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A few questions for the racers

Old 10-24-09, 08:18 AM
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MN A few questions for the racers

Hi fellas,

I am interested in purchasing an FD this coming spring to get into track days, or possibly race depending on the costs.

First off, is it worth it for me to spend $8k plus to have a "ready to be driven" car, or is it a better idea to get a somewhat beat up car and put a little work into it to make it track worthy? I am handy with tools and am confident that I could do a lot of the work myself. I've seen some cars for sale on this forum that are in decent shape for around $8k, which doesn't seem too bad. However I would be more inclined to spend less for a car that doesn't look like a shining example of an FD, and put the effort into where it would count for the track. What would be your advice in this department.

Also, how much should I expect to spend for a day / weekend of track days? What is the life expectancy of a set of decent tires when used hard?

What do I need to do to get started? SCCA license? Training courses?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks
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Old 10-24-09, 10:45 AM
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Welcome to the dark side!

This book is a great place to start. http://www.goaheadtakethewheel.com/H...rt_Racing.html

I don't have any experience with tracking an FD, so others need to chime in. My guess is you would save $ in the long run to buy an FD that already has the mods needed to track it.

Good luck!
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Old 10-24-09, 10:55 AM
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It is almost never cheaper to build than to buy. I do everything myself on my cars and I still end up upside down on value. And I mean everything, cage, paint, suspension, engine. I probably have $100K in tools to get this done as well.

Buy a car that is close to what you want to end up with and make the small changes as you go.

Also, be sure you can run an FD in SCCA if you want to go road racing. I don't know where it would fit in their classes but with the turbo it will probably be in a very open regional class. When I say 'open', think tube frame V8 monsters.
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Old 10-24-09, 06:09 PM
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Buy a built car unless you have no budget.

DE weekend participation fee is about $300. You will spend much more than this on fuel, lodging, fluids, consumable items (pads, tires, etc. - and things break so expect the unexpected).

A new set of tires last me one weekend. That's $1000 and worst case. Depends on if you are on street tires or race tires.

Read the book recommended above, it's got some good info. SCCA is good for racing but in my opinion NASA is much more well set up to handle a complete newbie - at least here in TX. The NASA region does HPDE the same weekend as racing and there are always a number of guys in their street cars, often times for the first time ever on track. You are with an instructor though, you aren't turned loose until you have been signed off which will take a number of events. See if there is a NASA region near you and go hang out one weekend, you will learn a lot just being there.

Reality check. This is a money pit like no other. Over and over you keep spending and spending and it just goes in a circle. Used race cars and parts fetch pennies on the dollar from what you spent new. You have to do most of the work yourself, not only will you save a ton but you will know it's done right. Plan on learning a lot of new things. If it still sounds fun, go for it, nothing compares to being on track and driving.

Consider a 1st or 2nd Gen, there are lots of race classes with SCCA and NASA depending on how many mods you want to make. Not so many options for the FD at least with SCCA.
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Old 10-24-09, 09:14 PM
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The FD is a bad choice IMO... they're awesome on the track, but expensive to keep running. If you want rotary power on the track look into buying a used ITS car or similarly prepared 2nd gen NA. Yes it won't be as fast, but speed isn't everything, especially at first. Speed doesn't really matter on a race car anyway since you'll be up against similar cars no matter what you're driving, thanks to classing rules. You can have plenty of fun even in a slower car. Hell this last weekend I was out in my friend's PT-E Integra race car, passing the majority of the cars in my DE run group with Porsche club

The best piece of advice I can provide though is whatever you get, buy someone else's already sorted out race car, for the reasons SCCAITS said.
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Old 10-25-09, 08:14 AM
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Awesome! Thanks a lot for the information so far. I just ordered the book and look forward to learning as much as I can about racing.

So far it looks like the costs are going to out of my ballpark for a while as far a racing goes. I think I'll set my goal for next year to at least get a car and get it to a couple of track days.

And it sounds like a 1st or 2nd gen would be more appropriate for a beginner as far as keeping my options open. I was really impressed with my buddies FD when we took it for a spin. The handling was totally awesome. I've never been in an FC, but I imagine that it could be stellar as well with some good suspension.

This is my incentive to put some massive hours in at work this winter. I'm certain that the enjoyment of getting a car on the track will be well worth it. Can't wait!

Thanks again guys and any more info is always welcome.
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Old 10-25-09, 08:12 PM
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Here is a good place to look for a used race car - you can typically use a car like these for an open track day.

www.improvedtouring.com

You'll find FB's and FC's for sale here from time to time.
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Old 10-25-09, 08:14 PM
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Look into racing a 1st gen under the SCCA "Spec RX7" rules. This is the cheapest way to go road racing that exists:
- You can buy a decent, fully built car for $4K.
- Once you know what you are doing, your tires will last 4-6 weekends.
- Most parts are available at low cost recycling yards
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Old 10-26-09, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by mschiap View Post
- You can buy a decent, fully built car for $2K.
Fixed for you

At least that's the going price here in TX and we have a lot of them. In fact, there is one here FS https://www.rx7club.com/showthread.php?t=821658 and in the same thread an ITA RX-7 couldn't even fetch $1500 and turned into a part out. Bottom line, used race cars are VERY CHEAP.
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Old 10-26-09, 08:54 AM
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Really we should sticky a "I want to get into racing" FAQ at the top of this forum (hmmm, I think I'm gonna work on this) - but the summary is easy enough. Here's the quick cheat sheet.

1) as mentioned by cpa7man - go buy Dave Gran's book: "Go Ahead and Take the Wheel"

2) if you have a reasonably sporty street car you can go out and start doing HPDEs and Auto-X. This way you can get the exposure/experience up front without having to invest in a dedicated track vehicle.

3) If you want to get a dedicated track vehicle - remember this: "buy your first, build your second". Well sorted used track/race cars sell for less that 50% of what it would cost to build them. With the economy being the way it is - there are some great deals out there right now.

4) If you start racing (ie. door-to-door) you will quickly learn that the cost of the car is not going to be your biggest expense item.

5) (personal opinion ensues) don't get hung up on horsepower. 150rwhp on a stripped down lightweight chassis, reasonably sorted out suspension, brakes and sticky tires can be an absolute blast to drive. Besides you get to really **** off the Vette drivers when you sit on their tailpipes waiting for a point-by! ;-)

Good luck and have fun with it!

-bill
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Old 10-26-09, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by SCCAITS View Post
Fixed for you

At least that's the going price here in TX and we have a lot of them. In fact, there is one here FS https://www.rx7club.com/showthread.php?t=821658 and in the same thread an ITA RX-7 couldn't even fetch $1500 and turned into a part out. Bottom line, used race cars are VERY CHEAP.
Thanks Mark,

I still have the spec7, $2000 firm, needs some updates, ITA car has frame rot (worse than I thought), will part out, unless someone acts quick. See south forum for sale thread.

Sorry
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Old 10-26-09, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Keemo577 View Post
Hi fellas,

I am interested in purchasing an FD this coming spring to get into track days, or possibly race depending on the costs.

First off, is it worth it for me to spend $8k plus to have a "ready to be driven" car, or is it a better idea to get a somewhat beat up car and put a little work into it to make it track worthy? I am handy with tools and am confident that I could do a lot of the work myself. I've seen some cars for sale on this forum that are in decent shape for around $8k, which doesn't seem too bad. However I would be more inclined to spend less for a car that doesn't look like a shining example of an FD, and put the effort into where it would count for the track. What would be your advice in this department.

Also, how much should I expect to spend for a day / weekend of track days? What is the life expectancy of a set of decent tires when used hard?

What do I need to do to get started? SCCA license? Training courses?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks
Unless you're buying a well worn track car for $8k, I think your numbers are really low. Assuming the engine and suspension is in perfect shape, to get it fully prepped with track mods and safety equipment I think you'll sink another $5k easy. Not to mention that maintenance parts are extra expensive on an FD.

IMHO, it's more sensible to buy something even cheaper that's much cheaper to run until you get to be a skilled driver. The FD is a drivable car but you won't become a fast driver as quickly in one. If I were in your position I'd shop for a used fully prepped spec miata or spec E30. All of the safety equipment will be there, the setup should be half decent, and you can focus on driving. There are a lot of things about driving well you'll be afraid to learn in a car you really don't want to damage.

Dave
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Old 10-26-09, 09:40 PM
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Don't forget karts! The absolute best bang for the buck is in gokarts. Plus they're fast as ****! At least the fast ones are, and you can learn a lot about race craft in them.
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Old 10-26-09, 10:30 PM
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Hey, even a 130HP car is fun when you are racing door to door with other cars that also have "only" 130HP. After all, 100MPH is still freaking fast no matter how long it took to get there!

When I bought my current RX7, I wasn't a fan of the car....or a rotor head...I liked Mustangs. But, if you spend any time watching SCCA or NASA club races the thing you notice is that Mazda Rotarys start and finish races more than anything else. So I bought my car because I knew it would be a good racing appliance. I attempted to keep an emotional detachment regarding this car.....This lasted about 6 months.

I now absolutly LOVE my car and RX7's in general. The abuse that I dish out to my RX7 would bring a Mustang to it's knees. I am living proof that you do not need 400HP to have fun. You just need someone else to race with that is as fast as you are. AND you need a car that you can beat the crap out of that just keeps asking for more!
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Old 10-27-09, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by mschiap View Post
- You can buy a decent, fully built car for $1K.
there are a bunch of pro7 cars in garages around here, ive been offered 3, highest price is $2k

Originally Posted by wrankin View Post
4) If you start racing (ie. door-to-door) you will quickly learn that the cost of the car is not going to be your biggest expense item.

5) (personal opinion ensues) don't get hung up on horsepower.

-bill
4. true, we spend about double what it cost to build the car to run the 25. shoot, our food budget for a 30 person crew is more than the car cost to built.

5. our 140hp/2300 lbs honduh if we entered it in the faster porsche class (against turbo 911's) is mid pack. how is a 500hp car slower than a 140 hp car? the driver. the driver is the MOST IMPORTANT thing to work on

Originally Posted by Gene View Post
Don't forget karts! The absolute best bang for the buck is in gokarts. Plus they're fast as ****! At least the fast ones are, and you can learn a lot about race craft in them.
we timed the shifter karts at laguna at about 1:11, the ferrari F1 car from 2004 ran a 1.09
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Old 10-27-09, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by j9fd3s View Post
we timed the shifter karts at laguna at about 1:11, the ferrari F1 car from 2004 ran a 1.09
Holy Crap!!! Thats INSANE!!!!

I second the notion that all you really need is a car (any car) and some one with a similar car to race against you. Thats why I really like the Spec classes that NASA offers, it really lets you know who the best drivers are, and not who has the deepest pockets.
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Old 10-27-09, 09:15 PM
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Dan!! Glad to see you still here. Was a little worried about you after PP. I ran into some issues as well. Hope to see you back there next year... or mid ohio
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Old 10-28-09, 08:16 AM
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Oh man I'm liking the sounds of this. The numbers you guys are throwing out for some of these cars are great. $2k should be no problem at all, even if it needs a little work yet. Hell, I've spent more than that on dirtbikes in the past.. I did some searching and hate to have to pass up some of the cars I see. I will surely be in the market in a few months though.

Another question for you: Is a spec 7 street legal? From what I've read on the alterations that you can do to the car for the spec class, I didn't see anything that would make it illegal to drive on the street.

Thank you
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Old 10-28-09, 08:47 AM
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www.mnautox.com

Come out to an event sometime with MAC, very fun and good racing. Lemme know if you need more info.
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Old 10-28-09, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Keemo577 View Post
Another question for you: Is a spec 7 street legal?

Thank you
depends...

if you need to smog it, you could build the car so you kept the smog stuff, really its only the converter and air pump...

running a roll cage on the street, may not be the smartest thing, but the miata people do it all the time.

a racing harness might also not be D.O.T. legal either

so it could be, but it would be open to interpretation by the police.
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Old 10-28-09, 03:57 PM
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If you do indeed want a place to start. We run HPDE events in IA.

www.findtheline.com

Also, one of the most new driver friendly outfits out there is NASA. They have a very logical tiered system to take you from your first track day to full wheel to wheel racing at your own pace / budget.

If you are interested in talking with some experienced people around the cities give Damian or myself a PM and we can answer questions and give you advice.

Search users "Damian". He is the head honcho of Find the Line.

Find the line and NASA run on real racetracks and you get LOTS of seat time, much much more than autox in a parking lot.
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