Very thankful I was able to do this adventure and special thanks to Team Topak Racing! Stay tuned!
Small quick video of me at the skid pad during M Gruppe track day. We only had one go at this, becuase we were running short on track time with all the cars lined up. This was probably my favorite part of the day becuase drifting is fun! Skid pad teaches you the how the car behaves over the limit of grip and it might look easy but its tricky. There are some parts of the area where a light tap on the gas causes the rear end to come out faster then other areas. If you get it right, it wont feel like you are fighting the car and you can control the car’s angle with throttle inputs.
Being a car guy I do have different types of friends to like to enjoy their cars…. I have friends the like to track em and Im that type of person also, but that doesn’t mean I have friends only in that circle. I have my other friends that just like to modify cars and enjoy them in the streets. Here is my friend, Hong, and his track inspired G37S Sedan.
I met Hong a some years back when I first moved to Houston. We met though friends that were also into cars. Back then I was into the stance scene with my GTI and Miata, and Hong drove a purple Altima on 20″ heavy ass Vossens haha. Times have changed, and for the better.
After graduating college and making some money, Hong bought a new and stock G37S. The car was originally black but as the years went by it went though many changes till what you see now.
Volk TE37 in OG gold is such a classic wheel. Besides the BBS RS this is my other favorite classic wheel. Track proven and looks great.
Hong’s interior is mostly striped making the original 5 seat occupancy for 2 people. When doing highway pulls or loop runs, weight matters. Or just be more race car lifestyle.
The lucky charm is a nice touch to the almost bare essential interior.
Yes it auto but the shifts are crisp and smooth. But what I really like, is the super JDM Key’s Racing steering wheel. Vertex, and Nardi are pretty common wheels I see in car show but Key’s is just another level.
The quality of the wheel is luxurious and I can tell it would match my Narita Dog Fight racing gloves. Puts you in the mood to go fast.
The rear end with the chassis mount Street Faction wing has very aggressive set up that matches the rest of the cars theme.
Glad I live in the city becuase you get cool photo shoots that kinda grab the city life and atmosphere.
No lift, full throttle.
Custom Headlights Carbon Fiber front lip Carbon Fiber side splitters Carbon Fiber rear spats Carbon Fiber Vis Racing rear diffuser Carbon Fiber Duckbill trunk Carbon Fiber Roof wing Custom Cerulean Blue Autoflex Coating StreetFaction GT Wing
Retrofit Source LED fog lights Retrofit Source 5000k HID
Wheels and tires:
Michelin Pilot Super sports 245/45/18 Front Michelin Pilot Super sports 245/45/18 Rear Volk Racing TE37sl 18×9.5+22
Brakes and suspension:
StopTech slotted rotars 355mm front 350mm rear StopTech stainless steel brake lines BCracing coilovers Cusco upper strut bar SPL titanium rear camber links SPL rear toe rods SPL front upper control arms Stillen front sway bar Stillen rear sway bar
Stillen gen III air intakes Stillen headers Gates Racing Belt Motordyne Art Pipes Motordyne cat back Ecutek Tuned
Corbeau Forza Seats Corbeau four point harness Custom Harness bar
Carbon Fiber Radiator cover Carbon Fiber Battery cover Carbon Fiber Fluid cover
When my Hankook RS3 was on their last legs on their life, I was looking for another tire in the same category. Specifically in the 200 tread wear category.
I really liked my old Hankook RS3 becuase of the consistent grip which improved as the tire wore down. The tire life of the RS3 lasted for a long time, roughly 6k miles with 8 track weekends! So naturally I was leaning towards Hankook new tire that replaces the RS3… Hankook RS4.
But in the end, I chose Bridgestone RE71R becuase I simply want to try a different brand, and Bridgestone was having a $70 rebate sale hahaha. This made the RE71R in the same price range as the Hankook RS4 just $100 more.
I first put the RE71R through its pace at Circuit of the Americas. Immediately I can get a night and day difference in grip compared to the RS3! I could carry more speed on the corners. I could tell the lateral g’s I felt is more than the RS3.
Bridgestone RE71R seems to run wider than Hankook RS3, because on the track I was rubbing my rear tires despite the same 275/35/18 spec rubber. The rubbing wasn’t terrible but latter on the rubber was building on the fender. I didn’t notice adverse effects from the rubbing.
Then I went to MSRH, which is the track I frequent the most. Some sections of the course my exit speed was 5mph faster then in the RS3! First session and I managed to beat my PR by 0.7 seconds! I wasn’t really pushing the car either and I knew I had more grip to spare. I didn’t trust myself to push the car more becuase I still had to drive my M3 home. I need more time to get used the extra grip. When the car did get loose, it was predictable and the noise from the tires tells you when you are at the limit of grip. Very communicative tire. People say “its a R-comp with treads”, or “cheater tire” and I believe them.
With such a high grip tire, I did notice a couple of draw backs. First is the road noise. It’s considerably louder then normal street tires. Think of off road tires loud. I didn’t mind it becuase the RE71R is strictly my track tire, but something to thing about if you planning to daily it. The other drawback is how fast it wears out! After 3 track days you can tell not much tread it left on the outside portion of the tire. Im guessing I have maybe 3 more track days left. I really like grip but with such fast wear rate its going to start hurting the wallet. I’m not sure if I’ll buy another set because of this but its a tire to try at least once. If you want high grip but willing to sacrifice some comfort and tire life then this is the tire for you.
After back to back track weekends, my M3 was coated in brake dust, dust and grime, with a few more extra scars. I used to worry about about keeping my car super clean never drive in the rain because of car shows. I always had to keep them nice so at least it looks “fresh.” I don’t think I can go back to car shows anymore….
The track life has somewhat changed this. Of course I still clean my cars, but I don’t sweat over the stuff that can’t be taken out with soap and a water.
I actually like the rubber markings on the paint from tires sacrificing themselves for more grip. Or the rock chips that pummels the M3 from a dusty track or lead cars throwing up dirt when tracking out.
Cracked lip from a cone that was in the exit corner. These are all serve as memories. Kinda like how a tattoo is a permanent reminder of how you got your tattoo in the first place. Good or bad, its there to stay.
Patina might not win car shows or win hard parking points but you can tall a lot about the way the person drives is by looking at their car. The track patina is a look I dig.
I sure love back to back track days. Last weekend I was Circuit of the Americas and now back in my home track MSR Houston
M Gruppe is a club only for M cars. Some might get butt hurt they can’t join this club but its not like we discriminate. There are other clubs out there too. They host small meet and greets every month but this was the first track day they hosted. It’s was one of the more pricier track days I’ve attended but this was a private track day and not the normal DE events.
The event is more for people who are novices in track experience and want to learn how to the drive their cars properly in a safe environment. We had one on one instructors, with classroom discussion, and instructor ride alongs. Most of the discussions were for the novices, but that doesn’t mean track rats can’t attend. I admit the classroom part was kinda boring and was geared for the novices about handing, braking, etc but it did re-enforce what I’ve learned at the track.
We got free breakfast and lunch! The catered food was a plus, I didn’t take much pictures because I was mostly out driving on the track. Got to make the most of it right?
Our classroom/break room was in the Lotus Driving Academy building. Doesn’t look much outside but the it’s fancy inside with modern touches. I appreiceted the AC while I let my cool door while enjoying some snacks.
The lead instructor was kind enough to let me borrow his expensive lap timer. This can also read your driving data via OB2 port but it wasn’t connected. The lead instructor did ride along with me and gave me some very good advice in braking with smoother weight transfers for faster times. It worked, because I managed to beat my PR and get into the sub 50 sec range! Im just on springs, 200tw tires with stock brakes with race pads!
I usually stayed on the track for 20 mins then cooled the car down for another 15 mins before I went out again. On the last hour I was stayed out for 40 mins and used 1/2 tank of gas! She is a thirsty gal but the M3 stayed strong with no brake fade or engine issues.
What did break with my fuel filler door haha, hence the orange tape lol. I don’t know if the lateral g’s broke something loose in the locking mechanism but I went for a fill and it didn’t want to close. Im really enjoying the M3, the way it was meant to be driven. I love learning with the car and feeling the limits of grip. Some cases I don’t get to the limit becuase Im just too scared. A lot of seat time will make you better driver not just at the track but also on the street. Private track days is the best way to get the most seat time. I hope M Gruppe will host another event again!
What more of a better way to kick off the final series with an exotic! Such a beautiful car with its Italian design. This Lamborgini Hurrican was in the same run group as me but we never passed each other during the session. COTA is such a big track usually you’ll have the track to yourself, with the occasional one or two point byes.
This Mclaren 675 LT (long tail) did pass me, no, I mean it pretty much walked on me. My lap times was a slow 2:51 sec range but this 675 LT was posting 2:19 sec range according to the driver during the drivers meeting. This thing catches you by surprise, you look in your mirrors in one corner and don’t see anyone then next corner you see the a grey 675 LT on your rear end! I had no problems giving the point by since that car has speed and downforce to pass anywhere.
Not just show brakes.
Adaptive wing that’s distracting to see it move at the track hahaha.
The titanium exhaust with the see through engine bay for more cooling.
Then you had this race car 675 LT version. It has center locking wheels, fixed wing, roll cage, striped out interior with carbon fiber goodies.
One thing I noticed with COTA compared to other tracks is it brings the heavy hitter cars…. Not the show cars heavy hitters but the expensive rare exotic cars. It nice seeing them used, and used in they way they where built for. Not garage queens or displays at Cars and Coffee. It’s a damn shame that most the cars I see nowadays are just for show and never really driven to the full potential.
The P cars group. Not really digging the cammo wrap of the GT3 but it does attract attention weather you like it or not. Warping is a smart idea though to protect your paint from the track scars. The cammo GT3 was a slouch either, it passed me every session.
Those Masseratti’s in the background participate in the Pirelli World Challenge series. Meaning those most be pro teams out here.
The grey Beetle is lady driven and in the same run group as me. The body was similar the the RSi Beetle in Europe. In the morning she was changing tires and swapping pads. She was one the slower cars becuase everyone else had higher power cars in the group but had awareness and made passing easy and safe. The blue corvette was in the novice class from the green sticker in the windshield. Sounded good rolling by.
The owner of this blue S2000 was a funny guy. He even has a race Miata that he has done endurance races in.
Speaking of Miatas…. this ND was in my run group also. Mostly stock with tires and wheels. That Miata can sure handle the corners pretty well.
Smart car rolling, I guess the owner bought this to save money on gas for race car spending hahaha.
Showing off my gold hardware.
Chase’s J swap S2000. Interesting choice on the J swap. A lot of people would keep the F20C or even swap a K motor in, but those motors are expensive to buy and maintain. J swaps are cheap junkyard motors but have decent power and not much weight penalty either.
Here is a another J swap, and interestingly its from an NSX! First glance I thought it was a V6 stock C32B motor, but the intake manifold gave it away. The NSX motors are expensive to maintain and buy if you blow one up. Some people put K swaps with boost but that can get expensive as the original NSX motor. J swap is the good practical choice without sacrificing performance.
The interior had some few upgrades to improve driving feel. Im liking the carbon fiber center console sporting a couple gauges with a red switch…. I wonder what that is for.
The booty shot…. Tastefully modded and Im sure it has some track miles under the belt. JDM mods that look like it was imported from Japan! The NSX is owned by Scott who is the head driving instructor for NASA. Basically he is the guy that will give you the final approval to move up DE classes or not. I’ll end it with that! Had a super great time at Circuit of the Americas with NASA. Track is life.