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Considerations for vertically oriented M10 engine?


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My question is for a dry-sumped BMW 2002 track car with no class limits on modifications. What are the key benefits of mounting the engine vertically, rather than at the traditional 30° angle? Clearly more room on side for headers and/or turbo(s). Long air horns could be straight rather than curved to clear hood, but might end up running into fender well. However COG would be higher unless engine dropped significantly. Other benefits/downsides?

How about the logistics? (1) What is done with the transmission and/or shift linkage. Cut bell housing and add adapter plate to rotate the transmission body for correct shifter and drain/fill plug orientation? (2) Getting oil out of drivers side head. Machine an oil trough and attach a scavenge line from dry sump? (3) Is it easier to move the engine down and back without hitting the center tie rod? (4) Custom header. (5) Using EFI so not concerned about carburetor float bowl orientation. (6) Other issues/considerations?

Thanks, Fred


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The primary reason is to enable you to drop the engine to lower the center of gravity. This absolutely means dry sump oiling the necessitates the bare minimum of an oil pan. BMW serial engines that were installed vertically (BMW M12/7) were designed for formula cars that ran them vertically as well. The M49 for the 3.5 csl ditto, designed vertically and used in the 3.5 CSL. Schnitzer initially designed their engine to be run in the canted position, however as demand incresed for it and its homologation for use in F2 cars they designed components that would allow for the engine to be used vertically (dry sump pan and slide throttle assemblies). Some of the vertical motors did end up in 02's including the Schnitzer 2002 T which as you suggest did allow for Turbo's, headers, intercoolers etc.,

This is a link to somewhat of a mixture of parts used on a Schnitzer 20-4 touring car motor. The slide throttle is the same as used on a F2 car along with the oil pan. However the tii timing cover would typically be used on the touring car version. The slide throttle and oil pans for touring cars were oriented for the 30 degree cant. The F2 style motors used a special front cover which then required the injection pump and ignitiaon to be run off of the intake and exhaust cams.


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Guest Anonymous

Hi Fred,

Email me and I will exchange phone numbers so we can talk. I run a vertically mounted m10 in my GT3 race car. The engine was sourced from Schnitzer (8v) in about 85 and they supplied the mounts, headers and intake manifolds to make this work.

I have never seen another configuration like this, at least not the intake and exhaust manifolds.



Calgary, AB


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I thought about it a bit- and decided that it was a lot of work for

a limited amount of gain. Dry sumping fixes all the oiling either way.

If you're starting a fresh build with a

shell and different trans, it makes a lot more sense.

John Forte stood his engine up, too, I think.

Other things to think about- timing chain tensioner oil reservoir...

all the oil in the head- it'll sit on the cam, too, which might not be a bad thing...


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Thanks all for the comments and links. As with most projects, the further I get, the further I see I could go, but that delays getting the car back on the track. I am doing a slide throttle (M10 8v) and if air horns aligned with upper intake runner angle will end up through hood if straight. Options are curved air horns or vertical engine, will have to do some more thinking about this. Anthony, will send you my contact info. I look forward to chatting.

Best, Fred

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