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Personal Motorsport

BMW Z4

The car was purchased as my main road car in 2006. At that time I had never done any motorsport and was not a member of a car club. However, on prompting by a good friend, John Davies, I joined the MG Car Club of Queensland, and my modest motorsport experience commenced, albeit by driving the friend's old MG1100 around Simmons Plains racetrack in Tasmania. On return from there I was keen to find out just what the Z4 would do.

The 2006 year saw a variety on competitions. The car ran in five hillclimbs at Mt Cotton, where I slowly learned to negotiate the tricky track, with modest improvements in times. The best time was 55.30 seconds. With friend John Davies we entered the Queensland Challenge, an event that included a touring assembly, various sprints, a motorkhana and autocross. We came 33rd overall of 52 competitors and 9th in class of 14. Next event was the MG Ironman, another multi event, with touring assembly, motorkhana, supersprint and hillclimb. Only came 8th of 19 and 5th in class of 15. Next event in October was a supersprint at Carnell Raceway in Stanthorpe where the best lap was 40.18 seconds and finished 42nd of 61 starters. In November I did a khanacross in Parklands Showgrounds, but found the loose surface a bit tricky, so did not end up very well in the results. A week later at Morgan Park in Warwick I did a regularity trial, an event than enabled a good number of track laps. While a lot of fun, it showed that the Z4's standard brakes were not intended for that type of treatment. Later, new rotors and competition pads were fitted but cooling was still a problem.

In 2007 Mt Cotton once again was frequently used, with my time improving to 53.05 seconds. This year also saw a number of other touring assemblies being entered. With Mal Spiden we did a Pines, Pineapples ans Peaks event in the Caboolture area, winning the novice class. I also entered many of the regular MG Car Club night runs, with varying success. A better result was with David West when we ran the Solvix Challenge in the Boonah area where we were 1st equal with 7 from 20 starters. Also with David West we ran the Queensland Challenge, coming 11th of 47 starters, a better result again compared to previous year. With supersprints, I ran in May and October at Carnell Raceway, with the best lap of 38.97 seconds. The MG Car Club Ironman was run again coming 9th of 16 overall and 7th of 13 in class. A different form of sprinting was done this year at a street sprint in Maryborough. Came 2nd in class of 4 and 111th of 174 competitors. Another regularity trial was run at Morgan Park with similar brake problems to last year.

While the car drove well for normal street use, it was clear that the small 2.5 litre engine and automatic transmission was not ideal for competition. In 2008 I purchased a supercharger kit from ESS Tuning, a Norwegian company specialising in BMW kits. This provided a seven psi boost, giving an effective 50% increase in torgue and power. Later in the year a limited slip differential from Drexler Motorsport in Germany was fitted, ensuring that the power was applied to the ground more effectively. The power increase was quite noticable at Mt Cotton, where with better tyres I managed a 49.0 second run mid year. Two more hillclimbs were entered this year. One at Noosa, a good event, where I came 56th of 104 and 7th in class of 14 and the other at Grafton wher I was 26th overall of 60 and 11th in class of 20. Once again, touring assemblies were frequently entered. The Solvix Challenge with Mike Anderson saw us 13th of 22. Another with Mike was the Kilcoy Road Rally where we came 7th of 18 entries. The Queensland Challenge, also with Mike we came 14th of 29 starters. While not spectacular results, these events were most enjoyable. The Maryborough street sprint was done once again, this time coming 52nd of 166 and 2nd in class of 3. The MG Ironman this year resulted in 11th of 19 overall and 8th of 16 in class. Only one supersprint was run at Carnell Raceway, where my time only improved to 37.69 seconds, showing that power is not the answer at all events. However, perhaps the highlight of the year was running with David West in the Targa Tasmania Tour. This non-competitive event is run over most of the Targa stages at sensible road speeds in convoy with other cars in a packet. The experience provides a great insight into the spirit and flavour of Targa in terms of the roads and organisation, whetting one's appetite to do the real thing.

For 2009 I desired some more track experience, so in addition to my running at Carnell Raceway where I lowered my time to 37.19 seconds, I also entered the Queensland Supersprint Series at Morgan Park. The latter event was run over several rounds using different track configurations. A very enjoyable event series where I ran with some quite fast cars in a six car sprint. Next best thing to proper racing I believe. A few more hillclimb events were run at Mt Cotton, where I lowered my time to 48.97 seconds. A wet track at the Noosa hillclimb this year did not allow me to improve my time, but I did finish well overall at 24th of 105. Touring assemblies this year were the Solvix Challenge with Mike Anderson where we were only 9th of 14, and another Targa Tasmania Tour, also with Mike. This latter event convinced us that we needed to do the full competitve Targa, resulting in the purchase of a Daihatsu Charade for the next year. The other competition this year were street sprints. I ran again at Maryborough where I was 26th overall of 166 and 2nd in class of 3. The wet conditions and the car's stability control helping me with traction and adhesion. The second event was the Leyburn Sprints. This famous event is always well attended and I was pleased to come 58th of 193 at my first attempt. Use of the Charade for some events in the year reduced my Z4 activity a bit.

Competition for 2010 was reduced in the Z4 due to Charade activity. With Mike Anderson we did the Motor School Winter Dam Challenge event, coming 3rd overall of 13 and 1st in class of 5. Supersprints at Carnell Raceway and Morgan Park saw my time for the former drop slightly to 37.16 seconds and as usual I was well placed in the results. There were four street sprints this year in which I competed. A new one at Rockhampton where I came 23rd of 108 overall and 4th in class of 6. Second was Leyburn again where I was 67th of 211 overall and 4th in class of 8. Third was another new one for me at Pittsworth where I came 4th is class of 14 and 36th of 163 overall. Last was another new one for me at Oakey where I placed 34th of 133 overall and 2nd in class of 2.

2011 was another quiet one for the car. Three street sprints:- being Gatton (another new one for me) where I placed 34th overall of 151 and 3rd in class of 4; Maryborough as 35th overall of 128 and last in class of 4; and finally Leyburn again placing 48th of 205 overall and 4th in class of 8. The only other competition was Noosa hillclimb where I was 5th in class of 6 and 55th overall of 128

2012 was a rest year for the Z4. Not only was the expense of competition increasing but I was getting married for the first time.

2013 has seen the car in use for the MG Ironman event. This comprised a night navigation run, a supersprint and a hillclimb. I was placed 3rd overall of 9 competitors but won the Clubman award for using the same vehicle in all competitions. The sprint was at the Holden circuit at Norwell Park. Here my lack of competition fitness showed up, as I was only 42nd of 63 runners. My best lap time was 71.29 seconds. The Mt Cotton hillclimb also showed I was not as quick as I would have liked with a 50.92 second time and ending up 28th of 52 cars.

Some other photos from competition as follows:-

Revised on 7 March 2013 Copyright Ian D Fettes 2013

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