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    Edison Hwang’s E92 M3, the ‘Gold Dragon’, fuses shouty V8 thrills with a track-ready chassis; it’s a lightweight carbon fibre racing terror with a comfy interior for the journey home. And it’s won a ridiculous number of trophies… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: LopezArts.

    ENTER THE DRAGON

    Carbon-kitted E92 M3

    To understand the ethos behind this rather outrageous E92 M3, you must first get to grips with the conceptual difference between wet and dry carbon fibre. The former is what most people would picture when they hear talk of carbon parts – the glossy stuff has an epoxy either painted onto or vacuum-infused into the woven strands; it’s strong, light, and cheaper to produce than dry carbon. But the dry stuff is the next-level formula – more costly to make, but around 70% lighter while being just as strong, each specific weave being epoxy-coated while it’s crafted. So it doesn’t have the glass-like sheen of a Halfords gear knob, but it’s far superior as a functional material. And if you scale up this sense of focus to a whole car-sized entity, you arrive presently at this golden E92.

    Now, this is a car with an identity crisis. A balls-to-the-wall track car, but still a proper M3 with quality interior appointments and a clear sense of the fusion of luxury and performance. Just look at the colour for evidence of this conflict – this car has been custom-painted in a rich and vibrant shade of Ferrari Rosso Scuderia paint. But you don’t know it, because it’s hiding under a vinyl wrap in lurid Candy Lime. This, it’s fair to say, is a machine with tales to tell.

    Its owner, Edison Hwang, has one or two stories of his own as well. “I’ve been into BMWs since I was about thirteen years old,” he explains. “The whole journey’s been a kinda crazy story. As a car guy and a mechanic, I love the power of the M3 and the way it handles, and there’s just no logical reason for me not to modify it. When I started changing up this car, I made a lot of new friends – my Timeless Motor Group – and now we always go to events together and help each other out. And the real turning point was when we went to SEMA in 2013: arriving at the Las Vegas Convention Center, seeing all those top-flight builds from all over the world, I had a voice in my head saying that I had to build a car worthy of this show.”

    With a mesmerising swirl of images circling through his subconscious from that epochdefining show, Edison put careful thought into pinpointing just what his ideal spec would be, before rolling up his sleeves and diving headfirst into the project. At the top of the wish list was Vorsteiner’s dry carbon fibre GTRS3 wide body kit, comprising beefed up wings, bumpers, rear quarters, bonnet and ducktail boot all in the revered and magical weave. “It was fitted at Blanco Services in Maryland,” he says, “and it took six months to get the fitment perfect! Moulding the rear quarters, custommaking the arch liners, making uniform shut lines, and painting it all in Ferrari red.

    It’s really a lot of work to make it perfect show car quality, and after the wide body was complete I added more details to the car, including the APR racing spoiler, APR front splitter (which I take off for regular street driving, due to height issues), bumper canards, DTM-style side mirrors, and carbon fibre parts everywhere.”

    Those of you familiar with SEMA builds will know that you’re not even going to make it through the door if your car’s all show and no go; the very nature of the event dictates that cars represent a holistic approach to aftermarket modifying and, as brutally rapid as a stock M3 is, standard powertrains are a definite no-no. “The car used to run an Active Autowerk Stage 3 supercharger,” says Edison, “but I actually decided to remove it right after I showed my car at SEMA 2014, since I love the sound of the NA S65 engine.”

    So now that glorious V8 rumbles unforced as BMW intended, but augmented boisterously by a supremely intelligent exhaust system specifically tailored to bellow out an F1 howl. Back when the wide body conversion was underway, Edison had plenty of time for his mind to wander. Six months is a long stretch. So it’s unsurprising that the car found itself treated to a diverse platter of additional treats during this period; a roll cage and a set of custom-built headlights being chief among its fresh new trinkets. A GT wing topped off the exterior, while inside was adorned with a pair of Status Racing seats and a veritable festival of dry carbon goodies. The M3 was given a name – ‘Red Dragon’ – and it scooped up an armful of awards on its first outing.

    Rolling into the Carlisle Performance and Style Car Show in Pennsylvania, all eyes turned; rolling back out again afterwards, the Dragon was toting trophies for Best BMW, Best Paint and Finish, and Best in Show. Not bad. But that was just for starters…

    “It started winning ‘Best in Show’ at every event I took it to, the judges nicknamed it ‘Competition Killer’,” Edison smirks. “But I knew it still wasn’t a SEMA car, there was more work to be done. So I put more effort in, changed a few things, and finally earned a place on the Rohana Wheels stand. My dream had come true, all the effort was worth it.” But success, it’s often said, is like a drug. We can’t all be Nico Rosberg, achieving the perceived pinnacle of our aspirations and saying ‘OK, I’m done now’. Having tasted the sweet tang of success, Edison was all-in for more. “I wanted to go back to SEMA the next year,” he grins, “and that meant changing a lot of things again.”

    A helpful career turn arrived at this point, with Edison joining the Rolloface Performance Inc. family, and this pushed him to level-up to the next great thing. This was when the mighty big brake kit came, and a Rolloface driver’s seat, and various DTM touches, and… then he crashed the car in New York City. Or rather, someone crashed into the back of it in heavy traffic. Game over for the season, the car was done showing for the foreseeable future. Dark times for a trophy addict, but did this leave Edison downhearted? No! (Well, yes obviously… but not for long.) His resolve hardened, he worked more tenaciously to create a scenebreaking E92, the like of which the world had never seen.

    “It was ready for SEMA later that year,” he smiles, playfully slapping fate across the chops with his mighty gauntlet of skill. “Fixed up better than new and with fresh custom parts, I decided at the last minute to wrap it in an acid yellow-green.” An inspired decision, this, since everyone would be expecting that Ferrari red to make another appearance. This game is not won by playing to people’s expectations. “There it was, the ‘Gold Dragon’. A new roll cage went in at the last minute, there was more of an aggressive racing style – the car certainly got a lot of attention.” And, as you’d probably logically assumed, Edison didn’t close the book on the M3 there. This car has always been, and will always be, about being harder, better, faster, stronger. He’s owned it since it was brand new, and it’s pretty safe to say that the warranty evaporated long ago, but ardent petrolheads care not for such trivialities.

    “The M3 really is the ultimate driving machine, and the naturally aspirated V8 suits it so well,” he says. “It was always the intention to turn it into a car like no-one else had. At the moment it’s running Rolloface Performance ZR-1 forged three-piece wheels, which are really strong and lightweight, as well as Rolloface Performance three-way coilovers, and I’ve upgraded all of the chassis components to race-spec – I just love the handling that race parts provide! The big brake kit’s probably my favourite mod on the car, as it provides incredible performance on track as well as looking fantastic, but I also really love the functional nature of the carbon body parts.” And that’s pretty much where we came in – that form-meets-function quality of dry carbon fibre.

    Edison’s got plans for the M3, in the form of a new custom diffuser, Ferrari F12 rain light, carbon intake system and so on, and the keystone of all he does is this: quality speaks for itself. You may see a lot of wet carbon cars at your local meet, but if you want to get into SEMA, it’s a dry carbon state of mind. “I believe that if you do something sincerely, the whole world will help you,” he says. And we certainly wouldn’t want to argue with that.

    / #Carbon-Fibre / #BMW-E92 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E92 / #BMW / #BMW-M3-Carbon-Fibre / #BMW-M3-Carbon-Fibre-E92 / #Akrapovic-Delete-R / #Akrapovic / Akrapovic / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E92 / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #BMW-3-Series-M3-E92 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E92

    DATA FILE

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre #V8 / #S65B40 / #S65 / #BMW-S65 , #Rolloface racing intake system, custom oil cooler and transmission cooler, Macht Schnell Performance underdrive pulleys, #Kreissieg titanium floating curl tail exhaust with cat-back F1-sound valvetronic system, Macht Schnell bypass track pipes, Akrapovič Delete-R, tuning by Frank Smith Custom Tune. Seven-speed #M-DCT gearbox

    CHASSIS 10x19” ET0 (front) and 12x19” ET-40 (rear) #Rolloface-ZR-1 three-piece forged wheels in gloss black with titanium bolts and 275/30 (front) and 325/30 (rear) Toyo Proxes T1 Sport tyres, #Macht-Schnell wheel studs, Project-Kics-R40 open-end black chrome wheel nuts, #Rolloface-RT-3 Competition Racing three-way adjustable coilovers, custom-rate #Swift springs, #Macht-Schnell electronic dampening control emulation module, #Bimmerworld adjustable rear toe arm set, adjustable rear wishbone set (camber adjustable), spherical rear guiding link set, trailing link bearing set, rear camber arm bearing kit and spherical front race arm conversion, #Rolloface-SR-C big brake kit with eight-piston (front) and six-piston (rear) yellow powder coated forged aluminium calipers and 380mmx32mm slotted high-carbon discs (front and rear), Rolloface Performance stainless steel brake lines (f&r), Pagid-Racing RST race brake pads (f&r), Motul RBF 600 Factory Line brake fluid

    EXTERIOR #Vorsteiner-GTRS3 dry carbon fibre kit comprising front bumper, front lip, wide-arch front wings, side skirts, wide-arch rear quarters, rear bumper, bonnet and CSL-style boot lid, APA Gloss Candy Lime vinyl-wrap (with custom Ferrari Rosso Scuderia paint underneath), AeroCatch 120-2100 locking system, AutoTecknic carbon fibre wing grilles and bonnet vents, BMW M Performance black kidney grilles, Macht Schnell Motorsport tow straps, #APR-Racing-GT-250 dry carbon fibre GT wing, Rolloface custom dry carbon fibre chassis-mount front splitter, M4 #DTM-style front canards, mirrors, aero panel under chassis and rear diffuser, front lower grille painted gloss black with BMW M logo, AutoTecknic 24 SMD LED indicators, OSS Design Raptor M4 DTM-style square angel eyes with LCI inner eyebrow, white LED side-markers, Jet Black blackout and M inner logos


    INTERIOR BMW M Performance Version 2 steering wheel, #BMW-M-Performance aluminium pedals and footrest, #BMW rear sunshade, BMW LED door projectors, custom dry carbon fibre shift paddles and airbag emblem, AutoTecknic carbon fibre steering wheel trim, #Storm-Motorwerks V1 titanium PVD coated handbrake handle, Awron DGA 20-in-1 gauge with Kompressor 1 option, Rolloface dry carbon fibre interior trim kit, Rolloface custom track roll cage powder coated in matt gunmetal grey, #Rolloface dry carbon fibre driver’s race seat, Status Racing custom Spa passenger seat trimmed in leather with bespoke stitching, red Schroth Racing PROFI II ASM FE four-point cam-lock harnesses, Vorsteiner mats, racing fire extinguisher, LED interior lights

    THANKS #Rolloface-Performance , #Toyo-Tires , #Meguiars , #CSF-Radiators , #OSS-Designs , #Schroth-Racing , #Pagid , #Swift-Springs , #APR-Racing , #Motul-USA , #Blanco-Services , #RRT-Racing , #Tuning-Tech-by-Frank-Smith
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    The German Way #BMW-M3-E92-Track-Car

    The story behind a glorious E92 M3 track car… it’s not all about power, as we find out. Phil Chapman took a leaf out of the Germans’ book when it came to transforming his E92 M3 into a track car capable of conquering the Nürburgring… Words: Simon Holmes. Photography: Chris Wallbank.

    The German way of tuning is very different to the UK when it comes to the Nürburgring,” says Phil Chapman, owner of this E92 M3 track car. “Over there, they only really concentrate on three things; tyres, suspension and brakes. Power doesn’t even come into it.” What Phil preaches is true, the UK tuning industry does seem to suffer from chasing sky-high power figures above all else a lot of the time when, in fact, it should probably be concentrating on the more relevant criteria our German friends are well aware of. It’s a concept that often seems alien to us, though, to the point where some people in the UK have trouble believing what Phil tells them, but he very much practices what he preaches. “I was at a UK event and mentioned the car was capable of a 7 minute lap time at the ‘Ring with a virtually standard engine, and I was told that it wasn’t possible!” he tells us.

    But Phil has done a 7min 30sec lap so safe to say that he is a capable hand behind the wheel. He’s no stranger to a fast car either, but the M3 is in an entirely different league and the story of how it all came to be started some years ago when he bought his first sports car. Logically, Phil decided that to get the best out of it he better learn how to drive it properly, so undertook some track driving tuition. Since then, he’s spent many more hours behind the wheel on track and it wasn’t long until he was making regular pilgrimages to the Mecca that is the Nürburgring. It was there he experienced a BMW for the first time and he was instantly sold on the brand after just a single passenger lap in an E46 M3 CSL.

    Clearly it had quite an effect, as since then Phil has owned various respectable BMWs, including a couple of E46 M3 CSLs, a 1M Coupé, a 335d as well as a few X5s thrown in for good measure. He’s also owned plenty of high end, fast cars, but none seem to make the same connection with him as a BMW. “I went from the CSL to a Porsche, but realised it was the BMW I preferred,” he tells us. “There’s something I love about BMWs, all the ones I’ve had have been close to my heart, and I’ve had plenty of cars. Nothing grabs you the same way; they’re so beautifully balanced and you know they’re not going to bite you.”

    With his BMW background, the transition to an E92 M3 might have seemed obvious, and it was, but not necessarily for the reasons you may be expecting, as he explains: “My second CSL had a slight gearbox problem. I spent 18 months trying to get it sorted out and my dealership was very good, but it just couldn’t get to the bottom of it. I was eventually told by someone at BMW head office that the CSL wasn’t designed for track use! I then fell out of love with the CSL, but I would have another tomorrow.”

    The experience left a bitter taste and Phil ventured back to Porsche once again before realising he couldn’t than turn his back on the brand he loved. So he began looking at an E92 and capitalising on the credit crunch at the end of the last decade, he picked up this completely standard M3 with just 3000 miles on the clock back in 2008 for a very decent price.

    Phil was instantly swayed by the DCT gearbox and the V8 powerplant. “How can you not like the engine? It sounds amazing!” he enthuses. But whilst the engine and gearbox were both huge steps forwards from the CSL he previously owned, Phil knew the chassis would need some dedication to unearth the best from it. “The chassis was amazing but it wasn’t at its full potential. I always like to tweak my cars and track was always where this was going to end up. Suspension and brakes were the first things to come, but when I started modifying it, not many other people were so it was hard to try and find parts to see if they worked. It was a bit of trial and error and, at first, it was me guessing, so I went through a few different brake and suspension setups.”

    First on the agenda was to actually remove the factory fitted Electronic Damper Control. Whilst the system may be fine for road use, Phil quickly discovered it wasn’t quite so impressive round a track. “I took the EDC off straight away. With slick tyres fitted it freaked around a track, so I removed it and fitted a set of KW 2-way coilovers instead,” says Phil.

    Following the German way of tuning, next came a set of better brakes, but back when the E92 was still new and unfamiliar with tuners, Phil had no choice but to have a custom brake kit made up using Lamborghini callipers with custom bells and rotors. “Nobody had done it before, so it cost a fortune. It was great and worked really well, but the brake pad choice was too limited and expensive. The callipers used eight pads so it was costing a lot to change them, and around the ‘Ring you change them regularly. So I’ve since swapped to an AP Racing kit just to get more pad choice and value.”

    The KW coilovers have also since been replaced, this time with a Nitron three-way setup. These were specially spec’d for the car by German tuner Schirmer Race Engineering, which has had quite an impact on the car’s development. You may not have heard of Tom Schirmer before, but for those in the know, his black #BMW-E92 M3 track cars are legendary for being spectacularly fast and setting blistering track times. Phil first heard of Tom and his cars whilst at the ‘Ring, but aside from whispers, it was hard to actually track him down. Eventually he did though and an outing in Schirmer’s finely tuned E92 M3 demo car instantly confirmed he had found the man capable of developing his car to the next stage. “He’s a hard guy to find but once I went out in his demo car, that was it, within three minutes I knew I had found the right person,” Phil tells us. That same demo car has recently done a scorching 6min 58sec lap time at the ‘Ring, in case you’re wondering just how fast it is…

    Phil ordered one of everything from the Schirmer catalogue, and after leaving the car in Germany, he picked it up a month later with huge, instant results. “It’s just phenomenal. Around a track the car is mind blowing,” reveals Phil. ”When you feel it all come together, it’s hard to believe how good it is. The car feels so planted it’s hard to explain without taking you out on a passenger lap. Its main advantage is that it can carry so much corner speed. It’s set up to do that and it’s the reason it’s so fast without huge amounts of power. It wouldn’t do so well at another track but I love the way it drives.”

    Schirmer’s carefully selected chassis modifications extended to include a Drexler derived LSD and the wider #BBS split-rims, measuring 10.5-inches at the front and 11-inches at the rear. Whilst both Team Schirmer and Phil maintain huge amounts of power isn’t important, there have been some mild tweaks under the bonnet as well. A full Akrapovic exhaust system replaces the original items and it’s complemented by a Schirmer designed large capacity carbon fibre air box, #Schrick cams and a remap, which sees power around the 470hp mark. A notable improvement, but hardly huge amounts either. Aside from what’s lurking underneath, it’s hard to ignore the fact the car has more than an air of function over form outside as well, in a stealth kind of way. The various aero upgrades aren’t there for looks as most are borrowed from an M3 GT4 and GTS so are designed to do a job. The menacing colour combination is no mistake either as although the car is track orientated, Phil always keeps in mind the overall look of things: “My job is branding so the look is everything and detail is important. I like the way it drives but from a parts point of view I love the look of the wheels and the wing mirrors.”

    Despite the looks and huge potential on track, the M3 is still road legal and was driven regularly. But it’s now got to the point where Phil leaves the car at the Nürburgring to make things easier as he has other, better-suited cars to travel to Germany in and he visits the ‘Ring once a month during the summer season. Of course, you won’t be surprised to learn that Phil readily admits he’s gone further with the M3 than he ever intended to and the car is virtually unsellable now, but only because he’s enjoyed it so much over the years he’s had it: “I’ve had so many good memories and experiences in it it’s part of the family, the car’s value doesn’t really come into it anymore. It never misses a beat and it’s always been absolutely faultless, even when I’m pushing the car hard round the track all day, from 8am until sunset.”

    Despite the well-honed modifications and hugely impressive lap times, for now, the M3 is actually going to be put to use as a kind of working mule car for Phil’s next development; an all new car. Plans are afoot to take Phil’s track driving to the next level, which means he will be competing in a Brit Car competition race next year. For that, he’s building an all-new E90 3 Series with a planned 600hp on-tap and a curb weight around the 1100kg mark. The #BMW-M3 will be using the proposed racing engine first of all and not one to do things by halves, he’s looking at a Schirmer developed 4.4-litre conversion with parts shared from the M3 GTS in order to keep it strictly naturally aspirated. “The supercharged cars don’t really work at the ‘Ring,” reveals Phil. “They get too hot.” Sometimes it’s not all about the power…

    “It’s just phenomenal. Around a track the car is mind blowing”

    TECH DATA #BMW-M3-E92 Track Car

    ENGINE & GEARBOX: #Akrapovic exhaust system, #BMW-Motorsport water pump, Tom Schirmer oil cooler, catch tank and large capacity carbon air box, #Macht-Schnell hard air box pipes, Schrick cams, Tom Schirmer setup and remap to 470hp.

    CHASSIS: Nitron three-way race specification coilovers with Tom Schirmer spec spring and damper rate, #Tom-Schirmer Kinematic suspension parts, #Drexler LSD with 4.1:1 ratio

    BRAKES: Front: AP Racing Pro 5000 six-pot callipers with GT4 motorsport bells, Performance Friction discs and pads. Rear: AP Racing Pro four-pot callipers, #Performance-Friction discs front and pads.

    WHEELS & TYRES: 10.5x18-inch and 11x18-inch #BBS-E88 split-rims in gold, 265/18 and 295/18 Pirelli Trofeo R tyres.

    INTERIOR: #Genuine M3 GTS half cage, Tom Schirmer digital oil and diff temperature gauges, Alcantara BMW steering wheel, Schroth endurance harnesses, #Recaro SPG seats, Tom Schirmer seat mounts, genuine carbon trim.

    EXTERIOR: Original #DTM carbon fibre wing mirrors, front GT4 carbon lip spoiler with cooling pipes to front brakes and GT4 brake airflow plate, carbon diff cooler spoiler, original WTCC rear spoiler, GTS rear wing end plates, Aero Catches, towing straps front and rear, genuine BMW LED rear lights.
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