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Everything You Wanted to Know About NASA's Spec E30 Racing Series

You would be hard-pressed to find a better example of spec-series racing than Spec E30. This series is consistently one of the largest at NASA Championships events and it has a loyal and dedicated following of racers who just love Spec E30. The series enjoys a broad knowledge base, so any mechanical problems you might encounter are well known and solved without too much trouble. The cars are robust and reliable, affordable and widely available, and the racing is as competitive as you will find in any NASA series.

The Spec E30 Series is a competitive, fun, safe, affordable racing series, focused on road racing with limited modifications and specified required components. The series showcases the driver’s skills and the specified required components manufacturers, distributors, and dealers. Only modifications specifically authorized are allowed, and competitive adjustments are not allowed. Other than the modifications specifically allowed in these rules, every part of the car must remain as it came from the factory.

Only 1984-1991 BMW manufactured non-M E30 chassis automobiles, as made available by BMW in the United States through its authorized dealer network are eligible, with the following restrictions listed in rule 7.3.2. Vehicles with automatic transmissions or four-wheel drive are not eligible. Eligible vehicles include E30 cars originally built as a 318i, 318is, 325, 325E, 325i or 325C provided they contain the Spec E30 eligible drive train from a car originally built as a 325i or 325is.

$500 to $6,000 Donors are still out there. Craigslist is the best source for modestly priced cars you’re going to strip and turn into a racecar anyway.

Taking into account the allowable 0.020 overbore and balancing, the maximum allowable horsepower value for the class is set at 160.9 horsepower and 160.9 pound-feet of torque. An engine that deviates from the 6,300 rpm rev limiter shall be deemed illegal.

2,700 lbs. w/driver

Permitted fuel is unleaded pump gasoline, with a maximum octane of 93. Fuel must be from a mass-marketed supplier, e.g. BP, Sunoco, Exxon, or other independent mass marketer, e.g. track supplier or local independent gas station. Fuel additives, other than those supplied in the fuels listed above, are prohibited.” Dyno testing has shown that using a lower octane rated fuel actually makes more power in these low-compression engines, saving even more money at the track!

$8,000 to $18,000 or more if you want to go crazy
$7,000 to $14,000
  • Fresh spec Bilstein shocks and suspension.
  • New bushings and reinforced front and rear subframes.
  • The required spec parts are a must if you want to go fast.
  • As fresh an engine as possible, or at the very least a fresh cylinder head.
  • You need to have power close to the maximum allowed to be competitive.
  • The key is to get the car set up to your preferences using corner weighting, alignment and ballast.

Average cost to run a weekend — $1,000, but it can be done for less.

Brakes, brands and prices

  • Hawk DTC-60 $158
  • Hawk DTC-70 $230

Check the NASA Contingencies page for the latest programs.

  • Genuinely the most affordable and fun series to race in.
  • Close competition no matter where you are on track.
  • Cool cars you remember from your youth.
  • Large fields in many regions. Large Championships fields, too.
  • Despite their advancing age, donors and parts are still reasonably easy to find.
  • Your experience off the track can be just as much fun with the community of Spec E30 racers.
  • Donors without sunroofs are nearly impossible to find.
  • Virtually all donors have high mileage.
  • Four doors often require swapping automatics for five-speeds
  • Prices for donors in good to excellent condition are on the upswing.
  • Ducting air to the brakes is permitted, and two openings in the front valance to allow the passage of up to a three-inch-diameter duct hose leading to each front brake are permitted for this purpose. Installation of ducts in the front air dam or valance for the brake cooling hoses is permitted.
  • Each car is required to have at least one operational forward facing video camera mounted in or on the car. It must record all races.
  • A remote oil filter and its associated plumbing may be added. An Accusump or similar oil accumulator may be used.
  • The stock unmodified intake airbox assembly shall be retained, and in its original mounting. The stock airbox front rubber hose shall be removed.
  • Any stock OEM E30 fuel tank or equivalent is permitted. The fuel fill neck may be modified to remove restrictions for faster refueling. No other modifications to the tank are allowed unless permitted elsewhere in these rules.
  • Any commercially available fuel pumps, hoses, and fuel tank baffles are allowed. A surge tank to prevent fuel starvation, with no other function, is allowed. All other fuel system components must remain stock.
  • Compression ratio may be changed only within the tolerances affected by resurfacing for trueness and within factory tolerances or as allowed by these regulations.
  • Oil coolers may be added or replaced, and their location within the bodywork is unrestricted so long as they are not mounted within the driver/passenger compartment.
  • Front camber is unrestricted within the limitation and adjustability of bolt-in camber plates, and an eccentric bushing at the rear mount of the lower control arm. No modifications to the body and/or interior tub panels are allowed.
  • The three front strut mounting holes may be slotted laterally, only to enable more range of camber adjustment.


Questions and Answers to Feed Your Curiosity

1984-1991 BMW manufactured non-M E30 chassis automobiles, as made available by BMW in the United States through its authorized dealer network are eligible.
That is subjective to personal preference. Most prefer the looks of the plastic bumper cars, but many prefer the durability of the aluminum bumpers, since we do bump draft at some tracks and the occasional misjudgment of braking zones, etc. Metal bumpers live. Plastic bumpers shatter.
Absolutely. When parts do become scarce, then we find a way around it.
That entirely depends on the skill level of the drivers. Since all of the cars are basically the same, it comes down to 10 percent setup and 90 percent driver skill.

No, not in all regions. You will need to contact your local region to find out, or you can search through the NASA Tim and Scoring website to see of any Spec E30s show up where you will be racing.

That depends entirely on you and your budget. It’s said that you can build a car cheaper than you can buy one, but sometimes a car comes available for sale that’s financially cheaper for you to buy and fix than to build a new one. There’s nothing like building and competing in a car crafted by your own hands!
It’s a solid chassis to compete in. It’s not the fastest car out there on track, but it’s a car you will have the most fun and learn in. The Spec E30 community is the best community in the paddock.
It’s not just a racing class where you simply show up, race your car and go home. We are so much more. We are a racing community who helps one another in the paddock and on the track. We are friends away from the track and tough competitors on the track, and when it’s over, we celebrate the shared experiences. As you leave the track, you can hardly wait for the next event!


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Spec E30 Series Contacts

Spec E30
Andrew Clark
Region: California-Southern
Title(s): Regional Series Leader
Series: Spec E30
Brian Edmonds
Region: Mid South
Title(s): Regional Series Leader
Series: Spec E30
Carlos Mendez
Region: Florida
Title(s): Regional Series Leader
Series: Spec E30
Danny Parkhurst
Region: Southeast
Title(s): Regional Series Leader
Series: Spec E30, Spec E46, Spec3
Jeremy Lucas
Region: Great Lakes
Title(s): Regional Series Leader
Series: Honda Challenge,Spec3,Spec E30,Spec E46
Jorge Giovannini
Region: Mid Atlantic
Title(s): Regional Series Leader
Series: Spec E30
Katherine Agurkis
Region: Southeast
Title(s): Regional Series Leader
Series: Spec3, SpecE46, SpecE30
Nick Thiemann
Region: California-Northern
Title(s): Regional Series Leader
Series: Spec E30
Robert Casella
Region: Northeast
Title(s): Regional Series Leader
Series: Spec E30
Shawn Meze
Region: California-Southern
Title(s): National Series Director
Series: Spec E30