E46 M3 Grassroots Motorsports Build (2010)

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E46 M3 Grassroots Motorsports Build (2010)

Last Update: 4/05/2021

In the late 2000s we built this E46 M3 as a dual-purpose street-track car for a customer. It was pristine inside and out, even with numerous annual track events. We even used it in ads and a poster. But after an incident in 2010 the insurance company totaled the car but offered it as a buyback. Not ones to waste a good S54 we tucked the car away to await the perfect opportunity. That time came when Grassroots Motorsport magazine held their annual Ultimate Track Car Challenge (UTCC) in our own backyard - Virginia International Raceway. We used this event as an exercise in building a E46 M3 track car with all of the essential components to compete but not spend an obscene amount of money doing it. Everyone expects a car with $100k of race parts thrown at it to be fast. But we wanted to surprise people with how fast we could go on short money. Oh yeah, we gave ourselves less than 1 month to complete.

Below is our photo journal of the initial build process as well as an update on what the car became. After the UTCC we made a pivot on the car's intended use - completing the transformation from mixed-use track/street car to full race car. At the bottom you will find an extensive list of parts that we used, which has been updated to reflect our current preferences. We didn't realize it at the time but this car would be a rolling canvas that spawned many M3 track upgrades such as aero pieces and exhaust.

This car has been featured in multiple places since we finished the build -

Visit E46 Fanatics for a more in-depth discussion of the build and parts used at the time.

Grassroots Motorsports also did a feature piece in their magazine which you can find here on their site.

This was a showpiece, but after an incident at Mid-Ohio, the insurance company put this car up for grabs. After a visit to Bassen Autobody, the car arrives ready for transformation.

First, sound deadening is removed for weight reduction and 4-point roll bar construction begins. A 4-point was necessary because we were using fixed-shell racing seats. For safety reasons during a rollover you should never use a non-folding racing seat without a roll bar.

Our roll bar construction and painting is completed. With a little modification, we are able to retain factory seatbelts which was necessary to maintain stock 3-point belts.

A few damaged items remaining from the wreck are repaired as engine and the first aero upgrades are installed.

The rear of this E46 M3 gets an overhaul, using Powerflex urethane bushings for suspension and subframe. There won’t be a better time than now to install the Moton double-adjustable dampers.

Original worn-out clutch and flywheel are out. Heavy-duty clutch and aluminum flywheel go in. New prototype MagnaFlow single-pipe exhaust goes on.

Motons are installed in the rear with Eibach springs and Ground Control upper and lower mounts.

Up front, brake ducting is installed to cool our PFC Direct Drive rotors and PFC race pads. The Motons are fitted in the front and wheel studs are installed. The factory engine fan, broken from the wreck, gets replaced with an all-electric SPAL 16″ puller fan.

Up top, the Motorsport carbon intake plenum is installed.

Before installing our front bumper cover, carbon brake ducts are mounted in place.

The interior gets more work with a little more stripping and Racetech 4009W seats installed. Outside, light weight wheels and Nitto-01 tires are mounted so we can align and roll the car around.

This car will retain the stock brake calipers, using solid brake guides. For the UTCC, we will be using sticky Hoosier slicks.

A quick and temporary splitter/undertray is fabricated and mounted.

Everything is coming together and our checklist is getting short!

The car gets an alignment, weighing in under 3,000 pounds. All that’s left is the dyno and decals for the UTCC.

James Clay finishes 8th in class at the UTCC behind a Viper, Porsche turbos, and Corvettes. He's the highest-finishing BMW in the event and most importantly he hit his target lap - 2:05 (in 2010).

After the UTCC is over the car begins a transition to a full race car, beginning with carbon upgrades for better aero and less weight.

The 4-point roll bar is expanded into a full roll cage. Also, an AiM MXL Pista dash is installed for real data analysis.

This M3 did not sit in the corner of a shop - it got a lot of exercise!

With help from Epic Motorsports and some parts being changed, this car is ready for NASA GTS-3 competition along with one of its twins.

E46 M3 Track Build Parts List (Updated)

WPC-Treated Rod Bearing Set - E46 M3, Z4M

Race-ready treated S54 rod bearings for peak performance and high-revving durability

Price: $629.99

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Valve Adjustment Kit and Gaskets, Wiseco/OEM - E46 M3, MZ3 S54, Z4M

S54 valve adjustment kit for the DIYer

Price: $234.99

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Ignition Coil, OEM Eldor - E82 135i/1M, E46 M3, E9X 335i, E60 535i, X5M, MZ3 S54, Z4 35i, Z4M

New ignition coil design for N54 and S54

Price: $32.99

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Spark Plug, NGK Laser Platinum - E46 M3, MZ3, Z4M

OEM plug for the best all-around performance and efficiency

Price: $11.99

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S54 Exhaust Hub Upgrade, VAC - E46 M3, MZ3, Z4M

Stronger hub with larger tabs to eliminate or prevent tab failure

Price: $699.95

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Bottom End Gasket Set, OEM Elring - E46 M3, MZ3, Z4M (11110302722)

OEM Bottom-End Gasket Set replaces BMW part #11110302722

Price: $138.99

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Head & Top End Gasket Set, Elring - E46 M3, MZ3 S54, E85 Z4 M

Extensive gasket and seal package for S54 work above the engine block. OEM equivalent to BMW part #11127831920

Price: $338.99

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Rogue Engineering Power Pulley Kit - E46 M3, MZ3, Z4M

Release hidden power by safely reducing parasitic drag from your accessory pulleys

Price: $258.99

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Belt and Pulley Set, OEM - E46 M3, MZ3 S54, Z4M

Convenient discounted package of OEM belts and pulleys for 2001-2006 M3/MZ3/Z4M models

Price: $69.99

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Epic Motorsports E46 M3 Equal Length Stepped Headers

Premium equal-length, stepped-primary design headers that make more power than anything on the market!

Price: $1,999.99

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E46 M3 (S54) Complete Header Install Kit

Cost-effective, high-quality full hardware kit for installing headers on your S54

Price: $114.99

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BimmerWorld E46 M3 Race Exhaust Kit - Resonated & Straight Pipe Diffuser Exit

BimmerWorld E46 M3 Race Exhaust Kit - Resonated & Straight Pipe Diffuser Exit

Price: $1,799.99

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E46 M3 Carbon Plenum / Airbox - CSL 120MM Kit

Carbon intake plenum and airbox - adds great intake sound and supports more airflow!

Price: $2,994.99

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Schrick 288/280 Camshaft Set (High Lift) - E46 M3, MZ3, Z4M (S54)

High lift Schrick camshafts for street performance

Price: $1,649.99

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Schrick Valve Spring/Retainer Kit - E46 M3, MZ3, Z4M

Springs & Retainer kit required with some Schrick cams

Price: $2,459.99

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Schrick DLC-Coated Rocker Arm - E46 M3, MZ3 S54, Z4M

Stronger and lower friction rocker arms

Price: $91.99

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Epic Motorsports Alpha-N Software Tuning - E46 M3, MZ3 S54, Z4M

Truly custom dyno-tuned software for cams, air boxes, or forced induction using stock MSS54 ECU.

Price: $1,199.00

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Solid Engine and Transmission Mount Set, Lower Height - E36, E46, Z3, Z4

Shortened solid aluminum engine and transmission mounts deliver zero powertrain movement

Price: $199.99

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Radiator, CSF Triple-Pass Aluminum - E46 M3

Triple-Pass means three times the cooling exposure

Price: $579.00

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BimmerWorld/C&R Racing Lightweight E46 M3 Oil Cooler

30% greater cooling capacity at half the weight of stock part

Price: $929.00

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BimmerWorld Oil Cooler Diverter Valve Kit - E36 Euro, E46 M3

Convert your oil filter housing to full flow to reduce oil temps

Price: $79.99

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BMW Motorsport Thermostat - E46 M3, MZ3 S54, Z4M, E36 Euro M3

55 Deg C thermostat allows your engine to run cooler for increased power

Price: $207.00

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Clutch Masters FX725 Twin Disc Clutch & Aluminum Flywheel Kit - E46 M3 6MT

Light weight and highly capable 7.25" twin disc clutch and flywheel kit for mixed track/street

Price: $1,530.00

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BimmerWorld Solid Race Shifter - E30, E36, E46, E9X, E82, Z3, Z4

Race-proven, solid-mounted shifter for direct feel and precise shifting

Price: $324.99

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E46 M3 Diffsonline Custom Performance Differential

Increase the torque and traction delivered to the ground for faster acceleration and reduced lap times!

Price: $1,649.00 – $9,849.00

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Inspection I Oil Change Package (S54) - Red Line 15W50 & OEM Mahle Filter

Premium high performance synthetic oil with an OEM filter kit

Price: $105.99

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Red Line MT-LV Transmission / Transfer Case Fluid - 1 Quart

Premium GL-4 middleweight oil for manual/SMG transmissions and some BMW transfer case applications.

Price: $23.10

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Red Line RL-600 Super DOT 4 Normal Viscosity Racing Brake Fluid, 500ml

High-performance and racing brake fluid. Normal viscosity. 400°F wet boiling point.

Price: $18.71

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PFC 331 Racing Front Brake Pads - E82, E36, E46, E9X, E34, E39, E32, MZ3, Z4M

Performance Friction 331 compound racing brake pads - great pads on ABS-equipped track cars

Price: $385.17

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Insulated E46 non-Xi 4-Line BimmerWorld V3 Stainless Steel Brake Line Kit

Premium Teflon & Stainless DOT-approved complete brake line kit with heat-blocking insulation

Price: $139.99

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E46 Carbon Brake Ducts

Carbon fiber duct inlets for E46 M3 and Non-M cars with M Sport bumper

Price: $309.99

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BimmerWorld Brake Cooling Kit - E46 M3

The most cost-effective way to prevent fade, reduce wear, and improve consistency with high-quality parts

Price: $334.99

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BimmerWorld Front Solid Brass Brake Caliper Guide Bushing Kit - Most ATE Calipers

Eliminate front caliper twist for more consistent braking and longer pad life

Price: $54.99

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BimmerWorld Rear Solid Brass Brake Caliper Guide Bushing Kit - Most ATE Calipers

Eliminate rear caliper twist for more consistent braking and longer pad life

Price: $54.99

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Hypercoil 2.25" ID Coil Springs

Premium lightweight race springs

Price: $92.00

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Ground Control Race Camber/Caster Plates - E46 M3

Race-quality spherical mounts that allow independent adjustability of front camber and caster

Price: $438.99 – $460.99

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Rear Shock Mounts (RSM), BimmerWorld - E30, E36, E46, Z3, Z4 (12mm Shaft)

High-quality aluminum mounts with aircraft quality bearings - slotted for tire clearance

Price: $159.99

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Ground Control Rear Articulating Spring Perches - E46

Easily adjust corner weights while your car is on scales, and maintain proper spring performance on track

Price: $251.99

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Front Strut Tower Reinforcement Plate - E46 & E46 M3 - 51717036781

A must for all E46s with performance-tuned suspensions. Sold individually.

Price: $39.54

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BimmerWorld 18x9.5 ET35 TA5R Wheel Set - E46 M3

Square set of 18x9.5 flow-formed wheels - strong, light weight, and great size for track use

Price: $1,435.96

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