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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Again the time is now or never to write in about the proposal to move s-54 engined cars out of SS and into AS, M52 cars from AS to BS.
please e-mail to:
[email protected]
below is a copy of my letter and of an e-46 M3 owner to the SCCA:

Dear Sirs

I'm writing in support of the proposal to re-class the BMW M Coupe (S-54/315hp) from SS to AS. It has been shown that it is not possible to compete at more than a local level against the Z-06 Corvettes that dominate Super Stock (consider the adjustability of the Z06 suspension and the size of the rubber that can be mounted on those cars alone!).
Unfortunately SS has become a one car class and as I'm sure the committee will not move the Z-06 out of that class then please give some of the other makes a chance to be competitive elsewhere!

Thank you for your consideration

Andrea Cairone

Sent: Monday, October 07, 2002 1:50 PM
To: Howard Duncan
Subject: Reclassification Proposal

Dear Sirs

I'm writing in support of the proposal to re-class the BMW M3 (E46
S54/333hp) from SS to AS. By analyzing the performance and technical
specifications and now after this year's Solo II calendar, it has been shown
that it is not possible to compete at more than a local level against the
Z-06 Corvettes that dominate Super Stock. The M3 is at complete disadvantage
with the Z-06 in every single category that could potentially influence
Autocross performance:

* Weight: 300lb (3400lbs min. for a low options version) higher weight
than the Z-06

* Power: 333hp vs. 405hp and 269lb-ft vs. 400lb-ft

* Wheel and Tire size: The widest tire that you can accommodate
without rubbing in front in the M3 (8"wheel) is 245, compared to the 275
that can easily fit in the wider Z-06 wheels. On the rear there's a similar
rubber contact patch deficit that affects performance, specially when you
have to take into account that the M3 carries 10% more weight.

* Suspension Adjustability and Center of Gravity: The Z-06 is real
sports car and is delivered form the factory with a highly adjustable
suspension and has a very low center of gravity. The M3 on the other hand is
just a high performance version of well engineered sedans and coupes. It's
CG is less than 1.5"lower than any other 3 series sedan or coupe (DS and GS
cars). The only adjustability offered by its suspension is toe alignment
(fixed camber in front, and fixed caster front and rear). Any other benefit
has to be gained by the use of adjustable shocks (which any other car can
use too in accordance to SCCA Solo II rulebook)

Although numbers don't tell everything about a car's true performance, you
can hardly see a case in Autocross in which two cars with the same drive
train configuration (front engine, rear wheel drive in this case) and with
equal drivers, the heavier, less powerful, less suspension adjustability,
with narrower tires car ends up winning (Only in road racing you can claim
than an All Wheel Drive Vehicle can win under these circumstances).
Additionally, several top drivers have already shown the true maximum
possible performance of the car. Bob Tunnel had the most successful outings
in an E46 M3 prepared to the limit of the rule. His best results were 6th
and 5th at the Irvine and Atwater ProSolos respectively with no threat to
the top contenders at each event. Everyone knows Mr. Tunnell is one of the
best drivers and car preparers (BMWs) in the Solo II arena. Others running
E46 M3s appeared at the bottom of the charts at different National events. I
"luckily" had a second place finish at the Rome National Tour event
(obviously loosing to a Z06), but it was only by the lack of top drivers
competition (My time is well behind the BS winning times). The winning Z06
driver at the event finished 1 place out of the trophies at this year

Additionally, I think the SCCA will have a much stronger AS class if the
decision to reclass cars like the E46 M3, S54 engine M Coupes and M
Roadsters and other similarly outclassed SS cars goes through. AS was the
stock class with the lower number of competitors at Nationals, had barely
made enough quorum at Pro-Solos and has consistently been the stock class
with least participation at the National Tour. Also, it effectively is a one
make class (Pre C5 Corvettes) not by virtue of dominance but by lack of
alternatives. AS can become a class as competitive and diverse among
different cars as DS is today. The E46 M3 and other BMW M cars are as
affordable (high sales volumes) as any other new competitive AS, BS or SS
cars based on their low depreciation (lease rates) and good resale values.
In addition a 4 seater car like the E46 M3 can be used easily as a daily
driver, which contrast with the strategy of needing a second "family"car as
a daily driver because the first car is an oddly aligned two seater (a
strategy that is at least as expensive considering the cost of say a Honda
S2000 and the price of any average family 4 seater).

The Z-06 deserves to be in Super Stock as it is clearly the best performing
affordable mass produced car in the US market today. I, and others, believe
that there's enough room in the SCCA solo II classing system to enable a
better degree of competitiveness to other makes, specially one like BMW, who
builds M cars that are directed towards a customer segments that clearly
intersects with SCCA's members base.

Thank you for your consideration,

Carlos E. Gomez
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