I guess it's time to lend all of my observations regarding the M3.
First, my ONLY concern with the car is the lack of front camber adjustment.
Previously, the family autox cars were a '93 Corvette and an '89 ESP
Firebird which is currently run by John Tak and Al Chan.
I have since run a '97 2-door M3 (totalled in an accident Memorial day
while on the trailer behind our Suburban) on the way back from the Virginia
Pro. My wife made the challenge in that event and later took second at the
Nationals in the '99 replacement.
While looking for the replacement to the '97, I ran a loaded '98 four door
with stock shocks, 225 and 245 Kumhos, and unscientific alignment, read;
loosen all the bolts, yank everything out, and go racing. The '98 was very
impressive in the rain on the second day of, I believe, the Jacksonville
Divisional. I feel the best set-up may indeed be a stripped '96+ four door.
The first day of that event I accepted an offer to drive Mark Sipe's Z3
which I found fairly easy to drive but very different from the M3. Mark
deserves a lot of credit for his perfomances in that car, I hope he doesn't
show up in any M3 in 2000!
I have experienced the same problems with keeping the edges on the front
tires of the '99 as the '97 which is quite disconcerting, to the point of
considering a switch to another A Stock car next year. I will admit
however, that I have run 245 front and 255 rear Kumhos and the 245s are
simply too wide for the 71/2" rims. Neither can I seem to keep 225 Kumhos
on the front. My next move was to try 245 Hoosiers all the way around which
I ran for the first time at the Pro Championships with very good results
including Barbara's runs. Rain sent us back to the Kumhos for the Solo II
which Barbara took to her second place. My next move will be to 225 front
Hoosiers and the 245s on the rear. There is definitely some work to do with
the double adjustable shock set-up as well. If that doesn't work I may show
up in another German make next year.
All the above said, I should also point out that the '99 appears to be
vastly superior to the '97. Although the '97 had manual, cloth seats, it
had a sunroof as well. The '99 has no sunroof and manual leather seats. The
'99 is some 90 plus pounds lighter. I've had both cars to the track and
there is little doubt the '99 which has less than 6,000 miles on it, is the
faster car. There may be some consideration due to the fact each was run on
a different track and one may have favored the gearing more than the other.
Unfortunately, I can offer no experience in the '95 model for comparison
but hope the above is helpful.
> From: Ghsharp@aol.com
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org; James.Burns@jhuapl.edu
> Cc: email@example.com
> Subject: Re: BMW M3 Questions
> Date: Thursday, November 25, 1999 1:50 PM
> In a message dated 11/25/99 10:51:40 AM EST, Woody Hair writes:
> > I think the '95 M3 has a higher (mumerically) rear end ratio that
> > offsets the additional torque from the added displacement of the '96+
> > cars.
> Umm, nope, the '95 has a 3.15, the '96+ cars have a 3.25. In addition to
> the obvious (wider rear wheels), the '96 and later M3's have slighter
> rear springs and a larger rear swaybar to take advantage of the wider
> wheels and tires. While they have even less negative camber up front
> than the '95's, the later cars have more caster for better steering feel
> and more camber gain when the front wheels are turned. The '95 (OBD-I)
> cars do respond to exhaust changes and the later OBD-II cars seem not to,
> but I believe the additional displacement and shorter rear-axle ratio of
> '96+ cars offsets that.
> > Traction control was added in the more recent years, but it can be
> > turned off via a console-mounted switch.
> Yes, you just have to remember to turn it off each time you re-start the
> in grid. :->
> I think I'm one of the few people who have driven both early and late E36
> M3's that were completely set up to A Stock specs.....a '95 owned by a
> local autocrosser; Steve Volpp's '95 at the Texas Tour this year; Boris
> Elpiner's '97 at the Seattle Pro in '98 and the Wendover Pro this year;
> Richard Beecher's '99 at Topeka this year; and my own '98 for the last
> two seasons. Although I've never had the opportunity to drive both early
> and late cars on the same course, I firmly believe the differences above
> give the '96 and later cars a slight edge for Solo II, and a slight edge
> what we all look for in this sport, right?<g>
> All IMHO, of course....
> GH Sharp