“Hey, we aren’t here to fu#k spiders,” exclaims Daynom Templeman, as we sit around examining his ‘Oh, so close to being finished’ BMW E46 — a car that will line up later this month for the first round of the Demon Energy D1NZ National Drifting Championship. For Daynom, this will be his sixth season competing in the national championship, and the first not behind the wheel of an FD RX-7.
“Looking back, we were the last ones left running that chassis; we have been stupid, and built three RX-7s when we should just have given up after the first,” Daynom states.
It’s not that their RX-7 was unreliable, or not capable of turning out a good performance, but the team has long battled the steering characteristics that made it extremely hard to chase.
“Look at any of the cars running that aftermarket steering; they do it easy — they can let go of the wheel. Whereas, in the RX-7, if you let go you’re going to the scene of a crash real fast — so that’s the whole thought process behind the new build.”
Daynom recalls the turning point being the last Whangarei D1NZ round. The RX-7 was handling like a pig, and at every turn it seemed as if it was going into the wall. He said right then and there that he would build a BMW; no one believed him and the project very nearly didn’t happen. Hell, by late 2014 they even had a Toyota GT86 shell sitting in the workshop ready to cut up, until a conversation with American driver, Ryan Tuerck — a man with more experience than most drifting the 86 chassis.
“He told me he wasn’t 100-per-cent happy with how the Wisefab kit worked in that chassis. Well, there was no way I was going to build a car that didn’t steer, as that has been our sole problem.”
The build began with a 2001 BMW 330i E46 around midway through last D1NZ season. On paper, the E46 stacked up — being 11 inches longer than an FD — and any of the bad points associated with the 330i wouldn’t be used anyway. Team member and head fabricator at BNR Engineering, Brendon Thomas, would take lead on the project, with most of what you see before you being his handy work. After the shell was stripped and caged, the car sat dormant for a few months while the team got the competition season out of the way. It’s really been the last two months of hard slog that has seen it all come together. However, while not a lot was seen to be happening, parts were being collected from all corners of the globe, ready for the sprint to the finish line — or, in this case, the D1NZ grid.
Despite the short time frame, the project was by no means a slap-up, she’ll-be-right kind of exercise. The longer you study this car, the more it rewards you — the amount of thought that has gone into each handcrafted component and into where to mount off-the-shelf stuff can only come from experts who have been sniffing around race cars for their entire lives.
While Daynom might somewhat jokingly say that the team have wasted all these years building version after version of the FD RX-7, we feel it was not in vain, as it has all led to building this car, and any that will follow. You see, the driveline the team selected for the E46 comprises tried and tested components taken from the FD known as Giniger.
It was the first FD to receive the 2JZ swap from the rotary they had so much trouble keeping apex seals inside, and has proven a reliable choice since. Hell, they spent two and a half years of throwing huge amounts of power, boost, and nitrous at this particular 2JZ, yet, when it was stripped it down prior to going into the BMW, it was found to be mint. The team did, however, take the opportunity to upgrade a few of the components in the cylinder head, with a few tricks they had learned over the years, which will now allow Daynom to rev as high as 9000rpm. We’re told it will make the torque all the way there. So while, yes, it’s a new shell, what’s under the right foot is all too familiar. Each and every driveline component has been through the Templeman prep school of 1200hp in the RX-7; from the radiator to the rear axles, the team know the components and how they will stand up to the unique punishment of competition drift inside out.
The only new bit that has been added to the mix is the Steve Murch custom-built Holset turbo.
Daynom explains, “He basically took the engine characteristics from what the FD was doing on the dyno, and from what I wanted it to do, and built the turbo to be competitive against the torque the V8s are producing.”
The other weapon — although not new to the team, as they have run it overseas for some time — is nitrous, an addition to the D1NZ regulations for 2015.
“The nitrous will run to 4500rpm. It’s basically just to get the turbo going and allow me to drive it during the chase so I can get on and off the throttle without it deciding to wheel stand and gain a ton of grip.”
Like many teams, the Templeman team see nitrous as a big leveller against the instant torque of the V8s. Even so, that doesn’t mean the allure of a V8 didn’t see them contemplating jumping ship.
Daynom continues, “We were contemplating going the V8 route, but with the success we have had with the 2JZ and the fact we didn’t want it to be D1V8, we stuck with the old turbocharger. If we went down the V8 route, it would have cost a shit ton to get it to go right and then to maintain it. The blessing with staying six cylinder is that it [the E46] has always been a six cylinder so the weight characteristics should be very similar, and the 50/50 weight split shouldn’t be messed up.”
That perfect weight balance, along with the availability of off-the-shelf parts, played a big factor in the decision to go E46. Teams in Europe and the USA have run and developed many components for the chassis, parts that have won championships on both sides of the Atlantic, and can now be found in New Zealand — parts like the HGK rear subframe for Winters 10.5-inch quick-change diff, and, more important, the coilovers and steering componentry from Wisefab and Fortune Auto. The Wisefab lock kit corrects Ackermann, kingpin inclination, and castor and camber control. It’s a kit that’s tried and tested, and something that Daynom is looking forward to putting all 60 degrees of to the test in a few weeks. Even pushing it around at the photo shoot, the team were excited how the car steered. One can only imagine what it’s like on lock at 140kph.
Buckle up and grab some popcorn, folks, as you’re about to see Euro logic in full effect.
- Model: 2001 BMW 330i
- Engine: Toyota 2JZ-GTE VVTi, 3400, six-cylinder
- Block: Engine specs machined block, Carrillo 8.5:1 pistons, Carrillo rods, BC crank, ACL bearings, ARP studs, deleted oil squirters, Accusump, swinging pick up, pivot drive oil pump
- Head: VVTi head, Engine specs porting, BC cams, Ferro valves, Daynom Drift spec valve springs, Daynom Drift spec buckets
- Intake: BNR Engineering intake plenum, 90mm NZKW throttle body, ITL bar and plate intercooler core, BNR Engineering end tanks, seven-inch K&N filter
- Exhaust: Four-inch downpipe, twin three-inch to four-inch side exit
- Turbo: MSE spec Holset, BNR equal-length stainless manifold
- Wastegate: Turbosmart Powergate 60mm
- BOV: Turbosmart
- Fuel: Magnafuel main pump, twin Carter lift pumps, Fuel Safe cell, BNR Engineering surge tank, NZKW AN fittings and lines, six ID2200 injectors, Turbosmart FRP, Magnafuel filter, FPP lift pump filters
- Ignition: DDT coils, MSD leads, NGK BKR70S plugs
- ECU: Link Fury
- Cooling: NZKW radiator, Meziere electric water pump,
- Extra: Zex nitrous kit, BNR Engineering catch can / PS reservoir, Speedwire kit, BNR Engineering intercooler sprayer kit
- Gearbox: Holinger six-speed sequential, gearbox cooler
- Clutch: Powertrain tripple plate
- Flywheel: Custom flywheel
- Diff: Winters quick-change LSD, custom billet axles, Porsche 930 inner CVs, Toyota Supra out CVs, HGK Motorsport housing, Tilton diff cooler pump, diff cooler, Peterson inline filter
- Struts: Fortune Auto Dreadnought Pro 2 way bump and rebound coilovers, external reservoir
- Brakes: Tilton floor-mount pedal box, DBA hydraulic handbrake (F) stock (R) stock
- Extra: Wisefab FD legal kit lock kit, custom sway bars, Wisefab adjustable rear arms, custom hubs, NZKW air jacks
- Wheels: (F) 18x9.5-inch (12) Work D9R, (R) 18x10.5-inch (15) Work D9R
- Tyres: (F) Westlake RS Sport 235/40R18 (R) 265/40R18
- Paint: White white by carcolours
- Enhancements: HGK Motorsport bodykit, TMS boot spoiler, facelift conversion, Jet Creative graphics applied by Big Brown Industries
- Seats: (F) NZKW FIA legal, NZKW six-point harness
- Steering wheel: NZKW
- Instrumentation: Link Dash2 Pro
- Extra: Speedwire switch box, suede retrimmed dash
- Power: 1150hp at the wheels without nitrous
- Driver/Owner: Daynom Templeman
- Age: Very very old
- Location: North Shore 0629
- Occupation: Pool boy
- Build time: 8 months
- Length of ownership: 8 months
- Thanks: Brendon at BNR Engineering, Andrew at Rotorspeed, Mum and Dad, Eddy, Stew, Rosco, VQ, and Chase; Eddy and Bentley at B man Industries; Glenn and Geoff at Engine Specialties, Jeremy from Big Brown Industries, Mark and Brad at Jet Creative Studio, Ben Eckstein
- Sponsors: NAC Insurance, Toyotaz Galore, Car Colors, MSE Turbos, Fortune Auto, Link ECU, NZKW, West Lake Tyres, Fusion, North Shore Toyota, ST Race Supply
This article was originally published in NZ Performance Car Issue No. 229. You can pick up a print copy or a digital copy of the magazine below: