Though these sorts of events love to showcase elaborate builds with endless budgets, gobs of turbocharged power, four wheel-drive trickery, and all sorts of aerodynamics to glue them to the road in the faster sections, it’s not always a matter of having the biggest gearbox here. Those who’ve integrated their components well, who can handle the power available, and have strong technique are going to go very far. Further perhaps, than those whose wallets are bigger than their brains.
Such is the case with Martin Burki, who’s choice of an E30 325is was nothing extraordinary. It was designed well though, and with the addition of 3.0-liter S50 motor, a sequential gearbox to keep it howling in the ideal rev range, a little bit of aerodynamic stability, and a good suspension setup, Burki had a brilliant car underneath him.
Again, this car is more than the sum of its parts, and the stats alone wouldn’t impress too many. It’s the way the motor delivers its power smoothly, the way the gearbox is quick and the gears are spaced appropriately, and how the car doesn’t seem to have many vices that encourages the driver rather than intimidating them. Some might like to boast about how ferocious their machinery is, but if they’re not comfortable using it, it’s sometimes more a hindrance than an asset. You’ve got to be comfortable with your car to graze the guardrails, as he does at 7:31!
As a result, this man steers in early and neatly, and isn’t torque-limited at the corner exit. The fluid power delivery makes it easy to avoid much wheelspin, and the chassis balance means he’s never struggling too much. It’s not the most dramatic display of driving out there, but it works. Keep in mind—the less he has to saw at the wheel and the less the car slides, the longer he can keep the throttle pinned. That sort of stability amounts to lots of little gains—maybe a tenth or two per corner—but cumulatively, that can amount to quite a lot, and net a time that many wouldn’t think possible for such a mildly tuned machine.
A clip of the car before the addition of a wing, and a little suspension work, presumably.