If looks could kill, our pick for the Castrol Syntec Top Car Challenge would be the last car standing. For this year's event, we chose the intimidating '03 BMW M3 owned by Oscar Trevizo. Making his living as a gourmet chef, Oscar has a passion for European cars that prompted him to build this race-ready coupe.
We featured the car in et 4/09 where we saw the E46's sexy Asuka Designs widebody, stage 1.5 HorsepowerFreaks turbo conversion and low-fat interior. After Oscar submitted his car on the Top Car website, we felt it had a fighting chance against our sister magazines - 5.0 Mustang, Honda Tuning, Import Tuner, Modified and Super Street. But like last year, we won't know the official standings at the time of writing this article. However, the results are located in the center of this issue, so flip the page to see how our Euro representative fared.
In a three-day competition, the first day consisted of the emissions, horsepower and endurance tests. Because the challenge was intended for street-legal vehicles, each car was put through an emissions test. Using a five-gas emissions analyzer, our car scored a healthy 14.00 points, giving us a slight advantage in the standings.
Next came the dyno, where we hoped to see big numbers from the M3. But because Oscar had re-installed the cat for the emissions test, the dyno result was far from expected. "We thought we were going to do good, because we know the car had previously done 633whp," he told us. "But we didn't realize our software wasn't reading the cat properly since this is the first HorsepowerFreaks car on the dyno with a cat."
Oscar had three chances to make his best run, but the M3 only made one complete run while the other two were stopped short because the fueling was lean. This left Oscar with only 490whp recorded.
With low morale, Oscar had one test left for the day, which was the drive from K&N's Riverside facility to Buttonwillow Racetrack. The 180-mile drive was a pass/fail test and Oscar happily finished with no problems.
The second day at Buttonwillow consisted of quarter-mile time and trap speed, 0-60mph acceleration and 80-0mph braking. The first three tests were recorded simultaneously, and each team had three passes on the straightaway.
Oscar's car was already handicapped by less power, plus the Michelin tires weren't the Hoosier slicks he was used to. So with only three runs to make the best of it, he recorded a best quarter mile time of 12.828sec at 118.92mph.
The M3's 0-60mph acceleration time was an impressive 4.9sec but unfortunately nobody was pleased with the results. "The car should've easily been in the 11s. I've seen stage 1 HPF cars that are in the high-10s, and they aren't as lightweight as us," Oscar commented.
On the second run, pins fastening the Asuka Designs carbon hood weren't secured. The hood hit the windshield but suffered minimal damage. Yet a quarter-mile pass was missed...
The brake test was one of the more successful activities, with the M3 stopping from 80mph in 172ft.
The last day was on the road course. "Two weeks earlier we ran a 1:55sec with Hoosier tires, no cat and 200 lb lighter with the interior stripped. We figured we would lose 2sec, so our goal was 1:57," he explained. But the outcome again wasn't as hoped; the best run was 1:59.575sec with Oscar's regular driver Ivo Mitkov behind the wheel.
When all was said and done, Oscar scored a commendable 868.82 points. This would have been good enough for second place last year, but the game moved on in 2010. But flip open to the Castrol Syntec gatefold in this issue to see how we did.
"We thought we had this one in the bag," Oscar concluded. "But you honestly never know what's going to happen. We were pretty much handicapped the whole event because the power wasn't there."
Through thick and thin, Oscar would like to thank Chris Bergemann from HorsepowerFreaks for the helping hand. When the car ran into as a cooling fan problems and the coolant tank bursting, Chris donated parts from his own M3 to help repair the problems. Oscar also couldn't have completed the competition without Ivo, Republic Motorwerkz, Top Element Composites for last-minute aero upgrades and Savini wheels for the massive 19x10.5/13'' wheels.
|1/4 MILE TIME||12.828||87.72|
|1/4 MILE TRAP SPEED||118.92||92.44|
|POWER TO WEIGHT (LB)||3075||74.35|