Tell us a little about yourself?
I have a background in competitive bobsleigh, I competed for Canada and then Coached the Australian team at the 2010 Winter Olympics. Driving a bobsleigh and Track driving are very similar, I like driving fast on a closed course. A bobsleigh has ZERO electronic aids, it is pure simple driving.
I was first introduced to track driving after I bought a 2001 VW GTI in March of 2006. I wanted to learn how to drive it well so on the recommendation of a friend I took a Track Techniques course. After a lot of training and practice I joined a local group, The Calgary Exotic Auto Group, that organizes track days every season. Once I understood what real track driving was, I bought a 2001 BMW 330i, manual transmission rear wheel drive. Unfortunately our local track was demolished, a result of a lease dispute. Now our closest track is 3 hours away, so we get as many days a season we can get there and try to travel to one new track a year.
Which twin are you driving and what made you decide on purchasing it?
I have a 2014 Scion FR-S. The list of Manual Transmission Rear Wheel drive cars is short to start with. You throw in the affordability and value of the FRS along with the reliability of tracking a new car versus a older BMW and it was an easy decision.
I had the added benefit of the BMW experience, I wanted a e46 M3 (I am still passionate about them) but even though it is less powerful, the FRS is more track worthy.
What track oriented modifications have you made to the car so far?
The most dramatic change is wider stickier tires with light weight wheels.
– Enkei RPF1 17×9 +35
– Dunlop Z2 Star Spec 245-40/r17 (I have also run Bridgestone RE11s this season, both great tires)
– Camber bolts (I desperately need camber plates)
To keep the engine cool I have a:
– FXT OEM Oil Cooler
Brake Upgrades include:
– Hawk Street/Race Pads
– Ti Shims
– APR Brake Ducts
I recently added a
– Driveway lab Type 3 diffuser
I like how you specified “Track Oriented”. I have done dozens of “mods” but LED lights and Alcantara are not really track oriented.
What is your favorite modification to date?
You can be honest. While we might be bias towards something electronic in that list, we understand 🙂
What’s so fantastic about the 86Nanny is it just works. It works so well, it does it’s job so flawlessly that I almost forget about it. But I plan to have it modified to “auto” because for as well as it works is still allows for human error and I sometimes forget to push the button.
My most dramatic mod is wheels and tires,. effortlessly dropping 4 seconds a lap. And we still need significant suspension tuning. I also love my brakes (in combination with the sticky tires) my stopping power, despite a basically stock system, is fantastic. I have had weak break systems in the past so am happy to finally have a solid system.
How would you say the Beastronix 86Nanny has helped you on track?
I think the first question is, why run the Pedal Dance. For me it is the same as “why run Rear Wheel Drive” or “why run Manual Transmission”? Pure driving feel.
To me, the pedal dance is critical. I love my car, it is well engineered, incredibly balanced, an amazing car. The electronic aids are extremely well done, but on the track, I don’t want them.
I am not a “car guy”. I am not a “Show Car Guy”, I care about the appearance of my car, but I don’t take it to car shows. I am not a car history guy, I don’t know the complete linage of a given make and model of car. I admire and respect those enthusiasts, but it’s just not my passion.
I am a passionate driver. I love the sensation of driving. I love the sensation of feeling connected to the car and pushing it to the the edge of control. The Pedal Dance Is perfect because it gives me effortless access to the raw ability of my car.
The Nanny’s simplicity just gives you one less thing to worry about. It gives me access to the sensation of the the Pedal Dance, effortlessly. When your Track session starts you can focus on more important things than getting the pedal dance to work.
We hear you have a teammate of sorts in a track partner?
Having a friend at events with you is always more fun, but having a friend with the exact car and similar setup must be even better…
Our situation was took years of planning and a lot of luck and fortunate circumstances. But after a trip to Spokane Raceway in a BMW and Hyundai Genesis, two very different but similarly paced cars, we hatched the plan of running the same chassis.
After a few years of dreaming and planning, We took delivery of our cars the same day (a good friend owns a dealership) and we have been tracking and tuning our cars together. It does several things. It gives another person to discus and plan mods and tuning. It is crazy fun to run nose to tail. But most importantly we push each other to improve our driving. As much as we work on the cars together off the track, we are both ultra competitive and want to have the fastest lap time. (I currently have a 0.20s advantage).
What tracks have you visited and which is your favorite?
Race City Speedway (Calgary) – Closed
Castrol Motorsports Park (Edmonton)
Spokane County Raceway (Washington)
The Ridge Motorsports Park (Washington)
Miller Motorsports Park (Utah)
Miller is an unbelievable facility but so far The Ridge is my favorite, the elevation changes are insane. Nothing like the other tracks.
What would you recommend to anyone reading this who is about to venture into their first track experience?
A piece of advice I got from a bobsleigh coach years ago, “always be a student”. You can never know everything there is to know about driving or cars, there are tremendous resources online and in person. Always be open to learning.
Photo Credits: Eric Roy