Reading a friend's Facebook updates about a PRO3 driver who he was coaching and finding oodles of time brought back memories of just how positive PRO3 racing was for me. Add to that the number (license) plate I saw on this UK car this weekend and I thought it was right to talk a little about what this great racing class means to me.
PRO3's platform is the BMW E30. A fantastic car for any racing series and in PRO3 spec, a formula that allows for some upgrades that address both driver skill and car setup but maintain a core emphasis on driver development. Having been part of that series for many years, a 40 car grid isn't an unusual occurrence and PRO3 is often the largest grid in any ICSCC weekend. With great car counts and fantastic drivers, the racing has always been superb.
PRO3 taught me so much about racing. Not necessarily about driving a car, that came as a result of the competitiveness of the class, but about racing itself. How to drive door to door, nose to tail, to learn about your competition and to battle it out with some really skilled racers. Whether battling for the lead or racing for 15th position, PRO3 was - and still is - superb fun. I learnt from some of the big mistakes I made on track and it formed the basis of the other key aspects of racing, such as sharing the track with faster and slower cars as well as respecting your fellow racer.
PRO3 wasn't without it's controversy but I have to say that despite any angst that may have existed, PRO3 was and remains a superb group of people. I met and made some of my best racing friends in PRO3 that have translated into opportunities to have fun together elsewhere. The camaraderie still seems as strong as ever and I hope that it continues long into the future.
Some might ask "why aren't you still running PRO3 after writing these words" and the answer remains the same; I wanted to be part of something brand new in SPEC E46 and grow it from the ground up. That doesn't mean to say that I don't miss PRO3 from time to time and will always relish the chance at the chance to race in the class as some point in the future.
I'll leave you with one of my favourite videos of a PRO3 race I was in. This was taken from Chuck Hurley's car (2014 PRO3 Champion) of the first 15 minutes of a race at Oregon Raceway Park.