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.
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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)
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AiM ECU Bridge with CAN/RS232 Open Leads (Hardwired)

Directly connects ECU to AiM dash or SmartyCam

Price: $209.99

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AiM PDM32 Power Module and Logger with 6" Road/Race Display

Consolidate electrical power and logging in one central module! Can display dash warning lights like a street car.

Price: $2,500.00

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Apex ARC8 18x9.5 ET35 Wheel Set - E46 M3

Square set of 18x9.5 of a strong, lightweight, flow-formed wheel in a classic design

Price: $1,475.96

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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

76.51
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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: $1,239.96

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BimmerWorld Billet Aluminum Seat Floor Mount Adapters - E30/E36/E46

Adapts fixed, universal-mount seats securely to factory mounting points - low seat positioning and lightweight

Price: $189.99

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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: $319.99

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BimmerWorld E46 Coupe Roll Cage Kit with X Door Bars

Precision-manufactured rollcage for Spec E46 and all other E46 Coupes

Price: $2,699.99

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BimmerWorld E46 M3 Carbon Splitter/Undertray Kit

Increase frontal down force with our fully-functional, lightweight splitter

Price: $1,699.99

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

Complete 3.5" stainless steel race exhaust system - save 62lbs, add 10-30+Hp!

Price: $1,639.99

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BimmerWorld E46 M3 Rear Diffuser

Functional and professional race-quality diffuser for track or street

Price: $1,099.99

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BimmerWorld E46 Rear Subframe/Chassis Reinforcement Kit (Expanded)

Solves a problem that plagues the E46 3-series - latest design has more coverage!

Price: $139.99

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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 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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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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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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BimmerWorld Ultralight GT Carbon Race Wing

Professional-quality rear wing, 100% carbon element and components, incredibly light and effective

Price: $2,799.99

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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: $889.00

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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: $159.99

172.00
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Bottom End Gasket Set, OEM Elring - E46 M3, MZ3, Z4M (11110302722)

Bottom-End Gasket Set, OEM Elring - E46 M3

Price: $138.99

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Carbon Dive Planes - E46 M3

Add frontal downforce to reduce understeer and tire wear

Price: $299.99

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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

1700.00
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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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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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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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E46 M3 Diffsonline Custom Performance Differential

E46 M3 Diffsonline Custom Performance Differential

Price: $1,449.00 – $9,649.00

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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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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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Front Left V3 Direct Drive Disc, Performance Friction - E46 M3

New V3 Direct Drive discs feature a patented retention ring - no more bobbins!

Price: $474.99

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Front Right V3 Direct Drive Disc, Performance Friction - E46 M3

New V3 Direct Drive discs feature a patented retention ring - no more bobbins!

Price: $474.99

499.95
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Front Strut Tower Reinforcement Plate - E46 & E46 M3 - 51717036781

A must for all E46s with performance-tuned suspensions

Price: $36.99

45.34
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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: $398.99

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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: $229.99

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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

464.56
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Hypercoil 2.25" ID Coil Springs

Premium lightweight race springs

Price: $74.99 – $94.99

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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

84.89
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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: $74.23

80.69
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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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Lifeline Zero 360 Novec 2.25kg Electric Fire System

Mid-high end electrical system with Novec gas

Price: $1,148.99

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M12x1.5 75mm BimmerWorld Wheel Stud/Black Nut Package

75mm Bullet Nose stud and nut package - a great companion to street wheels!

Price: $124.99

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