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 Sneak Peek: Mike Essa and GSR Autosport's E46 Build

By Khiem Dinh

Khiem Dinh is an engineer for Honeywell Turbo Technologies at the time of this writing.  All statements and opinions expressed by Khiem Dinh are solely those of Khiem Dinh and not reflective of Honeywell Turbo Technologies.

"She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts, kid."  That's what Han Solo told me at least.  To be fair, the crew at GSR Autosport only has the car halfway built.  But what she's showing  so far has potential!  Let's check out the new goodies on the new chassis.  

Before we get to the new car, let's go on a quick stroll down memory lane with Essa's two previous drift cars.
 
The old E92 M3 with the 500hp M5 engine swap.  This car is being repurposed as a road racing machine sporting some massive slicks.
 

 

Last year's Z4 with the boosted S54 engine.  We had a close-up look at this car showing all the goods a while back.

 

This is the old engine setup in the Z4.

 

Onto the new setup in the new chassis!  The biggest difference is going from the low-mount turbo setup to the high-mount setup.  The S54 engine was built by GSR Autosport with Carillo rods and CP pistons.

 

The turbine housing is a new Garrett V-band divided (twin-scroll) turbine housing.  To ease the job for fabricators, a Garrett merge collector that accepts tubes adapts to the v-band divided turbine inlet flange geometry of the turbine housing.

 

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Comments
OMG Its Weasel
OMG Its Weasellink
Thursday, March 28, 2013 11:12 PM
To finish first, you must first finish. lol
Protodad
Protodadlink
Friday, March 29, 2013 6:19 AM
It doesn't look like they have much further to go and it is nice to get a fresh chassis into the competition.
Does the wiring for the turbo speed sensor actually wrap around the turbo like that or was it just being hung out of the way.
Eric Hsu
Eric Hsulink
Friday, March 29, 2013 12:55 PM
The E46 is a bit more muscular looking than the Z4 for sure. As with most race car builders, the next car is always better the previous due to improvements and development. With the Z4 as potent as it was, I bet Essa in the E46 is going to be one to watch for 2013.
spdracerut
spdracerutlink
Friday, March 29, 2013 2:41 PM
@Protodad, the wiring is just being hung out of the way.

With the new twin-scroll setup, the engine should be more responsive this year helping the drivability. The power level last year already made the car a smoke monster, so I expect the same this year.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Friday, March 29, 2013 3:46 PM
Mike Essa is a bad ass. He can fabricate wrench and drive.
Protodad
Protodadlink
Friday, March 29, 2013 5:38 PM
So...I forgot to ask earlier. What's up with the 4 speed gearbox? Since I image there is some custom fabrication involved in making that work, what made that the gearbox of choice versus anything else?
Dan DeRosia
Dan DeRosialink
Friday, March 29, 2013 7:23 PM
I can't speak for anyone for sure, but lifed NASCAR stuff is a ridiculously good value. How else are you going to find a dogbox that's designed to hold up to 800+hp, has easily available spare parts, wide range of available ratios, and costs 3-6 grand?
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Friday, March 29, 2013 9:00 PM
Most FD cars run circle track 4 speed dog boxes for fast reliable shifting, the ability to shift if the clutch fails and bulletproofness.
Chuck Johnson
Chuck Johnsonlink
Sunday, March 31, 2013 9:59 AM
Thumbs up for the Star Wars quote, Khiem!
RemzRR
RemzRRlink
Tuesday, December 31, 2013 7:07 AM
Love these E46 builds. Will you guys be doing a future write up on how to check for and strengthen the sub frame body mounts on the E46's chassis. I only ask because I am in the market for a E46 and wanted to know your thoughts on this. This issue seems to plague all E46 models but more prevalent in the M3 cars and can happen to 01-06 cars and even on convertibles.
Nick B
Nick Blink
Tuesday, December 31, 2013 9:16 AM
@RemzRR - Our E36 323is will be going through the subframe reinforcement later in 2014 as we prep it for more track abuse. I'm personally not aware of the problem in the E46 but if it's anything like the E36 then it's definitely a recommended upgrade.
RemzRR
RemzRRlink
Tuesday, December 31, 2013 12:55 PM
Yeah, there are plenty of vids explaining the issue. The E92 doesn't suffer from this tho. Love the E46 models and thanks to Vanos & Subframe issues, M3's have depreciated greatly to the point of finding one under 16K easy here in the Southeast. The entire E46 line had the potential of forming cracks near the subframe chassis mounting points. It was more relevant in the M3's because of the power, hard launches etc.
Der Bruce
Der Brucelink
Tuesday, December 31, 2013 3:56 PM
The comments are funny to re-read in light of what Mike was able to do with the budget he had! Great story to the FD season and definitely a highlight of 2013.
spdracerut
spdracerutlink
Thursday, January 02, 2014 8:27 PM
@RemzRR, FYI, we have an E46 project car:
http://www.motoiq.com/Projects/BMW/ProjectE46M3.aspx
RemzRR
RemzRRlink
Thursday, January 02, 2014 9:04 PM
@spdracerut, Already seen this
Sadly there is no mention of the Rear subframe mount issue on the entire build...

Anonymous User
Anonymous Userlink
Sunday, April 27, 2014 10:19 PM
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