We might be slightly ignorant but the first thoughts that come to our minds about Thailand are perhaps its red light district, lady boys, beach resorts and muy thai boxing. However, Monrak Saengsastra is here to broaden our minds. The tuning scene in Thailand is growing and Mon is leading the charge with his ’08 BMW M3.
While spending most of his childhood in Thailand, Mon enjoyed eight years in the US before returning home. His knowledge and passion for Euros matured when he joined TWCompetition the club taught him the right way to build a Euro show car and daily driver. For example, his previous E46 M3 project featured a Schnitzer body kit and wheels, Ground Control suspension, Hartge hood and custom audio. It was one of the sweetest E46s at the time.
Upon returning home, Mon became managing director of a successful tile and ceramics manufacturer, boosting his budget and stable of cars as a result. The list included a Mini Cooper S, AMG E-Class and Lamborghini LP560-4.
Not able to stay away from the tuning game for long, Mon also picked up a Ferrari 360 Modena. Dressed in an Imola Racing body kit, it was impractical for daily use so he searched for something else. The E92 M3 was my dream car, he told us. However, the price in Thailand was very expensive compared to other European sport cars. This meant there were lots of BMWs in Thailand, many were modified but very few were M3s; mostly M3 and M5 replicas. So I waited until the price came down and decided to buy this car. Then the mods began!
The E92 went under the knife and while the coupe doesn’t have a long list of modifications, every part serves a purpose. Starting with the chassis, it was lowered by KW Variant 3 coilovers, allowing adjustability of both ride height and damper stiffness.
Wheel selection was an easy choice since he only wanted the best: 20" BBS LM-Rs were imported in a staggered fitment and mounted with Michelin PS2 tires.
Sitting in all four corners were massive 380mm Brembo drilled rotors with six- and four-piston orange calipers front and rear.
To finish the exterior, few aero kits can touch the PowerHouse Amuse Ericsson parts from Japan. Introduced on the M480 concept at the 08 Tokyo Auto Salon (et 2/09), the kit stole the hearts of enthusiast who saw photos online. But the steep price meant the kit was unobtainable for most M3 owners getting the carbon kit in the US would cost in excess of $30k, for example!
Fortunately, Mon’s budget was substantial and he splurged some cash on the carbon package. This included the front and rear bumpers, side skirts, mirrors and trunk. He credited Veerachai Kanchang for matching the paint to the body color.
With a show car worthy of a first place trophy, Mon had one last order of business the engine.
The M3’s 4.0-liter V8 was by no means a slug but, compared to Mon’s Ferrari, it lacked the acceleration to make heads snap back into the seat. So he exchanged phones calls with ESS Tuning and the rest was history
Installed by local shop A Motor, ESS provided one of the best turn-key supercharger kits on the market for the seven-speed DCT-equipped M3. Power comes from a Vortech V3 blower with a cast intake manifold featuring integrated velocity stacks to cope with the 6psi of boost pressure.
Keeping the intake cooler was a liquid intercooler system. More intake air also demanded more fuel, so eight larger Bosch Motorsport injectors were supplied.
With all the necessary hardware included, such as CNC brackets, K&N filter, silicone hoses and oil breather assembly, Mon didn’t have to worry about sourcing or fabricating parts. And once the hardware was fitted, the ESS MSS60 software recalibrated the ECU to adjust ignition timing, Vanos control and more. According to Mon, his M3 should now dyno at 575hp on pump gas with the extra addition of an Akrapovic titantium exhaust that provides a glorious note to the V8.
Mon reported that his car drives like stock under normal conditions. But when he gets on it, the power is instantaneous, delivering insane acceleration. The new software also eliminated the top-speed limiter, so Mon can stretch his legs when he hits the open road. I’ve beat the heck out of Ferrari 360s and Porsche 997 Turbos, he smiled.
et Tech Spec
2008 BMW M3
Owner: Monrak Saengsastra
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Occupation: ceramics manufacturer
Engine: 4.0-liter V8 32v with ESS Tuning VT2-575 kit using Vortech V3Si supercharger, Bosch Motorsport injectors, K&N filter, chargecooler, cast aluminum intake manifold, Akropovic Evolution exhaust
Drivetrain: stock seven-speed DCT transmission
Brakes: 380mm Brembo drilled rotors front and rear with six-piston front, four-piston rear calipers
Suspension: KW Variant 3 coilovers
Wheels & Tires: 20x8.5" front, 20x10" rear BBS LM-R wheels with 245/30 R20 front, 295/25 R20 rear Michelin PS2 tires
Exterior: PowerHouse Amuse Ericsson carbon bumpers, side skirts, mirrors and trunk
Interior: BMW Performance steering wheel
Thanks: Veerachai Kanchang, A Motor, ESS Tuning, TWCompetition