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2011 Tuner Grand Prix

In an orgy of European power and speed, we pit North America’s best tuners head-to-head on the dyno, dragstrip and road course in the eurotuner GP.

RWD Class

Platte Forme AG

2001 BMW M3
Location: Alhambra, CA
Founded: 2011
Contact: 626-768-0005
platteforme.com

As a new company, Platte Forme is a race preparation shop that looks after several local BMW track cars. Being their first time in etGP, they didn’t know what to expect. So Toan Nguyen’s brought his supercharged E46 M3 they’d been using to develop in-house performance parts for the past four years.

The team did better than expected at the drag strip, recording a 12.241sec run on the quarter-mile at 119.21mph, followed with 420whp on the dyno.

At the track, the team had little experience competing on the Continental ExtermeContact DW tires and were up against a host of professional drivers.

Friend Terry Liu was able to skip college to drive for the team. He quickly got down to business and logged as much practice time as possible before securing fourth place on the road course with a 1:25.887 lap time. “The tires surprised us,” said Toan. “We weren’t expecting them to perform so well. It’s actually a very good street tire.”

Sonic Motorsports

2008 BMW M3
Location: Mountain View, CA
Founded: 2002
Contact: 650/733-6506
sonicms.net

We had a few first-timers this year, including Sonic Motorsports, which specializes in Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Porsche.

Darwin Tjiputra has been building his supercharged E92 M3 for the past five months, Dialing in the alignment, aero and corner-balancing the M3 before driving out with friends Calvin Wongkar and Alan Chaves to test the modifications in etGP11.

It was also the team’s first experience of drag racing and being on a road course. Having great fun, they traded seat-time in the drag racing to see who was the fastest. However, there was a problem with the new titanium bolts they’d been given to test before selling in their shop. All five snapped on the rear corner, sending the wheel rolling off on its own. Unable to replace the bolts, they settled for a 13.258sec pass.

The next day, they blasted to third place overall on the dyno, laying down 486hp. But they couldn’t keep the momentum going on the road course. The team noted that the car was understeering and the crew had limited tools to remedy the problem. Calvin and his friends had a blast and plan to bring a support crew next year!

LTBMW

2001 BMW z3 m Coupe
Location: El Monte, CA
Founded: 2006
Contact: 626/452-8321
ltbmw.com

From basic maintenance to performance upgrades, LTBMW provides a complete service for BMW owners. They entered etGP11 with Brandt “Mad Dog” Tarumoto’s M Coupe, which was undoubtedly one of the dark horses in the event.

“Its not what I can do, but what my car can do.” Brandt stated. So he asked his friend Gene Sigal, who’s raced in the Grand Am Rolex series, to pilot his BMW.

At California Speedway, Sigal had a problem with the transmission not shifting out of second gear at 8500rpm. Short shifting second, Sigal could only managed a 13.411sec quarter-mile.

The following day, the car recorded a respectable 421hp dyno pull.

Unfortunately, the dyno session ran longer then expected so the team didn’t have time to diagnose the transmission problem. However, they fitted a longer shifter for better leverage that seemed to work at Streets of Willow. So Sigal was able to finish in seventh place with a best time of 1:27.729.

Next year, the team plans to change wheel sizes to take advantage of the different tire sizes Continental offers.

Groma Race Fabrication

1975 BMW 2002
Location: Duarte, CA
Founded: 2005
Contact: 626/531-6430
gromafab.com

Groma Fab specializes in BMWs from vintage to new, creating custom metal fabrication, installing rollcages, exhausts and selling performance parts.

The BMW 2002 they entered belonged to customer Paul Ivie. It had been transformed with a turbocharged M20 2.9L engine and Groma standalone 20/30 ECU upgrade plus front-mount intercooler. It also had a factory 2002 Turbo widebody. Ed Haroutonian from Groma asked if they could run the car in etGP and the owner thought it was a great idea!

At the drag event, they improved on each pass as driver Mono Agulian became more comfortable with their customer’s 2002. Settling for a best pass of 13.214sec, they were frustrated because felt that a 12sec time slip was possible.

Competing against the latest European machinery was tough, but on the dyno Groma had the third most power BMW with 433hp at the wheels.

The result on the dyno took more time than anticipated, resulting in limited time to set-up the suspension for the track day. Faced with cutting and welding the rear toe adjusters in the swapped E30 subframe, they had to do without. However, the team was happy with the results and enjoyed the experience.

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