How's this for kicking off the racing history for the F30 3 series sedan in grand fashion. South African based ADF Motorsport team successfully took a brand new F30 3 Series racing car [more info/photos] to its first-ever race victory, in its very first race! The victory came at the Killarney race circuit in Cape Town, South Africa, in a WesBank Super Series race which features Bridgestone Production Cars Class A race cars. Congrats to the ADF team!
Ian McLaren of carmagblog provided us this account of the race, along with his experience from being a part of the pit crew.
On the 31 March 2012, history was made at Cape Town’s Killarney raceway when not only did a motoring journalist break into sweat, get dirt under his fingernails, and forgo a mid-morning snack, but the ADF Motorsport team successfully took a brand new F30 3 Series racing car to its first-ever race victory.
Invited to join the slick Afrox-sponsored ADF team as a member of the pit crew for the F30’s first (worldwide) race outing, I was given a front row seat for what would prove to be a drama-filled weekend as team drivers Etienne van der Linde and Anthony Taylor lined the beautifully-prepared 3-Series racing car on the starting grid for three Bridgestone Production Cars Class A battles on the day.
Unveiled during the local launch of the newest road-going 3 Series range, the race cars, finished in traditional BMW Motorsport colours and featuring many of the forthcoming M specification components (including brakes, which proved a contentious point come race day) and switchgear took shape over the course of just three months after the ADF Motorsport team took delivery of two road-going test mules that would usually have been crushed after duty. Stripped to their shells, and with an expertly-crafted roll cage in place, the cars use the same N55 twin-scroll single turbocharged in line six engine as featured in the current 335i range. For race application the turbo has been upgraded.
Apart from looking spectacular, things were looking positive for the team from the outset as both cars topped the timing sheets during Friday’s practice sessions. Understandably unsure of just how much damage I could potentially do with the wrong tools in my hand, I was trusted with the wheel gun and cleaning clothes for most of the day. Coming from of a photography background, I was immediately comfortable with the cleaning tools, but quickly found myself disturbingly comfortable with the power wheel gun nestled in my hand. A final torque wrench check that all the wheel nuts were tight was my final task each time the cars left the pits.
It was great seeing CAR’s track tester, Deon Joubert in the next pit box over the weekend as the former Touring Car champ, given a drive in last years E90 3 Series for the weekend, proved that he still has what it takes to mix it with the best.
The Afrox team, smarting from having topped all three practice sessions the day before were given a slight reality check come Satruday morning qualifying as local driver, and former champ, Johan Fourie blasted to poll position in his Audi S4, ahead of defending champion Michael Stephen (also driving an Audi), with Anthony Taylor managing the third fastest time in his Afrox BMW. Now it was time to get the cars ready for their first ever race…
I have to say that I was somewhat surprised at how relaxed the Afrox BMW team appeared ahead of the first race. Sure the cars seemed to be immediately on the pace and, looking as good as they did (all polished up I might add), they were almost guaranteed a fairytale maiden voyage, but I was amazed at just how calmly everyone went about the business of checking and adjusting tow ratings, tightening suspension bolts, and refueling (all of which I was now entrusted to assist with). Even when the Engen Xtreme team logged an official complaint about the size of the brake discs on the Afrox teams cars, things remained relatively calm. As it happens, the optional M Performance brake discs are bigger than the largest aftermarket items permitted by race control. The somewhat remarkable fact that they are available as a performance upgrade to the road-going 3 Series range, gives them the green light to be used in production car racers however.
I was also amazed to discover Anthony Taylor preparing the team’s roast chicken dinner between races!
If qualifying was a slight reality check for the new F30 race car, then Race 1 was a royal baptism of fire. No sooner had the race started but Anthony Taylor was back in the pits with what appeared to be small electronic glitch. It was quickly sorted, but that would be one Afrox car out of the running. Etienne van der Linde managed to finish in this first race but with the top six postioned reversed for race 2, this meant that there would be an Afrox BMW on the front row of the grid (if in second spot for the time) for the next race.
Only a tyre change was permitted on the cars as they lined up for the second race, but it was a tyre change that I was involved in. It was my job to jack the rear of the cars up and then head straight to the left-rear wheel to complete as slick a change as possible. Granted it wasn’t anywhere near as tense a moment as you might have seen on television but, for me, it was very cool. Etienne brought the car home, left-rear wheel firmly in place, in third place for the F30’s first ever podium.
Anthony had been run wide during the second race but realising he was out of contention for the win, and with a clear track ahead, focused on setting the fastest lap of the race, thereby assuring himself a valuable pole position for the final race. Another first for the new 3 Series.
Although the last race of the day proved quite dramatic for some of the other drivers, Anthony, once again with a clear track ahead of him after starting from pole, proved just how efficient the Afrox BMW can be in the right conditions. Extending his lead with every lap, he took the chequered flag ahead of Hennie Groenewald in a Subaru.
Built in South Africa. Prepared by South Africans. Run by South Africans. Driven by South African drivers. And cleaned by a South African journalist. These are the first of what will surely be many F30 BMW 3 Series racing cars built around the world, and the history books will show that its first ever race victory happened at its first ever race meeting at the humble Killarney race circuit in Cape Town, South Africa.
These twin F30 335i race cars will also be competing in this year's 24 Hour Nurburgring race.
2,998 pounds (1360kg)
408hp / 443 lb-ft torque (600nm)
Turbos boost lowered to maximum 0.7 bar and 40mm turbo inlet restrictor
Congrats Etienne and Anthony hope they do not add to much ballest weight for the win!! Hope Anthony can win this year's championship! Will have to come see some races. When are you guys doing Swartkops or Kyalami?