The car started out with me as a completely standard BMW E36 328i saloon in SE spec, painted Montreal Blue and built in 1997. Over the last five years, it has been developed into a competition car with a simple approach – maximum performance for minimum investment. It remains road legal and is driven to and from every event. Here’s a summary of its specification in the 2019 season:
- MSA-approved Safety Devices bolt-in roll cage with welded feet – cross door bars both sides, cross rear bar
- Cobra Evolution Pro-Fit FIA-approved driver’s seat with FIA-approved OMP 802 six-point harness. Cobra Monaco Pro passenger’s seat, also with OMP 802s, fitted when required.
- FIA-approved plumbed-in 4kg Lifeline fire extinguisher and electrical cut-off, both with internal and external triggers
- 2.8-litre M52B28 straight six, five-speed manual gearbox. M50 inlet manifold conversion.
- 215bhp @ 5750rpm
- 294Nm @ 4700rpm
- 3.91 BMW LSD with four friction plates, >40% lockup
- Gaz Gold adjustable suspension, Eibach adjustable anti-roll bars
- Nankang AR-1 225/45R17 racing semi-slick tyres
- TeamDynamics Pro Race 1.2 17x8J wheels
- Original BMW brake calipers (standard E36 328i sizes), OEM brake discs
- Performance Friction 08-compound endurance racing brake pads
- Standard 62-litre fuel tank, approx. 90 racing minutes’ fuel range
- 1226kg without driver
- 0-60mph approx 6 seconds
- 131mph top speed – 7000rpm rev limiter in 5th
The car has covered just over 194,000 miles. To my knowledge the engine and gearbox have never been replaced or even rebuilt, and the clutch is original. Over five seasons, it has competed in seven sprints and nineteen races, along with three dozen track days shared between eighteen different drivers at last count. Despite this, reliability is outstanding and the car has only ever been prevented from finishing one of the scores of events it’s contested due to mechanical failure.