This is team owner Boden's #46 M3, which is co-piloted by Brian Sellers, who races ALMS in the Falken-sponsored Porsche. Boden, who finished a respectable sixth last year in the driver's championship, struggled with the weather and back-markers and settled for P13 in qualifying in Alabama. During the race, co-driver Sellers zigzagged his way to second, only to get sidelined with a fried clutch near the end of the race. We captured footage of Fall-Line diagnosing the problem upon return. Check out the sound of the engine (and what it sounds like when a clutch lets go)!
|A look inside Boden's car. I've been told that there's probably six-figures in the electronics of this car alone, starting with that $14k Bosch Motorsports 4.3 ECU (blue box, bottom right). Even that 64-pin connector in the middle would hurt my wallet.
|It would be cool if Grand Am was a run-what-you-brung type of horsepower class but it's far from the case. Due to the power to weight ratio of the M3s, the Fall-Line team is forced to run these manifold-entry restrictors to give other makes a chance. Keep in mind the entire silver portion is open on your street M3.
If I could have photographed more things up close, I would have—trust me. But Fall-Line does have countless R&D hours invested in keeping these cars as competitive as they are. Understandably, they do not want give away any proprietary information.
|“Hey, what's up there?” I ask my host. Vince looks up and looks away with, “oh, just some junk”. Came to find out later these are the front and rear axles from a then-new customer's crashed GT3 RS streetcar. Sad story, but it just goes to show that these cars, as fast as they are—even in street trim—command the utmost respect on the track.
|One last look inside the shop on my way out. One of the things that stood out with the Grand Am cars is the use stock rear brake calipers (those are 4-piston Alcons up front). Granted, these cars are light, but with all that speed and grip under multiple-G braking, it's a testament to what the streetcars are equipped with already, and it's one of the many attributes of Grand Am that makes it interesting to the fan who drives the same car in street trim.
|Without this rig—which is what the club-racing side of the shop uses—in front, many passerbyers will never notice this building because it looks like all of the others in the complex. And, as mentioned earlier, Fall-Line has another 30,000 square foot facility at a private racetrack with thirty other racecars in it (did you already forget?).
What happens behinds Fall-Line's doors is not only magical—it's inspirational. In fact, I'm at the Chicago O'Hare airport as I write this (on a 12-hour delay), and I'm determined to get home and start cleaning the garage and wax the floor.
Fast forward a few hours, and I'm home! Rolling up my driveway, I await the garage doors to roll up with eager anticipation and…well…shoot. All I see is our Minivan, my three girls' tricycles, toys all over the place, trashcans, a lawn mower, and tall grass.
I'm going to bed.