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Project 2011 BMW Spec E36

The idea behind the BMW build was to build a fun to drive, fairly fast, budget- friendly race car to replace the previously raced VW.

With that in mind the idea of Spec E36 was born. Spec E36 is a BMW sanctioned class with a specialized set of rules requiring competitors to run all the same "Spec" parts. All the rules for the class and additional information can be found at

With a car in hand, the work begun; first, the car was stripped down to a bare shell. It was then sent to local fabricator and welder, Jim Fitzmaurice of JR Fitzy Welding and Fabrication, to have the roll cage installed.

When the car arrived back, the work ensued. The suspension was first; the spec suspension is a basic coilover suspension by H&R only available at The Tire Rack to be accompanied by spec sway bars from UUC Motorwerks. Additionally, reinforcements were added to the front and rear subframe and rear floor where the subframe mounts. Powerflex urethane rear subframe and trailing arm bushings were also added. Many of the suspension modifications that were done we recommend doing to any street/track driven vehicle, especially the reinforcements whether it be E36, E46, 3 series or M3.

Wheel size and tire size is Spec. Forgeline 17 x 8.5" wheels were added along with the Spec BFGoodrich Gforce R1 tires. This should be plenty of rubber to keep the car stuck to the track.

Next on the list was to reassemble the interior. The dashboard was reinstalled along with custom made carbon fiber switch panels and miscellaneous covers to clean things up. With safety always being priority, the side head restraint style seat was used along with Schroth harnesses and interior and exterior window nets. The SPA 4 liter fire system was used for the "just in case" instance that hopefully never happens.


Lastly, the motor and transmission were installed. According to the class, the motor needs to be stock so no modifications were done. The exhaust is open so a custom, in-house one was built at Eksten’s and installed. In the future, an engine oil cooler will be added along with some custom ECU tuning on the chassis dyno which is also open.

Now that we have a rolling and running car, it was on to the alignment machine, ride height set and fine tuning on the corner weight scales. To wrap things up, some minor finishing touches were done and vinyl graphics put on by Gary Moore at T-Shirt Express, Rochester, NY.


The car took its maiden voyage to Watkins Glen for the Genesee Valley Chapter BMW Club Race and took a respectable 3rd in class finish in Saturday’s feature race.

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Last modified: January 29, 2012