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Looking to get into a cheap racing series

 
Old 06-21-2003, 08:24 PM
  #31  
RealRideRacing
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I've participated in autocross, karting, club racing and pro racing and each has it's own pros and cons.

1) Autocross. Pros: Great way to learn basic performance driving skills. Probably the least inexpensive of all I've done. You participate in your daily driver most of the time with little risk of damaging it. Cons: Low speed provides little thrills and let's face it... AutoX ain't racin'

2) Karting. Pros: As mentioned earlier, karting is perhaps the best way to prepare for racing without actually spending a fortune. The best f1 drivers started out in karting so that should say a lot. Cons: The problem with karting isn't the karts, it's the people. When you're dealing with the lowest costs, you also deal with the lowest common denominator in intelligence (go ahead and flame me for this!). Either you're racing against a bunch of acne faced teenagers who don't understand pain yet, or you're dealing with hardcore karters who take things way too seriously. I'll take a few bent body panels over bent limbs. A buddy of mine was karting to polish his sportscar racing skills. In his first WKA 125cc heavy shifter race last season, a lapped teenager re-entered the track right in front of him. The resulting wreck put him out for the entire racing season with two fractured arms, a fractured leg, 2 broken fingers and a double skull fracture. So is karting actually cheaper? Add up the hospital bills and decide for yourself.

3) Club racing. Pros: Not necessarily cheap but if you find the right class, it can be kept under control. Most club race cars aren't fast enough to cause you significant injury if you wreck. The social atmosphere at club races is about comradie and sharing good times. Cons: Can get infectious and you soon find yourself spending obscene budgets on a "hobby".

4) Pro racing. Pros: Need I explain it? Cons: Not much of a social atmosphere, everybody else is the enemy. It's all business. I was involved in an IMSA GTU Mazda works team in the late 80's to early 90's so you can only imagine how little racing was done compared to the marketing and promos. Some of the entry level pro racing series such as World Challenge, Grandam street stock or even the NASA groups (Honda Challenge, American Stockcars, American Iron) can be relatively low pressure though.

By the way, in reference to the the open wheel (Formula Continental) or sports racers (Sports 2000) cars. Yes, they are relatively inexpensive to buy initially, but it's the expense of running the car as well as the specialized equipment needed that will kill you. Figure that engine rebuilds, custom fabrication of most parts, specialty tools and pit equipment will more than double the cost of the initial buy-in on the car. Plus, the cars are extremely sensitive, so be prepared to make countless adjustments in between sessions. As a club racer, you end up spending your entire weekend making adjustments to the car, provided nothing breaks. It's not something that you just jump into and drive as you would with a production based car. Additionally, the only place that you can race would be the SCCA. This means that you're limiting your options for racing venues. Yes, some of the other clubs allow open wheelers and sports racers but you won't have anybody else to race against.

Regards,
David
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Old 06-22-2003, 12:10 AM
  #32  
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David,

GREAT observations. I'm really surprised at the reports I've been hearing about karting. I experience NONE of that. But, I've been away from karting for 8 years. I started karting before full length nerf bars were required and bodywork was anything but common. Mostly I was able to race against a wide range of talent from squirrels to truly nationally competitive racers. It was a great experience for me, but it would seem folks should visit their local track and get a good feel for what they might be in for.
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Old 06-22-2003, 12:11 AM
  #33  
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Oh, BTW, I've encountered as many squirrels in Spec Miata and Spec RX-7 as I ran into in karting for much the same reasons David mentioned about karting.
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Old 06-22-2003, 11:28 AM
  #34  
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Have to disagree with a little of what RealRide says about open wheel cars. Listen to Bryan Watts, who ought to know, about the Formula Mazda - the FM in particular is inexpensive to purchase, inexpensive to operate, and will turn better lap times than almost any Porsche in existence. Also, the engines are bulletproof, the body fiberglass, and parts readily available.

Also, another view of the sensitivity of formula cars is that, if you really want to learn set-up, you ought to forget tintops and work on something that CAN be easily adjusted. Want to learn about shock adjustments? Do a few laps, pull into the pits, make a quick shock adjustment and do a few more laps. Quick spring changes? Quick sway bar adjustments? Even some easy alignment modifications. Try that with your Porsche.

Some formula cars can be quite expensive, of course. The new F2 Zetec is a beautiful car, but as RealRide suggest, not something you really can just hop into and race. Continentals are known for complexity.

I guess I feel 924Racr nailed it - what do you want? There are so many different cars and series and tracks etc. As for the sports racers and formula cars, all I can say is that once you've driven a purpose built race car, it may be very difficult to really love a converted street car. And I say that having done both!
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Old 06-23-2003, 06:08 PM
  #35  
Derrek Khajavi
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Here is your race series!!! <a href="http://www.944driverscup.com" target="_blank">http://www.944driverscup.com</a>
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Old 06-23-2003, 06:42 PM
  #36  
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I suggest a forumla car arrive and drive, such as the <a href="http://www.russellracing.com/asp/Courses/body_racing_usac_championship_series.asp" target="_blank">USAC/Russell series</a>. Excellent cars, a very competitive field, really great people and instructor feedback. I did this series two years ago and am convinced that there is no better deal available.
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Old 06-26-2003, 03:22 PM
  #37  
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&lt;&lt; Also, another view of the sensitivity of formula cars is that, if you really want to learn set-up, you ought to forget tintops and work on something that CAN be easily adjusted. Want to learn about shock adjustments? Do a few laps, pull into the pits, make a quick shock adjustment and do a few more laps. Quick spring changes? Quick sway bar adjustments? Even some easy alignment modifications. Try that with your Porsche. &gt;&gt;

Good point and one that I don't dispute. However, while my point is based on a few assumptions, it applies to most of this forum.
I assume that most people here aren't looking at a professional career in racing. Especially the original poster who is looking for an inexpensive series for his/her personal enjoyment. I've always felt that open wheeled cars are best suited for the career oriented drivers (ie: really young), in which case an Arrive And Drive series is ideal. I believe most people here would much rather be driving on the track, rather than spend the entire weekend wrenching on the car.
We were looking at running a used Swift in the ACRL (American Cities Racing League) a few years ago. The initial buy in on the car was actually about $20K which was well within our budget. But then we budgeted the peripheral expenses: several Loynings engine rebuilds, spares package, tires, alignment tools, scales, specialty tools, formula jacks, frequency of maintenance, body repairs, travel (remember, only so many opportunities to run at so you have to travel), bigger enclosed trailer, etc. Plus, while I'm as mechanically inclined as most typical club racers, the amount of work involved in maintaining the car, trackside help, etc required at least one crew member. The cost immediately tripled.
I've also crewed on a Formula Atlantic team recently and talk about expensive! During a test day, the driver dropped a wheel off at Willow Springs. Normally this is not even an issue in a production based race car. But because of the low ground clearance of the formula car, a rock hit the front of the engine case and put us out for the day. Estimated damage... $3,000!

Regards,
David
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Old 06-26-2003, 05:52 PM
  #38  
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Honestly guys,
I think karting or a cheap production car with limited mods is really the way to go.

Formula cars a nice, but can be pricy to fix and maintain as other stated.

sounds like he is looking for some thing cheap to buy or build and cheap to run. Shoe string budget type deal with his 3 person pit crew (you know Me, Myself and I). Possibly drive car to the track for close events. That kind of thing.
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Old 06-26-2003, 07:38 PM
  #39  
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You can tell by the intensity that there are some strong feelings as to how to get started in racing. Just about everybody here has made a very good argument for their particular favorite.

As has been pointed out:
1. first decide what you want: fun, excitement, comraderie, big bucks (LOL)
2. decide on a budget
3. find a race series in you area that fits (although these aren't usually spectator events tell the man at the gate you're interested in getting involved, sign the waiver and check it out)
4. JUST DO IT
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Old 06-29-2003, 11:21 AM
  #40  
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Eurospeed951, all these good comments and opinions notwithstanding, you've got a great opportunity, right nearby next weekend (July 5/6 at Summit Point)to go to a track and take a firsthand look at several of the series mentioned above... 944 cup/supercup, Spec Miata, NASA's version of ITA Hondas, etc.

Not only can you hang out, talk to racers and look at cars, it's the only time during the year when you can just show up and buy a 20 minute ($40) intro track session with an instructor in your car. (Usually you'd have to spend all day, pay $175, and book months in advance.)

Granted, you'll have to endure being there with drifting, burnout, and rollover contestants (this is the "Hyper-Fest" weekend as well as NASA) but it's a small price for an opportunity to sample so much in one place.

For more info, check out the BSR/Summit Point web site (www.BSR-inc.com) and links to the Summit Point Race Schedule.
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Old 06-30-2003, 12:06 AM
  #41  
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"I've always felt that open wheeled cars are best suited for the career oriented drivers (ie: really young), in which case an Arrive And Drive series is ideal. I believe most people here would much rather be driving on the track, rather than spend the entire weekend wrenching on the car."

I agree with all this, David. It's amazing how, after you've raced for a while, your definition of "cheap racing" gets completely torqued.

I actually ran in the ACRL for a season and a half. Now there's what could be a decent SCCA pro version of the series, but the cars are getting faster and even more expensive.

Interesting thread.
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Old 06-30-2003, 02:30 AM
  #42  
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Mark,
Is your 928 still for sale?
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Old 06-30-2003, 08:18 PM
  #43  
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Phil, yes, it is.

Im telling you , after all the venues ive raced competitively, im telling you , the best bang for the buck is this 928 I have for sale. Its sister car was out with me at this weekend's SCCA double regional. there are 6-7 race groups ranging from GT1 to formula atlantic. we were in group 1 and that was in the loudest noise group, we had 40 cars, ranging from ITE (production based cars on Hoosiers, not slicks) to ITX to RX7s and plenty of others Im forgeting. Scot in his 82 928 modified like the one im selling (I think mine is faster though), was 10th in class, and 15th overall. I actually won, in my 928S4, against some pretty impressive teams. (teams meaning , brought semis with trailers and pit crews/mechanics. scot and I drove the track, camped out and had to change our own tires!!! No help at all (except scots dad, who does windows).
Im telling you its the best racing both of us have had, since BMW and porsches ran together in the BMW Porsche challenge with NASA. Scot had lots of passing and dicing with 10 cars in his time zone, I had 4 cars in my class, along with a T1 Z06 in which all of us had the lead at one time in the race!! (I won by .001second) Point is, it not about how fast you are, its about how much fun and how much you learn and improve. this car is great for a novice or experienced racer. Fun factor is very very high. heck, its a porsche supercar, that lost its appeal due to it being front engine, watercooled and didnt look like a 911. otherwise, it is top of the line, by design. Wiesach rear end transmission, F1 inspired dual A-arm front coil overs, aluminum/silicon block, no sleaves, harder than steel!!, all aluminum body panels (doors, hood, fenders), and a slew of other porsche developed inovations just reaching the 911 designs today!!

People were amazed that we didnt even have to open the hood. the 928 just runs and runs hard!!

When you think about all the classes and venues you can run in a 928, its just unbeatable for the price. ITE SCCA, PRC (porsche racing club in NASA) NASA open class, PCA , and Porsche owners club.

so, let me know if your interested. Several tire kickers, but noone has stepped up and cut a check yet.

79 porsche 928 race car
220rear wheel hp
S brakes
swaybar
17x 9.5/11 with 80% new kumho racing DOT tires
all the things that can go wrong or need to be strengthend, have been replaced:
radiator
clutch
suspension
P/s hoses
timing belt
waterpump
etc etc.
Nice Racing cage with all the safety features and a NASA Log book.

ready to race..... $4900 with stock 16" roller/rains or $5900 with the Forgeline race rims. (17x9.5/11")

mark
408 823 3731 </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana,Tahoma,Helvetica">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana,Tahoma,Helvetica">Originally posted by Phil McGrath:
<strong>Mark,
Is your 928 still for sale?</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana,Tahoma,Helvetica">
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Old 06-30-2003, 08:25 PM
  #44  
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