[BLOG] CH10: Betty finds a new PB (1:38) at Laguna Seca


  • [BLOG] CH10: Betty finds a new PB (1:38) at Laguna Seca

For Chapter 1: Welcome to the family, Betty click here

For Chapter 2: The first of many things for Betty click here

For Chapter 3: Betty gets big girl shoes and shocks click here

For Chapter 4: Betty goes back to the track click here

For Chapter 5: Betty unlocks even more potential click here

For Chapter 6: New shocks for Betty click here

For Chapter 7: Betty joins the sub 1:40 club at Laguna Seca

For Chapter 8: World's first JRZ RS PRO 3

For Chapter 9: Betty's JRZ RS PRO 3 Continued

CH9: Betty's JRZ RS PRO 3 Continued

Hi, everyone. Tom Tang, here again. It’s hard to believe 2018 is already over. For those of you who may also follow me on Instagram (@tomchutang) you know that in my spare time (when I’m not working) I’ve been focused primarily on eating, traveling, and racing in the NASA Super Touring series with my ST4 Honda S2000 equipped with JRZ 12 31 motorsport dampers. We had a pretty good season considering campaigned a brand new engine package (a V6 engine) this year. I finished Top 5 in the regional championships, Top 10 in the national championships (at Circuit of the Americas), and we showed people that this setup was reliable by starting and finishing a 4-hour endurance race at Sonoma in E0 class on Saturday, October 27th.


Unfortunately, I had a nasty rollover crash on Sunday, October 28th during the final regional ST4 sprint race (read about it here) and was a bit battered/bruised afterwards. I do feel extremely lucky for being able to otherwise walk away from the incident unharmed though; a huge testament to how well-built and well-prepped my vehicle was. If you’re wondering, yes my12 31 motorsport dampers are available for sale. Shoot me an email if you’re interested!

About two weeks later, my aches and pains went away and once I was back to 100% I was ready to get back out on track. Always good to just “get right back on the horse,” right? So that’s how I ended up registering for a track day at Laguna Seca one week before Thanksgiving (Sunday November 18th) with my F80 BMW M3 6MT, “Betty.” This time, we were optimistic about setting a new personal best for the car because I was coming with fresh brake rotors, fresh GLOC race pads, fresh Motul RBF660 fluid and 300V engine oil, and a brand new Borla ATAK exhaust system.


I drove to the track the night before (on Saturday the 17th) with very minimal equipment and tools. Upon arrival, we swapped the OEM pads for G-LOC R18 fronts and R12 rears, and my 19” BMW wheels for one-piece lightweight forged 18” Volk Racing TE37RT. Shout-out to my racing crew chief and long-time best friend, Andrew Eng, for helping me. He was also going to be driving on Sunday with his brand new 2018 Honda Civic Type R, a car that we may someday also equip with JRZ dampers too! After making sure we were ready to go for the next day, we packed up and went to grab some dinner.


The next morning, we excitedly arrived back at the track and got down to business. Drew ran a blistering time of 1:44.8 with stock shocks, stock pads, and just Bridgestone RE71R street tires.

Meanwhile, I started with some 1:42.X laps as I got comfortable driving on track again.

Initially, I was worried about having some sort of mental block. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that I immediately got back up to pace. By my second session I had done a 1:40.9. Not bad!

My teammate and co-driver, Graham Downey, decided to go out for a turn again with “Betty” and as usual his innate ability to always carry more speed into corners than me meant that he accomplished something we’d been hoping for a long time, a 1:38 lap (1:38.91 to be exact). Woohoo! Amazing what a stock-engine F80 M3 6MT can do with incredible shocks and the right combination of minor supporting modifications (pads, fluids, exhaust, and tires).


Ride along with my Betty for a 1:38.91 lap around Laguna Seca


So, you might be wondering, “what’s next?” That is still to be determined. But you can be sure of one thing: whatever I’m building and racing next will certainly be equipped with JRZ dampers. Check back soon for updates about what lies ahead in 2019!