F82 M4 GTMore
BMW competes in international racing with the F82 M4 in the GT4 class (and soon to be in the GT3 class). We were among the first US teams to receive the GT4 and promptly put it on the podium. As a Customer Car from BMW Motorsport it's an outstanding machine. But in motorsport with multiple types of cars there are compromises to level the playing field for everyone (aka Balance of Performance). In the case of the M4 GT4 that handicap comes mainly in the form of a power restriction. There are five allowed power levels for the M4 when it competes in GT4 trim. When allowed, the highest level is about the same as a stock M4 GTS - 500hp. Looks can be deceiving but our racy GT4 is often slower in a straight line than our tuned street cars. The Porsches have to keep up somehow.
So that led to the question, "What can a GT4 do if it was un-leashed? How much faster can we make a street M4 than our GT4 race car?"
Our subject is a 2015 F82 M4 in Mineral Grey with DCT and Carbon-Ceramic Brakes (more on those later). The car was completely stock when we received it and had covered just 53,000 miles. First stop was the workshop where it got a complete fluid change to Red Line Oil and then onto the dyno (421whp, 415wft-lbs).
M4 Racing Steering Wheel Upgrade - KMP Corsa Wheel
Speed comes from within.
It feels like we have just as many hours from the seat of a race car as we do in our everyday street cars. That's why a racing steering wheel was the first upgrade we did on GTMore. Replacing the "school bus" sized factory wheel for this special OMP Corsa wheel is a big improvement not just in feel but in setting the tone for this build.
And this is not just any race wheel because you can't bolt on a universal wheel to an F8X car and expect everything to work. The electronics are much too sophisticated for that. The engineers and craftsmen at KMP Drivetrain in The Netherlands have reverse-engineered the factory electronics, clock spring, and hub to provide a bolt-on race wheel for F8X as well as other modern BMWs. Some minor wiring may be required but the beauty of this wheel is that it retains the critical functions of the factory wheel and is customizable for others as well. We had ours built to retain the M1 and M2 mode buttons, horn, and traction control settings. KMP supplies the correct plugs and wiring to make it all work.
Normally we would not recommend removing your air bag without first having proper 4 or 6-point harnesses, a proper seat, and a rollbar. But all of those things are just around the corner. Adding this wheel first puts the focus on the task at hand - speed. Because racecar.
M4 S55 & DCT Complete Fluid Change
It's pretty much universal that when you buy a used car you change the oil. Especially true for cars that have just surpassed their factory maintenance plans where - if you were lucky - it got a few engine oil changes, brake fluid flushes, and radiator coolant top-offs. It did not get transmission or differential oil changes under the BMW maintenance plan. If you want to invest in the long-term health and performance of your new purchase a complete fluid replacement is a smart move. Here are the fluid products we used in our new-to-us F82 M4.
Engine Oil - Red Line Euro Series 5W30. The Euro Series is a special formula intended for European makes. It's a high-performance Group IV/V full synthetic with a high ZDDP content but low SAPS value. In plainer English it's more compliant with modern technology in Euro cars, especially turbocharged BMWs. As a true full synthetic (not marketing) it has extremely high shear resistance at high temps and does an excellent job of coating metallic surfaces. The low SAPS makes it more compatible with modern catalytic converters that should not be using older high-ZDDP engine oils. The Euro Series is the best option for a high-performance turbo BMW.
Coolant - Red Line Supercool pre-mix. This is a new coolant/antifreeze formula from Red Line that ticks all the right boxes for us. It's compatible with factory BMW coolant, including being Nitrate, Phosphate, and Silicate-free. It's pre-mixed with distilled water. It's pre-mixed with Red Line Water Wetter. And it has a longer service life than factory fluid.
Transmission - Red Line DCTF. This was a no-brainer for us as we used it in our factory M4 GT4 race cars and it dropped the transmission temps right away. When temps get high the shift time and performance suffers, even to the point of faults and limp mode. The GT4 has slightly improved cooling and capacity over the street car but it needs all the help it can get and Red Line DCTF helped us out a lot.
Differential - Red Line 75W140. Just like with the transmission fluid, the properties of the gear oil also help reduce internal diff temps. The 75W140 grade is the same as the factory oil weight but the quality of the base stock is much better.
Brake Fluid - Red Line RL-600*. Brake fluid should really be changed completely every two years. And more often if it's a track car. The factory fluid is DOT4 so it's pretty good out of the bottle. Red Line RL-600 is a Super DOT4 that actually exceeds DOT5 specs.
* - the factory fluid is a low-viscosity weight, meaning it's super thin. For any street use we recommend an OEM low-viscosity fluid such as Pentosin or Ate. However, for track use this fluid becomes too thin when it gets hot so we start out with the traditional normal viscosity RL-600 and let it thin out as it gets hot. These normal viscosity fluids can be used on the street but it's not recommended.
Red Line Fuel System Cleaner. Any car regardless of mileage can use an occasional fuel treatment. An internal combustion engine leaves carbon deposits throughout the system and that will have detrimental effects at some point. An occasional cleaning will break up carbon deposits (to a certain extent) and improve efficiency and performance.
GTMore Brakes Part 1: Pagid Track Pads for BMW CCB
This is not our first project car with carbon-ceramic brakes but it's the first one where we are pushing all systems beyond their limit - and the brakes are no exception. In our first track outing with the car we confirmed some glaring deficiencies with the stock carbon brakes but also tested and adopted a solution.
The Carbon Ceramic system (CCB) is futuristic technology with a lot of positive attributes - lower unsprung weight, longer service life, and minimal unsightly brake dust. The downsides are extremely high replacement cost and a lack of heat capacity for hard track driving. We knew going in that the stock CCB pads are formulated for street driving, which is what 98-99% of CCB use will be. Like traditional pads, CCB pads perform well within a certain temperature box. Step beyond the walls of the box and trouble reveals itself. The issue with CCB pads is that the friction material overheats and instead of forming resistance with the disc the material smears over the disc surface. The resulting loss in friction will make the pads and the discs essentially worthless. Since the CCB discs cannot be turned or machined this trouble can cost you a ton of money - replacement discs and pads can run over $15,000! And will limit your speed and performance the next time you want to take your CCB to the track. It's important to clarify that this is not a defect in the CCB rotors or pads. We took them outside of the limits they were designed with. We're actually big fans of the CCB package because the pros outweigh most of the cons.
The Pagid RSC pads have been designed specifically for carbon brakes. Like traditional pads the material has been formulated to work in a higher temperature zone without a loss in friction. The Pagid pads are more stable at the temperature levels we are used to seeing at the track. This extra capacity provides the crucial buffer between excellent on-track performance and a carbon ceramic paperweight. We used the RSC1 compound in the front and rear which were very compatible with the stock BMW CCB rotors. Having a more appropriate pad for track use will make you more confident in the braking zone, better modulation and release, and consistently better stopping power. And you can use the RSC1 compound for limited street use, avoiding a pad swap at the track.
Our Motec data system backed up what our driver was experiencing at the VIR long course. We have two excellent braking zones from high speeds - turn 1 and turn 14. Our data was recording brake system pressure, system pressure with ABS, wheel speed, vehicle speed, longitudinal G force, and other parameters. Most interesting to us was the wheel speed and the ABS intervention. We knew the Pagid brakes were going to stop better than stock pads but we also wanted to ensure proper ABS operation. The stock pads beyond their limit were causing dramatic ABS operation - the ABS was cycling in a desperate attempt to keep the brakes at that threshold of lockup. The Pagid data was much more stable and consistent, allowing the driver to brake later with just as much pedal pressure and less ABS intervention. We should mention that we did not change the DSC settings or reflash the DSC module with different software. The RSC1 compound has excellent compatibility with the factory BMW DSC strategies.
GT More Brakes Part 2: CCB-to-Iron Disc Conversion
While we believe we have overcome the biggest limiting factor on the stock CCB on the track the fact is these are still consumable parts. And anyone that tracks their car regularly is aware of consumable costs. For a set of CCB rotors and pads it's about $16,000 (or the price of a good E36 M3 track car). Traditional iron brakes are much less cost and provide about the same performance, as we discovered by swapping brakes at the track and recording the data.
We swapped to Giro Disc iron rotors and Pagid race pads for the stock CCB caliper. Braking performance, measured by G force and brake pressure, was virtually the same with the iron brakes. We did not see any loss in braking performance in our back-to-back testing of carbon-ceramic vs iron. And because the pads were not giving up under the heat we had more confidence in the car. Our pro racer behind the wheel can feel the difference between the carbon and iron discs. The CCB saves 15lbs per corner and that makes an impact in MOI and performance.
Weight does matter but is it worth the enormous additional costs? For every pair of CCB rotors you can buy a pair of assembled two-piece iron rotors plus 9 pairs of replacement rotor rings! It's very common for Porsche and Corvette owners to swap from carbon to iron discs for any track use and all indications are that the BMW CCB are no different. Put your carbon discs in storage for when the time comes to sell the car.
In a F8X CCB conversion we keep the original CCB calipers and only swap the rotors and pads. The calipers are not specific to the CCB brakes - they are actually the same as the M2 Competition and very similar to the F10 M5. But they get the gold finish for CCB use. Every other part of the caliper is the same between CCB and iron - caliper seals, brake master cylinder, brake booster, lines, etc. We use the rotors from the M2 Competition - 400x38mm in front and 380x28mm in back. As a track upgrade we like the Giro Disc 2-piece rotors because they are lighter than OEM iron rotors, have a better vane structure and premium metallic content, and the iron friction rings can be replaced separately. You can also use factory OEM M2 Competition rotors. Note: because the rotor size stays the same you must still run 19" front wheels. If you want to run 18" wheels you must switch to a smaller rotor, which we'll cover in Part 3.
You just saved $14,000 that you can put towards something more important... like safety gear.
M4 Racing Seats & Harnesses
Not only are we strong believes in track safety, many clubs and organizations are requiring better safety upgrades. We have our own minimum standards for our track cars and we're happy to see groups around the country taking a closer look at safety.
For the GTMore we're still interested in keeping this street-able. Maybe trailering a car to the track is the ultimate goal but for this project we still want to have a car to drive on the road and then bring to the track. The GTMore got a set of OMP racing seats, Lifeline 6-point harnesses, and a 4-point bolt-in roll bar. At the end of the day we dropped over 30lbs compared to the stock power seats.
M4 Takes on the Sandhills Open Road Challenge (2021)
All of this work ain't for nothing. So when OPTIMA Batteries told us about the Sandhills Open Road Challenge we knew the GTMore was going. It would also give us an opportunity to test out some new brakes, tires, and suspension upgrades we've been hard at work on.
What is the Sandhills Open Road Challenge? Just one of the best-kept secrets in amateur motorsports in the country. In central Nebraska every August you will find the Heartland's version of a tarmac TSD rally (Time Speed Distance). It's a "run-what-you-brung" event put on by the residents of Custer County, Nebraska. They close the local roads for a week and let racers run loose on them. All earnings from the event go to the local community.
Think Nebraska is flat land with corn in every direction? You couldn't be more wrong. We encountered long straight-aways topping 160mph that ran in-between twisting and snaking tarmac roads. The road surface is quite bumpy which gave us plenty of opportunities to tune our excellent MCS dampers. There are a variety of events throughout the week, mostly of the TSD format - complete the course from A-to-B in a prescribed amount of time, averaging the specific speed for your class. Closest to the target time/speed for the given distance is the winner.
We'll add more content here soon but for now check out some of the videos below.
26.6-Mile South Leg TSD Stage
Standing Mile ShootOut
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