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F1 Meets 2002

It may look like a BMW 2002 but underneath it shares more with a 1980s Formula 1!

Words by Michael Knowling, Pix by Julian Edgar

Click on pics to view larger images

At a glance...

  • Larger capacity version of the '80s BMW F1 turbo engine
  • Weighs 1020kg
  • Monster brakes
  • Tubular chassis
  • Massive wings
  • Unlike anything else!
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This article was first published in 2004.

Whoa, what the heck is this?! Take it easy. Put your eyes back in your head. You’re looking at the play thing owned by BavariaCar’s Herbert Gattermeier.

And what a play thing it is!

Cast your mind back to the 1980s and you might remember the awesome 1.5 litre turbo engines that BMW used to campaign - the ones that used to push out more than 1000hp in qualifying. Well, that’s essentially what this baby packs under its custom ‘glass panels.

Yes, it’s an absolute beast!

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Herbert says he thought he’d left his racing days behind in Europe. However, when he first set up his BMW workshop – BavariaCars – he toyed with the idea of killing some spare time in a hotted up Beemer built for track thrashing. Nothing too flash – just something to enjoy.

This idea came into fruition when Herbert bought a stock-standard but accident damaged BMW 2002 back in 1987. He then proceeded to convert to M10 power, fit bigger brakes, wide guards and perform various other tweaks. This package provided a great deal of personal amusement but it was incredibly frustrating being dusted by so many other more powerful cars.

This situation wasn’t good enough.

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Not one to do things half-arsed, Herbert sourced bits and pieces from a BMW Formula 1 engine from Germany. In case you don’t know, the F1-spec motor (M12 series) features a highly developed DOHC cylinder head and is so strong it’s scary. In its initial configuration, Herbert built the engine in 11.2:1 atmo form with Haltech management, quad throttles and a 2.0 litre Formula 2/IMSA motorsport crank.

Outputting around 310hp the trusty 2002 showed a significant on-track improvement and beat many larger engine’d competitors. As time passed, however, Herbert decided the car needed a boost to really get going. In 1992, he rebuilt the motor and added a turbocharger – and when the old BMW revealed its structural limit! With so much grunt (about 550hp at this stage) seam welds began to tear, the chassis rails twisted and the trailing arms simply tore themselves from the chassis...

At this point, Herbert decided to cut the car up and build a space-frame racer to suit the regulations for Sports Sedans. Oh, and the turbocharged engine received more massaging at this time as well! The car currently competes in the up to 6000cc category (a multiplication factor applies to the displacement of multi-valve and turbo engines).

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The design of the tubular chassis is pretty simple – the most important bit is the frame section that extends down the centre of the car. The suspension, engine, gearbox and diff are all mounted to this central frame. The rest of the tube work is simply whatever would fit inside the confines of the 2002 exterior. Cold drawn seamless tube was used for the frame but, given another opportunity, Herbert says he’d now do it lighter and stronger with chrome-moly.

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Initially, Herbert employed an adjustable MacPherson strut suspension arrangement but this had to be abandoned as wider and wider tyres became necessary. These days, the front and rear suspension is a classic double A-arm configuration – similar to a Formula 2 set-up according to Herbert. Custom rose-jointed suspension arms, fabricated uprights and a quick-ratio steering rack are also used. Eibach springs, Koni front and Proflex rear dampers are currently the brands of choice.

Knowing the potential of the F1 style engine, Herbert went for a serious but cost-effective brake set-up. Front discs are 12 ½ inch BMW 750iL parts grabbed by monster Harrop supercar callipers, while the rear uses 11 ½ inch E36 BMW ventilated discs with aluminium Mazda RX-7 calipers. Brake balance is is-car variable thanks to a Tilton bias adjuster, which compliments a twin master cylinder arrangement. Brake cooling ducts are installed as a matter of necessity.

Herbert is reluctant to give too many engine details away – but here’s what we can tell you...

The Formula 1-style engine is built around a heavily modified M10 block containing the Formula 2/IMSA motorsport crank we mentioned earlier. The associated BMW Motorsport main and conrod bearings are very much different to the production M10 parts. Rods are competition-spec and pistons a Mahle forgies cooled by oil jets.

The ultra rare and desirable DOHC head gives 4-valve-per-cylinder breathing and bucket-style lifters. The cam specs Herbert uses are a secret – but we can tell you they’re far from tame!

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The intake to the high-power four comprises a Formula 1 magnesium intake manifold with a custom plenum and 68mm throttle body. The manifold is boosted by a hybrid Garrett T04 turbocharger. Interestingly, the turbo is big on the compressor side (to give plenty of intake mass flow) while the turbine side is relatively small (to help improve boost response).

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This turbo is ‘lopsided’ to the extent Herbert says a single external wastegate can’t bleed enough exhaust gas past the turbine – minimum boost is 18 psi! This problem is overcome using two Turbomaster external wastegates in parallel. As you might imagine, there’s a lot of plumbing in the engine compartment – this includes the custom exhaust manifold that’s thoroughly heat wrapped. The exhaust is a 4 inch titanium job that includes a titanium muffler – it’s unbelievably lightweight.

The rest of the turbo system includes twin Goyen blow-off valves, large diameter alloy pipework and a Performance Metalcraft air-to-air intercooler. A PWR radiator core keeps the engine running cool, while an Earl’s oil cooler maintains lubrication performance. A dry sump is employed and oil capacity (in a remote tank) is around 12 litres.

Herbert relies on a MicroTech LTX12 programmable management system to control fuel, spark and boost.

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A diet of avgas is supplied from a custom 45 litre fuel tank and a surge tank. A pair of Carter electric pumps is used as ‘primers’, while two Bosch Motorsport pumps push ‘gas to the engine via Earl’s lines. The sequentially-fired injectors are described as “big”... The MicroTech controlled ignition system uses direct-fire Bosch coils. A rev cut is set at 9500 while boost pressure tops 2.0 Bar.

With 2.0 Bar of boost Herbert says the 2.0 litre engine is making in excess of 700 horsepower! Oh, and the wick might get turned up to 2.5 Bar very soon...

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Bearing this load is a Sachs competition twin-plate clutch, which mates with a 2655 Getrag 5 speed ‘box. This gearbox is currently the weakest link in the entire vehicle – we’re told a Hollinger 6-speed is on its way. The Hollinger will provide faster shifts in addition to extra strength.

Reaching back, the tailshaft is a custom heavy-duty unit and the diff is taken from none other than a BMW 750iL V12. Herbert says the 750iL diff is essentially a German version of the famous Ford 9 incher! As seen here, a number of standard 7-series axles were destroyed before moving to custom billet shafts.

Needless to say, BMW never intended its classic 2002 to travel at the speeds that Herbert throws it along at. If you don’t add a serious amount of downforce you’ll spear off at the first high-speed turn – there’s no question about it. Herbert has fitted a towering rear wing that’s about the same size as you’ll find on a V8 Supercar. Balancing the front-to-rear aerodynamic downforce is a deep-reaching front spoiler that prevents too much air getting beneath the chassis. A flat-bottom aluminium floor is also used – but don’t ask about the aero Cd!

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According to the regulations for Sports Sedans, the car must retain its standard metal roof, window frames, lower sills and door pillars. Herbert built his BMW to this rule - with every other body part being custom fibreglass. Carbon fibre would’ve been nice but it’s too expensive and difficult to mainatain.

Note the width of the guards – their extra width is required to fit the giant 290 and 325 width Dunlop race tyres. Skinnier rubber would be suicide!

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Inside it’s all very purposeful – as indicated by the industrial pressure gauge that’s being used as a boost gauge. Herbert says he couldn’t find an automotive boost gauge that went high enough...

Other gauges provide info on engine rpm, EGT, oil pressure, fuel pressure and oil temp. A MicroTech digital dash is also fitted – this adds readings such as air inlet temp, water temp and battery voltage. All of this data is absorbed while Herbert is strapped into an OMP Kevlar race seat by his Sabelt 5 point harness. Aside from a Momo wheel the interior is a sparse expanse of aluminium - and, yes, it gets bloody hot and noisy!

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Roaring out more than 700hp and weighing 1020 kilograms, the BavariaCars 2002 race car has already run a 1:12 at Oran Park GP and 1:37 at Eastern Creek – well up with the NSW State Championship Sports Sedan front runners. We’re told other racers find it hard to believe a car with a third their car’s engine capacity can pull out and pass them on the straights!

With some more chassis development and when the Hollinger ‘box goes in, Herbert plans to wind the boost up to around 2.5 Bar and let the race wins roll in.

Just like those wonderful F1 turbo days it seems there’s no limit!

The Tow Vehicle!

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When Herbert got tired of whipping his Ford Econovan twin-cab ute to death towing his BMW racecar, he seriously considered buying a new tow vehicle. The standard 2.1 litre four-pot was nowhere near grunty enough to lug a racecar and all of its spare parts.

But then he had a stroke of genius.

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What you’re looking at is probably the most potent Econovan in the world. When you hear it drive past its obvious that something isn’t quite right. All is revealed when Herbert lifts the engine cover – THERE’S A BMW 3.5 LITRE SIX HIDING IN THERE!

Running a MicroTech ECU, pod filter and a big-bore exhaust this baby puts out around 212 horsepower. Drive is to the rear wheels via a BMW 5-speed.

“It now tows very well now and it’s also more economical because I don’t have to drive it flat-out all the time,” says Herbert.

Ten points for creativity and another ten points for a top result!


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