[200q20v] Trip Report: Summit Point with the WMBs...

Brandon Hull brandon at cardinalpartners.com
Mon Apr 23 16:13:38 EDT 2001

So I spent Sat/Sun in WV at Summit point with the Jersey Chapter BMWCCA.
The tradeoff for a desirable weekend date was that we were confined to the
Jefferson circuit short course, run counter-clockwise Sat and clockwise Sun.
REAL MEN on bikes were racing on the main course. The BMW gang is an
interesting group.  Since they do club racing, there are a handful of
hardcore prepared cars and low budget racers, and other extremes like a
concurs '72 3.0CSi.  There were a few Porsches, one of the last Integra R's,
an A4 1.8t, and a few Mustangs.   

I was a bit concerned about the eS2 on this short twisty course, outweighing
the many e30 M3s, 325s and 2002s in my group, and eying that yellow R
nervously.  It transpired that I kept up just fine:  The beemer crowd is
pretty relaxed about stopwatches, and after the second session I was lapping
at 1:09 to 1:05, and eating the e30M3s up in the esses.  One basically stock
e36M3 was just plain quicker than I, glued to my tail through the esses, but
even more startlingly, reeling me in on the straights which was a new
experience for me.  Turns out the guy drives here a lot.  Still, either he's
being cagey about his mods, got an outlier engine off the line, or was
getting a much better jump out of the turn, because I can outrun M3s once
I've got a head of steam.  In fact since the last bmw event, I have a couple
more pounds boost, courtesy of my exhaust resonator delete.  (he had street
tires, too, so there goes my usual excuse)

I think I really learned something about driving the car this time.  At
Pocono last October, I had a problem with understeer.  I was all set to do
the 26mm 4kq bar conversion, but held off in a last minute budget angst.  At
this short track, however, I was much more aggressive, yanking the car into
a turn to force some oversteer, then applying full throttle much sooner than
usual.  I also left the front shocks set soft, and ran equal tire pressures
(35psi) all around.  In any event: no understeer.  

Saturday AM, just for variety, it rained for an hour.  Now I really had a
chance to experiment, and sure enough, the car would drift pretty evenly, to
the amusement of my instructor.  I've driven enough on wet tracks now to be
far from cocky about any mystical powers conferred by quattro, but I must
say those beemers do _crawl_ around in the damp.  A guy in the instructor
group had a stock class e46 330is; I asked him how he liked his "quattro,"
he replied that the rain was the only time all day he'd been fastest in his
group.  I asked him what he thought the differences were, he replied, " I
seem to be able to put power down a lot earlier."

This was the third event I did with my wife, and thankfully she had a great
time.  She was fastest in her run group by my stopwatch, lapping at 1:13
with a best of 1:09, same as my best to that point.  

Most amusement of the day was riding along with my wife's instructor, a
local hotshoe with the rattiest looking mustang I've ever seen.  It looked
like it should be on blocks in someone's weedy front yard.  It even had "for
sale" soaped onto the rear window.  It was stripped to bare shell, had an
unpainted cage, and Kuhmo Rs.  However, Mark was turning 1:00s, with an
occasional :59, faster than two C2s, lot's of hot M3s, and marginally slower
than one full on Group N e36M3 that I'm sure cost $100K.  All in a car which
was worth less than the custom headers bolted to many M-sixes.  Riding with
Mark was a revelation, as he showed me where the limit was on the key
corners:  ie, fairly distant from where I was driving.  His line was also
fantastic, and mimicking him I chopped five seconds off my previous best

An bira commercial:  The eS2 has bira system2 brakes. (996 cal/newS4 rotor)
Just prior to the event I installed new cryo'd rotors, and new Paul Weston
track pads.  I flushed the system with Ford heavy duty fluid.  The brakes
were as ever spectacular, on a track where you are on them all the time.  I
never had time to get some temperature paint on them, but onlookers
stationed at the end of the main straight reported that the rotors were
glowing orange.  This is similar to Greg Amy's early experience with the
System2 on his neuS4, although I had no fade or warpage.  Still, I think I'm
going to mess around with some ductwork.  

Anyway, I was sorry to see the event end.  We needed to forfeit the last run
of the day in order to get back to NJ and get the kids out of hock.  I felt
really good about the car, after two days of trouble free flogging, sitting
in stop and go traffic on 95 with the AC on, I felt like this is pretty
close to the ultimate dual purpose coupe.  Next event, memorial day at
Pocono with the Porsche guys.

Brandon H

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