Drag racing. The rumbling of high-displacement engines, tire smoke, and the smell of race fuel in the air is a nostalgic experience for anyone who attends. As a spectator, you might think drag racing is reserved solely for American muscle cars. After all, American auto manufacturers often sell purpose-built drag racers straight from the factory. There's the Dodge Demon, the Chevrolet COPO Camaro, and the Ford Cobra-Jet Mustang just to name a few. But what about other manufacturers? What about something from, say, BMW or Porsche?
Everyone reading this knows why enthusiasts love European sports cars. One glance through the paddock of a track day, time attack event, or wheel-to-wheel racing weekend will show just how popular those Bavarian Brutes are. At a drag event, though, you'll have a hard time finding one. That's about to change.
Hi, my name is Chad Rose. Out of my home garage (and occasionally my driveway) in Toledo, Ohio, I have built one of the quickest BMW 335xi's in the country. When I originally purchased the car, I never intended to build it into a fast drag car. However, the first time I pulled into those staging lanes, I was hooked into one of the world's greatest, most addictive and most expensive hobbies.
I bought my 2008 BMW 335xi E92 in the summer of 2016, and as a young man new to the BMW world, I was quite intimidated. My parents began teaching me about cars as soon as I could talk, so although I was new to BMW, I have always been around motorsports as a hobby. At this point on my BMW, I had an aftermarket warranty, so I knew I was covered if anything broke, but for some reason I was still scared. I just didn’t want anything to go wrong with my new-to-me car. After countless hours of searching on the internet, I realized that the only way to not be intimidated was to just tackle any issue that arose head-on and learn as I went. Before long, I caught the “mod bug.” It started relatively simply with a dual-cone intake system, but progressed exponentially since then. Everything from the headlights to the turbochargers I've replaced with performance-based aftermarket products.
It wasn't until my second or third time at the track that I realized I could be a contender for the drag racing record on this platform. Every time I went back to the track, I was shaving tenths off my previous personal best, and that feeling is addictive. Before I knew it, I was within grasp of the platform stock turbo quarter mile ET (elapsed time) record of 11.76 seconds. Throughout the winter of 2017, I thought of everything I could do to take that record. In 2018, I only made about ten passes down the strip before my stock turbos failed. During that time, I managed to post an ET of 11.80 seconds, four-hundredths of a second away from my goal. The dream of taking that record would have to wait.
At this point, I could have replaced my blown turbos with stock ones and continued to chase that record, but for a man addicted to speed, that would never be good enough. Leading up to the failure, every modification I made to my car was in anticipation of adding additional power. So, it really just didn’t make sense to spend all that money and not go any faster. I chose to put FrankenTurbo’s F21Bi turbos on my car and chase the overall platform record for the 335i. The first time at the strip with these new turbos, which was also my last event of the year, I managed to run an 11.44. The new goal is to make a pass of 10.917 or quicker. In the United States right now, there are only around three other people chasing this same goal.
So, how am I going to achieve my goal and take the record? Well, a few of the mods I have planned for 2019 include adjustable camber arms, an upgraded transmission by Propulsive Dynamics, Sparco Racing seats, and MORE BOOST! The adjustable camber arms will help dial in my suspension geometry allowing smoother, harder launches. The built transmission will not only hold more power than my stock unit, but will also put the power to the ground more efficiently. The Sparco Racing seats will dramatically cut the weight of my car; just replacing one of the two front seats will save almost sixty pounds. The last part of the equation is to crank up the boost, as anyone with forced induction knows more boost equals more power. And to anyone without forced induction, well, you’re missing out!
One thing that I don’t have to consider often is how to maintain my BMW. Whenever possible, I try and use OEM or OE parts, but I do go through a lot of them: belts, hoses, sensors, gaskets and so on. FCP Euro is able to get them to me quickly, affordably, and if/when anything goes wrong with any of them, I utilize their Lifetime Replacement Guarantee.
Hopefully, by now I've grasped enough of your interest to inspire you to chase your own goals. I hope you continue to follow along as I dive deeper into my build, and see what American cars I can smack around on the drag strip throughout the season! If you're interested, check back here often and make sure to subscribe for all of the updates throughout the year.