- Post is under moderationTrack Tek E46 M3 racer
You want a race car? Track Tek will build you one and its awesome E46 M3 shows just what the company is capable of. Words: Elizabeth de Latour Photos: Matt Richardson.
One track mind
The dream of racing is shared by just about anyone with an interest in cars. For most of us, the closest we’ll get to realising that dream is in the virtual world playing the likes of Gran Turismo, or on a track day or karting with friends. However, some people have the means and the talent to take to the track for real and when they do they want a proper car that can do a proper job. That’s where Track Tek comes in.
Owner Nick Hawes has been building race cars for some time now but the foray into #BMW s is a more recent venture. “We used to build Jap stuff but the demographic and cars themselves made us want a change; we’d spend six months developing a car only for the owner to go and change things. We then took a look at BMWs and that’s the direction we decided to go in. We immediately found that BMWs are better to work on and we thought that the parts would be better as well, but we quickly found that was not the case,” he says with a degree of disappointment and exasperation.
That certainly didn’t hold the company back or slow it down, as the striking E46 M3 in front of us shows. “We built the car for Jason West to race in the Kumho Championship,” explains Nick, “and we’d previously built and prepped four more E46 M3 shells, including one that went to Italy, one for another race prep company in France, one for a competitor in the Kumho Championship as well as a supercharged M3 used for track days. Each one is a showcase for what we are capable of creating.
“The M3 ended up being a huge development tool for us and it’s certainly been a learning experience,” says Nick. “We ended up engineering solutions to problems, which no one else has done, like making our own rear subframe tie-in kit, with the subframe bolting to the roll-cage. The M3 itself was a 52,000-mile, 52-plate car that we bought from a kickboxing champ who wanted it kept stock. I didn’t mention our track plans,” he laughs. “It’s taken two years to build, although it’s not been a full-time project, but we weren’t going to rush this.
We always approach a build with the aim of working towards the end goal – it’s a slower process but the end results are better.” It’s hard to be presented with a race car and go anywhere else but under the bonnet, and that’s where you’ll find a big surprise.
“The engine is basically stock,” says Nick as I gaze at the S54 and wonder what manner of magnificent internal upgrades have been carried out. Say what now? “It’s stock,” Nick repeats, “bar a few very minor changes like the carbon air box, the #ARP rod bolts, Radium fuel rail, reworked oil pump and our own custom stainless steel exhaust with FIA cats, but that’s it.” That’s certainly a surprise because you’d naturally expect a car like this to have had some serious engine work to go with the rest of the car, but there’s actually a very good reason for keeping the power down. “We have to work to hp/tonne restrictions,” explains Nick, “and we have 100hp less than almost everyone else, but we’re also 100kg lighter than everyone else at 1130kg wet. Keeping the engine stock means it’s less stressed and more reliable. Also, having a naturally aspirated engine in the first place means there’s a not much to go wrong. It’s nice to tune as well, and because we’re lighter it means that it’s not hampered in terms of performance. We’re just as quick as the opposition, but we can brake later and corner faster,” he grins, and that’s pretty important when you’re racing.
The transmission, though, isn’t standard as it obviously has to deal with an awful lot of stress in each race and has been suitably beefed up. The gearbox itself is the tough, five-speed #ZF Type C unit from the E36 M3 3.0 and has been mated to a CAE shifter on the human side and a Tilton sonic twin-plate clutch and hydraulic slave cylinder on the mechanical side. Power is fed to the rear wheels via a Drexler diff running a BMW Motorsport 4.11 ring and pinion gear set.
While the engine may be virtually untouched, the same can’t be said of the rest of the car, which has been absolutely transformed. “The aim for this car was to go light, but at the same time we were stepping into a new series and we didn’t want to take everything out of the car, only the stuff we knew we could. We have to work within the confines of the stock bodystyle, though we’re allowed a spoiler and front splitter as you can see.”
As Colin Chapman once said: “Simplify, then add lightness.” It’s a philosophy that works brilliantly when it comes to building a race car and, with everything removed that could safely be removed, it was time to add lightness. “We bought some carbon fibre parts,” says Nick, “but the quality was really poor so we decided to make our own,” as you do. The car wears a Track Tek carbon bonnet, front bumper with integrated undertray and a plywood splitter (“it’s tough and works well,” he tells us) and Track Tek FRP doors. There is a carbon roof, naturally, FRP front wings, and an FRP CSL boot, which is topped off with that aforementioned carbon wing, also of Track Tek’s own design. The heavy glass windows have been replaced with lightweight poly items and even the wiring loom is a custom lightweight affair, though the electronics themselves are heavyweight with some serious Motec gear including an M600 ECU and PDM30 Power Distribution Module. We also have to mention that gorgeous shade of green that this E46 M3 is finished in. The car was originally wrapped in chrome green, Nick tells us, but when Track Tek got hold of it, it was treated to a nicer wrap by Hexis in Boston green and it really is a stunning shade and suits the car so well.
Moving inside we come to quite possibly the biggest change on the whole car and easily the most surprising: it’s left-hand drive. “It was originally RHD,” Nick clarifies, “but we converted it to left-hand drive as having the driver on the nearside of the car balances out the engine being angled over to one side and putting more weight on the offside of the car.” It certainly makes sense and shows just how much work Track Tek has put into this car.
A left-hand drive E36 FRP flocked dash has also been fitted and inside it sits a #Motec C185 display and there’s also a programmable keypad. Other additions include an OMP steering wheel, plumbed-in electrical FEV fire system, a Cobra Sebring Pro seat with a Schroth six-point harness and a full T45 International roll-cage. The boot houses the fuel system with twin Bosch 044 pumps but, unlike some of the monster builds we feature, they’re not used at the same time, with one running and the other acting as a back up. If the PDM identifies a problem it will automatically switch over to the reserve pump. There’s also an ATL swirl pot and Earls fuel filters before and after the pump.
The chassis on a race car is obviously hugely important and Track Tek has really gone to town here, as you’d expect. “We run a set of second-hand Öhlins TTX four-way coilovers; new they’re very expensive, about £10,000, but they’re amazing so even a second-hand set is well worth having.” The coilovers are fitted with Motec potentiometers on the dampers for data logging and are joined by Eibach adjustable rear arms as well as Track Tek front and rear blade anti-roll bars with adjustable drop links. The Turner Motorsports catalogue was plundered for solid diff mounts, solid subframe mounts, spherical trailing arm bushes, spherical upper rear control arm bushes and Delrin control arm bushes.
That’s all very impressive, but there’s so much more to the chassis mods than just the suspension work, as Nick explains. “We do race car shell prep here at Track Tek so the M3 has our own solid inserts and body plates, T45 driver and passenger seat tubes. It’s also been fully seam welded and the subframes have been reinforced.” This makes this E46 as stiff as possible.
Wheel fans will have no doubt spotted the forged #RAYS TE37 wheels, chosen for their lightness and strength, which measure 9.5x18” up front and 10.5x18” at the rear and sit on 5mm and 10mm spacers respectively. “In terms of brakes,” says Nick, gesturing at the car’s massive stoppers, “we run Alcons all-round; we have tried and tested pretty much everything available and nothing else comes close. We’ve got six-pots up front with 365mm floating discs and four-pots at the rear over 343mm discs.” These are further bolstered with braided hoses all-round plus there’s a Tilton bias valve, hydraulic handbrake and in-line brake pressure sensors for data logging.
At the time of the shoot the M3 had competed in two races and had definitely proved itself, qualifying in pole and leading both races, and that was Jason’s first time behind the wheel, which shows just how impressive this car is. But you’d expect nothing less considering all of the work, and money that have gone into building it. “There’s a joke that goes ‘how do you make £1million in motorsport? Start with £2million’,” laughs Nick. “To sum it up, 4000 hours of labour has gone into the car, which would have worked out at £44,000, as well as about £100,000 in parts, which includes £2000 on the ECU and £10,000 on the loom.” No one ever said that motorsport was cheap but this car was built to win.
“Keeping the engine stock means it’s less stressed and more reliable”
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-Track-Tek / #BMW-E46 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-46 / #BMW-S54 / #S54 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E46 / #BMW-3-Series-E46 / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #BMW-3-Series-M3-E46 / #BMW-M3-Track-Tek / #BMW-M3-Track-Tek-E46 / #Track-Tek / #Turner-Motorsports /
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 , reworked oil pump, #ARP rod bolts, competition air rail, Fuel Lab FPR, carbon air box, Track Tek custom stainless exhaust with FIA cats, Radium fuel rail, five-speed E36 M3 #ZF-Type-C gearbox, Tilton sonic twin plate clutch and hydraulic slave cylinder, Drexler diff, BMW Motorsport 4.11 ring and pinion gear set, #Mocal diff oil cooler, pump and filter
CHASSIS 9.5x18” (front) and 10.5x18” (rear) #Rays-TE37 forged wheels with 5mm (front) and 10mm (rear) spacers, Öhlins TTX four-way coilovers with Motec potentiometers on dampers for data logging, Track Tek blade anti roll bars (front and rear) with adjustable drop links, Track Tek T45 rear subframe kit, Track Tek solid inserts and body plates, T45 driver and passenger seat tubes, fully seam welded, subframes reinforced, Eibach adjustable rear arms, Turner Motorsports solid diff mounts, solid subframe mounts, spherical trailing arm bushes, spherical upper rear control arm bushes and Delrin control arm bushes, Alcon six-pot callipers with 365x32mm floating discs (front), Alcon four-pot calipers with 343x28mm discs (rear), braided lines throughout, Tilton bias valve, hydraulic handbrake, in-line brake pressure sensors for data logging
EXTERIOR Boston green wrap by Hexis, Track Tek carbon fibre bonnet, carbon fibre front bumper with integrated undertray and front splitter with stays and FRP doors, carbon fibre roof, FRP wings, FRP CSL bootlid, Track Tek carbon wing and end plates, poly windows with sliders and rear vents, heated front screen
INTERIOR Converted to LHD for better balance, Track Tek flocked FRP E36 dash, Motec C185 dash and programmable keypad, OMP steering wheel, Lifeline snap-off boss, OMP adapter, custom carbon fibre steering wheel interface, CAE Shifter, Cobra Sebring Pro seat, Schroth sixpoint harnesses, full International T45 roll-cage, plumbed-in electrical FEV fire system, solid state battery isolator, Braille Lithium GU1R battery, full custom lightweight loom, Motec M600 ECU, Motec PDM30 Power Distribution Module, twin Bosch 044 pumps, one main one reserve, ATL swirl pot, Earls fuel filters pre- and post-pumpsStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderation912hp from four cylinders? Turbo S14-powered E30 will blow your mind.
912hp turbocharged #S14 E30
We’re not sure what’s scarier: building a 912hp turbocharged S14 E30 or driving it. Neither experience is for the fainthearted… Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: RonV Photography.
Let’s talk about specific output. Whatever horsepower figure you may lay bragging rights to, generally speaking it doesn’t matter how you got there, all that matters is what you’ve actually got. We all love power and having lots of it is great. But, what impresses everybody is making a lot of power from a little engine. Big V8s with big turbos are awesome, we’re big fans, but to get a small engine to produce some big numbers takes an inordinately large amount of effort and it’s something that elicits the universal respectful head nod because you have to be pretty flipping hardcore to go down this route. Surely only some sort of madman would attempt to extract 900hp from a 2.3-litre, four-cylinder S14? Surely?
Well, in this case only a Maatman would attempt to do that. Tim Maatman, that is. Tim Maatman is hardcore. One glance at his purple monster of an E30 should tell you that. The car you see before you started out life as a shell, with no interior and no engine. It did have the Sport body kit already attached but that was it. Tim bought it off a friend and it was crying out for a greater purpose in life. That purpose was to serve as the host for a turbocharged engine, which itself had started out life in Tim’s E30 Touring and had been built up to 430hp. However this wasn’t enough to slake his thirst for power and so the past two years have been dedicated to the evolution of that original turbo engine concept into the beast of a powerplant you see before you here.
Okay, Tim probably had a life around all that engine building but the idea of him locked away like a mad scientist working on his doomsday machine is the one we’d like to stick to.
This mental image is given weight when Tim tells us that he’s done most of the work on the car himself. As you can imagine, a project like this requires a huge amount of work and most of that has been poured into the engine. It really is an incredible thing to look at, that engine, so industrial, mechanical and more than a little bit intimidating. It’s like the rest of the car has been built around it as some sort of containment system trying to rein in all that raw energy.
The road to turbocharged S14 glory begin with Tim swapping his Touring’s original M40 to a slightly more potent M42 and the addition of a turbo running a KMS MP25 management system and, later, H profile con rods and turbo pistons. So far, so good. At least it was for a few weeks until the head cracked. “I spoke to John at KMS and he offered me an alternative: to supplement the parts ordered and my M42 engine for an S14 engine they had ready for a turbo,” Tim relates. “It was such an attractive offer that I couldn’t say no! The S14 was just fitted with CP turbo pistons while the other parts of the S14 were OEM, even the head gasket and head bolts. I picked up that engine and connected the MP25 management and an exhaust system made with a Precision 6262 turbo and it made 430hp at 0.8bar of boost.”
Tim was happy, as any of us would have been, and ran the car in that configuration for a couple of years, taking it to his local drag strip numerous times with his personal best being an extremely impressive 11.7sec quarter-mile. But Tim had developed a taste for power and he wanted more…
“I came into contact with Pure Performance Factory in Sweden and started to collect all the turbo information on the company’s forum. I then began buying all the beautiful parts I needed for a major renovation because I wanted at least 700hp,” Tim explains with a grin.
The first incarnation of the new engine was ready in 2014 and Tim headed over to DP Engineering to see how much power he was making. “Over 680hp the V-belts were flying off and started breaking and we managed to hit 745hp before anything broke,” Tim continues. “I then fitted a larger turbo, a Precision 6466 dual ball bearing Gen 2, and we hit the dyno again; we started out on the old wastegate spring, which had held 0.8bar at 500hp but with the bigger turbo the boost creep caused this to shoot up to 1.3bar and on the first full run it made 700hp. This was not according to plan and less power than before so I changed the wastegate spring and this time we hit 850hp. Pieter at DP Engineering asked me how far I really wanted to go so I told him that 900hp is a nice number, so he started increasing the boost. At 1.9bar the engine made 880hp and at 2.0bar it hit 912hp and 685lb ft of torque so we stopped there; we then did numerous runs for fine tuning and the day ended with a big smile.” We’d be equally happy if we’d just come away with 912hp from a turbocharged S14. And, if you want to talk about specific output, that works out at 397hp/litre, which is eye-watering stuff. Absolutely awesome.
The final spec list for this S14 is nothing short of astonishing but you’d expect nothing less from an engine making this sort of power, especially one this small. The engine runs the stock S14 crankshaft, although it’s been polished and balanced, along with H-profile con rods, CP pistons and an oil pump modified as per DTM specs. Larger intake and exhaust valves have been fitted as well as PPF valve springs and a custom PPF cam, adjustable camshaft pulleys and an S50B32 chain tensioner.
We’ve mentioned the monster Precision turbo above and it sits on a custom manifold, sucking in air via a massive 130mm BMC cone filter and it runs a Precision 46mm wastegate, 50mm PPF blow-off valve and a custom 3.5-inch exhaust with a single Simons silencer while the exhaust itself exits under the offside sill.
A massive 600x300x100mm front-mount intercooler helps to keep the intake air temperature down and it all feeds into the engine via a custom aluminium intake. As you’d expect from a car like this, the boot is filled with the E85-based fuel system, with a 45-litre Jaz fuel cell, twin Bosch 044 fuel pumps, and a number of Nuke Performance components including a Y splitter, fuel filter, fuel rail with four massive 2200cc Bosch motorsport injectors, FPR and vacuum station.
Building your 900hp engine is one thing but keeping control of all that power is another matter altogether. And with so much effort having been expended under the bonnet you’d be shocked if Tim had scrimped elsewhere. Don’t worry, he didn’t…
Step one was to sort the transmission because there’s a hell of a lot of power and torque trying to get to the rear wheels and you need something strong enough to cope with all of that, especially when drag racing, as Tim planned to. The gearbox in this E30 is an E60 530d six-speeder mated to a lightweight PPF 6kg chromoly flywheel, a Sachs motorsport clutch rated to 811lb ft of torque, and a custom propshaft by DriveteQ. An E28 M535i 210mm diff has been fitted, modified by Hardeman Motorsport with 30º/45º ramp angles and 75% locking, along with custom driveshafts and uprated CV joints. On the suspension front, KW V2 coilovers have been fitted up front along with GAZ camber plates from Hardeman Motorsport. At the rear you’ll find AVO drag coilovers with compression and rebound adjustment and rear camber and toe adjustment for maximum grip, Ireland Engineering anti-roll bars all-round, Powerflex rear subframe bushes, and Tim’s also carried out a five-stud conversion allround. The benefits of this are two-fold: it means he can run those extremely sexy AC Schnitzer Type II Racing wheels; more importantly, it also means he can run his 334mm Tarox discs with Porsche Brembo four-pot calipers up front on custom brackets with Ferodo DS2500 pads. The rears haven’t been forgotten about, sporting E30 Touring calipers (as they have a slightly larger piston), Tarox discs and Ferodo DS2500 pads with Goodridge hoses fitted all-round. Now often when a car is built for outright performance, aesthetics take a bit of a backseat. However, when you’re starting with an E30 you’re starting with a car that can’t help but look good, especially when it’s wearing the Sport kit like Tim’s is. Painting it Daytona violet certainly hasn’t done any harm either. The front spoiler has been drilled for lightness, there’s a lightweight Einzel Motorsport bonnet, and a Hartge rear spoiler as well.
The interior is most definitely all business and we like the fact there’s nothing glamorous here: it’s all about making this E30 light, safe, and giving Tim somewhere to sit while he pilots it down the drag strip. There are no carpets or doorcards but neither are there are fancy metal chequer plate floor sections or lightweight door panels; there’s just bare metal and wires. The dash has been flocked and there’s a plethora of Stack gauges mounted where the central air vents would be to enable Tim to keep an eye on boost pressure, fuel pressure, oil pressure, the oil temp and EGT. There’s also an OMP steering wheel, a pair of single-piece Toora buckets with QSP fourpoint harnesses, plus a full, TIG-welded chromoly steel roll-cage.
With 912hp and weighing just 1130kg, thanks to Tim’s extensive weight reduction programme, this E30 has 807hp per ton, more than any road-going Koenigsegg, Porsche, Lamborghini or Ferrari. This means that when Tim gets the chance to take it down the strip it’s going to be absolutely insane. Until he gets there he’s been enjoying it on the street: “It’s nice on the highway, the acceleration is delicious!” Of course, if you think 912hp is enough, you’re wrong because Tim is already thinking of more power, as he tells us: “There is still more to come with this setup. Four digits would be nice, though there are other things that I would like to do first, like install a carbon diffuser, the cage needs a little work, and I may even also go for methanol injection. My goal was always to build a nine-second car and I will achieve that. The question is ‘when’? If the engine survives this season then maybe in winter 2016/2017 I’ll try for 1000hp and then this project will be closed.”
For a minute Tim looks deep in thought. “Given that I know I can build up an S54 to 1500hp I wonder if it would fit in the engine bay with a turbo on it?” he questions. We get the feeling he’d be up for finding out. For now, though, he’s got 900hp of turbocharged E30 to enjoy on the street, in sprint events and on the drag strip. And while building it may have been daunting, we wager that driving it is going to be an awful lot of fun.
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW / Turbo / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-E30-Turbo / #S14B23 / #S14-Turbo / #BMW-S14 / / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #Precision / #CP-Carrillo / #Bosch-XR4CS / #VAC-Motorsport / #AC-Schnitzer-Type-II-Racing / #AC-Schnitzer / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E30 /
ENGINE 2.3-litre four-cylinder S14B23 from E30 M3, polished and balanced S14B23 crankshaft with 84mm stroke, #ARP-2000 main studs, ARP block girdle, H-profile con rods with ARP 2000 bolts, CP Carrillo 94.5mm pistons, 9.0:1 compression ratio, HD piston pins, #Athena cut-ring head gasket, M52B28 piston oil squirters, modified DTM-style oil pump, 39mm Supertech Teflon-coated intake valves, 33mm #Supertech Inconel exhaust valves, S50B32 valve buckets, uprated PPF valve springs, custom PPF 283/283 11mm/11mm camshaft, adjustable camshaft pulleys, BMW S50B32 chain tensioner, engine blueprinted, 7.0-litre sump with VAC Motorsport oil pan baffle, custom T321 steel turbo exhaust manifold, aluminium intake, #Precision-6466-DBB-Gen-2-V-Band .82 AR turbo, Precision 46mm wastegate, PPF 50mm blow-off valve, 130mm BMC Twin Cone filter, 600x300x100mm tube and fin intercooler, three-inch intercooler piping, Samco connectors, 3.5-inch exhaust with single Simons silencer and exhaust tip exiting from sill, #Mocal oil cooler, Griffin aluminium radiator, Goodridge hoses and connectors, Jaz 45-litre fuel cell, 2x Bosch 044 fuel pumps, Nuke Performance Y-splitter, fuel filter, fuel rail, FPR and Vacuum Station, 4x Bosch motorsport 2200cc fuel injectors, #Goodridge PTFE AN08 feed, Goodridge PTFE AN06 return, Flex Fuel sensor (not connected), E85 fuel used, VEMS ECU, 2x EGT, Lambda, fast air temperature sensor, turbo back pressure logged, custom cam sensor, MAC four port boost control valve, Bosch XR4CS spark plugs, VAG coils, Moroso spark plug wires
POWER AND TORQUE 912hp (2bar) @ 7500rpm. 685lb ft of torque (2bar) @ 6600rpm
TRANSMISSION E60 530d six-speed gearbox, PPF 6kg chromoly flywheel, Sachs 811lb ft motorsport clutch, DriveteQ custom propshaft, #Hardeman-Motorsport E28 M535i 201mm diff with 30º/45º ramp angles and 75% locking, custom driveshafts, uprated CV joints
CHASSIS 8.5x17” (front) and 9.5x17” (rear) AC Schnitzer Type II Racing wheels with 215/40 (front) Toyo or Zestino semi-slick tyres and 255/45 (rear) Dunlop SP9000 or Zestino semi-slick tyres or Hoosier D06 9.0/26/15.0” drag racing slicks, #KW-V2 coilovers with adjustable rebound (front), #GAZ camber plates, uniballs and M3 supporting arms, AVO drag coilovers with compression/rebound adjustment (rear), rear camber/toe adjustment Ireland Engineering anti-roll bars, #PowerFlex rear subframe polybushes, five-stud hub conversion, Porsche Brembo four-pot calipers with custom brackets and #Ferodo DS2500 pads and Tarox 335x32mm discs (front), E30 Touring calipers with Tarox discs and Ferodo DS2500 pads (rear), Goodridge brake hoses (f&r)
EXTERIOR Daytona violet, M Tech II body kit, #Hartge boot spoiler, lightened front bumper, Einzel Motorsport fibreglass bonnet
INTERIOR Full chromoly TIG-welded roll-cage, flocked dashboard, Stack boost pressure, fuel pressure, oil pressure, oil temperature, exhaust gas temperature gauges, OMP steering wheel, Toora bucket seats, Samsonas H-pattern shifter, QSP three-inch four-point harnesses, VEMS app on tablet/phone
THANKS Thanks to my friend Robin Kal for helping with building my engine, Pieter Oonincx from DP-Engineering for mapping the car, Gerben Vlogman and Robin Langeslag for all the custom machined parts, my wife Chantal for all her help with money and all the times I was away from home!
“It’s nice on the highway the acceleration is delicious!”
“At 2.0bar the engine hit 912hp and 685lb ft of torque so we stopped there”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationNOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE 720hp turbo #BMW-E36 hardcore British built M3. We revisit an insane turbo E36, now pushing 720hp. Ignoring conventional routes, Steve Will has created a turbocharged E36 M3 that performs like no other… Words: Stav Neophytou. Photos: Andy Starkey.
While turbocharging in-line six #BMW engines has been the norm in Europe and the USA for decades, until recent years it’s been a rarity in the UK due to our cars being righthand drive. BMW sixes are canted towards the exhaust side, which also happens to be the driver’s side on right-hand drive cars. This means a severe lack of room for not only the turbo and manifold but getting a suitably large exhaust downpipe past the steering column is a real nightmare, too. However, despite these fitment headaches, turbocharging is finally taking off in the UK BMW scene.
A man clearly ahead of the times, though, is UK resident Steve Will. This incredible E36 M3 is his, and it’s been turbocharged for the best part of a decade now! While it’s been a long road, full of pitfalls and learning experiences, the end result is jaw-dropping.
Steve bought this car back in 2005 and turbocharging it was always on his mind since driving a turbocharged 635CSi many years previous. Despite the perceived impossibility of a RHD Turbo E36 M3 back then, it was barely two years later before it had its first incarnation as a turbocharged engine. This first setup used a cast log manifold by South African BMW expert Savspeed, a Turbonetics T70 turbo, and a fully-forged engine with a compression ratio of 9.5:1. Unfortunately, while clearly incredibly powerful, the combination of the high compression ratio, pump fuel and suspect mapping meant the engine expired due to severe detonation while still being tested and mapped at Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground.
Thankfully this initial disaster was covered under the tuner’s warranty, so the engine was rebuilt with a more pump-fuel friendly 8.5:1 compression ratio.
Sophisticated Motec engine management was fitted and the car was finally dyno’d at a ballistic 670hp and 500lb ft of torque. While we really don’t need to tell you how incredibly fast a 670hp E36 is, due to the big turbo and basic log manifold it wasn’t the most efficient setup in the world. In fact, even Steve will be the first to tell you it was actually very laggy. While it hit the 350hp mark at 5500rpm the power then literally jumped up 100hp every 500rpm from then onwards, pulling hard until over 7500rpm. It was an absolute animal; insanely fast but far from controllable!
The engine stayed in the above spec for a number of years but as the car was primarily used as a drift car, both for fun and competition, outright power became less important than response and drivability. So, when the engine finally failed in 2011, plans were made for a more user-friendly engine spec. While the cast log manifold was still seen as the only option, Steve increased the compression ratio to 9:1 and fitted a smaller PT5862 turbo – Precision’s equivalent of the popular Garrett GT35R.
After some expert mapping from Greg at Protuner the way the car drove was transformed, with 350hp now coming at just 3500rpm. At the same rpm the engine was also making well over 500lb ft of tyredestroying torque. Peak torque was incredible, 650lb ft, and response was instant, too. Compared to the original larger turbo, however, peak power was down over 100hp at 560hp, and peak rpm was much lower, too, with the graph flat-lining from 5000rpm until just over 6000 when it started to drop.
There’s no doubt 560hp and 650lb ft are supercar-smashing numbers in most people’s eyes, and if Steve knew no differently he’d no doubt be over the moon with the performance but despite the amazing torque and response, his previous experience of having a huge 670hp and a screaming high rpm performance was impossible to forget. In fact, he was so used to the insanity of the old setup he called this one “boring”, which leads us to where we are today…
What Steve ideally wanted was the best of both engines: the insane power of the big turbo engine but with the torque and response of the small turbo engine. Pretty much everyone he spoke to said that was impossible. Undeterred Steve employed the services of someone who sees the word ‘impossible’ as a challenge: Thomas Zurawski of Zurawski Motorsport in Ledbury, Herefordshire.
While the engine itself was bulletproof, and it’s hard to beat a #Motec-M800 ECU, Zurawski Motorsport is an expert in custom turbo setups and could see the existing design left a lot to be desired. Not only was the cast log turbo manifold considered a poor design but the inlet plenum, intercooler, exhaust system, and air filter setup were all on the list for improvement. Tubular twin scroll turbo manifolds didn’t previously exist for RHD BMWs due to the lack of room but the Zurawski design fits perfectly. And not only does it flow far better than a restrictive log manifold but the twin-scroll design drastically improves turbo spool up, allowing a bigger turbo to be used without losing drivability.
To further aid spool and throttle response, twin WRC anti-lag valves have been fitted, allowing huge amounts of airflow to go direct from the compressor to the exhaust manifold which, along with fuel and ignition adjustments from the Motec ECU, give the engine the ability to stay at full boost even when the throttle is closed, not to mention the rapid-fire bangs and huge flames from the side exit exhaust!
The other big change to the engine is certainly the most controversial: the inlet plenum. The shape and design of it is certainly a world away from typical designs and, due to this, many naysayers claimed it would be restrictive or simply not work. The reality is, however, it’s actually a commonly-used design in turbocharged race engines, as found in WRC, RallyCross, and LeMans. The unusual design gives equal airflow to each cylinder, something that’s a big problem on turbocharged cars, especially on in-line six engines, and by allowing the cylinders to receive equal amounts of airflow improvements are seen in power, spool up, reliability, and to safe boost limits.
In addition to the manifolds, the entire turbo system – from air filter to exhaust tailpipes – was custom-made from scratch by Zurawski Motorsport for maximum flow and efficiency. It includes a huge grillemounted air filter, an enormous intercooler that necessitated the rear mounted radiator conversion, twin external wastegates, and a full custom exhaust system, with a very cleverly designed downpipe that somehow manages to snake past the dreaded RHD steering column!
Of course, the most important part of any turbo system is the turbocharger itself, which is a BorgWarner S300SX 9180 turbo, with a twin scroll T4 turbine and billet compressor. This turbo is actually bigger than the previous original laggy unit, so surely this new engine can’t be very responsive? Think again…
With the car once again in the expert hands of Greg at ProTuner, the new setup made a touch over 600hp at just 1bar boost, and 700hp at 1.5bar, 30hp more than the traditional-style turbo setup using the log manifold. While the power is impressive, what really makes it special is this time he also had an insane 730lb ft of torque, with over 500lb ft of that by just 3700rpm. Yes, it spools as fast and makes even more torque than the small turbo did but makes more power than the big laggy turbo! The currentspec engine actually makes more power and torque than the original engine right across the rev range, from 2500rpm until over 7000rpm. In fact, at 4000rpm it now has 375hp and 490lb ft more!
Buoyed on by these incredible results, the car recently returned to the dyno with 109 Octane race fuel where it made 720hp and over 800lbft at 1.4bar boost. The new fuel gave such incredible response and torque that, by the time of writing at least, Steve’s been unable to get traction at any higher boost than that. Once he finds a traction solution, though, he’s hoping for 800hp plus. Considering the current results, even over 1000hp looks to be easily achievable with only a slight increase in turbo size.
While we make no apologies for concentrating so much on Steve’s groundbreaking engine, the rest of the car is no less wild, both in looks (thanks to the M3 GTR wide bodywork and Team Dynamics motorsport wheels) and in performance (thanks to a spec that is truly world class).
On the inside there’s a comprehensive custom roll-cage that ties in to the diff mounts, a sophisticated rear mounted radiator setup that draws air through the side window ducts and exits via the rear diffuser, while underneath there’s a drift- specific front suspension design with incredible amounts of steering angle.
What’s perhaps most impressive is the thought put in to all the various parts fitted to this car. While you will no doubt have read the comprehensive spec list and recognised most of the parts’ manufacturer names, Steve has built this car more like a Works race car than a typical privatelyowned car, with the reliability and strength of all components being the primary consideration. This doesn’t just mean strong and effective parts but even things like the fuel and oil pressures are continuously logged by the ECU, which shuts down the engine if something deviates from the specified parameters.
So now the car is complete, what does Steve want to do with it? Well, despite being used for competition drifting for some time now, he’s more interested in just having fun in it without the stresses of trying to win trophies. On the rare occasions this car isn’t on masses of opposite lock, Steve’s actually very keen to take it back to where the original turbo engine expired, Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground, this time to break the 200mph mark – something it should do with ease.
For a car built with nothing but Steve’s own enjoyment in mind, the progress of this build over the years, and especially the final result, is a lesson for all of us. Not only is this sort of unbelievable, best-of-all-worlds, engine performance perfectly possible (and reliable if done correctly) but putting true thought in to what you are doing, taking influence from world-class race cars rather than simply following the crowd, really pays off in the long run.
The rest of the car is no less wild, both in looks and performance.
DATA FILE Turbo #BMW-E36 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E36 / #Motec / #BorgWarner /
ENGINE 3.2-litre straight-six #S50B32 / #S50 / #BMW-S50 , standard crank, #Pauter steel rods, 9:1 JE forged pistons, Cometic multi-layer head gasket, ARP head and rod bolts, standard head and cams with #Vanos enabled, #Motec-M600-ECU with an E888 expander, #Zurawski-Motorsport twin scroll tubular manifold, twin Turbosmart external wastegates, #BorgWarner-S300SX-9180 twin scroll T4 turbo with uprated billet wheel, full turbo-back Zurawski Motorsport exhaust system with side skirt exit tailpipe, twin WRC-style anti-lag valves, heat wrapped turbine housing and downpipe, #Zurawski-Motorsport equal flow inlet plenum, custom boost pipes and front mount intercooler, Zurawski Motorsport grille mounted air filter, high flow fuel lines, high flow alloy fuel filter, twin #Bosch-044 fuel pumps, 25ltr ProAlloy fuel cell, uprated fuel pressure regulator, Titanium oil catch tank, switchable ECU maps for Shell V-Power and Sunoco race fuel, switchable anti-lag and launch control systems, #Mocal oil cooler, uprated engine mounts, custom rear mounted radiator system, additional electric water pump, full fire extinguisher system, interior and exterior emergency cut-off switches, Petronas 10W60 oil. 720hp and 800lb ft
TRANSMISSION #ZF five-speed gearbox, #Helix twin-plate paddle clutch, custom lightweight steel flywheel, M3 Evo rear diff with shimmed LSD plates for 70% lock, E46 M3 crownwheel and pinion, uprated gearbox mounts, #ATF Racing gearbox, diff mounts integrated into roll-cage
CHASSIS 9x17” (front) and 10x18” (rear) #Team-Dynamics 1.2 wheels with 225/45 (front) and 265/35 (rear) Pirelli PZero tyres, BC coilovers, IRP drift front suspension setup, lightweight alloy adjustable lower arms, rosejointed lower arm bushes, custom adjustable top mounts, Mocal power steering cooler, polybushes, standard M3 brakes, hydraulic handbrake, Wilwood incar brake bias adjuster
EXTERIOR #BMW-M3-GTR front bumper, front wings and rear spoiler, E46 M3 GTR-style vented bonnet, custom rear arches, custom alloy rear diffuser, roof vent, rear window ducts, #Plastics4Performance lightweight windows
INTERIOR Full custom FIA-approved multi-point cage, Motordrive bucket seats, TRS harnesses, OMP steering wheel, Stack AFR, EGT and oil pressure gauges, Autometer boost gauge, carbon doorcards, custom ducting and shrouding for the rear mounted radiator
THANKS A-Frame Engineering (www.aframeengineering.co.uk), County Alarms (www.countyalarms.co.uk), ProTuner (www.protuner.co.uk), Zurawski Motorsport (www.zurawskimotorsport.com)
Steve wanted the power of his big turbo engine but with the torque and response of his small turbo engine.
Everything about this extreme E36 M3 means business. Side-exit exhausts look and sound awesome. Custom alloy rear diffuser allows hot air to be pulled away from the boot-mounted radiator, itself fed by pipes attached to side window intakes.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationSPACE RAIDER V8 TOURING
Wide arched #BMW-E30 flexes its muscles. The combination of E30 Touring and V8 is hard to beat. Forget keeping it original, this #V8-powered E30 Touring is all about doing what looks good and feels right. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Matt Woods.
While the thought of straying from the Bavarian region when it comes to tuning BMWs gets some enthusiasts ranting about desecrating engine bays with American and Japanese engines, or destroying the sanctity of M cars with air-ride and big ICE installs, we really couldn’t give two hoots. We think that building a car that looks good and makes you happy is far more important than building one that keeps other people happy.
That’s Paul Harding’s philosophy too because, when someone builds an E30 running Porsche wheels and a Ferrari steering wheel, you know they’re not going to care what anyone else says on the matter.
Paul’s previous big build, a supercharged beast of an E39 M5, popped up in these pages last year and he’s a man who has been afflicted with the chronic modifying disease – he just can’t leave cars alone. It’s funny to think that when the E30 was launched and BMW designed the practical Touring for family sorts, they could never have imagined that it would become something of a darling of the modified #BMW community. Fourdoors, two-doors, soft-tops… they’re all well and good but, for some reason, when it comes to the E30 it’s arguably the Touring that has the most appeal.
It’s a great-looking car for starters, with something so very right about the long boxy shape and it requires very little work to get it looking absolutely spectacular, a hugely beneficial E30 trait. Of course, whether or not you consider the application of Porsche wheels to result in spectacular looks is another matter entirely, but you can probably guess which way we’re leaning on the matter…
Paul bought this car because of the V8. His friend, Phil Nobes, had an M60-powered E30 and, having sampled the combination of big, brawny bent eight and small, lightweight 3 Series, Paul fell in love and wanted some of that in his life as well. “I found this car on eBay for sale up in Dundee,” says Paul. “The swap was already completed, though it was unfinished – there was no rad, for example, and it wasn’t ready to be driven. It was a really nice car, though, with full leather, an LSD and BBS RMs, plus someone else had already done the work to get the engine in the car and running, so I bought it and trailered it down from Scotland.
“I had a vision that the E30 was going to replace the E36 M3 drift car I had at the time and was planning to do a supercharged S62 swap. I bought the blue E39 M5 that ended up being featured in PBMW as I was going to use the engine from that for the swap. I stripped the E30 completely but then changed my mind – the shell was so solid that I had to put it back together and ended up supercharging the M5 instead, which I’ve since sold. I thought about supercharging the E30, but actually I’m going to supercharge another E39 M5 instead. I bought a Chromie E30 in the meantime as well, but ended up selling that as this Touring was just too good. That’s when I decided not to turn it into a drift car and make it into a road car instead as there are so few really clean V8 E30s about. It’s actually harder to build a full interior road car as it takes some thought and planning, rather than just pulling everything out.”
The engine bay needed a bit of work when Paul first got his hands on the car: “I knew I didn’t want a full shaved and tucked bay, but I wanted to tidy it up and make it look good.
I made the effort with the attention to detail as I wanted the engine to look like it belonged in there; the brake servo, for example, is now in the glovebox, and I fitted a 530i air box as I didn’t just want a generic induction kit.” The result is an exceedingly neat and tidy but functional, working engine bay rather than something that looks like it was built more for display purposes than acting as the business end of a car. Further helping to complete it, along with a fullyfunctioning rad, is the stainless tubular exhaust manifold which leads to a custom exhaust system that makes a wonderful noise, which is a requirement from anything with a V8 under the bonnet.
The interior has been significantly changed from its original configuration. Gone are the leather seats, with a cloth bench at the back and a pair of Vabric buckets up front, which happens to be Paul’s seat company, which he runs alongside his garage, Super Duper Garage. Yes, really. It’s an awesome place that Paul has put a lot of thought and flair into. It carries with it the same passion that flows through all the cars he owns and the projects he’s got on the go, and there are quite a few of those.
Alongside the seats there’s a digital water temp gauge by the driver’s right knee, a Z3 short-shift and then there’s the small matter of that well-worn, Ferrari-badged Momo steering wheel. It is attached to an E36 steering rack and has something of a story behind it: “I actually bought the steering wheel when I was 19 as I liked how it looked but had no idea it was actually the exact same Momo that was fitted to the Ferrari 348 from the factory. I have fitted it to countless cars that I’ve owned so naturally I had to have it in the E30. I also wanted to wind people up…” he chuckles. So, while it may have not worn a Ferrari badge originally, it’s entirely entitled to do so and is guaranteed to put a few noses out of joint with it. Finally, the load space is home to something that purists will most definitely approve of: a genuine, rare, BMW E30 boot liner, which is a nice period touch in a car with so much else going on.
As far as looks are concerned, the car’s been dropped to within an inch of its life and you’re definitely not going to miss those custom bolt-on arch extensions. Paul had originally made them for Phil’s E30 but he couldn’t resist making them for his Touring as well. We don’t blame him, they look awesome. The body-coloured finish mean they aren’t overly aggressive, but definitely give the slimline E30 a bit more of a purposeful stance, as well as creating more room for those wheels: “I’ve had quite a few sets of wheels on the car – 16” RSs, Rondells, 17” Dares and then these Eta Beta Turbo Twists, which weren’t meant to go on this car at all. I bought them for an ’84 Porsche I had but I hadn’t fitted them when I was thinking about wheels for this. I wasn’t sure what to go for so considered putting these on – people said they wouldn’t fit, so that made me determined to get them on. They’re a 5x130 PCD, measuring in at 9x18” and 9.5x18”. They took a little work but I got them on, despite what everyone told me.”
Now, technically, they’re not Porsche wheels, but they’re very Porsche-looking and that’s even before you add the Porsche crest centre caps. They’re good looking wheels too and they suit the E30 perfectly. 18s are a big wheel for the car to pull off, but the stepped lips and 17” matt anthracite centres make the wheels look a bit smaller, meaning they don’t dominate the car at all.
While they may not have been destined for the E30, with that drop giving it an awesome stance, they add something extra that catches your eye on an otherwise very stealthy build.
“I tinker with the car every now and again when I get the time, which isn’t often,” says Paul sullenly, with Super Duper Garage taking up the bulk of his time, and other projects also wanting attention. “I am really sad that I’ve not had a chance to drive it much; I’ve done just five miles in it in three years, which is bad. Those five miles were fun though and it’s a really practical car, but I’ve fallen in love with E39 M5s – I like to drive hard and I prefer their longer wheelbase as they are less snappy. In fact, I’ve got one waiting to be supercharged when I get a chance. I’m going to sell the Touring, and I always sell my cars completely done up, with all the bits and pieces fixed for someone else that I was meant to do for myself.”
That’s something that really strikes a chord. We get our cars to their absolute best and then end up selling them rather than being able to enjoy them, with someone else getting to enjoy the fruits of our labours. Such is life. The Touring has, in fact, been sold since we completed this feature and whoever’s bought it has landed themselves an awesome machine that’s fully sorted. As for Paul, he doesn’t have time to be sad about selling the E30 as he’s got his hands full with numerous other project cars, all vying for his attention and in varying states of progress. The important thing is that he got to build and own an awesome and rather unique E30 Touring.
decided to make it into a road car as there are so few really clean V8 E30s about.
Single-piece Vabric buckets inside along with that Ferrari Momo steering wheel and a water temp gauge.
DATA FILE #V8 #BMW-E30-Touring / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-E30-M60B40 / #BMW-E30-M60 / #BMW-E30-V8 / #BMW-E30-V8-M60B40
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre V8 #M60B40 / #M60 / #BMW-M60 from E34 540i, hand-made and wrapped tubular exhaust manifolds and exhaust system with switchable #Vabric cut-out valve, E36 M3 auto radiator, #Mocal remote oil filter, electric fan with switch-in rad and override button in the car, E36 steering rack, battery relocated to boot and hidden, brake servo hidden inside the car behind the glovebox, relocated header tank, 530i air box, five-speed manual, 3.64 LSD
CHASSIS 9x18” (front) and 9.5x18” (rear) #Eta-Beta-Turbo-Twist three-piece wheels with polished lips and matt anthracite centres, with 215/35 (front) and 225/35 (rear) tyres, #Koni inserts (front), #GAZ adjustable dampers (rear), extensive polybushing, 325i rear beam and front brakes.
EXTERIOR Custom-made bolt-on arch extensions
INTERIOR Vabric side mount bucket seat on adjustable rails with grey Alcantara centres, grey Alcantara headlining, Z3 short shift, hidden temp gauge, ’80s boot linerStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.