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Tom1200 HalfDork
10/13/17 8:31 p.m.

Regardless of age no driver enjoys being embarrassed; I turn 55 next week and some young guys at the track days I instruct at initially get a little hurt that a guy 20 years older in a slower older car catches and passes them. The same thing happens to me when 12yr old kids on 80cc motocross bikes blowing past me. My buddy gives me a hard time about trying to chase them down "you keep trying to pass them back and salvage your ego. My reply is always "no I'm trying hang on and see if I can learn something.

Racers are good people and love nothing more than mixing it up with friends; whether those friends are 20 years older or younger.

While the majority of the drivers are 40+ I do see lots of younger drivers. There are loads of low cost alternatives for vintage racing. Vintage Formula Vees can be had for 5K. I could put 1.6 Miata on track pretty darn cheap, it might not be a front runner but it would still be fun. So there are plenty of reasons for a young guy looking for fun. Also a Miata or 1980s car is going to be less labor intensive than a 50s or 60s car so I think the future is bright.

frenchyd HalfDork
10/14/17 9:12 a.m.

In reply to Tom1200 : I'm not so sure the future is all that bright,  while I agree that new cars can be raced without the normal thrash of building engines and rebuilding chassis, the simple fact is the new generation has less interest in cars than us baby boomers. 

We baby boomers see cars as fun and to a degree status symbols. The new guys see cars as expense and traffic jams.  

We baby boomers used cars to interest girls ( a very powerful motivator) the new kids have social media for that purpose. 

Our hero's were guys successful on the race track and we tried to emulate them. The new hero's are fictionalized super hero's with impossible skills. 

Baby boomers into motor sports could tell you who won the Indy 500 Daytona and some even who the formula 1 champion is. 

I'm about as serious a gear head there is and I can't tell you who they are.  

Seats in major motor sports events sit empty, sponsorship participation is falling off.  

Any sport has it's "Golden Age"  A J Foyt, Mario Andretti, Dan Gurney, Dale Earnhardt are the tip of the tongue names.  

How many of today's youth even know who they were let alone want to be like them?  


Gary SuperDork
10/14/17 9:55 a.m.

In reply to frenchyd:

Well said

MazdaFace Reader
11/10/17 6:05 a.m.

Lots of interesting views in this thread. I've played around with the idea of vintage racing but due to budget and cost autox in a stockish car is probably where I'll end up. If I did get into it it would be in something from the 80's, or a late model corvair. 

Tom1200 HalfDork
11/11/17 4:42 p.m.

There are several ways to stretch the budget:

Only run events within an hour or two; you are close to a coulple of tracks that have vintage races. Also limit the number of events, instead of 10-12 autocrossess do 4-5 vintage races.

Used race tires; up until 4 years ago I was using takes offs I'd get from John Berget racing tires, $250-$300 a set versus $800 new. I'd run them for the year which for me was 4 events

Keep the motor in a mild state of tune; it will go forever and run on pump gas.

Other than your helmet you can get most of your gear used; people buy race suits shoes etc wear them once and then decide they don't like it for one reason or another. If your suit is two sizes to big it doesn't matter. You can also find smoking deals on close outs for race gear; I try not to more than 5 years on a helmet so I've in the past bought the previous year Snell helmet (read Snell 2010 close out etc.) I have a Snell 2015 helmet at the moment because I got a deal on it. 

If you don't care about where you finish vintage racing is cheap; I'm usually the only car in my class but my goal is to make the top 5 overall. My Datsun is running a 1500cc motor instead of the 1200cc motor it should have. Regardless of which motor I run there likely  isn't going to be other cars in either class. I run the larger motor in a lower state of tune, it offers the same performance level as the smaller motor without the constant rebuilds. When I get bumped up into the B-sedan  (2.0 liter cars) run group there are still 3-4 cars that I have fantastic races with. Finishing 9th out of 17 cars doesn't sound as good as finishing 5th out of 25-30 cars but as long as you have a great scrap who cares.

The big thing is not getting cuaght up in arms race so to speak. A race motor would allow me to out the car on the front row in the small bore group and easily top 5 in the 2.0 liter group. The problem is it would cost me another $4000 to build (doing it myself) plus an extra $1500 a year in running costs.

The car you choose makes a huge difference. 

vintage Formula Vees can be had cheap, $4000-$7000 for an entry level car. If you run used tires and do the work yourself the budget wouldn't be much more than local autocross. Vintage Vees use the standard VW cooling fan so unlike modern Vees the motors will go multiple seasons. Also not using every last Rpm in practice goes a long way to helping the budget.  

Old Spec Racer Renaults are no longer SCCA legal and can be had for as little as $6000. They don't wear anything out. The two people I know who run these re-ring the motors every 4 years or so. One of them had about 25 races on the motor.  

1.6 Miata, if the group allows them, are incredibly cheap. I can put one together for 4K. It won't be competitive if there are any built to the limits Spec Miatas but if you leave the motor stock you can drive it to and from events. I used my Showroom Stock Miata as a daily driver. I wish I knew where the car was because I'd try and run it in Showroom Stock trim (it was a top 5 Runoffs car), this would be super cheap to run. A used set of race tires $300 and a $100 set of brake pads would be the only running costs. I'd also drive it to and from events within reason (anything within the 3 hours of the house) I've seen lots of racers doing this and simply camping at any track that allows it. 

One of the vintage 911 guys used to drive to all the events. The only reason he trailers it now is because he and his son share the car now.

As more 80s cars start racing vintage coming up with a budget friendly entry gets easier. Mildly tuned cars like a CRX, MR2 Corolla GTS or Miatas are sturdy as all get out. 



frenchyd HalfDork
11/13/17 6:38 a.m.

In reply to Tom1200 :Don't forget there are plenty of us vintage racers who for one reason or another have given up.  A lot of those cars can be had for modest money now that the bloom is off the rose so to speak.  

By that I mean only a tiny number of very historic cars actually sell for the prices asked.  Most ordinary vintage cars the owner gives up marketing it and it becomes a future barn find or is scrapped by heirs who inherit dads old car.  

This month alone I heard about a Jaguar XK120  and an Alfa Romero 


Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
11/13/17 7:06 a.m.

For those involved, how about another thread discussing the major historic and vintage race groups in the different regions?  HAve a general perusal via Google shows a bewildering number of organizations.  I know there was an article in either GRM or CM a few years ago outlining the different groups, classes and regions, not sure when it was.  Might be an idea to update that again.

Tom1200 HalfDork
11/14/17 11:07 p.m.

Adrian I'll start up another thread titled "my vintage racing club" or something similar.

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