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Interview: eSports Commentator and GT3 Racer Matt 'Sadokist' Trivett

Matt Trivett with Fernando Alonso - Sadokisk ©

If you aren't at all into gaming and online championships - eSports - you may not know who Sadokist is. In fact, I had no idea who he was when I met him either.  I just saw a "new" E46 M3 GT3 race car at the track that I had never seen before. I'm not exactly a "veteran" of our track - I had only been frequenting the track for about 5 years at the time - but it had been long enough that I recognized most of the regulars and the race cars. It looked like a proper build and the trailer was parked next to the other two local M3 race cars running whose owners I knew very well, so I went to chat and ask about the car.

Sadokist M3 GT3 Race car among others in the Paddock at AMP - Rams Eye The Track Guy ©

I learned later that Matt is a bit of an eSports celebrity. You can't argue with Twitter. But you wouldn't know this just talking to him. He's very down to earth, so much so that he simply thanked me when I "welcomed" him to the track... even though he went to his race school as a wee lad 4 years before I even first stepped foot (tire?) on it. And equally as important, his M3 GT3 race car had a heck of a story to be told, so I had to tell it. Fast forward a couple of years later to today and we figure an interview is a good way to tell the story.

Q: How did you get into high performance driving and what made you start racing?

A: Being around cars and racing has been natural since I was a kid. My father owned a Hyundai dealership and was best friends with [local dealership and race team owner] Derek Lugar. I have been track side with my dad since I was 2. Got into karting around 8-9 years old and continued till I was 15. Both my brother and I were into racing, but I was more reckless while my brother was more consistent.

2001 Tiburon Race Car at AMP (after crash) - Matt Trivett ©

By the time I was 18, we had bought a [2nd gen] 2001 Hyundai Tiburon race car. It was a former Rolex and Motorola Cup car. On my 1st weekend at the race school, I rolled it 3 times in turn 7 and wrecked the car. With the car gone and race car budget blown, I felt very guilty because not only did I wreck the car for me, but also for my brother who was going to share the car. I wanted to stay in driving, though, and get better, so I started autocross in a few different cars, like a Lancer Ralliart, Mazdaspeed3, etc. and I started getting into sim racing. Both helped me better learn car control and consistency.

Q: Have you always wanted an E46 M3 race car?

A: Well, I saw a video of an old RUF Yellowbird 911 lap the Nurburgring and loved it. At the time, I had actually never heard of the full Nordschleife circuit, only the GT circuit. Since then, it became a bucket list item to drive at the 'Ring. In 2016, I had an [eSports] event at the ESL head office in Cologne, Germany, which is about an hour away from the 'Ring. I had to do it. I figured it had to be something German or it's sacrilege and I wanted it to be capable of a sub 8-minute time. Naturally, that made me think of an M3. There are big companies that would charge you an arm and a leg even for a Renault Clio and that would be with an instructor for 2 laps and you drive for 2 laps, but the instructor likely wouldn't let you push. I didn't want that.

Matt "Sadokist" Trivett at the Nurburgring - Matt Trivett ©

I found a company that didn't require an instructor. It was €500 for an E46 M3 for 4 laps, all of you driving. You had to pay for gas, and that's it. You can't get better than that. On my first lap coming through the bridge, I had lift off throttle oversteer. I refocused and after that, I ran an 8:29 lap. Not very fast, but it's not easy to run that time with little seat time. The car was very easy to drive fast and approachable. I had actually been dreaming of buying an Evo 6 before that, but that made me want an M3.

Q: What made you decide on an E46 M3 as a starting point? Did you consider other cars?

A: It was reasonably priced. Depreciation had slowed down and it felt very confident at the Nurburgring. You might think it's odd to think of depreciation on a race car, but I actually bought it as a toy and to drive it to the track, but not to race. It also had great local support from [local performance shop and builder] ISI Motorsports.

BMW M cars and race cars are a common sight at ISI Motorsports - Rams Eye The Track Guy ©

I bought the car sight unseen while I was away and sent it to ISI Motorsports to be checked and have a roll bar and a harness put in. Steve [who owns ISI Motorsports] called and said you're going to end up building a race car, might as well do it properly. I hate for paying for things twice so I asked him how much and he said $84,000. I said no way, I will just put a harness and roll bar in. Then I decided to put a cage in so I took it to Seb [cage builder in Quebec, Canada] and eventually changed my mind and decided to build it into a race car.

Q: Would you have considered newer cars at a bigger track with faster classes?

A: No, I bought it because I loved it at the 'Ring and it's a proven platform. I wanted to race it to get to know it better. I also wanted to be more involved in the [sim racing] sport, which is why I decided to make it a race car. Sports commentators are typically involved in their sports and I'd like to get into Sim Racing commentating so it's a great way to broaden the brand and promote it. The car was also cheap enough to be relatable but special enough to be interesting.

Q: What did you have to do to the factory S54 3.2L I6 engine to take it racing?

A: We just did an engine refresh and new rings, intake, exhaust, VANOS refresh. The focus was on safety so it's very close to factory. It's making around 360 hp, not much more than stock.

BMW S52 engine reconditioning out of an E36/8 Z3 M Coupe - ISI Automotive ©

Q: What about the rest of the drivetrain?

A: Differential is now new from Diffs Online. It's a 35:60 locking custom build. We ran initially with the stock diff, which we had to rebuild twice in 2.5 years, but it had 260,000 kms (163,000 miles).

We switched to a 5-speed to save weight because the 6th gear is overdrive and never used. Rear ratio is 3:91, which worked better for [our track] AMP, not the more common 4:10. The shifter was switched to a CAE shifter, which everyone thought I was crazy for doing because of the cost. I saw a video of Alex Hart at the 'Ring with that shifter and knew I wanted it. After trying it, the other 2 M3 race cars [at our track] switched to CAE shifters.

CAE Ultra Shifter BMW 5 & 6 Speed Gearbox - CAE Shifting Technology ©

Q: What else was done to the car?

A: After the cage, I got the race seat, HANS device, fire suppression with fixed nozzles, etc. Safety is very important, I don't have a death wish. But more than just for safety, it has kind of a placebo effect because if you feel safer, you push harder and go faster.

The next big thing was suspension, after stripping the car and taking weight out. I wanted to do it right the first time because I hate paying twice for stuff. I considered 4-way adjustable suspension but decided I don't have the knowledge or the data to optimize this setup so decided on 2-way adjustable to be more easily tunable. I ended up with Motion Control double-adjustable coilovers, Motion Control adjustable sway bars, and APEX ARC-8 wheels.

Sadokist E46 M3 GT3 Race Car - Rams Eye The Track Guy ©

After that, I switched to a smaller steering wheel because I'm used to being more precise with that, used to karting. Then I fitted a radio in to help with safety and spotting, and basic data collection and a lap timer.

We went with solid bushings everywhere, replaced basic parts like engine mounts and fasteners. We are still running stock brakes but with race pads and stainless steel lines and brake cooling ducts. Then we did the aero mods.

I was very happy with the car. All this was done while I was away and talking about it with Steve (builder). First time I drove the car, it was so easy drive, approachable, and balanced. I did 1:16's in the first day out in practice (that's only 3 seconds away from qualifying pace). Derek Lugar thought I must have been on the ragged edge but that was very easy.

Q: How did you decide on the various parts? Did test and tune change anything?

A: Not much. It was all built remotely and was so good out of the box when it was done. I dropped from 1:16's my first time out to 1:14.1 in my first week, then 13.3 right after that. We went with softer springs out of the box. Steve [builder] knew they worked best due to the white car (another M3 GT3 race car Steve built and raced).

Checkered Flag Parade Lap in Sadokisk E46 M3 GT3 - Kevin Doubleday ©

The softer spring rates made it understeer more at Tremblant (Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant; a bigger, faster track in Quebec, Canada), so we adjusted toe and rake. Dropped rear ride height and changed toe to 2.5 deg, then started tuning the sway bars between full soft and full stiff. We didn't do the rake and toe until the end of the first season based on feedback at Tremblant. If I go to other circuits this year, I'll likely buy stiffer springs for when I do.

Q: Two years later, how happy are you with the car and what would you change?

A: We have just done a Bimmer PFC big brake kit with 6 pistons front and 4-piston rear calipers. The biggest shortcoming of the car was brakes. There is a common known limitation where it can go in ICE mode because of the stock ABS module. You stomp on the brakes and it loses all braking. We are switching to MK60 ABS module.

I'd like to look at more power with a bore over to 3.5 litres, next is full data and telemtry, full floor diffuser. To do that, I need to move the fuel cell and go with side exit exhaust. I also would like to do a night light kit if we go ahead with endurace racing. Air jacks would be nice but low on the list.

Race Start at AMP with the Sadokist M3 on pole - Kevin Doubleday ©

Q: Do you foresee keeping the car long term or might switch in a few years?

A: I've fallen in love with the car so I'll probably keep it for a while. The car also has notoriety since it has been stolen (more on that below) and after all the promotion, it makes sense to keep it. There is also a huge financial aspect. I've invested over $130k into the build. I probably wouldn't get even half that back if I sold it and started over.

The Car Was Stolen!

Oh, yes. Like I mentioned, the car was stolen!! A picture is worth a thousand words. And a video is worth a thousand pictures. Shortly after Matt had the car sorted out, it was stolen. Here's a video of the story:


As you can probably tell, Matt started in grassroots (and that's still where he races... at least for now). That's why he has a soft spot for grassroots motorsports. He very recently started a new series called Let's Go Grassroots with LETS GO RACING Channel (previously Nismo TV). His first episode just premiered on YouTube last week, so make sure to check it out!


You can stay up to date with Matt by following him on Twitter and Facebook. And make sure to follow Rams Eye The Track Guy below!

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