By on December 4, 2011

We’ve seen a BMW 5 Series take the overall win at a LeMons race before, but that was about 50 races back. Today, the If It’s Not Punk It’s Junk 525i put a big BMW back into the winner’s circle.
The members of IINPIJ paid their dues for race after race, adding a little skill and climbing a little higher in the standings each time. Last night, in keeping with the traditions of Le Mans of the mid-60s, they stayed up until 5:00 AM drinking Jack-and-Cokes and slam-dancing to the sounds of the old-school punk band they brought with them. This morning, they dragged their hungover asses out of their trailer and proceeded to maintain a two-to-three-lap lead over the field for the entire day. No black flags, no mechanical problems, all in all a perfect performance. Congratulations, If It’s Not Punk It’s Junk!

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12 Comments on “And the Winner Is…...”

  • avatar

    Wow, how many times has a BMW won LeMons? I guess their claim of their product being a performance car is not a lie.

    • 0 avatar

      BMW is probably the most numerous marque in LeMons, which means a lot of BMWs end up winning (and a lot more end up blowing up in the first several hours). My guess, not backed up by any scientific analysis (i.e., I haven’t been motivated to do the data-entry for 5 years of races), is that a given Mazda is more likely to win a LeMons race than a given BMW.

      • 0 avatar

        I see. So why are they so popular as LeMons vehicle then? I’m thinking there must be a less popular cars that you can get a better condition ones for the price, than BMWs. Things like Neons, Olds Quad 4 H.O.s, Beretta GTZ and such, cars that have carmageddon-level depreciation, unloved, and unwanted by the masses…

      • 0 avatar

        There are a bunch of factors. This race was in California, and very few cars on the road here are as old as E30, E28, and E34 BMWs. Thanks to CARB, cars stop being economical to register as soon as their emissions controls start wearing out. BMWs from the ’80s and early ’90s were desirable enough to limited means car enthusiasts that they stood the test of time, at least until people who cared about those generations moved on with life and the cars had one too many SMOG check failure. At that point you can pick them up cheap. They’re probably the least cheaty cars in California, because they really can be had for $500 with room to sell parts and with chassis parts worth taking on a track. An old BMW had brakes and suspension that worked to a degree on the track from day 1. All it needs are the right pads and fluid to be ready for the track. This isn’t the case for other 20 year old cars, assuming any of them can be purchased that are fundamentally sound. Old BMWs also tend to have manual transmissions, which are much less failure prone than automatics. Besides, BMWs are fun to drive. If you’re crapcan racing for cheap competition, then why not drive a car that handles well, has a good driver’s seat, and uses all four of its tires to go around a corner?

      • 0 avatar

        Thank you for the very informative and entertaining explanation. So the BMW-dominated entry list is mostly California-related phenomenon then? I suppose for Midwest race domestics would be more common among the entries.

      • 0 avatar

        We get lots of BMWs, mostly E30s, at LeMons races all over the country, though they do tend to be concentrated in California (where draconian emissions laws make it hard to register 80s cars and thus good-running but unsmoggable E30s are readily available for cheap). The main reasons for the vast numbers of E30s is that the E30 is a reasonably quick rear-wheel-drive car with manual transmission, cheap roll cage kits, and lots of racers who have been driving them for decades. We get quite a few E28s (and the occasional E12 and E24) as well, and now ugly E34s have become cheap enough that they’re showing up.

        The problem with BMWs in LeMons is that they’re hard to fix when they do break. Electrical-system/ECM woes, hub/bearing failures, and blown head gaskets are quite common.

    • 0 avatar

      It seemed that 20% of the field was BMWs this weekend – at least the cars that stayed on the track the whole time!

      Our team came together precisely because a co-worker posted an E30 LeMons car for sale on an internal car discussion group at work. Until this weekend I had never driven a BMW before. Mind you a stripped-out 22 year old example is not the best way to test drive a marque, but I found the E30 to be a REALLY FUN car to drive. The basic formula is there: lightweight, rear drive, manual transmission, and reasonably grunty 6-cylinder power source. I had a blast driving it.

      Yes, it will break in some horrific fashion at some race in the future, but isn’t that half the fun of racing?

      • 0 avatar

        You know what six-cylinder, manual-trans-equipped, rear-wheel-drive car is even faster and more reliable than the E30 in LeMons? The Alfa Romeo Milano. God help you if it breaks, but it usually won’t. On the street, it falls apart, but the race track brings out the best in the Milano.

  • avatar

    Is that really an E34? As the owner of an E39, I should be able to tell the difference but the missing bumpers, grill, headlights e.a. had me confused. I remember the criticism back in the day that BMW got for the resemblance when the E39 was unveiled and this confirms it.

  • avatar

    Wouldn’t this team welcome a Black Flag?

  • avatar

    I don’t think a sister could be more proud of you and your team! You so deserved this win. Keep em’ coming!!!

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