Ask any racing driver or sports car enthusiast what “Green Hell” means to them, and they will say nearly the same thing- Green Hell is the nickname of undoubtedly the most terrifying, the most challenging, and the most lethal race course on the planet- the Nurburgring. Most people who are not fans of motorsport simply do not understand. What is the purpose of a place like this? What a terrible waste of life and resources, to build a race track that takes more human life in one year than any other track in the world. The Green Hell has of course more than once been a subject of international controversy.
But to me, the Nurburgring is much more than just a track. The Nurburgring represents the human drive to push the envelope. The drive to be faster, better, smarter than those that came before you, even at the cost of your own life. This desire, this attraction to risk, this primal drive to push the limits of what’s possible is what makes the Green Hell so irresistible. So to me, the Green Hell is not just a 14-plus mile strip of concrete in the mountains of western Germany, it is a direct representation of the human condition, the human struggle- our daily fight to make each move, each inch count.
I knew all of this well before I ever went to the ‘Ring, but nothing could prepare me for actually driving the track. Navigating the same hair raising corners as greats like Stefan Bellof, Jackie Stewart, and Hans Stuck really drove home to me just how impossible the track was to master- even with me driving at what I felt was a personal five tenths, well below even my own lowly limit. Feeling the elevation changes, seeing the blind corners, seeing how truly close the Armco barriers were to the track surface made it clear to me that the men and women who had challenged the Green Hell were truly heroes. Exiting the track, I knew my perspective was forever changed. I knew I would never be the same from that day forward.
IND’s Green Hell project was conceived almost immediately after our return from Germany. With the amazing Nurburgring still fresh in my memory, I felt truly inspired. When our long-time client Sam told us of his desire to push the limit of his E92 M3 at the track, I knew we’d found the perfect co-conspirator for our plan. Many people in the US have installed Supercharger or stroker kits on their new M3s, but few have any plans to push the car’s limits at the racetrack. This is what sets Sam apart from many people spending tens of thousands on their M3s, and this, I knew, would be the winning ingredient to our Green Hell project. As will all IND Portfolio projects, the most important factor to a successful and memorable project car is the owner.
So with this idea of exploring the limits of performance of the E92 M3, we had a starting point. Combining comfortable street driving with fearsome track performance and bulletproof reliability is an extremely delicate balancing act, so it was important to choose our plan for engine enhancement carefully. There are many extremely attractive options for the E9x M3 that will produce big power, but among the field of stroker motors and supercharger kits, one option truly stood out for it’s proven on track performance, “push-the-envelope” power, and bulletproof reliability. After weeks of long conversations, ESS’ VT2-600 supercharger kit proved to be the clear choice. The ESS kit offered power levels that were bordering terrifying, several years of on-track testing by the amazing GS Bilder race car, and the tuning pedigree earned by ESS’ 20 years of tuning BMW cars.
This supercharger kit became the heart of the build, and the focal point of the project. For IND, pushing the envelope does not mean addressing performance alone- the car also has to be visually striking. IND as a company has constructed many E92 M3s prior to Green Hell, so we knew we had to do some truly unique work on this car. To pay homage to the Nurburgring, and to keep with this car’s motorsports theme, we chose to use Porsche RS Green to highlight the key elements of the car. From the vibrant RS Green ESS intake manifold, to the RS Green Brembo brake calipers directly from Brembo, to smaller details like our own green sidemarker and pinstripe, we knew the color scheme of the car would challenge people’s perceptions of what’s possible on an E92 M3. Even the Rogue Engineering adjustable toe arms were finished in green to match the car’s overall theme.
The car received a total makeover in its performance as well, with every aspect addressed by some of the biggest names in the business. Rogue Engineering provided their fantastically precise short shifter and toe adjustment arms. Brembo’s track proven 365mm big brake kit and KW’s ClubSport coilovers ensure that the 600hp produced by the ESS Supercharger kit are precisely controlled. The new higher speeds the car will encounter on straights of famous Midwest racetracks like Autobahn and Road America will command a change in pad choice as well, to allow for a higher operating temperature. To evacuate exhaust gasses efficiently, and provide an intoxicating exhaust note, Eisenmann sent us their prized possession- the one and only Inconel exhaust system for the E92 M3. Not only is this Inconel muffler the only one in existence for the M3, it is the only single system of this kind Eisenmann plans to make, making it truly one of a kind. Together with the Challenge X pipe, this car creates a truly menacing sound as soon as it starts up. The low rumble at idle transforms into a true roar as the ESS Supercharger builds it’s full 6.5 psi of boost, and the engine soars to redline.
HRE Monobloc track wheels in 18×9.5 front and 18×10 rear in a custom gloss black finish are used, together with 275/285 Nitto NT05 tires for balanced handling. A full Vorsteiner exterior component line is also installed, with gloss black highlights on the GTS3 bumper’s front lip, and the type 2 diffuser. Together with the custom gloss black interior trim, the gloss black color tames the green highlights to create a finished appearance.
Although testing the car on the street is only a small indication of how visceral, how intense the on-track experience will be, I can see that ESS has truly created a monster with their supercharger kit. Achieving 100mph is just an instant that is quickly glossed over as the car claws for speeds deeper into the triple digits. It is nearly impossible to focus on such low speeds when the speedometer is climbing rapidly past 150, 160, 170mph. The scenery goes from speeding by to simply blurring around you. Your focus is on the road ahead of you only. Your eyes stop blinking. Life suddenly turns from a complex experience filled with paperwork, phone calls, emails, to a very simple thing indeed- focus. Clear, razor sharp focus. Even the small amount of driving we were able to do during this Chicago winter, I can tell that the Brembo brakes have quite a task ahead of them this upcoming race season, and that this car will now accomplish the exact goal we set- pushing the limits of what’s possible, both for us and for our client. The opportunity to challenge, to force an individual to break new boundaries- this is the ultimate privilege.
Green Hell with the Challenge Gloss black lip installed-
Green Hell M3 to the Dyno!
Over time, we all mature as car enthusiasts. Priorities change, and the things that were important when you were modifying cars at 16 years old lose value as you age and learn. If at 16, having the coolest look was more important than anything else, then perhaps your early 20s are a never ending quest for the most possible power. Most enthusiasts that have fought their way through hundreds of track events, destroyed engines, and years of sweat and effort will eventually quest for something much simpler. Most enthusiasts with a solid decade of experience will want nothing more than a car that works well, reliably. Reliability is everything. An increase in power is worth nothing, if the car fails to perform in it’s designed settings.
It is for this reason that IND has never been in a hurry to dyno our ESS Supercharged project cars. We don’t care how much power Green Hell, Blue Max, or the Silver Standard make. What’s truly important is that the cars start every time, and drive thousands of miles day in and day out, on and off the track.
Of course, when you take photos like this, people are bound to ask questions. Curiosity gets the best of people, and “it runs great!” just doesn’t cut it after a while. We knew we had to see what the car could do.
The internet is a harsh place, and with many shops diving into a fray of accusations, we knew we could not simply go to any dyno. We had to work with the best. AMS Performance has been creating record breaking cars for over a decade. Their 1000hp creations have victories in Time Attack, Texas mile, outright engine horsepower records, and more. AMS has been winning tuner shootouts, track events, hill climbs, and drag races for more years than most shops have been in business. Best of all, AMS’ bread and butter are Japanese cars like the Mitsubishi Evolution and Nissan GTR. Because AMS is not an active player in the E9x M3 market, they have no vested interest in skewing numbers in one direction or another. We knew working with AMS would be the best way to ensure honesty.
After struggling and asking personal favors to get a time slot on their dyno (the AMS dyno is booked 3 months in advance with work), we finally got an “emergency” shot last week. We were told to come at 10am for our shot. Coming a bit late would mean getting told to turn around and come back in three months, when the schedule is more free.
We hit a minor bump in the road when we arrived at AMS, and realized they had replaced their DynoJet dyno with a new Mustang all wheel drive dyno. Because most of their clients own AWD cars, AMS preferred the Mustang’s AWD capabilities over the old DynoJet. This threw us off a bit, as most of the M3 community seems to prefer DynoJet numbers, but we decided to press on regardless. AMS tells us that the Mustang reads exactly 8% lower than their old DynoJet, every single time, every single car.
After listening to the deafening 8,000 RPM scream of Green Hell’s Eisenmann Inconel exhaust with Akrapovic GT4 x pipe, we walked over to the computer to see the numbers- not bad! 503 wheel horsepower, equivalent to 543 wheel horsepower on their old DynoJet dyno, according to AMS’ calculations.
Green Hell has this power setup:
ESS VT2-600 kit, with 92mm pulley. VT2 injectors, VT2 tune.
Akrapovic GT4 x pipe, no cats and no resonators.
Eisenmann Inconel rear muffler.
Green hell @ the track!