Tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m approaching the end of my thirties, have 3 kids, live in Cwmbran, South Wales, and I work at GoCompare in engineering.
How did you get in to racing?
Inspired watching the Silverstone 24 hour episode of Top Gear, (around 2007) I did a load of internet research – club racing was just starting to appear on forums. Eventually took up an offer to go down to Snetterton for a Production BMW Championship pre-season test, I think that was in 2010. I spoke to a few of the guys, picked up loads of tips, and even got a passenger ride with fellow Cambridgeshire resident, Kristian Dean. From there, I was bloody determined!
Why an E30?
It was for the PBMW series – in fact I was going to just get a car that appealed to me and run it in the non-championship events. But an official championship sounded more of a challenge and at the Snetterton test everybody couldn’t praise them enough. They were cheap (ahem, were…), reliable, simple to work on and great race machines. Not the quickest, but could hardly be more perfect as a first race car. Not long after I made a fleabay bid on 2 door that looked cosmetically a bit crap, but solid underneath, which was ideal.
What was needed to get your E30 race ready?
Remembering back, the roll cage was the biggie. It was stressful having the car for about 6 months in the rollcentre in St Ives as it was a lot of money (twice as much as the car), and they asked me lots of questions I had no clue about! But I gutted the interior which has paid for the car nearly twice over thanks to the E30 zone, (really wish I hadn’t binned more stuff now!), fitted GAZ gold suspension, braided brake lines, the safety stuff and electrical cut off, and some control tyres.
Rix33 from here helped me with the rear beam bushes which was the worst job I’ve done. Andrew Liddel helped with some suspension turret issues. Got a wide angle mirror. Then she was good to race. Since then I’ve also installed a swirl pot, and I have an Ashley exhaust and Team Dynamics ready to go on. I need to get a move on really as the new season is 4 weeks away…
Tell us a bit about your seasons and your achievement, obstacles / challenges you have faced to get where you are today.
Hah! 2014 was a baptism of fire… Our first ever event didn’t go very well, less said about that the better. There are plenty of pictures. But thanks to Maggspower from here, 2 years later the car was fixed and we got 2 finishes at Oulton Park. That was an achievement in itself. A couple of races the following year at Silverstone and Brands (not finishing last!), then a full season the year just gone. Main achievement was coming 10th in the championship, by keeping things clean (mostly, except the Donington off) and consistent. I won the Jackie Stewart trophy for most places gained over the year.
Main challenge has been trying to do it with a young family, my partner has shown more patience than I knew she had! She’s also come around to being really supportive, as she knows it’s my one guilty pleasure in life. We’ve worked out how long the kids can stay at the circuits before getting bored and playing up, plus we combine our trips into mini family camping holidays all over the country.
There’s an Ice Cream farm up in Cheshire somewhere we’ll visit when we go to Oulton Park, great beaches on the east coast, we’re getting to know the softplays and shopping centres, so we’re getting the hang of it. We were ready for a break of winter after nearly every month going away, but we’re all itching to get going again.
Build plans for the future?
Nothing major. I’ve been teaching myself to weld (arguably I still can’t…) but it’s put a stop to some fairly ungodly rot in the bulkhead and under my right foot. I suspect through the year I’ll be patching up more bits and trying to coax some life back into the tired shell. It has a good cage so even more reason to keep it going. There’s not much we can do to the cars, to keep the cars equal and costs down.
I hope to keep it it in reasonable condition, and the way prices are going, eventually sell it on when it’s too expensive for me to think about racing it! It would be amazing if I could restore it back to original and put it back on the road, after it’s retired from it’s racing career… that would be cool. Though I do need to MOT it next summer as I’d like it to be our wedding car!
What advice would give to somebody looking to getting racing E30s?
It’s getting harder now unfortunately, as original parts and panels are NLA, 2nd hand parts are going up. I’d say buy a pre-prepped race car rather than convert as there’s few of them on the road as it is, plus it’s a lot cheaper. But if you do want to race the E30, I’d say go for it, 100%. I only know E30s but people who have raced other cars rate the E30 massively.
Don’t forgot to check out –
Cook Racing UK website – http://cookracing.co.uk/
Cook Racing UK YouTube channel – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCff59E7j7lMXAtSpC63iWAg
Anything else you would like to share with the E30 Zone?
Yes! I’d like to thank the E30 zone for making all the above possible. I had a quick look on here before I committed to the E30, looking at sales ads but also all the help that was on offer. I’d never converted a race car before, the most complex thing I’d done was change a rad. But looking at all the advice and technical help here I knew I’d be safe. The car is practically built directly and indirectly by people from the zone!