- WING COMMANDER
This wild 800hp Z4 boasts a genuine #BMW-Motorsport carbon fibre GT3 kit and is fully road-legal to boot. 800HP Z4 Big single turbo, carbon GT3-kitted Roadster. This might just be the most outlandish Z4 we’ve ever seen but with 800hp on tap, this carbon fibre road racer’s talents go far beyond its outrageous looks… Words: Elizabeth de Latour Photos: Patrik Karlsson.
It would seem that modified Z4s are like buses: you wait forever for one to come along, and then you get two ridiculous builds within the space of as many issues. I was about to say that the Z4 doesn’t get a whole lot of love on the modified BMW scene but if you’d read last month’s issue and now picked up this one, you’d probably call me a liar. So let me explain. Generally speaking the Z4 is not a particularly popular BMW to modify. It’s also weird because it’s actually a really good car. The Bangledesigned, flame-surfaced E85 was a bit of a shock to the system after the more traditional-looking Z3, but it was a grower for sure and a pretty sweet drive with the more powerful sixes on-board. The E89 was a little easier on the eye and while BMW has decided against producing an M model, the 35is is a pretty rapid machine. Its performance pales into insignificance when compared with the Z3 GT3 racer, though, which is powered by a 515hp, 4.4-litre V8 based on that of the M3 GTS and which, above all else, looks absolutely awesome.
It’s low, wide and has a massive wing and scoops and ducts galore. It’s the sort of car that you might find yourself gazing at and fantasising what it might be like to own something like that, but that you could actually drive on the road.
Evidently that’s exactly what Johan Sjöstedt did but the difference between him and the rest of us is that he actually went out and made it happen. And you’re looking at the result of his fantasy right here. Hailing from Stockholm, the 40-year-old selfconfessed “serial entrepreneur” has been a #BMW fan for all his life, as you might expect from someone whose father owned a BMW workshop. And while his first ever car was a VW Beetle 1303 (a little rebellion, perhaps?), his BMW journey began at a very early age when his father gifted Johan a 1969 1800 while he was studying – a very cool thing to be trundling around in (especially as his dad could fix it for him if it ever went wrong).
An interest in BMWs, then, was established at an early age and modified cars have also been a big part of Johan’s life. He has, he says, modified almost all of his cars and has always leaned towards performance upgrades rather than the aesthetics. And with his last modified car being a Porsche 911 GT2, you can be sure this is a man who enjoys performance cars and driving them the way they were intended.
When it came to this project, Johan knew exactly what he wanted to do: create a street-legal Z4 GT3 for the Gumball 3000 event. That’s no mean feat by any stretch of the imagination. Fortunately for him Johan knew a garage that would be able to help: Westcoast Racing in Sweden. Indeed, the guys there carried out pretty much all of the work. Now, Westcoast Racing might sound like a Californian speedshop but it’s a full-on race outfit that knows what it’s doing when it comes to making racing cars. It was the perfect place for Johan to turn when it came to turning a plain Jane Z4 into a full-blown road-going racer – which is exactly what this car is. It doesn’t just look the part, it’s the complete package. It’s a full-on performance machine.
Let’s start with the body kit, partly because it looks so damn awesome but mainly because it’s the real deal: an allcarbon BMW Motorsport kit. This is what Johan wanted from the beginning but, as you might imagine, getting hold of the genuine kit was another matter altogether, with components being either very difficult to find, expensive or both. It was mostly both! Of course, getting hold of the kit was just half the battle as actually getting it to fit the road-going Z4 required a lot of work, not least because of how massively wide it is.
Westcoast Racing was clearly up to the task, though, and the end result is nothing short of spectacular. I mean, you really wouldn’t expect anything less because you’re basically looking at a GT3 race car. It’s the arches that impress the most, not just because of how far beyond the body they extend (15cm per side) but how high they are. The tops of the very outer sections actually sit above the bonnet and remind us of the Batmobile from the Tim Burton-era Batman movies. The front bumper features a massive central aperture and twin canards on each corner, while the vented bonnet looks no less wild. Viewed in profile you can see how the upper rear portion of the front arches are sliced away, exposing the tyre and the body, and then pinches in where the doors are before expanding out again with the rear arches. The side skirts feature exposed carbon splitters along their length and NACA ducts ahead of each rear wheel.
The rear of the car is arguably the most dramatic view, not least because of that absolutely vast spoiler, which almost sits as high as the car’s roof. The rear bumper and diffuser assembly is just plain crazy. The lower side sections and middle are made entirely of mesh, with the massive twin exhausts poking up and out like cannons. Beneath them sits the extreme diffuser. It’s certainly not going to be to all tastes but as far as visual drama goes, it takes some beating, make no mistake.
There’s no point fitting some wild, widearch racing car kit if you wimp out on the wheel front and the challenge for Johan was actually finding some wheels that were up to the job of filling those gigantic arches, which add half-a-foot of width to the car on each side. After an extensive search, Johan realised that there was nothing available off-the- shelf and so the only option was to go down the custom route, with Rotiform tasked with building the wheels.
That the three-piece forged SNAs measure 20” across will come as no surprise, with the fronts nine inches wide and the rears a massive eleven. And with this build being racing car-inspired you’ll find no stretch here, just ridiculously wide Michelin Pilot Super Sport rubber all-round, with 285/30s up front and 335/30s at the back. This is one car you don’t want to get a puncture in. Vast Brembo calipers clamp slotted front discs while the suspension is a fully adjustable custom Öhlins coilover setup developed especially for this car.
As wild as the exterior may be, it’s possible that the interior is actually even wilder and while there’s no roll-cage that’s just about the only thing that’s missing from what might otherwise have been lifted straight from the GT3 racer. First, the entire lower portion of the dash looks to have been removed leaving just the arguably more useful and now flocked upper portion. It houses things like the light switch and HVAC controls, indicating that, for the sake of driver comfort, the air-con has been retained; after all, this is a road car.
However, that’s where the similarities with the regular Z4 end. The Sparco Ergo M seats look like refugees from the Le Mans 24 Hours, with their single-piece design and extensive bolstering and there’s also a carbon fibre intercom system for the driver and passenger. Carbon fibre plays a big part in the interior, making up many of the components and covering so many of the surfaces. The custom centre console is fabricated entirely from carbon fibre, the electronic handbrake release neatly relocated to the side, while an iPad sits in a custom shroud beneath the ventilation controls, displaying additional data. The carbon and Alcantara-rimmed AIM GT steering wheel features a digital display in its centre while an AIM MXG digital dash logger features a TFT screen that can display an overwhelming array of parameters, allowing Johan to keep an eye on all of the car’s systems. Interestingly, the standard speedo and rev counter have been relocated to the passenger side of the dash, presumably to allow those fortunate enough to get a ride in this beast to see just how fast they are travelling.
Now this is all well and good but it would be incredibly disappointing to remove that bonnet only to find a standard N54 peering back at you. But take a look under the bonnet of this Z4 and you’ll see that this is most definitely not the case: the engine is no less extreme than the rest of the car!
The first thing you’ll notice is that massive turbo, which is the main component of the FFTec single turbo kit that replaces the stock twins with a 64mm CEA ceramic ball bearing Precision turbo and includes a tubular exhaust manifold, three-inch downpipe, which leads to that straight-through exhaust system, and external wastegate. Johan’s Z4 features an uprated intercooler and injectors along with modified software and a new diff to help cope with all that power. It definitely needs it as the FFTec turbo kit turns the Z4 into an absolute monster. According to FFTec the kit is capable of putting down 650whp, which is knocking on the door of 800hp at the flywheel, and with the additional supporting upgrades that have been fitted to Johan’s Z4, this is an 800hp car, make no mistake.
Setting out on his Z4 journey, Johan knew exactly what he wanted to build and the monstrous machine he has created is the realisation of his Z4 GT3 dream: a road-legal racing car with the go to match the show. And as you might expect this wild Z4 has been getting plenty of attention. “I took it to Elmia, Sweden’s biggest show, and it won the ‘People’s Choice’ award,” says Johan with a smile. And he should be proud of this build as it’s an amazing car. Perhaps even more amazing is the fact that he’s not done yet. “If money were no object I would have bought a real one in the first place,” he laughs, “but now we are in the process of changing the engine for a V8, just like the real thing.” This might already be the most extreme Z4 we’ve ever seen but that V8 swap is going to propel this car into the modified stratosphere. You’ll never look at a Z4 the same way again.
DATA FILE Carbon fibre wide-body #BMW-Z4-35is / #BMW-Z4 / #BMW / #BMW-Z4-E89 / #BMW-E89 / #M-DCT
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.0-litre straight-six #N54B30 / #N54 / #BMW-N54 , #FFTec single turbo kit with tubular exhaust manifolds, 64mm CEA ceramic ball bearing #Precision turbo, three-inch downpipe, straight-through exhaust system, external wastegate, uprated intercooler, uprated injectors, modified software, seven-speed M-DCT gearbox, uprated diff. Approx. 800hp
CHASSIS 9x20” (front) and 11x20” (rear) #Rotiform #SNA three-piece forged wheels with 285/30 (front) and 335/30 (rear) Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres, custom #Öhlins coilovers, #Brembo #Brembo-BBK with grooved discs (front), line lock kit / #Rotiform-SNA
EXTERIOR Full carbon fibre genuine #BMW-Motorsport-GT3 body kit
INTERIOR Flocked dash, custom carbon fibre centre console, iPad mounted in custom carbon housing, driver and passenger intercom system with carbon headphones, original gauge cluster moved to passenger side of dash, single piece Sparco Ergo M VTR race seats, #AIM-Motorsport-GT steering wheel with digital display and carbon and Alcantara rim, AIM Motorsport MXG digital dash logger.
As wild as the exterior may be, it’s possible that the interior is even wilder.
AIM Motorsport digital dash logger is a seriously impressive piece of kit and is complemented by an AIM steering wheel.
Fully-adjustable Öhlins suspension was developed specifically for this Z4.
FFTec single turbo kit uses #Precision turbo and, with supporting mods, cranks out 800hp.