A New Contender Enters: The HGK E92 Eurofighter
It Was Meant To Be

Do you believe in fate? Events that are predetermined outside of your, or anyone else’s control.

While I firmly believe that we are each in control our own destiny, I think that certain events come to be that fit so well that you can’t help but feel they’ve had a helping hand.

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Take for example the events surrounding the end of HGK Motorsport’s 2017 Formula Drift season at Irwindale Speedway. Their familiar and reliable ‘CrocoFD’ BMW E46 drift car had served Pro driver Kristaps Blušs and the HGK team well for three years, and Irwindale was to be its swan song before retirement.

However, at the start of Thursday’s practice, the team encountered a major engine issue with their ever-faithful CrocoFD and were forced to make the difficult decision to shut the car down straight away to avoid further damage. With Kristaps challenging for third place in the FD Pro championship, but without time to repair or replace the engine, it looked like it was game over.

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This is where fate comes into play. Having made the journey across half the world from Latvia to its new home in North America, HGK’s 2018 car had cleared customs and was due to be delivered to the track that weekend. There were originally no plans to run the so-called and as-yet-untested E92 HGK ‘Eurofighter’ in competition just yet, but rather it was to be on static display on AEM’s booth at the event.

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Formula Drift rules state that the car that you run Friday practice in is the car that you must use for the event. With practice starting in the early afternoon, the HGK team had barely enough time to go to the port and collect their 2018 machine. Photographs of Eurofighter going through tech inspection surfaced online and the excitement from drift fans and co-competitors alike was palpable.

When you’re holding two twos it’s hard not to come up with four.

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You see, HGK don’t just build any old drift cars – they build some of the world’s very best drift cars. Builds so detailed and immaculate in their execution that they can comfortably sit side-by-side with GT-spec race cars, put together by teams with far bigger budgets and backgrounds than this humble crew of motorsport fabricators from a small country in the Baltics.

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So when the HGK team themselves are vocally excited about sharing a project with the world, you know it’s going to be something special.

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This isn’t embellished prose for additional impact either. If you do ever get the chance to look over a HGK build please do so – there’s an attention to detail and level of engineering present, the vision of their design engineer Harijs, that has to be seen to be truly appreciated. Thankfully, Larry was on hand at Irwindale to take a closer look at this incredible car before it hit the track.

Fighting Fit
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At this point you might have already done a double take – haven’t we featured this car before? While the E92 Eurofighter shares much in common with HGK’s F22 Eurofighter predecessor, the earlier build now lives in Qatar with its owners, MK Racing, whereas this build Kristaps gets to keep for himself. To add further confusion, yet more F22 builds are currently in progress back in Latvia. HGK have found a formula that works when it comes to building drift cars, and there’s little out there that holds a candle to what they’re currently cooking up.

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Sticking to the tried and tested approach of ‘adding lightness’, the E92 Eurofighter’s makeup is as minimalist as it can get. It seems somewhat fitting that the car that will replace CrocoFD wears a skin that resembles that of a reptile.

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The intricate weave is a mixture of gold, green and yellow tones, all catching the light at different angles, and shimmering in the Californian sun. It seems a shame that this will probably be covered up with a fresh livery before we next see the car in action.

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As with the previous F22 Eurofighter build, the team at HGK turned to Edijs from D1 Design for the 3D modelling and OCT Composites in Riga, Latvia for the creation of the E92’s panels. Remembering that the factory E92 coupe is an 11-year-old design, the Eurofighter kit definitely helps bring the aesthetics up to date.

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Much in the same styling vein as the F22 build, the E92 Eurofighter kit adds aggressive, angular lines to the stock body’s relatively smooth shape. It’s a notable deviation from the Rocket Bunny-style overfenders and deep lip spoilers that are commonplace in drifting, yet it works so very well with the shape of the car.

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It would’ve been easier for HGK to develop the kit to comprise of widened overfenders and bumpers alone that tack onto the existing metal body, but that’s really not how the Riga-based motorsport experts do things. Instead, every exterior panel bar the A, B and C pillars were reformed in carbon-Kevlar. The exceptions here are the roof skin and rear window surround, which are pure carbon fibre.

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In fact, these feature a notably larger weave which interacts with the light in a completely different manner.

Why? “It looks funky,” Kristaps tells me.

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It’s this view from the front which hits home just how much HGK have extended the car’s track width – the front overfenders stretching out to cover the tops of massive 255/35R18 front tyres.

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The kit brings much more than just aesthetics to the table, too. A build this detailed and backed by this much experience contains lots of neat little problem-solving touches. For example, did you notice the lack of almost any visible external hardware on the car? Those two smaller moulded panels under the headlamps form part of the hidden bracket system that holds the front end in place. There’s a similar system in the rear as well.

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And did you notice how the tapered side skirts and vents in the rear fenders are positioned to use the airflow to pull cool air onto the rear tyres, and extract smoke out the back? Or how the front bumper ducts are angled outwards towards the back of the front wheels to provide tyre and brake cooling? By retaining control over the complete design, HGK have created a kit that’s as much about function as it is form.

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Rather than take the easy route and cut a hole in the bonnet for the engine’s huge inlet manifold, the E92’s Kevlar hood was engorged with the mother of all bulges. It juts up enough to be a visual cue to Kristaps of the monster V8 block within, should the accelerator pedal not be reminder enough.

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Airflow is a key consideration at the back of the car, too. Here, the split rear screen drops away at both sides, diverting air through the rear of the car and, in turn, the rear-mounted twin-core, dual-pass radiator and cooling system, before it exits out two large holes in the boot lid.

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This process is helped along by two huge electric fans mounted in a custom carbon panel. Also visible from here are the Nitron remote reservoirs and access to the Fuel Safe racing fuel cell.

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A cheeky upskirt shot reveals the 10-gallon cell in its majority, secured in place with a bespoke cage, tied into the car’s chassis complete with rear jacking point. Again, from the back you can make the two smaller Kevlar panels that conceal the rear bumper brackets.

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Of course, the other main reason for mounting the cooling and fuelling system so far back in the car is to load up the rear axle with as much weight distribution as possible. Moving weight over the rear wheels means more mechanical grip, and therefore more traction.

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Kristaps tells me that the balance is 49% front and 51% rear on the Eurofighter, very similar to how the stock E92 would sit, albeit around 600kg (1,322lb) lighter. That’s a diet of around 34%! The final magic number is an incredible 1,150kg (1,535lb).

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Famed for its balance of both light weight and strength, the pure carbon-Kevlar weave that covers 90% of the BMW’s visible chassis is unbelievably thin. So thin, in fact, that light effortlessly leaks through the composite material. A perfect demonstration of the composite’s svelte nature is when you catch HGK’s creation in full attack mode; the air pushing against the side of the car physically pushes the door skins inwards across the whole panel. As Kristaps transitions or straights out, the panels pop back out to their original positions. It’s quite strange, but at the same time amusing to watch.

Impressive Underpinnings
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A serious chassis like this needs some serious footwork, and should you to get the chance to peer under the Eurofighter, you won’t be disappointed.

Front and rear custom Wisefab suspension arms and knuckles with roll centre adjustment are used to maintain the optimum, and adjustable, steering and suspension geometry for drifting. As alluded to above, Nitron were called upon to supply custom 3-way adjustable coilovers for the build, complete with remote reservoirs.

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A set of lightweight Wilwood brakes brings the show to a halt; considering just how light the car is, the 6-piston front calipers and 4-piston rears will do the job sufficiently. There’s no such thing as stopping too quickly.

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You might also spot the single rear caliper setup. A dedicated handbrake caliper is planned, however given the turn of events at Irwindale it wasn’t fitted in time. Still, Kristaps didn’t seem to struggle with the current setup.

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As with the F22 build, Work Wheels supplied a set of Meister L1 3P 3-piece wheels, measuring 18×9-inch in the front and 18×10-inch out back. Kristaps’ victims of choice are Achilles 123S semi-slicks in 255/35 (front) and 285/35 (rear) varieties.

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Inside the cabin very few of the BMW’s original luxuries remain, but that’s not to say it’s not a great place for Kristaps to call his office. The original dash has been replaced with a full custom item made from, you guessed it – carbon fibre.

The lightweight composite also covers countless surfaces inside the car, including the passenger footwell, door cards and pedal box.

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The same attention to detail that graces the car’s exterior carries through inside, too. Every wire, cable or line is fastened along the chassis, and there are no rough edges or unfinished details. One feature that I love about the original F22 Eurofighter that’s been carried over to this build is the quick-release polycarbonate windows. They’re simply released with two neat grub screws, allowing them to be carried out of the way.

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The tools of Kristaps’ trade include a Samsonas 5-speed sequential transmission and HGK hydraulic e-brake lever.

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The full roll cage, complete with dual door bars, neatly wraps around a pair of OMP Racing HTE-R 400 seats.

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The MoTeC M130 engine management system and PDM30 power distribution module feed back vital information via a MoTeC C125 digital dash display, and the main electronic controls have been repositioned south of these in a custom switch panel, including a Tilton brake bias adjuster for quick braking force adjustments.

More small touches become apparent, too. Tucked between the seats, the carbon fibre tunnel cover features an integrated radio, drinks bottle holder and a neat slot designed to hold an iPhone – being an athlete in motorsport in 2017 plays out on social media almost as much as it does on the circuit.

Weapon Of Mast Destruction
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Lift the carbon-Kevlar bonnet and you’re greeted by a Mast-erpierce of engineering. Get it?

I’ll get my coat.

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HGK’s approach to powering their FD machines has always been to rely on a simple, but obnoxiously large naturally aspirated engine to do the job. In their words, ‘just fuel, and air’… and a vast 427 cubic inches for it to furiously combust inside, of course.

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The appropriately-named Mast Motorsports 427ci ‘Big Boy’ fills every inch of the E92’s engine bay. Building on their years of experience and starting out with an aluminium DART block, Mast created this naturally aspirated monster to HGK’s exacting specifications. It’s pretty much the ultimate spec naturally aspirated race V8.

Without a turbo or supercharger in sight it outputs a colossal 900bhp at 9,000rpm.

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A custom carbon fibre intake channels air directly from the E92’s ‘nostrils’, passing through an AEM panel filter directly into the huge 125mm Marcella Manifolds throttle body and down into Mast Mozez Canted Valve cylinder heads via that huge custom Mast tunnel ram intake.

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With the ‘air’ side taken care of, 120+ octane VP Racing Q16 race fuel is drawn from the rear fuel cell via an Aeromotive fuel system.

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Power is delivered via the aforementioned Samsonas sequential gearbox via a Spec racing clutch. The rest of the drivetrain has been beefed up to cope accordingly; The Driveshaft Shop came up with full carbon driveshafts and upgraded axles. A custom rear subframe houses a Winters Performance quick-change rear differential, allowing for fast final drive changes at the track.

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The Mast powerplant singing away through the Inconel/titanium exhaust gives the E92 Eurofighter a truly unique exhaust noise under load. At 9,000rpm, the familiar bassy rhythmic rumble of the V8 is no more, replaced with a much higher pitched wail.

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Reminding yourself that the HGK E92 Eurofighter first turned a wheel in anger at one of the fastest, trickiest and most dangerous tracks in the Formula Drift calendar, under competition conditions, and during a fight for a top three championship finish, Kristaps’ ability to jump in and command the car around the circuit surely won over anyone doubting his position as one of the best drivers in the series.

Although he narrowly missed out on third place finish, with limited seat time he showed the world what Eurofighter is capable of, and gave the car a more fitting and dramatic introduction than had it been sat on display during the race weekend.

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This season proved that the Europeans are launching an all-out assault on Formula Drift. CrocoFD may have been the car that helped establish HGK’s presence in America, but the Eurofighter could well be the one to take them to their first championship in 2018. Watch this space.

Jordan Butters
Instagram: jordanbutters
jordan@speedhunters.com

Photos by Larry Chen
Instagram: larry_chen_foto
larry@speedhunters.com

Cutting Room Floor
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39 comments

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1

I'd rather have the original Eurofighter.

It comes with missiles.

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2

If it's driftable, there's a way.

3

absolute beast, there's no more to that. the looks, the noises, the manners. this car has it all.

4

The more I look at this car, the more I'm thinking its aggressive lines would have blended in much better with a carbon black or just a pure white color. Not like that color is ugly, but the fact that it's carbon makes all the angular lines so obvious, that instead of adding aggression to the overall styling, it justs feels like a bunch of plates put together to form a poorly designed building-like stuff on the arches. Yes I'm being arsh there, but that's probably because I like the uniqueness of the car, so I tend to critique it a lot when it comes to the points that just don't do it. Still, I'm quite curious to see how they'll go with the livery, I'm really hoping for something that either hides those lines, or make them even more visible, but in a more "graceful" way.

5

Livery was shown a year ago. Updated white and red theme from CrocoFD.

6

Can't find it anywhere. I mean, the E92 version. I guess I'll just be patient haha

7

HGK Racing Team @ Facebook )

8

You have an error, in the sentence "that’s a diet of around 34%! The final magic number is an incredible 1,150kg (1,535lb)." you accidentally put 1535 instead of 2535 lbs.

9

I saw that too and was like "Holy shit that cant be real..."

10

I hate drifting but I love this car. I also like your writing style a lot. The intro was very catchy and grabbed my attention. They shouldn't change the livery at all. ever. Would change the wheels from white to an olive green to suit the theme. Seriously appealing car from an aesthetic point of view. I like the euro fighter theme!

11

But...why do you hate drifting?

12

Haha it's just not my brand of vodka. It's slow. Doesn't take anywhere near the skill something like the Isle of Man or driving an open wheel formula car does in the rain. Pretty much professional hand braking with steering kits that make it very simple to hold a drift.

13

Anyone can drift similar to how anyone can drive around a track and anyone can kick a ball around a field or run a 100m dash.

14

Yeah, that's not a modern drift car at all. The things are so gripped up that they only want to drive straight or fire you into the wall. They're not easy things to drive, despite so many making it look that way.

15

Competing I'm sure is difficult, but what's the point of gripping them up? I would think it's not hard to brake a modern drift car loose with a hydraulic hand brake and in excess of 1000 horsepower on tap. Tiff Needel had a segment a while back where he drove an SC300. It took him a few hours to slide around. Did not look very difficult.

Author16

I was at the event where Tiff drove all those years ago in the very early days of drifting. Even back then he was overshadowed by everybody present behind the wheel. What you saw was a very carefully curated snippet of an entire day’s struggle to drift.

17

To me you seem like you have never tasted this type of vodka and you are only complaining couse you heard others saying "going in a straight line and turning its hard, drifting its for noobies, its so easy to drift even my grandmother can do it". Drifting is a sport that pushes the drivers and the cars to the max, unlike Formula or whatever that its just knowing when to brake. Drifters are much skilled then grip drivers and it will stay like that until the end of cars. Also, a drifter(even if its a car built by his team instead of him) will always know what is and what his car can do. If you ask an italian what is in his Formula 1 car he will say xxx amount of hp, it can turn fast and go fast. "I hate drifting" bullshit...you just dont know the culture, I bet you are a stance boy or a Civic Ricer

18

"Unlike Formula or whatever that is just knowing when to brake." Thank you...needed the laugh today. The culture of drifting seems to think that going sideways and hand braking requires more skill than piloting a machine for 2 hours that pulls 5-6 lateral G or running a motorcycle in a race where a single mistake can kill you. You really can't fix stupid.

Paddy - Didn't know it was 10 years ago. Went to the first D1GP event in the USA back in 2004 and while the sport has changed there is no denying the common technique is hand braking. I'd be interested to see the sport without the use of what is otherwise a very easy way to get a car sideways. Really liked this car, but I prefer a bit the more intense forms of motorsport that's all. Not flaming any drivers just stating my opinion.

19

Haters gonna hate....
To be a good drifter yo need all skills from auto sport and special skills.... to feel car sliding near walls and at the same time being side by side with another car. You need to a lot of things in one time.
If we talk about K.Blušš who drives this EuroFighter... He started his career in car racing for many years and with good results. Also in this summer he took action in one interesting competition where pilots from different type of auto sport where competing in rally-cross track with the same cars... and he took a 1.st place.

20

They're gripped up for traction and speed. That documentary (which must be nearly 10 years old!) was very flattering to Tiff, who is an awesome driver no doubt, but looked like a fool that weekend and didn't complete a single scoring run of the course. Also, if I remember, he kept e-braking without clutching and broke a proper or half-shaft more than once.

At the top level, it's a very different ball game.

21

Absolute monster is what it is.

So glad they could get it through inspection and participate.

2018 is going to be awesome.

22

Panels that bend in the air? Isn't that... dangerous?

23

None of the exterior panels are really structural, so making them thin enough to deform doesn't really matter. Kevlar is strong in tension, but has very low stiffness. Those panels are obviously not a cored composite, else they would be significantly stiffer as the skins would be loaded more purely in tension/compression and would have buckled if they deformed per the picture.

24

any composite panel that will have any sort of load on it, whether it be airflow or another part of the car, will have a small layer of porous material between two composite materials. this is how Kevlar is its strongest, when the outside layers are put in compression and tension when a panel wants to bend.

25

Depends where. For something like a doorpanel skin it's not a big deal. Any aero parts will be a whole lot stiffer, and hence relatively heavier

26

THis for American's to step up their game, their cars look like a Fiat Multipla in comparison to this. I'm really looking to the next FD season, the E92 EuroF , the V2 Viper and others!

27

It's difficult for Americans to step up their game when they have no clue WTF a Fiat Multipla is. It must be bad because we've never heard of it.

28

The best reply!!

29

you don't want to know lol

30

Time* (autocorrect)

31
Matthew Everingham

Yeah... wow! :O

32

well done HGK you built another masterpiece

33

Am I the only one who thinks the rear sits too high or something ? Looks weird compared to how imposing and low that front bumper is

34

That looks a very well thought out and built car but my god its ugly. Those boxy rear archs... NO NO NO! It certainly doesn't flatter the original lines of the E92. Love the finish of the carbon kevlar though, If they went for a darker colour on the wheels and leave the weave on show with an olive drab livery it would look mega, just the kit that ruins it.

35

it might be because its a drift car or something but the fitment of the wheels in the wheel arches looks very unproportional. I don't know if its the rim size or they just have to have crazy steering lock but that's the only thing that stands out to me on this car

36

Everything about this car is so insane! I know what will be next in my youtube search box...

37

Well engineered. Very ugly.

38

There's just too much anti-squat built into the 5 link rear suspension. I predict he'll not be able to get the speed he needs out of the car and abandons it by the end of next year.

39

Incredible car, the more you look, the more details you find and makes you wonder the time spent building and designing it. Great job! must be an absolute beast to drive as it was intended to be driven.

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