As a part of its continuing effort to increase performance while maintaining competitor parity, NASA Spec3 altered the rules for 2021. The three most notable rule revisions for 2021 reduce weight, increase grip, and make the cars more attractive.
First, the rules were amended to allow 17” diameter by 8.5” width wheels wrapped in 235/40/17 Toyo RR tires. The rain wheels and tires remain the same using 15” diameter by 7” width wheels and 225/50/15 Toyo RA-1 tires. Current competitors have lauded the bigger wheels and tires that provide a larger contact patch for more grip and a stiffer sidewall for greater stability during weight transfer. Toyo Tires has sponsored the series since its inception and continues to support Spec3 with generous contingency prizes for both the podium finishers and many competitors lower in the ranks.
The series also reduced the minimum weight by 25 pounds from the previous 2,850 pounds to 2,825 pounds. As any racing aficionado can tell you, reducing weight helps in all areas of performance and Spec3 is no exception. The cars are now quicker to accelerate, turn, and stop.
Finally, the Spec3 series will now allow, but not mandate, M3-style front bumper covers. The M3 front bumpers look more aggressive and pair very nicely with the new 17” wheels and tires. Aftermarket M3-style bumpers are cheap and easy to source online. The M3 bumpers also have integrated brake cooling duct inlets that make it easier for competitors to purchase and install off-the-shelf brake cooling duct kits.
With all of these changes now in effect for the current racing season, it is no coincidence that Spec3 series leader, Jon McAvoy, set a blistering new lap record at Virginia International Raceway on March 20, 2021. McAvoy’s record-setting 2:10.8 trip around the circuit bested the previous record of 2:11.7 set by Charles Ford on October 4, 2020.
The NASA Spec3 (S3) racing class is devoted to BMW E36 325 models. The goal for Spec3 is to create high levels of competition between similarly prepared cars at a reasonable cost. Purchase and preparation of a Spec3 competition vehicle should cost less than $15,000. A Spec3 is great for HPDE and Time Trial duty while being built. With limited engine and suspension modifications allowed, Spec3 ensures close racing while not breaking the bank. A suitable E36 chassis is cheap to acquire and good examples are plentiful. The spec Toyo tire and suspension package take the guess work out of building a competitive car and the series platform has proven to be as reliable on track as any existing class.
For more information on Spec3 and to connect with the current competitors, find us on the web and on social media: