Inside Michael Essa’s 1000hp Formula Drift BMW E46 M3!

A flange to accept a BMW X5 throttle body was welded to the front of the plenum.  The drive by wire throttle body is controlled by the cars Motec ECU.

To help spool the turbo, a Nitrous Supply Nitrous system is used fed by a Nitrous Express bottle. The system is a simple dry system jetted for a 100 to 15o shot.  Fuel enrichment and activation is handled by the Motec ECU.  Nitrous isnt always used, just for some courses that require extra low end torque.

The Nitrous Supply feed and purge solenoids are found on the drivers side frame rail.

A single fogger nozzle introduces the nitrous to the intercooler end tank where it held provide additional charge air cooling.

A Radium Engineering fuel rail feeds the Ignite Red ethanol based fuel to Injector Dynamics 2000cc injectors


  1. Some very nice little details – I very much like the adaptation of the blade swaybar end to the splined bar, and the use of multiple batteries as not-technically-ballast amuses me. There’s definitely a feel like… about a well sorted car where there’s not much excess, which you would figure.

  2. It’s interesting how some shops swear by using the latest in performance bearings for their rods or mains. And then there are the ones who check their clearances and successfully run stock bearings (not even WPC etc. treated).
    In my experience a crank with too much runout or oval/worn journals is the main culprit of bearing failures, not the mechanical properties of the bearing itself.
    I’ve even noticed that some performance bearings have less crush height than OEM ones, especially on Honda engines.
    Using performance bearings in daily driven engine is also a recipe for disaster. They just don’t absorb contaminants as well, leaving them float around in the oiling system and grind away on your precious polished crank journals.

  3. Great article Mike! The E46 has quite a long wheelbase (2720mm) relative to its overall external dimensions. The current Mustang is also in the 2720mm range. The BRZ (2570mm) and S15 (2520mm) are significantly shorter in wheelbase

    The A90 Supra has a 2470mm wheelbase.

    As horsepower and speeds increase in top level competitions do you anticipate more competitors moving to long wheelbase platforms for improved high speed stability.

    Would the short wheelbase of the A90 Supra hinder it’s high speed stability to a significant degree? Is the BMW E92 Coupe at 2760mm.wheelbase the new benchmark platform for top level drifting?

  4. The power steering cooler looks like a low pressure unit but it does not look like a CSF product… possibly a Setrab ProLine STD range cooler?

  5. Curious as to why 6 speed transmissions are starting be the norm. I’m not aware of many tracks where a 4 speed would not suffice

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