I've had a few car topics on my mind lately, so I apologize if this post is scattered. This week's central theme is that things don't always go as planned.

Racing License Scare

I had a mild panic attack last week during Gridlife's PRI livestream, where they announced that they will not allow any new racers in GLTC during Festival events. Since I am a new racer and was planning to do mostly Festivals, that would have put a big damper on my 2024 racing plans.

After checking in with Adam and Scott over at Gridlife (the founders, who are extremely helpful and responsive, by the way), I was assured that what they meant is they aren't going to be hosting their version of comp school on Festival weekends. Drivers who hold a competition license with another organization will be accepted at Festival events and will be assimilated during their "new to GLTC" meeting at the beginning of the weekend.

Since I will have my NASA comp license after one more race, I will be good to race at Gridlife Festivals.

Crisis: averted
GRIDLIFE STATE OF THE GRID 2024 - gridlifeofficial on Twitch
gridlifeofficial went live on Twitch. Catch up on their Just Chatting VOD now.

N52: Not Looking Great

Since our electronic overlords don't think we need engine oil dipsticks any longer, the N52B30 engine in E9X cars did not have a way of manually checking the oil. You can roughly check the level with the stock gauge cluster, but not with much accuracy. In any case, that is not helpful for a car that no longer has a stock gauge cluster or DME.

Thankfully, my car has the fancy trap-door-featuring Bimmerworld aluminum oil pan with provision for a dipstick. However, BW doesn't provide the dipstick with the pan, and I don't know who fashioned mine or how accurate it is.

The documentation that came with my car said that the oil capacity was 6 quarts, with 9 quarts scratched out next to it. Since the factory oil capacity was about 6.75 quarts, not accounting for needing to be overfilled for the track or the oil cooler, remote oil filter, and associated lines, I would venture to say both numbers were wrong.

Long story short: I've had some oil pressure drops after heavy trail braking into left-handed carousel corners (like turn 11 at Carolina Motorsports Park). Some were significant. The issue always seems to improve as I continue to overfill the oil, but I don't know how close I am to risking aerating the oil with the crank.

As a result of running underfilled (and maybe under the needed oil viscosity), metal shavings are visible in the oil. The engine is still strong, with no noises or signs of failure besides the shavings, but it's on borrowed time.

I pre-emptively picked up another N52 and plan to swap it in soon, but I might wait a bit, pending Blackstone oil analysis results. Maybe it's not as bad as it looks. (Who am I kidding? It's probably worse.)

Crisis: pending

What Am I Getting Out of RISING EDGE?

I'm well over a year into writing an article every week for this site. Around the one-year anniversary, there was a lot of growth on the site, at least regarding newsletter subscribers. However, in the last couple of months, it has completely stagnated. In fact, we've had our first un-subscribes, and the list has shrunk a bit. To be expected, sure, but also a bit discouraging.

Rising Edge is a lot of work. I spend 2-6 hours on each article every week, and I've spent a non-trivial amount of money on the website and buying photo packages every time I'm at the track, so there's new stuff to look at here.

Sometimes, I feel I have a lot to write about, but other times I'm grasping. Sometimes, I get a lot of feedback and engage in great conversations with readers, but more often than not, I hit publish, and then there is radio silence.

I want to get into motorsports or the automotive world in some sort of official capacity, though I am not entirely sure what that looks like or if I have the chops to do so. I have a successful career (that I am not trying to change), but I've had the itch for something more, and I think that I could contribute to a motorsports program meaningfully.

This is all to say I am constantly evaluating what I'm getting from writing and if it is worth my time. Right now, I'm not feeling it – so let's call it a holiday break. I will return in January, hopefully refreshed and excited to continue on.

Crisis: existential