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!
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.
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).
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.
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
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!
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).
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
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.
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...
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
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!
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!
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
Just like those wonderful F1 turbo days it seems there’s no limit!
The Tow Vehicle!
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.
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!