I think it is clear that now is not the time for a move to STX. But, I anticipate we will see some new classing for the M3s in the reorg proposal that achieve an equally satisfying solution - a class essentially between STX and STU.
a few points:
- the best M3 drivers were not at nationals
(and for a reason). I was the 27th place STU driver in the e46 M3 (the fastest e46 M3 ever in STU [:P] ). I am pretty good and had good runs, but I'd guess just outside of trophy material had I driven as well in a STi/Evo. The best estimates from owners of both put e46 M3 about 1.5sec slower (at national length course) than the Evo/STi in back to back testing - greatly depending on course and weather (which only make things worse - never better).
- many top drivers were prepping M3s a couple years ago and abandoned
the projects when it became clear the M3 could not get it done in STU.
I know of several top level drivers (I assume better than me) that are
now in other vehicles/classes (Mayfield, Fair, Pomeranke, Pounds, Bear, Irish,
Orgeron to name a few). And, others I don't know like the OP of this thread (and a guy in SD I have heard of) that are simply staying home. I think the numbers are there if the class existed. The M3 is too much fun to be classed out of competition.
- despite what was posted above, the 22nd place e36 M3 was fully
prepped. It was the same car that got a lower trophy in 2009 for STU
with M. Bear driving. It is a team owned vehicle that has had extensive
testing. I am not familiar with the drivers, but I believe the higher
finishing co-driver was pretty solid (i.e. trophy threat had he been in
a STi/Evo). And, my e46 M3 is as well prepped as any in the country
(only needs lighter seats, no sunroof, and a driver that can tune it
better than just copying everyone else).
- there is general agreement in the BMW world from what I have read that the e36 M3 is if anything the better STU prepped M3
due to lower weight and size compared to the e46 M3. (I mention this as
so far only e36 M3 has been discussed and I think any classing should
include both e36 and e46 M3s). I am also not sure the e90/e92 M3 will
be any faster as it is even heavier still and has more unusable power.
I don't currently fear the e90/e92 M3 in ST trim (but I have no actual
experience - just speculating).
STX is a very healthy class nationally. I believe the 2nd largest class. No need to make any changes to this class and certainly not right before a reorg is coming. The better option in my opinion is to lock down classes (ST eligible cars can't run STX etc. - in other words, make ST* inclusion classes) and create a class between current STX and STU where cars like the e36&e46 M3s, Mazdaspeed3, S4, IS350, 300zx, 350z, 370Z, G37, SRT4, C4, SRT6, Camaro 5.7, V8 mustang, GT500, 2003+ supercharged Cobra, XKR, IS-F, Espirit, turbo RX-7, Mercedes Benz C32 & C63 AMG, CLK55, SLK32 AMG (2002-04), SLK350, SLK55, Mini JCW, Firebird, trans am, GTO, supra, s60R, etc. can go. I am anticipating something similar to both of these options will be detailed very shortly in the reorganization proposal.
I think the interest is there if the STAC decide to make an STX/STU tween class. There are other cars currently unclassed and the M3s are getting downright cheap. And, there are a lot of people waiting and hoping for the M3 to be well classed. The M3 is so much fun to drive (and challenging), I hope it has a good place to play in the future in ST*.