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NASA (National Autosports Association is one of several racing organizations.  One thing that they do very well is make it easy for folks to transition from "Driver's Education" to racing.  There are 3 NASA classes of cars that are particularly well suited for newbies: SpecMiata, SpecE30 (BMW 3 series) and Spec944 (Porsche).  "Spec" classes have tightly controlled rules.

 

Tightly controlled rules have a number of significant impacts.

1. It limits costs. If you are not allowed to do much to the car, then there is less to soak up all your money. This means that folks with lots of money go to different classes of cars and try to outspend each other there.

2. It means that itís generally a contest of drivers. The tight rules makes everyoneís car largely the same. You may get your ass kicked, but it probably wonít be because the guy next to you spent $100k on go-fast parts and testing.  The temptation to focus on your car as the means to get faster is overwhelming.  Everyone having largely the same car is a critical reality check that forces you to focus on what is important.  The driver.

3. It significantly reduces the reliance on the mystical art of car "setup". This is a dark place for the newbie to dabble in. Itís arcane mysticism is only understood by old guys that have been doing this for 30yrs.

4.  Your problems aren't unique.  And you will always have problems. The fact that there's a hundred other guys that have worked thru the exact same issue is of inestimable value.

5. Someone will have your part.  You are 5hrs away from home and a relay fails, or your a rear brake rotor cracks.  Since there are 30 of you at the track with the same car, someone has your part in their spares bin.

So I decided that a Spec car was the logical way to get an inexpensive track car that would allow easy migration into racing. Iíd had a couple BMW E30ís, the 3 series made between í84 and í91, while in Germany and Iíd like them. The Miataís are apparently great fun, but I just didnít see myself in a Miata. And the Porsche 944 didnít seem like an obvious solution to the problem of "quit doing this in a Porsche because itís so expensive".

So I decided on a SpecE30 and started looking around for someone that wanted to sell one.  As soon as I got word out on "the boards" that I was looking for a car and maybe trailer for $8-10k I was barraged by folks assuring me in very direct terms that I'd never get a car, much less a car and trailer, for that price range.  They all started rattling off all of the money and time invested in their cars which inevitably totaled $15-20k.  They were a little irked that I could even suggest that their cars might sell for half as much.  Meanwhile, behind the scenes, other board members were sending me emails saying "hey, I'll sell you mine". 

I ended up choosing this car.  It was a recent build with only a couple races.  It was already "race prepped", so there'd be very little that I needed to do to it.

 

 

Which ultimately became:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

           

 

 

 

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