Steve very kindly called me recently to ask about what I do for a living and how Slip&Grip Automotive and E30Zone can work together. Steve also mentioned about writing some sort of article for the Zone and gave me a rather vast scope on what to write about.
So I figured I’d talk about the business a little and how I ended up in the motorsport events and performance car sales industry transforming a passion into a job. But also my passion for BMW’s over the years as a great platform for fast road and track car builds due to their great chassis and reliable but quite powerful engines.
I have always dabbled in all sorts of European and Japanese cars from Alfa Romeo 33 P4’s in my late teens to more recently Impreza Type RA’s and Nissan Skylines, but it seems every year I end up with a mix of BMW’s and Hondas. Honda for me made the ultimate hatch back in the 90’s and were the FWD masters when it comes to fast road and track cars. VTEC engines and light bodies mean for fast reliable cars. But when it comes to RWD NA cars BMW always has the answer for me.
My first BMW purchase was an E36 Coupe 325i and cost me just £600. At the time I worked for Prodrive in Milton Keynes and I spent many a night learning the art of RWD on wet roads. However just months after, I was offered a job working for RSR Nurburg / RSR Spa. For those who aren’t aware RSR offer rental cars for the Nurburgring and Spa among other European tracks. You can rent anything from a Clio sport to a Nissan GTR or Ferrari, and so the Coupe joined me out in Europe at our Nurburgring base and I enjoyed many a lap in my spare time that season, getting to grips with the BMW 6 pot at the most famous track of them all.
Not only that but over the years I have worked for companies that have allowed me to drive some really nice Bavarian machines including all the M3’s. My personal favourite was a BMW E30 M3 in 300bhp NA track spec and BMW 130i Race Car.
Aside from being lucky enough to drive some cool machines I have also owned and sold for customers some pretty cool BMW’s too. On last count I have owned 15 E36 and another 15 of various other BMW models from 540i manual drift cars to E46 330D’s with over 400lbs of torque but still returning 40MPG.
One of my favourite cars to own until my recent purchase was the track spec BMW E36 M3 Evo Coupe I had. In fantastic purple, black wheels, carbon hood and the punch to match it was a car that I almost sold my 400BHP track spec R32 Skyline for. I also sold a really cool BMW 2002 V8 for a customer last year.
For the non BMW enthusiasts I have owned Astra GTE’s, Honda CRX’s, Alfa 33’s and 155’s, Nissan Silvias and Skylines, the list goes on lol, but the BMW offer RWD fun on track and road that nothing else can match for the money and still stay reliable. But prices continue to increase because both the track and drift scene also see them a bargain RWD cars.
So why am I on E30 Zone. Well my most recent and best BMW purchase so far is an E30 Touring with M52B28 swap that was built and prepared last year by RallyPrep. The bill was over £11k and included body restoration and strengthening, seem welding the engine bay, engine fitting, upgraded suspension, custom E30 M3 Diff among many other things, you can check out the build thread here on the Zone [Click here for thread]. It may possibly be one of the best spec track based Tourings in the UK, I’m sure you guys will tell me otherwise if you know of one, but at just over 200BHP and under 1100KG it goes pretty well and I’m excited to build and use it for the 2019 season.
So I have gone on about BMW’s but what do I do? Well I offer on track events and networking events for classic, retro and performance car owners. It’s called Slip&Grip Automotive and we pride ourselves in offering reasonably priced events that are super friendly and have great on track etiquette so you can be sure if you are a newbie or a hardcore track enthusiast you and your pride and joy will be as safe as possible.
We offer dates from as little as £135 per car at places like Castle Combe and Pembrey with open pitlane format and free tuition from the likes of Josh Harvey and David Vivian, both race winners at our local circuit. We also offer get together such as themed photo shoots and our classic motor hub breakfast meet where you can meet up with like-minded petrolheads, have a chat and a bite to eat at a private location.
I actually did a motorsport engineering diploma at Castle Combe from the age of 17. Having lived locally to the track from an early age, part of my passion for cars started when I used to cycle on my own to the track with my dad’s camera so I could watch and take pics of the racing. Not long after college I worked for a mixture of race teams, track car rental companies and tuning workshops before a few years ago kicking off Slip&Grip as a members group and then into a business last year.
The mechanical side of Motorsport wasn’t really for me although I do still fettle lightly with the stuff I own. Now instead I put all my experience and knowledge into one pot to form the business I have today, which in essence is an event and car sales company created by petrolheads for petrolheads.
So if your already into trackdays come and get involved, we are a super friendly bunch and there is always a great mix of cars on track with us and a great paddock atmosphere. And if you are thinking about taking up the addiction that is motorsport, come and take the plunge with us, you really can prep a car and start doing trackdays on a reasonable budget. Failing that hire one of our Civics or E36 rental cars to get a taster of the action.
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