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Thoughts

Old 12-17-07, 03:42 PM
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Thoughts

Wondering what you guys think of my situation.

First off, I want to get into club racing and heavily into track events. I also want to build my own car too, I'll either be in EP or ITS, not sure yet. I like EP because I can tinker more which really interests me. I don't need to be very competitive, just want to be out there.

I have 2 car options:

A) I buy an S4 FC with no sunroof, and start from that. Could get a complete car for $500 or so.

B) My dad wants to give me my old car back, a 97 328is. Its worth probably 9k up here, its in nice shape and still drives great as a normal every day car. It would make a great track car, handles awesome, and I'm very very used to driving it. I love E36's. Parts are much more expensive though, and I couldn't pop open an engine and rebuild it like I could a rotary.

I'm leaning towards the FC, how does the BMW compare though to those guys used to racing against them?

Carl
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Old 12-17-07, 05:08 PM
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What you don't want to hear.

What is the first year budget to build the car, IT or EP? Ignore the costs to go racing (trailer, hauler/truck, safety equipment, maintenance, tires, wrecks).

Seriously, buy your first car. Build only if you don't mind taking over a year to get things half way right, want to devote all your free time to it and have no budget. This is from experience, I could have bought easily 2-3 front runner cars by now.

The FC has done well in ITS and EP. Whether you start with S4 or S5 I don't think is that important. The best motors are a combo of S4 and S5 parts, the S5 bumpers and taillights are also a bit better looking IMO. I got an S4 but you'd never know it unless you ran the VIN.
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Old 12-17-07, 05:50 PM
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I don't mind the time it will take to get it running well, not really a concern. The budget.. well it isn't going to be 70k, but in the end, if it costs 20-30 its not a big deal. I know I could buy a decent IT car for under 20k, and a low-end EP car for that too, but I'm really excited about doing a lot of the work. Thats 50% of the fun there for me.

The race section here is great but doesn't have much activity. Do you know of other places with good resources on IT and EP cars and people building them? Or build diaries, or any general information?

Cheers,
Carl
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Old 12-17-07, 06:10 PM
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In ITS the RX's are starting to show their age. Word from the front lines is that the Bimmer would be a better platform, the Miata in ITS is also coming on strong. I've know a guy that is going EP with a very fast ITS car because of the Bimmer and Miata.
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Old 12-17-07, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by CJarrett View Post

The race section here is great but doesn't have much activity. Do you know of other places with good resources on IT and EP cars and people building them? Or build diaries, or any general information?

Cheers,
Carl
You can check the old posts in the Mazda section at www.improvedtouring.com , there is also the Prod forums http://prodracing.com/prodcar/ to look through, www.awrracing.com has some good stuff both ITS and EP, www.iscracing.net for ITS, and of course http://www.mazdamotorsports.com/ - those are all good online sources for information and parts. Doesn't seem like too many new FC ITS cars coming to the market, not as familiar with how many new FC EP cars but I do know 2 guys going from ITS to EP and building.


Edit: Look at the 2007 ARRC results, top 4 in ITS were RX7.

http://www.arrc-online.com/results_2007/Gp6RACE.pdf

Last edited by SCCAITS; 12-17-07 at 06:49 PM.
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Old 12-18-07, 12:58 PM
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I would second SCCAITS's comments - buy, don't build especially if you can aford to buy a front running car. I like working on my own car and I all of my own work. But in the end I like racing a proven and sorted car even more.

For Production racing go to: http://prodracing.com/ There is a first gen for sale by the current EP National champion.

I have been involved in racing for awhile and what I have learned is that in general piston powered cars require more engine work/maintenance/repair than rotary powered cars. My racecar has a 6 year old "race" engine was built by Prather racing. I run the **** out it and I have never had an engine issue. In fact I haven't pulled it since I bought the car in 2002. With the BMW I would bet that your gonna to need to a refresh ever other year (rings, bearings, head etc) if not on an a yearly basis.

Also wth BMW you get little or no support. Not the case with Mazda where you will be eligible to buy OE parts below dealer cost whether you have an existing racecar or are building one. Mazda is the best manufacturer in the game, hands down.

Anyway, welcome to a kick *** sport. It is the best drug I have ever found!!!
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Old 12-18-07, 01:05 PM
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Thanks guys for the comments. Great links too, lots to read now.

How do you become eligable to buy OE parts from Mazda for below cost?

I will consider buying another car, but if I do, I imagine I'd end up tearing it down somewhat and doing other work myself.

People have mentioned that its not wise to build an EP car from an ITS car because of the cage restrictions in IT that would make building a good EP cage harder, or extra work, is that true?

I might be crazy, but originally I hoped, that during the build/prep of my car, I could drive it to and from events with some DOT tires until it was a fully legal legit car, but that might be out of the question.
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Old 12-18-07, 01:19 PM
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Arrow

Originally Posted by CJarrett View Post
How do you become eligable to buy OE parts from Mazda for below cost?
It's says on their membership page:

http://www.mazdamotorsports.com/pages/membership.html
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Old 12-18-07, 01:54 PM
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I have to throw my 2 cents in, great advice from SCCAITS and Mustanghammer. There are soooo many things involved in actually racing, you are far better off initially purchasing a decent purpose built car. Your first worries should not be about building a car, but just getting through the novice program, and actually learning how to drive a car at speed. Which is much more difficult than most people think. As a novice you can get overwhelmed very quickly on a race weekend and the last thing you need is to be trying to sort or repair a new car.

Additionally cost is a big factor, building a race car is extremely expensive. Since you are new to racing, you will need to purchase thousands of dollars worth of safety equipment and tools. Dont skimp on safety equipment. Racing is a good way to make a small fortune out of a big one.

Here in the Northwest is a good racing club, International Conference of Sports Car Clubs. I prefer them over the local SCCA regions. You can find them at www.ICSCC.com. Check out their schedule, they run races in Canada, and come out to the track. Talk to the people that are running the cars you like; you will find that the members of this club are extremely polite, and will give you great insight into racing. That way you can make the best decision for your situation.
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Old 12-19-07, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by CJarrett View Post
Thanks guys for the comments. Great links too, lots to read now.

How do you become eligable to buy OE parts from Mazda for below cost?

I will consider buying another car, but if I do, I imagine I'd end up tearing it down somewhat and doing other work myself.

People have mentioned that its not wise to build an EP car from an ITS car because of the cage restrictions in IT that would make building a good EP cage harder, or extra work, is that true?

I might be crazy, but originally I hoped, that during the build/prep of my car, I could drive it to and from events with some DOT tires until it was a fully legal legit car, but that might be out of the question.
Driving a race car to the track.....this can end in tears. Crashing happens when you least expect it. Get a tow vehicle and trailer.

Going from IT to EP can be done - Chuck Clark's EP car started in ITA. With a first gen RX7 this isn't an issue because the tubing spec is the same for ITA and EP. In fact you can build a Production legal cage in IT - I have one in my car. Plus if you add a cell and fire system you can run an IT car in Production.

I bought my IT car for $5800. It was well sorted and had one a Midiv Championship so for the first year I just drove it and did the maintenance. As rules changed and as my budget grew I started working on the car. It now has a redesigned cage, lighter fuel cell, lighter fire system, better header, struts/shocks, springs, etc. My point is that buying a car meant that I could race immediately. Once I got comfortable with car I started to personalize it and improve it. All of this has been MUCH cheaper than a from scratch build and I am having fun on track.

Also don't forget to factor in how much it costs to race a car. My average annual racing budget is around $6500.0. The most I have spent was $7500 and that year I won $1100 in tire contengencies too. Basically I have repurchased my $5800 race car every year since 2002!
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Old 12-19-07, 02:48 PM
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The thing with the EP/ITS cage thing is that while an ITS cage might be legal for EP, it won't be as good as a cage originally built for EP, as you're allowed to attach to anywhere you want, so you can tie it in all along the windsield, the door openings, it can penetrate the firewall and so on.
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Old 12-19-07, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by mustanghammer View Post
Driving a race car to the track.....this can end in tears. Crashing happens when you least expect it. Get a tow vehicle and trailer.
Excellent point.

OP- You will hit someone, someone will hit you, or you will just manage to wreck the car by not hitting anything but going off track, I've done that twice - losing a fuel cell once and putting the front end in a ditch the other time. Not only will the car get in some type of wreck, it will also break. Race cars just break, and they do it at the worse time. How would you get extra tires, fuel, tools at the minimum to the track? These are not cargo vans. Forget about a cooler, chair, awning, overnight bag, etc. Driving a race car to the track can be done in autocross, not road racing. Save yourself the grief, plan on a trailer and something to tow it with.

Get the book www.goaheadatakethewheel.com
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Old 12-20-07, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Black91n/a View Post
The thing with the EP/ITS cage thing is that while an ITS cage might be legal for EP, it won't be as good as a cage originally built for EP, as you're allowed to attach to anywhere you want, so you can tie it in all along the windsield, the door openings, it can penetrate the firewall and so on.
Actually, with the rule changes that have been made regarding IT cages this isn't the case anymore. While an IT cage cannot penetrate the firewall it can penetrate the dash and inner door panels. Also it is now legal to use multiple diameter/wall thickness tubing in an IT cage as long as the required portions meet spec. So with planning you can start in IT and move to Prod and then just add tubes through the firewall and make additional attachments to the unibody.
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Old 12-20-07, 09:55 AM
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This is a little bit of a FAQ, I'm surprised that no one has yet mentioned getting "the book".

http://www.goaheadtakethewheel.com/

My recommendations? Sell the BMW, buy your first car (it's a good time of the year to shop because it's between seasons). You'll do enough wrenching on it as is to where it will definitely feel like you (re)built it. The secret is in trying to spend more time driving than wrenching (it seems to work out to about a 50/50 raitio for me ).

Check out the classified at:

http://itforum.improvedtouring.com/forums/

for some decent deals.

Good luck,

-bill
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Old 12-20-07, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by wrankin View Post
The secret is in trying to spend more time driving than wrenching (it seems to work out to about a 50/50 raitio for me )

-bill
I have found it works out to a perfect 1:1 ratio of track time to shop time to run up front. For every minute on track I put in an hour in the shop
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Old 12-20-07, 11:30 AM
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I am definitely leaning more towards a purchased car now, you've all pretty much convinced me of that.

What is the 'book'?

The IT forum is great, I've already read about 20 pages of posts on there.

One question, EP or IT car? I've seen both in the same price range.. what is going to get me more action up in the North West/Pacific region? (me racing probably won't happen until 09 even if I get a car next year).

91NA, what do you think about the new IT roll cage rules? Can a good cage be built for IT and still be a good cage for EP at some point?

Thanks again, very eye opening.
Carl
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Old 12-20-07, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by wrankin View Post
This is a little bit of a FAQ, I'm surprised that no one has yet mentioned getting "the book".

http://www.goaheadtakethewheel.com/

Check out post #12 Bill

The "Book" is the link above.

EP or IT ? Depends again on $$. Let's say you found a $12k IT car and $12k EP car. It's more likely you'll have a better chance to be up front with the IT car. EP cars cost more than IT cars. Quick on cost... to build IT, $10k-$40k+, build EP - $15k - $70k+. I'm sure some have gone outside these tolerances but this would be a decent range. I built an IT car, I know. Don't build your first one especially since it sounds like there is a budget if you are considering driving to the car to the track. You will regret it later, be broke or have something collect dust while waiting for more funds.
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Old 12-20-07, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by jgrewe View Post
In ITS the RX's are starting to show their age. Word from the front lines is that the Bimmer would be a better platform, the Miata in ITS is also coming on strong. I've know a guy that is going EP with a very fast ITS car because of the Bimmer and Miata.
i agree, an IT FC is a pretty straight forward build, and without any rule changes, its hp limited.

we run enduros and there, the rotary looses out on fuel economy.

the miata's problem in a longer race, is that they have to run it as a sprint to keep up, and they dont have the reliability, and also do not get the mileage.
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Old 12-20-07, 12:59 PM
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Hate to say it but this is coming from some one that has done all three of your options. Do the BMW. Easiest, more durable, Stevie Wonder could turn a fast lap in one! Better yet buy an older E30 and build a track car out of it. Figure out if racing is your thing or not. At least the BMW will have some value when your done.
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Old 12-20-07, 01:27 PM
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My point was more that an EP cage can be tied in at an infinite number of points with any size backing plate, whereas the number of points and plate size is limited in IT, so you can't tie the front down bars in all along the A pilliars, or can't weld the windshield bar along the windshield, or weld the main hoop at the door openings.

There's another option in ICSCC, RS, it's sort of a halfway point between IT and EP, there is/was some good competition with FC's in that class, and there's a guy in the lower mainland with an RS car.
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Old 12-20-07, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by SCCAITS View Post
Check out post #12 Bill
Doh!!
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