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

OEM plug for the best all-around performance and efficiency

Price: $11.99

19.45
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Red Line RL-600 Super DOT 4 Normal Viscosity Racing Brake Fluid, 16 ounce

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

Price: $16.95

20.95
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Red Line MT-LV Transmission Fluid, Quart

Premium GL-4 middleweight oil for manual/SMG transmissions

Price: $17.95

19.99
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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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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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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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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
View Product
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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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Hypercoil 2.25" ID Coil Springs

Premium lightweight race springs

Price: $74.99 – $94.99

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

Stronger and lower friction rocker arms

Price: $91.99

92.99
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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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OPTIMA D51R Style 2 Battery Mount Kit - E46 Track/Race

Exclusive BimmerWorld aluminum mount for OPTIMA D51R batteries

Price: $119.99

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

S54 valve adjustment kit for the DIYer

Price: $164.99

206.14
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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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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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AiM ECU Bridge with CAN/RS232 Open Leads (Hardwired)

Directly connects ECU to AiM dash or SmartyCam

Price: $209.99

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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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OPTIMA D51R YELLOWTOP Lighter-Weight Battery (26lbs) - E30, E36, E46

AGM battery even lighter than the D35 and works in BMW track cars

Price: $249.99

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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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Carbon Dive Planes - E46 M3

Add frontal downforce to reduce understeer and tire wear

Price: $299.99

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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: $319.99

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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: $322.99

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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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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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Schroth Ratcheting Driver Net, Right - FIA Certified - SR 09575

Quick release ratcheting mechanism for a speedy exit

Price: $385.00

439.00
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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: $398.99

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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 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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Schroth Flexi 2x2 6-Point Harness (FIA 2016)

HANS/FHR compatible, 2" lap & shoulder, lap belt is pull up or pull down, snap-in ends, meets FIA 2016 regs

Price: $479.00

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WPC-Treated Rod Bearing Set - E46 M3, Z4M

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

Price: $499.99

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Radiator, CSF Triple-Pass Aluminum - E46 M3

Triple-Pass means three times the cooling exposure

Price: $549.00

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