Updated: Jan 2
A lone BMW 318is took to the grid last Saturday for the second round of the E36 Race Series. Series regulars David Bailey and Adam Hughes were out due to other commitments and new comer Jeff Barnes is working on a engine rebuild from a crank angle sensor issue at the Sydney 300, so it was down to Shaun Penwarden in the Metro Fire Services BMW to fly the flag for the series at Sydney Motorsport Park. As a spectator for this event, I was glad the weather was reasonably cool and no doubt so were the drivers, the heat really takes it toll on you and induces fatigue and then you start making mistakes behind the wheel.
But enough small talk from me, it's time to hear from Shaun Penwarden on his debut race.
As it was my first ever event, nerves were on edge but soon settled once qualifying was under way. Qualifying a good time was difficult due to the vast speed differences between cars. Constantly having to look in the rear view mirror and move out of the way and off my line for the faster cars proved frustrating.
I wasn’t expecting to be anywhere except the back of the grid considering I had never driven the track before but was happy with a 1:23.2 which wasn’t far off the back markers.
Race 1 was declared early due to a crash but having some clear track saw me get it down to a 1:22.6.
Race 1 was rerun not long after but again was called early due to a crash. There were a few cars that the E36 was competitive with but when the lead cars come up behind you it's easy to lose ground on the competition whilst letting the lead cars through. Although Race 2 finished early under safety car after an early incident I had some clear track for a while that let me try and find the 36’s limits.....I found it on the dreaded turn 1 when I thought I would give 5th gear flat out a go. The rear end came loose and started bouncing around. I quickly found my self spinning and travelling backwards toward the wall at a great rate of knots, recovering not far from the wall and able to rejoin with no apparent damage.
Race 3 luckily went the full distance and I was able to set my fastest time of the day a 1:20.8 on lap 6 of the 10 lap race. I started pushing my luck again and went thru the flip flop too fast , clipping the curb heavily and setting myself off into a spin again.
So excited to get a full race, I didn’t see the chequered flag on the final lap (looking in rear view mirror again) and completed another flying lap before the flag marshalls started waving me down.
Although the yellow flags were frustrating, it was a very enjoyable day, especially when cars of similar speed were within racing distance. First race ever and I went home with lap record and a trophy... can’t beat that. Looking forward to the next round when we have the 36’s together for some competitive racing.
Congratulations Shaun on ticking off your first event, I'm looking forward to joining you next round on the 16th of June at Sydney Motorsport Park.
As usual, before I sign off, a quick shoutout to our sponsors, LA Racing Lubricants, Shylan Motorsport Services, Suspension Concepts, RHD Engineering, MH Auto Care, Prime Race Tyres, Kumho Tyre Motorsports and round sponsor Tongarra Road Preschool and Early Learning Centre. Please visit their website and/or social pages, give them some love because supporting them supports us!
If you have any questions about the cars, the build process or how you can be involved in the series, don't hesitate to reach out to us and join our Facebook group, just click this link - https://www.facebook.com/groups/e36raceseries/