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Unread 03-10-2015, 10:26 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2004
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Default BMW E46 Endurance car: Vorshlagenwagen

Project Launch, March 6, 2015: Welcome to our latest Vorshlag race car project, which began with an idea by Tim and Jon here at Vorshlag. Tim used to work for Mazda and was a part of almost every 25 hours of Thunderhill endurance race since its inception. Jon had done a few 24 hours of Lemons endurance events. They proposed building an employee-owned race car here at our shop that everyone at Vorshlag got to build, drive, and crew. It was a brilliant idea and it wasn't long before everyone was on board (all 6 Vorshlag full time employees + me and Amy).



The thing is, working in motorsports doesn't pay all that well, so everyone that works in this industry can't just go out and buy the race car they want. But as Liam Neesoms is fond of saying, it does "give us a special set of skills", and access to an amazing array of tools, both of which we normally use to build customer race cars. But we felt that if we picked the right car, pooled our time and resources, we could potentially build a single race car after hours that we could all be a part of. So we formed a "team" (everyone at Vorshlag + most of our wives, who will also drive and crew) and had our first team meeting (at Chuy's, above) - to determine which car we'd like to build and what series we would build it for.



After a few weeks of trolling Craigslist with no luck I went to Facebook with our plea... that was heard and answered by Shawn Murphy of Austin! He made us a smoking deal on his 180K mile, 1999 BMW 328i sedan, shown above. The car was no cream puff but it runs and drives and had a decent body, which is half the battle. Shawn still used it to win his F Street class in Spokes region autocrosses last year, so it also handled well enough.


Shawn Murphey's 2015 Mustang GT 5.0 was the lightest we've ever weighed at 3595 pounds

We had agreed to an initial buy-in of $500 each and with a fist full of dollars, shop manager Brad and I drove down in my F350 and enclosed trailer to pick up the car on February 21st. We also took Shawn a new Magnaflow exhaust for his 2015 Mustang and took our wireless digital scales down there to weigh his car - which ended up being the lightest 2015 Mustang V8 we have ever weighed at 3595 pounds.



While we were there we looked at and purchased an E36 328i 5-spd trans and complete engine Shawn had, which we will keep as spares. We got the car back to our shop in Plano and promptly got busy, where a week went by without touching it.



We had agreed to only work on this project after hours, to not impact customer car builds, so we only work on it when we have free time. Then finally one Sunday Tim, Brad and his wife Jen came to the shop and attacked the BMW, first weighing the car (with absolutely ZERO fuel, above) and then removing the interior....


The BMW went from 3229 pounds to 2795 pounds in about 2 hours

After that "interior-ectemy" it lost a whopping 434 pounds in about 2 hours, and it still had all of the windows + regulators, the full dash and HVAC to remove. Our goal is a race weight as close to 2500 pounds as possible, which we will couple with the 190 hp OEM engine to give us a pounds-to-horsepower ratio of about 13.15:1 without driver - which should slot the car into WRL's GP2 class nicely. Note - these classes/weights changed in 2015. The latest rules are here.

Quote:
6. Competition Classes
a. Cars are classed per their PWR rating which includes any PWR modifiers assigned. Competition classes are eligible for podium awards (1st-3rd) and other awards, purses, and contingency awards:
GP4-Cars with a PWR higher than 1:18.0
GP3-Cars with a PWR of 1:15.3 to 1:18.0
GP2- Cars with a PWR of 1:13.1 to 1:15.2
GP1- Cars with a PWR of 1:11.0 to 1:13.0
We kept the seats and some other bits, and they will go on our Clearance page shortly for sale. All money raised from the sale of these parts will go back into the budget for Vorshlagenwagen, not as profits for Vorshlag.



As a matter of fact, Vorshlag won't profit from this in any way. We've donated the space to store it, the use of the tools/shop, and the Vorshlag truck and trailer to haul it to race, but otherwise this is all employee funded. Everyone buys in, everyone crews, everyone races. We will take turns and use 4 drivers per weekend - who will pick up the tab for the entry fee, consumables and food for everyone.



The door panels, carpet and headliner were done for, so they went right into the Dumpster. We kept the tool kit (complete), jack, airbags, speakers and seats to sell. After the interior was out, the car was pressure washed. Brad donned some rain gear and went out into the 35F weather and cleaned this dirty birdie up. The underside of the floors and under hood are now spotless - which is how this car will stay while we own it.



And that's where it sits... stripped of interior, cleaned of grime, awaiting our next work night. We're going to try to hit this every Wednesday or Thursday night and whatever weekends we're not racing. Now in March I have race events every weekend, and Tim has two World Challenge races to attend, and Brad and Jen have autocrosses to run with Texas Region, etc. We all get busy - but we will make time and get this done.

As usual, I will document the build every step of the way, include dozens of pics in each post (which can all be clicked for higher rez versions), and SHARE EVERYTHING. We will weigh the car at every stage of the build, to show what is changing and how close to our goals we are getting. We have some neat stuff planned, which fits within the spirit of WRL and will show some of our fabrication talents. This won't be a plain jane BMW when we're done with it!

Other Series To Run?

We are primarily building this car around the World Racing League (WRL) series rules but we will also run the car in other endurance wheel-to-wheel races. Some of our crew already have their competition licenses and more will get theirs' in this car this year, so we could run the E46 in NASA enduros in the GTS classes.



NASA classes weigh the cars with driver, and as you can see above the E46 should fit in GTS2 at 2500 pounds minimum weight without driver. The car could also fit in some SCCA classes and we could possibly run the car in ChumpCar, but it would likely be in "EC" class - as the E46 has no "base classing" yet. Which is funny, considering we had an easier time finding an E46 for this project than a running/cheap E36. We paid less for the E46 than any E36 6-cylinder listing in Dallas' Craigslist for a running, non-wrecked car... yet the E36 is classed in Chump as a $500 car but the E46 isn't. Oh well, time will catch up with them and they will have to list it eventually.


Building race cars is a lot of what our shop does, so the Team Vorshlag E46 build will use the best craftsmanship we can muster

Our goals for this car are to HAVE FUN, first and foremost. This build allows everyone who works here to get hands-on with a race car build, as well as gives everyone a chance to crew on hot pits (refuel and driver changes) and of course - TO DRIVE! Everyone here has first hand racing experience in one form or another, but not everyone has done wheel-to-wheel racing yet. That will soon be remedied with this project.


According to the rules, "homemade aero is free" in WRL. Oh boy, they gonna rewrite the rules when we're done...

Everyone here is a racer, so we are all competitive - that means this build won't be taken lightly. It will be built to win. We will make this a CLEAN race car, of course, and the craftsmanship of our crew will be obvious. The roll cage will be top tier and the aero tricks we tackle will be anything but an afterthought. Of course the suspension will be the best that the WRL series will allow.

The WRL series limits tires to 180+ treadwear, and we have several racers here who have a lot of experience racing on the latest crop of 140-200 treadwear tires, myself included. Between us we've won several SCCA Solo Street Touring events, won several Goodguys events, and USCA/Optima events on 200 treadwear tires, plus we've built ChumpCars for customers. So "this ain't our first rodeo".


We have worked on cars within and raced with other teams in the LeMons, ChumpCar and WRL series before

But for this car, our tire choice has led to extensive arguments - to try to balance longevity and grip against cost and weight. I am of the camp that thinks BIGGER IS BETTER and would like to see nothing short of a 275mm tire on this car (with flares). Others here want to minimize costs and weight and want to use a 225-245mm tire. I think we'll probably compromise in the middle and use a 255mm tire on a 9" wide wheel, initially.


We've raced extensively on 200 treadwear tires in several other series, including Optima and SCCA

The brand of lubricants, seat, belts, shocks, wheels, exhaust and tires all depend on what we can leverage with sponsorships and/or the best deals we can find on parts. We have a tight budget for this build and hopefully some of the companies we have worked with over the years will do us a solid. To that end, we hope to carry more than just "VORSHLAG" decals on the side. Will it be possible to get sponsorship on a WRL car? We shall see, but if you know Vorshlag and what we can do with marketing..... I think it can happen.



We might make the WRL event at TWS May 29-31, but if not there are plenty of other events to hit. Stay tuned for more updates... I will list the various forums this thread will be cross-posted in at the top of this post.

More soon,

Last edited by Fair!; 03-10-2015 at 03:25 PM.
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