At Ventura Motorsports Gathering, we are extremely interested in BMW Racing. In the United States, Pro 3 Racing is a racing class for BMWs. The Pro 3 Racing class is designed to emphasize driver ability rather than the design and preparation of the car.
Pro 3 racing started with humble beginnings when a set of twin brothers, along with a few buddies from the Puget Sound area started racing for fun. Now the BMW CCA, PRO3 has grown to be the largest-subscribed amateur race class in the International Conference of Sports Car Clubs (ICSCC). Many Washington State natives have gravitated to the sport because of its local roots. Local mechanics have embraced the sport like driver and Redmond auto repair mechanic Kevin Doyle. Kevin is a Pro 3 racer that also owns a garage in Redmond where he employs some of his closest friends who are also Redmond mechanics. The idea behind this class was that it was going to start with the intent that PRO3 would be an affordable option for local Washington guys that wanted to get behind the wheel of a race car without breaking the bank. Their love of high-performance vehicles and tricked out rides took driving these Pro 3 cars to the next level. Looking back to when it all began in 2002, PRO3 has evolved as the stepping stone race car and truly an effective gateway for amateur racers here in the Pacific Northwest. Redmond is producing world-class drivers and mechanics that continue to support the sport of race car driving.
The ICSCC has a long reach that spans across three states and then into Canada and has roughly 420 licensed Pro 3 drivers in its pro ranks. Among those licensed race car drivers, about 80 of those drivers will get behind the wheel of a PRO3 race car each season, with the average grid size being about 20 cars deep at each of the 14 races that run throughout the ICSCC race season in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. There is not another class in ICSCC that can boost the strength in pure grid numbers or the annual growth of the PRO3 circuit thanks to the help of the locals in Redmond and throughout Washington State.
There is also high participation among drivers across a wide range of driver skill sets and racing experience, the PRO3 provides very stiff competition for any driver willing to slip behind the wheel of a Pro3 and get their foot on the gas. More recently, as the collective experience of the race class has improved and grown together, and the technology used within the cars has become more advanced it is not uncommon to have a 25-car grid with the first-place driver only separated from the last place driver by just a few seconds. The top ten drivers in a typical PRO3 race weekend will most likely be separated by less than a full second of time from car to car.
These days, modern PRO3 racing is neither spec-class racing nor is it an open door for vehicle modifications. The primary focus is on the race car driver and his/her ability to run a mistake-free race for the team. In such a tight racing scenario, the reality is that the driver who makes the fewest mistakes will usually win against his opponent on the track. Although the class rules tightly regulate how many modifications can be made to the cars, there remains enough flexibility for car owners and mechanics to experiment or engineer something new that could eventually benefit the entire grid. Many of the Pro3 mechanics in Washington State are innovative technicians with both race experience and real-life experience owning local repair shops in Redmond and the surrounding areas.
This is something that definitely sets the PRO3 circuit apart from other classes and other racing organizations in general, these guys share information and work in tandem to improve their cars and grow the sport. On any given race weekend, you will find many of the competitors and mechanics sharing data from fast laps, helping to analyze and compare track notes from driver to driver, sharing tools and parts, and even helping out when a car needs to be repaired. It’s all in the name of good sportsmanship, fast cars, and good fun because we all want to beat our competition on the track, not in the garage!
It is this mentality that has brought the drivers and mechanics together and helped build camaraderie among each other that has helped build the PRO3 racing circuit into the world-class sport that it is today. The PRO3 racing motto from the beginning still remains true to this day: “We are Friends between checkered and green flags.”