Build A Racing Car

The Hammerheads BMW 325xi started it’s life as a family sedan. Craigslist brought it to the team. The journey taken through the maze of for sale ads – real and imagined – is a topic for a separate post. If you haven’t shopped for a car on Craigslist, or simple browsed the ‘cars for sale’ section, you owe it to yourself. Pour a drink, settle into a good chair and be amazed. But, I digress….

To convert a street car to a racing car first you have to take it apart. Seats, carpet, armrests, headliners, sun visors; everything inside the car. It all comes out. None of it – save the dashboard – goes back in. The pile of material destined for the dump grows by the hour. Steering wheel, stereo, CD player, side windows, rear window. Heater, air conditioner, airbags. The cutting tools come out and excess metal is trimmed away. If it’s not necessary for the structure of the car it gets cut out. Weight is the enemy of racers seeking speed and handling.

Taking a car apart is an automobile construction education in reverse. Putting it together as a racing car is an exercise in creativity and rule book interpretation.

An example:

A roll cage by any other name is still a roll cage but legality lies in the eyes of the rulemakers. And many rulemakers see not eye to eye. The Hammerheads BMW is eligible to race in a wide variety of series’. The team has chosen to focus on three grassroots racing series each of which adheres to a different book of rules. As a subset, the rules around safety equipment are the most important as they determine whether an entrant turns a lap or is turned away at the gate. As built, when built, the roll cage in the Hammerheads BMW satisfied the requirements of all three series. For 2019, however, one series changed its required specifications for roll cage construction. Scratching one series off the list, the team moved on.

next we learn about the double lives of all amateur racing drivers