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Spec E46 racing class forum
Official Spec E46 racing class forum.

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Old 11-26-2013, 06:30 PM   #1
Spec E46
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Welcome to Spec E46!

Hello everyone! My name is Jason Tower and I'm the originator of Spec E46 which is poised to be one of the premier road racing series in the country. Tim Jones was kind enough to give us a dedicated spot on E46Fanatics which is the ideal place for racers and E46 lovers to get together and share knowledge, discuss the rules, publicize their car builds, do a little bench racing, and make Spec E46 the best series it can be. As with most things it's ultimately about the people and I think we're off to a great start.

More information on Spec E46 can be found on the website below and we invite you to join the Facebook group as well. Thanks for visiting!

Website http://spece46.com
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/spece46

Last edited by Spec E46; 11-26-2013 at 08:42 PM. Reason: Auto-save 1385520151
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Old 11-26-2013, 07:49 PM   #2
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Thanks Tim and E46Fanatics for having us here! Looking forward to some great conversation about this exciting new class.

- Evan
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Old 11-26-2013, 07:55 PM   #3
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sounds like a good thing for the e46 community!
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Old 11-26-2013, 09:58 PM   #4
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Awesome.
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Old 11-26-2013, 10:25 PM   #5
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Old 11-26-2013, 10:41 PM   #6
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Hi Jason,

Way to take the initiative and start up a new spec series!

I think you'll really miss out on a lot of potential competitors, though, if you don't include the 325s. There are more donor cars out there and they can be purchased for less, and affordability is key here. Any E46 with a manual gearbox is a pretty rare bird, and those who own them may not want to hack them up into race cars. The buyer demographics changed a lot from E36 to E46...fewer hard-core enthusiasts, and fewer manuals ordered. It's both a sign of the times (more traffic, etc. ) and the fact that the E46 got a little larger, quieter and more luxurious, catering to a slightly different buyer. People will convert autos to manuals, yes, but it's an extra step that impacts affordability.

So include 325s with essentially the same rules set, but: a) have a throttle plate restrictor a la spec Miata to bring down a 330's power slightly; b) allow headers and maybe shorter gears/lower weight on the 325s for parity, where the 330s would have to retain stock manifolds; or c) just run two classes in the race, 325 and 330.

I like "c" the best...very easy to implement. More traffic/passing when the 330s catch the 325s, great bench racing/trash talk when a hot 325 driver reels in a 330. This advice is worth exactly what you paid for it (), but consider what I've said. I really want you to succeed!

I just saw e46techtuner's post, and we'd want to include 328s somehow too, but my main point is increasing the pool of cars to make the series really fly.
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Last edited by bee-em-dougle-u; 11-26-2013 at 10:47 PM.
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Old 11-27-2013, 08:07 AM   #7
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The differences between 325 and 330 are just the suspension, brakes and engine.

If I was building a new race car, I'd replace/rebuild all those parts anyways. You won't be competitive with 100,000 mile suspension/engine components, the only real issue is the brake calipers, they probably won't need replacing (unless they are rusted out) but the 330 brakes are an awesome upgrade anyways, so just go for it!

Also, changing between auto and manual is pretty easy (if you are capable of building a race car) and the nice thing is that the 5 speed ZF didn't change between e36 and e46 so there are many of them out there. 6 speed with the spec diff probably won't be required (and 6 speed is heavier) so I'd stick with a 5 speed. You will probably be putting in an aftermarket clutch, so you'd need to take the tranny off anyways. Change a couple of pedals and add a few lines and presto, its a manual.


I love this idea (as I have quite a few e46s sitting at the shop that could become a spec e46 in a heart beat) but sadly it is soo far that I doubt my team will be competing. (sometimes it sucks to live in Canada)
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Last edited by Lercs; 11-27-2013 at 11:42 AM.
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Old 11-27-2013, 08:42 AM   #8
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Going to be interesting to see how popular this gets, racing series are only badass if you've got people to race.

One question I have looking at the rules is whether or not you can race a 325i with a M54B30 swapped in.
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Old 11-27-2013, 11:12 AM   #9
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The 944 spec class is a good success story, and it reinforces the point of using more widely available, less expensive cars...the 944 and 924S, using the sohc normally aspirated 2.5-liter...and excludes 944S, 944S2 and 944 Turbo.

It is great racing! Tim Comeau is the guy who popularized 944 Spec here on the Left Coast; he runs a shop down in San Diego. If you want to talk to him about building and growing a spec series, PM me and I'll put you in touch.
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Old 11-27-2013, 11:19 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by unevolved View Post
Going to be interesting to see how popular this gets, racing series are only badass if you've got people to race.

One question I have looking at the rules is whether or not you can race a 325i with a M54B30 swapped in.
Based on the rules I see is that you would need to change the suspension and brakes to be eligible.
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Old 11-27-2013, 01:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lercs View Post
The differences between 325 and 330 are just the suspension, brakes and engine.

If I was building a new race car, I'd replace/rebuild all those parts anyways. You won't be competitive with 100,000 mile suspension/engine components, the only real issue is the brake calipers, they probably won't need replacing (unless they are rusted out) but the 330 brakes are an awesome upgrade anyways, so just go for it!

Also, changing between auto and manual is pretty easy (if you are capable of building a race car) and the nice thing is that the 5 speed ZF didn't change between e36 and e46 so there are many of them out there. 6 speed with the spec diff probably won't be required (and 6 speed is heavier) so I'd stick with a 5 speed. You will probably be putting in an aftermarket clutch, so you'd need to take the tranny off anyways. Change a couple of pedals and add a few lines and presto, its a manual.


I love this idea (as I have quite a few e46s sitting at the shop that could become a spec e46 in a heart beat) but sadly it is soo far that I doubt my team will be competing. (sometimes it sucks to live in Canada)
Perhaps, but then you run the risk of losing the guy who's got a 325 and wants to go racing with minimal investment. He may not be at the pointy end of the grid, but he wants to go out and mix it up wheel-to-wheel, and have some fun without breaking the bank. The key is filling up the grid.
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Old 11-27-2013, 02:43 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lercs View Post
Based on the rules I see is that you would need to change the suspension and brakes to be eligible.
I mean, yeah, that's what logic says, but

Quote:
4.1. The series is open to BMW E46-chassis 330 USDM models. Generally speaking this
includes 2001-05 sedans and 2001-06 coupes.
and

Quote:
6.3. OEM equivalent parts may be used provided they do not provide a performance advantage
over stock.
make it seem like a swapped 325i/Ci wouldn't be allowed. I understand these rules are a work in progress, so I hope the author doesn't take this as criticism. I just think it would benefit from either A. a rule allowing M54B25 powered cars, given their availability, or B. a rule set detailing what exactly needs to be changed on a 325i/Ci to be legal.
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Old 11-27-2013, 03:10 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Based on the rules I see is that you would need to change the suspension and brakes to be eligible.
the FAQ page on the site addresses this topic.
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Old 11-27-2013, 03:20 PM   #14
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Some interesting points about the 325's, but we're trying to learn from history here. Jason and I are both ex SpecE30 racers and have been around club racing for over a decade. Multi-car Spec classing simply doesn't work, Spec Miata is a great example of this. The cars just aren't even, there's "a car to have" and those who don't have it can still race, but not competitively, so why bother? That's bad for the class and wastes a lot of people's time and money. Bottom line is that there are plenty of 330 donors out there, especially if you swap an automatic which someone already mentioned is not very difficult, especially if you're already building a race car.

Are there a lot of guys with 323's and 325's already? Absolutely... but how many people take their street car and pick a class to race in because of it? Very few. None who know what they are doing. You generally pick a class first, and then build or buy a car for it. The donor is $3-5k out of the $20-30k budget to race in a class like this, it's really not aimed at people currently driving E46 330's. It's aimed at people excited for a new form of Spec racing, with high levels of competition, and a more serious racecar than allow in SE30 and SE36 and Spec3.

We're excited to see how things go, and hopefully the website is addressing most of these questions! There are already 5-6 people on the east coast building cars and shopping for donors, including Bimmerworld. We'll have to see how many get racing in the next year!

- Evan
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Old 11-27-2013, 03:28 PM   #15
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I understand where you're coming from with the standardization, I really do. I'm sorry I keep playing devil's advocate.

That being said, I don't think you should write off the Spec Miata style of standardization. Yeah, there's a winning, specified "max performance" combination of chassis and parts, but all the deviation is toward the slower side. Yes, that gives you a select few big spenders competing for the podium, but you'll always have that. Hell, SM doesn't allow tuned ECUs, so Miata guys will dyno a dozen stock ECUs, and sell the one that gives 1 or 2 more HP for hundreds of dollars. There's that sort of competition anywhere. But know what Spec Miata has that most classes don't (at least in Central Texas)? HUGE fields. 30+ cars on race weekends. The vast majority of those guys know they're not competing for the podium, but because they're in a massive field of similar cars, it's fun as ****. That's all they want to do, is have a great time racing.

Again, not attacking you. Just offering another perspective. From your position as the governing body, you're going to draw the same entry fee from a 330 as a 325 as a 323, so why not let them race? It's not like there's a super-slow 4cyl variant that's going to be a rolling chicane.

tl;dr Bigger fields, better racing.
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Old 11-27-2013, 03:30 PM   #16
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For what it's worth, I'd love to build my car for this a few years down the road if it takes off in my region. Right now, the only big classes around here are CMC and SM.
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Old 11-27-2013, 03:46 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by unevolved View Post
For what it's worth, I'd love to build my car for this a few years down the road if it takes off in my region. Right now, the only big classes around here are CMC and SM.
The main argument is to keep the class truly competitive, this is a higher level of Spec racing. Spec E30 and Spec Miata are great classes, and if people want to save money and build a non-competitive car, those are actually the places to go. We're not out to detract from those existing classes - they draw great fields and people with $7-10k cars can run mid pack or better if they can drive.

For what it's worth, we've already put in the rules that if you want to use a 325 donor car, go for it. You'll need to convert everything required to make it fits the rules, which is likely not worth your time and money. An E46 Tub is an E46 Tub, we're not trying to stop anyone from going that route if they so choose.

The real question is this - If you were going to race your car in this class, you're looking at $20,000 in parts. Is selling your street car and buying a beat 330i donor really a big deal on top of that? Financially it's actually smarter than starting with what you have, assuming your 325 is a nice car. The street car beginning it's life as a race car is a very small percentage of the cost and effort going into building a real race car.
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Old 11-27-2013, 03:50 PM   #18
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Again, not attacking you. Just offering another perspective. From your position as the governing body, you're going to draw the same entry fee from a 330 as a 325 as a 323, so why not let them race? It's not like there's a super-slow 4cyl variant that's going to be a rolling chicane.
Not taken offensively at all! We appreciate the conversation and thoughts. Additionally - there's nothing in this for us except a new class to race in. NASA/BMWCCA/SCCA are sanctioning bodies who charge the entry fees, we'll just be series directors (unpaid, volunteer, crap gig really) and the guys trying to make it go.
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Old 11-27-2013, 04:04 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by evanlevine3233 View Post
The main argument is to keep the class truly competitive, this is a higher level of Spec racing. Spec E30 and Spec Miata are great classes, and if people want to save money and build a non-competitive car, those are actually the places to go. We're not out to detract from those existing classes - they draw great fields and people with $7-10k cars can run mid pack or better if they can drive.

For what it's worth, we've already put in the rules that if you want to use a 325 donor car, go for it. You'll need to convert everything required to make it fits the rules, which is likely not worth your time and money. An E46 Tub is an E46 Tub, we're not trying to stop anyone from going that route if they so choose.

The real question is this - If you were going to race your car in this class, you're looking at $20,000 in parts. Is selling your street car and buying a beat 330i donor really a big deal on top of that? Financially it's actually smarter than starting with what you have, assuming your 325 is a nice car. The street car beginning it's life as a race car is a very small percentage of the cost and effort going into building a real race car.
The class CAN be truly competitive, and just have two sub-classes of cars. It seems to work OK with LMP1 and LMP2.
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Old 11-27-2013, 06:37 PM   #20
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The class CAN be truly competitive, and just have two sub-classes of cars. It seems to work OK with LMP1 and LMP2.
I'm not sure that's an argument I can follow, LMP1 and LMP2 died with ALMS this year. They merged with Grand-Am and created the IMSA TUDOR United Sportscar Challenge, which only has 4 classes total from what used to be what, 7?

There already are sub-classes of cars, it's called SE30, GTS, AI, PT, ST, SM, Honda-Challenge, etc, etc, etc.
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