900hp 7.0-litre V8 carbon-Kevlar E92. Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Viktor Benyi. Super-strong, ultra-light and frighteningly powerful – HGK Racing’s Eurofighter E92 is the ultimate drift weapon. Fight or flight? Why not both?
FIGHT OR FLIGHT 900HP 7.0 V8 E92 Incredible Kevlar-clad monster
It’s often the case with a feature car that there’s one stand-out element which defines the build; something that can anchor your perception of it, which works as the key talking point.
Sometimes it’s a well-chosen set of wheels, or an unexpected supercharger, or a really nicely retrimmed interior. But with this E92 drift car… well, we’re spoiled for choice, aren’t we? Looking at the devil’s own 3 Series is a relentless assault of detail and big ideas – which of these massive and seismic alterations strikes you first? The fact that its wide-body lines are crafted from exotic carbon-Kevlar?
The mighty bonnet hump that suggests something really quite out of the ordinary is going on there? The copiously meshed rump revealing glimpses of a rear-mounted cooling system? The flecks of spent rubber speckling the rear haunches like the F1 marbles at Sainte-Dévote? Clearly this is a car which requires careful studying and consideration.
Now, first and foremost, let’s clear something up: this E92 may be running a pushrod V8, a four-speed gearbox and 18” wheels, but you needn’t go thinking that this is a basic setup or some kind of retro throwback (although hopefully you’d already deduced that from the photos). No, this is in fact one of the most comprehensively modified E92s we’ve seen yet, built with two very clear aims: going noisily sideways in Formula Drift, and winning hearts at SEMA. To achieve these goals, HGK Racing Team of Riga, Latvia needed to think very carefully about the spec list, and assemble it with sufficient care to ensure it was all-go and all-show.
Thankfully they have strong form in this respect, as driver and team co-owner Kristaps Blušs explains: “We have driven BMWs in racing since 2005, and quite simply these are the best cars for what we do. We bought an E92 this time because, at that point, it was the most badass car you could buy! And it was logical to choose the E92 after running the E46 for years. HGK has built over 30 cars in its lifetime, starting from E30s for National Class circuit racing, continuing with several E46s for drifting, and now we have the Eurofighter line which consists of F22 and E92 BMWs.”
Eurofighter is a key word in the story here, as it’s a name that carries a weight of precedent. The Eurofighter Typhoon is one of the most formidable aircraft the world has ever seen, a super-agile dogfighter with colossal firepower. HGK’s appropriation of the moniker is wholly justified, because… well, just look at the thing. That carbon- Kevlar body is a vital factor in getting this monster’s kerb weight down to a svelte 1230kg, as well as being more than strong enough to take the inevitable knocks of top-flight drifting. It’s a home-grown Latvian redesign of their own devising – HGK employed the expertise of D1 Design to 3D-model the E92’s body, with OCT Composites then being charged with the task of turning those outrageous designs into carbon-Kevlar reality. And it really is outrageous, and audacious; it would be easy to tack the arches onto the steel body like so many others, but HGK’s approach was clear-cut from the start: every single exterior panel, aside only from the window pillars, has been removed and replaced with this strong and lightweight material. The roof skin and window surrounds are the only deviation, being pure carbon fibre, their deliberately larger weave catching the light like a fast-moving disco ball. The kit is very much about function, with tapered skirts and rear vents designed to draw cool air toward the rear tyres and then vent smoke away out the back, front bumper corners angled to cool the brakes, and moulded panels beneath the headlights to obscure the secret brackets that hold the bumper in place. The split rear screen tumbles away on either side, forcing air through the rear-mounted radiator before ejecting it through the boot lid vents. The amount of thought that’s gone into all this is mind-boggling. The star of the show, though, is without doubt that incredible carbon-Kevlar bodywork, which truly takes this build to a whole different level. Saving weight is one thing, but creating an entire body from this blend of exotic materials tells you all you need to know about HGK’s dedication to this build.
We should probably talk about that bonnet bulge then, shouldn’t we? Or, more specifically, why it needs to be there. You see, there’s a frankly terrifying engine cradled beneath that custom bonnet. It’s huge. Sourced from long-time team sponsor Mast Motorsport, it’s a Chevy LS7 rocking a displacement of 427 cubic inches – that’s 7.0-litres in old money. There’s a vast snorkel sucking air into a tunnel ram intake, hence the camel-like hump, and this motor makes a neat 900hp without the aid of forced induction… old-school horses rounded up the modern way. ‘Handbuilt American Muscle’ is Mast Motorsport’s tagline, which represents an interesting international fusion for a German car being developed in Latvia; their outlook is wholly aligned with HGK’s though, striving for excellence with their hand-crafted engines, with the aim of bringing cutting-edge tech to motorsport. They cast their own heads and intake manifolds, it’s pukka stuff.
120+ octane VP Racing Q16 race fuel arrives from the rear fuel cell via the Aeromotive fuel system, finding itself greeted with Cam Motion cams, Diamond Racing pistons, and the mother of all explosions. LS nerds will drool uncontrollably at the spec sheet of this motor, as it’s completely insane: we’re looking at a 125mm Marcella Manifolds throttle body, Mast Mozez Canted Valve cylinder heads, titanium valves, a Dailey dry sump… we’re way out of the BMW heartland here, but it’s all very good indeed. The whole shooting match is looked after by MoTeC management, with comprehensive and, crucially, clear readouts available from the cockpit to ensure everything remains in order. Because you’re going to be a bit busy in there, not least shielding yourself from the barks and howls from the straight-through titanium exhausts.
The transmission’s worthy of note, principally for its four gears. It’s a sequential system from Samsonas, running back through a Driveshaft Shop propshaft to a quick-change Winters spool diff, and you may wonder where all the other gears have gone. Quite simply, in a drift car of this nature, you don’t need ’em. You’re hardly going to be pootling around in sixth to keep your fuel economy figures up, are you? The quick-change diff is also an extremely good idea, given the stresses these components are under in competitive drifting – the whole unit can be swapped in under 10 minutes, and it’s customisable for whatever track you’re competing on with near infinite ratio options, each one strong enough to cope with 1000hp. With a build like this, you wouldn’t expect anything less.
As you’d imagine, this is all far more complex than simply shoehorning a mighty V8 into an E92 and expecting the stock chassis to cope. Every single element has been analysed and perfected, not least in terms of weight distribution; it’s 49:51 front-to-rear, with the fuel cell and cooling system usefully sitting over the rear axle to help get the power down. Because there’s a lot of power. A really enormous amount. And the chassis setup copes admirably: three-way adjustable Nitron remote-reservoir coilovers are the order of the day, working in conjunction with custom Wisefab suspension arms and knuckles with roll-centre adjustment, and the brakes are frankly staggering (which, of course, they need to be). Lightweight Wilwood six-pots up front and four-pots out back are mated to an adjustable Tilton pedal box and, naturally, a hydraulic handbrake. Given their penchant for the bespoke, it’s hardly surprising that HGK designed their own wheels for the project too.
When it debuted at its first drift event it was wearing Works, but as you can see here they’ve moved on to a brilliantly unusual-looking set of perforated five-spokes, which were crafted by SMW Wheels to HGK’s own unique design. They’re impressively muscular in profile – it’s just as well that the guys made the front wings so wide, as those wheels are wearing 255-section tyres, while the 10”-wide rears are running 285s. It’s all somewhat overwhelming.
The no-stone-unturned approach inevitably carries over to the interior as well, where the dash and door cards have been craftily reconstructed in glistening carbon fibre, with every cable and wire neatly fastened and quick-release pop-out windows installed for convenience. “It’s all function with the minimum of necessary things,” says Kristaps, “but it does still have an iPhone slot and a cup holder!” A TRS harness clamps the driver into an OMP HTE-R 400 seat, with OMP also providing the grippy steering wheel and all-important fire extinguisher system.
The thing that really keeps smacking you about the head with this car is the sheer, astonishing attention to detail. “It took 11 months to build the car,” Kristaps explains. “We strive to use only the best parts, which is why we chose Nitron suspension and the Wisefab angle kit, it’s the best available. The body kit was purpose-designed in-house by our own design engineer Harijs, and it was Harijs who designed the wheels too. Everything has been done right.” It’s almost hard to imagine the salvaged E92 shell the team acquired to commence this project – that lucky old coupé had no idea what was coming, and the results are just out of this world. The engineering excellence and design ingenuity with this car is so comprehensive, so all-pervading, that you find new things to marvel over each time you come back. It’d make an outstanding museum exhibit for car geeks to pore over – the fact that it’s an astoundingly capable drifter simply serves to answer any question put to it. It’s fully deserving of the Eurofighter name, that’s for sure.
DATA FILE V8 Drift E92
ENGINE Mast Motorsports Dart 427ci (7.0-litre) LS7 V8, 13.5:1 compression, Dart LS Next block, Callies CCW billet crankshaft, Carrillo con rods, Diamond Racing pistons, Total Steel AP steel rings, Cam Motion camshaft, Jesel .937” DLC-coated lifters, Mast Motorsports Mozez Canted Valve cylinder heads, titanium valves, PAC Racing valve springs, T&D Machine rocker arms, Smith Brothers pushrods, Dailey dry sump system, ARE Racing oil tank and filter, AEM DryFlow intake, Marcella Manifolds 125mm throttle body, Mast Motorsports billet-top tunnel ram intake, MoTeC M130 ECU, MoTeC PDM30 power distribution module, 2” Inconel exhaust manifolds, 4-into-1 collector and full 3.5” titanium straight-through exhaust system, Fuel Safe FIA 40-litre fuel cell with internal lift pump, Aeromotive Eliminator fuel pump, lightweight aluminium fuel hard lines, 120+ octane VP Racing Q16 highly-oxygenated race fuel, rear-mounted C&R twin-core dual-pass radiator, custom fan shroud, twin SPAL high-flow fans, Meziere electric water pump and auxiliary water pump, Canton Racing steering and engine oil radiators, fuel radiator
POWER AND TORQUE 900hp and 627lb ft
TRANSMISSION Samsonas four-speed sequential transmission, SPEC twin-disc clutch, QuarterMaster hydraulic throwout bearing, DriveShaft Shop carbon fibre propshaft, Winters quick-change rear spool differential, DriveShaft Shop pro-level axles
CHASSIS 8.75x18” (front) and 10x18” (rear) SMW Wheels HGK EF wheels with 255/35 (front) and 285/35 (rear) Achilles 123S tyres, Nitron three-way adjustable front and rear coilovers, Wisefab/HGK camber plates, Wisefab front and rear knuckles and arms, custom chromoly steering shaft with lifeline quick-release, Wilwood lightweight brake kit with six-piston calipers and 300x32mm discs (front) and four-piston calipers and 305x9mm drilled discs (rear), HGK CNC-machined aluminium centre bells and caliper adapters, high-friction Wilwood racing pads, fully stitch-welded chassis, custom front and rear crash bars
EXTERIOR Carbon-Kevlar ‘Eurofighter’ wide-body kit, polycarbonate anti-fog windscreen, polycarbonate sapphire-coated windows, carbon fibre roof, carbon-Kevlar doors with removable windows, Perspex ducktail spoiler
INTERIOR Carbon fibre dash and centre console, MoTeC C125 digital dash display, OMP HTE-R 400 seats, TRS six-point harnesses, OMP steering wheel, OMP fire extinguisher system, FD-spec roll-cage, Tilton 600 Series adjustable pedal assembly, floor-mounted HGK hydraulic handbrake with AP Racing cylinder
“The transmission’s worthy of note, principally for its four gears. It’s a sequential system from Samsonas, running back through a DriveShaft Shop propshaft to a quick-change Winters spool diff”
OMP steering wheel OMP HTE-R 400 seats with six-point harnesses. Tilton 600 Series pedal assembly. This E92 was born to drift, and it’s very good at it. Lightweight 18” custom wheels.
“There’s a vast snorkel sucking air into a tunnel ram intake, hence the camel-like hump, and this motor makes a neat 900hp without the aid of forced induction”
Carbon-Kevlar wide-body looks incredible. Custom crash bars front and rear. Rear-mounted dual-core radiator with twin fans. Rear view is even more dramatic. Nitron coilovers and Wisefab knuckles. Lightweight Wilwood brakes all-round.