08-27-2014, 11:09 PM #1
Comparing a 1987 E30 M3 FIA Group A race car to the 2015 F80 M3 at the Mid-Ohio racetrack
Last month German publication Sport Auto compared a 1992 E30 M3 DTM car to the F80 M3 on the Hockenheim and the E30 DTM car crushed it. This led to F80 M3 fanboys stating the comparison was not fair because the E30 M3 DTM car is a race car and the F80 M3 is a street car. Apparently a three decade old design with a naturally aspirated four banger beating up on the pride of the modern M division ruffled some feathers.
Well, here is a comparison with an E30 M3 that is much closer to the street car. The 1987 FIA Group A car is less powerful than the E30 DTM car and even closer to the E30 M3 street car. Additionally, Mid-Ohio is a larger race track than the tighter Hockenheim that gives an edge to power meaning the straightaways favor much more powerful F80 M3.
Before we get into which car excels where on this racetrack we want to highlight the difference in powertrains here. The E30 M3 has a four-cylinder which was developed specifically for FIA and DTM racing. The four-cylinder offered higher revs than BMW's inline-6's at the time and sitting further back in the chassis it offered better balance. The S14 as it is fondly remembered was developed by the same man responsible for BMW's insane 1500+ horsepower turbo four cylinder engine era:
"The engine was a highlight. Although there was an internal push to use one of BMW's signature inline-sixes, M technical director Paul Rosche, the mad genius behind BMW's 1400-hp, four-cylinder Formula 1 engines, wanted the balance and high-rpm stability of a twin-cam four. To make the first prototype, he literally sawed two cylinders from the head of an M88—the 24-valve six from the M1 supercar—and paired it with a version of the iron block used in the 2002tii. (Fun facts: The F1 project started with that same block, and Rosche was later responsible for the McLaren F1's V-12.) Test engines vibrated themselves to pieces but produced around 200 hp and more than 7000 rpm."
So in the F80 M3 you have modern BMW M power with forced air providing close to 500 horses and in the 1987 E30 M3 Group A car you have an S14 four-cylinder spinning to around ~8000 rpm with roughly 320 horses. The later DTM cars had more displacement and revved to roughly ~10000 rpm with 340+ horsepower. The DTM car obviously offers a bit more power, torque, and tighter gearing.
The weight difference between the two cars is about 1400 pounds which is night and day. So how does this play out?
The F80 M3 dominates the straights and the E30 M3 dominates the twisties. The end result is practically a wash with the F80 M3 coming ahead by three tenths thanks to its shift speed and straightaway advantage. The comparison plays out exactly as it should. The new car is more powerful and technologically advanced but the track oriented E30 M3 is still more than a match on the roadcourse.
Very different M cars but it is certainly interesting to see the past and present compared:
08-27-2014, 11:16 PM #2
Hmm very interesting. It would be nice to see a comparison between all the different generations.
08-27-2014, 11:32 PM #3
08-28-2014, 11:00 PM #4Member
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wait, is the F80 on stock rubber?
i get that the E30 is awesome and still fast blah blah blah fanboy
but seriously, rubber is SECONDS on the track... i know the PSS are pretty great, but nothing compared to semi's or slicks i assume the E30 was on.
So i don't find it more impressive that the E30 can 'still keep up'... i find it impressive that the F80 can even come close to keeping up with a race car.
08-28-2014, 11:06 PM #5
I don't know what the tire specs are but the E30 doing what it does considering the power deficit is more impressive to me on this track.
08-29-2014, 03:59 AM #6
And all of this is surprising because? Only people who've never been on a roadcourse are surprised that an all-out race car is faster than a street car. Whatever the decades of development are between them. Go drive the Nürburgring a few days and you'll get overtaken by stripped-out E30s in almost any car.
08-29-2014, 04:07 AM #7