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Everything You Wanted to Know About NASA's Spec3 Racing Series

One of the most economical ways to race a BMW in NASA is Spec3, a racing series that uses the 1993 to 1995 BMW 325. It’s the most restricted series in NASA in terms of which cars can be used as donors, but because of that, it’s also one of the most competitive. Spec3 races are always close! If that’s something that interests you, find out more below.

The Spec3 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.
The 1993 to 1995 BMW 325i and 325is are the two eligible vehicles for Spec3. To make it easier to find and build new cars, any E36 chassis maybe used provided that all relevant components (engine, engine wiring harness, transmission, brakes, etc.) come from a 1993-1995 production vehicle.
$500 to $4,000 The key is finding a 325i or 325is with a manual transmission. You can substitute a manual in an automatic car, but that requires additional work and parts, such as pedals, slave cylinder hydraulics and a driveshaft.
M50, 2,494 cc, 152 cid inline six-cylinder, 195.9 horsepower
2,825 pounds with driver.
Permitted fuel is unleaded pump gasoline, with a maximum octane of 93. Fuel additives, other than stabilizers (i.e. Sta-Bil), are prohibited.
On the low end, with a lot of your own labor, less than $10,000. Typical cars cost from $13,000 to $16,000.
New builds run from $8,000 to $15,000.
  • 3.15:1 Limited slip differential
  • Spec3 rechipped ECU
  • M3 front lower control arms
  • Vorshlag Motorsports camber plates
  • Koni shocks
  • Swift Springs
  • Brake ducting
  • Stainless-steel braided brake hoses
  • M3 front bumper
Average cost to run a weekend — $800 to $900, including entry fee.

Tires, size, brand and prices

Toyo RR 235-40-17 $246 from TrackDayTire.com

Toyo RA1 225-50-15 (rain tire) $205 from TrackDayTire.com

Brakes, brands and prices

From Bimmerworld
Hawk DTC-60 pads: $213 front; $206 rear

From Andrew Racing
Hawk DTC-60 pads: $140 front, $140 rear

Check the NASA Contingencies page for the latest programs.hes.

  • All the cars are the same, one engine, one weight, one spec brake pad.
  • Genuinely affordable racing class for BMW 3-series cars.
  • Affordable prices for donors, competent chassis and vehicle dynamics, long-lasting engines, Vast knowledge base.
  • They are reasonably light cars, so they’re not hard on tires and brakes.
  • Spec3 donor vehicles are rising in cost
  • The Series is still relatively underpopulated, but is growing across the regions. Currently the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions have the most cars. For instance, an average car count in the Mid-Atlantic during the 2021 race season is 10 racers (with up and coming participants spread throughout the TT and HPDE ranks).
  • No engine component may be modified in any manner not specifically permitted or authorized by the Factory Service Manual or Factory Technical Bulletins. All competitors are required to maintain, and present upon request, the factory manual, and/or Technical Bulletins that show the modification in question.
  • Removal of the driver’s side headlight assembly is permitted if replaced with the specified part “S3 Air Duct” as sold by Bimmerparts.com and must be used to only duct air into the stock air intake/ air filter assembly. A hose or duct may be installed to connect the S3 Air Duct to the factory intake airbox.
  • Fuel cells that are designed to fit within the spare tire well are permitted.
  • No car is permitted any cockpit adjustable system or component, except as specifically allowed in the preparation rules.
  • If the regulations do not specifically permit a modification, it may not be made.
  • “Original” and “stock” mean “as originally fitted for the chassis, model and year of the car.”


Questions and Answers to Feed Your Curiosity

Spec3 is open to 1993 through 1995 BMW 325i and 325is cars. To make it easier to find and build new cars, any E36 chassis maybe used provided that all relevant components (engine, engine wiring harness, transmission, brakes, etc.) come from a 1993-1995 production vehicle.

The eligible models are so limited and the modifications are so tight, there is no one year that’s better than another. They key is to find a clean, rust-free chassis.

Yes, among all the usual outlets (Bimmerparts, Bimmerworld, ECS Tuning, Turner, OEM and aftermarket) parts availability is still good for 25-plus-year-old cars.

Because modifications are so limited, this class focuses on the driver. Competition is extremely close.

Because of new rule changes, Spec3 is experiencing growth. The most well-attended NASA regions are NASA Mid-Atlantic, and NASA Southeast.

Less than you might think. Purchase and preparation of a car for this series should be less than $15,000.

All of them are known and solvable, but most typically the floor pans need to have the suspension mounting points reinforced if the car will be used for racing.

Spec3 represents one of the least expensive ways to race a BMW 3-series. At 2,825 pounds, they’re lightweight and relatively easy on consumables such as brakes and tires. It’s no more expensive than Spec E30 while being considerably quicker, and far less expensive than Spec E46. Spec3 cars also can race in NASA’s Super Touring 5 and German Touring Series 2 classes.


Latest Spec3 News Around The Country


What Spec3 Competitors Say


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Contact Us

Spec3 Series Contacts

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
Jon McAvoy
Region: Mid Atlantic
Title(s): National Series Director
Series: Spec3
Katherine Agurkis
Region: Southeast
Title(s): Regional Series Leader
Series: Spec3, SpecE46, SpecE30
Peter Oneppo
Region: California-Southern
Title(s): Regional Series Leader
Series: Spec E46, Spec3
Steve Stepanian
Region: California-Southern
Title(s): Regional Series Leader
Series: Spec E46, Spec3
Taylor Johnson
Region: Northeast
Title(s): Regional Series Leader
Series: Spec 3,Spec E46