Detroit Speed & BMW M5 2018


Detroit Speed & BMW M5 2018


Mooresville, NC (January 9, 2018) - Detroit Speed, Inc., and BMW North America - the commonalities run deeper than one might think. Detroit Speed, a brand known for its engineering and manufacturing excellence of chassis and suspension components, and handcrafting the rebuild of classic muscle cars. BMW, a brand known for innovative performance and beautifully designed, luxury vehicles. Both brands push the limits to provide only the highest of quality and perfection in everything they do, delivering to its respective customer exactly what they enjoy.

BMW came to Detroit Speed with an engineering dilemma - design and build a refueling system between two cars to allow BMW to refuel the all-new 2018 BMW M5 while drifting on a wet skid pad with a 2017 M5. The reward? Secure the Guinness World Record for 'The Greatest Distance Vehicle Drift in Eight Hours'. The goal for BMW was not only to break the record, but to introduce the all-new M5 that allows the driver to put the car in all-wheel drive for daily driving conditions, and to switch to two-wheel drive mode for a wide-open experience.

After earning the bid in late-September, the timeline quickly took shape to executing the drifting stunt as early as late-November. This meant Detroit Speed R&D Engineers, Ryan Mathews and Matt Butts, only had 4-5 weeks to design, fabricate and prove their engineering skills to build such a system. Through rounds of questions and conversations with BMW team members, the Detroit Speed engineers went to work. The 2017 M5 would be the refueling car, and the 2018 would be the World Record car.

In Detroit Speed fashion, perfection, thoughtfulness and quality could be seen in every detail. Bolt-in structures were built underneath the trunk panel in both cars which the auxiliary fuel cells were mounted to. A transfer pump was mounted in the 2017 M5 to allow for an approximate fuel transfer of 10-12 gallons per minute. A separate bolt-in platform and tethering system was built in the 2017 M5 for a refueling operator. Turns out, that refueler would be Detroit Speed's own, Matt Butts. Whose craftsmanship and skills would you rather trust when you're hanging out of a car while drifting next to another car than your own, right?

With two drivers, a refueler, two cars drifting less than two-feet apart, and enough fuel to make for a really bad worst-case scenario, safety was a major concern. A fire suppression system was installed in each vehicle, and separate fire extinguishers were accessible for each driver. A custom firewall was fabricated for each vehicle and installed at the trunk access opening behind the rear seats. Switches were wired for the driver of each M5 to control the transfer of fuel only when they were ready, either from their car to the other (2017 M5), or from their auxiliary tank to the stock tank (2018 M5). Matt installed a manual release of his harness so in the event of fire, he could escape under his own control.

The winning, irreplaceable key in the whole fabrication project was how to successfully get the fuel transferred between both cars. After countless hours of product research and talking with various vendors, the Detroit Speed team found what they were looking for, a locking dry break to allow for fast refueling. To keep from modifying the body panels, the Detroit Speed team designed a mounting plate to fit perfectly in the fixed rear passenger window. Coupled with approximately 12-feet of hose and a safety break away similar to what one might find at a standard gas station pump, once the dry break was connected, the distance variable between both cars became less of a concern.

Fast-forward a few weeks to Thursday, November 30th - the first test session. Detroit Speed had done their part. The system was built, tested and proven to work in non-drift conditions. Questions and uncertainties still remained. Will it perform under drifting conditions where gravity will play a factor? Will the drivers be able to get the cars close enough for Matt to connect the dry break? Can the drivers then keep their cars close enough for the length of time needed to transfer the fuel from one tank to another? Will the cars hit each other? Will they pull too far apart and break the hose, or worse, the dry break itself? Will they spin out?

With a team consisting of BMW Performance Center drivers, Johan Schwartz and Matt Mullins, BMW engineers in the U.S. and Germany, Detroit Speed engineers, and a conglomerate of marketing and technical staff, the group would combine efforts and expertise for the next two weeks, determined to achieve the goal. On Monday, 12/11, not without its challenges to overcome, the team perfected the stunt and successfully set a new record for 'The Greatest Distance Vehicle Drift in Eight Hours', 232.5 miles. They also set a new World Record for "The Longest Twin Vehicle Drift" at 49.25 miles.

Leave it to the experts. Two companies that seemingly have had different paths, truly have a deeper passion to go beyond the status quo, do the unexpected and perfect it, and push a vehicle to its limits for both daily use and on the track.

About Detroit Speed, Inc.

Detroit Speed, Inc. is located in Mooresville, North Carolina. The company provides products and services to transform any vintage muscle car into an all-around versatile vehicle with distinctiveness in design and performance. The company also manufactures a line of components for consumers to help them put the muscle back into their muscle cars. Detroit Speed has been recognized for its keen attention to every detail and uncommon engineering excellence. For more information on Detroit Speed, visit our website at

About BMW North America, LLC.

BMW of North America, LLC (BMW NA) was established in 1975 as the United States importer of BMW luxury/performance vehicles. BMW of North America assumed import and distribution responsibilities for BMW motorcycles in 1980. BMW of North America also began to distribute light trucks in 1999. BMW of North America's Corporate Headquarters is located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.


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