Spec E46: Why you want to join this surging class

By J.A. Ackley
Sep 21, 2022 | BMW, E46, Spec E46, Spec Racing | Posted in Features | From the Nov. 2022 issue | Never miss an article

Photography by Kevin Adolf

Competitive, clean racing? A cool, fast, hassle-free car? Spec E46 drivers report that the class delivers. 

I don’t come expecting to win,” BimmerWorld’s James Clay says about the Spec E46 class. “The cars are so even that even with a top car, it’s never a guarantee.”

Two drivers, Evan Levine and Jason Tower, have spearheaded the Spec E46 effort since its …

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Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
9/21/22 10:20 a.m.

I'm not saying that every car ever made should be turned into a race car, but I think there is no such thing as too many spec racing series–from Lamborghinis to Nissan Sentras (and everything else in between).

mdshaw GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
9/22/22 5:00 a.m.

The only thing I don't like about the BMW spec series is the amount of great future street cars that get removed from circulation. Whether in crashes or just being converted to race cars. 
Like the e30. There would be lots more available today.  

ddavidv UltimaDork
9/22/22 7:44 a.m.

Having built a Spec E30, I can tell you most of the donor cars weren't nice, original street cars.  Tired, clapped out cars with completely shot interiors and non-functioning power accessories. Or, 'eta' cars that were worth nothing that got an engine transplant. E30s now have become too valuable and I suspect the series will slowly dry up.

It's interesting that Spec 3 pretty much bombed and everyone jumped right over those to E46s. 

Racing in a spec series is a really good way to go. Almost always someone to race with no matter your speed level. 

livinon2wheels GRM+ Memberand New Reader
9/22/22 7:56 a.m.

If there were enough of them left, I would love to see the same kind of approach taken with Subaru Legacy sedans or wagons, preferably wagons, just because a fast wagon is just way more cool. There are parts to support a series like that, one of those wagons on coilovers and decent rubber with mildly upgraded brakes makes for an awfully well balanced platform. The relative lack of speed parts for normally aspirated subaru engines keeps the competition tight. I'd even vote maybe to have a designated engine supplier for the class so any engine advantages are minimized, sort of like the old days when some racing series required a sealed up engine from a certain supplier to prevent unfair advantages. Think of all the wagons subaru made between 2000 and 2009? Or if you really dont get the wagon thinking, they have made way more sedans than wagons and over more years- a sedan class would be close affordable racing because the cars are relatively cheap, fairly easy to work on, and with basic suspension and braking mods would make effective track toys that would live with moderate attention between events and provide close racing. Anyone have any thoughts about this?

Taylor Johnson
Taylor Johnson New Reader
10/15/22 9:26 p.m.

In reply to ddavidv :

Spec3 had a slow start initially (global recession, cars not being fast enough with the intial rules, 15 inch wheels didn't look good) , but has seen a rebirth in the last 2 years after some great rule changes. We have 25+ racers on the east coast now and another 30+ builds in progress. We'll be as big as Spec E46 eventually, mark my words. 

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