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    Be it road or track, Thorney Motorsport’s well-sorted and utterly furious E92 M3 will crush all-comers and all corners. Words: Elizabeth de Latour Photos: Matt Richardson.

    THORNEY E92 M3 Ferocious 455hp track beast.

    TARMAC TERRORIST Track-honed E92 M3

    Never pass up the opportunity to drive an E9x M3. Of course, we can’t imagine you would because when you’re presented with the keys to arguably one of BMW’s finest-ever M creations, you’d have to be silly not to. And in the case of Thorney Motorsport’s M3 it wasn’t a suggestion but rather an insistence that I see what the car is capable of and it would be downright rude to refuse such a generous offer. I return a little while later, slightly weak at the knees and feeling like I need a cigarette after the experience I just had. I don’t even smoke…

    Thorney Motorsport has been around for 16 years and eponymous owner John Thorne has been involved in the BMW game for as long as anyone can remember. The company did briefly take a hiatus to go racing and add fettling Vauxhalls to the its many talents before returning to its roots a few years ago and taking up the #BMW tuning mantle once more. Its certainly been busy since then as, aside from working on countless customer cars, it has produced a number of awesome demonstrators including a monstrous X5 M, F82 M4 that you’ll be able to read about in a future issue and the car we’re about to get under the skin of today, this magnificent E92 M3.

    This is Thorney’s second E92 M3 and represents the final stage of the company’s tried and tested development programme. When a new car is welcomed into the Thorney fold it first spends some time being driven so John and the team are able to really get to know it before stage one can begin. This is the road car development phase which can take up to two years, with numerous modifications and combinations of components being tested, refined and developed in-house in order to get the car and the modifications up to Thorney’s standards. The company’s previous car had undergone the fast road development process before it was sold and when John acquired this 2008 M3 it was specifically to develop and build it up into a track car.

    “There’s a big difference between a racing car and a track car,” he explains, “this specific car needs to be comfortable, road legal with an MoT and fun on the road but also track-focused, so it’s a more challenging build. Our principle is to take the best bits of the standard car and make them better, and make the bad bits less bad.”

    The end product is a car that, while still trackbiased, you can comfortably drive on the road. It excels in both disciplines. “The whole car,” John continues, “has been inspired by the E92 M3 GTS but we’ve made it better.” That might seem like a bold statement, but having the GTS as a template meant that the Thorney team knew what it needed to do to surpass the BMW-built track special and that’s exactly what it’s done.

    Obviously, if you’re building a track car it’s got to have plenty of power, and the M3 certainly isn’t short on that front. On a high compression, naturally aspirated engine you’re always going to struggle to get big gains but, where the GTS had an engine capacity increase up to 4.4-litres to make 450hp, the Thorney M3 makes a dynoproven 455hp from the stock displacement. It also develops 40lb ft more torque than stock with 360lb ft on tap, a significant gain and Thorney has worked to overcome the S65’s lack of low-end torque. The secret to its success is a custom, larger capacity carbon fibre intake plenum, a custom map designed for low-end gains and a Thorney 3” bore exhaust, designed in-house, which John says is perfect for the rev-hungry V8, with one set of silencers and repeaters, enough to pass all track noise tests with minimal exhaust flow restriction, finished off with carbon tips.

    “When it comes to building a track car the three most important areas are handling, brakes and seats,” explains John and as a result of that everything on board this M3 has been fitted to make it stop harder and handle better. Nothing fitted to this car is a frivolity and nothing has been left to chance, these mods have been carried out because they work. The wheels are Team Dynamics Pro Race 1.2s: “Bulletproof,” says John, “very light and very strong. We run 18s as the E9x handles much better on smaller wheels and it’s the same size that the GT4 uses. We generally prefer to run a square setup but the car is currently on 10s and 11s front and rear with Toyo R888 RR tyres.” That wide rubber means monster grip and traction but that’s not all, it’s backed up by a race-proven aerodynamic package. “The front splitter and adjustable rear wing are both from the GT4; we found that these consistently work well and are genuine motorsport parts. The only difference here is that the GT4 spoiler uses thinner steel upright and this version has thicker alloy ones.”

    When it came to suspension, there was only one option as far as John was concerned: “We always work with Bilstein. It’s the most consistent, the best on warranty, it offers excellent support and the R&D process is open enough to listen to suggestions and work with us. We developed the Bilstein Club Sport kit in conjunction with Bilstein, and the one fitted to this car was the first kit in the UK. What sets it apart is that it’s been tuned for UK roads and circuits, which are smoother than the ’Ring, so we can run a stiffer setup, and the dampers are matched to H&R springs.

    “For the brakes,” he continues, “we went for Performance Friction discs, bells and pads with our own in-house braided hoses with race fluid. This setup performs very well. It’s 85% of a big brake kit for a third of the cost, with everything coming to £1800 fitted. So far we’ve not found anyone who can out-brake us on track with a BBK.”

    While the interior has been lightened to a degree, it’s not the bare, barren, stripped-out environment you might be expecting. “We have stripped some weight out; the rear seats have been removed and the area has been custom-trimmed but it’s not been stripped and gutted because while it is a fun car that’s been designed for the track it can still go on the road so we wanted to retain a degree of comfort. In a track car, harnesses will save your life and decent seats mean you won’t be holding on for dear life when you’re cornering. We went with Cobra for both of these, with an Ultralite motorsport seat for the driver and a Nogaro sport seat for the passenger. We had to re-engineer the whole seats to make them fit and designed our own mounts. We also fitted our own design of half cage, which was inspired by the GTS, but where the GTS cage weighs 70kg, ours is custommade from T45 steel and weighs just 21kg.”


    It’s an insanely comprehensive build and while we don’t have a track to hand, I still can’t wait to see how this build feels out on the road. The serious-looking Cobra Ultralite driver’s seat is a little snug for a slightly broader-hipped lady such as myself but hey, at least it means I won’t be going anywhere through the corners. Mercifully there are no harnesses to faff about with for the road either, and the view from where I’m sitting is ordinary, with the stock M3 steering wheel and gear knob having been retained.

    The V8 fires with a brrraap and settles into that familiar, busy idle, but with the volume turned up a few notches. It’s loud, and sounds lush, but even with this minimally silenced track arrangement it’s not obnoxious. These first few minutes of normality do lull you into a false sense of security, though, because the minute I get out onto the road and go for the throttle, all hell breaks loose. The Thorney M3 feels apocalyptically fast and while the on-paper figures might not seem all that impressive, it’s the combination of that huge gain in torque and low-end response along with the improved top-end breathing that makes it so much faster. The mid-range performance is now utterly explosive and, where you’d normally find yourself wringing the V8 out all the way to the redline to eke out every last drop of performance, I actually find myself short shifting well before the redline a couple of times as the newfound response and sheer punch of the engine lower down the rev range means that you can make indecently rapid progress without even having to try. Wind the engine all the way out, though, and the relentless acceleration is astonishing. The S65 is doing its exponential power delivery party trick but now there’s a whole lot more fireworks involved and the top end is, frankly, just a little obscene.


    The brakes are phenomenal and I can’t imagine a BBK delivering significantly better braking performance than this setup does, the pedal remaining firm and the brakes biting hard corner after corner. But, more impressive than any of that, is the way this M3 changes direction and the way it rides. John said that on a track with warm tyres this car would not understeer, but out on the road and pushing hard it absolutely refuses to let go from either end. Turn-in is instant, there’s no pause as the chassis catches up with your steering input. It responds immediately to every single adjustment you make and its cornering performance and ability are mesmerising. I’m instantly grateful for the snug-fitting seat as it makes such a difference to how hard you can push. The ride is also sublime, with the 18s soaking up the worst of the road surface through those generously-sized sidewalls, while the suspension keeps the car so incredibly planted it’s breathtaking. It feels like it’s physically attached to the road surface and is so incredibly controlled over every dip and undulation. I’ve driven a lot of different E9x M3s on a lot of different roads but this might just be one of the best driving experiences I’ve ever had and having to stop and hand back the keys was genuinely upsetting.

    Considering just how much equipment this car boasts the price is possibly the most impressive thing about it; John says that to do everything on this car would cost about £12,000 – that’s the lightweight cage, the full exhaust system, the Bilstein Clubsports, the seats, everything. Cherry pick only what you really want and you could come away with a very capable track car that’s still happy on the road for less than that and, with E9x M3 prices continuing to fall, if you’re serious about track driving then it would be a tempting prospect.

    It’s relatively easy to make the E9x M3 go faster, stop harder or handle better but to elevate an already capable car to another level of ability and to make such huge improvements across the board, to hone every aspect of the car’s character to the Nth degree, is impressive and exactly what Thorney has achieved.

    “So far we’ve not found anyone who can out-break us on track with a BBK”

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #Thorney-Motorsport / #BMW-E92 / #BMW-M3 / #Team-Dynamics / #BMW-M3-E92 / #BMW-M3-Team-Dynamics / #BMW-M3-Team-Dynamics-E92 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E92 / #BMW-3-Series-M3 / #BMW-3-Series-M3-E92

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.0-litre #V8 / #S65B40 / #S65 / #BMW-S65 / , #TMS carbon induction kit, TMS stage three ECU custom map, TMS 3” custom built mandrel bent full exhaust system, FIA race cats, carbon fibre quad tail trims. Six-speed manual gearbox

    CHASSIS 10x18” (front) and 11x18” (rear) #Team-Dynamics-Pro-Race-1.2 wheels with 265/35 (front) and 295/30 (rear) Toyo R888 RR tyres, #Bilstein Clubsport kit with #H&R springs, #Performance-Friction discs and bells (front), Performance Friction PF11 pads (front and rear), TMS braided brake lines (front and rear)

    EXTERIOR BMW GT4 rear wing, BMW GT4 front splitter

    INTERIOR TMS GTS custom built bolt-in rear cage, TMS front race seats, TMS five-point harness, rear seats removed and interior retrimmed

    “Our principle is to take the best bits of the standard car and make them better”
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    MILITARY PRECISION

    This E46 M3, finished in lush Mora metallic, combines killer looks with stunning attention to detail. With tough looks and some choice mods, this tasty E46 M3 is a fighting fit performance machine. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Sunny Ryait.

    The E46 M3 is an incredibly versatile machine when it comes to modifying. Just a few well-thought- out additions can make its already handsome looks even better, as demonstrated by this one for example. It belongs to Steve Smith, Captain Steve Smith, who has created a magnificent machine executed with the sort of precision and attention to detail that you’d expect from a military man.

    If you’re a car show regular then you’ll no doubt have seen Steve’s purple monster about, as this is one E46 M3 that most definitely gets to go and play whenever it gets the chance. With its striking Mora metallic paintwork and exceptional engine bay, it’s not a car that can slip by unnoticed, that’s for sure. It has been quite a journey getting it to this stage with Steve, by his own admission, taking a few wrong turns along the way. However, it’s all been worthwhile as the finished article is very nice indeed.

    “My first BMW was a mint 1502 that I swapped a Hilman Super Minx for with my brother,” says Steve. “However, this was before they became cool. After that I had an E30 325i, an E34 525td and an E36 326i Sport. But the E46 M3 was the car I always wanted and I finally bought one, a lowmileage, high-spec car, six years ago. In my eyes the E46 M3 was perfect and didn’t need changing at all, however that didn’t last long. I’ve always messed around with cars, upgrading the stereo systems, changing the suspension and changing the alloys.” It was inevitable that he wouldn’t be able to leave the E46 M3 alone.

    As befits an M car, the E46 M3 has an absolute masterpiece of an engine, which is really no surprise considering where it comes from, but even an engine as mighty as the S54 can be made that bit mightier. Steve’s engine bay is an awesome sight to behold. There’s a lot to like here, including the fact that he’s truly embraced the Mora metallic and gone to town on the underbonnet colour-coding.

    We should probably have a chat about the underside of the bonnet first, before we even begin talking about the engine, and that’s because it’s got Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader having a scrap on it. Obviously. “At this stage the main engine bay modifications were all done by Dips at Custom Cars. It’s great having a good friend like Dips. I have an idea and just give it to him and he knows how to make it happen. I wanted something on the underside of the bonnet, so after he carried out a lot of cutting, grinding and sealing he then sprayed a Star Wars scene on there for me. All the rest of the main components have been colour-coded in #BMW Mora metallic.” It looks fantastic for it, too, that rich, dark purple really adding an extra visual dimension to the engine bay. It also helps that Steve keeps his engine bay unfeasibly clean.

    It’s not just a good-looking engine bay, though, as there are performance mods lurking in here, too. The engine has been treated to an Alpha-N map along with Vanos mapping and the secondary air pump has been deleted. Steve’s also carried out a resonator delete on the exhaust system and the whole lot is finished off with a Scorpion back box, a combination that gives the E46 M3 a meatier soundtrack than stock, eliminating the rasp that so many owners dislike. Steve has also tweaked the SMG gearbox, adding the rev blip function from the CSL to enhance the driving experience.

    From the moment you encounter Steve’s M3 it’s clear that this is a particularly beefy car. It looks really muscular and purposeful and that’s a result of the perfect combination of wheels, stance and styling. “I like modifications that are different to others and get people talking,” explains Steve. “Some like them, some hate them; however that’s their prerogative. The styling has also gone through various phases. The end result that I wanted was a smoothed-out look that, when you start looking around the car, you keep finding more little touches. The front splitter is a one-off carbon piece that has now been smoothed with a set of Hamann foglight covers into the bumper. The bonnet and boot have been de-badged and I’ve added ACS wing mirrors and an ACS-style rear diffuser. The boot has been totally smoothed with a tubbed CSL type lid. This started life as an OEM boot then Dips got creative and now it is actually three bootlids in one!”

    That front bumper plays a big part in giving the car a square-jawed, road-filling look, the perfectly blended lip dropping the bumper even lower to the ground and giving it a Tarmac-skimming front.

    At the back, the work on the bootlid has really paid off as it finishes off the rear end a treat, the CSL lip definitely giving the M3 a more aggressive look while the shortened numberplate recess is much cleaner. The ACS-style diffuser is very subtle, as are the Scorpion pipes, but the two go together perfectly, the former adding an extra element to the bumper while the latter looks just that little more serious than the standard exhaust pipes do.

    Currently the car is sitting on a set of HSD DT coilovers. Steve’s reason for choosing these was simple: “You can really wind them down low and they still give you some ride quality.” And he’s done just that, dropping the M3 low over those gorgeous RH splits, which fill the pumped-up arches perfectly. “Since I’ve had the car it’s gone through about five sets of wheels. The ones that I really wanted were a set of 18” Hartges. However, finding a set for sale at a reasonable price is impossible. In the end I managed to get a set of RH XD threepiece splits, 8.5” ET36 up front and 11” ET17 at the back. I think that they suit the car’s shape really well.” He’s right, the classic design is a timeless one that works really well on the E46 M3. You really can’t go wrong with three-piece splits rocking polished lips and some delicious dish.

    The interior has not been forgotten about, undergoing quite a transformation from how it looked when standard. “The interior used to be black Nappa leather. I wanted to freshen it up but still wanted the comfort of the car so I went for a Champagne interior. Elite Detail re-connolised and conditioned the leather then a Storm gear selector and a steering wheel retrim and gloss black trim finished it off,” says Steve. The Champagne leather is the perfect choice of colour to go with the Mora exterior and the combination of light-coloured hide and gloss black trim plus Mora detailing, like the steering wheel badge and multifunction panel, is really spot-on.

    But we’re not done yet as Steve is clearly a fan of big sounds and this car’s packing a suitably serious audio install. Up front there’s an Alpine TME-M740BT monitor with an Alpine VPA-B222R hub hooked up to an Alpine Intravee with Rainbow SL165 component speakers. It’s in the boot where things really get serious as there’s a hefty install packing no less than three JBL GTO1214 subs and JBL GTO 1401 and 14001 amps.

    Steve’s E46 is a cracking machine that looks great thanks to the carefully crafted styling additions, those killer wheels and the distinct colour. However Steve’s not done with it yet. “I’ve spent about five years building it up so far but I’ve got some big changes planned for the future. However they are under wraps at the moment. As for other cars, nothing really interests me out there at the moment and I could never sell the M3.” This comes as no surprise to hear. From the sound of things, both Steve and his M3 are going to be regular fixtures at car shows for many years to come, which is most definitely a good thing.

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #BMW-E46 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E46 / #S54B32 / #BMW-S54 / #S54 / #SMG-II / #SMG / #BMW-M3-SMG-II / #BMW-M3-SMG / #BMW-M3-SMG-II-E46 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E46 / #BMW-3-Series-E46 /

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 , Alpha N map, secondary air pump delete, #VANOS mapping, OEM exhaust centre section with resonator delete, #Scorpion back box, six-speed SMG II gearbox, CSL SMG rev blip function

    CHASSIS 8.5x18” ET36 (front) and 11x18 ET17 (rear) RH XD three-piece splits with polished lips and 225/40 (front) and 255/35 (rear) Continental tyres, HSD DT coilovers, #Performance-Friction discs and pads (front), stock discs with EBC YellowStuff pads (rear)

    EXTERIOR Mora metallic, one-off moulded front bumper with lip and Hamann foglight covers, side repeater delete, LED side repeaters integrated into wing grilles, gloss black grilles with Mora accents, #AC-Schnitzer door mirrors, custom badges throughout, one-off bootlid with CSL spoiler and shortened numberplate recess, AC Schnitzer-style rear diffuser, rolled rear arches

    INTERIOR Champagne interior, gloss black trim including centre console, CSL engine warm-up lights on rev counter, custom gaiters, custom steering wheel from Royal Steering Wheels, custom badges, Storm Motorwerkz gear selector, Alpine TME-M740BT monitor, Alpine VPA-B222R hub, Alpine Intravee, Rainbow SL165 component speakers, 3x JBL GTO1214 subs, JBL GTO 1401 amp, JBL GTO 14001 amp

    THANKS A massive thanks to Dips at Custom Cars in Hayes for all his help and his attention to detail; I have some mad ideas and he makes them reality, he’s a true artist
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    The German Way #BMW-M3-E92-Track-Car

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    TECH DATA #BMW-M3-E92 Track Car

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

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

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

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

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

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