The BMW Race Driver Series will officially launch their new E46 control class when their season gets underway at Pukekohe on 11-12 September later this year.
The series, best known for their popular E30 class, has developed a new control class utilising the more modern and accessible E46 model of BMW. Once fitted with the required control parts, all models of E46 320i, including both the 2 and 4 door configurations will be eligible to compete.
Close competition through technical parity has been the focus of the project. The same 2.2l six-cylinder M54B22 engine with limited tuning allowed will ensure closely matched horsepower and sustainable engine costs.
Two shock kits will be available to competitors to pair with their choice of springs while the same Dunlop 03G R3 control tyre used in the E30 class will connect the vehicle to the track.
The E46 class will act as a modern stepping stone for drivers wanting to progress from the E30 class into a vehicle with greater technical freedom with more adjustments allowed. Series organisers are also excited at the prospect of aspiring drivers from other sporting disciplines taking an interest in the new E46 class as a stepping stone for their careers.
David Whitburn, driver delegate for the BMW Race Driver Series, is excited for the future of the series.
“The new E46 car is fantastic to drive,” said Whitburn.
“We’ve taken the hugely popular concept that’s worked so well for our E30 class and evolved it to create another cost-effective and competitive class.”
Six cars have already competed in the previous season’s BMW open class to test and refine the concept with a further four cars now built ready for the upcoming season. The E46’s will run as its own series on the same grid as the E30 class for the upcoming season.
Before the racing gets underway in September, the BMW Race Driver Series’ annual shakedown day and scholarship take place at Hampton Downs on 21 August where the new E46 cars will also be on display.