Seasoned and respected local motoring journalist, and BMW fan, Mark Jones introduces us to his BMW 335i racecar build. This is the first installment of many as Jones upgrades his car for race duties.
I have owned a few BMW racecars in my time, from an E36 328i, to an E46 M3 Coupe, all built up from standard road cars under the care of BMW tuning and race-prep specialists, SavSpeed Racing. Now I have decided to up the ante and tackle an E90 335i.
Click here to read about our Project MX-5 racecar build.
Why this car?
I wish I could tell you that my reason for deciding on an E90 335i was based on technical and sound financial logic, along with a desire for some serious horsepower, but it wasn’t. I ignored my head and listened to my heart; a bad thing to do when building a racecar.
I previously owned this Alpine White, six-speed manual, E90 335i Sportpack, and used it as a fun weekend drive. I spent a bit of money on making it look good with body trim goodies from Big Boss Auto, a set of very sticky Yokohama AD08 19-inch boots wrapped around A-Line Matt Black Claw alloys. Then I added a bit of extra power courtesy of a JB4 N54 BMW Performance Tuner from Burger Tuning in the USA.
As happens, in a moment of weakness, I decided to sell the car. The new owner drove off into the sunset with a very neat and decently quick road car. Without going into detail, the new owner enjoyed tinkering with the car’s looks and went on the hunt for even more power. This should have ended well, but it didn’t. The car’s engine decided that one of the conrods would look better outside of the block. Then the car just stood around, slowly but surely falling into a state of disrepair. And this where my heart took over.
One phone call from the owner’s father, to get rid of what was now a very scrappy 335i, and I made an offer for the car as it stood, and for sentimental reasons, I decided I would restore it. Financially, it made no sense to try and get it back to original road car spec, and at that very moment, my BMW 335i racecar build was born.
The basic plan
After meeting with BMW speed guru Sav Gualtieri of SavSpeed fame we had a basic plan to use the original N54 engine basics, but with a host of specialised goodies that would make the N54 race worthy and produce an easy 300 kW as measured on the wheels, and not put another BMW engine derivative into the car.
We would first strip it right down, fit a proper roll cage, get a decent set of brakes and suspension on the car, fit a widebody kit to allow for a wider track and bigger rubber, add some clever engine management and finally some interior race bits and we would go racing.
In my next update of the BMW 335i racecar build, I will tackle the following parts of the plan as mentioned above…