- Post is under moderationDOUBLE UP / #BMW / #Kumho-BMW-Championship / #Kumho / #BMW-Championship / #2016
Racing requires a suitably serious machine, or two, such as this S54-powered 1 Series pair. Built from the ground-up for the Kumho-BMW-Championship , these two ferocious 1 Series are a force to be reckoned with. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Matt Richardson.
Racing is something that you’re likely to be into if you’re into cars. We’re not saying this means you follow F1 religiously, for example, or watch every single motorsport race going but if you like cars and you like going fast then whether it’s drag racing, NASCAR or hillclimbs there’s bound to be a form of motorsport that gets your juices flowing and one that you’d love to have a go at. The glamour and excitement of motor racing has a lure that’s hard to resist and many of us can no doubt picture ourselves taking the chequered flag in some exotic location and then partying on a yacht afterwards.
Even if that’s not part of the equation, the chance to get behind the wheel of a fullyprepped racer and go wheel-to-wheel out on track is something we’d all love to do.
Easier said than done, mind. Even competing in an affordable race series still isn’t all that affordable and, ultimately, if you want to get somewhere you either need mega skills, lots of money or, ideally, both. Like James Cannon, then, who’s part of the management at Severn Valley Motorsport. He not only had the funds available to build this incredible pair of 1 Series racers but he’s also got the skills to put them to devastating use out on the track.
“I’ve been racing since I was eight,” says the affable James nonchalantly. “I started out in mini stocks and was UK champ aged nine. I then moved onto rallycross, then drifting, and then the Kumho BMW Championship aged 19, racing in Class D where I won multiple races.”
He’s also got a thing for BMWs and has had a few in his time: an E46 M3 Cab at 18, an X5, a 730d, an E39 M5, an E60 M5, an E63 M6, an E92 M3 last year, and now a 335iX. Having worked his way up to Class A in the Kumho BMW Championship James decided to build himself something suitable but he didn’t want to take the well-worn path walked by the other teams, as he explains: “The top class is full of E36 and E46 M3s but the Championship wanted something a bit more glam and I wanted to build something a bit different for the Severn Valley Motorsport race team. I liked the look of the eBay BTCC 1 Series and so that’s what I decided to create.”
He purchased a pair of 118ds for £4000 each and stripped them down to their bare shells, opting for four-doors as they were cheaper to buy and it’s easier to get spares for them in the event of a crash; obviously, being race cars, James had guidelines to build to, so he knew exactly what he was going to do the cars having discussed the requirements for Class A with the Kumho Championship organisers. “Butler Motorsport built the engines and fitted them along with the subframes. Harry Hockly Motorsport supplied the full BTCC-spec cages and Doseley Motors did all the bodywork including fitting the body kits, which are based on the BTCC ones and made in Germany. The rear wings came from last year’s eBay BTCC cars.”
Built to regs they may be but that doesn’t mean that they don’t look utterly spectacular with those massively wide arches, the vast rear wing and twin exhausts poking out through the sides of the rear bumper, plus there’s the faithfully recreated eBay livery and both cars are also sponsored by the Cannon Run 3000.
If they look spectacular on the outside, under the bonnet is simply mesmerising. Both cars run the S54B32 from the M3 CSL, which is a great place to start, with the engines built to regs. This means fullyforged Cosworth pistons, rods, motorsport cranks and head gaskets but, interestingly, standard cams as they make more power. Of course, what really catches your eye are the gigantic carbon air boxes with their massive intake ducting that dominates the engine bays. “I had the carbon air boxes made for them and we had to relocate the rad to allow them to fit,” explains James. The whole lot is watched over by a Motec ECU and Motec also took care of the loom, steering wheel and digital dash.
With the highly-tuned S54 under their bonnets both cars make 380hp. There’s potential for more but there’s also a good reason to not use it. “When we were testing the engines they made 422hp on the dyno,” says James, “but if we went for more power we would have to carry more weight to balance that out and currently the cars weigh 1280kg. Running 380hp gives us a happy medium of power-to-weight for optimum handling. There are two other cars running the same engines, so down the straights there’s nothing in it.”
The chassis has been thoroughly reworked, as you would expect. The cars both run motorsport subframes and fully adjustable Proflex suspension, while power is transferred to the wheels via (surprisingly) a 525i five-speed manual gearbox (which James says is best suited for the track), through a custom prop to an LSD and custom driveshafts. Meanwhile, behind the classic white Speedline wheels (or Team Team Dynamics, depending on the weather) sit massive AP Racing brakes which are perfectly suited to slowing these fast and furious racers time and time again.
Inside the cars are as stripped-out as you’d expect but that’s not to say they’ve not been finished with plenty of love and attention to detail. In each car there’s a mandatory multi-point BTCC-spec cage by Harry Hockly Motorsport, one solitary, super-supportive Cobra racing bucket seat with multi-point harnesses and a Tilton pedalbox. There’s also a carbon switch panel, the aforementioned digi dash, and a grippy suede steering wheel. In the back you’ll find a custom swirl pot setup and fuel pump. As a finishing touch, the whole interior has been painted.
We ask James whether it would just have been easier (and cheaper) to buy a pair of pre-built race cars? “It was definitely more expensive to build them,” he replies. “The other cars on the grid cost about £55,000 bought but each one of ours cost about £80,000. But I know the cars inside out now.” And why did James build two cars? “Well, it’s good to have a spare, just in case,” he says, “and while I mostly race on my own sometimes my dad joins in as well so this way we can race together.”
Of course, building the cars is only part of the whole. Once built you need to take them racing. In the Kumho Championship that costs £2500 for one race meeting, which is quite a lot of money but worth it and it’s still a lot cheaper than BTCC racing costs, where a weekend of racing will set you back about £10,000. “Most of the races are televised,” says James, “and the Class A cars run about half-a-second off the BTCC pace. It’s a good chance of getting spotted. I’m only 24 years old among a lot of much older drivers and the BTCC is definitely my ultimate goal; that’s where I’d like to be.”
Well James has definitely got the skills to make it happen. “My first time out in the car was at Donnington. It was my debut in that car in that class and I came second,” he says without a hint of arrogance. “I can’t fault the cars at all, they’re so good. At Donnington they weren’t even set up yet, not even lowered, and I came second having never driven on slicks. I was three seconds slower than a guy who’d been racing for 20 years and knows all the circuits. Obviously I’m aiming for first.”
With a strong debut, the only way is up for James and the Severn Valley Motorsport race team and with plans to strip both cars and build them again from the ground up, making them even better and even more formidable on track, James Cannon and his 1 Series twins are definitely worth keeping an eye on.
Team Dynamics wheels are swapped with Speedlines depending on the weather.
Stripped-out interior features full roll-cage, digi-dash and single Cobra seat while boot space is occupied by the fuel system and everything has been painted.
Bodywork is based on the BTCC kits and produced in Germany while massive carbon rear wings were taken from last year’s 1 Series BTCC cars.
Engine bays are dominated by the ex-CSL S54 engines, with vast carbon air boxes on both.
DATA FILE #BMW-SVM-1-Series-Racers / #BMW-E87 / #BMW-1-Series / #BMW-E87-SVM / #SVM
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 / #S54 / #BMW-S54 from M3 CSL, fullyforged Cosworth pistons, rods and motorsport crank, #Cosworth head gasket, standard cams, carbon air box, remapped by #Telford Motorsport , #Motec ECU, 380hp (detuned from 420hp). 525i five-speed manual gearbox, custom propshaft, custom driveshafts, limited-slip differential. / #Telford-Motorsport
CHASSIS #Speedline / #Team-Dynamics wheels , #Proflex suspension, motorsport subframes, #AP-Racing brakes, 1280kg.
EXTERIOR #BTCC-style wide arch kit, fibre glass bonnet, lightweight doors and boot, Plexiglas windows and front screen, rear central rain light, custom side exit exhausts, carbon #BTCC rear wing, eBay race graphics.
INTERIOR #Harry-Hockly-Motorsport multi-point BTCC roll-cage, Cobra bucket seat and race harness, carbon switch panel, Motec wiring loom and digital dash, suede steering wheel, #Tilton pedalbox, custom swirl pots and fuel pump, fully painted inside.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationThe #2015 #Andy-Priaulx wins #Nations-Cup
The #BMW works driver Andy Priaulx celebrated an acclaimed home victory alongside his fellow countryman and #BTCC racer Jason Plato at the Race of Champions at the Olympic Stadium in London. The pairing, competing as Team England, won the Nations Cup, beating the F1 driver pairing of Sebastian Vettel and Nico Hülkenberg who were racing as Team Germany in the final. Priaulx had a stunning run of results in the Nations Cup, winning seven out of seven. In the individual competition his luck ran out, exiting the competition in the quarter finals which was eventually won by four-time #F1 world champ #Sebastian-Vettel .
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- Post is under moderationTEAM AMERICA
When Kings Auto Body Shop decided to build an E46 M3 racer, it employed the philosophy of go big or go home. Kings Auto Body Shop took an uncompromising approach to building this E46 M3 racer. ‘Go big or go home’ were the watchwords and, with genuine GTR DNA, it certainly delivers the goods… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Andy Tipping.
There are many varied and disparate cars that you may spot on any given day at the #Nurburgring , from race prototypes to Transit vans, stripped-out track day specials to commuter-spec Octavias, and everything in between. But the three most prevalent sights can be neatly subdivided into three categories: Porsche 911s (of varying vintage, state of tune and level of competence), locals in diesel Golfs (who are invariably making much more rapid progress than any of the 911s), and heavily tweaked M3s. The Green Hell and the M3 go hand in hand, and there’s something addictive to the owners of E36s and E46s in particular that keeps them coming back, eager to test out the effectiveness of their latest choice of rubber or tweaks to their suspension.
The racy E46 M3 that’s posing for the lens today is a true-blue Nordschleife battler, exactly the type of thing that you’d expect to see bobbing around the Karussell with flames licking from its cheeky side-exit pipes…except that it isn’t. It’s never even been there. This car, while it may appear at first glance to be a hardcore Euro race build, is in fact Californian through-and-through, and the closer you look, the more dedication to Stateside tuning you discover. Built and raced by Kings Auto Body Shop in Huntington Beach, it’s as American as apple pie, colossal drugstores, and putting too many advert breaks in TV shows. It’s just one tiny step short of being plastered in stars and stripes.
The project acts as a sort of glorious manifestation of the vivid dreams of Ayed Alnajjar, the man who happily dotes on Kings Auto Body like a proud father. “I purchased the shop in 2013, and I brought it back to life,” he explains. “We mostly do insurance work, but our signature is race cars and wide bodies. And me personally? I’ve owned over 20 BMWs over the years, and this is my second BMW race car.” You can see why the project was spirited into being – a history of Bavarian fettling, a shop in which to carry out the work to expert level, and a desire to showcase the skills of the business in a fairly visible manner. It’d be madness for Ayed not to build a gorgeously detailed and brutally effective M3 racer, really. What a fortuitous position to find oneself in.
Now, you may be eyeing the broad, aggressive girth of the E46 and pondering the origins of the aesthetic. DTM, perhaps? It’s wider than a #BTCC racer, that’s for sure, but there’s a distinct Euro race car vibe radiating from the M3 as it sits menacingly before the lens, the exhaust ticking frantically after an enthusiastic run. But looks can be deceiving, and this car has been leading you up a dark path… the inspiration for the look came, in fact, from the M3 GTR – one of the key elements of quintessential American-ness that makes this car unique.
A quick history lesson, then. The E46 M3 road car, as we know, arrived on the scene in late-2000 sporting a 3.2-litre S54 straightsix under its extravagantly bulging bonnet. It was a bona fide muscle car, offering a significant power hike over its E36 predecessor, and rocking the sort of unmistakable road presence that would trigger a reflex to involuntarily pull out of the way as soon as it appeared in an opponent’s rear view mirror. It didn’t ask, it just took. An uncompromising thing.
Race versions inevitably ensued, and the M3 GTR development became a shining star in the GT2 class of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). It was powered by a #P60B40 motor, a 4.0-litre V8 only to be found in the GTR, snorting out somewhere between 440-470hp depending on setup.
The M3 GTR was, it has to be said, a bit of a naughty boy. While S54-powered E46s would be monstered by Porsche 911 GT3s on track, the V8-engined cars were rather dominant at the hands of Schnitzer Motorsport, which caused Porsche to cry foul play: it pointed out, quite fairly, that it wasn’t possible to buy a V8-engined E46 road car, so it was violating the spirit of the ALMS ethos. The governing body insisted that a road-going variant must be on sale on two continents within a year of the rules being drawn up to be eligible, and BMW made plans to build ten road cars for such a purpose, to be sold at €250,000 apiece. In the end, however, they didn’t bother – they built six – but these cars weren’t made available for public sale. Indeed, three of them were just development mules that got scrapped.
When the rules changed in 2002, stipulating that 100 cars had to be built to homologate the racers, BMW pulled out of ALMS altogether. This means that if you want to buy an apple-pie M3 GTR, well, you can’t.
That’s why Ayed decided to build one. Not a faithful but unforgiving V8-engined homage, but a proven and reliable S54-powered E46 whose body pays tribute to the shortlived splendour of the GTR. The car’s wearing a Flossman GTR wide-body kit, which is just about as authentic as it’s possible to get with this sort of thing; the wider wings and arches, the front and rear bumpers, the aero side skirts, it’s all artfully hand-crafted in Germany by Peter Flossman, linchpin of the Judd racing team among much else, and it’s all to the original BMW Motorsport development specs for the GTR race car, as tested in BMW’s own wind tunnel. It is, in short, a pukka piece of kit.
But Ayed was always fully intent on doing this properly: “My previous race car was an E36 M3,” he recalls. “I built up the engine to the best of its abilities, but the best I could reliably get with that car with cams was 270hp. I wasn’t happy with the wheel space either because I couldn’t fit anything bigger than 255-section tyres. So I decided to go with the E46 M3, it just made sense. As standard it makes more power than a built S52 engine, and once I got the E46 M3, I decided to go big or go home! I wanted to make a true one-of-a-kind E46, with thoroughbred race car DNA.”
Well yes, there’s no arguing that he’s achieved that with some level of gusto. Having purchased the car as a bare shell – no engine, no transmission, no interior, no suspension – the team at Kings set about building a pure race weapon from the ground up, selecting every component based on its performance creds as well as light weight and durability. Under the copiously vented DTM Fiberwerkz GTR bonnet sits a full-race S54 with hot Schrick cams, Stage 3 heads and a sultry CSL air box, all of which spits out its heady gases through a customcrafted side-exit exhaust (just like a real M3 GTR race car!). The chassis is suspended by Moton coilovers and all manner of goodies from the Ground Control catalogue, with some substantial Brembos champing at the bit to rein all of that thrust back in. It’s a very effective package, and the spec list reads like a who’s-who of quality parts.
“The car was built for the National Auto Sport Association (NASA) German Tuning Series, although the car was actually debuted at SEMA 2014. It was its first time out in public once we’d finished the build, and people’s reactions were amazing. I can’t tell you how many people have told me this is their dream car!” The important point that Ayed’s not making here, of course, is that it’s his dream car too – and he’s the one holding the keys. Funny how life works out sometimes, isn’t it?
This build, then, is a fusion of BMW developmental tangents. Given the chance, it’d lap up the verdant and serpentine spaghetti curves of the Nürburgring all day long, negotiating the tricky cambers, undulating gradients and truculent weather systems as being all in a day’s work. But, as fate insists, it’s not a moistened Euro fighter – it’s a dry-as-a-bone Cali scrapper. The neat link here is that a couple of the original Schnitzer GTR race cars saw later action at the ’Ring for the 2003 24-Hour event, which pulls the DNA across the Atlantic, and then pings it back like a piece of tautly-stretched elastic and fires it squarely into Kings Auto Body Shop with a resounding thump.
Ayed’s out there in the glaring West Coast sun, wringing the M3’s neck and taking scalps in the NASA GTS, as stridently as the GTRs of yore – and this surely means that, dream fulfilled, he can dust off his hands and enjoy the fruits of Kings’ labours, yes? No, of course not. These things are never finished. And now that everything’s nicely bedded in, a GTR rep should really have a V-engine, shouldn’t it? What do you say then, Ayed – fancy tracking down one of those unicorn P60 V8s? “No,” he says, scratching his chin thoughtfully. “I think I want to put a V10 in there.” Well, he did say ‘go big or go home’…
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW E46 M3 Racer / #BMW-M3-Racer / #BMW-M3-Racer-E46 / #BMW-M3-E46 / #BMW-E46 / #BMW-M3 /
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 / #S54 , #CSL air box, 288/280 Schrick cams, Stage 3 heads, ported throttle body, high compression (12.5:1 ratio), AP pulleys, #AP headers, custom side-exit exhaust system, Stage 4 clutch, #AEM infinity standalone management, sixspeed manual transmission rebuilt with 3.91 gearing.
CHASSIS 11x18” #Apex-EC-7 wheels (front and rear) (ET25, 15mm spacers all-round), 295/30 soft-compound tyres (front and rear), Motorsport wheel studs with race nuts, #Moton three-way adjustable coilovers, Ground Control camber plates, Ground Control anti-roll bars, #Ground-Control adjustable control arms, #Brembo BBK with four-piston front calipers and 355mm discs, four-piston rears and 345mm discs, stainless steel lines, #Hard-Motorsport brake cooling backing plates.
EXTERIOR Flossman GTR wide-body kit, #APR front splitter, APR diffuser built and designed by Raceworkz , #APR-GT500 wing (71” wide), Hard Motorsport retractable tow hooks, #DTM-Fiberwerkz GTR bonnet, DTM Fiberwerkz carbon-fibre roof, carbon fibre bootlid, RAD Industries Lexan windows, #RAD-Industries custom fuel cell.
INTERIOR #Sparco Ergo seat, Sparco steering wheel, Sparco harness, mesh window net, mesh centre net, Hard Motorsport CAE shifter, fire extinguisher system, #GS-Werks custom roll-cage.
THANKS Undr8d Empire, ECElite Automotive, DTM Fiberwerkz, RAD Industries, Hard Motorsport, Hardware Motorsports, Raceworkz, GSR Technik, GS Werks.
“Once I got the E46 M3, E46 M3 Racer I decided to go big or go home! I wanted to make a one-of-a-kind E46, with thoroughbred race car DNA”
Kings’ M3 looks the business thanks to #Flossman-GTR wide-body kit, built to the original #BMW-Motorsport specs of the GTR race car.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationRACING BULL
Taking its inspiration from DTM, this Red Bull-liveried custom wide-body E92 M3 is no shrinking violet. Bryan McGhee has taken inspiration from the world of #DTM to create a unique and imposing E92 M3. And it’s very far from an off-the-shelf build… Words: Daniel Bevis /// Photos: André Neudert
Red Bull is one of those brands whose name implies impeccable quality when it’s plastered along the side of a race car. Your brain happily suspends the knowledge that the product in question is a cloyingly saccharine fizzy drink, as there are so many other high-octane associations that are pushed to front-of-mind when you see that iconic dark blue canvas, liberally sprinkled with yellow suns and, er, red bulls. The livery has slipped seamlessly into the pantheon of all-time classics – not quite up there with Gulf, Martini or JPS, but on the way. Think about it: countless F1 championship wins, NASCAR , Dakar, that astounding Peugeot 207 that decimated the Pikes Peak record – Red Bull and fast cars go hand-in-hand.
An appropriate stylistic choice for an E92 M3 then, no? Even in stock form, we know that this #V8-powered looper is a formidable beast, with its vast reserves of horsepower and general disregard for the commonly accepted laws of physics. Of course, we also know that applying race car livery to a standard car, no matter how pacey it may be, is a questionable thing to do. Look how many ST205 Celicas there are out there covered in Castrol rally stickers, and Volvo 850 estates with #BTCC colours. You’ve got to actually do something to the car first or you might look like a wally. Thankfully Bryan McGhee, owner of this M3 has nailed that element head-on; rather than relying on off the- shelf parts, his E92 offers an intriguing platter of bespoke and custom touches. And as an ex-military man, you can be sure that it’s been finished with militaristic precision…
“Every car I’ve owned has been modified,” he explains. “This comes from my upbringing in South Central Los Angeles, and the influence of my family members who were into motorsports.” Bryan’s first car was a 1964 Chevrolet Impala, which is a pretty gangsta way to get your training wheels off, and he’s since enjoyed three Mustangs, a 1976 BMW 2002, and a mighty V10-engined Dodge Ram SRT-10 (which he sold to buy this 2010 E92). “I’ve always respected the BMW brand,” he says, “ever since I bought my 2002 back in the mid- Eighties, when I was stationed in Hawaii with the US Army. I’d say that owning a BMW is more than just owning a car – you’re buying into a piece of auto engineering history. And now that I own an M3, there’s a piece of that history that I can share with my son, who’s a motorhead just like his pop!”
Now based in Germany, the retired sergeant major is closer to his favourite automotive brand’s spiritual home than he was in Hawaii or LA, the winding lanes of Vorbach nestled cosily in the north-eastern corner of Bavaria. Of course, there’s nothing cosy about the race-inspired intent of his E92, that’s an altogether angrier proposition, counterpointing the tranquillity of the countryside with aggressive barks and motorsport tinnitus-inducement. “I’ve always been a fan of the DTM and GT2 race series, and I wanted to build a car to replicate that spirit – a real racing car for the street,” says Bryan. “So I bought this car from Bavarian Motor Cars in Grafenwöhr, totally stock, and set about planning the transformation. Naturally the first thing I did, was give it a good wash. I’m fastidious about cleanliness, and it was raining that day…”
Pretty much as soon as he could see his face grinning back from the gleaming paintwork, Bryan set about fulfilling his race car to-do list. The first thing to tackle – as with around 90% of the cars we feature, in fact – was the suspension; Bryan had an eye on stance, naturally, but was primarily looking for something that would be fit for purpose on those country lanes, something to complement and enhance an already impeccable chassis.
H&R Clubsport coilovers were the order of the day; famously tested extensively at the Nürburgring, they offer totally flat cornering and supreme directional control, so are much in-keeping with the aspirations of the build. This box-ticking was quickly followed by an upgrade to the exhaust system, a Flowmaster cat-back affair helping the brawny V8 to breathe a little more freely. A BPM Performance Tune brought peak power up to a heady 475hp, which is close enough to the power output of a bona fide DTM racer to keep things entertaining.
“At this point, I started to think about wheels,” Bryan recalls. “It had to be something that was light and strong, but also had an appropriate motorsport look.” In the end, after much deliberation, it was 360 Forged who got the call, with a set of wide rims in a 20” diameter being powdercoated in red and black to infuse a sense of malice.
And just think for a moment about how much rubber you need to encase a wheel that’s 20 inches across and a foot wide – those Dunlop Sport Maxx tyres certainly provide a clear statement of intent. It’s at this point in the build that things start to get really interesting. Bryan wanted the car’s exterior to be unique – at once recognisable and clearly removed from the mainstream. This had to be a build that offered something different, that could hold its head up high among its peers. While the aesthetics began with a smattering of readily available parts – a Driftworks carbon fibre spoiler imported from the UK, and a carbon fibre bonnet, front bumper and bootlid from Arkym in California – it was the work he commissioned VB Customz in Grafenwöhr to carry out that really made the difference.
We’re talking about a complete redesign of that aftermarket bumper, a unique widebody kit to rein in those vast wheels, and all manner of custom, hand-fabricated parts from spoiler supports and splitters to canards and a rear diffuser. The genius of the design is that none of it looks outlandish or out of place; aggressive – sure, unusual – certainly, but not at all jarring.
“While all this was going on, I’d turned my attention to the interior,” Bryan recalls. “VB Customz had deleted the rear seats and trimmed everything to have more of a motorsport vibe, and there’s now an aluminium cage in there from Wiechers, and a pair of FIA-approved GP Race seats from Barcelona, with Sparco harnesses to suit.” The dedication to the race car ethos is strong in this one, and Bryan’s obsessive about the details – there are no half-measures here, only considered decisions. “The seat coding was sorted out by BPM Sport to eliminate the airbag fault code,” he says. See?
Fastidious. Because this isn’t a laser-focused, stripped-out racer, it’s a road car that sees daily use. The fact that it has so much racer DNA is what gives it the edge.
“The Red Bull graphics are unique as they’re all hand-made by me,” he continues, with a touch of pride. “I’m an artist, so cutting the decals was more fun than it was tedious… All-in-all, the project’s taken about two years, although cars are never really finished, are they? There are always things to do – I’m thinking about a big brake kit next.”
The unique look of this Red Bull roadracer does seem to be going down well so far. Bryan’s first outing with the ‘finished’ product was to the Street Culture Treffen in Regensburg, and it’s fair to say that the reaction was excitable, setting social media aflame with an influx of photos and videos of the brutal M3 in action, the crowd parting like the Red Sea as he rolled out.
“That was pretty humbling. The autobahn experience is always entertaining too, and dropping my 12-year-old off at school is priceless,” Bryan laughs. In fact it sounds like the lad’s got designs on the car for himself: “He thinks he’s going to get it when he turns 16,” says Bryan, “but mom says no!”
Well, you can’t blame the lad for trying – particularly when pop talks about augmenting that mooted big brake kit with a supercharger. Now that would really be something to impress your classmates! For now, however, Bryan still has the keys firmly in his hand, and he’s enjoying the fact that his innovative build is deserving of those iconic colours. Much like a can of Red Bull, this E92 is light, robust, packed full of effervescent energy, and has the ability to shake up the schedule of your bowel movements if you’re not careful. If ever there’s an M3 that’s guaranteed to ramp up your friskiness levels, this is it.
DATA FILE: #BMW-M3-DTM / #BMW-M3-E92-DTM / #BMW-E92 / BMW / #BMW-M3-E92 /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre #V8 #S65B40 / #S65 , #BPM-performance tune (475hp), #Flowmaster cat-back exhaust system, stock six-speed manual gearbox.
CHASSIS 10.5x20” (front) and 12x20” (rear) 360 #Forged Maverick 5 three-piece wheels with 255/30 (front) and 305/25 (rear) Dunlop Sport Maxx tyres, #H&R Clubsport coilovers.
EXTERIOR Custom wide-body kit by #VB-Customz , #Arkym carbon fibre bonnet, front bumper and bootlid, custom diffuser, front and side splitters, canards and DTM-style wing mounts, #Driftworks carbon fibre spoiler, custom paint and handmade #Red-Bull graphics.
INTERIOR #Wiechers four-point aluminium roll-cage, #GP-Race seats, #Sparco five-point harnesses, rear seat delete, #GoPro Hero3.
THANKS Thanks to my wife and son, Elisabeth and Jonah, for their input and support. Thanks to the Lord who makes everything possible. And thanks to André of Speedy Shots for taking an interest in my project.
“I’d say that owning a #BMW is more than just owning a car – you’re buying into a piece of auto engineering history”
Engine bay might look stock but a #BPM-Sport performance tune delivers an impressive 475hp.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationWRECK TO RACER
Die-hard Vauxhall fan Steve ‘Gromitt’ Hucker fastidiously collected parts from six cars destined for the scrap heap, building them into this incredible #Vauxhall-Cavalier-BTCC-Replica race car on an exceedingly tight budget. Words & images: Matt Robinson.
We can all appreciate a good car project regardless of how much money is behind it, but when someone puts together a stunning motor like this British Touring Car Championship replica Vauxhall Cavalier for next to nothing, they’ve earned our undying respect. The work of Walsall-based Steve Hucker (better known as ‘Gromitt’ to his friends), this brilliant Vauxhall has been built up over two and a half years, mostly from parts taken from cars destined for the scrapheap.
A die-hard Vauxhall fan, Steve runs Vaux- Speed, a Vauxhall breaker and tuning specialist in Walsall. Having looked after all sorts of different cars for customers for years, Steve wanted a new project of his own to sink his teeth into. “I thought I’d build something a bit different for myself. I’ve always loved touring cars, it seemed a bit more unusual to do a Cavalier as they only ran for six years in the BTCC,” he explains. A complete eight-valve 4x4 Cavalier came up on eBay, and looked to be the perfect starting point for the project, apparently needing only a new clutch to get it going. When he got hold of the car, however, it needed a little bit more than just a clutch. “Things on eBay aren’t always listed 100 per cent, one person’s ‘just wants a clutch’ is another person’s ‘needs a complete engine rebuild and whatever else!’” Steve chuckles.
Nevertheless, it was a good starting point for around £200, and gave Steve a good base on which he could slowly build on, whenever he had available funds for parts. Not long after, an eight-valve GSI lookalike was spotted and quickly snapped up as a donor, primarily to pilfer the doors. As it was an earlier car, it came without the impact bars in the doors, helping shave off a little extra weight. Not much happened on the project for a while, but another car came up that would enable the build to surge forward, as it had a full roll cage. It belonged to someone Steve had done business with in the past, but without the spare capital to drop on the car, he reluctantly had to leave it. Some time later, he happened upon the car again while browsing eBay. On this occasion it was just the shell up for grabs, as the new owner had taken out the engine and a few other parts for another project, and was selling the leftovers. This time Steve was adamant that he was going to have it. The original deal with the seller fell through, but with the garage in which the shell was being stored due for imminent demolition, it needed to go quickly. It was offered to Steve at a price too good to refuse.
Steve opted to keep the original eightvalve shell due to its superior condition, and transplanted whatever he could from his new donor car, including the all-important roll cage. The only problem with the eight valve shell was the presence of a sunroof. That’s not the sort of thing you’d normally find on a race car, so Steve removed the roof from yet another Cavalier shell which was en-route to the scrapheap, and transplanted it onto the project.
With the car coming together nicely, it was time to think about the paintwork. To keep the car as unique as possible, Steve wanted to go for the little-known 1994 Cavalier BTCC livery. “I only worked off one picture of the original BTCC car. This colour scheme was only used for 1994; it’s not documented that well, so it was quite a struggle, but I was determined because I wanted it to stand out,” Steve explains. He was presented with two options to achieve the white, grey and red colour scheme: either to use decals for the entire job, or have it painted in white/grey/ red and just use decals for the sponsor names and logos. A friend was confident he could achieve the look successfully with the latter method, and we have to say, the results are superb. There are a few differences compared to the real thing, owing to Steve’s personal preferences, but the overall look is very close.
Steve has put a lot of effort into taking weight out wherever possible, not just in going for the impact bar-less doors. Absolutely everything unnecessary has been removed; he even laid out the wiring loom on the workshop floor and binned what wasn’t needed, shaving an extra 20kg. “It isn’t a lot, but every bit you save is good. It’s different to just taking a road car and saying ‘right, I’ll take the seats out and rip the door panels off and call it a track car.” This attitude shows when you get into Steve’s Cavalier. All the proper racing car parts are there; a Corbeau seat with a six-point FIA approved harness, FIA approved cut-out switch, and fi re extinguisher system.
Losing weight isn’t enough on its own, of course; the suspension and brakes also needed an overhaul to make sure they were up to the task of track work. Koni Competition adjustable shocks went in at each corner, with 90mm customs springs on the back, and 60mm standard road springs on the front. The latter is just a stop gap, and any day now a similar set of custom springs will go in, giving a much lower level of body roll. While the idea of a nice but pricey set of coilovers is a tempting one, custom springs are the way forward, and not just for the sake of the budget. “There are a couple of places that still make custom poundage springs. The beauty of that is once they have the spec of your car, you can pick the phone up, order a set of springs and within 24 hours you’ve got a new set on your doorstep for the price of standard springs,” Steve explains. This also means he won’t need to hunt around for springs with the correct poundages, which wouldn’t be easy considering the very specific, custom nature of the car. To help bring things to a stop a little quicker, meanwhile, Steve has swapped out the standard front brakes for a set of four-pot calipers over 320mm discs.
Another important aspect for Steve to get right was an inboard fuel tank setup, to further ape the proper race-spec Cavalier. Normally, this wouldn’t be cheap, but a contact through Shenstone and District Sprint club had a tank going spare which he could use. It was designed for a BMW, but some alterations to the pipework and the addition of a swirl pot made it suitable for the Vauxhall. It wasn’t all plain sailing, however. The Cavalier destroyed several fuel pumps before it was worked out that fuel was atomising before entering the pump, causing it to burn out. Further adaptations were made to the set up, and a larger fuel pump added, and it’s been perfect ever since.
Steve’s tight budget has meant the 2.0-litre eight-valve has stayed in place rather than the most obvious engine transplant option of a ‘red top’ Vauxhall XE engine. However, it’s no ordinary eight-valve; this one is sporting an Irmscher intake manifold, larger throttle body, gas-flowed head and Kent camshaft. The result is about 160bhp, a thoroughly respectable number, especially considering the weight figure is now well under a tonne. Around the base figure you’d get in an XE, in fact, but with a much simpler engine to work on. “What I’ve spent on the engine, you’d spend on just rebuilding the bottom end of a red top these days,” Steve points out.
The car is road legal, but with the slightly tricky task of climbing in through that beefy role cage a necessity of getting behind the wheel, Steve mostly reserves public highway driving for testing, rather than convenience. It sees plenty of track action, with its happiest hunting ground being Curborough Sprint Course near Lichfield, where we photographed the car being driven in anger.
As much as Steve loves the end product, it’s the build itself of this, and his prior projects, that he really gets a kick out of, especially if he can keep the cost low and get the biggest bang for his buck. “They’re not mega budget cars, but they’re really nicely built. That’s the enjoyment of building them for me,” he explains. And when it comes to the Cavalier project, the car is pretty much where Steve wants it to be right now. “Once I’ve done the front suspension I will say ‘yes, it’s finished,’ it’ll just be tweaking and adapting after that,” he says. Of course, there are still tempting avenues to explore, such as individual throttle bodies, so we’ll be interested to see what avenues he chooses to pursue in the future.
As a man who’s always got a project on the go, it’s not outside the realms of possibility that Steve could end up selling the car, but that seems unlikely for now. “It’s possible I suppose, if someone offers me a ludicrous amount of money for it!” he chuckles. Steve has already turned down an offer for what he describes as a “substantial amount of money,” which we can more than understand, as his journey with this car is far from over. Why? The answer is simple. “I want to enjoy it more.” After seeing Steve having a great time hustling this home-brewed hero on track for ourselves, we hope he gets that wish.
SPECIFICATION #Vauxhall-Cavalier / #Vauxhall / #Opel / #Opel-Vectra
ENGINE: #Vauxhall-20SEH eight-valve, gas-flowed head, Kent camshaft and pully, enlarged throttle body, Irmscher inlet manifold, Pipercross air filter, custom inboard fuel tank with internal swirl pot, high-pressure bootmounted fuel pump, full 2.5-inch Ashley exhaust (centre exit).
TRANSMISSION: F20 gearbox, Quaife differential.
SUSPENSION: Polybushed all round, Koni Competition adjustables, custom springs.
BRAKES: Four-pot front calipers with 320mm discs, standard rear brakes.
WHEELS & TYRES: 17-inch Team Dynamics alloy wheels wrapped in Toyo Proxes.
INTERIOR: Fully stripped, Corbeau bucket seat with six-point #FIA approved harness, FIA approved cut-off switch, fi re extinguisher, polycarbonate door panels, full Custom Cages competition roll cage.
EXTERIOR: Eight-valve 4x4 shell, full GSI body kit, single wiper conversion, #1994 #BTCC Jeff Allam livery.
“To keep the car as unique as possible, Steve wanted to go for the little known 1994 #Vauxhall-Cavalier-BTCC livery.”
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- Post is under moderationCROSSING THE LINE
One of the most spectacular builds we’ve seen in a long time, this #BMW-M135i is quite unlike anything else. Words: Elizabeth de Latour /// Photos: Henry Phull @ Slam Sanctuary
When Bruce Gowans said he had plans for his M135, he wasn’t lying. A year ago, this car was candy red with a modest boot build and Watercooled Industry wheels and now, well, it’s pretty much unrecognisable. There’s modifying your car and then there’s forging ahead with an absolute vision that’s uncompromised and single-minded in its intent. This car is what happens when someone makes that vision a reality.
There is no typical modified BMW owner, and Bruce certainly fits into that non-box of atypicality. He is of the ‘older’ generation, shall we say, and resides in a tiny village in the heart of the Bedfordshire countryside, a million miles away from the frenetic and eclectic world that is the modified BMW scene. But this mechanical engineer has a heart that pumps pure petrol and has spent his entire life flitting from modified car to modified car, with an underlying appreciation for BMW but never the opportunity to indulge that interest in Bavarian metal until he acquired this M135i. “I’ve been interested in BMWs ever since I was a lad and grew up into a petrolhead! I’ve been a fan since the first E30 M3 and seeing an E9 coupé on neighbour’s drive when I walked to school and thinking how cool it looked. I bought the M135i, my first BMW, for its ‘performance for the price’ factor and because the drivetrain, the engine and the transmission are such a great combination in this vehicle. I bought it brand-new in 2013 and was going to keep it stock…”
“Both Shakey and I thought that translating this design into a vinyl wrap would be a nigh-on impossible task”
Digital audio explained:
“The system in this car was spec’d to accommodate Bruce’s passion for high resolution audio. It’s cutting edge in the fact it can play any file format he wants and samples up to 196khz with bit depths of up to 24-bit. When you consider a CD (still reference in so many studios) samples at 44.1khz at 16-bit, that’s a huge amount more information. Of course, all of the car’s OEM equipment and functionality is retained and played through the new system alongside solid state hard drives, wireless streaming and various other inputs.”
Carl Shakespeare, Director, Studio Incar
Clearly that didn’t happen. It seems like the car was stock for all of five minutes before Bruce had started tinkering and while the mods started off sensibly and in a restrained manner, once the momentum began to build there was clearly no stopping Bruce (or the M135i). “The first mod was to get a new exhaust developed and fitted by Scorpion Exhausts. Then Luke and the guys at Plush supplied and fitted the air-ride, sourcing components from AirREX and an eLevel system from Accuair. This was closely followed by a carbon-fibre front splitter from SSDD,” he says. “Spring 2014 brought a change in colour, with a candy red colour wrap from Avery called True Blood.
New MD1 wheels from Watercooled Industries were added, closely followed by a Juice Box 4 (JB4) piggyback ECU from Burger Motorsports and a decat downpipe which were fitted at #Performance-Developments in Sunderland. The car went to #Forge-Motorsport in #Gloucester to have one of its high-performance intercoolers fitted, along with one of its dump valves.” With all those mods on board, it made 400hp and 450lb ft of torque on the dyno and considering how blisteringly quick the standard M135i is, that’s going to be more than enough power to keep Bruce happy. “After having the traction control kick in once too often, I took the decision to fit a limited-slip diff to the car. Options were thin on the ground for this platform but Birds in Iver, Buckinghamshire developed a Quaife ATB for it, which has made a massive difference to the way the car drives.”
And that is where the story would end for most people. A dramatic wrap, some exceedingly nice wheels, air-ride and some performance mods. A fine selection of upgrades. Job done. But that’s not where this story ends, as you can clearly see. “At the end of 2014 I planned to make some big changes to the car and started speaking to Carl Shakespeare at Studio Incar about my plans,” he explains. “We discussed my ideas for a rear-seat delete and a high-end audio installation and things just got out of hand. I had already decided to try and get a BTCC body kit. I contacted West Surrey Racing and negotiated with the guys there to buy a genuine race car kit from their 2014/15 BMW 1 Series race car. However, fitting it proved more difficult than you might think! The BTCC cars have front and rear subframes and crash structures that are specified by TOCA and these also provide mounting points for the front and rear body panels. These didn’t match up with the mounting and fixing points that BMW specify! It required the rear wings to be cut and tubbed – scary stuff! Luckily, Stylehaus in Northampton has some serious skills and brought the whole thing together.
“Shakey project managed the whole build with input from me, like my suggestion for the triple tank setup. Once the car was back from the bodyshop, and with a little bit of extra fettling by Fibreglass Phil in Kent (the manufacturer of the BTCC kit), the audio and air install could begin in earnest.” With a bit of direction from Bruce, Shakey was free to run riot inside the M135i. The end result is an interior that feels like it’s very much been built around the air and audio and one look inside leaves you in no doubt that this car’s main purpose is to astound. The rear seats have been removed completely, replaced by the awesome triple floating tank setup that looks like a spaceship, illuminated from above and hovering over the massive 15” Hertz Mille sub which forms part of the incredibly high-end digital audio install, while the rear load space is home to the three Audison amps, on display in a beautifully designed enclosure. There’s acres of Alcantara in here, which reaches up to cover the roof lining as well, while some extremely sexy custom door pods are home to Hertz Mille speakers. Finally, a custom panel in the centre console (also trimmed in Alcantara) houses the controllers for the audio system and the air suspension. It’s one of the most spectacular, special and perfectly-executed builds we’ve ever seen and it’s nothing short of a work of art.
With such a spectacular build going on, the right wheels were going to be absolutely essential and Bruce was keen to move away from the usual suspects, like BBS and Rotiform, and try something different. “I had been in touch with Brada wheels in the States for a year or so, originally to try and get some wheels for my GT3,” he says. “I spoke to Zane and we agreed a design and spec for the wheels that were destined to go on the BMW. However, because the car was away having the body kit fitted, Shakey and I could only make an educated guess as to what the exact widths and offsets of the wheels would be, with us only knowing what the overall width of the BTCC car is and working back from those dimensions…” It can be hard enough to work out your exact wheel specs when you’ve got your car in front of you so this was most definitely a risky strategy but it worked and the resulting wheels are the perfect fit for the M135i. Bruce opted for Brada’s BR1 crossspokes with gloss black centres, matt black lips and stainless steel bolts in 9.5x19” at the front and 10.5x19” at the rear, the fitment perfect for tucking the wheels under the massive arches when the car is aired out.
In terms of styling, the kit alone wasn’t enough for Bruce and he decided to take things to the next level. “The wrap design wasn’t established until quite late in the build. I have always been a fan of the BMW Art Car projects but picking a design to base the wrap for the M135i was tricky. Several of the Art Cars are ‘challenging’, to say the least,” he laughs, “but this Frank Stella design from 1976 was selected – it appealed to my inner engineer! Both Shakey and I thought that translating this design into a vinyl wrap would be a nigh-on impossible task, since the original consisted of lots of parallel horizontal and vertical lines; the hardest thing to do with vinyl wrap… Carl contacted JD Wraps in Essex and a deal was struck. When I collected the car a week later I was amazed. The guys had done an awesome job.” The combination of kit and wrap is one that is both single-handedly responsible for the utterly insane amount of attention this car garners but is also the most polarising aspect of the whole project. Some people love the wrap but hate the kit. Some people hate the kit but love the wrap. Some people hate them both. And some people like everything that this car has got going on! However you feel, it’s a talking point and gets the car noticed. Bruce loves it, however, which ultimately is the most important thing.
Amazingly, all this work took just six months, really not long at all considering just how much has gone into the build and how complete the transformation has been. Bruce chose the Players Classic show for the car’s unveiling. It got as much attention as you’d expect and the sort of reactions you’d expect. “It seems to be very much a ‘Marmite’ car!” Bruce tells us. More importantly, though, he can now sit back and actually enjoy the car. Beyond the looks and the next-level interior, he’s got a fast, powerful car that’s great to drive, with an incredible sound system. It’s a package that just begs to be taken out on the road and enjoyed and, in fact, that’s now his only plan for the future.
DATA FILE #2015 #BMW-M135i-F21 / #BMW-M135i / #BMW-F21 / #BMW / #Brada-BR1
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre straight-six turbo #N55B30 / #N55 , JB4 piggyback ECU from #Burger-Motorsport , #Scorpion full exhaust including a decat downpipe, #Forge / #Forge-FMIC / , #Forge-DV , stock #ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox #ZF8HP , #Quaife ATB LSD from #Birds
CHASSIS 9.5x19” (front) and 10.5x19” (rear) #Brada BR1 three-piece wheels with gloss black lips, matt black faces and stainless hardware, with 235/35 (front) and 275/30 (rear) #Goodyear Eagle Asymmetric 2 tyres, #AirREX air-ride and Accuair eLevel management
EXTERIOR #BMW-M-Performance carbon fibre wing mirror shells, #BMW M Performance black front grilles, #BTCC body kit from WSR, Art Car wrap by #JD-Wraps
INTERIOR Interior by #Studio-Incar , full digital audio install comprising Audison AV Quattro amp x2, Audison AV Uno amp, Audison bit Ten D processor, #Audison bit Play HD source, #Hertz-Mille three-way front end, Hertz Mille 15” sub, rear seat delete, custom air installation, Alcantara roof lining, integrated audio and suspension controllers built in to the centre console
THANKS Studio Incar and Shakey in particular for handling this project and for keeping my spirits up when I needed it, Zane and Jacob at Brada, Myles and Chris at Brada UK, Fibreglass Phil, Scorpion Exhausts, Forge Motorsport, the guys at Stylehaus, Luke Massy, Phil James, Kat and the team at JD Wraps, Voodoo Elie for getting me out of a tricky situation, and last but not least, Ed Hamilton at JK Engineering for being a great friend, being just as daft as me and as big a petrolhead as me!
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- Post is under moderationKing of the Hill A highly developed #E36 that’s been built to win its class at the Berg Cup hillclimb in Germany. Berg Cup fields are made up of some formidable machines, though few are as extreme as Dieter Rottenberger’s E36! Words: Jamie Arkle. Photography: Axel Weichert.
It’s hard to overstate just how seriously the Germans take their hillclimb championships, though perhaps one way of putting it into perspective is by taking a close look at the fields of cars that take part. Certainly they’re varied, with numerous classes and categories catering to near enough every drivetrain, power band and budget. At the upper echelons of the classes you’ll find some incredible machines, full-fat thoroughbreds that were once campaigned in premier race series like the #DTM , the #BTCC and, in the case of the #BMW-E36 you see here, the German Super Tourenwagen Cup championship (STW). It all makes the UK’s short, idyllic courses seem a little clubman in comparison, and dare we say it, slightly quaint.
This E36 is a perfect example of the passion our German friends take dashing up massively steep mountain passes, and its long time owner has an appropriately well-appointed motorsport CV. Dieter Rottenberger might now spend his time managing the team he’s built around this very car, but he cut his teeth racing Fiats, Simcas, Hondas and BMW E30s throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s. The latter certainly left a lasting impression, with Dieter becoming something of a Munich devotee in the years since. It was also in one of these cars that he achieved his greatest success of his formative motorsport years, scooping overall honours in the #1992 German Hillclimb Championship, on a very modest budget. After that, real life conspired to get in the way of racing, with Dieter instead devoting his energies to raising a family and growing a successful business, and it was only in 2003 that he again began to consider a foray into hill climbing once again.
“It seemed like the right time to get back into it again, but I wanted to test the water before diving in and doing a full season at the top level. I bought a cheap Honda Integra to tackle my local circuit and ended up coming away with the class victory,” explains Dieter.
That taste of success opened the floodgates, and it wasn’t long before Dieter was making plans to buy something a bit better suited to the upper echelons of the German hillclimb world, with both the KW Berg Cup and DMSB championships firmly in his sights. The upper tiers of both of these series are full with refugees from all manner of tin-top championships, and Dieter knew he wanted something similar to form the basis of his own challenger. A suitable car was eventually located in Sweden, a former STW racer, complete with a 2.0 four-pot, sequential ‘box, and a stack of race wins to its name.
“We tracked the car down in 2006, but though it was ideal for a base, we always knew we would have to invest a lot of time and money to make it suitable for modern hillclimbing,” recalls Dieter.
The newly acquired racer was put on a crash diet by Dieter’s team of mechanics, Florian and Christian. Granted, the car was hardly what you’d call heavy to begin with, but there was still plenty of excess to be trimmed from the chassis, with Berg Cup regulations allowing extensive use of composite body panels. There was also the fact that the vast majority of cars Dieter would be up against in the combined H/E1 Group were true featherweights in comparison, and there was simply no way the E36 would be able to compete on an even footing without losing some weight. Despite this, the thought of actually taking an angle grinder to several thousand Euros worth of Munich’s finest was nothing if not galling – a true ‘point of no return’ moment: “We spent the whole winter chopping the car around, adding as much extra strength into the shell as possible, but without adding unnecessary weight. It was all a bit of a balancing act, but it came together quite well in the end.”
The car was ready for its first run at the tail end of 2008 and was immediately on the pace of its closest competitors, with Dieter even managing to net a brace of podiums before the end of the season. This meant that the team had every reason to look forward to the start of the 2009 season, their first full year using the car. Sadly things didn’t go quite to plan, with Dieter having a monumental crash at the first event of the season, leaving the road entirely and ending up down a grass embankment.
“The car was very close to being written off at that moment, and we knew straight away that we would have to do a huge amount of work if it was ever to see the track again,” Dieter recalls with a grimace. There was one upside though; the need to rebuild also represented the perfect opportunity to further develop the car, starting with its chassis. The buckled shell was placed on a jig and artfully walloped back into some kind of shape, then it was given an acid dip, removing weight and what little evidence of rust there actually was. This done, it was time to start rebuilding the bodywork, with the team sourcing a carbon fibre Floßmann Car Design kit to act as a base, a far more aggressive and outlandish aero package than the car would ever have been permitted to run in its Super Touring guise. The vast majority of panels have now been replaced with carbon fibre items, with the bumpers, bonnet, bootlid, doors, wings, side skirts, mirrors, undertray and rear diffuser all having been replicated in the lightweight composite. The team eventually managed to shed 200kg of excess, but that still left the 845kg E36 one of the heaviest cars in its 2.0-litre class.
“Obviously aerodynamic grip is really important in mountain racing and we knew we’d need to develop a fairly extreme package in order to be competitive. The wings and kit on the car now are the result of several years of development, trial and error – it certainly didn’t start out looking like this,” laughs Dieter Even when the team got hold of the Floßmann bodykit the battle wasn’t over – they still had to make it fit, not exactly a simple proposition when you learn that it’d been designed with an E36 Coupé in mind! Suffice it to say the team spent many long nights measuring, cutting and mounting the kit, and getting it to sit correctly on the car took a good month of effort.
The comparatively ‘free and easy’ rules of the Berg Cup meant that Dieter and his team were permitted to widen the E36’s track by a considerable amount, with those mammoth arches now home to 10x17- inch BBS split-rims, wrapped in super-soft compound Avon slicks. It all adds up to a potent package, and a car that’s certainly not short of mechanical grip.
It goes without saying that the output of the S42 engine between the front wings was strictly governed when it raced in the STW, with a figure of 285hp most commonly quoted. Dieter and his team opted to use the period that the car was off the road (in the most literal of senses) to further develop the powerplant, starting by removing the FIA-spec restrictors and tweaking the engine management. These small changes produced fantastic gains, with a subsequent dyno session revealing the four-cylinder to be making 305hp and 270Nm.
“The engine runs a mixture of 1995 and 1998 spec, so there’s still room for more power should we feel the need,” he reveals. “The BMW Motorsport 4A ECU is great, really adaptable and still up to the task almost 20 years after it was first wired in.”
That grunt is sent through a Holinger six-speed sequential gearbox, one-piece prop and Drexler Motorsport limited-slip differential, the exact same setup the car ran back in the ‘90s. There’s a lot to be said for capitalising on what’s already there, especially as, in the case of this E36, a manufacturer’s spent countless thousands developing the drivetrain. It’s also a setup that’s proved more than up to the task of reliably ladling out power to the rear wheels.
The chassis hasn’t escaped the team’s attention, with both the suspension and brakes tweaked and honed during the period the car was off the road. “The demands of hillclimbing are pretty unique, and it places stresses on specific areas of the chassis, especially the suspension. After the accident we spent time strengthening and bracing the mounts and lower arms for this reason.”
The suspension setup is also a lot softer than the one the car would’ve run in its Super Touring heyday, mainly as the twisting mountain passes it now competes on are rarely as smooth as the European circuits it was originally designed to tackle. Custom poundage H&R springs work with four-way adjustable Sachs dampers and top mounts, so tweaking the setup to suit the specific demands of each event is a relatively simple affair.
The rebuilt and re-engineered car emerged towards the end of the 2010 series, and though it took a little while for Dieter to get to grips with it, he was soon on the pace, with a number of podiums netted before the year was out. 2011 brought even more success, with fourth place overall in the KW Berg Cup Division II. 2012 saw Dieter handing some driving duties over to Jörg Weidinger, a close friend with a long history of successfully racing BMWs, a decision that allowed Dieter to concentrate on running the team. There was also yet another development session for the car itself, with more weight being removed, the aerodynamics tweaked once again, and the brake system given an overhaul. “It still runs the same six-pot Brembo callipers at the front, but we’ve switched to thinner, lighter discs. The rears are much smaller though, mainly as there isn’t as much need for hard braking when racing uphill,” explains Dieter.
2013 proved to be the most successful year yet for Dieter and Jörg, with the latter finally mastering the E36 and utterly dominating his class, ending up on the podium for ten of the 12 rounds and eventually emerging as overall champion – then wasting no time in comprehensively defending it the following year! Jörg is actually a multiple champion at the moment, having scooped victory in the EBM, the DBM and the KW Berg Cup – the triple crown, if you will, of German hill climbing. The fact that Dieter and his small team have been able to transform a dedicated circuit racer into an ultra successful Berg Cup weapon is deeply impressive, as the two disciplines are totally different. About the only thing the two have in common is that they take place on a sealed surface, so getting the comparatively bulky Super Tourer to compete against the myriad of lightweight hillclimb specials has taken a huge amount of work and engineering nous. That effort is clear in all aspects of the finished car, from the perfectly finished engine bay, to the fantastically reworked aero package, and it really is one of those rare examples of a full-fat race car that also stands up to close scrutiny of its aesthetics.
Like all the best racers though, it’s a continually evolving beast, and with the 2015 Berg Cup regulations permitting yet another drop in weight, the battle is on to try and skim yet more bulk from the car, probably with a carbon fibre roof and rear three quarters. You can bet the team will add more silverware to their cabinet this year!
“It was all a bit of a balancing act, but it came together quite well in the end”
The man himself; Dieter Rottenberger has been developing the E36 for many years with much success. He now drives the car less, instead taking over team management duties.
BASED ON: E36 Saloon #318i Super Tourenwagen Cup
ENGINE: #S42 four-cylinder, normally aspirated
MAX POWER: 305hp
MAX TORQUE: 199lb ft
ENGINE: Naturally aspirated #BMW-Motorsport S42 2.0 DOHC 16v, 86.5x85mm bore x stroke, 12:1 Compression ratio, Super Touring specification carbon inlet, individual throttle bodies, eight injectors, STW spec exhaust manifolds, straight through stainless steel system, forged pistons, steel rods, lightened and balanced crank, dry sump system, BMW Motorsport specification camshafts, BMW Motorsport 4A ECU.
GEARBOX: Holinger six-speed gearbox, one piece propshaft, Drexler Motorsport LSD.
CHASSIS: Sachs Race Engineering four-way adjustable dampers, custom poundage H&R springs, rose-jointed front end, BMW Motorsport anti-roll bars, bushes and mounts.
BRAKES: BMW Motorsport drilled discs, Brembo six-piston front callipers and twin-piston rear callipers, braided lines, floor-mounted pedal box.
WHEELS & TYRES: Centrelock 10x17-inch BBS Motorsport split-rims, Avon race slicks in various compounds.
EXTERIOR: 1994 BMW Motorsport E36 four-door with modified carbon fibre Floßmann Auto Design bodykit, carbon fibre canards, bonnet scoops, bootlid, doors, wings, skirts, mirrors, flat floor, diffuser, splitter and rear wing, plexi-glass windows, various sponsor decals, single wiper.
INTERIOR: Multi-point weld in roll-cage, carbon-Kevlar bucket seat, carbon fibre dash and centre console, data logging system, remote engine and fuel system shut-offs, plumbed-in fire suppression system.
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As the motorsport season draws to its close we look back at the highs and the lows from the BMW perspective. The evenings are drawing in and the tabloid press is scaremongering about the hardest winter for 30 years coming our way. All this can only mean one thing – we’re hurtling headlong towards the end of the year which means, for the vast majority of us, motorsport will be going into hibernation for a few months. So what better time than to look back at how the season went for BMW?
As far as factory involvement was concerned, #BMW had a bit of a two-pronged attack this year with the Z4 endurance racer and the #BMW-M4-DTM machine. We’ll tackle the latter first as we’ve known for a couple of months now that Marco Wittmann took the DTM title in his Ice Watch M4 DTM machine with two rounds of the season left to run. While we might not really feel all that involved in the UK with the DTM championship, especially now that the Brands Hatch round has been dropped, Wittmann’s achievement shouldn’t be underestimated. He accrued 156 points on his way to winning the title – 50 more than his nearest challenger (Marcus Ekström in an Audi) – and a massive 107 more than the next BMW driver, Schnitzer’s Martin Tomczyk. Thanks to support from his Team RMG colleague Maxime Martin, BMW Team RMG was able to dominate the Team championship beating Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline by 65 points but the overall poor showing by BMW was reflected in the Manufacturer Championship which went to Audi. So, ultimately a good season – driver and team gongs aren’t to be sniffed at – but overall BMW will have wanted the manufacturer’s crown first and foremost so there will be plenty of work to be done in the closed season.
The Z4 GT3 also had a mixed bag of results and as we’ve seen during the course of the season, BMW has found it tough in endurance racing this year. The Z4’s failed to win at the Nürburgring and Spa 24-Hour races, being soundly beaten by Audi’s R8 at both events and while there’s obviously a large element of luck involved in triumphing in 24-hour events it’s disappointing that the Z4s haven’t managed this feat after three years of trying. Perhaps we expect too much of BMW, but when you’ve won very nearly half of all the Nürburgring 24-hour races people come to expect more wins!
In North America where the Z4s were campaigned by BMW Team RLL in the GTLM class of the inaugural Tudor United SportsCar Championship it was a case of more of the same with the Z4s ultimately failing to make their mark on the championship. Dirk Müller and John Edwards were seventh in the driver’s title race with Andy Priaulx and Bill Auberlen eighth, Team RLL was seventh in the Team championship and BMW was fourth (out of five) in the Manufacturer championship. And to make matters worse there wasn’t a single BMW win all year in the GTLM class. It wasn’t all bad for the Z4, though. In the same championship where the factory cars struggled, the privateer team of Turner Motorsport waved the BMW flag to good effect in the GTD class by winning the Driver and Team title. Given it was the only BMW in the class the Turner team did a great job of beating off the challenge of ten 911s! Sadly Turner won’t be defending its crown in 2015 as it will be moving its focus to the Pirelli World Challenge GT where it will be able to run its Z4s in full GT3-spec, instead of this year’s lower downforce and less high-tech GTD guise. It would seem that part of the problem facing the Z4 is down to the Balance of Performance regulations. This is the way the organisers try to equalise the performance of each GT3 machine to ensure an equal footing on track. Each car’s lap time is compared and if it seems one car will be quicker than others it can be penalised by adding weight or fitting a smaller air restrictor or fuel tank and this seems to be adversely affecting the Z4.
Its qualifying pace is electric thanks in the main to its stunning cornering speed but in a straight line its pace is a fair bit slower than other cars. So while it’s undoubtedly very quick over a single lap, in a race scenario it’s unable to use its cornering advantage to good effect as most overtaking is done at the end of the straights where it doesn’t have the pace to reel in its competitors. Maybe with the new M6 GT3 (see News) that’s being developed for the 2016 season BMW will concentrate more on straight-line speed and less on outright cornering pace?
Returning closer to home, the big news in Great Britain was eBay Motors’ success in the British Touring Car Championship with Colin Turkington bagging the title at the last weekend of the season at Brands Hatch. It was a stunning achievement for him and his 125i M Sport. The West Surrey Racing run eBay team won the Driver, Team, Independent Team and Independent Driver titles in a sensational season but even as the dust settles it would appear that there will be some fiddling with the rules for 2015 to try and placate the other teams in the BTCC who reckon the rear-wheel drive BMWs have an unfair advantage Whatever happens we’ll be back with our Motorsport coverage in #2015 where we hope Turkington will be able to defend his title in the #BTCC and the #Z4 might be able to win at the ‘Ring in its final season. Roll on the New Year!
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