road. An example, is that many aftermarket adjustable control arms / toe links use “jam” nuts. This makes for easy adjustment, and easy manufacture. But, “jam” nuts don’t stand up to use and stress. Pinch bolts do. These Tesla 3 camber and toe links use “Pinch” type bolts. But, they went one step farther. Instead of just making a reverse thread adjustment link, they made a fine and course adjustment link. This makes for dialing in the precise alignment targets possible.

Obviously, once we had all the suspension pieces installed, the ride height set, we implemented a full proper, track oriented alignment. The results of the suspension upgrades are quite stunning. The car actually rides better even for normal daily driving, but now is completely composed on the track. It lets you drive deep, drive hard, confidence inspiring.


One of the advantages of the electric car is that the power of the electric motor can be used in many ways, more than just powering the car or moving it forward or backwards. As noted in the braking section below, the engine can also be used for slowing the car. Take that a step farther, and the electric motor can be used in “torque vectoring” mode, or to make the car rotate in one direction or another, and to do that at a very quick rate.

Understanding this, Tesla in late 2018 introduced “track mode” as a software upgrade (obviously, done over the air). Here is what they introduced with “track mode”.

  • Motor Torque for Rotation – Tesla’s Vehicle Dynamics Controller constantly monitors the state of the vehicle and all of the inputs from the driver to determine the driver’s intention and affect the rotation of the car in a matter of milliseconds. Track Mode relies heavily on the front and rear motors to control the car’s rotation, and they have the ability to command a 100% torque bias. When cornering, if rotation is insufficient to the driver’s request, the system commands a rear biased torque. Conversely, when rotation is excessive, they command a front biased torque.
  • Increased Regenerative Braking – Heavy regenerative braking may not be comfortable for day-to-day driving, but on a track, it has several key advantages. It gives the driver more authority with a single pedal, improves the endurance of the braking system, and sends more energy back into the battery, maximizing the battery’s ability to deliver large amounts of power. It also gives the Vehicle Dynamics Controller more authority to create or arrest rotation with the motors when the drivers foot is lifted off of the accelerator pedal.
  • Track Focused Powertrain Cooling – The high output power required for track driving generates a lot of heat, so endurance on the track requires more aggressive cooling of the powertrain. They proactively drop the temperatures of the battery and the drive units in preparation for the track and continue to cool them down in between drive sessions. They can also allow operation of the powertrain beyond typical thermal limits and increase their refrigerant system capacity by overclocking the AC compressor into higher speed ranges.
  • Enhanced Cornering Power – We typically think of using brakes to slow down a car, but you can actually use them to make the car faster out of a corner. All Model 3s are equipped with open differentials, which send an equal amount of torque from the motors to both the left and right wheels. When cornering, the wheels on the inside of the corner have less load on them, which means they can provide less tractive force than the outside wheels. To prevent excess slip on this inside tire, they have to limit the torque for both wheels, leaving power on the table. In Track Mode, they simultaneously apply brake and motor torque to produce a net increase in tractive force while cornering. This is similar to how an electronic limited slip differential works, except when using the brakes, the differential can be optimized for various driving conditions.


One of the great advantages of the BEV electric cars is they can take advantage of “re-gen” braking. Or, use reverse polarity of the electric motor, which then acts like a brake (and which can be finely tuned), while also then producing voltage output that can charge the batteries. But, they still have mechanical / friction brakes for aggressive, panic braking on the street.

Therefore, the BEV cars brakes are not designed to take repeated abuse, nor be able to achieve the braking output that is needed when driving on the track. Some Tesla’s brakes are lasting over 300k miles on the street….because the friction brakes never get used. However, the experience on the track is quite different, and the Tesla will even produce warnings letting you know that the brakes are being abused and are over heating.

Therefore, we need to address the normal brake upgrade elements: stainless steel brake lines, brake fluid, better rotors, and pads.

Here is a pic of the stock, front brake setup.

What is a little surprising about the stock performance brakes is the weight. Normally, BEV cars try to eliminate as much weight as possible, less rotational mass. Hence, your electric car is more efficient. These are the Tesla Model 3 performance brakes, and they are certainly bigger…but not optimized. The stock performance rotors are heavy, and poor at cooling. Enter a set of GiroDisc true 2-piece floating rotors, front and rear. We know about the success we have had on just about every other car brand there is w GiroDisc, and the fact that we can get them, and have them weigh less (about 2# less per rotor) is just gravy. You can go beyond this too…as Brembo now makes a traditional “Big Brake Kit” for the Tesla…but we have not found this a necessary upgrade if you have the Tesla Performance brakes installed.

Next piece up…the brake lines. Not meant to take repeated track abuse, upgrading the brake lines is both a safety issue as well as a feel and consistency element.


The stock tires on the Tesla 3 Performance are: 235/35/20.

There are a lot of options to choose from and you can go much larger in width as well. However, going much above the 235 width will exceed what the stock wheel can support. There are aftermarket wheels for the Tesla, and the standard tire once you upgrade your wheels seems to be the 265/35/20. Of those, as most of our readers will recognize, the preferred tire for track use is the Bridgestone RE-71R.

At a recent track day, there was another Tesla 3 running 300 width, full slick, Michelin’s. So, you can go bigger, no question.

If you really wanted to get carried away, then weight optimization would be a good step. Surprisingly, the Tesla has a heavy, stock, normal battery in the front trunk area. There are light weight battery options out there already…but, we have not taken that step…..yet.

But, wait…there’s more. We are on the early edge of development for electric cars, and this project will continue to be updated and evolve. Stay tuned, more to come.

BRracing – leading the development for driver joy

Tech Talk – 2020

PCA-GGR 2020 Tech Talks
Hosted by : BRracing
BRracing – Campbell Shop Location
2875 S. Winchester Blvd. in Campbell, CA

These are events open to the public. Not limited to PCA members, just car fanatics. No reservations needed. Come for the morning session, come for the afternoon session, come for both (Lunch provided by BRracing)

Event Schedule 2019 /2020

Saturday, Dec 14, 2020 (COMPLETE)
9:30 – 11:30 – Everything EV (Electric Cars)
Lunch (FREE, provided by BRracing)
12:30 – 2:30 TIRES
Choosing tires/compounds for track use.Managing tire pressures at the track.Q & A.

Saturday, Jan 11, 2020
9:30 – 11:30 – DATA, Video
From the basics to the most advanced, data acquisition, systems, sensors, video, video integration, analysis
Lunch (FREE, provided by BRracing)
12:30 – 2:30 – Brakes
Choosing pads/rotors/fluid for track use. Aftermarket brake kits & brake lines. Bleeding brakes at the track.Q & A.

Saturday, Feb 8, 2020
9:30 – 11:30 – Nannies
(PSM, PASM, TC, etc)
Lunch (FREE, provided by BRracing)
12:30 – 2:30 Suspension
Choosing suspension components for track use. Sport springs, coilovers, bushings, control arms, swaybars, PASM controllers.Q & A.

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).

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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”…, the trim inside needed to be upgraded as well.


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.

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
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
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