It’s not often when a shop gets a chance to build a fresh racecar from the ground up. It’s often quick and dirty matter of welding in a roll cage, fabricating mounts for the racing seat, bolting on the safety goodies and suspension bits and turning it loose on the track.
This 1998 BMW M3 coupe is a different story. In the Doghouse Garage took it down to the bare shell, then sent it to Jim Pierce Motorsports in Torrance, Calif., to be fitted with a roll cage and seat mounts. Pierce reinforced the rear subframe where it attaches to the body by incorporating the mounting points with the roll cage. It’s enough of a problem on these cars that the factory floor pans buckle with the loads.
“It will become more rigid,” said In the Doghouse Garage owner Patrick Orozco. “It will tie in with the subfame. The subframe won’t move as much. With the cage attached, the floor pan won’t move as much.”
When they got it back, Orozco used dry ice to remove all the sound-deadening material from the floor pans. Check out this month’s “Toolshed Engineer” to see how that process works. In the end, it was worth the time and effort it took to remove the material, Orozco said.
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“It’s not as easy as they say, and it’s not as cheap as they say,” he said. “It took a lot of dry ice to do job. But it took out some weight. It took about 20 pounds out of it.”
At that point it was ready to go to J&D Auto Body in Oxnard, Calif., to have the 2002 “Laguna Seca” blue paint applied. The color was originally used on 2002 BMW E46 M3’s. The car arrived back at the Doghouse and the crew began putting it back together, beginning with the suspension. It’s going to be a lot car for PTC, but Orozco and the owner have done the math and it should end up on the sweet end of the rule set.
“We have a lot of little goodies that I really can’t say that were putting into the car because I signed a nondisclosure agreement,” Orozco said. “The owner doesn’t want us to reveal a lot of the stuff that’s going into the car. It’s going to be set up well.”
What follows is part one of the build process we’ll be following in Speed News over the next few issues.