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

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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