Video: Hillclimbing In A 1,300-HP BMW E30 M3 Is Sheer Insanity

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Vidar Jødahl’s wildly-tuned BMW E30 M3. It’s a gorgeous car, on which no expense has been spared. It’s a multi-tasker as well. A staple at the Nürburgring, this unrestrained track toy can turn laps there in seven and a half minutes while wowing the spectators with a smokeshow. It’s also a bit of a mutt — though bred with the best possible parents. Inside the Bimmer’s engine bay sits a wildly-tuned 2JZ-GTE, which frankly, would be more at home in a drag car than a road racer.

A jewel of a 2JZ-GTE makes over 1,100 horsepower.

The 2JZ uses forged pistons and rods from Powerhouse Racing, an enormous Garrett GTX4294R turbo, billet main caps, a ported head, and a Pectel T6 management system. With the boost cranked up to 43 pounds, the engine makes an absurd 1,305 hp at the flywheel, which it drives through a Sellholm MPG sequential gearbox. Taking drivetrain losses into consideration, that’s 1,138 hp  and 1,089 lb-ft of torque at the wheels — most of which is delivered before 5,000 rpm! Needless to say, it doesn’t find much traction until fourth gear.

That power is almost harnessed by a toughened E34 M5 differential, which is one of the few semi-stock components of the drivetrain. The footwork is all aftermarket. Sellholm provides the coilovers, and sitting alongside them are K-Sport six-piston brakes up front and standard E46 M3 brakes in the rear. Housing the anchors are 18-inch Compomotive MO wheels wrapped in Michelin slicks, which do their best to administer the pavement-churning power. However, as these tires needed to fit under the standard fender flares, they’re simply too narrow for the thrust available.

That said, with the conditions and a parachute hanging off the rear bumper, this lightweight car can cover the quarter mile in 8.96 seconds at 159 mph! Yet, that doesn’t mean it’s a one-trick dragster. For something driving four-digit figures to unweighted rear wheels, it does a respectable job handling the technical corners of the Osnabruck hillclimb — even though it spends most of its time sideways.

Clearly, Jødahl is interested in putting on a demonstration and stunning the audience. Tugging the hydraulic handbrake regularly and constantly counter-steering (at times with just one hand), the car never traces a straight line through any corner. He’s a showman, no question, and not interested in setting the fastest time. Besides, he was already the crowd favorite with the burnout before his departure.

This chimera is a very different take on what some believe the E30 ought to be. In fact, it goes completely against the idea of an underpowered, momentum car with great balance as its best asset. While this drag car for the circuit might frustrate the purists, the fact that Jødahl packaged so much power and performance in the standard bodywork is impressive. It might be a stretch to call this E30 a sleeper, but considering what it’s capable of, and its relatively understated appearance, this remarkable track toy is definitely a sheep in wolf’s clothing — but a smartly dressed wolf’s clothing.

About the author

Tommy Parry

Tommy Parry has been racing and writing about racing cars for the past seven years. As an automotive enthusiast from a young age, he worked jobs revolving around cars throughout high school, and tried his hand on the race track on his 20th birthday. After winning his first outdoor kart race, Tommy began working as an apprentice mechanic to amateur racers in the Bay Area to sharpen his mechanical understanding. He has worked as a track day instructor and automotive writer since 2012, and continues to race karts, formula cars, sedans, and rally cars in the San Francisco region.
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