Track Battle: Can a Mildly Modified Nissan 370Z Take On a Track-Prepped BMW E46 M3? - story fullscreen Fullscreen

Track Battle: Can a Mildly Modified Nissan 370Z Take On a Track-Prepped BMW E46 M3?

A track-ready BMW M3 and an almost-stock Nissan 370Z throw down at Willow Springs Raceway, and the result might surprise you

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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.

Track Battle: Can a Mildly Modified Nissan 370Z Take On a Track-Prepped BMW E46 M3?
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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.

Track Battle: Can a Mildly Modified Nissan 370Z Take On a Track-Prepped BMW E46 M3?
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Relationship goals
Both drivers have been at Willow Springs before. They are also a couple, which should make for a heated battle
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.

Track Battle: Can a Mildly Modified Nissan 370Z Take On a Track-Prepped BMW E46 M3?
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Allison’s 2001 BMW M3 E46 is a track weapon
Exhaust, intake, and a tune are just the beginning

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.

Track Battle: Can a Mildly Modified Nissan 370Z Take On a Track-Prepped BMW E46 M3?
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Mildly modified, but definitely not slow
A Tomei exhaust and lots of chassis and suspension mods are what the Z relies on

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.

Track Battle: Can a Mildly Modified Nissan 370Z Take On a Track-Prepped BMW E46 M3?
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Same wheel and tire combination
Both cars score Volk TE37 wheels wrapped in Nitto NT01 tires

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.

Track Battle: Can a Mildly Modified Nissan 370Z Take On a Track-Prepped BMW E46 M3?
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A close race
Both cars seem evenly matched. The M3 has more RPMs to play with, while the Z has more low-end torque

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.

Track Battle: Can a Mildly Modified Nissan 370Z Take On a Track-Prepped BMW E46 M3?
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Which on would you drive?
Swipe up for more details and to watch the race

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.

Dim Angelov
Dim Angelov
Born in 1992, I come from a family of motoring enthusiasts. My passion for cars was awoken at the age of six, when I saw a Lamborghini Diablo SV in a magazine. After high school I earned a master’s degree in marketing and a Master of Arts in Media and Communications. Over the years, I’ve practiced and become skilled in precision driving and to date have test driven more than 250 cars across the globe. Over the years, I’ve picked up basic mechanical knowledge and have even taken part in the restoration of a 1964 Jaguar E-Type and an Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint. Lately, I’ve taken a fancy to automotive photography, and while modern cars are my primary passion, I also have a love for Asian Martial Arts, swimming, war history, craft beer, historical weapons, and car restoration. In time, I plan my own classic car restoration and hope to earn my racing certificate, after which I expect to establish my own racing team.  Read full bio
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