OK Beemer: They Don’t Make ‘Em Like the Used To

Money buys happiness, but buying BMWs with that money seems to inversely correlate.

The apprehensive tone you might be sensing isn’t necessarily founded. We’ve found that our E30, with its husky and handsome M42, has been a durable combination of giddy-up and mostly go. A fortune in grins. We’re quite spoiled. Six successful rounds of loading it up with tires, tools, tunes, and snacks is a tough act to follow. Without a single hiccup attributable to the quality of the car’s innards, we hauled everything back and forth, a 90-mile round trip, to the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet. Nearly in stride, we’d strap the 200 tread wear Rivals on her like combat boots. It ate asphalt like the Rock Biter from The NeverEnding Story. It whined only when the engine tumbled past 7,000 RPM and the complaints of the belts could no longer be ignored. The candy-striped chicanes were the snacks, and snacks are as we said, a tough act to follow.

Photo courtesy of Kevin Cruz

But then there’s our new E82. It sits quietly in the driveway. Squatting, curiously, like an old and tired mutt that never knew a name. It doesn’t respond to a name anyhow. Not because it couldn’t if it were taught. Old dogs and new tricks are classic combinations if you give them quality homes within which to learn those tricks. It’s a 2008 BMW 135i in name only. While we might speak highly of our own ambition and nearly use words like “hope”, the word “E30” is always accompanied by the distant roars of engines. Use it in an equation as if it were a constant, and have mathematical proof of its reliability! Will the E82 ever know its own name? Will it come when it’s called?

So far, it pisses coolant and practically begged for a new battery. While some of us are partial to body work, your author is not, but even I am appalled at the state of the car’s aesthetic. Painted headlights, “carbon fiber” accents, and a sticky interior are all items that will be addressed with immediacy. But the potential is what keeps us from cursing it altogether and in our opinion, there is no truer spiritual successor to the E30 than this car.

A Quick Leder-History

The E8x series of BMWs isn’t too far removed from the E30. With all the generations of car all lined up in a cute row you might think differently. But in years, it’s only technically ten. Enough time had passed for the last E30s, something along the lines of 1995 model-year estates and cabriolets, that they might be allowed to sleep over at their friend’s houses, but not long enough to hit puberty. They might even have gotten along with their younger, stouter, and more powerful sibling. The first publicly consumable iteration was the E87 hatchback, released as a 2005 model-year car. A long awaited return to driving purity came with the E82 coupe and it’s litany of power-plant opportunities up to and including the inline-six, 3.0 liter, 335 HP laden 1M. Ours rests comfortably, without anxiety, but a bit of excitement, just below that (given some caveats for known reliability issues with the N54 engine). It’s considerably heavier than the E30, a consequence of modernity, but is still dwarfed by the nominal successor 3-series E90s. You win some, you lose some.

Photo courtesy of Kevin Cruz

So you ask, with all of that excitement, why the distant stares and uninvited grunts? Well, ours at least runs and that’s as much as we can say about it now. Day-dreaming aside, it’s gone unmodified in reality for the few weeks it’s held down its corner of the driveway. Our well-sorted E30, that won us more than a few t-shirts this past summer, is in hibernation. And after years of hard parking, it deserves at least another summer of cardio. Of literally putting fuel in the tank and not being taken for granted. It’s still relatively inexpensive to run. Throwing digital dollars at fuel and sign-ups for the E30 is a pleasure considering the theoretical costs we’ve calculated for the E82 just to make it streetable. Tires, an oil change, brake fluid flush, and pads alone will double our initial investment. “That sounds like a ‘you’ problem”, we say to our future selves. The rewards will hopefully be more t-shirts.

Keep an eye out here for our misadventure with this new car. The goal is to document its progress thoroughly with the energy we would give to a new born and not necessarily a second or third-born. To say, “we’re not gonna fuck this up like our parents did”. You’ll be glad to know that at present, none of us are parents, except for to that of several cats, a lizard, an eel, and a very, very large dog.

Thanks for reading! And don’t forget to follow us here on the blog, Instagram @rye30racing, and Facebook @rye30racing. If you’ve read this far and you reside in the United States, give us a follow on Instagram and then DM us an address and we’ll send you two free 4″ RYE30Racing stickers! We appreciate your support! See a picture of the stickers below.

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We’ll be racing plenty over the summer so we can bring you more high quality content like you read above. Our partnership with Diagonalt is still new and exciting, like that of a new romantic relationship, so check out Diagonalt.com for classic BMW prints and coasters (16% off using code “RYE30” at checkout) and calendars for the new year.

Featured image courtesy of Kevin Cruz

Lessons Learned, Schmessons Schmearned: Part 1

After a lengthy rebuilding of the rear end on the E30 (something we’ll get into later), the Rivals met their first rival when they hit the ground for the June 20th Tri-State Sports Car Council TrackSprint at Autobahn Country Club. It was their first event of the season in this new COVID-19 world and our first opportunity of the year to embarrass ourselves in front of better cars and better drivers. But in the shadow of such daunting things, there were bright spots. Like when you smack your palm against your face hard enough to see bright spots.

Lesson Learned #1: Install Your Car Parts Correctly

The night was a short one for everyone. With it only being a three-or-so hours, you still get a lot of track time when everything goes perfectly. But timing tent issues and weather acted like a COVID-19: 2 on the nights activities. Conveniently dramatic strikes of lightning played before us like a movie as we came around our favorite turn, The Kink. The looming rain clouds seemed to sneak up on the entire event because our car and the two or three that were released behind us were the last to touch the track that night. It seemed like only seconds after re-entering the paddock, torrential rain hit.

Out of a potential ten, our night consisted of a whopping three laps. Rain aside, we lost a session to the incompetence of your author. The backwards installation of a throttle cable retainer was the accomplice in this case. Slamming the car into second gear after getting that exciting “go” signal from the start line could be likened to getting walked in on by your mother when your just getting to that special scene in James Cameron’s Titanic. The car fell flat and we idled gently to a stop in the grass on the outside of Turn 1. We could immediately feel in the throttle pedal that something was no longer connected and since the engine was still running, it didn’t seem like we’d fallen into a worst-case scenario. For our safety and theirs, we stayed in our car and let the services do their thing.

When we made it back to the service road we popped the hood and found that the throttle cable had simply popped out of the retainer. Being confused as to why it had popped out at all, we chocked it up to they-don’t-make-them-in-West-Berlin-like-they-used-to logic and recycled a small flip-up notepad for its wire and safety retained the throttle cable end into the plastic retainer. Ever so proud and narcissistic of ourselves as usual, we posted the humble repair to our Instagram. Our friend @robotron, with the graciousness and humility of someone who courtesy flushes the toilet, let us know that as heroic as our repair was, if we’d installed it correctly it would’ve never failed. We owe him our lives and our first born children.

Lesson Learned #2: Mufflers – For Your Health

After re-establishing the rear end, the exhaust was re-installed without the muffler. Enjoyment of the sound being of paramount priority, we decided to leave it off and took it easy getting to and from the event so as not to attract unwanted police attention. Without the auditory padding of the rear interior in place, that sound becomes more than a drone as it became a genuine pain. Fortunately, because of the authors habit of hoarding PPE from job sites, we had a set of earplugs in our backpack to save our hearing. The next time we raced, the muffler was pleasantly and jubilantly installed. The ride home was by comparison, delightful. Not unlike falling asleep amongst the gentle embrace of your favorite spouse. Everyone has more than one spouse right? Am I in a cult? Please help me.

Lesson Learned #3: A-B-R-B-R-R-R-D-P-L: Always Be Referring Back to RYE30 Racing’s Race Day Preparation List

Because we’re as clumsy as we look, our phone has been “upgraded” since the last time we raced, which means the notes entry we always used to make sure we had everything ready for the next track day had pined for the fjords. But lo! We remembered we posted once, neigh, twice, what we believed to be the most useful list the average autocrosser will ever need: Preparation – R: The Best Way to Prepare Your Ass for Seat Time on Race Day. We opened the link and within the hour the car was packed and ready to go. So simple. So organized. So RYE30 Racing. If you make it out this season and you need a list that’s optimized for performance and fun, click that link, because we think we’ve got you covered.

Those are the few lessons learned from the few laps we had the opportunity to complete. The night was awesome nonetheless. The friends we got to see again and the friends we made were worth the trek alone. We always recommend racing for those reasons alone.

Thanks for reading! and don’t forget to follow us here on the blog, Instagram @rye30racing, and Facebook @rye30racing. If you’ve read this far and you reside in the United States, give us a follow on Instagram and then DM us an address and we’ll send you two free 4″ RYE30Racing stickers! We appreciate your support! See a picture of the stickers below.

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We’ll be racing plenty over the summer so we can bring you more high quality content like you read above. Our partnership with Diagonalt is still new and exciting, like that of a new romantic relationship, so check out Diagonalt.com for classic BMW prints and coasters (16% off using code “RYE30” at checkout) and calendars for the new year.

“In a Perfect World”: How to Remove an E30 Rear Subframe

COVID-19 has been riding our collective emotions like a video game roller coaster designed by an 11 year-old with a god complex. We have not been immune to those vomit inducing thrills and so the opportunities to write have been few. Fortunately, your author has been working a semi-regular schedule throughout and in between essential employment and measures essential to maintaining sanity (such as Netflix), we’ve worked on the E30. The tentative plan was to document the work and build up a cache of content so that we could unload it on you faithful readers as we go into summer, where we’d hopefully soon be racing, but as so many other ideas and projects in our lives have gone when they “take a break”, we don’t want to risk the potential that it all stagnates and collects a too-thick layer of digital dust. We figured we’d bring you updates disguised as a series of articles titled In a Perfect World, about efforts that have been boiled down to the simple steps required to disassemble some of the more notoriously difficult E30 components.


E30 Drivers: Disassemble

The E30 has had its ass torn apart before. It had a sexual awakening a few years ago when we pulled the rear subframe to replace the rotted rubber suspension and differential bushings with REVSHIFT polyurethanes, so getting everything back out wasn’t as frightful as most with 30 year-old crapcans would expect. Generous coatings of anti-seize on the inner diameters of the subframe bushings made wiggling it out after everything else had been disconnected relatively easy. If you plan on doing the same, here’s a quick rundown of what you can expect:

1. Disconnect the driveshaft. Use slave labor to disengage the transmission so you can spin it and give you access to each 17mm nut, and then engage it so you can get leverage on them.

2. Disconnect the ABS speed sensors (we spliced spade connectors into our wiring in anticipation so that we wouldn’t have to remove the actual sensor from the spindle). 

3. Disconnect any emergency brake assemblies (ours has likely been recycled into a set Warhammer 40K figurines since we removed them oh-so long ago, so we were able to skip this step).

4. Disconnect the brake lines from the brake hoses that are bracketed to the frame of the car. There are a few ways to do this without frustrating and damaging labor (imagine a black-and-white late night infomercial where the protagonist can’t do simple tasks like cracking eggs or achieving stiff peaks on their meringue). Ways like tightening the nut slightly to break up the crud in the threads or applying combinations of heat and penetrating fluid, but we’re replacing the lines anyway, so we stuck a good ole’ pair of locking pliers on and turned the nuts into paninis.

5. Disconnect the sway bar endlinks from either end of the link (use a jack to lift the trailing arms to take pressure off of them). We use heim joints to connect our ST sway bars to the control arms. Yes. Above the wrench, that is a buttplug. That was our attempt to distract you from how rusty we let our joints get.

Photo courtesy of Juliana Marciniak

6. Disconnect the shocks from the trailing arms with your 19mm tool. (we’d recommend using a jack for this step as well to prevent damage to the threads when the trailing arm swings free).

Photo courtesy of Juliana Marciniak

7. Disconnect the differential from the four points that mount it to the subframe with your 19mm wrench and the thru-bolt that holds the cover to the frame of the car. Definitely use the jack here because it’s heavy. Like, “Why are things so heavy in the future? Is there a problem with the Earth’s gravitational pull?” heavy.

8. Remove the subframe braces (technically referred to as the “rear axle push rods”) with your 22mm tool.

9. Use some gentle, but long persuasion to slowly pry the subframe downwards on both sides until it’s free from the bolts (another opportunity to use your Hazard Fraught jack to keep it from clanging noisily to the ground).

Photo courtesy of Juliana Marciniak

10. If you have access to a sandblaster, that would be the fastest and easiest way to repaint them if you have the patience. In an economy that has now, and has basically always depended on the translation of dollar bills between peoples of average income, consider taking it to a friend or small business to have them prep and paint them before you reinstall them.

11. Installation is to the reverse of disassembly as divorce is to the reverse of marriage.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow us here on the blog, Instagram @rye30racing, and Facebook @rye30racing. If you’ve read this far and you reside in the United States, give us a follow on Instagram and then DM us an address and we’ll send you two free 4″ RYE30Racing stickers! We appreciate your support! See a picture of the stickers below.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is mg_0021.jpg

We’ll be racing plenty over the summer so we can bring you more high quality content like you read above. Our partnership with Diagonalt is still new and exciting, like that of a new romantic relationship, so check out Diagonalt.com for classic BMW prints and coasters (16% off using code “RYE30” at checkout) and calendars for the new year.

E30 Projects in the Time of Corona: Part 3

If the Pulitzer committee had a category for car blogging titled “Best Automotive Weblog with No Clear Focus or Mission to Maintain or Improve Upon the Art of Journalism”, we’d have a witty intro for you. But they don’t, so go back and read the one from the first article in this series – E30 Projects in the Time of Corona: Part 1. On the other hand, we’re going for the Webby Awards with E30 Projects in the Time of Corona: Part 2.

@_jarrettstone_ – V8 Turbo > I6 Turbo > Getting dropped off at school by your mother

Jarrett’s trash became his treasure. Nearly three years ago, in an incredible stroke of luck, in a place where insurance write-offs and most Chrysler products go to die, he tripped over a rust-free E30 (and only paid $200 at that). Some tinkering got the M20 running. Some manner of Taiwan Wind Whistlin’ later, and it was really running! But that’s all in the past. As of lockdown, Jarrett’s engine bay is snuggling an LS V8, tucked in by a Sikky Manufacturing LS V8 swap kit, and will soon be accompanied by another turbo. Will Jarrett’s BMW be the next Pacific Northwest cryptid with its guttural exhaust, howling turbo, and streak of red as it screams by? Follow him to find out!

#Stayhome Score:
Next-on-PNW-Pickers/10

@e30_char – Artsy Car-Partsy

@e30_char is keeping her white sedan charming this spring with a simple mod and a spit-shine. The 1.6L ’90 got a full set of BC coilovers to give it a humble stance. A little tweaking on the front set in the coming weeks will give it all the more reason to be another of @e30_char’s artistic muses. She was inspired into ownership after attending a few car shows with her friend and E28 purveyor, @ben_aintdead so she’s not unfamiliar with the scene. She tells us a full detail and wax to highlight last year’s respray is in the works to make it stick out at the next Cars and Coffee like a…will there ever be any more Cars and Coffees? Only if you can stay home like @e30_char and her rabbit Alfalfa do!

#Stayhome Score:
follow-the-rabbit-in-the-white-E30-sedan/10

@wilz_restore44 – Wilz in Wales Builds Bespoke BMWs

@wilz_restore44 is the owner of the South Wales restoration garage, Restore44. They take your leaking, sun-faded hot-tub on wheels and turn it into a fancy hotel bathroom shower with 11 different pulse settings and a butler that lets you know when you’ve missed a spot, on wheels. The “Restore 44 Shop Car” gets no less attention to detail just because of its name. In the Time of Corona, he’s done an incredible amount of work. He’s rebuilt the rear axle, the differential, the brakes, installed an airlift suspension, replaced lots of original parts like the sunroof and indicator lights, and even put fresh paint on the pillars, trunk lid, and quarter panels. There’s never been a better time to support small business so give his page a follow and if you’re in the area after all this is over, go see Restore44 in person and ask them how much it would cost us to get our blinker fluid changed.

#Stayhome Score:
where-there’s-a-wilz-there’s-an-E30/10

@essexcargirl – When the Temperature Goes Up, the Windows Go Down

Emilia and Betty (her white 318i coupe) go together like fish and chips. Like tea and biscuits. Are those proper British collaborations? “Tyre” is spelled with an “i”, ok?! If you see a white E30 fly by with the music loud and glistening in the spring sun from no less than two days of lockdown detailing, you’ll know exactly who it is. Put down that newspaper you were about to throw at her you old grouch. Just relax, and admire those fresh and classic BorbetAs” as they roll by. Go be jealous somewhere else because @essexcargirl, Bett, and her French bulldog Ocean are keeping calm and carrying on. That’s a British thing too, right?

#Stayhome Score:
follow-my-Corona-Virus-playlist-on-Spotify/10

@bmw_e3.0 – So Cool in Socal

Californians are into some weird stuff. Instagram user, @bmw_e3.0 was not immune. It was @bmw_e3.0’s dream to get…an STI (thanks Gymkhana 2). Don’t be so quick to judgment though, because he taught himself how to drive a manual transmission in the only car with a dirtier stick than an STI; an E30! The red ’87 325e sedan became more than just a driver’s ed device for him. Over the years, it’s had the head rebuilt, BC coilovers installed, and the anti-roll bar upgraded. In the mean time, the real mean time (thanks Corona), he’s chucking some old M20 cooling system components and replacing them with some CATUNED silicon hoses and a Mishimoto radiator. He also tells us he plans on doing our favorite modification; a Z3 steering rack! Hopefully, all of the fun he has in his E30 will act as a prophylactic against trading it in for that STI in the future.

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#bmw #e30 #e3.0 #325e

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#Stayhome Score:
roses-are-brilliantrot-violets-are-blue/10

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow us here on the blog, Instagram @rye30racing, and Facebook @rye30racing. If you’ve read this far and you reside in the United States, give us a follow on Instagram and then DM us an address and we’ll send you two free 4″ RYE30Racing stickers! We appreciate your support! See a picture of the stickers below.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is mg_0021.jpg

We’ll be racing plenty over the summer so we can bring you more high quality content like you read above. Our partnership with Diagonalt is still new and exciting, like that of a new romantic relationship, so check out Diagonalt.com for classic BMW prints and coasters (16% off using code “RYE30” at checkout) and calendars for the new year.

E30 Projects in the Time of Corona: Part 2

This is a continuation of E30 Projects in the Time of Corona. Please see Part 1 so that we don’t have to think of another clever introduction.

@the_realporthos – Welcome to the Lippincott Estate

@the_realporthos is the proud owner of our personal Holy Grail: An E30 Touring. Unless you’re a die-hard Volvo brick fan, this is the raddest estate model you can get your grubby little hands on. He tried to TL;DR us on why he was doing his Corona-coaxed E30 project, but we squeezed the story out of him anyway. While on deployment with the U.S. Navy in 2015, he came across a white Touring about an hour outside of Orlando, Florida. Don’t jealously dox him after you find this out, but he won the ECS Spin To Win Contest back in 2018. He used those resources to upgrade the car’s power plant from an M40 to a built M20. Yada-yada-yada, and today, Eurospec Autowerks in Englewood, Florida is dropping in its third engine swap (an S50) for him, along with a lightweight flywheel, custom right-hand-drive compliant exhaust manifold, Mishimoto radiator, and Magnaflow exhaust. You may jealously dox him now.

#Stayhome Score:
Yes-we-yada-yada-yada’d-over-the-best-part/10

@e30scrappy – Unicorn Wrangler

What could possibly be worse than slopping a big wad of whipped cream down on a warm piece of apple pie, taking a big bite out of it, and finding that it was actually mayonnaise you’ve slathered all over grandma’s secret family recipe? A blown head gasket! Instead of just replacing the obliterated head gasket, e30scrappy bit into his engine rebuild by pulling the whole turbo’d lot out, swapping his 325e head with a 325i head, and adding an MLS head gasket and ARP head studs before plopping it back in. He “sprinkled a little unicorn poop in the paint” to polish up the engine bay and right now he’s finishing the wiring on the reinstalled M20. Ground Control coilovers will keep it on the ground and a MeqaSquirt stand-alone tuning system will keep the engine humming.

#Stayhome Score:
mayonnaise-in-the-oil-means-the-head-gasket-is-bad/10

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Corona stay home prep..😁

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@mesc_coffee_e30 – Restomodder

Mesc_coffee_e30, we’ll call him Mesc for short, was…short and to the point when we asked him about what his plans were for his heavy-cream-in-your-coffee colored 318i. The long story is that he was the victim of Fast-and-Furious crime when his Acura Integra was stolen back in the early oughts. His dad sold him his hamster-wheel powered E30 shortly after and it’s been with him now for long enough that most Gen Z’ers can vote for president. Like most of us E30 lifers, he’d been throwing nickles and dimes at it, and eventually decided it was time to throw whole dollar bills. Just before the outbreak, he got with Bimmerspeed in San Diego, California and decided that completely restoring the car (oh yeah, apart from squeezing an S50B30us in where the M10 used to be) was the only option if he wanted to enjoy driving it for another decade-plus.

#Stayhome Score:
we-like-our-E30s-how-we-like-our-coffee/10

@projext.e30 – Dutch with a new clutch

Projext.e30 has been fighting valiantly against rust since 2016 on his ’86 316. He has one of the more well documented E30 restoration Instagrams out there. You get a great sense of his journey from the last time this lower countryman’s car sat proudly in his driveway as a whole car, to right now getting an M20 and transmission ready for installation. He was just about to install the clutch when we first approached him last week, but a missing pilot bearing has since stalled the process. He’s doing it as right as one can given the circumstances and only travelling from home, where he works, to the garage where he works on his E30 on the weekends. This is one of the most ambitious E30 restorations we think you’re going to see on Instagram so give him a follow after you follow his example by staying home!

#Stayhome score:
everybody’s-workin’-on-their-E30s-for-the-weekend/10

@nbre30 – Nurburgringer

We don’t know if Nick has children, but we know for sure they wouldn’t be treated as well as his E30! Every year before he makes the rounds with his black M52-driven coupe at tracks like Circuit Zandvoort and Nurburgring Nordschleife, he has BMW E30 Specialist in Nijkerk, Netherlands service the car. This year we’ll see the installation of some go-fast parts. A surge tank to rectify a fuel starvation issue and an IRP short shifter because in his words, “…it’s epic!” He says they only get to drive it on the weekends right now because of the virus, but sooner or later, you can catch this photogenic E30 and its BMW Motorsport banner as it rips by you at The ‘Ring. He’s out there doing our favorite summer activity; racing his E30!

#Stayhome Score:
live-every-day-like-you’re-in-Gran-Turismo/10


Thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow us here on the blog, Instagram @rye30racing, and Facebook @rye30racing. If you’ve read this far and you reside in the United States, give us a follow on Instagram and then DM us an address and we’ll send you two free 4″ RYE30Racing stickers! We appreciate your support! See a picture of the stickers below.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is mg_0021.jpg

We’ll be racing plenty over the summer so we can bring you more high quality content like you read above. Our partnership with Diagonalt is still new and exciting, like that of a new romantic relationship, so check out Diagonalt.com for classic BMW prints and coasters (16% off using code “RYE30” at checkout) and calendars for the new year.

E30 Projects in the Time of Corona: Part 1

COVID-19 has fundamentally changed everyone’s way of life. For those of us that love our E30s, it’s made life practically unbearable. The worst thing to happen to anyone, EVER, has happened to us collectively as enthusiasts of this particular car and its variants. Without warning, we pounced on the inboxes of some of our favorite Instagram accounts to see what they were up to while they are self-isolating. We haven’t had much opportunity to work on ours, but these folks have, and if you’re one who enjoys being forced to live vicariously in this digital age, oh boy, do we have something for you. Enjoy!

@CooperAutoworks – Soon-to-be M54-powered Rally Racers

Calvin and Kelsey of “Cooper Autoworks BMW” fame, were already facemask-deep in preparation for the upcoming rally season by the time most people had started isolating. On top of swapping out their M50 for a tuned-up M54, they’re also documenting the Frankenstein-monstering of their shop-yard E46 in their new Project Schmutzwagen YouTube series. Kelsey is also the focus of a recent RYE30 Racing article on women in motorsports and you can check that out here!

#Stayhome Score:
Flatten-the-Crest/10

@grant_baumg – West Tennessee Drift King

Grant took his grocery-getter from grandma-uses-it-to-get-to-singles-night-at-the-bingo-hall to grandma-uses-it-to-lure-young-men-into-her-BDSM-dungeon by tossing a “fat turbo”, BC coilovers, and a rollcage at it. Now he rather impressively rips skids while representing Retro Race Co. at drift events like Slammedenuff’s Stoopicold. Right now, he’s cleaning out the engine bay and dropping in the only thing that’s more American than bald eagles; the LS. Check out his team’s Instagram below, or if you’re worthy, beg Grant to let you follow his private Instagram here.

#Stayhome Score:
No-replacement-for-displacement/10

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Opinions??

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@off_joeeAlmost Literally From the Ground Up

We’d be doing Joe a disservice if we tried to sum up his build better than he already has:

…I’ve always worked on cars since I was young, I spent most of my life with my grandad, so we would work on cars and other stuff through the summers. The first time I saw an e30 was when I was watching and listening to Tyler, The Creator. So I said to myself one day I’ll have one of those and me and my grandad will fix it up. In the last few years my grandad has developed dementia and now lives in a home. So I’m fixing mine up because I know he’d be proud of it and we would have done it together 🙂

Check out his Instagram below and follow the very detail oriented restoration of this Brits M40-powered E30!

#Stayhome Score:
You’re-honestly-going-to-make-me-cry/10

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🤖

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@robsgarageisfull – Full of Cool Stuff, That Is

Rob is in the final stretches of the most pain-in-the-ass repair you can do on an E30; the sunroof. But he won’t be friends with boredom for long because an old outboard motor and a classic GSXR are next on the to-do list. Rob comes across our Instagram feed often, but not so much that he doesn’t get lost in the scroll, so we’d advise you give his profile a good read because it’s not just his garage that’s got cool stuff. You can check out his bikes, him and his wife’s adventures in nature, and if you were told that no man is perfect, he’s also an artist!

#Stayhome Score:
We-wish-our-garage-was-full-of-cool-shit/10

@robotronan – They’re basically us, if the three of us got married to each other like in Netflix’s Tiger King.

The Robotronan crew members are our spirit animals. Josh and Amanda race their M42-driven E30 in Texan autocrosses (yee-haw) and do very well (2019 was an award winning season for both of them), as you’d expect from a team driving a car that’s set up almost exactly the same way our is! There will be more on that later when we dig into their story for a future article. In celebration of the virus, Josh refreshed the power steering system with Chase Bays equipment. Josh was also going to pick up an engine with the intent of rebuilding it, but was coughed on by the universe, and has resorted to, eerily, another RYE30 Racing-similar activity; fussing about with Alfa Romeos.

#Stayhome Score:
When-the-Alfa-Romeo-is-al-dente-you-know-it’s-fully-cooked/10

Unfortunately, @robotronan was the victim cyber-crime and the newness of his current account seems to be causing some issues with our ability to embed his page, so follow his new Instagram here. Hopefully you’ll get the same kind of ‘autocrushing’ updates you’ll be, again, hopefully, be getting from us in the summer.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow us here on the blog, Instagram @rye30racing, and Facebook @rye30racing. If you’ve read this far and you reside in the United States, give us a follow on Instagram and then DM us an address and we’ll send you two free 4″ RYE30Racing stickers! We appreciate your support! See a picture of the stickers below.

We’ll be racing plenty over the summer so we can bring you more high quality content like you read above. Our partnership with Diagonalt is still new and exciting, like that of a new romantic relationship, so check out Diagonalt.com for classic BMW prints and coasters (16% off using code “RYE30” at checkout) and calendars for the new year.

Those Dang Kids and Their Hotrods: Reminiscing on My Time as a Tire Rack Street Survival Instructor

If you’re not familiar with the Tire Rack Street Survival curriculum, you need to go back in time, pop on a slap bracelet, down a Surge, and ask your parents to sign you up. Authored by BMW CCA Foundation, it’s likely (and we don’t offer any exaggeration here) saved the lives of hundreds of teens since the screeching tires and soapy skid pads first hit the biggest lot available back in 2002. Any autocrosser or road racer could tell you that there’s no replacement for embracement. Taking the car to its limits is the only way to truly learn what the car is capable of. And most importantly for the new teenage driver, what harm the car is truly capable of when you don’t take Uncle Ben’s advice seriously.

Photo courtesy of Duncan Millar

The 9-hour course is split even chunks of classroom and course time. The Milwaukee Region SCCA program has the privilege of getting their classroom portion administered by a real-life physics teacher who (as far as we’re aware) engages the students well, with the help of a lot of video accompaniment. On course, they’ve had the privilege of the upper echelon of local car club amateur racers and volunteers, and ‘yours, truly’ to toss them feet first into the thresholds of braking and handling by way of slaloms, skid pads, split-decision exercises, and ABS-function tests.

Please grab a cup of tea, wash your hands as is customary in these trying times, and enjoy these memories I recovered during my latest hypnotic regression session with my therapist.

The Spinny Thing with the Horn On It

Having been one, I can tell you that teenagers are effectively mindless, eating, shitting, SnapChatting robots that contribute no more to society than a crumpled Taco Bell bag with a half-eaten chicken quesadilla in it. So it’s no stretch to say that you take your life into your own hands when you willingly share the road with 16 year-old’s that could only make a bowl of cereal for themselves if they were told that the prize in the bottom of the box was a Juul pen.

One recent summer, as I stood aloof on the banked asphalt corner that looped around the off-road access of the hill that the fire department used for rough terrain training at the Milwaukee Area Training Center facility in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, I heard a-tumbling of wheels and sheet metal. In my blindspot, a compact sedan had roughed the very terrain the fire trucks did, but only after carving its own path, by sideswiping the concrete base of a streetlamp and climbing the side of the hill like a frightened mountain goat. Only once it planted itself on top of the approximately 15 foot high hill, did I see it jerk to a stop and sit calmly until I and others fell over each other to see if the occupants were O.K. Once everyone was declared “only embarrassed”, we got the story. Along the edge of the hill ran the slalom portion of the course. The instructor, wisely, told the student to keep positive control of the wheel by always keeping a grip on the wheel. With a new driver, letting the wheel spin freely back to a neutral position can be dangerous. The assumption that the wheel will track back to straight and not wildly steer the car into the unknown can be more hazardous to their health than being deadass for real about how lit the Tide Pod Challenge is.

Lesson Learned: Keep control of the car by keeping your hands on the wheel. Seems obvious, but is only slightly more complicated than it sounds.

Photo courtesy of Duncan Millar

Left, Right, Center

Early in my career as a volunteer instructor, I hopped in the car with one of the few prospective begrudged commuters that truly seemed to “get it.” He suffered my convoluted explanations on following distances and keeping your hands on the god-damned wheel, and genuinely seemed to engage with the subject matter critically by asking questions that showed he understood. But the one thing he did the best, was follow directions.

As you come around the bend and enter one of the two or three areas designated for hard maneuvering, you come into a sea of cones. While not unlike the wall of rubber-streaked orange that would greet you in a balmy weekend morning parking lot autocross, it was different in a large way. You had a choice of going left, or get this, right. After a short run-up to get the car to a modest speed, the instructor would yell “LEFT!” or “RIGHT!” at the last possible moment to simulate the necessity for split-decision making. The cones would diverge and then reconverge on the other side where the driver would then come to a full stop. After a few successful, and honestly quite fun, trollops through this section of the course, my student and his father’s Audi TT-S made another routine go at it. For true authenticity in the exercise, I hid the decision made in the final moments from even myself. Almost too well. As the car geared up into second, and picked up speed, I waited only a millisecond to long to reveal the punchline. The student, unphased, plowed right through the middle section of cones that made up the inner border of the exercise’s boundaries and inevitably popped out the other side, demolishing the cones on that end as well. After some tug-of-war between me and the cone caught underneath the car, we shrugged off the event, but only after a quick fist bump for following directions.

Lesson Learned: If you only have two choices, and the third choice is to be cool, then be cool. Don’t let extenuating circumstances pressure you into not weighing all of the options. You might hurt other people when you could’ve just hurt your ego.

Photo courtesy of Duncan Millar

Street Survival is an incredible program, administrated by incredible people who at the least volunteer their day to empart the knowledge they’ve learned as racecar drivers, but just as importantly, as every-day drivers. If you happen to be from the Chicago or Milwaukee area, watch out for programs to pop up from the Milwaukee Region SCCA or Chicago Region SCCA. Special care goes into the Milwaukee program because the sister’s that started the program, Kay and Jane, do so at the need to counter the loss of their sister years ago to a senseless car accident so they do it out of true compassion for the safety of students that wheel their way through the classroom.

Catch Kay and Jane hocking the good word of Street Survival on TMJ4 here, and be blinded by the author’s authoratative brilliance here as he doles out that solid gold following distance advice to the next generation of Nissan Altima driver’s we damn well know need it.

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Photo courtesy of Juliana Marciniak

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow us here on the blog, Instagram @rye30racing, and Facebook @rye30racing. If you’ve read this far and you reside in the United States, give us a follow on Instagram and then DM us an address so we can send you two free 4″ RYE30Racing stickers! We appreciate your support! See a picture of the stickers above.

We’ll be racing plenty over the summer (Corona Virus permitting) so we can bring you more high quality content like you read above. Our partnership with Diagonalt is still new and exciting, like that of a new romantic relationship, so check out Diagonalt.com for classic BMW prints and coasters (16% off using code “RYE30” at checkout) and calendars for the new year.

Preparation – R: How to Prepare Your Ass for Seat Time on Race Day

Because race season is officially underway, with registration officially opening this weekend for some Midwest autocross events, we thought we’d repost our article on getting ready for race day!

For those of us who aren’t temporarily embarrassed millionaires, race days are about having fun and not clutch-dumping a career. Use our list as a guide to help you focus on having fun and not cursing the Sun on race day.

It won’t go without saying that you should have two things sorted before deferring to this list: Bring your friends and be reasonably sure that your car will make it home afterwards. Going autocrossing without a friend whose company you simply enjoy, or is a co-driver, is like going to the bathroom by yourself. Who’s going to hand you toilet paper? Who’s going to remind you that you need to wash your hands? Most importantly, making sure the car gets home afterwards should go without saying. Don’t let foreseen consequences turn your free weekend into a how-am-I-going-to-get-to-work-on-Monday pity party.

Friends, Food, and Canopies

“Test Driver” – Photo Courtesy of Duncan Millar

Standing around in the hot sun is for lizards. Since we don’t often see any of our underworld overlords at these events, we sprung for a small 10ft x 10ft canopy. Not surprisingly, our Harbor Freight canopy came with subpar staking hardware so we grabbed some heavier duty ones from a hardware store. Altogether we were only out $60.

The unintended and welcomed consequence was that we became a magnet for the weary sun-faded autocrosser. We were an entertainment hub for the rest-period racer with our tantalizing conversation skills, good view of the course, Bluetooth radio beats, and tuned-in two-way radios we used to listen to track times.

We race in and around the Chicagoland suburbs, so food and drink are never far, but we bring a cooler for drinks and snacks nonetheless. Take lots of water, sports drinks, and snack bars. If you’re inclined to do so on your rest period, hit up a local spot and support the local business. The club we usually participate with asks you to donate your receipts to a small recycled baby wipes container at the timing tent to show the municipality that we contribute to the economy if ever we were to get on the wrong side of the local Karen squad.

Essential Essentials

Sample Tools – Photo Courtesy of Duncan Millar

If you don’t expect anything catastrophic to happen to you or your car, then leave the defibrillator and engine hoist at home. The picture above shows a small kit we brought to use for tightening the wheels and for experimenting with advancing and retarding the intake camshaft. We also usually take a small assortment of common sockets and wrenches (3/8″ drive, 10mm-17mm), and other regular hand tools like screw drivers and pliers. That saved us last summer when an alternator housing screw backed out into its own cooling fan. It didn’t save us when the timing chain case profile gasket failed and our last stop at the finish line preceded a plume of white smoke. Fortunately the car survived the trip home as the coolant leak wasn’t as bad as we thought. Pack light by just bringing the basics.

Tire pressures should be taught in schools right along side how to manage your finances. The mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell, but if we don’t have enough grip, how can we effectively put that power down? Take an air supply, like an air tank or portable air pump, and a pressure gauge with so you can add or subtract air as needed. Pressure gauges with the convenient release button on the side are nice, but not necessary; pen gauges work just fine. Rule-of-thumb is that lower tire pressures help provide grip by giving up more rubber along the width of the tire, but too much can roll the tire over onto its sidewall and thus, negate the lower pressure’s effect. Do research on your specific tire to see what its limits are. Remember too that you gain about one to two PSI after heat builds up in the tire. Consider that when you’re setting your pressures.

I’m ready for my close-up

Dogs were made to have their pictures taken. Make it a true family affair by bringing your dog, your partner’s family, their dog, and enough water for all.

Take pictures with whatever you have, but if you have a DSLR that’s collecting dust, bring it out and test your know-how by playing with the manual mode. Leave your ISO low, and expect to adjust your shutter speed and F-stop (iris size) a lot because of the rapidly changing car and weather conditions. Consider your safety first and make sure you’re not in the “oops” path of any of the drivers. Stick to the outskirts or the designated areas where cone-catchers are posted.

An Intimate Setting – How to Dress Sexy When You’re in the Driver’s Seat

Photo courtesy of Juliana Marciniak

Loner helmets tend to be a bit…musty. For low stress driving events like parking lot autocrosses, you can get away with wearing any helmet you want as long as it’s not a bicycle helmet or one of those that infants wear to shape their skulls. Road course events on the other hand, will more than likely look for a Snell rating and consequently tag your helmet with an inspection sticker. If you’re sunglasses snobs like we are, bring a pair of polarized shades to stuff under the visor for those glare-heavy days.

Wearing gloves is all about preference. For the driver seen in the photo above, it’s more about fetishism, but you’ll catch that story in a different blog. Some find gloves to be too bulky or too sloppy. All understandable given the standardization of sizes and the un-standardized sizes of hands. Don’t worry about being required to wear gloves until you get to wheel-to-wheel events.

Print out a course map to tape to your dash as a quick reference before you hit the go button at the start line. Nothing will replace walking the course before-hand, but every little bit counts. Use the tape you brought to artistically apply your driver number to the windows or doors of your car, to stick it to the dash. Congratulations, you’re now a professional race car driver.

Preparation-R: Dont’ Forget your Decorative Meat Tenderizer

Photo Courtesy of Williams-Sonoma

Lastly, it wouldn’t go on the list if we didn’t think it was essential to having fun on race day. Don’t forget your multi-purpose decorative butt plug and meat tenderizer to help you de-stress after each run. Carry it in a fanny pack or have your co-driver standing by with it on a small red pillow for a fanciful touch. A little bit of olive oil will aid installation.

Go race your E30!

When E30s Play Dress-Up: 5 Famous E30 Racing Liveries (Including Our Pick for Favorite)

Many things are “understood”. It’s understood that the Earth is round. That plugging a USB connector into a slot will take at least three attempts. That the E30 M3 was a devastating Iron Age implement that changed the tides of war so completely that they nicknamed it, “God’s Chariot.” How did they fuel it? Program the ECU? We may never know. What we do know, is that it was as ruthless of a weapon in competitive touring car racing!

Our, likely contentious, pick for Honorable Mention – The Marlboro/Sony

Bursting onto the scene in 1987 at 8,200 rpm, it graced the Australian Touring Car Championship, then the freshly minted World Touring Car Championship in stride. Tragedy struck immediately at the WTCC showing however, when the judges disqualified each E30 M3-owning team for thin body panels. The hiccups lasted all of one race with Roberto Ravaglia going on to win the driver’s championship in a factory-backed car. In Australia, it poled at the inaugural race of the 1987 ATCC. Even more impressively, it took fourth overall in the 1987 Australian James Hardie 1000, punching up at cars like the Holden Commodore and Nissan Skyline. After the folding of WTCC at the finale of its single season (don’t worry, they come back), the M3 went on to make itself synonymous with the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft, or, for those of us who took Spanish as an elective, the German Touring Car Championship.

It didn’t only make kidney shaped dents in DTM though. It went on to dominate plenty of other touring car series and endurance races (and didn’t do too bad in rally) from 1987 to 1993. We’ll give you a few examples of the most recognizable cars so you can impress your friends by mispronouncing the driver’s names in front of strangers at the next Radwood. We’ll ask you to leave politely in Spanish, after we leave you with the official RYE30 Racing “Favorite E30 M3 That We’d Gladly Wake Up in a Tub of Ice with a Missing Kidney to Own” pick.

#1 – The Warsteiner

If you’re seeing a Warsteiner livery, you’re usually looking at a BMW-blessed workhorse. The classic BMW Motorsport stripes bifurcate the front end of the car and are most often accompanied by the Warsteiner logo. This livery donned cars driven by the likes of Roberto Ravaglia and Eric van de Poele. It would be easier to name the championships it didn’t win during the E30 M3’s reign of terror.

Eric van de Poele at the Nürburgring

#2 – The Jagermeister

Armin Hahne deserves to be as well known as the Linder Team E30 M3 “Sport Evo” he piloted in the 1992 DTM season. He raced several touring car series and endurance events across several continents with respectable results that included two wins at the Spa 24 Hour, driving cars from our favorite manufacturer; BMW. The “Sport Evo” underneath all of that orange sported the adjustable rear wing and of course, more power. Other drivers included Wayne Gardner and Frank Schmickler.

Armin Hahne in the Linder Team Jagermeister E30 M3

#3 – The Bastos / Castrol

While the Bastos-Motul livery had been around since the beginning of the E30 M3s career, it’s probably best know for its appearances in rallies like the Tour de Corse, World Rally Championship, and Rally Isle of Man. Drivers like Patrick Snijers and Marc Duez carved out E30 M3 sized ruts in the dirt in blurs of white and red.

Snijers and Colebunder at Rally Manx (Rally Isle of Man) in 1988

#4 – The JPS (John Player Special)

Your eyes do not deceive you. That is the same JPS-styled livery that coated several Lotus F1 chassis throughout the ’70s and early ’80s. Interestingly, unlike with the F1 cars, John Player & Sons was deeply involved in the utilization of the cars via the namesake JPS Team BMW. Apparently opting out of works cars, the team built their own M3s to replace their 635 CSi fleet in 1987. Because we’re still blown away by the brashness of it all, we’ll mention again how it took first in class and fourth overall at the heavenly Mount Panorama on October 4, 1987 by drivers’ Jim Richards and Tony Longhurst.

The JPS Team BMW Richards/Longhurst E30 M3 at Bathurst in 1987

And now for the awarding of the “Favorite E30 M3 That We’d Gladly Wake Up in a Tub of Ice with a Missing Kidney to Own” prize. Otherwise known as the FEMTWGWUIATOIWAMKTO Award, we take great pains to be sure that we knight only the most worthy of this distinction. In this case, that worthiness is bestowed upon the Listerine/Securicor Omega Express E30 M3!

#5 – The Listerine / Securicor Omega Express

The British Touring Car Championship is likely as known for its swarms of E30 M3s as DTM was. Even today, ze German autos sweep the British circuits up like angry governesses upset that the children have again made a mess of the pantry. Why do we like this Vic Lee Motorsport car so much? It just looks cool! In our opinion, it’s only trailed by the classically liveried Marlboro E30 M3 rally cars. But we love its historic drama just as much. The eponymous Vic Lee pulled a John DeLorean in 1993 after £6,000,000 of winter wonderland dust was recovered from one of their car haulers by British customs after suspiciously numerous testing sessions at Zandvoort in Holland (Holland being arguably not-a-country-with-any-BTCC-tracks). Jalopnik has more on the scandal here. Considering the pink Listerine dragon on the hood, you’d think they would have been busted for more than cocaine, but don’t let the teams’ sordid history distract you from the gorgeous and bold Helvetica-esque styling of the black-on-blue Listerine/Securicor Omega Express E30 M3.

BTCC driver William Hoy, in one of the last appearances of the E30 M3 in professional touring car racing

Tell us your favorites in the comments or visit us on Instagram to make fun of our final choice on that platform.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow us here on the blog, Instagram @rye30racing, and Facebook @rye30racing. If you’ve read this far and you reside in the United States, give us a follow on Instagram and then DM us an address so we can send you two free 4″ RYE30Racing stickers! We appreciate your support! See a picture of the stickers below.

We’ll be racing plenty over the summer so we can bring you more high quality content like you read above. Our partnership with Diagonalt is still new and exciting, like that of a new romantic relationship, so check out Diagonalt.com for classic BMW prints and coasters (16% off using code “RYE30” at checkout) and calendars for the new year.

Featured photo by BMW

The Future is Flat Out – An Interview with the Cooper Autoworks Stage Rally Navigator, Kelsey Stephens

Kelsey Stephens and Calvin Cooper are the squishy internals of the Cooper Autoworks M50-powered E30. Calvin pilots while Kelsey preaches from the pulpit of The Peaceful Pace Notes. We pulled a notepad out of our public radio tote bag to ask Kelsey the tough questions.

Photo courtesy of iheartfast

RYE30 Racing: Tell us about the E30! Could you give us a timeline from acquiring it to where you two are with it now?

Kelsey Stephens: The E30 started life in 1991 as a diamond-black 318is. 23 years later it was saved from landing in the salvage yard by Jesse Yuvali who turned it into a rally car. After a roll cage, engine swap, and historic inspired livery the little BMW made its stage rally debut in 2014. 

In July of 2015, Calvin and I went on our first date. We hit it off over our love of cars.
The next year in 2016 I wanted to take Calvin to see a stage rally for the first time. The rally in the 100 Acre Wood happens near my hometown. Calvin has been passionate about BMW’s since he was in tech school but we didn’t expect to see any at a stage rally. As we walked past countless blue Subaru’s suddenly the little M-striped E30 appeared. If it wasn’t love at first sight for Calvin then it was love at first straight-6. No other car sounded quite as incredible as the S50 as it flew past slinging gravel. We came home and immediately began dreaming of building a rally car of our own.

The next year Jesse posted that he was looking for crew for the 100 Acre Wood Rally. I volunteered us to help as part of his team since Calvin has so much awesome BMW knowledge. Working as crew we got to learn about the sport from Jesse who had so much rally experience. We started competing in Time Speed Distance events and rallycross with the SCCA hoping to get us closer to our stage rally dreams. In November of that year Jesse had a new project car and decided to sell the E30. We were over the moon to be able to purchase the very same rally car that had helped us fall in love with the sport from someone who taught us so much. Jesse had competed in 9 rallies with the car with various engine and suspension setups.
February 2018 the car arrived, leaving us less than a month to prepare for our first stage rally the Rally in the 100 Acre Wood! Since novice rules did not allow us to run with a 3.0L engine the car had to be swapped to an M50. We did 3 events that year with the goal of learning and finishing each event. 

2019, we decided to run our first full season to contend for a championship in the car. We decided to run under the number 723 which is the anniversary of that first date. This was such a big undertaking for us being such a small grassroots team. The season taught us so much. The car and rally community did more for us than we ever could have imagined. As driver and co-driver Calvin and I both achieved championship wins in East Open 2 Wheel Drive which was incredible.
As I type Calvin is in our shop working on an engine upgrade from the M50, we will be sharing more of that as we work out sponsorships. He had better hurry though our next event is coming up mid March! Last season we put our tired old K-sport suspension to bed by hitting a jump at over 76 mph. The landing bent a few things and when we arrived at the finish we decided the car (and our spines) had earned some real rally suspension. We now run Samsonas 3-way adjustable rally suspension. The majority of the upgrades to the car are to strengthen it to withstand the abuse and keep us safe. 

The Cooper Autoworks Crew at an ARA Rally in 2019 – Photo courtesy of Kelsey Stephens

RYE30 Racing: Did you see yourself in motorsports when you were younger? Did you have any influences that you could say motivated you?

Kelsey: My mom was a diesel mechanic in the National Guard and my dad was an engineer in the Navy. I assumed everyone’s folks made them do basic maintenance on the family cars. I didn’t realize I had a real interest. In 2012, I went to the 100 Acre Wood Rally near my hometown with folks I knew. I signed up to volunteer, they handed me a clip board, and let me help inspect cars. I was 20 years old and I saw women in race suits for the first time. Seeing women as drivers and co-drivers was so inspiring! That was when I really started having motorsports dreams.

Photo courtesy of Andrew Pescarella

RYE30 Racing: You’re the navigator in the Cooper Autoworks E30. When do you feel you’ll be ready to take the wheel?

Kelsey: There are professional co-drivers who are highly respected in the sport because co-driving is key to a driver’s success. Some folks co-drive that do wish to drive one day, but many others know that the silly seat is where they belong. When Calvin and I started, I dreamed of driving the car. After getting to know my role as a co-driver and completing 13 rallies, I have never felt more confident and successful. I would love to try driving an event at least once because it would be fun, but also I think it could help me be an even better co-driver. The excitement of racing down gravel stage roads in these beautiful forests can often feel like a dance. Calling notes is almost like music because the timing has to be just right so the driver can process them and not get confused. You have to be in sync. As for getting behind the wheel, I currently drive in rallycross and if our schedule allows I’ll start doing track days this year when we have time.

Kelsey’s stage notes – Photo courtesy of Kelsey Stephens

RYE30 Racing: Ideally, everyone you’ve encountered in motorsports culture has treated you as a competent and motivated peer, whose impression of you on first-sight is unprejudiced by preconception of gender. Has that been the case for you?

Kelsey: I honestly feel that once we are in the car we are all equals. I feel that age, experience, and confidence has helped me become more respected. Occasionally, I meet someone who has the assumption I just came along because my boyfriend drug me. After a few minutes talking with them and pointing out all the other women who came to compete in what is one of the toughest forms of motorsports in the world, I can usually turn those assumptions around. If anyone has hateful comments, I remind myself I am too busy trying to make a positive impact. I don’t have time to deal with hateful people and move along.

If you are a woman in motorsports, remember you never know who might be looking up to you as an example. The first time I was approached by a couple of young girls to sign autographs and answer questions about women in racing, it was a real wakeup call. I realized these girls would be watching me and my actions and behaviors had the potential to shape their image of motorsports as a whole and potentially their place in it. Just as those women I saw shaped my view at my first rally.

A group photo of all the female drivers and co-drivers at the New England Forest Rally in July 2019 – Photo courtesy of Kelsey Stephens

RYE30 Racing: I hate to say it, but the RYE30 crew may be outliers as far as believing women have as deserved a role in motorsports as any man. In researching for this interview, we’ve come to realize that some people view female drivers as gimmicks or marketing ploys. And frankly, we’re quite upset about that. What would you say to a female driver who might be discouraged when they hear something like that?

Kelsey: You can find plenty of women who genuinely kicked booty all throughout history if you go searching. One of the reasons I love rally so much is because women have historically been involved in the sport at all levels. Perhaps this makes me out of touch with other forms of motorsports because rally is its own bubble. From my perspective, I believe attitudes are changing. One of the best things you can do is surround yourself with the people who believe in you. Focus on your own goals and the work you are putting in to achieve them. Stay confident, motivated, and passionate. If some folks choose to be negative about your motorsports journey, remember that is their decision and do your best not to let it affect you. Set a positive example of what being a woman in motorsports means to you. As I stated above, you never know who is looking up to you as the example or who might relate to the way YOU drive.

Kelsey and Calvin – Photo courtesy of R1 Images

RYE30 Racing: How can we get more women into the seats of racecars and what can the average person do to support that effort?

Kelsey: Here in the US as the sport of stage rally grows so does its inclusion of women. In 2019 the number of women registered as competitors with the American Rally Association surpassed 100 which was a growth of 62% in one year. Of the 30 championship winning drivers and codrivers 9 were Ladies, including myself. What an honor to be surrounded by so many amazing women!

If someone seems genuinely interested in motorsports, support them. If you hear people saying things or behaving in a way to make others uncomfortable, find a way to call out those actions. Support others with your words and actions and set a good example of how motorsports enthusiasts should behave. Don’t underestimate anyone who wants to be involved or has an interest. 

Kelsey represents a woefully underrepresented and highly underestimated segment of the racing community. Sponsors and teams will often dispose of women the same way the rest of society does and it’s deliberately detrimental to the progress of 51% of the world’s population. Don’t let women and girls like Kelsey just be statistics by supporting them in any way you can. Take Kelsey’s suggestions to the racetrack, and you’ll have the opportunity to make the sport better. Take Kelsey’s suggestions to heart, and you’ll make lives better.

Kelsey: If you are interested in our team’s story and following us through the 2020 season, find our video series “Flat Over Crest” on YouTube.
YouTube – youtube.com/cooperautoworks
Facebook – facebook.com/cooperautoworks 
Online – cooperautoworks.com/

Cooper Autoworks 2020 Rally Schedule – Photo courtesy of iheartfast and Kelsey Stephens

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to follow us here on the blog, Instagram @rye30racing, and Facebook @rye30racing.

We’ll be racing plenty over the summer so we can bring you more high quality content like you read above. Our partnership with Diagonalt is still new and exciting, like that of a new romantic relationship, so check out Diagonalt.com for classic BMW prints and coasters (16% off using code “RYE30” at checkout) and calendars for the new year.

Special Thanks to Lyndsay Kirkham, contributor to the Racing Insiders podcast. Follow her on Instagram @captainlkirkham.