1991 E30 M3 Club Racing: Ron Checca
1991 BMW E30 M3 #AE34546
2.7-liter S14 four-cylinder, 340 hp/240 lb-ft
November 2, 1990
Alpine White (originally Brilliant Red)
Ron Checca (since 1997)
Needing only a roll cage and R-compound tires to be race-ready, BMW’s E30 M3, a Group A homologation special, found the perfect home with BMW Club Racing.
Ron Checca had been tracking his 2002 with the BMW CCA Patroon Chapter for a few years when a ride with Boris Said in E30 M3 changed his life at Oktoberfest 1990. “He proceeded to hang the back end out around the whole course and made the S14 engine sing like Pavarotti.”
Two months later, Checca purchased an Alpine White E30 M3 from his local dealer, who had another in Diamond Black that Checca’s buddy Fred Landwehr bought two days later. The two friends began using their new M3s at HPDEs, then bought second M3s just for the track.
When BMW CCA Club Racing was getting organized in 1995, Landwehr suggested they give it a try, pointing out that the E30 M3 was built for exactly that purpose. “The rest, as they say, is history,” Checca says. “I’ve been racing consistently ever since.”
The car you see here is Checca’s third E30 M3, #AE34546, purchased as an unfinished track car in 1997. Soon after buying it, Checca was on vacation in Bologna when he saw an ex-Roberto Ravaglia Group A Touring Car whose seller had purchased it directly from the CiBiEmme race team. Before leaving Italy, Checca had his fourth E30 M3.
The ex-Ravaglia M3 was too rare and expensive for Club Racing, but it provided a great template for #AE34546. Checca had the body acid-stripped and seam-welded like the Group A car, then built a 2.7-liter S14 with higher compression, Motec engine management, and slide throttle injection. He paired that motor with a Group A close-ratio five-speed transmission, and in 1999 #AE34546 became Checca’s new weapon in BMW CCA Club Racing.
“As a race car, it’s totally in its element,” Checca says. “My car was a consistent frontrunner in Club Racing for years, usually the fastest four-cylinder in the field, and it held class records for many years.”
Checca was the first person to complete 100 Club Races, and he helped founder Scott Hughes run the Club Racing Schools before taking over the school directorship. In 2018, Checca passed the baton to Shaun McKenzie. Checca continues to race #AE34546, and he remains involved with the series.
“What keeps me coming back is the sense of community,” Checca says. “I’m honored to share my most prized race car as a way to say thank you for all the good times and great friends I’ve made with the club along the way.”