Project V8 E46 M3 Racecar: Adding KW Motorsport Suspension and StopTech Trophy Big Brakes!

by Mike Kojima


When we last left our E46 M3 Project, it was a body in white shell with a cage in it at Pure Performance. Pure started to build the car with an S65 V8 engine from a later model E92 M3 with a DCT twin-clutch semi-automatic transmission from the same car.

The idea was that the DCT could be made to work as a poor man's sequential or paddle-shift tranny. The S65 engine also seemed like a good idea because it is about 40 lbs lighter than the S54 inline 6 engine that came with the car, is a liter bigger and has more power and torque.

When the car became a roller and was seen at the SEMA show, it looked magnificent on the show floor. However, when it came to the MotoIQ megashop, it soon became apparent that this project was going to need a lot of work to become a viable running track car. After a few starts, the car's electronics got pissed off and the engine stopped running among other things. 

Ripping a modern CANBUS engine, transmission, and hell, the whole car's control system out and transplanting it into another chassis is a recipe for disaster.  Sometimes lacking a radio or a window switch can cause the whole system to wig out. We have seen this many times with many attempted late model car race cars that are attempting to run the OEM electronics.

So since its electronics got pissed off, our hybrid E46 M3 is an expensive paperweight gathering dust in our shop while we figure out how to sort it all out. Many calls went out to a few BMW tuning experts, including ones that run late model race cars in World Challenge and Grand Am, and not a single call or email was ever returned. This is making the thought that no one can make the car run on the OEM computer outside of some factory Bosch engineers turn more and more into reality. 

With no OEM computer, the chances that the DCT tranny ever working are just about nil as well. We are probably going to have to end up doing expensive and drastic things to get this project back on track.  But since that is all bad news, let's look at the rest of the car. 


After the car got the cage installed in our first installment, it was painted inside and out, and a lightweight DTM Fiberwerkz carbon roof was bonded on. 

A lightweight Lexan rear window was fabricated and fitted.

The dash center console and steering column and wheel from an E92 M3 were fitted so the electronics could be adapted to their sensors. Ultimately, this ended up not working.

The S65 engine was dropped in place. Being a V8, it was shorter than the original I6 and ended up being an easy fit. The intake manifold plenum was taller so the hood had to be modded to fit. 


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Mike B
Mike Blink
Monday, March 12, 2018 12:03 PM
I actually just stumbled upon this ad yesterday for an s65 e46 racecar:

I'm sure you're already aware of this but if not maybe it helps. Looks like he's running a life ECU.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Monday, March 12, 2018 12:49 PM
I think its gonna be stand alone for sure. This thing stopped running after a few starts and will not wake up.
Monday, March 12, 2018 2:17 PM

Randy would be the guy to solve your issue. Or go stand alone.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Monday, March 12, 2018 5:21 PM
Epic didn't return my calls.
Bba link
Monday, March 12, 2018 10:17 PM
Hey Mike...

Full plug and play:

Bba link
Monday, March 12, 2018 10:23 PM
found the local dealer:

SP Engineering
Details from Google Maps
424 Turnbull Canyon Rd, City of Industry, CA 91745
+1 626-333-5398
Dan DeRosia
Dan DeRosialink
Tuesday, March 13, 2018 4:08 AM
Looks like others have commented on the trans controller stuff.

There's actually a bunch of rally struts that used to use roller bearing guidance - WRC until it got banned, British touring car, stuff like that - but I haven't seen the linear ball bearings like KW is using done other than by KW, albeit I've been thinking of it myself.
Tuesday, March 13, 2018 8:05 AM
Why go to all the trouble of using an e46 chassis? I have an e46 m3 that I love, but what makes it more desirable than just using an s92 and doing away with the ECU headaches?
Tuesday, March 13, 2018 8:10 AM
Looks like you're in the same boat as these guys:

They appear blissfully unaware of the struggle. Might be worth putting your noggins together on this one.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Tuesday, March 13, 2018 11:22 AM
I really have always wanted an E46 M3. It's sorta dumb but its been my dream car.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Tuesday, March 13, 2018 11:24 AM
Thank you Bba, I am also considering just going with a Motec M1 and a Samsonas transmission and be done doing the guinea pig stuff. I think it might be cheaper in the long run and be a neater car.
Big Mig
Big Miglink
Tuesday, March 13, 2018 12:38 PM
I like it DCT concept and baller execution. Good luck with the custom wiring. You've shown that it is the safest and most clean way to set up a custom race car.

My dream swap is a S62 in to my E46 Sedan and wide body it but keep it street car/touring comfy. (maybe more oem ECU friendly)

The sedan is 50% stiffer than coupes, especially my base bitch with no rear fold downs. Ready for that TORQUE.
Tuesday, March 13, 2018 10:22 PM
The sedan is 50% stiffer than the M coupes? I thought they were reinforced in comparison to the standard E46 chassis? On a related tangent, mine is supercharged via Dinan but will not pass DEQ inspection as not all of the sensors will post ready. Is there someone that can make it ready up so I can get it to pass inspection? There's a lot of information about the ECU online, but it looks intimidating to say the least.(Dinan doesn't want anything to do with it as they quit supercharging cars years ago.)
Wednesday, March 14, 2018 6:55 PM
Pretty certain Epic only does the S65 swap stuff in house. That info doesn’t go ‘public’. The S65 E46s here in the NE all made the trip to Miami.
Monday, March 19, 2018 8:10 AM
Just talk to www.dieboldautosport.com. He has mapped all the S65/Life Racing cars in the states and a good amount of the PTG cars (that still run on track). Fletcher builds them and Franz looms and maps them.
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