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adrianrodriguez
adrianrodriguez None
9/20/11 11:16 a.m.

Hey guys,

Just joined the forum and wanted to ask a few things but couldn't find the right place for the forum.

My buddy and I are going to start living our dreams to build and race cars. We are on a tight budget, and we know it. We also know that we are just going to start small, from the bottom, and take each step carefully to eventually become an all out team.

I was just hoping for some advice and also wanted to mention that we've got two cars we're thinking about using. Well, at the moment one for drag 03 G35 Sedan and I set a budget of $3000 to find a somewhat reliable car and those two will be our project cars.

I was mainly wondering how to get started, where to find races, sponsorship, etc...

Both of us are in the creative business and most of this will be done on our spare time, but we are all in and ready. I have plans to purchase a car by the end of this week to get started. I know some people have talked about the Civic, 240sx, or Miata being a decent car to start with. I am currently looking at two Miata's that are for sale at $2500 and $2800. One is a 91, and the other a 92.

Anyway....I am babbling on but I welcome all advice.

Thanks.

ultraclyde
ultraclyde HalfDork
9/20/11 11:55 a.m.

Welcome!

As for what car to buy, that seems to be a constant question. That really depends on what your goals are - what type of racing will you be doing, how competitive you want to be vs just having a good time, and of course what your budget is ( or like most of us, is not). The first step is deciding yur focus. If you intend to be competitive to the point of sponsorship, pick one type or class of racing and find out what the standard competitive car in that class is. Buy that. when you are getting started it is much easier to go with a well known, proven car that fellow competitors will know how to help you with. Don't try to adapt some off the wall car into being fast when you're just learning the race. you'll have enough challenges learning the driving side without reengineering a silk purse from a sow's ear.

the civic and miata you mentioned are good starters for curvy racing - autocross or even roadcourse use. the G35 will be an expensive car to build for drag compared to many, but if you already have the car or are emotionally attached to it, they can be fast. But not really cheaply. If you want cheap, competitive drag cars, get an older Mustang or camaro with a V8, gut it and put some nitrous on it. run till it blows and repeat.

Duke
Duke SuperDork
9/20/11 11:55 a.m.

Welcome aboard.

It all depends on what format of racing you are looking at and want to pursue, but from the outset, know this: sponsorship is a LOOOOONG way off, even in small amounts. Sponsors give you money and stuff when it benefits them, not you, so you'll need to put in the hours and investment of your own to show them that they can gain good exposure from identifying themselves with you and your team. The best way to attract sponsors is to speak, behave, and drive as professionally as you possibly can at all times.

For finding races, again, it depends on what format you're looking for. A common scenario is to start autocrossing locally, then get some track days in, then graduate to wheel-to-wheel racing. Some people love autocross and stick with that. Some people start with kart or bike racing instead of autocross, and many people do some combination of all the above and more. Once you get used to the feeling and reaction needed for driving at speed, it becomes a matter of adjusting to the type of vehicle, like many musicians find it easy to learn new instruments.

So look for your local SCCA or NASA chapter, or a local brand specific club like the PCA or BMWCCA, or an independent sports car club like I'm in. Then search for you options, get out, and DRIVE DRIVE DRIVE.

And another free tip - Don't spend money adding fancy stuff to your car until A) you can make the most of how it behaves now, and B) you know what type of racing (and what class) you want to pursue. Do solid safety maintenance only, and maybe look for small upgrades that will take care of problems as the first priority.

adrianrodriguez
adrianrodriguez New Reader
9/20/11 1:24 p.m.

Thanks for all the advice so far guys. I really appreciate it. We're going to look at a Miata later this afternoon and hope it's something worth looking at. She is already going to take $500 less than her asking price which is $1k less than my budget is.....and is very very small but expensive for me lol.

Anyway, thanks again and I will definitely start the search for autocrosses locally to get my feet wet.

Question: Is it better to try and get your feet wet with a stock car? Or should we try some performance upgrades, definitely maintenance, before we take it to a course?

93EXCivic
93EXCivic SuperDork
9/20/11 1:32 p.m.

Don't do upgrades first (except maybe brake pads and tires). I would do some HPDE days first and if you decide you want to continue, I would go for Spec Racing (something like Spec E30)

Duke
Duke SuperDork
9/20/11 1:35 p.m.

STOCK STOCK STOCK.

Make sure the car is in good driveable shape - brakes, street tires, steering, wheel bearings, etc. That's all. Drive it that way and get used to the existing conditions before you start making changes.

Yes, if you get there and it has 3 flat tires, there is no need to put new Wal*Mart all-season tires on it. But do not jump right into race tires, suspension changes, or more power - just make a good, stock car you would not be afraid to drive to work every day. Run it like that until you know what you're dealing with. Changes made before you know the real goals and rules can be expensive and hurt your competitiveness. Plus, it takes a lot of seat time to where your driving is consistent enough to really start adjusting the car.

Good luck, have fun, and stick around here - these guys know A LOT.

Gearheadotaku
Gearheadotaku Dork
9/20/11 1:39 p.m.

Don't forget drivers ed. Driving schools can be pricey, but the more you learn how to drive, the more you can wring out of the car.

adrianrodriguez
adrianrodriguez New Reader
9/20/11 2:08 p.m.

Wow, thanks for all the feedback guys. I was thinking stock, but needed to make sure. I do want it to be my daily driver until it gets to the point where it's no longer street legal and I also want to find places to practice, practice, practice whenever we're not working on the cars.

Keep the advice coming. I am loving it, and loving that no one has attacked me yet. Also, I will let you guys know if I wind up getting the Miata. It's a 90 btw.

Duke
Duke SuperDork
9/20/11 2:14 p.m.

Find an SCCA/NASA region near you and look into their autocross novice schools. It's usually a few hours of classroom instruction followed by a day of intensive driving instruction on the elements of autocross - skidpad practice, slaloms, box corners, etc. working up to a full course. For $100-200 you will learn a ton and get lots of good advice from good guys who have done it for a while. That's a great starting point, then there are private school programs across the country for even more focused training.

If you are very new to performance driving, I definitely recommend starting with autocross in order to get used to handling the car in radical driving. The buy-in is lower, the speeds are lower, the risk is lower. Once you get comfortable there, move up to track work.

iceracer
iceracer SuperDork
9/20/11 5:59 p.m.

As has been pretty much said, you need to decide what type of racing you want to do.
Wheel to wheel racing is very expensive even in the amateur ranks. So start with the less expensive stuff like autocross until you get your feet wet.
A lot of good advice so far.

adrianrodriguez
adrianrodriguez New Reader
9/20/11 7:09 p.m.

I decided not to get the Miata, the lady sounded really iffy about the deal and I usually go with my gut feeling. So still looking in the Oklahoma area for the right car for my budget.

I know I won't get a lot of bang for my buck, but I also know I can snag a good deal somewhere and just want a car that's stock with some decent mileage and no issues. So still on the hunt but wanting to get car hopefully by the end of this week, or next week.

To answer a few of your questions I know that I want to start in the basic racing scene, so most likely autocross and get the experience I need overtime before starting to increase performance. I found a place nearby called OKSCCA. Is that where I can find autocross events?

jrw1621
jrw1621 SuperDork
9/20/11 7:41 p.m.

First, let me say welcome.
Second, as for attacking. You will not find that here. The moderators here are really quite mild. You will find that much of the real moderation comes from the tones set by the regular rank and file. There really is no crazy idea here. The visitors here range from professional racers to those who have never done it. The majority are right in between.

adrianrodriguez wrote: ...and loving that no one has attacked me yet.

Third, spend more efforts and dollars into adding control to your car rather than speed. That is do not spend for hp but rather spend to control the hp you have. Examples would be to improve handling and braking capabilities rather than straight speed. The reality is that you likely have more hp than you are properly utilizing. Actually, before improving control, focus on improving vehicle efficiency and maintenance. This would be things like fluid flushes and fresh brake fluid.

Lastly, if you do plan to take up autocross (which I recommend) then bookmark this series right now.
Autocrossing with Dick Turner:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRhTUf9iaG4
Full video presented in 10 parts, each 10 minutes long.
Though the video is dated, the information is 100% relevant still today - physics has not changed.

Glad you are here,
John

jrw1621
jrw1621 SuperDork
9/20/11 7:46 p.m.
adrianrodriguez wrote: I found a place nearby called OKSCCA. Is that where I can find autocross events?

Oklahoma Chapter of The Sports Car Club of America
http://www.okscca.org/

Here is a video from one of their autocross events.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jm_V0cm5Cvo

Solo and Autocross are interchangeable terms. Autocrossing is the generic term Solo Racing is trademarked by the SCCA.

jrw1621
jrw1621 SuperDork
9/20/11 8:05 p.m.

Wow, OKSCCA's website sort of sucks. I found the schedule for 2011 but had a hard time finding the venue.
http://www.motorsportreg.com/index.cfm/event/event.advert/uidEvent/27BDBB0B-BF13-BED3-7230CDA769E46101

The link above says there is an event this Saturday, 24th at Remington Park.
Even if you have no car to run, I recommend you go to see. Get there about 9:30am and plan to be there for hours. You will find at a autox event that everyone is very helpful and like a typical car show they are eager to talk about their car and what they have done to it. Even when you are a competitor you will find that the experienced guys will give you pointers and tips to make you and your car faster. Of course, once you start beating them they then stop telling you things and rather asking you things (making it your turn to give the tips.)
If you do attend, I highly recommend talking to anyone and everyone. Do not be shy and tell each one that you are considering doing this. If you even play your cards right, you may get a ride in the passenger seat as someone takes a lap (this is allowed.)
Take a camera and look for things you might want in a car for yourself.

adrianrodriguez
adrianrodriguez New Reader
9/20/11 8:23 p.m.
jrw1621 wrote: Wow, OKSCCA's website sort of sucks. I found the schedule for 2011 but had a hard time finding the venue. http://www.motorsportreg.com/index.cfm/event/event.advert/uidEvent/27BDBB0B-BF13-BED3-7230CDA769E46101 The link above says there is an event this Saturday, 24th at Remington Park. Even if you have no car to run, I recommend you go to see. Get there about 9:30pm and plan to be there for hours. You will find at a autox event that everyone is very helpful and like a typical car show they are eager to talk about their car and what they have done to it. Even when you are a competitor you will find that the experienced guys will give you pointers and tips to make you and your car faster. Of course, once you start beating them they then stop telling you things and rather asking you things (making it your turn to give the tips.) If you do attend, I highly recommend talking to anyone and everyone. Do not be shy and tell each one that you are considering doing this. If you even play your cards right, you may get a ride in the passenger seat as someone takes a lap (this is allowed.) Take a camera and look for things you might want in a car for yourself.

John,

First of all thanks a ton for taking the time to look over these things and help me out. Awesome. I know exactly where Remington park is and it's literally only 10 minutes from me on the road I live on. BONUS POINTS! :)

When you mentioned 9pm did you mean 9am? And do you usually have to pay to watch these events or would I be able to watch these without paying?

I agree with the crummy website, especially since it's my profession and when it comes to a user not being able to navigate and find what they want it urks me.

jrw1621
jrw1621 SuperDork
9/20/11 8:35 p.m.

Good catch, yes, I meant 9:30am. I bet they get the first car going at 10am but the events before the running are important to know as well.
Expect that to spectate is completely free. You will be required to sign a safety waiver and required to wear a wristband proving you signed the waiver (you are responsible for your own safety)
Watch the video series before you go and you will be "up on the language" and I bet you will know more than half the people actually competing.

adrianrodriguez
adrianrodriguez New Reader
9/20/11 8:38 p.m.

In reply to jrw1621:

Awesome Thanks again. I've already watched two videos. :)

jrw1621
jrw1621 SuperDork
9/20/11 8:49 p.m.

Sure, in 1986 they had some silly clothes and glasses but damn, they had Mugen CRX's and Integras!

adrianrodriguez
adrianrodriguez New Reader
9/20/11 9:00 p.m.

In reply to jrw1621:

LOL. Yeah, I was like wait what, CRX? I was born that year too. lol. Makes me feel old even though I'm only 25.

I won't mind the crx or integra, but I do mind the tight pants. lol.

adrianrodriguez
adrianrodriguez New Reader
9/20/11 9:59 p.m.

Anyone, recommend any starter cars that I could search for on Craigslist. I've been looking for hours with no luck, just a handful of numbers to call in the morning? Maybe if I know what cars to look for I might have better luck.

I've looked at so far:

Civics Miatas Mr2s (none in working condition) Eclipses Dodge Neons Some CRX's

jrw1621
jrw1621 SuperDork
9/20/11 10:33 p.m.

Pull up your local craigslist. Put in a price range then put in the following keywords one at a time and be sure to look for the keyword in the entire post not just the title.
5 speed
5 spd
manual
manuel - lot of people misspell it.
clutch

See what pops up.

adrianrodriguez
adrianrodriguez New Reader
9/20/11 11:17 p.m.

For 5 spd I got these listings:

http://oklahomacity.craigslist.org/search/cto?query=5+spd&srchType=A&minAsk=1000&maxAsk=3000

I contacted the 1997 Eclipse guy and 1993 Civic guy for more info.

(advice is already welcome)

5 speed didn't come up with anything good.

This is what manual did for me: http://oklahomacity.craigslist.org/search/cto?query=manual&srchType=A&minAsk=1000&maxAsk=3000

Still nothing out there, but a few of the miatas I saw were pretty nice. Really fond of them, lol. I just love miatas and know they are good/fun cars.

jrw1621
jrw1621 SuperDork
9/21/11 5:28 a.m.

There really is no "bad year" for a Miata. Things changed over the years and here is a buyers guide as written by a fine publication: http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/articles/mazda-miata/

1994-97 are some great choices. For me, it is this '90. I have liked it and I think I will keep it since I have had it for 17 years now.

adrianrodriguez
adrianrodriguez New Reader
9/21/11 6:59 a.m.

In reply to jrw1621:

How many miles do you think is reasonable for getting one?

adrianrodriguez
adrianrodriguez New Reader
9/21/11 7:35 a.m.

I've contacted the first half of this list up to the one with the 3995 listing. Hoping I could snag one of them possibly, but not before checking them out some of them are about an hour + drive. :(

http://oklahomacity.craigslist.org/search/cto?sort=priceasc&query=miata&srchType=A

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