They have a reputation for being a bit heavy, underpowered and prone to understeer – all things that make track enthusiasts cringe. But let’s not forget that the B5 Audi A4 carried on a proud tradition of successful touring cars; it was entered into nearly every series and notably won a few championships – the ’95 and ’96 Italian Superturismo Championship and the ’96 British Touring Car Championship, besting the popular favorites BMW and Alfa-Romeo. Such was the continued dominance of the quattro drive system that in every successive championship the Audis were entered in, they were eventually banned from the series. But the resurgence of Audi to the forefront of Touring Cars proved to be a boost for sales of the popular B5 chassis, making it an instant favorite amongst fans who traveled to the track. While Audi changed priorities in the later ’90s from the BTCC and ITC, there were nonetheless several teams who ran examples of the A4, notably in the “World Challenge” sanctioned by SCCA. With liveries inspired by the classic A4 Super Touring, the more production-based A4 World Challenge gained mostly safety equipment and competed in the lower “Touring” class against the likes of the Acura Integra and BMW 325i, while after 2001 the S4 was introduced to run with the big boys. While not nearly as fast or special as the STW A4s which carry unique Audi Sport chassis numbers, an example of these lesser A4s captures the look at a fraction of the price:
If we kept tabs on which particular car makes an appearance in our Motorsports Monday segment the most, the BMW M3 would certainly rank right up at the top of that list. For thirty years, this car has been the darling of track days, from the original E30 variant up to the last of the two-door M3s built in 2013. We’ve seen a lot of variations on the racing theme, from rally cars to full on Le Mans tributes. This 2002 M3 is a recent build that has been tuned to spec for the German Touring Series of the National Auto Sport Association. In addition, it has the flexibility to tune it for several different classes of GTS.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 BMW M3 NASA GTS4 on eBay
I still remember the first time I went to the track and saw the notorious M3 Lightweight. I had read about it coming in the BMWCCA magazine and it looked exciting. Sure, it still wasn’t the full bore M3 that the rest of the world got to experience, but if you were a track junkie it was a recipe made in heaven. With less weight and some trick aerodynamic aids added to the already stout out-of-the-box E36 M3, it was no surprise that several of the BMWCCA instructors who had other 3-series dumped them to get the Lightweight. They were also a hit in Club Racing, where they were turned up a few notches to make a serious track weapon. Today one such club racer is for sale from the seriously BMW-savvy group at Fall-Line Motorsports:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW M3 Lightweight on eBay
Let’s be honest; going to the track is a bit of an addiction. Few make it out the other side without having at least contemplated heavy and expensive upgrades to their cars. The symptoms of the illness vary from patient to patient, but most exhibit similar characteristics; starting with a somewhat sporty road car, the owners quickly engage in a series of modifications that will make them “faster”. These modifications nearly always degrade the everyday usefulness of your road-going machine, and ultimately no matter how much you modify a street car, it will still be a compromised design. You simply can’t create a track weapon that is road-legal without some compromise. The result, then, is bobble-headed enthusiasts driving their barely-suspended, over cambered and too loud cars around looking – let’s be truthful – a bit of a fool. What’s a smarter option? Well, if you really want to drive faster on track, you find a slow car that someone has already made into a racer. First off, you’re getting into a more pure track car. They’re not road legal generally, so all of the goodies that make life bearable on the street are gone making them lighter. If the build was done right and well, you’re probably saving a lot of money, too. But the real benefit of getting a slower car is that you’re doing more of the driving – ask any racer, and most will say that extracting maximum performance from a slow car is more rewarding than allowing the computers in your GT-R to obliterate the pavement for you. Two of the most popular German cars to hit the track in are here today – the venerable E30 in 325is form, and the iconic Porsche 944. Which will hit the finish line first?
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1987 BMW 325is on eBay
Most of us who are car enthusiasts have a desire at some point or another to go racing. Ever since watching my uncle work the Sports Car Club of America ITE circuit with this ’88 Corvette, I was hooked. The constraints of urban living make having a dedicated race machine a bit impossible, but one can dream. This 1986 BMW 325 built to National Auto Sport Association specifications seems like a good place to start satisfying the urge for those who have track day visions.