On the first “wintery” day of Spring the Rocky Mountain Chapter partook in an informative performance tech session hosted by 3Zero3 Motorsports (3Z3) at their Wheatridge shop. It had been a while since the club’s last tech event. Well 3Z3 rolled out the red carpet, okay cleaned the shop floors, and welcomed club members old and new with a slew of snacks, sandwiches, beverages and door prizes. About 50 club members from all over the Front Range trekked out on this gray, later snowy, day.
At 3Z3 one of their mottos is “factory trained and independently motivated”. This became apparent by looking at the many project cars that were present, including the e28 M5 receiving a brake upgrade. However, standard service work is the mainstay of business; but is just not as interesting to enthusiasts. After 30-45 minutes of mingling we settled in for the main event.
Scott Simpson, owner of 3Z3, and his crew of Max and Blake would give us a comprehensive run down on the major areas of BMW performance modifications. He opened the dialog on performance modifications and tuning with the key question “why do we want to do this?” And by doing so what are the impacts of the modification(s). He said their job at 3Z3 is to manage expectations for the client. Nearly everything has its tradeoffs even if it’s just the impact to one’s wallet. Going fast for street tuning and occasional track events is requires a different approach than setting up a racecar.
Max, 3Z3’s marketing manager became the event’s ringmaster. He would introduce a performance topic such as, tuning, suspension, or braking laying out a few fundamentals in that area. Then he handed it off to Scot and Blake (3Z3’s e-commerce manager) for a detailed look at what is typically modified. Scott delivered technical details at a level a novice could grasp while connecting it to a more advanced knowledge level.
When it came to engine tuning and modifications there are a lot of variables and options. Some points touched upon included ignition timing, cams profiles and throttle sensitivity. There was a good discussion between normally aspirated (NA) cars and forced induction (supercharged and turbocharged) options with the pro’s, con’s and what to expect from each.
Suspension modifications were next. Unlike engine tuning, suspension modifications are with you all the time. Often with these changes clients are more interested in appearance—what looks cool. Fortunately most of the time such a change also results in a handling gain whether it is flatter corning or better turn in. Again, it is always a balance and “too much “ suspension change can mask other problems or offset other positive effects.
Lastly the two most common and best bang for your buck options when wanting to improve the performance of your BMW, or any car, are tires and brake fluid. These fall into the category of “eventually” they both need regular replacing. So next time new tires are needed consider a set designed for the performance level you desire. A brake fluid change to a higher temperature fluid is probably the cheapest upgrade available. It’s significance is for those who will spend time at highperformance driving events or regularly hitting the mountain twisties.
As they reiterated tradeoffs are often present.Changing one thing may not make a complete difference. In fact it may require an upgrade in another area to take full advantage of the new benefit. When it comes to “go fast” performance modifications to any BMW it is always about the smiles/gallon the driver receives and not the miles/ gallon. Now is the perfect time to get your car ready for driving fun.