Edit: So many typos!
A month or so ago I upgraded my SS suspension with BMR Parts:
- Pro Cradle Bushings
- Pro Differential Bushings
- End Link Mounting Braces
- Adjustable sway Bars
- Sway Bar End Links
- Toe Rods
- Trailing Arms
- Driveshaft Safety Loop
I wanted to wait and drive with the mods before I reviewed the changes and attend a Track Day to really understand the difference in the car. I also took a 1,000 mile trip in my SS to Niagara Falls. This car is my daily driver, but since I work from home I am putting on under 10.000 miles per year.
Race Proven Motorsports in Delaware installed the BMR parts. They took their time and I am happy with their work.
I chose not to lower my car. Besides scraping more often lowering springs also hurt you at the drag strip (edit: I have since learned a 1 inch drop has no or a very small effect). If later I get more serious I will spring for coil overs (sorry).
I kept my alignment specs stock. Street qualities are more important to me than track qualities
- Less understeer
- Eliminate Wheel Hop
- Eliminate rear step-out due to rubber bushing play
- Feel more in control
- Improved performance at the track
I was also hoping for a lighter feeling agile car. But I did not think these changes would help on that front. I was right.
I knew I would make some sacrifices. I found:
- Slightly stiffer and more harsh ride. But long trips are still comfortable.
- Noticeable drivetrain whine, especially in sixth gear. High pitched but not loud, I am already used to this.
Other than that, the handling feel of the car is notably improved. Cornering is much more stable and my SS now handles on a par with my departed 335i. Although the 335 had better steering feel and felt more agile, the cars are not that far apart.
- Understeer: Big improvement but there is still some left. My Sways are still on the middle setting, my alignment specs are stock, and I am still running staggered stock tires. As I am no track superstar I think some understeer is a good thing for me right now.
- Eliminate Wheel Hop: I have not been to the strip yet. But I tried a few hard launches and did not feel the dreaded hop. I did launch hard in the rain and the hop was still there.
- Rear Step Out: Cured!
- Feel more in control: Yes.
- Improved Track Performance: While I have no before and after my SS feels at home on the track.
I attended a Track Day at the New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, NJ on the ThunderBolt track. ThunderBolt they tell me, is a very technical track, but not all that fast. Sounded perfect for me to learn on.
Early in the morning there was a general driver meeting followed by a raffle. I won a set of Race Ramps!
Myra, my instructor has been racing for nine years, and currently races a Miata. She makes a living as an instructor. Getting ready for my first run I discover a flaw in the trakability of the 5th Gen Camaro. If you have a sunroof and you are six foot or more your helmet hits the roof. Track Camaro = no sunroof. After a while I got used to driving with my head tilted sideways.
Myra took the first few laps at the wheel explaining track day etiquette, flag meanings, and the racing lines of the track. She at first we put off by the size of the Camaro. But than as she became more comfortable she started smiling and going faster. Before too long we were running up the butt of a yellow C6 Corvette. She said, "Don't try this at home." I held on for dear life. afterwards she said "Big power, great brakes, no fade. This thing, although huge, can get around the track."
My turn. I was much slower. So slow in fact I had a train behind me for a few laps. After my first session I improved and created no more trains. With help from Myra I was able to master several of the turns. Turn 2 was fun. It is an uphill right hand sweeper. She convinced me to stay off the brakes and slowly dial in more power through the turn, "Trust the car." She said over end over. By the end I listened to her and it became my favorite turn. She also spent the day trying to get me to take her Miata racing line through the "Octopus". On my last run I (almost) nailed it twice.
By the end of the day only one C6 in my class could catch me and go for a pass. I lapped a couple of cars and ran down a few others. The car was very stable in the turns and I was able to steer through many of the turns with the throttle. In the Octopus I was I was able to rotate the car with the throttle after a strong push on the brake. I felt like a hero. (in the beginner A class, lol.) But in the end I felt like it was as much or more the car as me.
All in all I am very happy with my BMR suspension mods and there will be more track days and the drags in my future.
Most BMWs were no problem for the BMR SS.
Here the Vette has the correct line. I missed this apex in the Octopus.
- Hawk HP Pads
- 18" Lightweight Wheels with 275s all around
- Front bushings
- Performace alignment
- More power