Car Preparation

Please see the preparation guide below.

1. Buy a BMW E30

The BMW E30 is the boxy 3-series from the late-eighties. In order to fit a suitable roll-cage you should ideally be looking at 2-door coupe models, although 4-door and touring versions are allowed. There are two allowed models:

  • 318i (1987-1990). It must have the M40 engine which is a fuel-injected, 8-valve four-cylinder. The carburetted 318 (M10) and 16V 318iS (M42) are not permitted.
  • 320i (1985-1990). It must have the M20 six-cylinder engine. The 320i has a slight power-to-weight advantage, although the 318i is 70kg ligher in road trim.

2. Get your car checked over

Before you go spending a lot of money on parts and labour, get your car properly checked over by a specialist and solve any immediate problems. Most cars are also going to need some TLC in the form of a full service.

3. Order your safety equipment and performance parts

Some of the kit can take a long time to arrive so order it now before starting work on the car. You will need the following safety equipment:

  • Multi-point roll cage
  • 6-point, FIA approved safety harness
  • FIA approved seat with lateral head support (an "eared seat")
  • Plumbed-in fire extinguisher kit with at least a 3.5 litre capacity
  • Safety cutoff switch

You will want the following performance parts:

  • Uprated sports suspension kit
  • Race-spec brake pads Note that no engine tuning or upgrades are permitted - this is budget racing! Refer to the regulations for full details.

4. Strip out the interior

To remove fire hazards and a lot of weight, remove as much of the interior as possible. Refer to the series regulations for exact details, but in brief:

You can remove:

  • Rear bench seat
  • Passenger seat
  • Drivers seat (you will replace this with your race seat)
  • Seat belts (you will replace these with your 6-point harness)
  • All carpeting
  • Rear side panels
  • Headlining
  • Speakers and audio equipment
  • Glovebox
  • Steering wheel and dashboard (required to fit roll cage)
  • Boot carpet and trim
  • Spare wheel

You may not remove:

  • Electric window motors (unless you replace with manual mechanism)
  • Glass
  • Road car switchgear

5. Fit the roll cage

This is where it gets tricky (for those DIY-ing). If you have a sunroof then the interior sunroof cage will need to be removed and some surgery required to the roof in order to get the rear cage in the car. There may also be some fettling required to fitting plates and brackets in order to get the cage to fit perfectly. Beyond the sunroof modifications, this is best left to a professional.

6. Fit your safety equipment

If you ordered your rollcage with a harness bar, this is the best place to attach your shoulder belts. Otherwise weld-in plates housing eyebolts on the rear bulkhead is another option. One of the lapbelts can use the original seatbelt mounting point but the other, as well as the crotch straps require a hole to be drilled so that an eyebolt can be screwed into a spreader plate below the car.

If your seat is base mounted and comes with a subframe then fitting is a simple spanner job. Side mounted seats may need further drilling of the bodyshell.

The fire extinguisher and safety cutoff switch should be fitted by a professional.

7. Fit your performance parts

Get the brakes and suspension race-ready. A Haynes manual may come in useful! The driver information pack is also worth a read if you are starting out.

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