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      07-17-2017, 09:46 PM   #2
Brigadier General
sirdaft1's Avatar

Drives: '12 X5 xDrive35i
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Chicago West Burbs

iTrader: (9)

Garage List
**Full Walkthrough of the Build**

After picking her up, I drove her directly over to EFab Motorsports to begin the work!

Needless to say... Eric at EFab dove right in! Must say, at this moment she looks more like a part out car than a racecar, but it's really exciting to see how far it's progressed.

Interior shot. So much room for activities! That said, it won't be long until this space is filled with a bunch of tubing!

When you go on a diet, every little bit adds up. There are so many mounting tabs and miscellaneous brackets that will no longer be used. Just from removing these small bit, the box of these pieces must have weighed 10-15lbs.

The gray/tan areas on the floor is where the factory sound deadening tar sat. All together, the tar alone weighed in at 17lbs.

A/C has been removed. New CSF radiator, low temp oil thermostat and more efficiently designed custom chargepipe (since no a/c, can route cp directly to the FMIC) are next on the underhood list.

Raw tubing has arrived and will start taking shape next week.

Pre-widebody width

Where'd my stereo and A/C go?!

Rear strut cage downtube mount plates getting welded in

A few photos from my visit to check on the progress today. The main hoop was bent and tack welded in. Cage should be done within 2 weeks. While this is taking place we have our wiring guy slimming down the main engine harness to include only the basic necessities. Since 95% of the factory systems are going bye bye, we should see some drastic weight savings from the harness and wiring (not to mention MUCH cleaner of a setup). I will be honest, the wiring side of things is what concerns me the most when dealing with a modern CANBUS vehicle. But I'm being reassured that I just need to let the professionals do what they do and trust them with it.

That said, some bad news. We discovered that either due to PO install error or some design flaw with KW using all stainless materials (it doesn't rust though, right?? ), the lower part of where the strut mounts to the rear lower control were busted up (threads were completely stripped on one, the other just broke off when we tried to remove the nut). That said... we're sending the Clubsports in to KW for a rebuild as we work on lining up a killer MCS suspension setup that's dialed in specifically for this car. Should be a nice upgrade over the Clubsports and much more track car oriented.

Not much has changed on the exterior yet. Heard from Jake at HARD Motorsports today and they are finishing up the Leichtbau Widebody and should have it in the mail within the next few days. M-Tech bumper has arrived and will go on after cage is complete. New CSF radiator is ready for install, along with low temp HARD Motorsports oil cooler thermostat. Planning on venting the hood and installing aerocatch hood pins.

The plan is to run sans aero kit for the next 10 months to really explore the limits of the car; then consider adding aero mid-season 2018 (completely dependent on how dialed in we can get the car by then).


I'm a tall guy (6'3") and the e90 has plenty of room to fit the main hoop a little further back to accomodate me.

My what beefy plates you have

A view to from the front. Within two weeks, there should be many more bars in place. That's our male model and the mastermind behind this build; Eric with eFab over to the left giving his best Blue Steel impression

Below is the stock 335 lower control arm (bottom horizontal blackish/grayish piece). Because we need new suspension anyways, replacement M3 lower control arms on order to properly fix the stock crappy 335 design that uses a rubber bushing where the strut mounts to the lower control arm. The plan is to run 335 front suspension with M3 rear suspension since we're replacing the suspension with MCS's anyways. The m3 version uses a solid mount which translates to far less slop and better response/feedback

If planning to do this same upgrade that requires m3 rear struts, it's worth mentioning that brand new lower m3 control arms can either be bought new for $200+ per side ($400 total from Bimmerworld, ECS, etc.), or good condition used versions can be found ALL OVER eBay for a fraction of that. I found a good used pair for $150.

And for anyone wanting to upgrade from the crappy rubber bushing without going full M3 mode, AKG makes a rear lower shock mount which adapts the stock 335 rear dampener to a solid spherical bearing setup. That said, NVM will likely be increased. Link to said bushing:

I come from the e30 world prior to this and the 335 guibo is about twice the size of the e30's! It's YUUUGE.

Last pic... since we plan on running proper aero at some point, that means no more beautiful ECS Carbon Fiber CSL trunk. Excellent looks but we'll be running a full on wing at some point, and the CSL lid is unfortunately more for 'show' than it is for 'go'. I found a local enthusiast parting out a BSM LCI e90 with the stock trunk and tails for a good price, which is going to be our setup going forward. That said, the Carbon Fiber pre-lci CSL boot lid is up for sale here:

(think we should keep the 328i badging?? )

I've never been asked to wear a helmet during a oil change in the past. Very odd... starting to suspect that eFab is up to something that goes beyond a simple oil change...

From my quick 3-hour visit tonight to check seat location and fitment above my head. These e90's are pretty damn surprising in seeing just how much room they have. I'm 6'3" and with a halo seat, I have quite a bit of head room!

These cages take ALOT of time to make sure you have proper fitment and symmetrical pieces (drivers/passengers sides). That said, major parts are bent and the rest should go together pretty quickly. Eric said most of the cage should be done by Friday of this week/early next week depending on how tough the door bars are. Quite a few more shots from the inside...

Instead of the X style structure, we went with an A frame. This allows us to make the open area above the drivers head (me) much smaller than if it were a traditional X structure, providing more safety in the event of a rollover. #themoreyouknow

Also, the difference with the A-pillar bars in this photo vs my previous post were that these completed ones are one continuous bar vs multiple welded together pieces. The welded/multi piece version is how a template is made to find the right shape which can then be copied when bending one single piece of steel. Most major racing sanctioning bodies only allow three bends in the single A-pillar bar. Ours is bent in such a way that we'll be able to weld the bars to the actual body of the car, further increasing rigidity.

Paid another visit to the shop today. Seeing the way tubing is bent to fit... it's artwork. There are a number of spots in the car where the tubing runs directly along the structure of the car, that allowed us to weld the cage directly to the body of the car; increasing rigidity while avoiding the need to add weight from gussets. Seriously impressive work.

The plan is to have the cage done done in the next few days, then paint it, then install all wiring. From there, it'll be a few days to install the widebody, and another week (??) installing MCS suspension, CSF radiator and a bunch of other miscellaneous odds and ends (fire suppression, door pulls, new serp belt/pulleys, mounting new buttons/kill switches, mounting race seats, etc.) I'll say right now that I've never been a part of a build that is this extensive. It gives you a massive amount of appreciation for the level of skill and time required to undertake this project. Couldn't be more excited to watch this come together.

Here's a dump of photos I shot tonight... let me know if you guys have any questions.

Passenger side

Look at the bracing in the roof. Serious roll protection.

Drivers side

Rear Passenger

The mad scientist welding up the drivers side door gussets...

When I say that there are 29947362527 random 'little things' that need to get done, this is a perfect case in point... the custom fabbed sheet metal dash surround that looks amazing. since we're running dash-less, to save on weight, this should provide some excellent functionality for securing the stock gauge bezel and prevent glare.

Now we're trying to figure out which color to paint the interior. We are absolutely going to continue with the old Lotus 79 "John Player Special" black/gold livery on the outside, like this...

So we're tossing around interior paint colors. The most common race car interior colors are either white or a lighter silver/gray. We tried white and its out, too much contrast with the black exterior. So, I was either thinking silver or gray, OR a much rarer option... GOLD . Its definitely not a color you expect to see in a race car, but it could compliment the Lotus 77/John Player look we are staying with. Below are samples of how each looked. Choices, choices...

The three samples below...




More fabrication work underway, this time on a custom steering wheel column mount.


More boxes have arrived! Lots of miscellaneous goodies and one HUGELY important delivery...

MCS's have arrived!!!!!

Could not be more excited. These should be a huge improvement over the KW's.

We will be running the M3 rear lower control arm and MCS was kind enough to make a custom rear set that allows me to run the 335 damper with the lower m3 spherical bearing mount. HUGE upgrade over the crappy stock 335 rubber bushing mount.

Verifying fitment in the m3 rear lower control arm...

Spot on.

We also tested fitted location for the dash bezel...

And noticed some beautiful gusseting above the windshield that wasn't there the last time I checked...

Here's a long update with some learning takeaways for future reference...

The mad scientist hard at work doing some small modifications to the HARD widebody rear pieces. (UPDATE: Hard Widebody shown below was removed due to poor fitment/ and does not add advertised width- now running a WTCC widebody)

Fitting the widebody on the rear...

Rivets in the body

Rear widebody panel installed

The motor is finally back in and getting put back together. You wouldn't even be able to tell that there is a full sized CSF aluminum radiator stuffed in there. Since it's so much thicker than stock, it usually pushes the fan closer to the engine, making it difficult to fit aftermarket inlets. Since we did away with the A/C condenser, the shop was able to relocate the mounting tabs on the CSF and push it forward a full inch- giving us precious room to fit the custom front inlet that wraps around the front of the engine. Zoom closely and you'll see a hard mounted, much more solid aluminum custom inlet. While we plan to go single turbo in the near future, in the meantime there is no need to worry about the inlet touching the pulleys while we run the stock twins. Little details like this take time in a build like this, but are necessary modifications to ensure added reliability on the track.

Custom aluminum front inlet bolts directly to one of the stock inlet mounting points...

Also added mounts for the filters (new filters on order, these are duuuuurty), so they aren't just bouncing around on the drivers side engine bay. Front filter mounted to alternator bracket:

Rear filter mounted to strut tower brace:

One pretty substantial issue with the CSF Radiator. Since I'm currently running a VRSF 7" FMIC, the IC connection happens to occupy the same exact space as the radiator outlet on the CSF. Fortunately when we moved the CSF further forward, it gave us the clearance. But it's worth highlighting the issue for anyone else running a VRSF FMIC who is considering a CSF. It's very odd.

After (yay, clearance!)

Difficult to tell in this photo but the CAE shifter was moved away from the front so that it's in line with the location of where I'll have the steering wheel.

M3 Steering Rack has arrived! The ratio of the M3 rack is 12.5:1 vs the stock 335's at 16:1 (22% quicker turn ratio). One note: the rack itself is plug and play HOWEVER... the inner tie rods will not fit the 335. We have to measure them, but we suspect that the inner TR are longer than the 335s as the wheels have alot of toe out even when the inners were moved all the way in. The plan is to swap the stock 335 inner and outer tie rods onto the M3 rack and call it a day.

The MOMO Mod 7 alcantara steering wheel and quick release awaiting reinstall...

HARD Motorsports eDash Tablet holder. Its a 3D printed piece designed to hold my Android so I can monitor the vitals via MHD while on track. Will it work? Sure. But I think a solid aluminum piece like this would fit the bill a bit more from a durability/motorsports application standpoint.

And still trying to convince Eric to donate the BBS FI-R's off of his 1M shop car to the #becauseracecar cause. For some reason he's not returning my texts... Regardless, it's a freaking stunning ///M

Welp, this just happened...

Next step is to tape off the cage and paint the rest of the interior satin black. And for future reference... we did two coats of paint on the cage and used 5 1/2 cans of spray paint. Couldn't be happier with how the paint went on. We may clear coat the cage... at least the high wear areas to prevent any chipping.

Cage. is. DONE.

Paid a quick visit to the shop. Think it's too late to go back to stock??

Full MCS coilovers + Eibach springs + Ground Control camber plates ready for install

And for those who have reached out asking about the custom oil cooler setup. E-Fab modified the Evolution Raceworks Competition Dual OC's in a few ways... flipped the OC's to be top feed (unfortunately not a plug and play modification) and changed the way they were mounted (not very secure on pass side previously).

When the OC's were flipped to top feed, the fittings touched the underside of the stock pre-LCI bi-xenon headlights (the small plastic pop out for the AE's). I since swapped to a non OE headlight that does not have that popout, so the OC fittings no longer come in contact with the headlight housing.

10/12 UPDATE
Swung by the shop tonight to drop off the painted front bumper. I must have sat there with my mouth wide open staring for at least a 1/2 hour. This build is even more insane looking in person.

Eric wasn’t kidding when he said that he “fixed the rear bumper”!! No more parachute effect on the rear wheel wells anymore!

We also swapped the stock Swiss cheesed trunk (had holes from previous owners mounted wing) to a stock LCI trunk off of a 328i. Think we should keep the 328i badging???

**11/7/2017 UPDATE**
Talk about a lot of work! Up to this point we have put her on an extensive weight loss diet/ full custom rollcage/ upgraded suspension and slimmed down wiring harness. We hoped to get her out for some test and tuning before the end of season but unfortunately it was just too tight of a timeline.

We’ve also had ALOT of questions about the Hard widebody kit. While the kit ‘looks’ good from 10 feet, unfortunately the fit and finish of the kit is not Motorsports quality. Here she is right before we got rid of the Hard kit:

Without going into too much detail, even though the Hard kit looks aggressive... it cannot fit anywhere near the amount of tire advertised (max 285 front vs 315 advertised on the website, plus there is some questionable height clearance on the rear). If this was a stance build, we probably would have left it as-is. But given that this is built for track use, we have to do this the right way. What did we do? Switched to a full WTCC widebody of course

Rockers and rear fenders before install...

Front bumper

Front fender. Just a taaaaad wider than stock (estimate this may be able to fit a 305 front tire... but we suspect that there may be some rubbing on the firewall... more to follow on that)

How she looked before the widebody and some serious sheet metal work...

The previous owner did some "minor" trimming to try and fit the added tire width. Think it still rubbed?? Time for some major sheet metal surgery...

After the mad scientist cut out the outer and inner rear fender. Think this will give us some needed wheel travel??

More trimming...

Getting the contour of the new fender profile...

Inner and outer rear fenders welded together and new flat surface was added should there ever be any rubbing over large bumps...

Rear panel sitting on the new sheet metal rear fender profile...

**2/23/18 UPDATE**
Look what arrived StopTech Trophy kit for all four corners. We'll be running ST60R up front and ST40R out rear with PFC11 pads. We haven't weighed these vs stock but I've heard that they not only provide a massive improvement in braking, but they cut close to 12lbs of unsprung weight from each corner. HUGE thanks to Anish over at Speed Freaks for the great hook-up.

**3/15/18 UPDATE**
Now this is where it gets fun! Had Wes at Motive Artwork work up some livery designs... After working up a dozen or more, these are the top four. Feel free to chime in with any thoughts. The goal is to draw from the John Player Special Black/gold look without being a direct copy... going for more of a modern interpretation of the style without the 70’s porn look.

**5/17/18 UPDATE**
Sorry guys, haven’t had a ton to report. My shop got slammed over the off season and we had some major delays on critical parts from vendors which really threw a wrench into off season build plans. Good news is that the list of major items needed to get her on track is getting much shorter. Really jonesing to get her on track

It was mentioned a while back, but given the added tire width we plan to run up front (305 width), there is considerable contact between the tire and the pinch weld (highlighted in red) and the bump outs (highlighted in yellow) on the firewall when the wheel is turned.


We knew that the proper way to address the issue would be to cut/remove the existing sheet metal and replace them with custom made sheet metal panels. The end result is that we now have well over 1” of added clearance which should allow us to not have any rubbing issues again.

The mad scientist hard at work

Look at that clearance! Room for dayyyysssssssss :-)

Rear fenders are also ready for widebody install and then off to the body shop for some work

And we cooked up another little something as well; ducted headlight shells. While they’re not needed for the immediate future, we’ll either use these for brake cooling or for turbo intake/general engine bay cooling at some point.

**6/6/18 UPDATE**
All of the raw sheet metal was sealed/painted...

Custom fender/bumper/headlight mount...

And best quality pic in this thread ()... off to the body shop!

**7/3/18 UPDATE**
Widebody installed! I didn’t realize just how wide this kit was until I saw it in person!

She’s off to paint later this week. And looking back after a year of challenges trying to figure out the right widebody solution for the e90... this WTCC kit IS THE SAUCE.

Once bodywork is complete, she heads back to E-Fab for some final buttoning up and then testing!

**7/14/18 UPDATE**
This simple oil change has really gotten out of hand!

Now that we are heading into the final corner of this stage of the build, we’ll be measuring for wheels. My source is out of the Pirelli DH’s we planned to run, but he had Hoosier R7’s which will ft the bill. Here’s the Hoosier 335-30-18 rear tire For those who are analytical, this is a 31.4% increase in tire width out rear over the factory 255.

**7/15/2018 UPDATE**
What does it take to cool an N54 on track? Well, here’s a start. CSF radiator, ER Competition dual oil coolers and an upgraded intercooler. And for those who have asked, you can see a better view of the inverted/top feed ER Competition oil coolers in these pics as well. ER makes a great oil cooler ($$$) but the bottom fed coolers are less than desirable in the event you have an off while on track (Hot oil all over the front tire isn’t a good way to end a day). Thanks to some clever work by Eric @ EFab Motorsports and we won’t have that issue anymore.

The IC shown in this pic is only a 7” VRSF, not our permanent solution. As we bump power we’ll be changing over to a custom Garrett core IC that can support up to 750hp.

**7/21/18 UPDATE**
I stopped by the body shop while they were in the middle of a buff/polish... Speechless. The entire widebody aspect of this build has taken far more bandwidth than anticipated (with all of the iterations we’ve had to go thru), but the results are beyond worth it. Dave Klimek and his team at Revive Autobody & Repair in Schaumburg (45 mins west of downtown Chicago) did all the bodywork/paint, and the work speaks for itself. It. Is. Outstanding.

Without exaggerating, this widebody is so clean it could almost pass for factory.

Even the ducted headlights are painted!

**7/28/18 UPDATE**
WTCC widebody COMPLETE! We could not be happier with the end result. What became obvious was just how much added width the WTCC kit provides. For reference, that super sunk in rear tire that looks like a bicycle wheel is actually a 295 width R888R and it’s nowhere close to the strut on the inside #roomfordayssss #timeforE88s

**8/5/2018 UPDATE**
New shoes arrived!!! HUGE thanks to BBS Motorsports for the stunning gold 18” BBS E88’s. Pure. Perfection. #manjewelry

10.5” front wrapped in 285/30-18 Hoosier sticks and 12” rear wrapped in 335/30-18 rubber.

**11/15/2018 UPDATE**
The off-season has arrived! We were shooting to get her on track for some testing before the end of the season, but between having kiddo #2 and my work travel taking off - I told Eric not to worry about stressing to get her on track by end of season. That said, it’s allowed us to start taking her apart to complete our offseason work!

We have an extensive and thorough checklist of work to complete this offseason with a late Jan completion date. So we will absolutely have her on track starting in Spring ‘19 **giddy with excitement**

Here’s the official checklist:

If partially vented fenders weren’t enough, we decided to fully vent them to work with our upcoming aero and diffuser setup

Since the stock battery box is on the outside of the frame rail in the pass side wheel well, we moved it to the inside of the frame rail and Eric made a custom battery box. We went with a slightly smaller battery instead of a super small Braille battery since it’s not bad to keep some weight in the rear end being as front heavy as she is.

Klaus Composites is one of the immensely talented sponsors/partners on this build and he sent over a photo of the start of the plug for our carbon fiber front splitter. The bottom piece of wood is the start of the plug and this is going to be the general size. For comparison, the plug on top of it is for an e46 (it’s going to be massive) #function

Last edited by sirdaft1; 12-30-2018 at 12:43 AM.