Project STR scores at the Peru National Tour

Monday, July 12, 2010 by Tire Rack Motorsports
Chris Harvey drives to the finish at the Peru
 National TourThe blog has been a little quiet while we were hard at work installing and testing “go-fast parts” on the Project STR MX-5. In addition to the KW Variant 3 Coil-Overs and Hotchkis Sport Anti-Roll Bars, we’ve been experimenting with different sizes of Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1 Star Spec tires to find out what makes our MX-5 faster. A full tire test report will be appearing in the next issue of Grassroots Motorsports magazine on newsstands in a few weeks.

To put our efforts to the test, we competed in the Tire Rack SCCA National Tour autocross in Peru, Indiana. 15 drivers showed up in an array of vehicles – Honda S2000s, Pontiac Solstice, BMW Z3 and our Mazda MX-5. Day One saw Mike Lillejord jump out to a half-second lead in his Pontiac Solstice over Matt Glagola in his S2000. Our MX-5 was less than 2/10ths further back with Chris Harvey at the wheel, while John Rogers was just another 1/10th of a second behind in 4th place.

Sunday dawned a new day with a revised course layout that featured a six-cone slalom and several fast, decreasing radius turns. Chris and John changed tire pressure and shock settings to help the MX-5 put down more power when driving off the corners. Our drivers used this to their advantage, posting the two quickest times of the day in the STR class. When the dust settled, the margin Mike and Matt gained on Day One was too much for our MX-5 to overcome, leaving Chris and John in 3rd and 4th respectively, about 0.4 seconds behind the winner.

As a reference point for how the project is progressing, this weekend 2nd place finisher Matt Glagola was driving the Honda S2000 that won the Dixie Tour earlier in the year where we were over eight seconds behind in our bone-stock MX-5. At least on this day, on this course, we’ve closed the gap to his car down to a scant 0.015 second margin. We still need to figure out how to chase down Mike and his Solstice. I guess we have a little more work to do.

<Click on the photo for a video of Chris Harvey's FTD run>

BMW M Roadster Suspension Upgrade

Friday, May 21, 2010 by Brandon Lorenc
1999 BMW M Roadster

Take a look at the BMW Shock Absorber and overall suspension upgrade I did on my 1999 BMW M Roadster before I traded it a couple years back. I do miss it, and was verry happy with the suspension upgrade I did on the car.

First I installed the KONI Sport Shocks. They offered great performance and rebound adjustability so the ride didn't suffer any more then I wanted. At the same time, I lowered the vehicle with some H&R Sport Springs with a very mild drop of 1.3 inches. Here is a picture of the finished product!

Coil-overs for a daily driver?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010 by Doc Horvath
We had a chance to test drive our BMW 325i test cars with both lowering springs and coilover shock/springs installed and what an experience!

The cars outfitted with the O.E. shocks/struts and the Eibach Pro-Kit Springs ("mild" lowering, about one inch of drop) felt nearly as comfortable as stock, but helped the car feel more responsive to steering input. 

The Eibach Pro-System Plus Kit "sport" springs lowered the car nearly two inches and made a noticeable change in both handling and ride comfort. It was nothing that I felt was too stiff for daily use.

The Eibach Multi-Pro Coil-Over R1 Kit was set up to lower the car about two inches as well, but the more aggressive shocks made a pronounced change and took a fair amount of comfort out of the ride on city streets and highway runs. 

While the coil-over gives you the flexibilty to adjust your ride height to make it "just right," it will come at the cost of some ride comfort. I'd say that coil-overs are best on a track car in my opinion!

Ready for warm weather? Check out our selection of M3 tires and wheels.

Monday, March 22, 2010 by Tire Rack Team
For some of us, the sun has been shining a lot more frequently. For others, temperatures are just about worthy of a top-down drive. That means it's high time you drive away in a new set of M3 tires and wheels.

Tire Rack
has a pretty vast selection to choose from, so we'll start you off with a recommendation: Michelin Pilot tires and Breyton wheels.

The Pilot Sport PS2 is currently our top-seller in the Max Performance Summer category, and though this chart can change with every consumer review we receive, we have a feeling these Michelin performance tires will be up there for a while thanks to world-class traction and handling. (See chart.) When paired with the Breyton Race GTS, you create a Tire & Wheel Package that exudes impressive performance.

Enter our Upgrade Garage to find these and other M3 tires and wheels for your BMW. We'll also show you a number of other aftermarket upgrades, like BMW brake pads and BMW shocks.

KW coilovers coming soon to the Tire Rack!

Friday, February 12, 2010 by Gary Stanley
When it comes to improving your vehicle's performance, shock absorbers, and springs are an integral part of your vehicle's suspension.   Coilovers combine these two into an integrated and height adjustable system. 

The Tire Rack now offers KW coilover supsension products for  BMW, Audi, Volkswagen, and other high performance cars. 

Variants 1, 2, and 3 are available at competitive pricing. 

What are the differences, and which one is best for you? 

KW Variant 1 inox-line – Perfect Street Performance

Sporty Handling with factory pre-set damping

The ideal systems for customers wishing to rely on the experience of our engineers to set the damper setting, yet determine their own degree of lowering. In extensive driving tests our engineers have set the dampers for the best balance between sporty driving, comfort and safety. The user is then free to decide the best height setting for their use and preference.
  • Optimally pre-set
  • Sporty harmonious damping technology
  • Stainless steel technology  "inox-line"*
  • Individually height-adjustable
  • Lowering range approved by the German Technical Control Board (TÜV)
  • Fully finished complete solution
  • High-quality component parts for long durability

KW Variant 2 inox-line – Perfect Street Performance

Sport Handling with adjustable rebound damping

The system intended for the experienced driver who does not only wish to determine the individual lowering of his vehicle, but also wishes to carry out setup adjustments. The adjustable rebound damper allows adjusting the pitch and roll behaviour of the vehicle and therefore the driving pleasure can be adapted to the own requirements.  Varient 2 features the following upgrades/additional features in addition to those found on Varient 1 :
  • Damping technology with individually adjustable rebound

KW Variant 3 inox-line – Perfect Street Performance

State-of-the-art technology from motor sports for more performance on the road. The separate and independently adjustable rebound- and compression damping allows for an individual suspension setup for different uses and preferences. The unique patented system with its two-stage valves allows a rebound damping adjustment (comfort) and a compression adjustment (driving dynamics) in the low-speed range while the high-speed range which controls the driving safety, is fixed. Varient 3 features the following upgrades/additional features in addition to those found on Varient 2 :

  • Damping technology with individually adjustable rebound- and compression technology
  • Infinitely variable rebound damping adjustment
  • 14-way adjustable compression damping
  • Unique, individually working damping force adjustment

Click here to check the site for availability and pricing for your vehicle.

Need new car springs? Go pro.

Friday, January 22, 2010 by Tire Rack Team
Take your car springs up a notch with a sport-level suspension upgrade from Eibach Springs, the industry's leading aftermarket suspension product manufacturer.

The Pro-System Kit, pictured at left, brings together Eibach's most popular suspension products: Pro-Kit Sport Springs and Pro Damper Sport Shocks. It will lower your vehicle about 1-1/2", improving turn-in quality and reducing understeer. You'll also notice additional ride control (but not a loss of ride quality, which is nice).

A number of our Tire Rack Consumer Reviews can confirm this:

"I drive all over Colorado mountain passes and through cities as well and the Pro-System package is perfect. It kept the car very driveable in the city even with speed bumps and potholes everywhere, and in the mountains I can hit high speed turns with virtually no body roll or traction loss. When I purchase my next vehicle this will be the first upgrade I make to it."
— Tire Rack Consumer Review, BMW 318i, CO

See all car springs.

BMW Wheels and More

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 by Tire Rack Team
Pretty cars need pretty wheels. Or, to take it from another perspective—high performance vehicles benefit from aftermarket wheels to enhance tire performance and handling. But still, they do make a car look really good. The 2009 135i Coupe below features 18" O.Z. Racing Allegerita HLT wheels in an anthracite finish. The following BMW wheels will look just as good:

ASA GT1 (Bright Silver Paint)
Breyton Race GTS-R (Black with Red Stripe)
moda MD7 (Machined with Anthracite Accent)

Now, search by vehicle in our Upgrade Garage to get a visual representation of what different BMW rims might look like on your vehicle. You'll also get the opportunity to see matching BMW tires.

And you might not want to stop there. The Upgrade Garage helps you search our entire inventory of suitable products, like BMW brake pads and BMW suspension upgrades. Are your BMW shock absorbers absorbing enough bounce? Feeling every bump in the road? New BMW shocks might be just what the doctor...or, mechanic...ordered.

New Car FEVER !

Friday, August 7, 2009 by Doc Horvath
I get alot of calls from people doing some research on tires prior to buying a new (or used) car, and I can't say it's a bad idea in the least! You'd be surprised how many people damage a tire on their "brand new baby" and are SHOCKED to find out that the fancy 19" wheel and tire option they added now has cost them an extra $50 to $75 more per tire than the stock 18" wheels! (BMW is probably most notorious for this). The OE tires are designed with what the engineers wanted to see from the tire (be it a focus on low rolling resistance, high-speed handling or just an inexpensive tire overall), and may not exactly match up with your priorities (quiet /comfortable ride, long life, etc).

Tire Rack's consumer survey results are an excellent resource to help get an idea as to what others have experienced with most OE tires to help give some insight into what you should expect upon taking delivery and living with the car on a daily basis. 

Bottom line? Do a little homework to see if that upgraded wheel and tire package is all that its cracked up to be, or if the run-flat tires the car comes with for "safety" eliminate the possibility of having a spare wheel and tire in the trunk instead.  The more questions you can ask before buying the car may lead to less disappointment down the road!