E46 Track Car: Sandown to suspension repairs

With replaced LCAs, engine mounts, brake discs, brake pads and new adjustable coilovers the E46 325ci track car was rearing on two wheels for a trackday – and so were we.

When you completely remove and replace 90% of your major suspension components its always a good idea to get a wheel alignment! A track focussed wheel alignment the day before courtesy of our friends at ANP Wheels & Tyres Box Hill did the trick. With the front camber adjustment maxed out the car was ready to thrown into corners.

A big day ahead!

A greasy, wet start to the day meant the first few sessions were extremely cautious. After a few sessions once the track dried we started to wind the car out properly and boy, was it different.

The most obvious difference was the minimal bodyroll which gave us a lot more confidence in the corners, it also highlighted a need for bucket seats! Then came the brakes, the pads we opted for were Winmax W7s which prefer to work at high temperatures. Once up to temperature the amount of bite from the brake pads was fantastic, the pads combined with the new front LCAs/bushings compared to the last day we could attack corners much more confidently and aggressively without unsettling the car!

Cristian coordinated his helmet with the trim sticker bomb

In the cars last full session of the day, Cristian managed a 1:33.192. Cristian swears that if he went in for a 5th session he could’ve made it into the 1:32s…… he did not get another session in.

Your truly stood up determined to beat his own E46 PB – and this I managed with a 1:34.24 which I’m proud of being the 2nd time in the car and at Sandown. But alas, with a relatively traffic free session I tried to push the car and quite crucially made the decision that I could brake slightly later into turn 1, the 2nd fastest corner of the track. The result of my over-confidence was all 4 wheels losing grip and the car hitting the outside rumble strip at an angle. I’m not sure if I mentioned the spring rates of the suspension we installed in the last blogpost; 18kg front and 16kg rear (standard suspension is around the 3 – 4kg mark). The driver’s side wheels hit the rumble strip obviously unsettling the car while the passengers side was still keen on doing 100kmh+, the result (and this is calculated) was the car sliding through the paddock on 2 wheels 61 degrees in the air.

So for now, the E46 needs some repairs. The next blogpost will be an assessment of the damage and whether or not it’s repairable. On first inspection the front passengers side strut seems to be damaged, worse though is the strut tower which will need to assessed by a professional. Not the end to the day that any of us had hoped for but the car will (hopefully) be back so stay tuned!

The first offroad excursion did not go so well

We definitely didn't have that much camber this morning...