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What does it really cost to race IT?

Old 08-31-02, 06:20 PM
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What does it really cost to race IT?

Ok, what does it really cost to race IT?
A. Suspension?
B. Safety Equipment (including licensing)?
C. Stuff you use up (Tires, brakes, and entry fees)?

I am guessing I could pull together a suspension set-up for $1250. Safety equipment and licensing will cost about $1500 ($950 for a roll bar and a suit and about $500 for drivers school and licensing). Stuff $4000 times ten weekend races ($2750 five sets of tires $450, brakes $100, and ten weekend entry fees $1250).

So that would mean it would cost me about $6750 for my first year of IT racing (plus a car). Is this about right? Do you go through that many tires and brakes?

Please let me know what to expect ~ Thanks
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Old 08-31-02, 11:29 PM
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ITS project

Well, you are pretty close to what expenses come up to for the basics. Keep in mind that for eveything there is a range of pricing involved. For instance, are you getting the $350 G-Force driving suit or or you going to get the $900 Sparco suit? The same applies for everything else. KYB AGX struts for $98 a piece or Konis at $150 a piece?

There is a few things that need clarification here. You would need a ROLLCAGE. A bar would not be sufficient protection to meet the rule requirements. You have to add a master battery cutoff switch. You have to add a window net. You have to have some kind of fire suppression (i.e. 2.5lb hand held at a minumum). Besides a driving suit you need gloves, shoes, and a helmet (SA2000 not M2000).

Depending on tire brand will dictate wear. Khumos last for 3-4 weekends where Hoosiers will last 2-3.

There are a lot of things you didn't mention which aren't absolutly essential, but if you plan on being anywhere in the top ten, there is a lot more to be considered. Other expenses like fuel usuage, lodging for weekends at the away track, entry fees, not to mention unforseen expenses for damage and mechanical problems.

Depending on the temp where you will be racing, the stock radiator will have to be replaced with an aluminum one.

The stock rear end ratio (4.10) is not good enough to be competetive. Everyone is is running a 4.88 or 5.12 (what I run). Then there is the GTUs 5th gear which is a plus on long legged tracks.

The list goes on and on. I thought IT was going to be a breeze, but the more I deal with it, the more money I have to spend. That is why I have shut down for the season to catch up on the cash flow.

If you have any other questions, let me know, I'm in my first year in the Cendiv region. I have some pics you can look at on my site. Enjoy.

Paul D'Angelo
73 ITS
www.iridiumracing.com
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Old 09-01-02, 12:19 AM
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If you are going to build a front running car out of the box and want to run at the front it will cost at least the number you are thinking and more. this is probably not what is going to happen, so start with the things you have to have to race. safety equipment is the only thing you must have in the car. figure out which sanctioning body you going to race with and get the rule book. start with the rollcage, fire extinguisher(remote or handheld check rules), drivers gear(if possible check fit and quality before just buying the cheapest) this includes helmet, suit(check rules for requirements), gloves, shoes, seat, belts, and window net(i would also buy a balaclava, nomex underwear, and a neck collar). then assemble the car with the safety gear. if you bought or have a good running car to start with then you are probably ready for that first drivers school. all the suspension, trick wheels and tires, race brake pads and other parts will come along soon enough and will make the car faster but a good safe running car can get to the track for about $5000. the traveling expenses can be worse than the car maintenace. I can say from experience I built my first car and bought all the drivers gear and ran 3 events for about $3500. I slept at the track and ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches but I did it with alot of help. It can be done but It will take alot of sacrifices and work. I can also tell you it will be the best experience of your life.
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Old 09-02-02, 09:57 PM
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Thanks guys for your detailed info. Looks like there were several things that I had forgotten to figure in. Thi is something that I would really like to do, but I have to go in with a REAL idea of what it would cost. I just do not want to dive it and find out I just cannot get on the track and run.

In the end, I think it would be a lot of work and worth it.
Thanks again ~ JEB
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Old 09-03-02, 01:51 AM
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Real idea?

Are you starting with a good car? dying car? dead car? Putting money into longevity items is critical to enjoyment of this sport. For example, you may have a very nice 2nd gen RX-7 that you put a cage, fire bottle, window net, seat brace and cut off switch into, and go racing. And after the first event, you find that the waterpump and radiator are woefully inadequate and must be replaced. Essentially, you've ruined your first event with the car, throwing all the money you spent to enter the event, gas, and hotel/food out the window.

So, IMHO, you should spend the time and money to get your car as well prepped as possible BEFORE you head out there. That means, new radiator, hoses, and waterpump. Flushed oil cooler. New oil cooler lines. New fuel filter. Repack the wheel bearings. Put in new brake pads, and strongly consider new rotors. If you suspect clutch or brake problems, replace associated master cylinders. Change the trans and diff fluid. If the clutch is iffy, new clutch/pressure plate, pilot bearing and release bearing.

That all costs some serious cash. You may be saying to yourself, "I don't need to spend all that money, I can replace stuff as it breaks".. IMHO, it's no bigger drain on your weekend to be spending time and money to be fixing stuff. It adds a great deal of stress and frustration, especially if you break something that can't be fixed immediately.

now, let's get to race prep

bare bones, you could do it on the budget you suggest. I think you're woefully underestimating the cost of a roll cage. Maybe you can find one that cheap, but a 6 point autopower is NOT my idea of safe. Any cage mounted to the floor pan is a Real Bad Idea (tm), IMHO. And can you install it? How mechanically inclined are you? A weld yourself cage can be pretty cheap, but can you do the welding? Do you trust your own welding? This IS your life you're talking about. Building a cage is a hell of a lot of work. If I had never done it myself, I'd never appreciate just how much cage builders truly deserve, cash wise, for their work. I'd easily pay 2500 for a well built, well designed cage.

Depending on how flexible you are, you may not need a quick disconnect steering wheel, that adds some expense, both welding and getting the parts. Figure 150 for that.

Window nets aren't that pricey, guessing 60-80 bucks for that, plus an install kit, 30 bucks. However, you do need tabs welded to the cage, so add another 30 if you can't do that yourself, and have it ready for the welder when he/she does the cage.

Seat back brace will run you 70 bucks, plus some fab work fitting it to your seat. I'm sure you wouldn't use the stock seat, so add 200-500 (depending on the seat).. The stock seat would be difficult to use, since you're rather high in the car. Maybe if you're kinda short, you could do it, but me being 5' 10", I need my Kirkey on the floor with the brackets cut out for me to fit right. YMMV. Seat installation, if you can't do it yourself, could take some time. Definitely want to do it at the same time as the cage, you DON'T want to be stuck where your head is resting against the roll cage if you can possibly avoid it.

Don't forget a cut off switch, you're looking around 50 bucks for that, plus another 20-30 for the wiring, and the fittings. May need to weld something to the cage to fit it, I'd think 10-20 bucks would cover that.

Fire bottle, 30 bucks for a handheld model, 3-400 for a good two head fire system protecting you and the engine.

Harnesses, 150 or so is my rough guess, don't forget you need the mounting hardware.

Safety suit, you have options. You can meet SFI 3.2A/1, but you have to have fireproof undergarments. Or you can go with the pricier A/5 requirements, and avoid those. Cheap with the A/1, roughly 120-150 bucks, vs 300-400 for the A/5, but how much is living your life without disfiguring scars worth? Me, I'll spend the cash on the better suits.

Helmets aren't cheap either, 200-300 for a decent model. Gloves add another 40-70 bucks, socks 15 bucks, and shoes from 60-90 bucks. Underwear if you need it runs 70 bucks or so.

Let's talk suspension..

That's easy to price out, but it all depends on how much you want to spend and how fast you want to go. I went with the Mazda Comp Stage 2 package, with Koni SAs and coil overs, and that ran me 1750. going with non adjustable KYBs and stock springs, you can get out real cheap. It's all up to you there.


Ok, now let's talk being on track.

Cheapest way:

Drive to the track, camp at the track, eat cheap. Depending on the drive, 60-100 bucks for the weekend

Towing adds some serious expenses, but remember, you WILL have an incident that will eventually cause you to have a lot of stress if you can't tow home. Broken suspension piece, banged in fender, etc. Plus stuffing all your spare parts and tools into the hatch of an RX7 isn't fun, I wouldnt' think.

Hotel rooms aren't pricey, but if your S/O or wife won't think about sleeping on hard ground, you gotta spring for it.

Food can be pricey, u deal with the costs, but obviously peanut butter and jelly is a good way to cut costs

Entry fees range from 150 to 600 bucks for a weekend, depending on the track.. To get your license, you gotta run two schools, and those are significantly pricier than a regular race weekend. Think ~500 bucks for each school. Plus you'll have to have a friend help you for the school, you won't have time from what I've been told, to work on your car. You'll want to pay their way.

Tires, depends. I run Toyo Proxes RA1s, and so far I've run 2 weekends with little wear. Hoosiers might last a weekend, probably more like one full day before they start going away. You trade longevity for speed. Me, I'm budgeting 4 races per set of Toyos. 700 for a set of shaved RA1s.

Brakes, so far so good with my Carbotech Panthers, 2 weekends now, well over 50% pad left, probably more. Rotor wear is fine, and no fade or braking trouble at all. Figure 500 for the pads, another 400 for the rotors

I'll let you add the numbers here. Let's just say that I spent more than I should have, but I've got easily 9K in the RX7 right now, with a good 4K more to go with gears, wheels, and a fire system.

PaulC
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Old 09-03-02, 07:18 PM
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The prep work will vary depending on how developed you want the car. I do know that a typical race weekend will cost anywhere between $1000 to $1500 which includes your entrance fee, travel, and other misc expenses. Add to that any repairs you may encounter during the weekend. Don't let this "scare" you away as you can have the time of your life and this seems to be the cheapest way to race a car wheel to wheel.
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Old 09-03-02, 09:31 PM
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If you are resourceful, you can build a car very cheap. I have less than 2k in mine and I'm 90% done. This is not a bare essential car either. With the exception of the motor it will have the capability to be a front runner.

I Donate a good bit of my free time to crew chief for a front running IT7 car. this has helped me a lot in building my car. Anytime we upgrade components in the race car I usually end up with perfectly good free parts.

This is how I'm building my car. Maybe you can get some ideas.

I had the car already. 84 RX-7 Striped it to the bare chassis and it is being preped for the paint booth as we speak. I'm doing all the prep work and taking the car to mako that will shoot interior, exterior and engine bay cobalt blue for $250.

I found a guy who wrecked his IT7 car and was parting it out.
I got a full Roll cage with Nascar style bars for $200. I'm installing it myself with freinds help. This is a very nice cage.

Also from that guy I got a nice kirkey race seat. Complete fuel system including cell and SS fuel lines. All guages I need. And some other misc stuff. Payed $730 for all of it.

I found a guy that was getting out of RX7's and wanted to sell me a good engine and trans for $50. when I got to his house he loaded my truck up with good body panels and misc parts.

I found a used 4.88 LSD chunk for $250.

We got a whole new suspension on the race car and the owner of the car gave me his complete old suspension. Same thing with the exhaust.

So you can see if your resourceful you can do it without spending huge bucks.
If I where you I would find someone raceing the class and car you want and offer to help. You may not get free parts but you will learn A LOT and it will save you a lot of money. You can do this while you build your car.

I need a few more things for my car but I will have less than $3k in it when it's done. It will be a very nice, well built and fast car as well.

Good luck,
Mike
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Old 09-03-02, 09:39 PM
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Also, If you can afford it. It is almost always cheaper to buy a car that someone else has already built and developed.
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Old 09-05-02, 02:21 PM
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buy a pre-built Spec Miata instead.. :p

They don't call it the Go-Fast Crack Pipe for nothing! Many people have said a crack cocaine habit is cheaper than wheel to wheel racing..
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Old 09-07-02, 12:12 AM
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Hey Mech,
I understand that smoking crack may be cheaper than racing, but I think it is harder to find a sponsor.

Guys thanks for all of your detailed messages. I have really come to understand what direction to work in. I think having a truly solid car makes a lot of sense. Last weekend I was on the track for three days. During that time I went through a water pump, a set of brakes, and I loosed the third member from the rear housing. I thought that my car was pretty sorted out when I went, but the details will get you.
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Old 09-07-02, 01:37 AM
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and believe me when I say the best prepped cars can still have problems. you cannot overhaul and make every last part of the caqr perfect before every race. this is what pro teams do all day long. most of us have day jobs to pay for racing, so we can't spend 80 hours a week working on race cars. my suggestion is to be prepared. do as much prep at the shop or your garage as can be done and then keep a log of the car good and bad. this will help you figure out how best to allocate you time doing prep work, pick areas that tend to be troublesome to concentrate on. most of all don't be discouraged and get out there and have some fun. don't think about the money or the work only the fun.
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