I was just minding my own business at work on Friday when I get a text message. “Find a truck and Trailer and the BMW is yours to race on Saturday.” I consider myself a fairly honest person, but I’ll steal a truck and trailer for that opportunity! After some quick searches I got another message “truck and trailer are taken care of.” Holy crap, that is even better.
So off we went, we headed out to CORE unloaded and signed up. I realized I hadn’t driven the BMW in about 7 months so I figured it should be quite entertaining to see my tentative first runs.
Once on track we had a pile of fun, it was a very windy day and I was driving with Grant Hughes as a second driver in the car. Dave brought out the EVO aka the Evil (according to voice-to-text) and though we didn’t win any awards (though Grant nearly clinched the Cone Killer award) we had a blast.
The photo in this thread is pulled from this PhotoBucket stream. Once I figure out how to contact the guy I may just have to get this thing printed!
It’s all part of building a race car. Nothing works perfectly the first time around. Ask Rhys Millen. They built a million dollar car for Pikes Peak last year and without enough testing they had issues with the wing, the transmission and on and on. Well, for the Kern’s it isn’t that different. Each test has revealed a problem. The first showed some issues with the diff. The second test showed some issues with the suspension and between those tests we had some issue with the oil pump.
Yesterday we headed out to CORE and we tested again. 11-2:30 with only a few stops that were each under about 10 minutes. About 3 hours of running at 80-100% (except when I was driving that was probably more like 50%!) This thing is proving itself! The engine runs strong, very strong! The transmission is working nicely and the suspension is nearly dialed. One more switch around with valving and possibly a bit of a change on the rear spring rate and this thing should be ready for whatever you can throw at it.
Check out some video from the day and don’t forget to check out RaceKern.com for updates from the Kerns
The Kern’s BMW is finally running. we rocked, we rolled and Dave just straight up deprived himself of sleep and rest, but in the end: that car rocks. Yes, it is running. we finished up saturday, did a big donut in the parking lot at around 9 pm and then headed out to CORE for some testing at 10:30 the next day.
First impression… EVERYTHING WORKS! it is incredible how many little things you need to think about when you do this type of thing, but everything works! It is kinda a miracle. The car was a blast and Dave gave me a ride in it to show me what all the sleep deprivation, bloody knuckles and just general tinkering is all about. Man that is fun.
The course is rough, it is narrow and it is pretty quick. I think we topped out 5th gear in the straightish parts and jumps, tight corners and “other” were regular occurrences. It makes me want to get my hands on a car that I can play out there with…
No post is complete with out video right.. well check out some in car action!
I’ve been helping Dave Kern build his BMW rally car whenever I have free time. Unfortunately that isn’t that frequent! It has been teaching me a lot about cars and letting me do one of the things that I enjoy the most, figuring out solutions to problems!
Dave has about 16 months into this car, I have maybe a few weeks, so I can’t take a whole lot of credit, but I was down there the other night and we got some of the “you may actually drive this soon” parts put on. Brakes are bled, the engine is all ready, pedals are in, skid plate mounts are in. It is actually looking like we may run this and stretch its legs this Sunday!
A quick note about Dave. Man can that guy drive. It is pretty incredible really. You don’t really have a solid appreciation for what a good driver can do until you are riding along and seeing all the things they can do with a car. Last year he drove my car at Georgetown and I watched as my car did things that I didn’t know it was capable of. I am pretty sure that even Subaru may have been baffled. This year I rode in my car again with him at the wheel at BWDS and again, wow. How does it do that! However one of the most awesome experiences was in Mitch Williams rally car. Dave threw that thing around and at one point said “yeah, that is about as far as I would want to push someone elses car.” I was thinking “well that is about 45% more than I would want to push my own car! Allison, his wife and co-driver is brave enough to ride with him and incredibly skilled at keeping him on track. I suspect we will see her behind the wheel of the Bimmer soon! Check out their website in my links, you’ll be following along with their adventures soon enough.
When the pedals are in, the steering wheel was installed and we could sit in the drivers seat. Well your imagination puts a track in front of you. Your peripheral blocks out the shop walls and you create the sense of speed and suddenly you realize that you are making the engine sounds you imagine will emerge from the hood. Yes, we both did this, but Dave quickly remembered…. TURN THE KEY!
I’ve been living vicariously through some of my friends by helping them with their race cars. Mostly I’d say it has been Dave and Allison Kern. Originally I had helped them with some work on their Pikes Peak Hill Climb Evo. I did a bunch of work on their aero package, but also ended up welding some parts as well as installing and fitting body parts as well. It is fun to get to work on this stuff. There is a lot of problem solving and a lot of building, creating and working with your hands. Currently they are working on the creation of a BMW rally car.
The BMW will be used as a 2wd Rally car. It is cheaper to run and compete in and with a privateer budget that is good news. It is also going to provide the opportunity to run in Max Attack which is a 2wd specific rally event that will give them good competition in an affordable package. If all that wasn’t enough the BMW will be set up so the drivers seat is able to accommodate a shorter driver or a taller one…so Allison now has the ability to drive!
The car has been caged by SCR Performance but Dave is taking on the majority of the rest of the work. The beginning steps (beyond all the research that he has into figuring out the parts for the car) is the underbody. The BMW isn’t exactly designed for Rally, so you have a couple options. Paint the car and replace the chassis when it gets wrecked or try to protect the chassis. The plan for this car was to protect the chassis with Kevlar and Macropoxy. Macropoxy is a paint that is a good barrier against rust and light impact. Kevlar, well that takes the bigger dings and dents well. The EVO Works well with the Kevlar under body, but it is separating a bit in places, so this time we tried a few different tricks to try to keep the body and the kevlar together.
The Kevlar now has epoxy that has been seeped into all the welded seams so it hopefully gets more adheason, also we put chunks of Kevlar into some of the gaps between seem welds so those will hopefully give the kevlar even more places to adhere.
It is a messy process, so we only have a few photos of this part. This is what the end result looks like. Almost time to flip the car over and start putting parts on it!
I’ll be helping them out whenever I can, so keep an eye back and I’ll post up some progress as we go. In the mean time you can check them out on Facebook