JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
5/20/22 12:26 p.m.

What makes the ideal track car?

Good question. One look at any grid shows that the answers are as varied as the people doing the driving. 

The ideal track car could be a turnkey offering, a homebuilt special or just an unassuming sedan. It could be box-stock or incredibly complicated. 

But what kind of car shopping advice can some experts …

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Beer Baron
Beer Baron MegaDork
5/20/22 1:04 p.m.

One that you won't lose any sleep if you wad it up and are able to walk away.

spacecadet (Forum Supporter)
spacecadet (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
5/20/22 1:22 p.m.
Beer Baron said:

One that you won't lose any sleep if you wad it up and are able to walk away.

One you can walk away from and not be financially devastated from is rule #1 and definitely the most important.

if i wadded up my fit I'd definitely lose some sleep being sad i'd done it.. but i'd tear off the still good parts and put together a new car over time and be right back at it.

 

ClearWaterMS
ClearWaterMS Reader
5/20/22 1:34 p.m.

The one currently in your garage...  

 

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
5/20/22 1:36 p.m.
spacecadet (Forum Supporter) said:
Beer Baron said:

One that you won't lose any sleep if you wad it up and are able to walk away.

One you can walk away from and not be financially devastated from is rule #1 and definitely the most important.

if i wadded up my fit I'd definitely lose some sleep being sad i'd done it.. but i'd tear off the still good parts and put together a new car over time and be right back at it.

 

this. Already have my eye on a white LX from Texas.

 

Olemiss540
Olemiss540 HalfDork
5/20/22 2:33 p.m.

The one that runs consistently. Still looking for that one.

akylekoz
akylekoz UltraDork
5/20/22 2:46 p.m.

A few answers from the OP resonate with my choice. 

It's what I have.

Easy to modify.

Plenty of aftermarket support.

9/10ths isn't insanely fast.

Fun to drive/like the looks of.

Fits my life of hauling kids, and an occasional road trip.

However I would be upset if I balled it up.  See fun at 9/10ths and at sane speeds.

Cannot stress enough, to just get out there.  Building is fun but knowing what needs the most help first while enjoying what you have is the way to go.

If I could start all over I would just sign up and go.  However that is easier now than thirty years ago.  TNiA and any other HPDE with a well run novice class is the best opportunity out there to get involved. 

 

 

 

edmagoo
edmagoo New Reader
5/20/22 2:48 p.m.

I had a bunch of style, cost, and utility criteria that I was able to meet when I chose my race car but there was one thing I didn't think about. The size of the class that I would race in. I was often in the slow class of the fast group or the fast class of the slow group and not many in my class.

You can always race against yourself and just try to do your best under the circumstances but it is nice to actually compete against another person. Even someone about your speed in another class is good but I often found myself alone on the track. (or maybe I should have just raced with bigger clubs) 

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
5/20/22 3:18 p.m.

In reply to edmagoo :

Race what you know.   If you are overwhelmed mechanically you will always be tentative, afraid you're going to hurt it. Thus hesitate to take openings or push it past redline.   
  If you need a mechanic with you, it doesn't matter if it's a common car or not.  
    Knowledge is power.  Real power on the race track.  "Aw heck,  if it goes bang I'll just grab another engine and go back racing".   Or That's the cars absolute limit, don't go past that.  
 

   I learned that from a Formula  V driver.   
he could swap motors with anyone and still win.  In fact with some of the cheating motors he could run too fast.  
 
Same with the really good formula Ford drivers.  They'd have engine swaps down to a 1/2 hour or less.  Take someone's old tired engine and go beat the field.   
     
    When I raced the DeMar I almost always won but when the owner drove it  he felt good if he wasn't lapped.  
              Knowing how hard you can push something is worth a lot of extra horsepower or handling.  
        Look inside of yourself.  How close to the edge are you comfortable?   Will you slide the tires slightly past control knowing the crest will give you back the control you lost?  Can you tuck up to someone's back end to get a full draft  and then dive out at the last moment in an outbraking maneuver or do you need someone to wave you past?  When he's waving you past do you know if you should take the wave bye or wait for a cleaner opening?  
    I remember one race where I went into a corner waving the Porsche by on the outside.  I didn't let off, I still was flat out but he pushed it past redline by a bunch and yep it went bang in a really expensive way. For a moment there he was past me.  But only for a moment.  
 He violated the first rule of racing.  Which is drive your car.  It was his obligation to know his cars limits. 
       

dannyzabolotny
dannyzabolotny Reader
5/20/22 6:36 p.m.

Sometimes you just go with what you want to track, regardless of practicality, parts availability, etc.

That's what I did with my 1992 525i/5. Since it's got an M50 and a ZF transmission, it shares a lot with the E36, so I was able to use an E36 M3 clutch/flywheel setup. As for the suspension, BC makes coilovers for the E34 so that was that. I also found some really rare Racing Dynamics sway bars to help handle the weight. Control arm bearings were made by an E34 enthusiast, and customer camber plates were made by another enthusiast. There's one decent seat adapter made by VAC Motorsport, so I went with that. And topped it off with some E36-spec Apex ARC-8 wheels.

Thankfully the E34 has just enough of a community to make tracking it feasible, and enough crossover with E30 and E36 parts that I can "borrow' things from those cars, like an S50/S52 if I wanted more power.

Despite being slower and heavier than a lot of other track cars, the E34 did incredibly well and served as a great platform for me to learn on. And I had a second E34 as a backup, so when I totaled the white car, I just transferred everything over to my second E34, which will be hitting the track next month.

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