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Duke
Duke PowerDork
9/26/13 9:04 a.m.

I wanted to go into Spec Miata but I realized there is no way my bulk is going out the window of a caged Miata, and especially not while wearing a HANS or similar.

Then I wanted to go into Spec E30 or IT. But after a summer of dicking around with the Manic Miata, needing Olive Oyl arms and 4 wrists to work on anything, I am tired of small, old street cars with a lot of hidden plumbing and wiring.

If/when I get into W2W racing, it's going to be something I can take large portions of the bodywork and chassis off of easily, and with bare minimum plumbing and wiring that is very accessible.

wbjones
wbjones PowerDork
9/26/13 9:05 a.m.
ShadowSix wrote:
amg_rx7 wrote: Crap can racing sucks IMO and IME. It's interesting at first and in theory but trying to drive a POS on track w/ a bunch of inexperienced "racers" is not my idea of fun.
But, a couple years ago we went to the Chumpcar event at VIR with a field of 100-some-odd cars and it really soured the whole team on crapcan racing. Bigger, heavier, and faster cars were literally trying to drive through our CRX (including on pit lane) with no regard for safety and no consequences from the organizers. Finally, after hours of demolition derby antics through the night (when the sun went down the mood on track went from "rough" to Death Race 2000") I got "PIT maneuvered" off the track at about 90 MPH. We have in-car video and I didn't brake, lift, or turn before someone nailed my DS quarter panel and put me into the tire wall.

I can verify the contact part of Chumpcar ... ran my first crapcan race at VIR a couple of mo. ago (with Chumpcar) and it seem as though they actually encouraged contact ...

it was a whole lot different this past weekend at CMP (118 cars) with Lemons ... they take a very dim view with regards to contact ... though the corner workers have to call it in, or it didn't happen .... we got pit maneuvered late on Sun. and other than our driver coming in on his own (not waiting for a black flag) nothing was done

but I did see some others with pretty big penalties for offs and contact

so while I won't rule out Chump, I think I'd rather stick with Lemons (especially if I can stay with a team that doesn't dress up like clowns LOL )

ShadowSix
ShadowSix HalfDork
9/26/13 10:09 a.m.

Are Spec E30 and Spec 944 NASA-only classes? I am not very familiar, but I used to have an E30 and it does seem like a good basis for W2W; sturdy, good manners, common enough when new to find parts.

I'll have to check out a LeMons event. I hope you're right and they are stricter about contact.

So, up to now:

IT: probably the front runner, could run an RX-7, or swap a Miata between SM and ITA. I notice that most IT cars seem to be FWD... SM: I'll need to see how my local region runs these. If it's clean it could be an option, but I have a hard time believing it.
E30 & 944: BB says 944 is low-contact, but I know basically nothing about 944's, still might be worth a look. I don't think I've ever watched either of these classes run, but I'm interested.
Vintage: a vintage Spridget or Spitfire would be AWESOME, word is that they take a very dim view on contact, but I don't see many vintage races around. Might be a different story in a different part of the country.

ross2004
ross2004 New Reader
9/26/13 10:19 a.m.
Giant Purple Snorklewacker wrote: An E30 325i burns about 9-10 gallons an hour and thats at the low end.

Really? Our 350'd Lemons Camaro burns ~8.5/hr.

wbjones
wbjones PowerDork
9/26/13 10:29 a.m.

the E36 325i that I was sharing this past weekend would easily go 2hrs+ on 2

5 gallon cans ... (probably overfilled to ~ 6 gal. / but it never took the entire 2 cans)

intrepid
intrepid New Reader
9/26/13 11:13 a.m.

First, I would be surprised if there actually are not Vintage races at Mid Ohio and and Nelson Ledges, so you may want to look deeper into that.

Second, if you're willing to consider open wheel cars, you might at least want to look into club ford. These are post-Vintage (that is post 1972) formula fords that are older than modern ff racers. Generally I think the club ford time frame is 1973-1982. These cars tend to combine the simplicity of vintage cars with the important safety features of more modern cars.

One of the best arguments for club fords is that both SCCA and most Vintage clubs have classes for these cars, so there should be ample opportunities to race in most areas of the country. Also, the cars are small and light, so tow requirements are modest.

Buy in and running expenses are also modest, at least compared to most other classes. I've seen numerous projects in the 4-6K region, though I would expect any of these cars to require significant work unless you get really lucky. I've seen regular ads for "ready to race" cars for about 14K, though as always, you need to take "ready to race" with a grain of salt. The Ford Kent motor is dead simple and generally offers good logevity if you are reasonably careful with it. Many club or vintage racers get 3-5 seasons out of a motor with a couple of head refreshes to keep the power up.

-chris r.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
9/26/13 11:20 a.m.
ShadowSix wrote: Vintage: a vintage Spridget or Spitfire would be AWESOME, word is that they take a very dim view on contact, but I don't see many vintage races around. Might be a different story in a different part of the country.

http://www.svra.com/

SVRA runs at Mid-Ohio.

wlkelley3
wlkelley3 SuperDork
9/26/13 11:25 a.m.

Agree with vintage racing, I would like to end up there myself.

But when it comes to Spec-class racing, who says you have to run the cars in Spec-class. Those cars do fit in an IT class. I am planning on using my 99 Miata in TT for a while then move to an IT class rather than Spec-Miata or otherwise known as "crash-miata". After some wheel time change cars to go vintage racing.

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker MegaDork
9/26/13 11:26 a.m.
ross2004 wrote:
Giant Purple Snorklewacker wrote: An E30 325i burns about 9-10 gallons an hour and thats at the low end.
Really? Our 350'd Lemons Camaro burns ~8.5/hr.

You need to get on the loud pedal! You bastages are coasting a lot.

It is going to be track and driver dependent but I find it hard to believe a 5.7L v8 is getting better mileage than a stock 2.5 with both being at WOT for the same % of time.

Regardless - my point was... an approximate 160g of 93 to finish a 16hr race is 160x$3.75 and quite a lot of ching. A 1 man chump team is spending the same nut as a one man entry level tin top team in more traditional racing venues. It's only affordable because you can split it x number of drivers and you can avoid all that pesky "learning how to drive properly" stuff that costs thousands of dollars and years of time to get yourself a license in one of the other racing venues. The trade-off is... a large percentage of the field has no idea what they are doing so there is a lot of "oops, sorry!" going on.

ShadowSix
ShadowSix HalfDork
9/26/13 11:45 a.m.

In reply to intrepid:

WHOA Club Ford looks cool! I just skimmed a Peter Egan article about it and it sounds really awesome! http://www.roadandtrack.com/racing/virtually-affordable-racing

Am I wrong in assuming that parts are going to be vastly more expensive in any of the purpose-built race car classes? I would much prefer an open-wheel car over something production-based, but I've heard that even Formula Vee parts are super-pricey.

neon4891
neon4891 UltimaDork
9/26/13 12:01 p.m.

Back 40?

huggybear626
huggybear626 New Reader
9/26/13 12:03 p.m.

I have a first gen rx7 that would be a great way to get on track if you were interested.

ShadowSix
ShadowSix HalfDork
9/26/13 12:28 p.m.

In reply to huggybear626:

Thanks, but I really think I'm going with the plan of buying an already-built car with a current log book. I figure I need to figure out what I want before I spend months building something.

huggybear626
huggybear626 New Reader
9/26/13 12:35 p.m.

The car that is built. The logbook was last done three years ago. It was logged as an Ita car but it is really a Spec Rx7

Ian F
Ian F UltimaDork
9/26/13 1:02 p.m.

I like F500. Crazy-simple cars. Engines are cheap. Transmissions are cheap (although you have to learn the CVT, it's not rocket-science). Open-wheel to discourage contact. The cars weigh next to nothing so just about anything can tow one.

In our area (Northeast + OH), numbers are pretty good. Good commaraderie as well in the paddock. If you tire of the "leaf-blower on steroids" noise, you can move to F600.

I dream of vintage as well and in theory it could be pretty cheap depending on how many races you want to run. Our on AndreGT6 over on the CMS board runs a Fiat Spider in vintage and not on a huge budget by any definition.

midniteson
midniteson New Reader
9/26/13 3:22 p.m.

Would you be interested in the NASA Camaro Mustang challenge? you could buy a car for that series for not too much money, and run with the SCCA too in American Sedan so lots of options for races.

Beer Baron
Beer Baron UltimaDork
9/26/13 4:23 p.m.
ShadowSix wrote: Are Spec E30 and Spec 944 NASA-only classes? I am not very familiar, but I used to have an E30 and it does seem like a good basis for W2W; sturdy, good manners, common enough when new to find parts.

I am fairly certain that 944Spec is NASA only, but the cars are also competitive in their respective German Touring class, and there is also a place for them in PCA racing. If I recall correctly, the 944Spec is more competitive in its GT class than the Spec E30. The SE30 basically runs at the back of a higher class and the 944 runs at the front of the next one down.

I would also look into Legends and Thunder Roadster. Those guys look like they are having fun.

amg_rx7
amg_rx7 Dork
9/26/13 4:32 p.m.
So, I realize this sounds like, "How do I race W2W for $74." But what I really meant is, "Taking operating costs into account (fuel, tires, mechanical parts, sheet metal), which of the entry-level W2W classes is least-expensive to be competitive in." I'm planning around $10k for the car (I'll take BB's advice and buy one with a logbook) and a few thousand a year to spend on the multitude of recurring costs.

Ah, that's a fair number to get you into a decent car. A good regional Spec Miata or E30 or 944 or some sort of Improved Touring car can be had for that budget. 1st gen RX7 runs ITA. 2nd gen runs ITS. Those two classes are typically in the same run group.

I still much prefer a Mazda car to something with "German Engineering" and parts costs. Mazdaspeed Motorsports gives us parts at cost and the cars are reliable. However, that is my preference.

amg_rx7
amg_rx7 Dork
9/26/13 5:14 p.m.
ShadowSix wrote: In reply to intrepid: WHOA Club Ford looks cool! I just skimmed a Peter Egan article about it and it sounds really awesome! http://www.roadandtrack.com/racing/virtually-affordable-racing Am I wrong in assuming that parts are going to be vastly more expensive in any of the purpose-built race car classes? I would much prefer an open-wheel car over something production-based, but I've heard that even Formula Vee parts are super-pricey.

Yes it does. There is lots of open wheel classes in SCCA. I'm not sure about costs but I suspect it will be comparable and will depend upon class. B/c it is a purpose built race car, I'd guess that parts may actually more durable than production based cars and costs may be reasonable.

Best suggestion I can give you is to go attend the next race and meet people in the classes that look interesting and ask questions. That is what I did and I learned a lot more in those couple of days than on any of the message boards I was using to perform research and get input. There are no armchair experts at the track. :) That's the best way to find a car as well.

ShadowSix
ShadowSix HalfDork
9/26/13 5:25 p.m.

In reply to amg_rx7:

That's the plan!

On that note, is anyone going to be at the Ohio Valley Region event at Mid-Ohio on the 5th and 6th?

Still, I'm glad to narrow things down and get some opinions before I head up to the track, thanks guys!

amg_rx7
amg_rx7 Dork
9/26/13 5:29 p.m.

http://www.ovr-scca.org/

May want to contact a few people in the local SCCA. They are usually eager to help newbies out. At least they are around here.

Also, sccaforums.com

One more - Mid-O Miata guys can be found here: http://mazdaracers.com/forum/365-scca-great-lakes/

ddavidv
ddavidv PowerDork
9/26/13 5:30 p.m.
amg_rx7 wrote: I still much prefer a Mazda car to something with "German Engineering" and parts costs. Mazdaspeed Motorsports gives us parts at cost and the cars are reliable. However, that is my preference.

The rare occurrence that a Spec E30 engine poofs, a replacement is about $500. Hardly anyone builds them from scratch, though some at the front feel compelled to. Finding a good used rotary period seems like it would be much more difficult and costly. Suspension parts probably cost about the same. Body panels probably are about the same. Parts cars are equally available. This notion that BMW (3 series) parts are expensive always comes up in these discussions and I always wind up refuting it.

Not bashing Mazdas, but rotaries come with their own laundry list of potential issues and the cars typically (IT, Spec7) are nowhere near as fast as a SE30 or 944. OP: do your homework. Check web sites that sell parts and compare prices (brake rotors, fenders, wheel bearings, control arms, etc) and see what the actual costs are.

Camaros and Mustangs offer thrills at a low price, but the cost of tires, fuel, brakes and clutches will all be higher and get consumed far more quickly.

Vintage racing is a nice, gentlemanly way to race W2W and I'd do it...but I'm not so sure I want to race something 'old'. Cheap British cars are still high maintenance, and a good German or Italian car (BMW, Alfa, Fiat) will set you back a good chunk of change if it's a nice car.

Ian F
Ian F UltimaDork
9/26/13 5:58 p.m.

In reply to ddavidv:

I'd agree with the that. E30/36 mechanical parts (the parts you'd need for a race car) are quite reasonable. It's when you're trying to keep a street car clean and original that things can get pricey.

I wish my E30 hadn't soured me so much and made me fearful of its reliability... or I'd keep it and race it. I definitely have no emotional attachment to the POS to fear balling it up...

CGLockRacer
CGLockRacer GRM+ Memberand Dork
9/26/13 7:39 p.m.

I skimmed most of the responses and didn't see anyone mention this. Make a budget. Then at least double it to get a decent amount to have available for real racing. The car is the cheap part. Don't forget travel, food, fuel for tow vehicle, tow vehicle maintenance, crash repairs, etc.

I've raced SpecMiata in some form or another since 2002. I've only had a couple major incidents where the car was rendered undriveable afterwards, and that was early in my racing career. When I raced nationally, I only had minor contact in the two years at that level (I was upper mid-pack at the time in a home built car). Yes, there are some yahoos out there that will think they can win in the first turn, but if you are smart and alert about who you are racing against, you can avoid a lot of the trouble.

motomoron
motomoron Dork
9/26/13 7:53 p.m.
Giant Purple Snorklewacker wrote:
ShadowSix wrote: A. Lowest possible cost to operate a semi-competitive car. B. A class that is popular enough that I will have some competition. C. A class that is not terribly mechanical-skill-intensive. D. To avoid as much "rubbin' is racin'" demolition derby stuff as possible. E. My crapcan racer is/was a CRX, but I'd like to do rear wheel drive if possible.
A. Chumpcar B. Chumpcar C. Incompatible with A. D. Open wheel cars E. Like all racing, find the class before the car If you can't build your own race car - you are looking at 8-15k for an entry level car at a prep level to be competitive in a spec E30 and that is one of the least costly classes to get into these days. I don't want to discourage you from following the dream but when people list A. as the first item they are already setting themselves up for sticker shock. There is no such thing as "cheap" racing in the conventional sense of cheap. There is only inexpensive in terms of other racing. Chumpcar is that venue because you can split the work and cost X number of ways but it still costs quite a bit. $2-5k for a caged car with all the safety stuff. An E30 325i burns about 9-10 gallons an hour and thats at the low end. So... yeah, thats 160gal of 93 octane you need to have handy to finish. When you do the math - you spend about the same as running costs for BMW CCA sprint racing, NASA, SCCA or PCA for entry level tin tops. With a truck, trailer, log booked race car all ready to rock - you still need a few thousand a season for brakes, tires, damage/repair, entry fees, fuel... miscellaneous. A rotax kart is a pretty good way to spend a weekend when you get right down to it. Not cheap either - but cheap-er. Good luck! Find a way to ignore everything I just typed and come racing. No one ever regrets it. Even after the divorce :)

My little 1300cc sports racer uses about 4-1/2 gallons of ($9/gallon) Sunoco 110 leaded in a 14 lap (28 mile) sprint race at Summit.

That's 4-1/2 gallons in a formation lap, 17-1/2 minutes of racing, and a cool down lap.

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