Kingpin: Chris Bergemann's HPF BMW M3

Written by Dave Pankew | Photos by RCH Designs and Derek Tall

When a type-A personality sets out to accomplish something, they don’t let up until it’s done. Case in point is Chris Bergemann, the owner of HorsepowerFreaks (HPF) who has been continually setting the bar for E46 M3 performance. For critics who may be wondering why Bergemann has bagged his second PAS Magazine cover in 18 months, the answer is obvious; this completely new car is every bit as visually appealing as the last one, but with performance that would embarrass his previous wild creations.

Kingpin: Chris Bergemann's HPF BMW M3

Recently, BMW reinvented the M3 with a new body design and V8 powerplant but at the same time HorsepowerFreaks in Portland, OR have reinvented the (2001-2006) E46 M3 with a completely new approach to power and style. The elaborate body kit was designed by Perry from Asuka Design to deliver a low coefficient of drag, plenty of down-force and stunning looks. Bret Bothwell and Mackin’s Auto Body spent countless hours prepping, painting and installing this multi-piece kit. Everything from the front bumper to the rear bumper was painted with Standox paint including the roll-cage, engine, interior trim pieces and yes, even Bergemann’s helmet. The insane graphics were designed by PSPEK and applied by Signs Now. To keep the rear of the car firmly planted on the ground, the rear wing was designed by Perry, the wing brackets by HPF and the lower diffuser by Karwerkz.


The car was stripped of several hundred pounds of excess weight thanks to HPF. Nearly 40 man hours were spent stripping the chassis harness of all non-essential items or swapping OEM stuff for lighter gear. Even with the added weight of the cage, wing, widebody and turbo kit, the M3 weighed in at a scant 3,127 lbs. With the driver in the driver’s seat, the car now has near perfect 50:50 weight distribution.

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One of the most important aspects of every car built for the track is traction and loads of it. HPF chose VIP Modular for their extremely strong and lightweight wheels. The 19x10 and 19x13-inch wheels were custom built and feature a gloss black lip and matte finish on the center. VIP Modular even etched the letters “HPF” directly onto each wheel. Wrapped in Hoosier R6 265 slicks in the front and 325s in the rear, all of the necessary traction is there. A Brembo GT Brake system ensures that any time the ride needs to comes to a complete stop it happens in a hurry.

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The handling was critical to this track beast and the parts were chosen wisely. HPF selected the OS Giken differential for improved acceleration exiting turns and increased durability. A set of KW Variant 3 coil-overs were chosen which provide dampening and rebound adjustment and the UUC lower control arms were used to add rigidity and adjustability. HPF took chassis tuning even further and installed their own front under brace to tie the front suspension points together.


The entire chassis was dramatically stiffened with a custom gusseted roll-cage built and installed by Racetech Motorsports. The interior was stuffed with Sparco Circuit Pro race seats and RCI 5-point seat belts. HPF retained the factory dash and modified it to fit within the roll-cage constraints to keep the BMW feel. The steering wheel is a Vertex which easily disconnects from the Rothsport Racing quick release hub. To monitor engine parameters, this beast was equipped with an AEM fuel pressure gauge, AEM oil pressure gauge, AEM boost gauge and an AEM wideband.

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Running the fully built HPF S54 engine, the block was bored and plateau-brushed using state of the art Sunnen equipment. It was then balanced and stuffed with HPF-spec pistons, rods, main studs, wrist pins, rings and bearings all done by M&B Cylinder Heads. The stock S54 heads flow so well, that HPF didn’t need to massage or modify the head or even the cams, but it did require ARP L19 studs to clamp it down. The S54 utilizes dual VANOS technology that allows HPF to position the camshafts + or – 20 degrees for every rpm and every boost level, giving all kinds of timing adjustability along with the drivability of a grocery getter.

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Bergemann’s M3 was tailored specifically for the track with their stage 3 turbo system that makes over 800rwhp when the button is pressed and 650rwhp when the button isn’t pressed. The HPF magic button is right by the steering wheel and switches maps when the driver wants an additional 150rwhp on those long straights to pass everything and everyone. To hold the power, HPF turned to JDM manufacturer OS Giken and their triple carbon clutch. The clutch handles all the power with ease. To enhance the look of the engine, an HPF carbon fiber engine cover was installed.

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To feed the six-shooter, HPF installed twin Walbro 255lph fuel pumps in addition to the factory fuel pump. To maintain fuel pressure, AEM’s high volume fuel pressure regulator was used which feeds fuel under pressure to HPF’s fuel rail and into six RC Engineering 1200cc low impedance injectors. Okada Projects plasma direct ignition coils store up spark energy and NGK racing spark plugs fire the intake air charge for each cylinder. The boost comes from a Precision dual ball-bearing billet wheel turbo running an .81 A/R. The turbo spools insanely quickly, yet still flows enough to make 800rwhp surprisingly easily. This is achieved via computer controlled boost feedback through the HPF/AEM EMS system and the TiAL 44mm V-band wastegate. To vacate the intake system of pressure when the ITBs are closed, twin HKS Super Sequential BOV’s were installed one directly in front of the intake manifold, and one directly after the turbo. To cool the intake charge a massive HPF intercooler was used which measures 24x12x4-inches with a 95-percent efficiency rating. All of this cool air is forced into the engine via the HPF flow benched “orange” intake manifold which equalizes air to all six cylinders. To keep everything tight under pressure, all of the silicon couplers were designed by HPF for precise fitment and they all utilize 5-layer silicone so the t-bolt clamps won’t loosen up.

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To keep the engine cool during long track sessions, HPF installed the Active Autowerke mechanical fan which utilizes a stiffer clutch as the factory clutched fan will often slip during hard abuse. They also wired the air conditioning fan to stay on once the car is started and left the factory fan shroud in place to improve air flow through the radiator. To keep the oil cool, they designed an additional oil cooler that runs in series with the factory oil cooler.

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This M3 recently debuted at MFest 2010, and Bergemann plans to run it at several of the upcoming Time Attack events. He’s even been taking people for ride-alongs (read: rides of terror) at the track in the passenger seat. Bergemann maintains that if you don’t get motion sickness, this car is better than any roller coaster you might have been on. Our only question is where do we sign up?

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Owner: Chris Bergemann
Location: Portland, OR
Vehicle: HPF BMW M3
Power: 800whp

HPF S54 inline-6 Turbo
HPF-spec: (pistons, rods, main studs, wrist pins, rings and bearings)
Engine build by M&B Cylinder Head
ARP L19 head studs
HPF Stage 3 turbo kit
HPF Intake manifold
HPF intercooler 24x12x4-inches
Precision dual ball-bearing billet wheel turbo
Walbro 255lph fuel pumps
RC Engineering 1200cc injectors
Okada Projects ignition coils
NGK racing spark plugs
TiAL 44mm V-band wastegate
Twin HKS Super Sequential BOVs
Active Autowerke mechanical fan
HPF oil cooler

HPF/AEM Standalone
HPF knock alarm
HPF magic button

OS Giken triple carbon clutch

VIP Modular custom wheels; 19x10-inch (f), 19x13-inch (r)
Hoosier R6 slicks
Brembo GT Brake System

KW Variant 3 coilovers
UUC rear control Arms
HPF chassis bracing

Asuka Designs widebody
Asuka Designs rear wing
Standox Paint
Bodywork by Bret Bothwell and Mackin’s AutoBody
Graphics by PSPEK
Vinyl by Signs Now

Roll cage by Racetech Motorsports
Sparco Circuit Pro
RCI 5 point seat belts
Vertex steering wheel
Rothsport Racing quick release hub
AEM 52mm gauges (fuel pressure,
AEM oil pressure, AEM boost, AEM wideband)

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