The Gruppe5 2002 is your new street legal track weapon

Are you a wealthy person looking for something interesting to drive at your local race track? Do you prefer vintage machinery? Well, we’ve found the new racing toy for you. It’s called the Gruppe5 2002, and it starts life as a BMW 2002 before being completely transformed into a hand-built track weapon that is also still street legal.

Ignore the street-legal bit though, because this beast is built to turn laps. Donor cars are sourced for each build to maintain the street legal bit, but it’s basically just the tubs that are used. From there, Gruppe5 Motorsport employs steel and carbon fiber across the chassis and the body panels. Inside, a full FIA-legal cage is used, as is a fire suppression system, and racing seat. The real hotness happens under the hood, however, as you can spec your Gruppe5 2002 with one of two engines.

The “base” engine is a 5.8-liter V10 plucked from a BMW. It has been thoroughly reworked to produce 744 horsepower. If you’re an insane person who needs more go-fast juice, there’s a 5.9-liter version that makes 803 horsepower. And that’s all in a car weighting just 2,200 pounds. Gruppe5 goes on to say that the car is capable of producing 2,400 pounds of  downforce. For comparison, the last Dodge Viper ACR produced a 1,700 pounds of peak downforce.

So who’s responsible for this wicked machine? The founder of Gruppe5 Motorsport is Tom Zajac, and he’s smartly nabbed Bill and Bob Riley, and also Steve Dinan. The Riley’s know a thing or two about building race cars. Steve is a BMW engine tuning wizard. Formerly from Dinan Engineering, Steve now works on new projects at his company Carbahn Autoworks. Put all of this knowledge together and you wind up with the above beautiful beast.

It costs how much?

The plan is to build 200 examples with the 744-hp engine, and another 100 units of the 803-hp version. And no matter which one you choose, prepare to spend an unholy amount of cash. The 5.8-liter is $875,000 while the 5.9-liter $975,000.

Yes. Those numbers are correct. And the only way to reconcile them is to realize what we’re looking at here. Imagine if Singer built a real race car. But instead of Singer, it’s a team with a tremendous amount of road racing success and knowledge. If you think of this not as a transformed BMW 2002 but as a vintage Riley-built race car, then the price makes some bit of sense.

I said some

Regardless of the wild cost to party, the Gruppe5 2002 should prove to be an outrageous track assassin. With that power-to-weight ratio coupled with the listed downforce, a competent driver should be able to set blistering lap times.

All in a car shaped like an old BMW shoebox. That’s pretty cool.

Expensive as hell… but still cool.

10 Comments

      1. It’s awesome in isolation, and the sort of thing you’d see lining up on the start line of European hillclimbs, but the joy of a 2002 is as a really sweet simple road car that’s also fun on track. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for modifying a 2002 and if I had cash would love to spend a lot of money on modifying one or a similar classic quite extensively with things like a shell prepped like a rally car (restored and seam welded), suspension, engine swaps etc. but you can still push things pretty far without ruining the entire reason you’d want a 2002 in the first place.

        To me they just seem to have created a properly evil wings and slicks racecar, which is cool, but the only reason a 2002 is sacrificed is to preserve road legality, which seems daft as these things will probably end up trailered to tracks, would probably be liability on the road and the only reason I can think for it to be road legal is to impress people at Cars and Coffee or whatever.

        If yer gonna build a racecar, build a racecar and go track/hillclimb it.

  1. They should have priced it at $2,002,000. That’s pretty much the same as $975,000 when neither is reflected on your bank balance.

  2. So what level do you need to be at to unlock all the engine swaps? How many races do you need to win to get that kind of cash? Oh, wait, this is the real world!!!

    I seem to remember building something about like this in Forza or Gran Turismo. Those aren’t real pictures, so I just assumed…

  3. I know the 2002 is better and more desirable than the E21, but given how little originality this thing’s going to have, I can’t help but wonder if it’d be better for them to hack up some unloved 320i’s and leave the 2002’s alone.

    1. I agree! I personally like E21s, but you can buy them for a song, and cutting up a 2002 seems sacrilegious.

    2. Not to mention much more historically appropriate! While FIA Group 5 existed in 1969, the “super production” cars we associate with the era like the Zakspeed Capri were only a thing from 1971, and they raced 320i – so a bewinged 320i is more appropriate if you insist on calling yourself “Gruppe 5” – that said, the fact they’re unloved may be reason not to hack them up. The Alfa 33 is a perfect example of why. Everyone loves an Alfasud, but the 33 didn’t get the same level of love, which means despite being a newer car, it’s probably harder to find a well preserved example of a 33 as it’s the Alfasuds that got preserved and restored while 33s were seen as “bangers”, left to rot or used as Alfasud donors.

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