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MASTER THREAD: Comprehensive Road-Course Modification Guide — Optimizing the 3 for the track

Discussion in 'Model 3: Driving Dynamics' started by MasterC17, Nov 13, 2019.

  1. MasterC17

    MasterC17 Member

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    To begin with, the Model 3 is a decent HPDE/Track Day car out of the box. However, there are some concerns if you are planning multiple events a year or participating competitively. There's also a lot of options for making your car faster. I wanted to create this guide to shed some light on the aftermarket options currently available and provide my feedback and experience.

    To me, the first concern to address is the brakes. While not needed for a leisurely day out at the track, or your first event, they quickly become a weak-point if you are pushing it. That being said, I personally would not recommend BBK’s, as they are generally expensive and overkill. Regenerative braking in my experience does help with heat dissipation and brake component life significantly. A nice set of rotors, and (in particular) pads in combination with high performance brake fluid is more than suffice for most people. For Performance Model 3’s the stock rotors are enough if you don’t want to spend money on the upgraded rotors, and they are cheap to replace.

    The next item to tackle is the Model 3’s lack of camber adjustment. Unless you are willing to buy tires every ~3 events, you will need to address the camber. Fortunately, we now have adjustable front upper control arms and rear upper control arms available to solve this problem. I have had decent tire wear running -3 degrees of camber in the front and -2.5 in the rear.

    Once those items are addressed, the remaining is honestly optional and will depend on your budget and (if racing competitively) class. I’m not going to get into tires and wheels in this thread, considering there are just so many options, but I would recommend a set of dedicated wheels and 200TW tires. I personally went with the 18” APEX ARC-8’s for wheels and am currently running Federal 595RS-PRO tires. There's a great thread in this Forum discussing the many tire and wheel options available.

    One point I want to make; while the stock suspension sits high and is a little soft, aftermarket coilovers will not make you drastically faster. I shaved about 2 seconds on a 3.27 mile course (VIR). To be frank, I was rather impressed with the well-balanced stock suspension. My point being you can run fast times on stock struts (i.e. you don’t have to spend thousands on coilovers).

    I am going to list my final modifications in the post below this one to highlight why I went the route(s) I did.


    Brake Pads:

    Racing Brake: Racing Brake has two options for brake pad compounds, both being a street/track hybrid. The XT970 is more track-oriented and the XT910 is more street oriented.

    XT910 (Street/Track Compound)

    XT970 (Track Only Compound)


    Unplugged Performance: UP has two different compounds available. I don’t have the particulars on pad characteristics, and personally I think there are better options available now but to each their own. I would be curios to get more information on them.

    UP Street/Track Compound

    UP Track Only Compound



    Carbotech: A newcomer to the Model 3 game, I am excited to see this entry. Carbotech has a great reputation among fellow track geeks, and they are reasonably priced. I would suggest the RP2 compound for longevity sake.

    All Compounds (Stock Sizes)


    Brake Rotors:

    Racing Brake: Racing Brake actually has tons of options available to the Model 3. I would contact them directly if you are looking for something specific, but they have a good reputation and their products are quality, albeit a hair on the expensive side.

    Performance Front Rotors

    Base Front Rotors (w/ Pads)

    Base Front Rotors (BBK Upgrade Kit)

    Performance Rear Rotors

    Base Rear Rotors (w/ Pads)

    Mountain Pass Performance (Made by GiroDisc): GiroDisc is a well-respected manufacturer of aftermarket brake components, and these rotors are both well designed and relatively affordable. Like all MPP products, expect easy, bolt-on installation.

    Performance Front Rotors

    Base Front Rotors (BBK Upgrade Kit)

    Performance Rear Rotors

    Base Rear Rotors


    Brake Fluid:

    Motul RBF600: My go-to brake fluid; this should only need to be flushed every 6 months and is affordable.

    Castrol SRF: If you really want to ball-out and don’t plan on changing the calipers anytime soon Castrol SRF is the pinnacle of brake fluid. This should only need to be flushed once a year.


    Brake Lines:

    MPP Page Mill Stainless Steel Brake Lines: Affordable, quality components.

    UP Stainless Steel Brake Lines: A bit more money, should offer similar performance to MPP.


    Front Adjustable Upper Control Arms:

    MPP Corkscrew Model 3 Front Upper Control Arms: These are the only arms available “in the wild” and they look great. Reasonably priced, allow for tons of adjustment, these are definitely my go-to for right now.

    UP Billet Adjustable Front Upper Control Arms (Release Date TBD)

    SPL Front Upper Control Arms (Release Date TBD)


    Rear Adjustable Upper Control Arms:

    MPP Rear Camber Arms: A good, stock-feel replacement. Well-designed and easy adjustment.

    UP Rear Camber Arms (Release Date TBD)

    SPL Rear Camber Arms: A good, stiffer bushing replacement option. Also well-designed, also easy to adjust. Will likely wear quicker than the MPP in favor of performance.


    Sway Bars:

    UP Sway Bars: Affordable, easy to install, tons of adjustment, great option.

    Eibach Sway Bars: Well-respected name in the industry. Assume they will be comparable to the UP’s but currently not available.

    Whiteline End Links: These are not necessary, but for the ultimate in corner balancing and adjustment you can add some adjustable end links. The Fronts are KLC180-295’s and the Rears are KLC102’s.


    Coilovers:

    MCS:

    Motion Control Suspension Dampers (Several Options): If you are racing competitively, these are simply your premier option. MCS is a well-respected, US-based company who manufacturers some of the best dampers in Motorsports. However, these are not as street-friendly as other options may be. They have solid bushings (no rubber), so expect some additional NVH.


    Unplugged Performance (Ohlin’s): UP uses Ohlin’s components for their coilover kits. Ohlin’s has a reputation for manufacturing nice dual-purpose dampers. There is a thread on this forum comparing MPP and UP Coilovers. Either way, you can’t go wrong.

    Basic Coilover Kit (AWD or RWD)

    “Pro” Coilover Kit (AWD or RWD)


    Mountain Pass Performance (KW): MPP partnered with KW to develop their coilover kits. My understanding is that the “Comfort” Coilovers are comparable to KW V1/V2 and the “Sports” is more like a V2/V3. The Sports coilovers have compression and rebound adjustment, and would be the favored option for people tracking their Model 3 (compared to the Comfort with no adjustment). These are an easy installation, no-hassle option I would recommend.

    Comfort or Sports AWD Coilovers

    Comfort or Sports RWD Coilovers


    Aerodynamics:

    Unplugged Performance: I would consider UP really the only competitor in this game right now as they are the only company with data to back up their claims. Nonchalantly slapping spoilers, lips, etc on the car without any research is not a good strategy. If you own a Non-PUP 3 this stock rear spoiler is a good option to increase downforce and increase efficiency. I really feel no need to put a big wing and giant canards on the car. It is quite heavy and I haven’t felt it get floaty or loose at high speeds.

    UP Front Lip Spoiler: I put one on my car and one on my wife’s car. It will need to be painted for that ‘finished’ look but I did find efficiency improvements in my testing, backing up UP’s claims.

    UP High Downforce Trunk Spoiler: I have two on order but have yet to receive one. These should be shipping soon and they look like they will work nicely but I can’t comment on it beyond that at this point.


    Miscellaneous:

    Schroth: I wanted to mention that the Schroth BMW E90 Quick-Fit Harness does work in the Model 3. Shout-out to our fellow forum members for figuring this out. I have been happy with mine. It keeps me tight in the seat and allows me to use my HANS. Given the lack of bolstering on the Model 3 seat this is a great solution.
     
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  2. MasterC17

    MasterC17 Member

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    MasterC17’s Build:

    MCS 1WNR Coilovers w/ Eibach Springs & Hardware: I worked with AR Autoservice to put together the first set of Model 3 MCS Coilovers sold (to me). I went with the MCS Coilovers as they are simply the best option you can buy in terms of track performance and I do eventually plan to drive in Time Trials. Each adjustment provides a noticeable change, and they are made of premium materials. They are pretty amazing to drive on track with. I will say they added some NVH, but that was a trade-off I expected. If you are not driving competitively I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the MPP Coilovers (I installed the Comfort’s on my wife’s car).

    SPL Rear Camber & Toe Arms: I chose to go with SPL’s arms over MPP or UP based on the stiffer bushings. They are all about the same price, and SPL is a well-respected name in the industry. These were very easy to install and adjust. Again, if you are not driving competitively the MPP arms are another great option.

    MPP Adjustable Front Upper Control Arms: I initially developed offset bushings to address my front camber concerns, but the MPP Arms are just too good to ignore. I haven’t received them yet, but they look phenomenal and the price is reasonable for what you are getting. Until completion arises, these will be the go-to.

    Unplugged Performance Sway Bars (Front + Rear): UP put a lot of effort into developing these sway bars and they deliver. They have lots of adjustment, install was a breeze, they look great, and they work. Significant reduction in body roll. These are currently the go-to option for Sway Bars.

    Whiteline Adjustable Sway Bar End Links: Relatively cheap, quality components that offer the adjustment needed for a proper corner-balance. Can’t go wrong here.

    MPP Page Mill P3D+ Rotors: Earlier this year, there were no good pad options for the P3D+ Calipers, so I retrofitted a set of MS Calipers onto my car. They worked great. The Raybestos ST-47 pads have half-life left after 7 track days. However, I chewed up the MS rotors very quickly. So, I’ve decided to go back to the stock calipers with the MPP Rotors and Carbotech pads. Made by GiroDisc, I know they will be of very high quality and yet again MPP delivers with a reasonable price. I think these will be a great option for most people, though the stock rotors are by no means bad (on the P3D+, Base is a different story).

    Carbotech RP2 Pads: I’ve used Carbotech pads in other cars before with success. I am excited to try their RP2 compound. I always look for a pad with great life, and these look like a good option. Carbotech has plenty of compound options to suit a variety of needs. Shout out to Martian Wheels for making these available!

    MPP Stainless Steel Brake Lines: Another great option from MPP. Pretty straight forward, improves brake feel.

    Unplugged Performance Front Lip & Rear Spoiler: UP delivers with data. I’m not one to slap spoilers and lips on for no reason (though I think my diffuser looks cool haha). I was very impressed with the efficiency improvement the front lip provided, and it looks good. So impressed, I ordered a second for my wife’s car. I am excited to receive the rear spoilers which look like they will also deliver.

    Overall: You can put together a track-worthy, fast, and competitive Model 3 for about ~$7,000. If you go all out you can spend up to ~$13,000, but that extra $6k is not going to gain you much as far as lap times are concerned. These are actually pretty reasonable prices compared to the BMW’s I’ve built in the past. Getting a BMW F80 M3 (probably the closed competitor) to the same state is going to cost as much or more. And I have yet to find one faster than the Model 3 at VIR, a track where the BMW’s top-end should help considerably.
     
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  3. Tcpsoft

    Tcpsoft Member

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    Awesome write up, thank you for taking the time to put this together!

    Making my list for Santa now....
     
  4. destructure00

    destructure00 Active Member

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    This is fantastic! Thanks for the info.


    What's the process like for adjusting camber on the MPP front and SPL rear? I've done brakes and tires....camber adjustment is next on the list. Wondering what I'm getting myself into.
     
  5. beastmode13

    beastmode13 Supporting Member

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    #5 beastmode13, Nov 13, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2019
    Great reference. This should be sticky.
     
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  6. SD_Engnr

    SD_Engnr Active Member

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    @MasterC17 - Great info here.
    @Lunares - additional info to help you with your decisions regarding MPP vs SPL and MPP vs MCS.
     
  7. MasterC17

    MasterC17 Member

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    Awesome, glad to hear it. Hope to see you at VIR next year!

    The rear arms are super easy to install (20 minutes per side) and very easy to adjust. You basically just loosen up an allen nut, spin them to your desired camber setting, and tighten the nut back down. Much easier than other arms I have used in the past.

    Agreed :)

    @Lunares - FWIW if you want to maintain stock NVH levels I would recommend the MPP stuff. The arms won't make much of a difference, but the MCS Coilovers are much noisier than stock.
     
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  8. SD_Engnr

    SD_Engnr Active Member

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    The MPP front requires you to lift the front of the car (you leave the wheels on!), loosen these:
    MPP Camber arm.jpg

    And then swap out the shims based on your desired camber.
     
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  9. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    Just another data point...

    I ran into the camber issue first, then the brake temperature issue. The former I was able to modulate by my driving (less aggressive) but the latter I wasn't able to modulate.

    (This is not a plug but it will sound like it...)
    I don't much about this tech at all so I put my trust in AR based on personal recommendations, and splurged a bit:
    1. MCS 2 Way Non Remote Damper Set
    2. MCS Front Spring Adapter Set
    3. MCS Sway Bar Bracket Set
    4. Eibach 6inch 2.25ID 800lb Spring (Front)
    5. Eiback 6inch 2.5ID 1000lb Spring (Rear)
    6. Ground Control Weight Jacker Set and Rear Upper Spring Pad
    7. Eibach 2.25 ID Spring Spacer
    8. Front Upper Mount Spacer Set
    9. Eibach Tender Spring Pair
    10. SPL Front End Link Set
    11. Unplugged Performance SS Brake Line Kit
    12. ATE Type 200 DOT4 Brake Fluid
    With initial installation they lowered my car a bit over 2 inches. This was incompatible with my driveway (even at the steepest possible angle). I revisited their shop to raise it an inch, which ended up being about 15/16". It now clears my driveway even straight on.

    The car has only seen 2 track days (@ PIR recently) since and it seems the "sidewall killing" might be addressed (yay!) because I was pushing the car at least as hard as I ever have at PIR and it was (oddly) a totally sunny and dry weekend. The vehicle is currently running Tsportline 18s with Continental DWS06 so it's not apples to apples w/r/t wear; but literally there was zero sidewall wear after the PIR weekend. Also of note -- no messages about brake overheating.

    The real test is ORP where I killed my first set of PS4S in two track days when the car was 6 days old, and then overheated the brakes (I went off track because the brakes went non-functional) at a subsequent outing to ORP.
    @MasterC17 If there's additional info that you think might be useful to folks, ask away. Keep in mind I don't have the glossary or expertise to answer some of what you'll want to ask though.
     
  10. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    Almost forgot: regarding settings for the suspension...

    http://motioncontrolsuspension.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/2015-2WNR-ADJ-INSTRUCTIONS-1.pdf
    I used Martin's defaults for the first session:
    Dan+Eddie were at the track and adjusted the rebound up by 2 at all 4 corners. I left it that way for the rest of the weekend. :)
     
  11. Lunares

    Lunares Member

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    How do you feel that setup does dialed down for daily driving?

    @MasterC17 I am actually thinking of MCS with even higher spring rates than what Brianman has. Possibly 1100/1300.

    It seems like the MPP sports just wont really be stiff enough to be worth it. I do have some NVH concerns, how much worse do you think it gets?
     
  12. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    "Data not available yet."

    I haven't changed the settings since leaving the track; i.e. I've been daily driving with the settings. Comparing with the OEM stock suspension, I think it's actually more comfortable. (Not sure if my passengers will agree.)
     
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  13. jjrandorin

    jjrandorin Another BMW convert

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    Im likely never going to track my car, but I love cars, and I love learning things, and really appreciate the time these type of posts take. @MasterC17 , I agree this should be a sticky post, even though I personally wont use the data it is awesome!
     
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  14. MTSN

    MTSN Member

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    Great list! The cost to prep is very reasonable compared to some other types of vehicle modding. In the off road world, you can easily drop $7k to get a decent suspension and the minimal skid plating to really get off road, but then adding all the fun stuff like bumpers, winch, lights, wheels/tires, etc will soar north of $10k quickly. I’d like to do a couple track days this coming season and intend to just start with a set of wheels/tires and brake fluid and add as necessary from there. The car is already a beast on the drag strip and requires no modifications at all which is pretty awesome.
     
  15. Lunares

    Lunares Member

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    question for you @MasterC17 and @beastmode13

    how do you feel about removing the sway bars? If one gets stiff enough springs of course.

    I have a friend who mods cars for time trials/autocross and he swears by it, but he mostly mods miatas / lotus / mazda RX-8: much lighter cars that having the problem of the rear end swinging too much.

    We don't have that issue, and I am told that very stiff springs + sway bars would be better than extremely stiff springs + no sway bars for handling. And doubly so for non track use. Thoughts?
     
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  16. beastmode13

    beastmode13 Supporting Member

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    Miata, Lotus and RX8 all have relative short wheelbase. When the rear end comes loose you don’t have much time to catch it, thus attribute to the “swing too much” feel.

    Sway bar is there so the spring/damper don’t have to do all the work in lateral weight transfer. If it’s removed, the spring and damper have to be much stiffer to control the lateral weight transfer. But it will be way too stiff for pitch weight transfer.
     
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  17. EVTracker

    EVTracker Member

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    MasterC17. Thanks for the great write up! Are you using stock P3D+ calipers? Per Mike Jr. at Carbotech, they don’t have pads for those yet.
     
  18. Vancan

    Vancan Member

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  19. Vancan

    Vancan Member

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  20. Lunares

    Lunares Member

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    Has anyone measured the stock spring rates and motion ratios for the stock P3D suspension?
     

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