ccrunner
ccrunner New Reader
9/20/21 12:54 p.m.

I need a little guidance from those who have been down the path of getting your street car track-ready.. I'm an older guy (54), but I've never built a car that will occasionally see track use; until now..

The Car: a 1959 Berkeley with a 1998 Honda VFR800 bike motor.. 990 lbs wet.. low-power at about 110HP.. it's a roadster, and will always be topless.. I'll have a set of track-only tires/wheels (maybe R888R..)

Intended Use: It is already street legal and running, although I'm still very much 'mid build' (it will always be street plated- this is not to be a dedicated track car), .. I know I want to autocross it (easy enough), and I also want to get it on a track for an occasional HPDE session (still pretty easy to do)..  My real question lies in that I'm thinking I may also want to go to the next level and race it door-to-door.  I know that brings my build requirements to a whole new level (safety).. I don't know if the work to get to door-to-door spec will be worth the effort and expense (opinions welcome!).. 

Surely I'll have roll bar requirements (4 point? 6 point?), fuel cell requirements (I know nothing about this, and I want to be careful to get it right the first time), seatbelt requirements (4 point? 5 point?), helmet requirements, a battery cutoff switch, and requirements that I have no clue are requirements.. I'm frankly overwhelmed and intimidated by all of the different rule books and specs I'm reading.. is there a 'catch-all/ laundry list' of what's needed? (I don't think there is, but wading through all of the various rules I'm finding is just confusing)..

I don't even know what class/category my little mutt build would race in? (if it matters, my power-to-weight is about 9:1)..  I will not race on a regular basis, just once in a while when I have the time and $$, maybe 3-4 times a year.. points/standings don't matter to me- it's just for fun.. I live in central/SoCal so those tracks/organizations are who I will have to comply with..

I know this is really too broad as a question/topic, but if you guys could at very least help me find direction, it would help keep me from making expensive mistakes as I'm still building..

Thank you-   

--ccrunner

Tom1200
Tom1200 SuperDork
9/20/21 1:49 p.m.

Here is what you will need for wheel to wheel:

An SCCA spec roll cage. I doubt anyone like Autopower makes one to fit your car so it will need to be fabricated. $1,500.00

A proper fixed back race seat. $250 - $950 depending on what material

A fuel cell; for a motor that small a 5 gallon cell $560 - $650

Fire System $300

Belts $75 - $300 depending on what style and level.

For wheel to wheel it is going to end up in a catchall class. Some vintage clubs may let it run in with modern club cars. Overall you'd like do best to stick with it as a track day car.  Even in time trials it would likely get stuck in some unlimited class.............read bring a dull spoon to a gun fight. I'd stick with autocross and HPDEs.

 

APEowner
APEowner GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
9/20/21 2:06 p.m.

The first thing you need to figure out is what sanctioning body or bodies you're going to run with . I think that what you're looking for is a vintage club that will accept your car with the newer motor.  I'd reach out to VARA and see what they say.  NASA has some classes that are based on power to weight but it's been a while since I looked at the rules for those..  I'd look at the tracks near you, see who runs there, contact those groups and see what they say.

One comment on the car specifically.  I've seen a bunch of bike engined cars that worked OK at autocross but suffered oil starvation issues on road courses with the stock oiling systems.  Motorcycle engines aren't designed for lateral Gs since they lean over in the corners.

L5wolvesf
L5wolvesf HalfDork
9/20/21 2:17 p.m.

I agree with APE about finding a place to door-to-door race - the car / engine combo seems like it would limit things. Who do you autoX or HPDE with and are they affiliated with a racing organization?

Prep wise Tom1200 hit on the equipment basics pretty well. I can't speak to the prices since I'm not there. However, if your scrounging abilities are good you may be able to lower those costs. If your fabrication abilities are good that could save you also.

ccrunner
ccrunner New Reader
9/20/21 5:32 p.m.

As always, thank you all for the feedback.. I don't think the numbers/investment will work out for this build at this time- I might now be able to go into my next build with these track requirements (and dollars) in mind during the planning stages..  For this car, I don't relish the idea of "Bringing a dull spoon to a knife fight," but I totally get the analogy, and I will shamelessly find a way to use that phrase at some point wink.  I've only done 1 HPDE event (with Speed Ventures @ Buttonwillow) and had a blast..   For this car, I'll stick to that and Auto-X, and plan for the next build to have a more aggressive power:weight ratio to insure that I'm not the dullest spoon in the game laugh

--ccrunner 

 

Tom1200
Tom1200 SuperDork
9/20/21 5:56 p.m.

In reply to ccrunner :

It will make a fun autocross car; you'll land in D or E-modified (I think) and for local events it won't matter.

matthewmcl
matthewmcl HalfDork
9/20/21 5:59 p.m.

Curiosity question. Are the 7 inch drums.up to the on track task of what that bike motor can do coupled with the extra weight of safety gear?

frenchyd
frenchyd UltimaDork
9/20/21 6:18 p.m.

In reply to ccrunner :

I think the numbers Tom 1200 gave you are a bit high.  I'm assuming you're up to some fabrication.  I have a budget of $500 for tubing for a Trans  Am  size car. Your car will require smaller tubing and less of it.  $300 should easily cover it. Check the SCCA site. Real good layouts and clear rules.  I assume bending it will be done in  house but could be done for a couple of hundred.  I'm in an area where there are many race car builders. You may have to travel a bit.  Make cardboard templates.  ( I assume you're welding?) 

   The fuel tank?  Check with Jegs, Summit and Speedway for legal fuel cells. Should be massively less than what Tom said.   But you'll still need seatbelts and HANS device, Kill switch, etc. there are less expensive sites for those. 
    Now class. You should be around Bug Eyed Sprite type speed.  Group 1 is about your speed but you're not prewar.  I'll do a little research tonight for you.  Update  you'll be in group 2. Tough class 
However, carefully remove the engine Brand  ( I forget the brand but it's a modern Japanese if I recall ) since the Berkeley originally had a British engine, Norton, BSA, Royal Enfield, J.A.Prestwhich,  I'd fake  one of those.    Vintage gets rather sticky about  that.  You don't have to lie. Let the decals or whatever do that for you. Most tech inspectors will understand what you're doing and pass it with a wink and a nod. 
  

frenchyd
frenchyd UltimaDork
9/20/21 6:21 p.m.
matthewmcl said:

Curiosity question. Are the 7 inch drums.up to the on track task of what that bike motor can do coupled with the extra weight of safety gear?

Properly adjusted with the right linings arched to the drums they will be fine.  
I race a 2000 pound MGTD at Elkhart Lake the toughest race track on brakes  without any problem.  Drum brakes can actually stop faster than disk!  ( dual servo effect ) 

Stampie
Stampie GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/20/21 6:40 p.m.

Wait.  The OP has a motorcycle engined Berkeley and no one has batted an eye?  Where's the berkeleying pictures?

frenchyd
frenchyd UltimaDork
9/20/21 7:16 p.m.

In reply to Stampie :

Berkley was originally sold powered by a Motorcycle engine. 

Tom1200
Tom1200 SuperDork
9/20/21 7:23 p.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

The price I gave was for someone to fabricate a cage.

The fuel cell price was based on W2W, which would need an FIA GT3 spec cell.

 

matthewmcl
matthewmcl HalfDork
9/20/21 8:43 p.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

I do understand the power of drum brakes. The concern is not in having drum brakes, but in the size of the drum brakes. Think '70's dirt bike rear brake and put that on all four corners. The bike engine in it is near four times the power of the bike engine it came with, and the cage needs to be both the cage and the frame it attaches to. Extra power plus extra weight led me to ask about the 50's era brakes. Fair warning, I am pulling a 28 HP number for the original motor from memory, so I may be off.

 

Edit: I would also love to see pics.

ccrunner
ccrunner New Reader
9/20/21 9:28 p.m.

Gotcha on trying to cut costs guys- I can fab and weld, so it's mostly just my time once I know what is needed for the task (i.e. cage tubing size/ number of anchor points/ what spec fuel cell to fab into the available space, etc, etc..).

I hear you on the brakes.. With this particular Berkeley it's not a concern because I've fabbed in a bespoke 'frame' with NA Miata bits on the corners to cope with the 800cc's power and the additional stress on the chassis.. It's a work in progress.. here's the build link and a beauty shot cheeky

https://www.locostusa.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=36&t=19397

 

ckosacranoid
ckosacranoid SuperDork
9/22/21 5:46 p.m.

If nothing else, did you read the story that GRM did years ago with their project car? I can not recall just what they all did but ideas and stuff for your ride can work also.

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