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-   -   Ross' GTS3 E46 M3 Build (http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=896621)

Rosspbig 01-11-2012 05:59 PM

Ross' GTS3 E46 M3 Build
So after racing a vintage porsche 911 in NASA last year I decided that it was time to build a race car from scratch, specifically for the class I wanted to race in (NASA GTS). After many hours of research I decided that the E46 M3 was the best platform to start with because of its relatively low initial cost, performance, and flexibility. I am building this car for GTS3 but I wanted something that could easily step up to GTS4 in the future and remain very competitive. The E46 M3 is perfect for this because of the flexibility of the S54 motor. It is easily de-tuned to make a competitive GTS3 car, while still being able to pump out the power for GTS4.

The next step for me was finding a car. I searched for about a month before I found a good, local donor car. It is a white w/grey interior 2002 BMW M3 with 82k miles on it. I was not crazy about the grey interior however it did not really matter considering it was going to rip it all out anyway. The PPI and compression test came back perfect so I pulled the trigger. Here is the car stock:


(I had removed a small amount of interior at this point)

Once I had the car sorted out I wanted to figure out which shops were going to help me out with building the car and supplying the parts. For parts I decided that Bimmerworld was the way to go. I spoke with James Clay (owner of Bimmerworld) at length before hand and he could not have been more helpful. He even took the time to have long discussions with me via phone, often late into the night, about setup, parts, advice etc. Really a super nice guy, and very helpful.

For setup/mechanic work, I decided to go with SCR performance in Loveland, CO. They had done another E46 M3 recently and have vast expertise in terms of race car setup. I am using them for everything that is too complicated or time consuming for me to tackle myself.

For the cage, there was really only one person I considered. Hank, at Hanksville Hotrods did a great job on my porsche cage, so I decided to let him have a crack at the M3 cage as well.

For cage paint I decided to again use Dave at Apex Autobody in Lakewood CO. Dave is a great guy and also did a great job painting my porsches roll cage, so he was the obvious choice for the M3. He does vintage cars mostly, including original RSR factory race cars, vintage exotics etc, so my M3 is not big deal for him. Once all the vendors were sorted out I started to take the inside of the car out. Here are some pictures of that process:


Race seat goes in along with Carbon fiber sunroof delete.


At this point all the windows have been removed and the car is ready to go to Hanksville to get a cage. Cage build pics:


Door bar starting to go in:


I opted to go with a X-bar style door bar that extended as far out as possible into the door. I feel that the more room between me and the solid object that hits the door, the better. I also did not like the excess number of bends that are present in a NASCAR style door bar, so this way we eliminated some bends, thus increasing strength, while also creating more room.

Finished door bars:


Finished Cage:


Ready for Paint!!

Rosspbig 01-12-2012 12:45 AM

Here are a few more additional cage pictures with the seat and window net in:


Gheybe 01-12-2012 12:53 AM

nice!!!! Awesome build.

Rosspbig 01-12-2012 03:18 PM

UPS guy brought me a couple of late Xmas gifts today:


In this delivery we have:

Performance Friction BBK (Z45 355mm front/Z29 321 mm rear)
Performance Friction Race pads (01 compound)
Prospeed Brake fluid
Bimmerworld Brake cooling kit w/Carbon fiber cooling ducts
Bimmerworld Race wheel studs
Hotchkis Sport Sway bar kit
Ground Control Adjustable lower rear control arms

Here are the Performance Friction Brakes (fronts). These things are works of art. Each caliper comes in this nice velvet bag to protect it! (Yes that is my Iphone in between the rotors)


Rosspbig 01-16-2012 06:37 PM

Paint is just about done!


Rosspbig 01-26-2012 10:04 PM

Got the rest of my suspension order today:

Motion Control Suspension 3-Way adjustable Remote-Reservoir Dampers
Hypercoil Springs
Ground Control adjustable camber/caster plates
Bimmerworld Adjustable Strut Mounted Swaybar links
Bimmerworld Front Strut tower reinforcement plates


Oh and I got some Motion Control & Bimmerworld Stickers too!! I cant wait to get these on the car.

mule22 01-26-2012 10:29 PM

Awesome looking build. I will be doing this same exact thing in a few months. I talked to the boys at Bimmerworld and they gave me great information. I was going to build a non M 3 series to run in GTS2, but some quick answers from the B-world boys changed my mind real quick. Anyone thinking of building any series BMW for a dedicated W2W racer should talk to them first. Now I am looking for an M3 and bumping my class build to GTS3

dan_1337 01-26-2012 10:33 PM

This looks like a great build!

What spring rates are you running?

inzani 01-27-2012 10:55 AM

Looking good. Only thing missing now is front splitter, wheels and rear wing :)

Rosspbig 01-27-2012 09:10 PM


Originally Posted by inzani (Post 14023372)
Looking good. Only thing missing now is front splitter, wheels and rear wing :)

Yeah pretty much. Need a new radiator/oil cooler, data acquisition, and some miscellaneous safety equipment but other than that I am almost ready to rock! :woot:

inzani 01-28-2012 03:53 AM

For standard effect id say you are good enough with oem stuffs.

When i had my ess VT450 kit on it and was on a trackevent when it was steaming 35degrees outside. And still the oem cooling was good enough, lap after lap :)

Rosspbig 01-28-2012 12:07 PM


Originally Posted by inzani (Post 14026124)
For standard effect id say you are good enough with oem stuffs.

When i had my ess VT450 kit on it and was on a trackevent when it was steaming 35degrees outside. And still the oem cooling was good enough, lap after lap :)

E46 M3 Race cars have a documented history of running very very hot with stock cooling components. No reason to risk extensive motor damage when you can prevent it with a simple radiator/oil cooler upgrade.

Rosspbig 02-14-2012 11:25 PM

Well I finally got the car home from SCR performance. They did a great job taking care of the fuel starvation kit, solid engine/tranny mounts, lexan side windows, etc. I only got to do a little work on the car tonight, which included getting the rear brakes and heat shields off.


Got the wheel in, and a nice diamond-plate foot plate.


Custom cut lexan windows from SCR performance.


Dash back in along with the Bimmerworld race shifter.


Rear wheels, brakes, and suspension is removed. Starting to cut the brake dust shields.


Dust shield gone!


Because I removed the dust shield, and the rotor will be very close to the rubber bushings on the upper control arm, I wrapped them in some adhesive heat reflective tape. I am hoping this will prevent my bushings from getting melted or cracked:)


Thats all I managed tonight. Gonna try to get the rear suspension and brakes all installed by this weekend. Stay tuned for more updates!

mattrc51 02-15-2012 08:12 AM


Rosspbig 02-15-2012 10:55 PM

I got a little more work done tonight. Got the rear coilovers and brakes mounted. Everything went fine except I broke the little bolt that holds the metal tab that holds the brake line to the rear trailing arm. Nothing a couple zips ties could not fix!

Suspension on:

Brakes on:

xaviman 02-15-2012 10:59 PM

first page!

Dirty Mike 02-15-2012 11:21 PM

In for final prod

Tarmac_E46_M3 02-23-2012 06:05 PM

Nice build! Have you installed a rear lexan window?

How are you going to delete the charcoal canister? Unless you're putting a fuel cell in there, I'd imagine you'd have to pull it all off and plug some stuff up.

Rosspbig 02-25-2012 05:55 PM

Made some more progress:

Front suspension/brakes out:


Front coilover in:

Front brakes on:

Wheels and tires:headbang:

What it looks like with a wheel on. Clears the calipers no problem! :)

Rosspbig 02-25-2012 05:57 PM


Originally Posted by Tarmac_E46_M3 (Post 14114645)
Nice build! Have you installed a rear lexan window?

Not yet, we will install a lexan rear window during final assembly.

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