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motomoron
motomoron Dork
9/26/13 8:03 p.m.
intrepid wrote: 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.

We have about 4-5 guys who run club ford with MARRS. They're all great guys and fun to watch. A big plus is they run a hard compound Hoosier tire - 60A - which wear like iron. The fastest guy has done 1'20"s at Summit.

tuna55
tuna55 PowerDork
9/26/13 9:47 p.m.
motomoron wrote:
intrepid wrote: 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.
We have about 4-5 guys who run club ford with MARRS. They're all great guys and fun to watch. A big plus is they run a hard compound Hoosier tire - 60A - which wear like iron. The fastest guy has done 1'20"s at Summit.

That looks REALLY fun

plance1
plance1 Dork
9/27/13 3:57 a.m.

legend cars? Do they run road races?

Raze
Raze UltraDork
9/27/13 6:09 a.m.
rob_lewis wrote: What about a formula vee? 1) I would guess a close to national level car would set you back easily under $10k, half that if your thrifty. That probably includes spares and a trailer. 2) SCCA runoffs had 48 cars in the field. Some areas they're not as common (here in Tx for example) but others are. 3) You can't get any simpler than a VW engine, suspension and drum brakes. 4) Vee's are open wheel, no rubbin. 5) Rear wheel drive and mid-engine Now, you'll hear how expensive carbs, brakes, etc CAN be, but I would argue that it would still be much less than a Spec Piñata...... - Rob

This times eleventy billion

trigun7469
trigun7469 Reader
9/27/13 3:09 p.m.

If you are interested in the cheapest form of auto racing, I think karting is defiantly the cheapest route.
Karting you do not require a tow rig, you can purchase a Harbor freight trailer and tow all the necessary equipment needed, with your DD. Tires and wheels are a fraction of the price of driving a car. If you are set on driving, the big tracks there are several series that run the big track. I use about between 1-2 gallons of gas per weekend, 87 octane. Entry fees are typically $35-50 per event. Typical day is two practices, Qualifying, heat Race, and main feature. Safety equipment is cheap because you are not required to wear a suit or fire rated clothing. Finally if you are limited on the amount of room Karts can easily be stored upright and do not take up much room.

ShadowSix
ShadowSix HalfDork
9/27/13 3:49 p.m.

I might just try the Karting thing, at least to start off. How berkeleyed are you if you crash one of those things? There's a reason I'm not racing sportbikes!

To reiterate, I'm not really looking for the cheapest possible racing, more just racing with low recurring/operating costs so I can afford to do more events per season. I want to have my racing limited by my other time commitments, not my checkbook.

The SCCA event I'm heading to has a bunch of Spec Miata, Formula 600, Formula First, and Improved Touring cars entered, so I'll be checking those out. There's only one Formula Vee for some reason, disappointing after seeing the swarm of them at the Runoffs.

Curmudgeon
Curmudgeon MegaDork
9/27/13 3:49 p.m.

I like the idea of karts until I try to fold my corpulent carcass into one.

wbjones
wbjones PowerDork
9/27/13 4:01 p.m.

keep in mind that the lack of a suspension will beat the E36 M3 out of you .. even on a smooth track

ransom
ransom GRM+ Memberand UberDork
9/27/13 4:02 p.m.

Ooer... How 'bout an $8k Reynard Formula Continental?

Probably wrong time and place, but boy did that get my attention... I was just poking around a local sanctioning body's site looking for Club Ford stuff to get some ideas after seeing posts earlier in this thread.

ShadowSix
ShadowSix HalfDork
9/27/13 4:05 p.m.

In reply to ransom:

So. Much. Want.

ShadowSix
ShadowSix HalfDork
9/27/13 4:09 p.m.
wbjones wrote: keep in mind that the lack of a suspension will beat the E36 M3 out of you .. even on a smooth track

This is referring to karting?

rob_lewis
rob_lewis GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
9/27/13 4:43 p.m.
ShadowSix wrote:
wbjones wrote: keep in mind that the lack of a suspension will beat the E36 M3 out of you .. even on a smooth track
This is referring to karting?

Yep. It'll beat up your arms, legs and ribs. Get a good rib protector. Much harder workout than any car this side of an F1 car simply because of the simplicity and ridiculous g-forces.

If you go that route, look into a clutch kart, not a shifter. Shifter's are cool, but the learning curve and effort are MUCH steeper than a single speed clutch kart. After a year or two of understanding the forces and getting your body in shape, a shifter could be another progression.

But, from someone who spent WAY too much money on karting chasing national championships (and I regret exactly NONE of it) with my son, you can still race a car cheaper.....

-Rob

motomoron
motomoron Dork
9/27/13 11:22 p.m.

A couple seasons doing "alcohol Briggs stock heavy" at Monrovia Speedway in MD was the gateway drug to my current racing problem.

Tiny, rutted, primitive track and 5 other guys who'd been racing each other for years and years. A blueprinted Briggs Raptor motor was about a grand and they'd last most of a season. Dunlop kart tires would last 4 events, maybe more. Entry was about $25, a hot dog was a buck. The first time I finished ahead of dead last was a major achievement.

Had Monrovia not closed I'd still be doing it. A season costs about the same as one weekend in the sports racer I'm in now.

ShadowSix
ShadowSix HalfDork
10/8/13 6:51 a.m.

Update:

I went to the OVR SCCA "Ohio Sprints" at Mid-Ohio last weekend, some observations:

*The new Formula 600 (600cc sportbike motor in a small open car) class looked awesome, and Formula Vee and Formula First looked good, but I'm not sure I'm comfortable with that little structure around me.

*Spec Miata looked like a ton of fun, and was really clean as far as contact goes, but there were only 10-15 cars, so I don't know if that's representative of anything. Maybe all the shiny happy people in the class have already crashed their cars by this point in the year. Miatae are the best cars for this sort of thing (shocker!).

*IT looked good, not as close as SM, but still fun. Lots of the cars in the class seemed to be struggling with carb tuning for the very damp weather. This would be a major problem with an FB RX-7 race car, and I know nothing of automobile carb tuning.

Conclusion: I think that the Miata is the way to go, I hope to buy one suitable for track days/autocross next year, then sell it and buy an ITA/SM/PTx Miata when my skill level (and budget) reaches an appropriate level.

New question: I felt weird asking these guys at the track how much everything cost, I'm sure they would have told me, but awkwardness nonetheless. So, for the guys doing IT/SM/PT-level racing, what does a weekend of racing cost? Can you break that down by category?

fasted58
fasted58 PowerDork
10/8/13 7:02 a.m.

In reply to ShadowSix:

this was recently posted

http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/open-classifieds/fs-mazda-rx-7-track-carrace-carready-to-go/71897/page1/#post1326728

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker MegaDork
10/8/13 7:09 a.m.

In reply to ShadowSix:

If you figure $2000 a weekend you won't be too far off once you account for all the consumables, fees, transportation, food.

  • Typical entry fees: $300-575
  • Car Fuel: $100-~ (race length dependent)
  • Truck fuel: $100-~ (track distance dependent)
  • Food/Drinks/Jerky/Beer: $100-~
  • Camping/electric: $30 or Hotel: $50-150/nite
  • Add on amortized cost of all car repair, consumables and spares over season, divide by # of events. Figure on bringing at least 2 sets of drys (one fresh, one for practice), one set of rains, extra pads, fluids, etc to each race weekend and backfilling what you use.
  • Add on amortized costs of all the stuff you don't own yet for the 1st season (extra tools, jack, fuel jugs, transponder, radios, air cans, gauges, batt powered impact wrench, ... all of it)
TxCoyote
TxCoyote New Reader
10/8/13 7:44 a.m.
Giant Purple Snorklewacker wrote: In reply to ShadowSix: If you figure $2000 a weekend you won't be too far off once you account for all the consumables, fees, transportation, food. - Typical entry fees: $300-575 - Car Fuel: $100-~ (race length dependent) - Truck fuel: $100-~ (track distance dependent) - Food/Drinks/Jerky/Beer: $100-~ - Camping/electric: $30 or Hotel: $50-150/nite - Add on amortized cost of all car repair, consumables and spares over season, divide by # of events. Figure on bringing at least 2 sets of drys (one fresh, one for practice), one set of rains, extra pads, fluids, etc to each race weekend and backfilling what you use. - Add on amortized costs of all the stuff you don't own yet for the 1st season (extra tools, jack, fuel jugs, transponder, radios, air cans, gauges, batt powered impact wrench, ... all of it)

Ahhh, the addiction begins. From small roots do trees grow. I agree with the GPS assessment above although travel costs seem a little low. Budget $3k for your first 6 events on top of entry fees. Before you choose a class though consider your opportunities to race. I started with an RX7 but really wanted to run vintage too so I bought a BMW 2002. Spridgets. MG's and Fiat/Alfa Spyders are a big class where I am. Spec Miata is uber popular but I've seen more body parts fly in almost every SM race than all other races combined. Seems some of the competitors think they will get a pro ride and over try. To quote Yoda, Try not, DO! Whichever way you go racing is not for the faint of wallet, so crawl before you walk.

chrispy
chrispy New Reader
10/8/13 8:15 a.m.

I was budgeting $500 to $1000 for a weekend of hillclimbing before deciding it wasn't in the cards yet. One site was close enough to stay at home, the other had camping available. My spares consisted of those I'd take to an autox, if the car broke I was done. A set of drys and a set of wets (maybe).

wbjones
wbjones PowerDork
10/8/13 8:16 a.m.
ShadowSix wrote: Update: *Spec Miata looked like a ton of fun, and was really clean as far as contact goes, but there were only 10-15 cars, so I don't know if that's representative of anything. Maybe all the shiny happy people in the class have already crashed their cars by this point in the year. Miatae are the best cars for this sort of thing (shocker!).

you do know that Spec Miata is usually referred to as Spec Pinata don't you ?

the opening lap (or any lap for that matter) can be hilarious ... especially watching them go into T1

fasted58
fasted58 PowerDork
10/8/13 8:25 a.m.

maybe throw a test n tune or track day in the budget/ plan before you hit track w2w competition

MTIRacing
MTIRacing New Reader
10/8/13 8:48 a.m.
Alan Cesar wrote: I still don't understand how some teams manage to spend ten grand on crapcan racers. I built my Escort for bottom dollar and still got lap times on par with the top 10 at my first LeMons race. That car cost about $3500 to build. As far as long-term costs, Falken Azenis are much cheaper than Hoosiers...

the good old days. we kept putting more $$ in it and every time we did it got slower hahahah

iceracer
iceracer UberDork
10/8/13 9:00 a.m.

I have three friends who race Spec Ford. Operating costs are small. Racing is great. Hey they use an Escort engine.

they all ice race in the winter to keep sharp.

ShadowSix
ShadowSix HalfDork
10/8/13 10:09 a.m.

In reply to Giant Purple Snorklewacker:

Thanks! This level of thought and detail is what I was hoping for. Most lack the will to really sit down and do the math to see how expensive this really is.

I like the comprehensive way you're looking at this. Lots of people don't think to amortize or depreciate all their recurring costs like this.

Example: I don't think of an engine rebuild as a one-time-cost-in-a-bubble, I think of it as a cost that you have to depreciate every weekend. If my $2,000 motor lasts twenty weekends, I think of that as the motor depreciating $100 per weekend. Same for all the other "wear items" or "consumables."

I guess I'm lucky to be in Ohio, I've never seen an entry fee over $400 for a whole weekend.

I have three tracks within three-ish hours (Mid-Ohio, Nelson Ledges, Putnam Park), but I may move. Truck fuel costs could change dramatically if I move.

As for the costs of the "stuff I don't own yet," now that you mention it that's a bigger chunk than I imagined. Is there a good place to find some of this stuff used? I worked as a mechanic for a couple years so I have all the basic stuff, but it's all air tools and I'd have to borrow fuel jugs, etc. form the Lemons team...

How much cheaper are track days going to be? It seems like lots of the costs will be the same (towing, hotel, food, gas, mechanical wear and tear).

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker MegaDork
10/8/13 10:25 a.m.
ShadowSix wrote: Thanks! This level of thought and detail is what I was hoping for. Most lack the will to really sit down and do the math to see how expensive this really is.

I'm still lowballing so I don't have to admit that it's really a lot worse :)

I have three tracks within three-ish hours (Mid-Ohio, Nelson Ledges, Putnam Park), but I may move. Truck fuel costs could change dramatically if I move.

Have you driven Nelson? It's not a track so much as a rallycross.

As for the costs of the "stuff I don't own yet," now that you mention it that's a bigger chunk than I imagined. Is there a good place to find some of this stuff used? I worked as a mechanic for a couple years so I have all the basic stuff, but it's all air tools and I'd have to borrow fuel jugs, etc. form the Lemons team...

You really don't need that much - you need fuel jugs and air can, enough tools to swap a fender/tie rod/brake pads, jack stands and a jack...etc. You can change a tire with a 4-way until you get tired of doing it 10x a weekend. You can do a lot with a little - especially if you can team up with friends and share the gear.

How much cheaper are track days going to be? It seems like lots of the costs will be the same (towing, hotel, food, gas, mechanical wear and tear).

If you have the driving skill, like to teach, and a demeanor that lets you sit in the right seat without freaking out - you can pay for your track time by instructing. It's not for everybody - but it takes the entry fee away or reduces it by a large margin. Other ways to save - I run my old worn out race tires at DEs and use the time as setup/testing rather than trying to go fast. I run data, mess with dampers, try new things... figure fuel consumption... anything that doesn't chew thru consumables.

If you are still learning to drive - they cost the same but offer more track time.

ShadowSix
ShadowSix HalfDork
10/8/13 8:42 p.m.
wbjones wrote:
ShadowSix wrote: *Spec Miata looked like a ton of fun, and was really clean as far as contact goes, but there were only 10-15 cars, so I don't know if that's representative of anything. Maybe all the shiny happy people in the class have already crashed their cars by this point in the year. Miatae are the best cars for this sort of thing (shocker!).
you do know that Spec Miata is usually referred to as Spec Pinata don't you ?

Yes.

ShadowSix wrote: I was strongly thinking Spec Miata, but the race/crash-fest last weekend at the SCCA runoffs makes me think that's a bad idea
ShadowSix wrote: 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.

But, it's been mentioned that some regions may be less accepting of the demolition derby routine than others. I'm keeping an open mind.

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