A track-ready BMW M3 and an almost-stock Nissan 370Z throw down at Willow Springs Raceway, and the result might surprise youby Dim Angelov, on LISTEN 03:03
Drag races are fun, but let’s face it, a true test for a sports car should include some corners. This is exactly why the YouTube channel Driving Line is presenting us with the “Driver Battles” series, where two drivers and their cars set the best possible lap times around a race track. Today’s time attack shootout is at Willow Springs race track and two of the most preferred build platforms go at it.
The battle is between a 2001 BMW M3 E46 that has been track-prepped and a mildly modified 2015 Nissan 370Z. More importantly, the two drivers – Allison and Michael – are a couple, so there’s more at stake here than just who’s the fastest.
Out of the box, the two cars have about the same power – 332 horsepower for the M3 versus 332 horsepower for the 370Z.
With the introduction of the new Nissan Z, it’s interesting to look back at how its predecessor stacks up to what is considered one of the most iconic performance cars ever made – the M3.
The M3 has a lot more done to it and is a proper track weapon. It features an Eventuri intake system, a Buildjournal tune, two-way adjustable coilovers, lots of chassis reinforcement mods, and a fully stripped interior. It also has a mechanical limited-slip differential and some aggressive aero bits, such as the tall rear wing and big front splitter.
Things are much simpler with Michael’s 370Z, which has primarily suspension mods done to it, among which Godspeed Coilover suspension. There are a few NISMO bits in there, such as the brake calipers as well as the entire body kit. The Nissan has an open differential, which could hinder performance. Moreover, in terms of engine mods, the Z only has a Tome exhaust system.
Both cars feature the same wheel and tire combo, with Volk TE37 wheels wrapped in Nitto NT01 tires. The two cars even run the same size at 275/35R18. Both drivers are no strangers to Willow Springs, so it’s forming up to be an epic throwdown.
If you want to look at the actual race, skip to the 5:50 mark. Both drivers actually have very similar times, with just over half a second difference between them. The Nissan 370Z was badly outgunned, at least on paper, but everything is as it seems. In the end, the drivers put down a 1:32.41 vs 1:33.00, respectively, with the winner being Allison and her BMW M3 E46.
Although there can only be one winner, Michael and the 370Z performed admirably against what is referred to as “the Chariot of the Gods”, by driving enthusiasts.