Should rule change ideas be discussed in public?


I sure thought that the answer was “yes”, but maybe it’s “no”.

Personally, I like the big discussions on fb. Big surprise, eh? I learn what other people are thinking. They learn what each other is thinking. Misconceptions get fixed. People with strong opinions find out that the other side had good arguments too. Last night one respected racer said that he didn’t buy into the idea that AFMs are getting hard to find. And the very next post was from another respected racer that had a helova time finding an AFM that worked well. That is great shit. Each guy(gal’s too) is finding out, in these great big fb hollering matches discussions what’s going on from other perspectives. One guy learns that altho he hasn’t had a problem yet with {whatever}, other anecdotes clearly show that the problem exists so trouble might be in his future. Whereas another guy gets ideas on how he might overcome the problem. So we all learn from each other. AND we get to hang out together while we do it, which is the part that is really good shit. I am hanging out with my SpecE30 buddies, even tho, lol, some of them seem to be yelling at me.

The regional directors watch all of these threads so they better understand the concerns of the people they represent. Of course, they’re not loudmouths like I am. Finally, Shawn sits back and quietly watches it all. He’s smart enough to stay out of the threads themselves because people inevitably start yelling at him, which, frankly, sucks. These long fb threads full of opinions on the issue of the week are hugely valuable.

But on the other hand, the fb threads are kind of a goatfuck.

Two of the most senior and respected SpecE30 veterans contacted me yesterday. In two entirely separate conversations, they pretty much said the same thing. And it wasn’t “hugely valuable”, it was “goatfuck”. Well, that’s my word. They were too polite to use such a colorful epithet.

Their point was that these wild and woolly debates on the issue of the week are sometimes interpreted by outsiders as chaos. They make the class look like it’s constantly churning with change (which is evil) and there’s no leadership. So, of course, I told them that they were full of shit.

No, not really. I was more diplomatic than that.

But I’ve been thinking a lot about what they said. Upon reflection, I can kinda see their point. Change is evil. Personally, up until the (fabulous) spring change, imo we’ve had zero rule changes, other than the damned tires, of any real consequence in the series since the 318i’s went away in 2007. But I’m kinda coming around to their point of view (don’t tell them). I can see how, in this arena where rules stability is so critical, how some folks might see all the wild and wooly fb threads as “rules chaos”, as “rules changes”, as “no leadership”.

I’m conflicted. On the one hand, I want us drivers to own the series. I want the series to be run the way we, the drivers want it run. Sure, the directors are our representatives and Shawn is the national director. But I want them to run the show, to the very extent possible, the way we, the drivers, want it run. That doesn’t mean a democracy. I’m not talking about voting on every change. I’m talking about open debate on issues, and directors using those debates as a resource to better understand what their people are thinking. I’m talking about drivers being a powerful force in their class. And if there’s some decisions that the directors allow the drivers to vote on, I am certainly cool with that.

But on the other hand, my idea re. encouraging all sorts of debates on various ideas so that the racers can be the idea machine and the directors get a good understanding of what they want…is kinda backfiring. We’ve got outsiders that see the fb debates as chaos. We even have SpecE30 racers complaining about all the rule changes. That’s why I went thru all the Regs today and listed all the rule changes. I was trying to better understand where they were coming from. All what rule changes? We have the new springs. The idea was developed and tested w/o fb debate. They stayed in one region and only briefly went to another. Folks are mad that the springs were done “in secret”. Now folks are mad because we have too many changes, and they aren’t secret enough.

Maybe what is really going on is that the fb debates are creating a perception of change, and that’s what is irritating some folks. Hopefully we have one group annoyed that the springs were done “in secret” and a different group annoyed about “public debates re. rules”. If there’s anyone in both groups, well that’s confusing. Or maybe some folks are seeing more significance in the rule changes of the last years than I am.

This isn’t entirely a logical issue. A couple non-racers start talking about “tuning” the Miller chip, which for chrissakes can’t be tuned, and a couple folks get alarmed because “SpecE30 is considering allowing tuning!!!”. A couple non-racers start talking about variations on the Miller kit, their good natured ideas having not the first chance in hell of being approved by Shawn and the directors, and a couple folks get alarmed because “SpecE30 is considering allowing custom engine management!!!”. I’m here to tell you, some people are reacting negatively to these fb threads. And this is hurting SpecE30. I might not understand how and why they are reacting this way, but I know how to fix it. I’m gonna shut my mouth.

So here’s the deal. I’m going to throttle back my energizer bunny weekly(?) stream of rule related posts on fb. Even tho it’s a total blast talking to everyone in those threads, I can’t ignore the concerns of folks that are pointing out that those threads are causing trouble. That means that if you want to know about the future ideas that are being discussed, you need to talk to your regional director. Or PM me.


Maybe a section in the forum could be made with only a certain amount of people allowed that can hold a proper conversation without throwing insults like teenagers on their favorite popstar’s youtube channel.


I was thinking about a fb page that only allowed active/retired racers in. The non-racing enthusiasts, with only the best of intentions, throw out all sorts of imaginative ideas that really stir up the racers. In the context of rules, racers generally are strongly biased against imaginative ideas because they represents change. Change is evil.


Here is a thought. Restrict the Spe 30 FB pageto those that have competed in at least one race in the past year. Or create another similarly closed group to voice opinions on potential rule changes. I think it’s wrong to ignore the opinions of active racers in any rule change ideas.


I agree with active drivers.


The absence of public debate isn’t ignoring. The directors have always been obligated to keep their folks informed. And it’s up to the directors to represent their driver’s opinions during the internal rule change discussions.

This business of not debating issues in public won’t be a SE issue. We’ll all talk about anything that needs to be talked about. But I shouldn’t be doing it where it might be interpreted as a class in chaos. I’m just a SE guy. It’s not reasonable for me to be causing trouble nationwide.


We could create a place here in the forum with security such that only active/veteran drivers could see it. Then just link to it on the fb page when we put interesting content in it.



Respectfully, the recent rule changes contradict the notion that you keep us informed. I knew about the spring change idea, but did not know about the, albeit less controversial, sway bar rule change or Lexan window rule change. And I was at almost every SE event in 2017.

And most racers not in the SE were obviously unaware of the spring rule change.



I think the visibility is important. One option to consider is establishing a schedule that designates certain times (or a single time?) over the course of the season where leadership initiates a discussion about rule changes that have been discussed/proposed by individual members or directors to the larger group.

For example, each March 1st and September 1st, start a FB/Forum thread and list out the ideas that have been tossed around that seem to have merit and ask for feedback. Brief people on progress that’s been made on any kind of technical issues or testing that’s been done for ideas that have been presented in prior meetings. Ask for feedback. Discuss. Wrap up (or close the forum thread) after the majority of the discussion has been had with an overview of the responses received (both in public and in private). “People seem really warm to idea X, people really hated idea Y, people were ambivalent to idea Z.”

Directors/leadership can/should be meeting more regularly to discuss issues that are coming up and if a rule change needs to be made outside of these time frames, so be it. If non-leadership racers want to have random discussions hypothesizing about rule changes, let them. My posting a random idea to the FB forum is (hopefully?) not going to be seen as some kind of imminent rule change threat.

Actual rule changes – unless absolutely critical ones (what’s a good definition of “critical”?) – should only be made at the end of the season (call it December 1st) and only after the topic has been presented for discussion and debate in at least both of the rule change discussion threads for that season. No surprises.

That’s just off the top of my head, but the point is – set expectations for when realistic rule changes discussions may happen, and set expectations for when rule changes may take effect. Mid season rule changes or “for immediate release” changes are never going to go over well. It also gives people working on their cars a date to sort of guide their decision making/money spending – like, “hey, people have been discussing springs for a year now, maybe I should wait until after December to see if the leadership decided to make the change before buying H&R springs.”


Fair points. I think I overstated things.

There was no tradition, afaik, of directors talking to racers re. the director rule change debates. I suppose this was a combination of rule changes historically being little stuff, or the directors felt that they had a good handle on how the drivers in their region would react to ideas. .

The occasional big stuff, like the intro of the dyno standard, and convertibles, were discussed publicly for years prior.

The Lexan window rule change was submitted by me as a 2017 rule change. At that time I asked Carlos (Condor) to look into making some so that racers would have an easy means to get them. But there were some technical difficulties with rule changes that year and we didn’t get them. When we got the rule change in 2018, Carlos was ready to go. I mentioned it to others if access to the rear of their coupe came up, but it just didn’t seem like “access to the rear of a coupe” was a big enough deal that I’d best give folks advance warning that I was scheming on this. How many in the region have installed Lexan?

The SE guys were the first ones to find out about MAF testing. I handed out the test unit at a driver’s meeting for everyone to fondle.

You knew about the sway bar rule change that came out of last year’s champs before I did. You and I tussled over it in the forum and I couldn’t figure out how you got the idea that smaller sways were now ok. But you were totally right.

The spring issue was not me. I love it, but I can’t take credit for it. My role was to make everyone aware, 3yrs ago, of the kind of shit-show it would have been if the spring effort was done in an aggressively public manner. I feel very strongly that the springs will be the greatest thing that ever happened to SpecE30, and that those folks from other classes that gave us a look and walked away because our car handled like shit compared to their race car, will now be coming to us in droves. The springs eliminate the only flaw in SpecE30. But we would not have gotten them if Shawn had encouraged public debate. The car spent most of it’s time in the SE, and went to MidAtl only once. Where there was some conflict, that I don’t know the details of, and it stayed in it’s trailer.


Som, I’ve read your points several times now. But I’m too worn out to respond to your precise points. It’s not fair for me to drag Shawn into this and ask him respond in a thread I started.

You’ve created a highly organized scenario that would work in a hierarchy. But you know how many people work for Shawn? Zero, that’s how many. Guess how many people do what Shawn asks them to do? That’s usually zero too.

Some months ago I went to great pains to make sure that all the SE guys knew I’d be inspecting their decals at the next event. I gave them all the info they needed to get it right. How many got it right? It was pretty close to zero. Hell, even my car was screwed up.

Shawn’s challenge is to create as much success as he can in an environment where no one is really willing to give him any time or effort. Pretty much the only instance where he gets someone’s focused attention, is when that someone is complaining too him. He gets battered by complaints all day long, but those complainers won’t spend an hour trying to help resolve a problem. Care enough to complain. Don’t care enough to help fix. That’s Shawn’s world.

This is not a work environment. It’s an environment of buddies, customers, worker volunteers, etc. It takes a really light touch, cajoling, pleading, and patience to get things done. Too much organizing is just gonna fail.



You need not be defensive. You do a far better job at your role than I ever would. I only learned about the sway bar rule change, because I read the rules. I still don’t like it because it means I may need to spend more money for my car to be competitive should I decide I need a smaller sway bar. But hey, nobody ever said it was inexpensive to run up front in any racing series.



I really don’t understand where our disconnect is or why you’ve interpreted my suggestion in such a complicated manner. Let me simplify:

  1. You, Shawn, Carter — don’t muse about rule changes publicly because it scares people.
  2. Twice a season, on fixed dates, one of either Shawn or you, muse about rule changes publicly (in this forum, for posterity).
  3. At the end of the season, on a fixed date, make any desired rule changes — but only if the changes had been discussed in both “musings” discussions that year.
  4. Don’t change the rules outside of the process defined in 1/2/3.

This doesn’t need an org structure or hierarchy or whatever to accomplish. Talk to Shawn, get on the same page, and done. None of the other directors musing about rules will instill fear that something is imminent. You and Shawn musing apparently does.

The idea may suck for other reasons, but “overly complicated” shouldn’t be one of them.


For what it’s worth, as a person with a non-spec E30 race car I would hate to be shut out of the forums and Facebook page entirely as there is so much accumulated knowledge about racing E30s here that isn’t specific to SE30, but I would certainly also understand if that happened.

The idea of a forum where only active drivers could post makes a lot of sense, but I hope it wouldn’t just become the defacto place for all discussion while the more public areas died off. I do think there is some value in engaging with non-SE30 types if you’re hoping to draw new participants to the series.

Another issue with restricting rule change discussion to active racers only is how it might affect people who are actively building cars to join the series. We saw some small examples of that with the spring changes where people with brand new suspensions got caught out and had to decide whether to turn right around and buy new parts again or just run with the old parts.

Again, sorry if I’m out of line, I generally try to stay out of any rule discussion since I’m an interloper, I just wanted to offer my outsider perspective on the idea of locking down the FB page or forums.

Edit: Also I just realized I focused too much on all technical help and should have added that, even though I rarely post, I genuinely enjoy reading all the race stories, tech tips, and interactions between everyone on the FB page and forums.


So basically, you are saying ef the guys and gals building cars who look to the SE30 FB page for ideas and help. Or those that have been a way for a year due to mechanical or just life preventing them from racing.

Sounds legit. (heavy sarcasm)


Those are all good points. Our social media presence is a HUGE recruiting tool for us. As such, I am highly motivated to keep that tool operating well. But rules are a sensitive issue. Change is bad. Folks advocating change need to make a helova strong case. Folks that don’t agree there’s a problem don’t want change rammed down their throat. Strong feelings can make for a tense exchange.

Then there’s the impact of the “tweakers” on the rule change threads. Usually the tweakers are non-racers. Those in the class largely view the tweakers with horror. The class philosophy is very anti-tweaker. It’s a class that gets into their crappy-ass 30yr old car each month, not really knowing if it will start or not, then spending a couple days having an absolute blast sliding thru turns with their buddies.

Conversations re. imaginative engineering solutions in a rule change discussion can cause racer’s hair to stand straight up. But the tweakers don’t see any of that…from their perspective they’re just having some perfectly innocent interesting geek conversation. As a racer and a geek, it’s easy to see both viewpoints. In my early years tho, I would have only seen the geek POV.

I seem to be the cause of the problem, the “too public” of rule change ideas. So I can fix it. I just have to stfu on those issues.

But all the community fun on the fb page, and here in the forum will continue. Here, have a beer.


This does seem very simple.


My point was to restrict the discussion to those with a vested interest. I’m happy to be the arbiter of who has a vested interest. Whiny bitches need not apply.


I’d argue that anyone who is building a car has a vested interest and should have access to the FB group, forum, and have a voice. I’d argue that anyone considering building a car should have access to the FB group and be able to have a voice, even if it is just to ask questions or give an outsider’s perception that has them on the fence of build or no build. I’d also suggest that just labeling anyone with a differing view a “whiny bitch” hurts the perception of the group as much or more than any number of rule changes.


Coming from 944 Spec, we used to have what we called silly season. Usually after the national champs race, the leaders would post something in the forums about rule change ideas. People would post their ideas and debate them. The directors would then take those ideas and debate among themselves, bringing answers at the end of the year. This was a great way to have all rule discussions in one place, that wasn’t as public facing as facebook, and limiting it to the end of the year when most seasons are winding down. It gave everyone ample time to discuss and possibly test things before decisions where made, and without excluding anyone. There was still worries and serious debate about rule changes. Rule creep was a big worry their too, but it was a great way to limit the craziness and worry to a shorter part of the season where folks are starting to think about next year’s plans anyway. Could designating a silly season be a good compromise for us?