- Post is under moderationTALES OF THE UNEXPECTED Wild supercharged E90 M3
Karel Silha’s M3 has been evolving for a few years, getting ever madder and more frightening. As he teeters on the cusp of his next round of innovations, we pin down his green monster to see just how deeply this lunacy has spiraled… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Patrik Karlsson.
840HP E90 M3 Supercharged wide-arch beast
The most fun cars are the ones that do surprising things; ones that subvert your expectations and lead your preconceptions down a hitherto uncharted path. We’re not talking about sleepers here – that’s a well-documented area, and a whole textbook in itself. No, what’s flicking our switch today is the idea of using a novel base to build something devastating. Like when Top Gear commissioned Lotus to build a trackslaying Lada, and the Norfolk spannertwiddlers ended up throwing £100k at it. Or when Volvo entered the BTCC in the 1990s with an 850 estate. These are not the logical cars to choose for such endeavours, which is what makes the whole concept so eminently desirable.
So it is with Karel Silha’s M3. He wanted to build an unstoppable and terrifying car with which to distort reality in the otherworldly and near-mythical amphitheatre of the now-world-renowned Gatebil events, so he chose to go with an M3. Fair play, sound reasoning, we can see why you’d do that But, just for the sake of waving two fingers at the rest of the paddock, he didn’t take the obvious route and buy himself an E92 coupé. He chose the sensible, dad-spec E90 fourdoor saloon.
Alright, we’ll immediately retract ‘sensible, dad-spec’, that’s a moronic way to describe a machine as formidable as the E90 – but you have to admit that the act of deliberately choosing a car with extra doors you know you’re never going to use is something only a belligerent and confrontational person would do. It’s Touring Car rules; you’ve got four doors so that people spectating can relate your car to their own salesman-spec diesel commuter. Karel’s just cranked things up a notch, simply to be mischievous. Oh, those effervescently zany Swedes…
“My first car was a Toyota Starlet,” he explains, which is actually something we hear a lot. A surprising number of skilled helmsmen cut their teeth in that balletic Japanese poppet, it must teach its drivers an awful lot about car control. “I’ve been working with BMWs for about 12 or 13 years now though. My first was an E30, which I wanted to turn into a bit of turbocharged weekend fun. Most of my BMWs have been E30s in fact; the most recent one was making 982hp and 887lb ft on an old M20 engine.”
It’s probably safe to assume that this fella knows what he’s doing when it comes to perving over BMWs then. However, the E90 is a world apart from the E30 (just look at the maths, it’s 60 #BMW Top Trump points adrift), so this little race car project was always going to be something of a challenge, right? No, not a bit of it. Karel’s the sort of chap who just knuckles down and gets on with it and there’s no half-measures here. Allin or nothing.
“I wanted to do fast lap times and the goal was to be quick,” he says, with hilarious modesty and masterful understatement. “With that in mind, there was only one chassis that was suitable for this: the E90 M3. So I bought the car from a friend – it was in really good condition, aside from the engine, which was trashed. One of the rods had found its way out…” But with the plans that Karel had made, a blown motor was an irrelevance. Stock engines aren’t Gatebil fodder. It was always the gameplan to tear the motor apart and beef everything up like Meat Loaf in an Angus Steakhouse.
“Yes, the whole build was fully mapped out from the start,” he assures us. “We even drew up 3D renderings of how it would look when it was finished. The plan was always clear.” Oh, and what a plan it was. With ruthless efficiency and the sort of clockwork dominance of the to-do list that you normally find in school staff rooms, Karel and his crew set about ripping the E90 to shreds and building it back up as an apex-humiliating, spectator-arousing beast.
“In the first year, we dealt with the chassis,” he says. “KW three-way competition suspension, and also a big brake upgrade from Endless, to get the chassis fully dialled-in. We’d initially talked to a local company about our suspension options, and the support was terrible, so we ended up talking to KW suspension in Germany. They answered all of our questions in one email and the support was just above and beyond, so it was a no-brainer to go with KW! They made a custom three-way competition kit for us, and those guys have been a strong partner ever since.”
With the chassis tested and thoroughly proven, the second year of the E90 build threw up some proper mischief. “In year two we did the forged engine,” says Karel, “and then we supercharged it – and this was no off-the-shelf kit, it was the biggest setup ESS could make for us. We ended up with 840hp, and we also upgraded the ECU to a full Motec setup, with PDM [Power Distribution Module], dash and ECU. We fitted a Samsonas sequential gearbox with paddleshift too.” Phew. Time to take a breath, drink in the magnificence of the spec, and just have a little think about our own life choices. Stick the kettle on for some pondering time, we’ll see you at the next paragraph.
Better? We know, it’s a lot to take in. But brace yourselves, as there’s a little more to come. You see, it would have been amusingly stealthy to jam all of this sweaty grunt into a stock-looking four-door shell, but stealth has never been the Swedish forced induction enthusiasts’ watchword. So what you’re seeing here is a searing vision in Snakeskin Green, a Dodge Viper colour no less, and to prove that this build isn’t just about dumb horsepower there’s a frankly staggering aero setup. Just look at the frickin’ size of that rear diffuser, for goodness’ sake! And the front splitter’s big enough to stand a family of six upon, let alone allowing them all to have a little nap on the rear wing. This thing may have enough horsepower to make a Bugatti owner think twice, but it’s also glued to the track by the crushing inevitability of downforce. It’s actually kinda frightening. Another hugely impressive element of this build is just how stock that S65 motor is, aside from the comically large blower. It’s got forged pistons and rods from Pure Performance Motorsport in Australia, and a suitably juiced-up fuelling system feeding through a Weldon 2345 pump (which is good for 1300hp!), but aside from that it’s pretty much as the M Division intended. Talk about over-engineering, eh?
Still, there was a global vibe developing in this Swedish-honed, German-built car with Australian engine upgrades and Japanese interior addenda, so it only made sense for the rolling stock to come from somewhere unexpected too. That’s why you’ll find a set of Work VS-XX wheels under those widened carbon fibre arches – custom-built wheels from Japan. And the rears are a spanking 12.5” wide, which allows for some seriously dirty contact patch. “We wanted a wheel that could match the rest of the car,” Karel reasons, “and Work Wheels were the only choice for a quality wide wheel.” Having hand-crafted his own bruising arches, we’ll happily take his word for that.
“Function over form was the overarching idea,” he continues. “The look has always been secondary to the act of going fast. The chassis’s actually being modified for a Version 3 that we’ll be debuting soon, but yes – the capability has always been more important than the look.” This statement, of course, writes a very large cheque, as the car looks absolutely phenomenal. Thankfully, we know that the setup can cash it with ease. “I’d say my favourite element of the build is all the carbon fibre,” Karel grins. “When you start with carbon, you kinda get the fever and it’s hard to stop! For 2017 most of the car will be in carbon fibre, and for 2018 a new chassis is being built with even more mods and 100% carbon.” Blimey. 100% is a big percentage. We’ll report back as the news filters in.
“It took some five-to-six months to build the first version of the car,” he says, “then it evolved over the off-season; 2015 Version 1, 2016 Version 2, and 2017 is Version 2.1. Just wait – 2018 will bring it up to Version Badass.” We can’t wait to see that. But for now, let’s just bask in the unutterable lunacy of Version 2.1 – the as-yet ultimate evolution of your neighbour’s four-door 3 Series, built to tear up Gatebil and atomise any rubber that may stray into its workshop. The fact that it’s not a coupé just makes the flawless victories all the sweeter. ¬
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #Supercharged / #BMW-E90 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E90 / #BMW-M3-Supercharged / #BMW-M3-Supercharged-E90 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E90 / #BMW-3-Series-M3-E90 / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #ESS-supercharger / #ESS / #BMW / #Work / #MoTeC-ECU
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre #V8 #S65B40 / #BMW-S65 / #S65 , fully-forged, custom #ESS-supercharger-kit , 1000cc injectors and uprated fuelling with #Weldon 2345 pump, #Motec engine management. #Samsonas six-speed sequential gearbox
CHASSIS 11x18” (front) and 12.5x18” (rear) #Work-VS-XX wheels with 305/35 (front) and 335/35 (rear) tyres, #KW three-way competition suspension, #Endless race brake setup with six-pot calipers (front and rear) with 355mm (front) and 345mm (rear) discs
EXTERIOR Dodge Viper Snakeskin Green, wide steel rear wings and plastic-welded M3 front wings – now remoulded in carbon fibre, Gatebil-sized custom wing, splitter and diffuser
INTERIOR Sparco seats, Takata harnesses, OMP steering wheel, custom cluster by Karel S Motorsport, paddle shifters, full painted FIA rollcage
THANKS All of my friends who helped, especially to Tim and Jens, and also all of my sponsors last year and also the new ones for 2017 – it would not have been possible without them
No air-ride here, just air jacks.
The rear view is dominated by that custom diffuser.
Fully-painted FIA roll-cage.
“Function over form was the overarching idea, the look has always been secondary to the act of going fast”
MOTEC engine management keeps things running right.
Sparco seats with Takata harnesses up front.
MoTeC C127 Race Display behind OMP steering wheel.
Custom ESS supercharger kit makes 840hp.
“In year two we did the forged engine and then we supercharged it [with] the biggest setup ESS could make for us. We ended up with 840hp”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationHARDCORE S54 E30 Thunder from Down Under
SKIN DEEP #S54-swapped E30. Words and photos: Chris Nicholls. They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover and Andrew Burke’s home-built, DIY-painted E30 is exactly the reason why.
“Why are you shooting that little thing?” says a passer-by during the shoot. I casually pop the bonnet and see his eyes widen. “Jeez, there’s some work gone into that,” he says, before firing off a few photos on his phone and walking away. This sort of thing happens several more times during the shoot and it’s easy to understand why.
From a distance, this is just another E30 track car. The matt black paint, done as a last resort after troubles with the painter, is hardly the last word in beauty and the stock M Tech II body kit isn’t going to set anyone’s world alight either. No, things only get interesting when you get close. It’s then that you see the custom Forgeline wheels and fat, circle-track StopTechs and imperial-sized AP Racing J-hook discs (chosen because imperial gear is cheaper than metric). Next, you peek inside and notice the #Motec M800 ECU sitting on a custom carbon plate on the floor. And the oil lines for the Peterson dry sump kit running next to it. And the Motec C127 colour dash logger and Tilton pedals. It just doesn’t stop. Finally, you pop that aforementioned bonnet and see the immaculate S54 with carbon cover and CSLreplica intake nestled in-between the strut towers, surrounded by Goodridge Teflon hoses and a Peterson oil pressure primer pump. If ever there was a car to prove that sometimes, the opposite of the idiom ‘beauty is only skin deep’ applies, this is it.
The back story of this Australian E30, as you might suspect given the engineering involved, started several years ago (six to be precise) when owner-builder Andrew Burke picked up this 325is to be a street-registered track day build. Having got tired of risking his E92 335i road car on the track, he thought back to a 1989 E30 brochure he got as a kid and decided that would be a better bet. As most builds do, things started off small. Some H&R springs and Bilstein Sport dampers, rebuilt stock brakes and bolton exhaust, a short shifter and new Recaros did the trick for six months, but one track day at the wonderfully nicknamed Haunted Hills circuit (actually Bryant Park) in his home state of Victoria, Andrew noticed puffs of blue smoke on overrun thanks to some keen-eyed photographers. “That was all the excuse I needed to go ‘Oh, this motor could potentially have some kind of small issue in the next three, six, nine, 12 years, I should probably just swap the engine out right now’” he laughs.
Thus began a long and involved process of finding and fitting a new motor. Having decided a resto-mod approach was best, he settled on an S50 and sourced one from the UK, but all was not well. “As all UK motors are, it was covered in corrosion, all the aluminium bits were all pitted from the salt and whatever other calamities occur over there in the middle of winter, so I didn’t do a whole lot with it other than strip it down to a short block and basically sand blast all the things,” Andrew says. Having cleaned it up, he found it still good enough to use, so left it standard internally and got to work fitting it. On went an E34 sump and 12° angled double-shear shift rod to get the now-twisted stock G250 five-speed to work with the AKG DTM shifter, some custom-made exhaust manifolds from Andrew Nicholls at Meridian Motorsport and a VFT E36 DTM-style carbon air box specifically designed to fi t S50s in E30s thanks to a notch cut into the back to clear the brake booster. To ensure that it all ran, Andrew cut and re-connected the stock harness himself and fitted an Alpha N ECU chip.
However, while he may have cleaned it up, it turned out the engine’s not-so-perfect appearance was rather more indicative of its condition than first thought and sure enough, the number five journal went at a Winton Raceway track day in true S50 style. “A $350 tow truck ride home later [Andrew not having a trailer at the time and Winton being two hours from central Melbourne] we were sitting in the garage, the old man and I, saying ‘Well, we’re going to have to fix it, I guess’”. Andrew admits that even at that point, the idea of fitting an S54 came into his head, but he wasn’t quite ready to quit on the idea of an S50-engined E30 yet, especially having done so much work to make it fit.
Thus, he decided that, rather than throw everything away, he would build a proper race-spec S50 and see what happened. Sadly, it’s here that Andrew suffered the all-too-common “bad workshop experience.”
After searching around for a well-regarded builder, he thought he’d found one in a former Team JPS BMW factory race engineer in New South Wales, but while the specs were suitably serious, complete with 11.6:1 Wossner pistons, Pauter I-beam rods, 296° cams, Supertec Inconel valves and the current Peterson dry-sump system (designed to avoid ever spinning a bearing again), it “never made any real power.” “Without going into too much detail, it just fell on its face above 6000rpm,” he says. Worse still, it didn’t even last that long. A mere 500km of track work later and Andrew was sitting on the side of the Winton tarmac with two holes in the block from a rod and rod bolt respectively, oil pouring out everywhere and his car partially in flames thanks to starting a grass fire underneath it. The worst part? A postmortem found the likely cause to be poor assembly.
“As I pulled the bits off the motor so I could get it out of the chassis, I found one of the ARP rod bolts was poking through the block on the exhaust side. I didn’t see it originally as a result, but it was poking through with all of its threads still intact. So it was not like the bolt snapped – it was like it completely unscrewed itself – and I can’t imagine a bolt that’s designed to be torqued to yield, if it was properly fastened, would have come undone. End of story. So that was that, which was a bit unfortunate.”
Unfortunate indeed, and at around AU$30,000 (£17,000) for the engine, expensive. Andrew adds that figure doesn’t even include the cost of ancillaries fitted to deal with the extra power, the current 8x17” Forgelines, the previous SL6R and SL4R Wilwood calipers and discs (since replaced by the StopTechs because Andrew bought another road/track E30 he wanted to put those on), the custom-built AST two-way adjustable coilovers (again, since replaced by custom MCS two-ways) and several other mods besides. However, Andrew wasn’t prepared to throw it all away, so after convincing his wife he “wasn’t silly,” he pulled the trigger on a mint S54 with just 18,000 miles on it out of a wrecked Californian Z4 M.
Being so new and from California, this motor was in stunning shape. There was no dust behind the water pump or alternator pulleys and even the internals, which Andrew inspected when he pulled off the sump to fit the Moroso dry sump pan, were unvarnished.
Given he had no money to put new internals in it, this worked out perfectly. Plus, the S54 made more power stock than his built S50 anyway, so in it went, with only a Karbonius CSL-replica air box – fitted because the StopTechs meant he no longer needed the booster – a Racing Dynamics carbon engine cover, new custom exhaust manifolds (again from Andrew from Meridian, who by then had moved on to start his own venture called Trackart) and a few other mechanical pieces like an Eisenmann exhaust needed to make it work. At the same time, Andrew realised that to actually run the thing (especially given he was keeping Vanos and drive-by-wire), he would need to upgrade his dash from a set of Stack gauges to a Motec logger to ensure the necessary input and output numbers, and after contacting Jason Ingram at Advanced Motorsport Electrics to do the concentrically-wound, DR25 heat-shrunk harness and install it, he got it tuned by Lee at Melbourne Performance Centre and brought it up to Broadford State Motorcycle Centre for a shakedown, which is where we did the shoot.
His impressions of the car now it’s finished (bar a cage)? “I was thrilled with the way that it handled and the way that it stopped even back when it had the second S50… but I was deeply disappointed on some level that it didn’t make as much power as I was expecting. It was certainly fast enough, but it never felt brutal, I guess. Whereas the S54 is still not crazy by any means, it just feels a lot more angry. It feels significantly more powerful.” Given this first shakedown was conducted at only half-throttle, that’s a brilliant portent and suggests that when this E30 is finally unleashed, its unassuming looks, combined with all that power and handling, will mean the opposition won’t see it coming.
“If ever there was a car to prove that sometimes, the opposite of the idiom ‘beauty is only skin deep’ applies, this is it”
TECHNICAL DATA FILE #S54 / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-E30-S54 / #BMW-S54 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E30 / #Bosch / #BMW-E30-S54B32
ENGINE 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 , #Karbonius CSL-replica dry carbon air box, #K&N air filter, #Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator, #Bosch-044 fuel pump, #Aftermarket Industries swirl pot, #MagnaFuel dry break billet fuel filters, #NGK-Platinum plugs, Setrab 19-row oil cooler with -16 fittings, Roush Yates carbon catch can, Peterson R4 dry sump pump, #VAC-Motorsports mount kit, #C&V HTD belt drive with VAC/ATI fluid harmonic balancer, -16 feed and return oil hoses, -12 scavenge, #Peterson scavenge filters, -10 pressure feed to VAC Motorsports oil manifold, custom #Moroso dry sump oil pan, Peterson single-stage remote oil primer circuit, Peterson billet four-gallon dry sump tank with custom #CNC bracketing, dual breathers and 100 micron filter screen, Canton billet five micron oil filter on pressure stage, #C&R-Racing oil filter housing with provision for secondary oil cooler circuit in rear of car, #Wix-Racing 51222R filter, Goodridge XF 910 and Brown and Miller (BRMS) Teflon hoses, VAC-Motorsports lights, accessories and alternator pulleys, ATI damper by VAC Motorsports, AKG-Motorsport Group N engine mounts, #Racing-Dynamics dry carbon engine cover, Trackart custom equal-length exhaust manifolds and custom 2.5” exhaust, Eisenmann E36 M3 rear box, Motec-M800-ECU , #Motec SKN dual CAN knock module, Advanced Motorsport Electrics custom concentricwound wiring harness with Kevlar tracers, Raychem boots, Souriau and Autosport connectors
TRANSMISSION #G250 five-speed manual gearbox, #AP-Racing 7.25” twin-plate clutch and lightened cro-mo flywheel from E36 M3 R, AKG DTM shifter, PPF axles, re-balanced OE driveshaft, OE diff with extra clutch packs, Z3 M housing, custom transmission mounts and subframe reinforcements
CHASSIS 7.5x17” ET20 (front and rear) #Forgeline-SO3 wheels with 235/40 (front and rear) Nitto NT-01 tyres, VAC Motorsports 90mm studs, #Motorsport-Hardware cro-mo nuts, 3mm spacers (front), Motion Control Suspension custom two-way remote reservoir coilovers, #Eibach 60mm springs, AKG Motorsport polyurethane, #Treehouse-Racing and custom #Delrin bushes, custom Trackart T45-based cro-mo front strut brace, custom front arb and mounts, Dave Stillwell rear anti-roll bar with custom mounts and reinforcement, full Aurora rose joints, #StopTech STR43 calipers (front and rear), #AP-Racing J-hook fully-floating discs, custom Motorsport Connections Teflon braided lines, Performance Friction PFC01 pads (front and rear), custom-machined 7057 T6 rotor hats
EXTERIOR OEM Tech II kit, custom bi-xenon headlights based on TRS projectors and 3D printed adaptors, rear lights lightly tinted with Diamond black
INTERIOR #AKG-Motorsport Delrin shift knob, AKG Motorsport DTM shift lever and short-shift kit, Alcantara gear gaiter, #Tilton 600 Series pedals, Tilton -4 fluid tank, #Speedflow lines, Tilton billet brake bias adjuster, Tilton fluid bias and balance bar adjuster, #Motec C127 dash logger, Recaro SP-A Kevlar V8 Supercar special edition seat, VAC Motorsports billet rails, Sabelt Ultralight harnesses, Personal Grinta 330mm wheel, Lifeline Group N boss with custom spacer, custom carbon panel behind wheel for light controls, custom Trackart harness bar, custom aluminium scuff plates
THANKS Andrew at Trackart for the exhaust, brake cooling duct, harness bar and strut bar fabrication work, Marcos at Motorsport Connections for the Speedflow bits and hoses, Jason Ingram at Advanced Motorsport Electrics for the incredible work on the harness and Lee Burley at Melbourne Performance Centre for the dyno tuning
Carbon engine cover and replica CSL carbon air box make this S54 even sexier.
Single Recaro SP-A Kevlar V8 Supercar special edition seat.
“After convincing his wife he “wasn’t silly,” he pulled the trigger on a mint S54 with just 18,000 miles on it out of a wrecked Californian Z4 M”
/ #Motec-M800 ECU mounted on custom carbon plate.
Swirl pot, pump and filters mounted in boot.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationThis E36 M3 R is one of the rarest of the rare, but that didn’t stop one owner beefing it up to be a full-on track terror. Words and photos: Chris Nicholls.
FULL-ON BMW-E36 / BMW-M3 R Hardcore Australian special
GYM JUNKIE UNICORN Ultra-rare E36 M3 R from Oz
Just 12 E36 M3 Rs were made available to the public back in the mid ’90s by #BMW Australia. Built, as some of you may know, to be the ultimate non-GTR E36, the cars were basically Group N racers for the road. They came with full Motorsport Group N suspension, a tweaked engine putting out 325hp (more than any E36 M3 other than the GTR), AP Racing four-piston brakes all-round, the full M3 GT bodykit, plus Super Tourer wing and extendable splitter, and almost all creature comforts, such as rear seats, air-conditioning and fog lights, removed. Developed by the legendary Paul Rosche, then M GmbH’s head of motorsport, and team members from the famous Australian Frank Gardner’s outfit, including Ralph Bellamy - former F1 engineer and one of the men responsible for inventing ground effects at Lotus - the M3 R remains to this day arguably the greatest E36 variant you can actually buy, albeit one that required a racing license when purchasing it new and one that is, unsurprisingly, also climbing in value today.
Which makes it all the more bizarre that this M3 R’s previous owner, Alan Palser, decided to tune it so much there’s basically nothing left of the original car bar the little silver build plate on the centre console. To whit, there’s the DTM Fiber Werkz widebody kit, JRZ dampers with Eibach springs, Turner front and SM Motorsport custom rear anti-roll bars, SM Motorsport custom control arms, Alcon monobloc front and AP Racing rear calipers and two-piece slotted discs, AP racing twin-plate clutch, boot-mounted Speed Master fuel cell with Bosch 044 pump and swirl pot and a range of engine mods, including a very sexy CSL-style carbon airbox, which bring the power up to around 370rwhp. In a car running Hankook slicks on its 11x18” Apex EC-7 wheels, and weighing only 1220kg thanks to being completely stripped and caged, that makes this is one rapid racer indeed. But one that isn’t really much of an M3 R anymore.
So why did Alan do it? Well, there were two main reasons. The first is an all-too familiar story. Having fallen in love with BMWs as a lad growing up in the Group A era, Alan decided he had to have one, and eventually managed to fund the purchase of his third-hand M3 R ten years ago when it had just 40,000km on the clock. However, as one does, he started to chat more and more to people in the club scene and eventually got talked into attending a few track days. And that’s when the bug bit, hard.
“At the time I bought it, I would say the plan was to have it as a road car, but having started to talk to some people in car clubs, they said, ‘Oh, you should come down and join the club and have a go on the track on a club day’. Then once I’d done that a couple of times, I thought, ‘Oh yeah, I think I’m going to enjoy this’. So I once I’d done a couple of those, I started orienting the E36 more towards that and less as a car to drive on the road.”
And once Alan started, he found it hard to stop, spiralling down that route we all know of upgrading ever more bits and pieces. “Once I was on that path, it was easier to continue on it, rather than scrap it and go back to a start point again,” he says. Eventually, after entering a couple of tarmac rallies, Alan decided it was time to develop it fully and, having sent it off to BMW whiz Sam Markov at SM Motorsport in Wodonga on the Victoria/New South Wales state border, things just got even more extreme, eventually leading to a wilder state than it is in now (this engine is its second after the previous fully-built and E85-tuned beast blew prior to the sale to its current owner). As for the second reason, that was more to do with the used car market at the time. Although it might seem silly in today’s climate, despite its rarity, engineering pedigree and extremely finely-honed nature out of the box, the M3 R wasn’t actually all that valuable ten years ago. You could pick one up for less than AU$50,000 (around £25,000) and there wasn’t a sense that they would be a future collectible. Hence why Alan says “I didn’t feel like I was totally killing something that was worth a lot of money at the time.” Of course, thinking about it now, he agrees that were he to do it all again, he would have started with a basic 3 Series shell, but such is life.
Eventually, having arrived at a development crossroads, Alan was unsure whether to replace the engine with an S85 V10 or the like, or sell it to fund something like a Z4 GT3. In the end he decided to part with it, which is where current owner and Avis franchise holder (hence the stickers) Les Sears comes into the picture. A Holden man for much of his time in motorsport, one drive of an E46 back when it was new changed his life forever and after that, Les became a devoted BMW fan, building up quite an impressive collection that currently includes a stock E36 M3, three E46 M3s (one road car, one complete racer and another in the build) and an F82 435i daily. Hence why, when he found out this car was up for sale about a year and a half ago, knowing how rare it was and how much effort had gone into it, he pounced on it.
Of course there was still the matter of the blown engine to take care of before he could enjoy it at his local motorkhanas and track days, and given the previous highly-strung motor’s issues, and the fact the chassis set-up was good enough to ensure speed without huge power, Les decided to tone down the new power plant a little in order to keep it reliable. Thus, right now, it runs a completely stock 3.2-litre bottom end, and only the aforementioned carbon airbox with custom trumpets (on stock runners), K&N pod filter, ARP rod bolts, 296º Schrick cams, Vanos delete and Motec M600 ECU as mods. Despite this, thanks to Sam Markov’s nous (Les kept him on as the car’s mechanic, as unlike for Alan, Sam was local), the car puts down 367hp at the wheels, which as we said is still plenty in a circa-1200kg car, and easily enough to keep Les at the top of the time sheets at whatever event he enters. “Everywhere you take it, if it doesn’t win, it’s always second or third. It’s a quick little car. It’s very, very well balanced, and it doesn’t do it with horsepower, it does it with cornering speed,” he says.
Despite its pace and the fact it’s no longer much of an M3 R though, Les has no desire to risk such a rare car (even in its current state) in actual racing, saying “I’m a little reluctant [to race it]. I don’t mind doing the sprints in it, but once you get into a race meeting, I’d hate to damage it. I’ve got an E46 [an ex-Targa Tasmania machine, no less] which can take a bit of a hit and it’s easy to panel beat, but this thing with that body kit on it, it’s quite hard to start rebuilding that. I’ve got a new E46 being built as we speak too, and when that’s finished I’ll put this car up on blocks and leave it there and won’t race it at all”.
Now, given he’s only had the car for less than two years, such a plan might sound impossibly sad, but it’s actually part of a grander scheme to leave it in as good a condition as he can for his son, who also races. Essentially, Les says that he’ll take the M3 R out every so often just to keep it running until his son takes it over, and continue racing in the new E46 once that’s built. “It’s a new shell that we’ve got in another shed with a new cage through it and I’ve bought all the parts for it. I’ve just got to assemble it, basically,” he says. “I’ll do that the same way - it’ll have a 3.2-litre in it, but the bottom end won’t be stressed out and we’ll just get it to breathe.”
Hopefully both cars can see the use they deserve for many years to come, as although Les is now 69, he has no plans to stop racing anytime soon, and that’s the sort of thing we love to hear. If, however, he does eventually decide to give the game away, not only will he have his son to look after the cars, he’ll also still be able to enjoy them in other ways, saying that “I just get a kick of out of being in the shed and having a cup of coffee with the cars… And they’re not as noisy as the wife!”
S50B32 straight-six has been fitted with #VAC Vanos delete kit, among many other mods, and now makes 367whp.
Carbon blanking plates are most definitely at home in the stripped-out interior.
“Everywhere you take it, if it doesn’t win, it’s always second or third. It’s a quick little car”
DATA FILE / #BMW / #BMW-E36 / #BMW-M3-R / #Apex / #BMW-M3-R-E36 / #BMW-M3-E36 / #Motec-M600 / #Motec / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E36 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #BMW-3-Series-M3-E36
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.2 litre straight-six #S50B32 / #BMW-S50 / #S50 , #K&N pod filter, custom carbon airbox with OEM runners and custom trumpets, #Schrick 296º cams (inlet and exhaust), #VAC-Motorsports Vanos delete kit, #ARP rod bolts, #NGK spark plugs, #Bosch-440cc /min injectors, Bosch-044 fuel pump, custom swirl pot, #Speed-master fuel cell, Evosport underdrive pulley, Turner Motorsport solid engine mounts, SM Motorsport stepped headers, custom 2.5” stainless steel exhaust and silencer, #Motec-M600-ECU . Five-speed manual gearbox, #AP-Racing twin-plate 7.25” clutch, stock M3 R flywheel, #OS-Giken-LSD
CHASSIS 11x18” ET25 (front and rear) #Apex-EC-7 wheels in Anthracite with 20mm spacers (front and rear) and 280/650 - 18 Hankook slicks (front and rear), #JRZ-RS dampers with #Eibach springs, #Turner-Motorsport (front) and SM Motorsport (rear) anti-roll bars, SM Motorsport custom front suspension arms to increase track by 100mm, #SM-Motorsport custom rear trailing arms, SM Motorsport custom bearings and rod-ends, Whiteline front strut bar, Alcon monobloc four-pot calipers with 355x32mm two-piece slotted rotors and Ferodo DS1.11 pads (front), AP Racing four-pot calipers with 330x28mm two-piece slotted rotors and Ferodo DS2500 pads (rear), AP Racing fluid, SM Motorsport custom braided lines and custom pedal box
EXTERIOR DTM Fiber Werkz wide-body kit (customised by SM Motorsport), custom Topstage Composites front bumper and carbon splitter, #APR-Performance rear wing
INTERIOR Brown Davis roll-cage, short-shift kit, RPM SL S/W Comfort suede steering wheel with quick-release hub, Velo Apex-XL seat, Sparco harnesses, carbon blanking plates for centre console and gauge pod, Racepak displayStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- 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 moderationMK1 TT
1.8T with 353bhp
WIDE BOY With big arches and 10.5x18in alloys, this 352hp TT has some serious road presence…
The original TT still ranks as one of the most significant Audis ever made. When this curvaceous, bold design was unveiled back in the late 90s, it made a huge impact. Here was a production car that looked very much like the original concept, and it was available to buy. Not only did it look fantastic, its performance credentials were strong, too.
The venerable 1.8 20v turbo found in the S3 8L saw some upgrades, which took it to 225PS (221bhp). This gave the cool coupe lively performance, matched to a slick 6-speed manual box. With quattro drive, it hooked up the power and was quick off the mark, as well as surefooted when the going got slippery.
With heated leather seats, a very cool looking dash and xenon lights it was a very nice thing to own. Back in 1999, a new TT would have set you back almost £30k. Today, you can pick one up for under £2,000, making them a bit of a bargain.
Laszlo, the owner of the TT pictured saw the potential with a TT immediately.
Having owned a big old Mercedes, he wanted something, small and sporty that was also fun to drive. A TT made sense – it was the right money and offered lots of tuning potential. “I wanted to switch from the yacht like feel of the Benz, to a stiffer, lighter sports coupe,” he says.
Things began slowly with a simple air filter upgrade and ECU remap. But having seen lots of big power Audis around, it wasn’t long before the silver TT was sent to respected local tuning firm, Turbotuning.
Here, the 1.8T was stripped down and rebuilt with fully forged internals including Mahle pistons and race spec bearings. The plan was to make the car as reliable as possible, so boost was held back to a relatively modest 1.5bar. Even so, with a Garrett GT2871 turbo, plus supporting upgrades, the TT made a very handy 352hp and 531Nm. Although we hear about plenty of 400+bhp models with large turbos, I have to say around the 350bhp mark seems to offer a great balance of performance and drivability for the road. I’ve been out in lots of TTs with this sort of power and they’re great fun. Plus, there’s less stress on the relatively small capacity 1.8-litre engine – something to take into account unless you liken spending time getting things fixed all the time.
But there’s more to this TT than a decent bit of poke under the bonnet.
Up front, Laszlo has fitted a set of six-pots from a Porsche 996. These big brakes required adapting to fit, but do an admirable job of stopping the little TT. With four pots at the rear and Ferodo DS pads, this thing scrubs off speed with aplomb.
One area that any TT will benefit from upgrades is the chassis. In stock trim they’re quite soft feeling and set up for a neutral handling – as you’d expect. But with some tweaks, you can transform them. With a full complement of Powerflex bushes, the chassis and steering components now feel reassuringly tight, which translates into a much more positive feel to the steering and general handling. Bushes may not be the sexiest of upgrades, but they really do make a huge difference – especially on an older car, where the stock items are likely to be worn. With uprated anti-roll bars, the chassis is well set for hard use.
One thing you can’t miss is the rather wide wheels. The 18in Japan Racing alloys are a huge 10.5 wide, which is why a set of, what the Americans like to call “overfenders” have been fitted. Some will love them others not so much, but you can’t deny they give this little TT serious road presence.
A V6 TT front bumper has also been fitted together with the rear bumper insert, which looks much fresher. There’s also a V6 rear wing.
Inside, Laszlo has really gone to town. The bucket seats have been trimmed in leather with yellow stitching with cheeky R8 logos. The R8 theme continues with the steering wheel and gearknob, complete with open gate.
So there we have it. A Mk1 TT with an aggressive, OEM+ look, that’s also packing a nice punch thanks to the engine tuning – with the potential for a lot more should he wish to increase the boost and maybe fit a larger turbo.
Top: Rear seats have been removed Below: 1.8T is forged and runs a GT2871.
SPECIFICATION #Audi-TT-225 / #Audi-TT-8N / #Audi-TT / #Audi / #Audi-TT-Quattro / #Audi-TT-Quattro-8N / #Audi / #Quattro / #Garrett / #Garrett-GT2871 /
Engine 1.8 20v turbo, Turbotuning shop rebuilt with #Eagle rods, #Mahle pistons, stronger bearings, low compression with rebuilt head, #Rothe turbo manifold, GT2871 Garrett turbocharger, 76mm exhaust system, custom exhaust with 90mm tips, custom intake, #Ramair filter, #HG-Motorsport intercooler 12-row #Motec oil cooler, F#orge BOV and boost controller, 630cc injectors, Walbro fuel pump
Transmission 6-speed manual, stronger clutch with Kevlar disc, #Torsen rear diff
Power 352hp and 531Nm at 1.5bar
Brakes Porsche 996 fronts with 6-piston calipers, 4 piston rears, Ferodo DS pads and braided lines
Suspension Custom rear control arms (GL), #Powerflex bushings all around, GL front strut bearing without damping, custom ARBs, #Eibach spacers, wheel bearings converted to studs, #Sachs dampers, custom air-ride setup with Viair compressor and #Airlift-Autopilot - #Air-Lift-V2 (tuned by #Fakukac )
Wheels 10.5x18in #Japan-Racing-JR-11 wheels with 255/35 tyres
Exterior V6 TT front bumper and rear insert, SEAT Cupra front lip, V6 TT rear wing, #EPMAN Racing bumper mount, Porsche green mirror housings, custom arch flares made up from Nissan SX kit
Interior Bimarco bucket seats with Porsche-style leather upholstery and stitching, custom rear seat delete and crossbar, R8 steering wheel and gear knob, custom open gate, Osir gauge holder, Defi Stepmaster gauges, Porsche green details
Left: Porsche 6-pots Below: R8 open gate gear lever.
Right: R8 themed interior Below: R8 wheel and gearknob.
“The TT made a very handy 352bhp and 531Nm”Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationSPORT QUATTRO REP GET SHORTY Slick #SWB rep packs 509bhp / Stunning, 500bhp replica
This Lamborghini-coloured Sport #Quattro #replica has been transformed from rough and ready into a 509bhp, road-legal track toy.
Celebrated automotive restoration and tuning outfit, Retropower, has long been recognised as a force for good that takes on projects that start with tired, broken and rotting vintage vehicles and end with glistening, modified and mechanically sound high-horsepower masterpieces. Needless to say, we were excited to hear that the latest fettled fourwheeler to roll out of the company’s Leicestershire workshop is wearing an Audi badge.
The car in question is a #1983 quattro that at some point in the past had been subjected to short-wheel base chassis remodelling by renowned #Audi specialists, #Dialynx-Performance. The Swindonbased firm has been a supplier of aftermarket tuning components for turbocharged Audis since its inception in 1988, but Dialynx is perhaps best known for its many Sport quattro conversions.
Developed for #Group-B rallying in the mid 1980s, the Sport quattro featured an all-alloy 2.1-litre 20-valve engine sat inside a lightweight body shell comprising carbon-Kevlar panels and a windscreen rake borrowed from the Audi 80. In order to get rid much of the bulk that the manufacturer deemed to be an obstacle when competing against the rally-ready chariots of rival car makers, the Sport’s chassis was made considerably shorter than that of the ‘regular’ wheelbase rally quattro that preceded it. This ditching of metal delivered reduced understeer, more responsive handling and quicker turning, while the large body panels allowed for the use of bigger wheels and an increased track width.
A couple of hundred road-going Sport quattros were produced for homologation purposes, but buying one today will set you back a serious amount of dosh (over £100k), not to mention the horror of the associated running costs. This is where Dialynx Performance steps in – the company has transformed many factory quattros into Sport replicas over the years, resulting in what is claimed to be a car that is virtually indistinguishable from the model that it mimics.
Furthermore, Dialynx says that its replicas offer lucky owners tameable levels of performance as opposed to the uncompromising aggression produced by genuine Group B belters.
“I’m led to believe that the Audi that made its way into our workshop was the third quattro that Dialynx had converted to Sport spec,” recalls Retropower co-founder, Callum Seviour. “Sadly, time hadn’t been kind to the car, and we discovered a huge amount of work that needed to be done in order to bring it back to its best,” he says. The striking body kit applied to the race-inspired rep was just one of many areas in need of attention. That said, a cosmetic overhaul was all that the car’s owner was prepared to commission until he could be sure that Retropower’s work was of a standard that he was happy with.
“I guess you could call it ‘testing the water’!” laughs Callum’s brother, Nat. “We stripped the car, treated it to new subframe mounting points, removed and replaced its roof, built a new supporting roof frame, double-skinned its chassis legs, restored its body panels and bonded the corrected wide-arch kit into place before covering every part in a coat of primer. We were about to follow up with a lick of sparkling grey lifted from the Lamborghini colour catalogue when the quattro’s owner signalled his approval for us to start a long list of mechanical upgrades!” he confirms.
Ordinarily, Retropower would take care of any spanner wizardry and/or fabrication work that needed to be carried out on one of its customer’s cars before tackling aesthetic updates, but the instruction that it was given with regard to the Audi forced the Seviour boys to work in an unorthodox manner. “The car’s owner was thrilled with the revitalised appearance of his ride,” continues Callum. “This gave us the green light to strip and rebuild the 2.2-litre ‘RR’ five-cylinder powerplant that sits beneath the vented bonnet up-front, although requested modifications that included a relocation of the engine’s cooling system and a boot-mounted dry sump kit forced us to cut away at metal that we’d only just prepared for paint!” he groans. Nevertheless, the 20-valve lump was carefully inspected before a period of planning that would transform it into an absolute monster. Not that the work involved in achieving such a feat was as easy as we might have made it sound...
The car’s inline-five had suffered severe mechanical failure at some point in the recent past following work that a third party had undertaken on behalf of the owner. Subsequently repaired under warranty, the revised nuts and bolts were supposed to be producing in excess of 500bhp, but the condition and performance of the engine that Retropower were asked to work with casts doubt over that figure. Indeed, a sump populated by metal particles, a cracked cylinder head, a weeping head gasket, worn bearings and a mismatched piston that was making contact with a valve face all pointed towards what can be politely labelled as a ‘bodge’, and that’s without mentioning the serious lack of grunt that the car was producing under load.
“We reground the engine’s billet crankshaft, machined all piston pockets so that they matched one another, and we sourced a new head before enlarging and smoothing its ports,” Callum tells us. As many original parts were retained as possible, with CNC polishing and restoration being employed to ensure the continued use of expensive equipment that was considered to be perfectly serviceable, while fuelling upgrades included twin Bosch high-flow pumps and 1000cc #ASNU-injectors .
A Wagner Tuning inlet manifold and a chunky #Garrett GT40 turbocharger were called upon to work alongside a side-exit stainless steel exhaust system in the airflow department. Routing of the custom pipework demanded significant modifying of the Audi’s floor. Further metalwork involved the creation of a custom rear bulkhead and channelling for water pipes that travel the length of the car and back now that its cooling and lubrication systems sit in its boot space.
A roll cage was already present, but door bars and diagonals were literally left hanging. “We were shocked to see that such an important safety device was so poorly fitted inside the car!” gasps Callum. “To counter this worrying discovery, we fabricated a comprehensive multi-point cage that travels through the dashboard, triangulates and attaches itself to key structural components throughout the chassis,” he explains.
Talking of which, suspension and braking upgrades were already evident in the form of modified struts (to allow for coilovers) and braces, Koni damper inserts and Tarox six-pot stoppers, yet the Retropower touch bettered these key features thanks to the appointment of SuperPro polybushes and a Wilwood pedal box. The latter inhabits a cabin that also boasts Recaro Pole Position buckets, a flocked dash, Stack gauges and an SPA KitDash that occupies space once reserved for standard quattro clocks.
Even though the completed car is used as a track toy, it remains road legal. This surprising fact meant that its owner wanted a show-quality finish to what is essentially a motorsport body kit. To that end, masses of effort went into filling and block-sanding what would otherwise be “ripply” panels before the Lambo paint was finally splashed across the flawless build.
Azev A wheels coated in a similar shade were already in place when the Audi arrived at the Retropower workshop, unlike this awesome VAG machine’s current power output. “I’m delighted to be able to say that the car is now producing over 500bhp following the huge amount of time and effort that my team has spent on the project,” beams Callum. He’s being typically modest; despite a dyno printout displaying an impressive 509bhp and 410lb per foot of torque (delivered by a custom map on a MoTeC M48 ECU), this fantastic four-wheel drive pocket rocket has the potential to knock on the door of 600bhp if its owner ever fancies investing in a transmission upgrade.
In the meantime, running a powerful engine well below its top end abilities should result in a safe, reliable delivery of ponies both on and off the track. Retropower, we salute you!
SPECIFICATION #Audi-Sport-Quattro-replica / #Audi-Sport-quattro / #Audi-Quattro / #Audi / #MoTeC-M48 / #Motec / #MoTec-ECU
Engine: 2.2-litre I5 20-valve DOHC ‘RR’, steel crankshaft, forged connecting rods and pistons, enlarged and smoothed cylinder head ports, combustion chambers reshaped and cc matched, standard camshafts, standard valvetrain, custom dry sump system, dry sump located in boot, radiator and twin slimline fans relocated to boot space, electric water pump and controller, #ASH silicone hoses and tubes, twin #Bosch-044 fuel pumps, #ASNU 1000cc fuel injectors, alloy fuel cell, MoTeC M48 ECU with single-channel capacitor discharge ignition, #Wagner-Tuning inlet manifold, #Garrett-GT40 turbocharger, custom side-exit exhaust system, #Varley race battery, custom wiring loom.
Performance: 509bhp @ 7050rpm, 410lb/ft torque @ 5800rpm
Transmission: Standard quattro five-speed manual gearbox, quick shifter
Suspension: Standard struts modified with coilover conversion for adjustable ride height, Koni damper inserts, SuperPro polybushes throughout
Brakes: Tarox six-piston front calipers, Audi RS4 rear calipers, Sport quattro discs, Ferodo DS3000 pads, Wilwood pendulum bias pedal box
Wheels: 8x16in #Azev A five-spokes, Toyo Proxes R888 225/45x16 tyres
Exterior: #Dialynx-Performance shortened quattro shell, replica Sport quattro enlarged body kit, modified floor for exhaust and coolant pipes, full respray in Lamborghini Grigio Estoque
Interior: Fully stripped, #Recaro-Pole-Position bucket seats, custom multi-point roll cage, fuel and oil lines throughout cabin, electro-hydraulic power steering pump positioned behind driver seat, battery positioned behind passenger seat, flocked dashboard, SPA KitDash, electric water pump ECU mounted on dashboard, aluminium false front floor panels, all new wiring, steering column stalk deletion, custom switch panel, Stack gauges, start button and kill switches
Thanks: Callum and the team at Retropower www.retropower.co.uk
Top: Moody front end shot.
Above: Flocked interior and lots of custom switches Below: Looks fantastic side-on.
Above: That iconic front end Right: the 5-cylinder powerhouse Below: It’s all in the details.
Above: Bumper cut out for air flow.
Below: Slimlime rads moved to the boot.
“We sourced a new head before enlarging and smoothing its ports”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 moderationUltimate Sleeper 668bhp S2-engined 90 quattro. Words and Photography Davy Lewis. 80s Revival With the help of a 668bhp S2 engine, this rare #1986 Audi 90 has been brought slap bang into the 21st century. AUDI 90 668bhp S2-engined sleeper.
At first glance, this may look like a fairly stock and well used Audi 90. This in itself is worthy of attention as there are very few of these mid-’80s saloons left. It’s also a quattro, which makes it even more of a find. The simple, boxy design is everything you’d expect from a 30-year old car – it has the original paintwork and that distinctive smell that only an old car can have. But look more closely and all is not as it seems. The clues are there: the Aerocatches on the bonnet; the motorsport style wheels and those sticky Toyo R888 semi-slicks. But it isn’t until you see the engine that you realise just how special this thing is.
Lift the bonnet and you’re greeted by a fantastic looking 2.2 5-cylinder 20v lump complete with big turbo. These saloons may have originally come with a 2.2 unit but, the normally aspirated KV lump made a lowly 136bhp. This one produces 668bhp. This is actually an S2 3B engine, and to say that it’s been tuned is an understatement. Will from VRS Northampton has completely transformed this 5-cylinder unit to create a big-power, but highly usable car that fits Stuart’s Elliott’s driving style.
Stuart takes up the story, “I’ve loved Audis since my dad had them,” he recalls. He had a 100, then a 90, before getting a 90 quattro, which I learnt to drive in,” he says with a big grin.
While his mates were driving old Mk2 Escorts, he had the keys to the quattro, which must have really been something back then. Fast forward 20-odd years and Stuart was in a position to relive his youth. “I was working offshore and stared looking on eBay for 90 quattros,’ he says. “I found one that had already had the S3 3B engine conversion – it looked a bit rough and had a stock gearbox, brakes and suspension but, I put a bid in.”
Being six hours ahead he won the car and called his dad to go and pick it up for him. We all know eBay purchases can bite you on the arse, but the car was as described. It was also well known on the S2 forum, so there was a wealth of info available. “I came home and drove it for 100 miles or so just to see what it needed,” says Stuart. “It was running about 280bhp, but with stock brakes and suspension, that wasn’t a good thing,” he laughs.
Having decided the car deserved some proper love, it was sent to a company who ‘talked the talk’ for some renovation and tuning work. Sadly it then sat there for a year and made no progress. Having bought an uprated radiator from Will at VRS Northampton, Stuart told him about his predicament and Will told him to bring it to him. That was the best decision Stuart could have made.
VRS has a great reputation for building some of the most capable VAGs in the UK. Main man, Will, takes real pride in each car and this 90 became a true labour of love.
“We decided to start from the arse-end and work forward to see what needed doing,” says Stuart. “I’d already had some welding done to the offside rear arch and the fuel pump area,” so the upgrades could begin.
“The plan was to create a quick road car with 500-600bhp that looked stock, but could have a go at Porsche 911s and the like,” smiles Stuart.
To say he’s nailed it is an understatement. In fact, I can’t think of many other cars that offer such ballistic performance, all wrapped up in such an innocent looking package.
The heart of this ’80s powerhouse is the S2 engine. It was actually fitted by a previous owner, but has been completely reworked by VRS. You can see the full details in the spec panel at the end of the feature, but the highlights include a fully forged bottom end, beefy GTX3576 turbo, huge 1100cc injectors and a feature packed MoTec ECU mapped by the legend that is, Dave Rowe, from EPS. “There are nine boost settings,” says Stuart. “One to six are for regular super unleaded pump fuel; while seven to nine have advanced timing to allow race fuel to be used.” With nine different maps, there’s something for every situation, making this a very usable and drivable car. “You can just do 30mph with no bother,” says Stuart “and it’ll cruise in sixth on the motorway fine – you don’t get out of it with a headache!” But when you do want to drop the hammer, this 5-cylinder monster delivers a huge punch. Stuart continues, “Using it in the gears it’s savage – in third gear acceleration is brutal and it’ll hit 100mph plus (on a private road of course). A powerful engine is one thing, but unless you can get that power down, it’ll never make for a truly fast car. Fortunately, the chassis and drivetrain has been suitably beefed up to cope with all 668bhp.
To transfer the power to the road, a B5 RS4 gearbox has been fitted. Mated to a VRS Northampton-spec 6-paddle clutch and flywheel, this thing properly hooks up and goes. With launch control and Toyo R888 rubber, acceleration is mind blowing. On many shoots it’s hard to get a feel for how a car actually performs, but as we’re at Santa Pod for the GTI Festival, I get to watch Stuart take it down the strip.
Before Stuart hits the quarter-mile, he spends a few minutes prepping the car. By prepping, I mean removing seats. The rear bench is taken out, followed by the passenger leather Recaro. Incidentally, the front seats are from an RS2 and as Stuart says, “weigh a bloody ton!”
He’s the first to admit he launches it sympathetically, but once it gets into its stride, this thing is quick. A few runs in the high 11s are respectable but, we all know there’s more to come. After a quick chat with Will from VRS, Stuart uses launch control and nails an 11.1sec pass. Impressive stuff – more so when you consider he then drove over 200 miles home afterwards. With some more practice, and an aggressive launch, this thing has the potential to dip into the 10s – seriously impressive for a full road car.
As he waits in the queue for his next run, Stuart spots a very tidy looking Ur-quattro and stops to chat to the owner. It turns out they know all the same people from the quattro Sport and S2 forums and spend a good 20 minutes chatting about their plans. Before long there’s a small crowd of onlookers. Seeing these two cars together is a rare treat; from middle-aged guys who owned one back in the day, to younger fellas that have been seduced by the iconic lines – everyone loves these ’80s treasures.
The chassis has seen some extensive work to create something with contemporary handling. There are no off-the-shelf coilovers available for these things, so rather than go to the trouble and expense of having a bespoke set created, Stuart fitted S2 subframes. These allowed the well respected KW Variant 3s to be added. With two-degrees of negative camber, the turn in is crisp and sharp, making the already capable quattro handle amazingly well.
The paintwork is best described as original. It has a certain patina that adds to the overall character of this car. There’s the odd mark and rust spot, but it’s authentic. Plus this saloon gets used. Hard. Although Stuart is planning to have a few bits tidied, it’ll remain original. “It still had the tow bar on until two weeks ago!” he reveals, “I only removed it cos it weighs 20kg.” Talking of weight, the kerb weight on this thing is just 1200kg. That gives a power to weight ratio of 556bhp per ton, that’s better than a Ferrari 458 and a McLaren F1.
So what’s next for this 1980s sleeper? Well, after five years in build, Stuart plans to use it as much as he can. That means more quarter-mile runs, some track days and plenty of cross country runs on the road. “I’m going to have the leather removed from the front seats too,”says Stuart. “I’m not a fan of leather, plus these things get hot inside,” he laughs. With some tweed cloth to match the rears, this Audi 90 will look even more period correct, further cementing its status as one of the UK’s finest sleepers.
It’s so good to see a car like this being kept alive, but more than that, being given a new lease of life thanks to modern tuning upgrades to create an absolute weapon.
SPECIFICATION #Audi-90-Saloon / #1986 / #Audi-S2-3B / #Audi-90 / #Audi-90-B2 / #Audi-Typ-81 / #Audi-Typ-85 / #VAG / #Audi-80-B2 / #Audi-80 / #Quattro /
Engine S2 3B 2.2 20v turbo, overbored 0.5mm, #Mahle pistons, forged steel rods, ported cylinder head, VRS-spec cams, stock valves with 5 angle seats, #ARP head bolts with sport #Quattro washers, VRS custom fuel injector rail, #ASNU 1100cc injectors, Audi 7A cam cover machined to accept B7 RS4 coil packs, ARP studs and nuts, #Wagner inlet and exhaust manifolds, #Turbosmart 50mm wastegate, 4-port boost control, #GTX3576 turbo with 0.82 housing, #VRS custom stepped ‘L-shaped intercooler with lightweight core, Turbosmart BO V, #CatCams vernier pulley, motorsport kit sensors – fuel, oil, 4 bar map sensor, custom 65mm core rad, Kenlow fan, custom heat shielding, carbon/Kevlar cam pulley cover, custom VRS 3in exhaust and downpipe, 19 row #Setrab oil cooler, #Aeroquip fittings, VRS custom breather tank, #Motec-M84 SLM shift light, #MoTec-M84 ECU / #Motec , custom loom, mapped by Dave Rowe from #EPS-Motorsport , 9 position adjustable boost, launch control, 2 stage anti-lag, full logging facility, custom VRS strut brace
Power 668bhp and 519lb/ft DIN (tested)
Transmission 6-speed B5 RS4 gearbox, VRS-spec 6-paddle clutch and flywheel, 16-row Mocal gearbox cooler just in front of drivers rear wheel
Brakes Brembo custom calipers with 314mm discs (front), vented S8 mix rears
Suspension KW Variant 3 coilovers, S2 Coupe ABY subframes front and rear, Powerflex bushes, 2-degrees negative camber
Wheels and Tyres Compomotive TH with Toyo R888 tyres
Interior Leather RS2 Recaros up front, OMP dished suede steering wheel, SLM shiftlight, boost gauge, controls for launch control and anti-lag built into centre console, battery relocated to boot, fire extinguisher
Exterior 1985 4-door Audi 90 saloon, Aerocatches on bonnet, front slam panel modified to fit intercooler, original paintwork
Contacts/thanks Will at VRS Northampton www.vrsnorthampton.com, Dave Rowe at #EPS-Motorsport
www.epsmotorsport.com, my missus, my mum and dad, S2 and Classic Audi forums
Top: Stuart on his way to an 11.1sec quarter.
“It still had the tow bar until two weeks ago!”
Left: Interior includes RS2 seats Above right: 668bhp S2 power house Below: Classic ’80s profile.
Far right top to bottom: #MoTec-ECU in glovebox; gauges and controls for LC and ALS.
“Using it in the gears it’s savage – in third gear, acceleration is brutal”
POWER TO WEIGHT
To appreciate just how fast this Audi 90 is, have a look at these power to weight comparisons. With up to 500kg less to pull around, but similar power, the 90 would be at a huge advantage over these £100k plus supercars...
2016 Porsche 911 Turbo S 991.........................344bhp per ton
2016 Ferrari 458 Speciale..........................470bhp per ton
1992 McLaren F1.......................................550bhp per ton
1986 Stuart’s Audi 90.................................556bhp per tonStream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- 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 moderationHARD EIGHT #BMW-140i-E81
Where Time Attack is concerned it’s pretty much a case of anything goes, and this S65 V8 1 Series is quite the beast.
Jonas Larsson’s home-built #BMW-140i is a serious piece of kit. It retains the Pixar grin of the 1 Series’ face but don’t let that fool you – this car is very angry indeed. Words: Daniel Bevis /// Photos: Hjalmar van Hoek
Motor racing is a complicated thing. If you want to build a fast car and then pit it against other fast cars on track, it’s not just a case of nailing the thing together, getting your race licence and then showing up on the day with a helmet in your bag and eagerness in your heart. There are rules and regulations to be adhered to; strict mandates that ensure safety, parity, fairness, the appeasement of sponsors, all sorts… look at Formula One, for example.
In days of yore, there were all manner of chassis, engine and aero configurations battling on the same grid, but there’s a reason today’s F1 cars all look roughly the same and post roughly similar lap times at any given venue: the rules. Nose cones have to be a specific height. Exhaust outlets have to be a specific distance from diffusers. Race cars are built for individual race series – that’s why you don’t see Le Mans streamliners on the grid at Monaco or BTCC racers on rally special stages.
There is a notable exception, however. A race series in which the rules are effectively ‘build a fast car, then see if you can post a faster lap time than everybody else’. That series is Time Attack.
You’ve heard of it, right? But if you’re unfamiliar with the story behind the name, a quick history lesson: Time Attack grew from Japanese circuit racers of the 1960s, that were built to celebrate the art of the aftermarket tuner; the doors were open to everyone from low-budget home-spannerers to big-bucks corporate showcases, with everyone racing on, as it were, a level playing field. This is very much the ethos of the series today. You just need to start with a production car as a project base, and then the tuning potential is limitless. Throw in a load of horsepower, tinker with the chassis and drivetrain, develop some custom aero, do whatever it takes to make the car as fast as it can physically be.
Time Attack today exists in numerous series across the globe, with competitors bracketed into various groups; ‘Clubman’, for instance, is a UK class for cars with basic modifications – roll-cages are merely ‘recommended’… the ladder climbs through ‘Club Challenge’, ‘Club Pro’, ‘Pro’ and ‘Pro Extreme’, with the cars getting incrementally madder as you go. In essence, then, Time Attack is the dream series for aftermarket tuners. You can do pretty much what you like to the car without having to worry about a governing body disqualifying you for running the wrong thickness of head gasket or a frowned-upon diameter of air intake.
It follows that cars built for this series tend to be somewhat on the bonkers side. Take a look at this 1 Series, for instance: it’s very wide, it’s squatting aggressively… oh, and there’s a V8 in there. Fun, huh? So, why a 1 Series? And specifically, why an E81? Sure, the 130i was pretty quick, but on the whole isn’t it a hatchback more suited to the school run and the supermarket car park? And this particular one rolled off the production line as a 116i – 120hp-odd and, in the eyes of the purists, a paucity of cylinders. What manner of lunacy is this?
Well, ‘lunacy’ is the key notion here, of course. “I’ve always liked the 1 Series,” says Jonas Larsson, the man behind the project. “I bought a 120d in #2006 and used it happily as a daily-driver. This 116i is a 2008 model that I bought in Germany back in 2011. It was in good condition when I bought it, but I knew all the way from the beginning that this was going to be a total rebuild into a full-on Nordic Time Attack car.” Having got the thing back to Sweden, that’s exactly what he set about doing, and there certainly weren’t going to be any half measures. What Jonas had in mind was to build a 140i and, as aficionados of Bavarian nomenclature may deduce, that involves replacing the asthmatic four-pot with an engine whose displacement figure begins with a four. Now, this isn’t just a case of a man being led to derangement by a contaminant in the Swedish water, or railing against the suppression of everyday horsepower by going off on an extreme modifying tangent – he has form with this sort of thing. “I’ve been interested in cars for as long as I can remember,” he explains, with the ease of a campfire cowboy reeling off his list of lassoing techniques. “I have had quite a few cars, from Alfa Romeos to a BMW M235i , most of them with small modifications… except my Porsche 968CS, which I built specifically for racing, and I drove in the Porsche Sports Cup.” So none of this should be too much of a surprise. But we were talking about that engine, weren’t we?
“My plan from the beginning was to fit an E92 M3 engine,” Jonas states matter-offactly, as if that’s a perfectly normal thing to say. This is a motor, remember, that offers a meaty 4.0-litres of displacement from its bent-eight configuration, with the bald figure in its native 3 Series environment being well north of 400hp – rather a lot more than you’d expect from a 1 Series.
“I bought the engine from a scrapyard,” he says. “It was easy to fit the M3 engine in the 1 Series, as it uses the same fastening spots.” There you go then, a bit of inspiration for all you hatchback drivers out there. Sorry for saying you had a shopping car – find a written-off E92 and prove me wrong.
“At that point,” he continues, “I embarked upon a total tear-down to rebuild the thing from the ground up as a race car.”
He’s not kidding. The first thing you’d probably notice about Jonas’s 140i is that it’s quite wide. That, in fact, is something of an understatement – if you were to see this parked alongside a bone-stock 116i, you’d see just how much this car has ballooned in muscularity. Those obscenely broad wings and arches are made from carbon-fibre, employed both for its strength and its lightness, and they just about stretch over the 9.5”-wide #BBS M3 GT4 race wheels with their fat, sticky slicks. “The doors are carbon-fibre, too,” says Jonas. “And the bonnet, and the tailgate. And the doorcards and centre console inside. And the windows are Perspex. And…” Yes, well, you get the idea – he’s put quite a lot of effort into shearing off as many kilos as possible from this racy little brawler. If you think the idea of shoving an M3 V8 into a 116i is game for a laugh, imagine what’d happen if you stripped all the weight out as well. Hilarity, that’s what.
There are many other elements to consider in such a build, naturally, and the openness of Time Attack again proves its helpfulness when you start to pick over Jonas’ chassis. Lurking behind those racy BBS rims we find the brakes from that E92 donor at the rear, with even beefier PFC items up front clamping 378mm discs. The whole shooting match is suspended by a snappily-named setup from Intrax: the XXL Black Titan 1K2. This really is world-class stuff; Intrax is a Dutch suspension specialist who has as much of a hand in F1 development as it does in the street car aftermarket. The 1K2 is a strong, lightweight model with optimal cooling – ideal for racing, then – with a low-friction coating on the rods, as well as spring rate adjusters and ‘Anti-Roll Control’, which is frankly some sort of witchcraft that manages to combine road-car suppleness with race-spec retardation of lateral and longitudinal roll. How it does it is anyone’s guess. It acts as a metaphor for the whole car, really – extremely clever, with a sizeable dollop of ‘I’m sorry, how…?’
It goes without saying that the interior is suitably Stig-friendly, too. Shorn of all but the most necessary ingredients, the lightweight Sparco bucket is joined by a hardcore roll-cage from KBT Safety, the pure-white atmosphere being an oasis of calm that reflects the sobriety of the exterior hue, utterly belying the furious grunt of the V8. It really is a very surprising little car.
Arguably the coolest feature of this build, however, is how mental it isn’t. That’s right, isn’t. While it is indisputably a mad and rocket-up-the-bottom-ish creation, it stands rather soberly alongside the sort of thing that you find when you type ‘Time Attack’ into Google Images. There’s no bonnetmounted aerofoil here, no ankle-lacerating canards or aggressively hacked-out diffusers. That carbon-fibre bodywork is a work of art, and this is largely down to how it mimics the form of the original while upscaling it by 20% or so, rather than morphing it into some kind of spaceship. Aesthetically, less is more; mechanically, more is way more.
“Ayrton Senna is my idol,” Jonas deadpans, sounding like Kimi Räikkönen in his seriousness, “and my personal goal is simply ‘be faster’. As such, this car is always developing. Since the photoshoot I’ve fitted a bigger rear wing, and swapped out the M3 transmission for a Tractive six-speed sequential ’box. The Motec electrical system has been totally overhauled, too.” Blimey, he just can’t leave it alone, can he? This is exactly the sort of perfectionism and innovation that Time Attack encourages – obsessive enthusiasts relentlessly fiddling and honing to eke further tenths out of their pride-and-joy builds. Long may it continue.
DATA FILE #BMW-E81 / #BMW
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 4.0-litre V8 #S65B40 / #S65 , locked #Vanos , #Motec M84 ECU, 420hp+, E92 M3 #ZF-Type-G six-speed manual gearbox.
CHASSIS: 9.5x18” (front and rear) #BBS M3 GT4 wheels with 250/650 (front and rear) Yokohama slicks, #Intrax XXL Black Titan 1K2 coilovers with ‘Anti-Roll Control’, PFC 378mm front brakes, E92 M3 rear brakes, #AP-Racing air jacks.
EXTERIOR: Full carbon-fibre wide-body kit, carbonfibre doors, bonnet and tailgate, #Perspex windows, tailgate wing, race fuel filler.
INTERIOR: #Motec dash, #Sparco Circuit seat, Sparco steering wheel, #OBP pedalbox, #KBT Safety roll-cage, carbon-fibre doorcards and centre console.
THANKS: Köhler Racing, Daniel Hermansson, and my friends and family.
Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.