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Garage Life: Jerk testing

16 November 2017



In this fast paced world we live in, there is never enough hours in a day, days in a week, or even months in a year, to achieve everything that one sets their mind to. But being somewhat old fashioned in my way of thinking, if I say I’m going to be somewhere, I’m damn well going to push myself to make shit happen. Some of you may have thought that the E36 was completed, but its a race car, I’ll never stop chopping it up and trying new things ’till the day it’s shelved, binned, or replaced. 

Everyone keeps asking me when I’m going to actually race the damn thing, but in my mind that’s a little way off yet. I still have so much to learn about the car, and simply putting miles on the Holl Racing 13B is my focus at the moment. So when an offer was extended to run at the yearly Jerkfest, I was locked in and had a few months to put the car back together. Yes ‘back to together’. 

Following on from its maiden track run at Chrome, I had stripped it down to a chassis to address some of the issues I found with the build. Out came my trusty grinder and suddenly I was back to near square one. The biggest issue being the access to the gearbox, clutch and backside of the motor. When mocking everything up it seemed to be plenty of room, although add in all the fuel lines, and wiring loom etc. and it was way too tight to get my hand back there. I don’t own ratchet spanners, and quarter turns on a spanner suck! I also made a carbon removable gearbox tunnel cover so I could access the linkages on the Jerico, and added in some diagonal bars to the roll cage to tie the front struts into the car better (a common weak point on E36 and E46 chassis).

*Excuse the iPhone photos

*Excuse the iPhone photos

I also managed to finally fit my carbon front splitter which runs back to the axle line, and made these extra vents to help remove the air that enters the bay via the radiator. I sadly ran out of time to fit the rest of my carbon that I’ve been messing with lately but it will get on there … one day. 

Despite all my best laid plans and preset time lines, there I was at 3am the night before the event spending a couple of hours attempting to load the car on the trailer by myself without waking the neighborhood, or the meth heads who regularly kick it in the park behind my old workshop. As soon as I was loaded, we were off on a 3.5 hour drive to Taupo to get there in time for scrutineering. 

Turning up to the track having not run the car is never a good idea and I know better. It cost me the first two sessions with stupid little issues that arose each time I pulled into pit lane. it’s these types of issues that I expected to encounter anytime you take a car back to a bare shell, and exactly why I haven’t dove head first into competition just yet. If this was a race meeting I would have wasted hunderds of dollars. I’m also rather fearful of causing a yellow or red flag because of my mechcanical screw up and ruining it for everyone else. 

But worries like that really do melt away the moment you get on track and get some heat into the slicks. Although sheepish in my approach, the car is an animal to drive. Well, for the half lap until the Jerico got stuck in fourth gear. Back into the pits I went. 

I have to admit that I felt vindicated having spent all that time building a removable tunnel, being able to pop the carbon off, adjust the selector rod, and two minutes later I was ready to head back out. Finally I could cut some laps. Although by now the track surface was becoming wetter by the minute. 

Brake balance, shifter ratios, throttle position, steering feel, and fluid pressures and temps were all I was worried about. But the old battle with a Honda is always hard to turn down. The one car I really wanted to have a play with was Mr Strawbridge’s 616, a car that I know inside out, and one that runs on rails around corners. Sadly it didn’t get to happen this time, but it will …  

Miss shifting and half throttling, my new adjustable billet shifter needs some fine tuning. But happiness was burning through 100 litres of E85 on slicks in the wet and without wipers. The CJC boys do a damn fine track day and I’ll be back next time for sure. But in the meantime its time to set up the new workshop and work at refining the suspension (without lifting the car) and complete the new fuel system.