Since the BMWDCM relatively easily got me hooked on doing club sprint events the natural progression seemed to be competing in real races.
I have enjoyed watching motor racing on TV for years but never seemed a realistic proposition for me to take up car racing given I am a keen Couta boat racing sailor and not enough time and resources to do much else.
However, I began to realise with the guidance of Bell Motorsport it might actually be possible to own and race my own car and this was an extremely exciting prospect!
As time went on Graeme Bell arranged for me to purchase a good E30 BMW and it was prepared and ready for club sprint days. It seemed straight forward to me that I simply needed to get my racing licence so I could race in the BMW E30 Racing category, even though I knew I needed to improve my ability to drive much faster.
In order to race, one needs a Motorsport Australia “Clubman Circuit Licence” and apart from doing application forms, a detailed medical examination, an online study course and pay various fees of varying magnitude, one also needs to do an “Observed Licence Test” (OLT).
Motorsport Australia runs a day event so people like me can get their racing licence and I booked in (more fees) for the Sandown OLT event. It turned out that in order to do the event my E30 needed to be unexpectedly upgraded to recent racing technical requirements (which is a story for another day) and I also needed to upgrade my wardrobe to a full racing outfit including flame retardant underwear!
Fortunately, my dream to go car racing easily outweighed the onerous part of the preparations and finally the day came to do the OLT at Sandown and what a fabulous day it turned out to be.
In short, it consisted of a panel of observers/evaluators that lectured us in classroom sessions followed by track outings (with them strategically observing around the track) followed by a critiquing session back in the classroom that could be uncomfortably incisive.
It turns out that the panel, which included Graeme Bell, were very high calibre racing car drivers that knew the Sandown track intimately. They had wonderful practical advice on how to drive the track much faster than I thought possible, which would be handy to keep up in the E30 races. As a harbinger the head evaluator told me he thought the E30 racing is of a very high standard.
We had an interesting mix of cars, including a $400,000 Mercedes GTR which spiced things up, and the evaluators seemed happy with our group and most of us passed including me. After being around the panel I got a sense of how good the racing fraternity can be and I was on a real high at the end of the day.
Rod Martin | Member #29
BMW Drivers Club Melbourne