SnappMotorsports GRM+ Member
12/22/22 12:41 p.m.

Alright, hear me out.... 

Low budget racing is a relative term. As everyone knows, racing isn't cheap, and no amount of wishing will make it so. HOWEVER, we can make it easier on ourselves by being practical about what we plan to do with our build. In my case, I want to go wheel to wheel club racing at Hallett in OK. 

The COMMA series at Hallett has a wonderful rule set that basically allows run-what-ya-brung racers to show up and be sorted into a class once you arrive at the track. This opens up many options for the racer to choose parts and upgrades based on his/her budget, rather than what is required by the rules. While you can still choose lower cost parts that meet rules in other classes, things like tires are a constant expense that usually does not change. For example, a low-profile, racing specific slick from any number of the major manufacturers out there can range from $175-300 per tire. While those are designed for the application, what if we chose something like a Goodyear or Hoosier 10-11" wide take-off, and use 15" steel wheels that are so common at short tracks all across the country? The tires can be had for $45 each in my area, with wheels being around $75-100, depending on condition. (This is of course if they fit the vehicle you are attempting to put them on.)

So, that is the premise. Building a car to go racing, without spending the kids college fund or mortgaging the house to do so. 

My idea:

SN95 or New Edge Ford Mustang. 5.0 or 4.6, 5-speed. Keep engine fairly stock, do intake or throttle body upgrade. If 5.0, possibly switch to carb? 

10" Hoosier F-45 slicks, 15" Aero steel wheels

Brake rotors to fit the wheels, with NASCAR or pavement late model 4 piston calipers (designed to fit inside a 15" wheel). New, these can be very big $$$$. Used, however, they can be picked up fairly cheap, compared to some other brake set ups. Not as cheap as doing a Cobra swap or buying some stock upgrades, but better braking power and less fade. Upgrade master cylinder to match. Add ducting to aid cooling. 

Professionally built cage. Safety is absolutely not an option. If it keeps you safe, you spend the money. No way around it. 

Complete weight savings treatment. Gut the car, remove dash, keep only the bare minimum needed to make the car race able. No extra gauges, no heat/AC, nothing. Pipe in outside air via ducting for driver comfort. If carb'd 5.0, remove complete wiring harness, add in old-school MSD box and coil with distributor. Mount to dash. Run manual gauges to simple sheet metal dash, stock car-style. Drop the heavy cast iron manifolds and exhaust system, and install some eBay long tube headers with collectors. Bonus points if you find some old cast off boom tubes that can be cut to fit and mounted.

All of the cheap, homemade, sheet metal aero you can fabricate. Big wing on the back, splitter in the front, maybe some fender flares if you're feeling like it. 

Upgrade things like suspension bushings, sway bars, add pan hard bar to rear end, poor man's 3 link. 

Fuel cell. Falls under safety, so no skimping here. That doesn't mean you have to pay full price, either. 22-gallon cells with foam, bladder, and steel outer cell are available from pavement oval teams for large discounts over new. Keep a sharp eye out and you can score a great deal on a safe piece. 

So that's my basic, down and dirty idea of what I'd like to achieve to go racing with. A car that is budget friendly, without being dangerous because corners were cut. Consumables would be more reasonable, and readily available. 

What do you think? Do you like the idea? What would you change or add? What is your idea of the ultimate budget Mustang racer? 

Disclamier: This is not my first race car. I have owned a few, and worked on many, from NASCAR trucks and ARCA stock cars to Rolex Grand-Am Corvettes and local dirt track cars. This is my first foray into road racing, however so I may not be as versed as some others in the club racing scene. 


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