Serious Fun

A group of friends and a fleet of race-prepped E30s equals a great weekend at the track for the PRO3 competitors in the Pacific Northwest.

May 28, 2015
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Okay, you’ve done some autocrossing and track days. And you love attending driving schools. You’re a focused, competitive person by nature, and now you’re wondering if you have what it takes to get out there and race wheel-to-wheel.

The transition from merely driving on a racetrack to racing on one seems like a big step…and it is. But according to a pack of racers in the Pacific Northwest, it doesn’t have to be such an intimidating or expensive venture. Especially when you are driving the hot new entrant in wheel-to-wheel spec racing: the BMW E30 of 1984 to 1991.

In the greater Puget Sound area, more than two dozen Bimmer pilots get together for some competitive fun on any given spring, summer or fall weekend. To find out what goes on at one of their PRO3 races, I met up with them last September, at the finale of their fourteen-event series.

It’s easy to find the BMW compound at The Ridge Motorsports Park in Shelton, Washington, because the white-and-blue logo is emblazoned everywhere: on flags, banners and racing suits. Multicolored liveries, some vintage, adorn the 1980s cars lined up under several tents.

The PRO3 club was started in 2002 by local brothers Ken and Wes Hill and a few others. It’s sanctioned by International Conference of Sports Car Clubs (ICSCC) and Lance Richert handles much of the organization. The rules allow only limited modifications and emphasize driving ability, something that has helped PRO3 grow into the largest-subscribed amateur race class in the Pacific Northwest, with about 80 cars and drivers taking part.

Simple rules, competitive racing

“The biggest draw to PRO3 is the competition,” says Chuck Hurley, whose car wears #95. “I won this year’s series at the last race, but I still want to get out there and mix it up with my friends.”

Also from Issue 132

  • 2016 G11/12 7 Series preview drive
  • 2015 X4 28i road test
  • 2015 i8: Lost in transition
  • Buyer's Guide: $7,500 driver's cars
  • Interview: Jochen Neerpasch
  • Menno Vermeulen's 3.0 CSL vs. M1
  • Rogue Engineering Z4 V8
  • Vincent Gormally's 1985 E28 M535i
  • Paddock Pass
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