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How do I get started racing? - answers within!

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

Postby 38Bfast » Mon Feb 23, 2009 11:47 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!

Postby jimkrom » Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:01 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!

Postby Motor City Hamilton » Tue Feb 24, 2009 2:44 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.
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Re: How do I get started racing? - answers within!

Postby Doug Respecki » Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:19 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!

Postby cobrahicks » Tue Feb 24, 2009 10:33 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!

Postby Motor City Hamilton » Wed Feb 25, 2009 12:24 pm

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!

Postby Motor City Hamilton » Wed Feb 25, 2009 12:50 pm

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

Postby EBSNASCAR » Wed Feb 25, 2009 12:58 pm

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

Postby Motor City Hamilton » Wed Feb 25, 2009 1:05 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
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Re: How do I get started racing? - answers within!

Postby Greg Anthony » Wed Feb 25, 2009 1:15 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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