How do I get started racing? - answers within!

Questions and information about the WHRRI Driver's School
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924RACR
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Re: How do I get started racing? - answers within!

Post by 924RACR » Sun Feb 22, 2009 5:39 pm

cobrahicks wrote:Thanks Vaughan, this really helps.

But where would i find more info on the types of race classes and there rules and guidelines?

I'm completely new to this, so what race class or classes would be best for a beginner like me?

I'm looking to buy an existing racecar. And i dont plan to go all out (No more then $5000), i want something cheap that i can beat up and learn on.

Are some classes more popular then others? Is this something i need to take in to consideration?

As for the open track days, car i bring my completely stock car out?
Are there any special requirements for OTD?

Thanks Again guys.
Spec Neons are quite inexpensive, reasonably popular (yes, that's desirable - if to want to have someone to race!), take a fair bit of punishment, and there are quite a few available at the moment.

The IT classes as noted, in particular ITA, ITB, and ITC, are also fairly inexpensive to get into and run with - especially ITB and ITC - and are great choices... IT7 too, can't forget that! ITS is also great fun, though tends to be slightly more expensive (but still cheap, on the relative scale!)... OTOH it does offer more RWD cars if that's your pleasure.

And of course Spec Miata is VERY popular and provides excellent racing with a great car... not sure what pricetags are like on those cars these days.
Vaughan Scott
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Re: How do I get started racing? - answers within!

Post by 38Bfast » Sun Feb 22, 2009 5:53 pm

A ready to go Spec Miata will go for $7000.00 for the bottom end and $35,000.00 for the top end runoff capable car.

A good thing to know is if you race a Mazda. Any Mazda. You can get %40 off retail on all the parts that Mazda sells. For the most part the entire car. That is a very nice deal. I dont think anyone else offers such a good plan to support racers. Then if you win in a Mazda even more money comes your way.
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2008 WH top 10
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Re: How do I get started racing? - answers within!

Post by cobrahicks » Sun Feb 22, 2009 10:25 pm

Please e-mail me at
hickstik06@aol.com
if you guys know of any good deals on a ready car.
i've worked on cars my whole life so i dont mind getting something that may need some repairs
but i dont know anything about the safety aspect and what mods need to be done just to get it on the track
so a car that ready to go with all the proper modifications for safety and what not would be great.

i see i have a few options for race classes.
so i think a lot of what class to get in will determined on what race cars are readily available in the area at a reasonable price.
i live in clarkston, basically just down the road from the track.

once again hickstik06@aol.com is my e-mail.
please send anything you think will be of interest to me.

thanks
all you guys are incredibly helpful.

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Re: How do I get started racing? - answers within!

Post by 38Bfast » Sun Feb 22, 2009 10:33 pm

cobrahicks wrote:Please e-mail me at
hickstik06@aol.com
if you guys know of any good deals on a ready car.
i've worked on cars my whole life so i dont mind getting something that may need some repairs
but i dont know anything about the safety aspect and what mods need to be done just to get it on the track
so a car that ready to go with all the proper modifications for safety and what not would be great.

i see i have a few options for race classes.
so i think a lot of what class to get in will determined on what race cars are readily available in the area at a reasonable price.
i live in clarkston, basically just down the road from the track.

once again hickstik06@aol.com is my e-mail.
please send anything you think will be of interest to me.

thanks
all you guys are incredibly helpful.
Give us some things you are looking for in a race car.
Price?
FWD? RWD?
Lots of mods? Close to stock?
How fast?
Do you want to race a car in a large class (lots of competition)?
Do you want to run in SCCA, NASA, WHRRI?

I will PM you with my phone number to help you out.
V2 Motorsports
Ralph Provitz
2008 Spec Miata Champion
2008 WH top 10
38 DSR
Ralph@v2motorsports.com

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cobrahicks
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Re: How do I get started racing? - answers within!

Post by cobrahicks » Mon Feb 23, 2009 10:01 am

38Bfast wrote:
Give us some things you are looking for in a race car.
Price?
FWD? RWD?
Lots of mods? Close to stock?
How fast?
Do you want to race a car in a large class (lots of competition)?
Do you want to run in SCCA, NASA, WHRRI?

I will PM you with my phone number to help you out.
Like i mention previously in some post, i'm completely new to this. So i'm in need of some guidance and a lot of advice.

price: i'd like to keep it cheap since in a beginner and will probably be beating up what ever i get.
From what i hear (depending on the class) i should be able to get something ready to race for about $3000 to $5000. and thats right in my budget

I'd prefer RWD but i'm not going to be too picky on that. I'll be just as happy driving FWD.

As for mods i could go either way, i've worked on plenty of cars so i could always make some upgrades my self. What are the major pros and cons of lots of mods vs close to stock?

I like to go fast, with the potential of going faster.

I definitly would like a good amount of competition, so i'd prefer a lager class.

As for running in SCCA, NASA, WHRRI. I need some advice about this. And what the major differences are between them.

I live right down the road from waterford hills, so that will be my main place of interest. Also since i live so close i'll be driving my car to the track.

Also i'm 6 feet tall, from what i heard some of the cars can be a little tight for tall drivers.

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Re: How do I get started racing? - answers within!

Post by 924RACR » Mon Feb 23, 2009 12:25 pm

Being flexible FWD vs. RWD helps keep the cost down plenty - lots of FWD ITB/ITC cars around that are inexpensive and durable! And of course the Spec Neons.

Actually, peeking at our classifieds right now, I'm surprised to see not a whole lot of IT Cars FS, just the few Neons... I would expect more around this time of year!

As mentioned, ImprovedTouring.com delivers:
http://www.improvedtouring.com/forums/f ... y.php?f=65

Too bad you missed picking up Steve P's Prizm... that was a steal...

As for mods - the more you mod from stock, the more that's there to break! Faster isn't better, when it comes to road-racing - closer is what's better!!! It's much more fun, and you'll learn a lot more, when you're running door-to-door, than compared to being out there by yourself with no-one within a hundred feet.

Yeah, Miatas can be a slightly snug fit for tall guys, but not unmanageable...
Vaughan Scott
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#25 P2 Hidari Firefly
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Re: How do I get started racing? - answers within!

Post by 924RACR » Mon Feb 23, 2009 12:27 pm

cobrahicks wrote:I definitly would like a good amount of competition, so i'd prefer a lager class.
Just noticed this - looks like you'll fit right in (though I think pilsners and ales tend to dominate the paddock)! ;)
Vaughan Scott
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#25 P2 Hidari Firefly
http://www.vaughanscott.com

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Re: How do I get started racing? - answers within!

Post by Greg Blastic » Mon Feb 23, 2009 2:23 pm

Dan Watkin's ITS RX7 is a good car. A littlte over your budget but....ITS is fast and fun. Cars are a little bigger, we have one guy that's about 6-2.
But, of course, you want something you could drive to the track.

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Re: How do I get started racing? - answers within!

Post by cobrahicks » Mon Feb 23, 2009 6:39 pm

well it seems there a lot of choices.

I've been talking to a co-worker of mine (Jim Krom AKA 'Smooth', he's the guy who made me realize my racing dreams can easily be reality)
and he's got me leaning toward racing neons
There inexpensive (~3500 for a race ready car)
there's quite a bit of competition
the few i've seen for sale are also street legal (i'd be driving it to the track)
And i can race them in a couple of classes.

Its seems to me like that would be the best option for a beginner on a budget like me.

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Re: How do I get started racing? - answers within!

Post by finding_beans » Mon Feb 23, 2009 10:36 pm

cobrahicks wrote:well it seems there a lot of choices.

I've been talking to a co-worker of mine (Jim Krom AKA 'Smooth', he's the guy who made me realize my racing dreams can easily be reality)
and he's got me leaning toward racing neons
There inexpensive (~3500 for a race ready car)
there's quite a bit of competition
the few i've seen for sale are also street legal (i'd be driving it to the track)
And i can race them in a couple of classes.

Its seems to me like that would be the best option for a beginner on a budget like me.
Ah yes, isn't it a great feeling when you realize going racing isn't out of reach.

Spec Neon is a great choice. Of course, I'm a bit biased. It does seem to fit what you want. Whatever you decide, consider cost to race in addition to the initial cost of the car. Spec Neon is great because we hold down one of the biggest costs ... tires. Also, consider replacement parts cost and availability. Once again, Spec Neon is great in this aspect too.
Matt
Spec Neon #??

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Re: How do I get started racing? - answers within!

Post by 38Bfast » Mon Feb 23, 2009 10:47 pm

cobrahicks wrote:well it seems there a lot of choices.

I've been talking to a co-worker of mine (Jim Krom AKA 'Smooth', he's the guy who made me realize my racing dreams can easily be reality)
and he's got me leaning toward racing neons
There inexpensive (~3500 for a race ready car)
there's quite a bit of competition
the few i've seen for sale are also street legal (i'd be driving it to the track)
And i can race them in a couple of classes.

Its seems to me like that would be the best option for a beginner on a budget like me.
I would also recomend A ITB Mustang. Some prep allowed, about the same price to get in and RWD. Big class as well. You can also run two classes.

Spec Neon would be a good choice as well (Did I just say that :shock: )

The krom's have done very well with SN
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Re: How do I get started racing? - answers within!

Post by jimkrom » Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:01 am

38Bfast wrote: The krom's have done very well with SN
Correction: Greg Krom has done well in SN - as for me, all of my Neon experiences have ended poorly . . . :oops:
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Re: How do I get started racing? - answers within!

Post by Motor City Hamilton » Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:44 pm

I think wanting to drive to the track puts you into Spec Neon or Spec Miata. Miata will be a little more expensive. Spec Neon is a good place to learn. Slower speeds so your mistakes aren't always as big or expensive. Plus, factor in after you buy the race car a season worth of tires, fuel, entry fees and $1,000 or so for misc. repairs. Does your $5,000 budget need to cover just buying a car or does it also have to cover the season?

You can learn alot in a front wheel drive car with not much horsepower. Drive that class for a couple of years, save up, then move up to Spec Miata. SM is currently the biggest class anywhere you go, which is why I chose to move from my $5,000 Honda Civic ITC car to SM. I'm glad I spent four seasons in the Honda. It was a great car to learn on.
My driving skills fall somewhere between The Stig and Sammy Hawkins!

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Re: How do I get started racing? - answers within!

Post by Doug Respecki » Tue Feb 24, 2009 7:19 pm

Motor City Hamilton wrote:You can learn alot in a front wheel drive car with not much horsepower. Drive that class for a couple of years, save up, then move up to Spec Miata. It was a great car to learn on.
Can you say Festiva :?:
Our Festiva put 8 (or was it 9?) people through driver's school, has raced since 1997 and has been nearly bullet proof (just basic maintenance).
I agree with Keith, start with a good handling car and go from there as you learn more. Most smaller production based cars within your price range are a great way to learn the basics. As you progress you can move up to faster cars. MCH is a great example of how to do it.

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Re: How do I get started racing? - answers within!

Post by cobrahicks » Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:33 pm

Motor City Hamilton wrote:Plus, factor in after you buy the race car a season worth of tires, fuel, entry fees and $1,000 or so for misc. repairs. Does your $5,000 budget need to cover just buying a car or does it also have to cover the season?
Well it looks like i can get a car for about ~$3000
then i need the proper equipment(gloves, suite, helment, shoes, lucky boxers) so i'll guess about ~$500 for that
so i'll say i'll have at least $4000 into the car and racing gear.

what should i expect to be spending between the driving school and just getting on the track for the first couple races? i'm not looking for anything specific, just a ball park range.

And then after i've been on the track with my car, gear, etc... what other expenses should i be expecting for the rest of the season? i.e. tires, gas, maintenance... and how much should i expect to be paying?

keep in mind i'll probably be buying a spec neon.

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Re: How do I get started racing? - answers within!

Post by Motor City Hamilton » Wed Feb 25, 2009 11:24 am

Some equipment advice:

There is a great article in this month's SCCA Sports Car magazine about safety gear. I'm sure someone in the club could let you have their copy at the next club meeting? They talk about driver's suit, helmets, head and neck restrainsts, etc.

I bought my suit from RJS racing. They are local, in Hazel Park, MI. I needed a custom made suit since I'm 6'4. Great price, plus I didn't want the standard blue, black or red color suit.

Fire resistant underwear, socks and head sock. I started with nomex stuff from RJS. This season we upgraded to CarbonX from Averill Racing. Averill is also local, in Madison Heights. The also do custom sizes. If you are on a shoe string budget, you could do nomex. It's not manditory and a personal choice, but the more protection the better.

Helmet. I am in the market for a helmet now. I have priced Averill (carries bell helmets). He's priced right with most everyone else. For the 10 bucks I might save on a helmet, I'll get back in shipping and local service. You can go to his shop and try on different Bell helmet styles. Sizing is important. Plus Keith Averill is at the local track every weekend. I think it's good to support the local area if possible.

Head and neck restaint. These currently are not mandated, but I won't drive without one. Right now it's a personal choice whether you wear one or not, but both SCCA and NASA are looking at making them manditory. When I bought my HANS device from Averill, it was a budget choice between the HANS and a new set of Hoosier tires. I chose the HANS. Buy it once and be protected for years. Buy a set of tires and have some fun for a few weekends. I highly recommend the HANS. The best piece of safety equipment that I may never have to test. Their new sport version is like $650 or so.

Shoes and gloves. RJS also sells them for a great price. Not sure what Averill carries? Mine came from RJS. I did read an article on safety that recommended paying attention to the SFI rating and get at least the same level rating as your suit.

I don't remember exactly what I spent on gear five years ago, but it has all lasted very well til now. Call RJS. They gave me a discount because I bought most of my stuff from them and picked it up at the warehouse. They treat the local racers well.

Welcome to the sport.
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Re: How do I get started racing? - answers within!

Post by Motor City Hamilton » Wed Feb 25, 2009 11:50 am

Car advice:

I bought a mid-pack Honda ITC car (really back of the pack, but there's a chance that the guy I bought it from might be reading this, so mid to back pack car). I spent around $3,000 to buy the car from him. It was a car that had been raced at Waterford for a few years, so it would easily pass Waterford tech inspection. The tires that came with the car had really only enough tread for driver's school.

I spent around $1,000 for misc. parts for that first season. Paint, because I couldn't stand canary yellow. Obnoxious green is much, much racier. New brakes. Had NASCAR style door bars added to the driver's side for additional safety. Replaced the transmission (wouldn't stay in 3rd gear). And had to work out some engine idle problems - tune up and some vaccum line issues.

Tires. ITC races on DOT slicks, so Hoosiers are the fastest at $800 to $900 per set. I think for Spec Neon you have to run shaved Toyos. They are cheaper. Around $130 each??? At Waterford in the Honda, I totally used up four tires and went half-way through two more. The next season I got faster so I needed eight tires per season since then. So my tire bill was around $1,800. The Spec Neon guys can give you advice on that.

The second season I spent my racing budget on tires and repairs. Already had all the gear, trailer, car, etc., so the racing budget could go into things that I broke or wanted to upgrade. New wheel bearings. New fender, door and paint job. Funny enough, I got hit by a Neon. :)

Third season I spent the racing buget on tires and upgrades. Engine rebuild. Front and rear suspension rebuilds with new bushings. New shocks and better springs. My driving skill were beginning to catch up to the car. What I mean is that my lap times were beginning to get really consistent. The car was the issue now and less of my speed issues were me. Oddly enough, now that I have moved to Spec Miata, I am again behind the car. The driver is the biggest barrier to going faster. So my approach was build the car myself with good safety gear, all the suspension and handling goodies available, but buy a crate motor vs. a pro built motor. Once I catch up to the car and can run consistent 1:19 lap times, I'll be buying that pro motor in an effort to chase consistent 1:18 lap times.

Things to ask when looking to buy your car:
When was the last time it was raced and is the log book current/last tech inspection?
How many sessions on the engine and how often does the class tend to do rebuilds?
How many sets of tires does it come with and how many weekends do they tend to get out of them?
For front drive cars, when was the last time the front wheel bearings and hubs where changed? Rear too, but they tend to last longer.
What rules changed does the seller know of that you'll have to update (safety wise) for this next season (expired seat belts, side net requirements for NASA, etc.).
Knowing that you are buying a used car for cheap, what did the driver always want to upgrade, but never had the time or resources to do it?

Good luck. Once you get a car, I can help you with some budget friendly ways to approach handling and alignment changes.
My driving skills fall somewhere between The Stig and Sammy Hawkins!

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Re: How do I get started racing? - answers within!

Post by EBSNASCAR » Wed Feb 25, 2009 11:58 am

cobrahicks wrote: what should i expect to be spending between the driving school and just getting on the track for the first couple races? i'm not looking for anything specific, just a ball park range.

For cost look to the "forms" area under the main menu. It will show driver's school cost at $350 and the prices for racing each weekend or a package deal for the season.
Tom
Owner/Driver of TF American Racing with an empty garage!

http://tfamericanracing.blogspot.com/

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Re: How do I get started racing? - answers within!

Post by Motor City Hamilton » Wed Feb 25, 2009 12:05 pm

Is the Fiesta still around and available for driver's school rental?

Cobrahicks will not want to miss the WHRRI drivers school. It is the best value of any of the SCCA accredited schools and only happens once a year. If the budget for car, tires, gear, repairs is all too much to get started, you could start by buying your gear and seeing about the Fiesta for drivers school. Would stretch your budget through the year a bit.

P.S. for Doug. I am working on the new Fiesta program now. I think you are going to want one. :D
My driving skills fall somewhere between The Stig and Sammy Hawkins!

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Re: How do I get started racing? - answers within!

Post by Greg Anthony » Wed Feb 25, 2009 12:15 pm

Motor City Hamilton wrote:P.S. for Doug. I am working on the new Fiesta program now. I think you are going to want one. :D

Keith, notmenay people know, Doug actually does not own any cars.... You're going have to talk to his better 1/2 about that one! :lol:
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