Tyler and I have gone so far down the rabbit hole of motorsport that it can be difficult to remember our earlier days of high performance driver education and a “Swiss Army Knife” of a car. Brenden Axtell, on the other hand, is immersed in several forms of motorsport with the same BMW that he drives to work most days of the week. We sat down to discuss his motorsports endeavors in the Midwest, alongside the car he’s participating with.
JT: Where’s home for you, and what got you started in the car scene?
BA: I was born in California, grew up in Hawaii, and have been living in the Omaha, Nebraska area for the last six years. My father has always had a passion for cars, which I picked up at an early age. He started me off in go-karts in my preteens and then motocross in my teenage years. For the last few years I have slowly been getting more and more involved in the Omaha car scene. The area has much to offer, from drag racing, road racing, drift events, rallycross, and more.
JT: With such a wide range of motorsport available, how do you participate?
BA: My biggest interest lies with road courses. I am fortunate enough to have a track, Raceway Park of the Midlands (RPM), 40 minutes from where I live. The course is 2.23 miles with 15 turns and 4 straightaways.The first event that I did was called “Imports at the Track” – it was strictly import cars and was a group track day. Rallycross is another form of motorsports I have participated in more recently.
JT: What do you drive?
BA: My choice of car is a 1999 BMW E46 323i with one of the company’s legendary inline six-cylinder engines. I bought the car on Valentine’s Day 2015 and have been tracking it for about three years.
JT: Is it difficult to transform the car’s setup between track events and rallycross?
BA: The biggest change between events is the tire choice. Where a road course requires stickier tires and stiff suspension, rallycross requires knobby tires and suspension with lots of travel. I have run Michelin Pilot Super Sports on track and Firestone Winterforce for rallycross.
JT: Any tips for others looking to break into the high performance driver education and/or competitive worlds of motorsport?
BA: Any form of high performance driving takes time, money, patience, and perseverance. Motorsports is a good way to learn about yourself as well as others. You meet people from all over the world that share the same interests and goals. Getting involved in your local clubs and groups is a good start to figuring out what you want to build, or what form of motorsports you may become interested in. Make the effort and you’ll be surprised what you can accomplish!
Thanks Brenden, and best of luck as you look toward the 2019 season!