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SPEC E30 Race Car Build - Focus on Safety

Posted on: Oct 10, 2016 | Author: Ryan Johnson | Categories: Racecar

BMW Spec E30 Race Car Build - Focus on Safety

Stay safe with the newest racing safety products available for the BMW E30. We review our 10 ten racing products that allow the perfect fitment for the E30 and driver. 

SPEC E30 Race Car Build - Focus on Safety

SPEC E30 Build

Before I began this journey, I researched all the parts and products needed for the build. This helped me narrow down part numbers and gave me an idea of overall costs. Much of this information can be found on Just sign up for a free account to dive into the deep rabbit hole. When I couldn't find parts information readily available, I would post in forums and on Facebook, and search Google until I sorted out the best product. Let's dig into what worked really well for my build in terms of Safety Products.


One of the most overlooked elements of a track car is the Seat. I have noticed people who are early in their high performance driving education thinking that the standard stock seat will be safe with the 3 point stock seat belt. Don't be this guy. For me, I knew I wanted a containment seat and sat in a few to see which fit my body size the best. I'm 6'3 and have a lean frame, so for me the best fit was the Sparco Circuit II. It has a great deep side edge along your legs to keep you welded to the car as you are flying through high speed corners. It's also available in a couple widths. It gives me the feel I was looking for and also has side impact protection with the Halo wings. This will keep your head contained within the seat if you had a side impact. It also has a tall back that fits well in the car and it fits great over my shoulders for the shoulder harness.

Sparco Containment Seat Circuit II


I love the quality of my Schroth Hybrid II 6 Point Hans Harness. It requires at harness bar to link the shoulder straps. The other 3 inch strap models are awkward to securely fit over my HANS shoulder pads. Notice how the shoulder straps taper down to 2 inches to fit well with your HANS device. 


Even if you still have factory seats, you can upgrade your harness to take advantage of the safety of a HANS device. 

The Schroth Quick Fit Pro clicks into the car's female seat belt receptacles. This alerts the airbag computer to the fact that someone is in the seat and restrained, as well as takes advantage of the seat belt pre-tensioner. This device ignites a pyrotechnic charge in the event of an accident that will tighten the lap belt. This integration into the factory safety system is a very important part of the Schroth Quick Fit Pro.

Schroth Harness BMW

Fitment for other BMW Models: 

These harnesses are designed to be used in stock seats that have passed a seat back strength test. It allows you to use a 5 point harness - without any modification to the car's interior - for the track car that is also your daily driver. 

Schroth Quick Fit Pro - BMW E36/E46/E39

Schroth Quick Fit Pro - BMW E82 & E92
Schroth Quick Fit Pro - BMW E90 Tuning

HANS Device: 

HANS stands for Head And Neck Safety device, and they have changed racing for the better. There have been fewer racing related injuries to the spinal cord and head since the release of their first HANS device. My personal Hans III Device is a critical racing safety component for peace of mind. 

The HANS III represents the third generation of injection molded HANS devices and features a contemporary approach to reducing weight. Using an all new design and polymer, the device features a hollow collar that substantially minimizes weight. Engineered reinforcements ensure an exceptionally strong structure that provides the same level of safety as every HANS device.  The reduced mass guarantees the lightest and most comfortable injection molded HANS ever. And they are SFI certified.


Steering Wheel:

I have used a variety of steering wheels while racing and have finally found my favorite setup. It's the MOMO Mod 30 Suede Steering Wheel. The D-Ring shape works very well with my seating position to give me just a little extra leg room. There are many steering wheel options since they are not vehicle specific. You can try on any of the 6 bolt style to mix and match until you are content with the fitment and feel.


Steering Wheel Hub Adapter:

I have coupled this with the OMP Hub Adapter for BMW E30. This has added about 2.5 inches of additional depth to the position of the steering wheel, locating it in the perfect position. It opens up some additional leg room so I don't have to worry about bumping the wheel while double clutch shifting. The hub adapters are vehicle specific and mate directly to the steering spline, so be sure to get the one made for your exact make, model, and year.


Quick Release:

I have tried several different types and have decided that I like the Sparco Steering Wheel Quick Release style the best, however it is not cheap. You do get what you pay for with quick releases. The quality of the Sparco is precisely machined and has a durable black finish. 


I have also installed the NRG Quick Release Kit - Gen 2.5 as well, for low budget builds. The only downside is a slight design defect that will smash your finger when you push the button to reconnect the steering wheel. It's not as bad if you are wearing driving gloves. The upside is price, and adding some carbon fiber to your build.


Racing Gloves:

Over the years, I have worn various gloves and have finally found my favorite part. It's the Alpinestars 2015 Tech 1 ZX. The Nomex® and flame resistant cotton lined construction ensures optimal temperature control for maximum comfort and feel. The Alpinestars glove is ergonomically designed for grip on palm and fingers with increased silicon surface areas for improved feel, durability, and grip while still allowing some slide for quick maneuvering. The best part of the glove is the very streamlined cut. It is not bulky like many gloves out there and still has a strong fire resistance rating. 


Racing Suit: 

The final product in this post is definitely not the lowest priority - the race suit. The choice for race suits is very much a personal style of what you want to wear at a track event. The best advice I have learned is to understand what the safety ratings truly mean. Simply meaning how long can this suit be in a fire situation and protect my skin. You have cheap options such as the Sparco Driver SFI 3.2A/1 Racing Suit, where it supports a 3.2A/1 rating. The /1 is the important number here. It means that the suit will only be able to withstand only about 3 seconds of fire exposure before a second degree burn could occur. I wouldn't recommend anything lower than 3.2A/5 like a Sparco Ergo RS-3 Racing Suit, which is certified as a FIA 8856-2000 rating - similar to the  SFI 3.2A/5.

A full SFI Rating chart below will help describe the level of safety with each rating. Personally I don't run any suit lower than a 3.2A/5, allowing 10 precious seconds, and I also wear an underwear layer to add some extra time on top.

SFI RatingTPP ValueTime to 2nd Degree Burn
3.2A/163 Seconds
3.2A/3147 Seconds
3.2A/51910 Seconds
3.2A/103819 Seconds
3.2A/156030 Seconds
3.2A/208040 Seconds


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