Thinkkker UltraDork
12/14/22 10:48 a.m.

I have to say, I have been following your builds for.....a long time.  I caught the midget from locostusa.  I loved the way you did the flares and have kept that in mind for a long time.  I was stoked when you went to Nats with it and I got to see it in person.  We talked for a moment, but nothing huge. 

This build I have followed from the start.  I have way to much stuff happening to get through my own things.   I have a Birkin to still make run, I am building a closet in the house, Redoing a pit bike to make it a kids Xmas present, and more stuff.  I have a Pinto located and its mine to build to a something similar to this, just not sure when I will be able to get to that.

You are giving us ideas, hope, drive.  Trust me.  Just haven't had enough hours in a day to really step up to your level sir. 

I, as most, anxiously await more updates and the next roll out of projects.

NY Nick
NY Nick Dork
12/14/22 11:13 a.m.

In reply to nocones :

Thank you for the explanation, that makes a lot of sense that you have an engineering background and life lessons of continuous learning at home. 

I am blown away by your consistent forward progress. 

fouckhest New Reader
12/14/22 11:16 a.m.

I have to add to this thread that your work is truly inspirational.  I found this thread searching for how to kick off my next project, and while I may not take the $2k challenge approach, it will be very GRM insprired.

I look forward to following along for whats next!

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
12/14/22 1:14 p.m.

 nocones said :

... (a lot of really great stuff including) ... Sadly my Dad passed away before I finished any of my builds.  I know that he might not understand why I did them, but he would be really proud to see how they turned out.  

totally.  my Dad died before i started my 400-level engineering classes (including FSAE).  doing everything "as right as i can" on MonZora is part me and part tribute to Dad. 

Teh E36 M3
Teh E36 M3 UltraDork
12/14/22 1:55 p.m.

You and your builds have been a huge inspiration. Thanks dude- I always get a charge when you offer me a suggestion on my project, and felt like I was part of something watching your kickass project get the attention it totally deserves. 

HikerDan (Forum Supporter)
HikerDan (Forum Supporter) New Reader
12/14/22 6:13 p.m.

Love your build and have been following it - and getting alot of inspiration and joy from it - for quite a while.

Hard to convey how happy I am for you about your experience at the show!! It's so well deserved!

Looking forward to what's next for you and the LMP360!


ralleah PowerDork
12/14/22 9:23 p.m.
nocones said:

I know that he might not understand why I did them, but he would be really proud to see how they turned out.  

I'm sure he is. laugh

nocones PowerDork
12/14/22 11:08 p.m.

Thanks everyone.  It's been an adventure to get to this point and I'm glad people feel like they have came along on the journey as that was the goal.

A person has a lot of time to think riding to and from PRI and to and from the Challenge.

So what's next for the LMP360?  From the beginning the goal for the car was to build something that would have a life after the challenge.  I have been doing Track Days in my MG midget for the past few years and at the last few events have been desiring moving towards TT from HPDE.  The MG has proven to be fast and reliable, with low consumable use and quite attention grabbing.  But it's not  perfect.  There are a few issues with moving it to full TT duty.  1. Safety.  The car was built before I knew any better and uses a low front hoop cage that, critically is built from ERW tube.  This was a mistake past me made because I speced NHRA legal tubing for the bar because the initial goal of the build was a $2000 challenge car.    The low hoop design requires a few additional tubes to be added to be "fully legal" which most TT organizations would require.   They also would render it basically unsafe for street use because of where these tubes would go.  It doesn't have a fire system or fuel cell both of which would need to be added.  2. It's an open car.  I've ran it on track in the rain 3 times and every time it's "fun" in a I'm getting all wet and acting like I don't care sort of way.  3. It was the first thing I constructed my self and some of the workmanship is less then top notch.   4. It's Short..  Like REALLY short, like 80" WB short.  It's fine at <120 mph but if I wanted to push it towards the speeds it should be capable of for the classes a "Tube Frame Race car" plays in it has been showing me it would be a bit spicy at 130mph plus.  Yes obviously I could fix all this stuff sort of but it would require a pretty extensive re-build of the car and make it less good at faking being a street car.  

The 360 was the opportunity to address all of that from the beginning.  The 360 is capable of being an enclosed car.  I know a lot more then I knew when I built the MG so the cage could be built of Top Spec materials, designed to be legal from the beginning for any organization.   A foot print more conducive to high speed stability could be created, the wheelbase is 14" longer despite having a nearly identical track width.  If weight was kept similar low consumables would be expected.   I could build it from the beginning with Aero in mind which again is pretty much required in the classes it will have to play in.  It's also Mid Engined, which is just better somehow.  

So from the onset this was the target for the LMP360.  Be a better track car then the MG addressing all the deficiencies I experienced with the MG.  And for the most part I've been able to do that with the $2000 budget.  The car as a base is more capable then the MG, weighs 40 lbs less then the MG despite being bigger, has full Aero and will be an enclosed cockpit.  HP lags by about 15HP (The MG is 165 WHP, the LMP360 165 Crank) as realistically will reliability.   Safety is partially addressed with accommodation for a FIA fuel cell and a much superior cage built into the car.   The FIRM trackday showed the car has huge potential as is, but the car still has gaps for track work that realistically can't be fixed in budget.

The Brakes are horrible.  This is mostly due to re-use of donor car brakes but the Pedal cluster is less then Ideal for track use.  The car was built using a flipped and modified OEM Outback cluster converted to manual brakes.  I am not satisfied with the safety this solution offers for track work.  Calipers / pads are exempt but pedals are not.

The car needs an FIA fuel cell.  This is required by rule for most TT organizations.  I already own this but it's $800.

The car needs a fire system.  Again this is required by some organizations rules.  This is $700.

The EJ series of engines do not love sustained High G cornering.  Solutions are available.  They cost money.  

The suspension needs a 3rd element and possibly swaybars.  I actually might be able to get this done for near challenge money but realistically it is going to require 8-16 rod ends and that's $5/each.  

165 HP is nice, but the FIRM showed it can only propel the Aero to around 105.  Even with a reduction in down force to more appropriate levels for track use, It will only really have the same performance envelop (speed) as the MG and top at around 120.  

So I'm going to spend money.  It's not going to be a Challenge car anymore.  I'm somewhat saddened by this because part of the cars identity has been the fact that it is hilariously cheap.  And If i was satisfied with it being a Autox car with occasional HPDE use I could keep it that way but I already have a compromised Track car, why would I own two?  

But I'm not just going to go from pinching every penny to blowing the budget off, that's just not in my nature.  As fun as it would be to call up a Subaru performance shop and say here's $15K lets make some HP that's not my style so I need a goal.  

Challenge cars and the GRM ethos is all about performance for the dollar so lets do a little stroll around the interspace and see what’s what.

Ligier or equivalent LMP3  - 950 KG, 450 HP, $150-240K. 

Okay that may be a bit of a stretch goal.  Lets aim a little more down market.

Praga R1 – 650 KG, 370 HP $160K

That’s a little more attainable, weight is close but I don’t think there are many of them in the states to compare to.

Radical SR3 – 630 KG, 226 HP $78-120K

Well now we are getting somewhere for a target but that’s an open car with a motorcycle power train but it sure is a nice piece of kit but I bet I can do better..

NASA NP-01 EVO – 680 KG, 210HP $84K

Well then..  Don’t you look familiar.  Automotive based 4 cylinder, enclosed cockpit.  ~680KG, 210HP.  You are everything I would love to own..  but eek $84K!

So let’s build our own shall we.

Introducing Project LMP360-EVO

The Goal:  Lap equal to a NASA NP01-EVO when driven by a normal human.  I’m not setting the target based on lap records here but make the LMP360 reliably lap a track at laptimes that would be in the mix with NP01 races. 

Weight target : 680 KG

HP Target: 210+ HP (Crank) with potential support for up to 300WHP (EVO 2 foreshadowing intensifies). 

Safety Targets: FIA Fuel Cell, Braided AN fuel System, Wilwood Pedal Cluster, “5LB” Fire system.

Reliability: As good as possible, address the EJ motor weaknesses.

Participate in the UTCC, and run GridLife Track Battle. 

Budget: $10K..  ALL IN.  No Exemptions.

nocones PowerDork
12/14/22 11:10 p.m.

So where am I today?  707KG (1560 lbs), 165 Crank HP.

A budget note before we get started.  This is for fun.  I will keep the budget as close as I can.  But no one is reviewing my build book, there won’t be one.  If you don’t believe my budget that’s fine. I have no reason to lie but I’m not going to argue about it.  You do you I’ll do me. 

Since there is At the Challenge I was at a legal budget of 1973.XX.  Since the challenge I have installed right at $30 of interior so the car is basically right at $2000.   But as people LOVE to point out, there are exemptions.  This car utilized the Brake Lines, Harnesses and Tires.  For simplicity of math I will include the RFP1 track rims that were $500. 

Adding all of this together the total spent for what was displayed at PRI is $4248.74.  Since this build will no longer follow “Challenge Math” I will include all of the Recoup I received for the parts leftover after the donors where stripped of their goodness.  The total for that is currently $1185.  I still have 6 Cat converters to scrap..  So that’s subject to increase. 

Current Out of Pocket Spend: $3063.74

This will be taken as the starting point.   Wherever possible I will utilize and note when gift cards the car has earned are utilized for parts purchases but they will be counted in the budget.  This is an AMAZING thing that happened and was completely unplanned when the build was started.  I thank GRM and their partners TireRack, Summit Racing, CRC immensely.  I also received a gift card from Grimmspeed during the Subiefest MW show.  I am immensely thankful for the benefit these will be during the next stage of this build.  In fact the RT660s at PRI were new and all from TR gift cards.. (So I guess that’s -$650 from the out of pocket?)

So what’s the plan.   How do I get there from here?

I have put together an estimated budget of what it’s going to take.  I will hit the highlights and discuss the plan.


-Fuel Safe Fuel Cell $783.90 actual

-Lifeline Novec 2.25kg 1230 4 nozzle manual system $699 Summit Racing ($450 gift cards)

-AN fuel lines $200 estimated


-Wilwood Pedal Cluster with Master Cylinders and Bias bar $800 estimate (-$35 for bias valve removed from system)

-new calipers/rotars front and rear $401 actual

-HAWK 9012 brake pads F/R - $298 (Tire Rack Gift Cards)

-Third Element front / rear - $100 estimate (2 shocks at $15/ea + metal and Rod ends)

-Lighted front Aero, revised rear Aero - $200 budgeted estimated loss of 35 lbs.


-2002 WRX EJ20 w/ Factory ECU, WRX 5MT - $795 with bad exhaust valve.  This is an ENTIRE car.  It is anticipated that this will recoup to $0.

IAG Competition Oil Pan and Stage 2 ported Oil pump - $1070.98.  Purchased will be here Friday

Engine Rebuild kit w/ new timing set / head bolts - $650 est, plan is to not go into Bottom end just fix valve and re seal engine with new service parts

2002 WRX heads - $100 purchased

IAG or similar Air Oil Separator - $400

ACT competition flywheel, 6 puck clutch - $600 totally unnecessary but I want it.

Exhaust manifold parts (Will need to relocate turbo) - $200

Total: $9493.XX  Est. 1500lbs, 227 HP (Crank).

Should leave just a bit for just in cases.  I’ll also have a spare EJ25 with complete ECU/Drivetrain that I could recoup if needed. 

So that’s the plan.  I will probably keep this build going in this thread.  I may wish to re-name it to something like “NoconesGarage LMP360 build $2000 challenge and beyond” because the name kinda never made sense anyway. 

So come along as I spend ~$6000 trying to make a $2000 challenge car lap a road course as fast as an $84,000 car for 12% of the money.  I don’t know exactly what the timeframe will be.  The WRX swap may not happen until after the 2023 challenge as the WRX is planned to be running for the event.  So it is possible I will run the EJ25 at several events this summer with just the Oiling support mods and safety gear in place.  I will keep everyone up to date as the plan comes together.   I know some may be disappointed that the build is going “upmarket” but I still think this goal is consistent with the $2000 challenge roots.  The car will always have been a $2000 challenge champion and I plan to wear the crest with honor and trumpet the event until someone makes me stop.

Recon1342 SuperDork
12/14/22 11:21 p.m.

I am so totally in for this. Loved this build from the get go, and now I get to see where it goes next!! 

singleslammer PowerDork
12/15/22 12:12 a.m.

This is a fantastic plan! Congrats on all the PRI love. You definitely desire it. 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltimaDork
12/15/22 6:53 a.m.

If you find that the EJ series engines prove too unreliable, the later EZ30R is nearly the same length and makes awesome flat 6 noises, although I'm certain you've thought of this already.

I'm excited to see the next phase of this, you're an inspiration.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
12/15/22 9:43 a.m.

To be GRM is not a dollar amount (except at the one event...Challenge) but rather to be GRM is a mindset. 

You are firmly there in that mindset. 

We don't applaud the guy putting a V12 in his Ferrari because he does it under $2k, we applaud him because he's doing it in his garage, in his spare time and not with cubic dollars thrown at it. 

$10k at Gridlife gets you a Mazda2 or Kia Rio. You'll be far exceeding those! 

gumby Dork
12/15/22 9:54 a.m.
John Welsh said:

$10k at Gridlife gets you a ... Kia Rio. You'll be far exceeding those! 

Shots fired!!

bobzilla MegaDork
12/15/22 10:02 a.m.
gumby said:
John Welsh said:

$10k at Gridlife gets you a ... Kia Rio. You'll be far exceeding those! 

Shots fired!!

I'm no where near $10k. 

BadBug New Reader
12/15/22 10:53 a.m.

Love this idea and approach. I do wonder if a brand-new build thread would be appropriate. This one is fully 60 pages long, and the car is basically going to another brand new incarnation, purpose, and budget cap. Dunno. Seems like you're sort of starting with a new goal and focus, so a new build thread is called for. Regardless, I'm onboard for the vicarious ride...

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
12/15/22 10:56 a.m.

In reply to bobzilla :

I'm not firing shots. Yes, Bob, you're under $10k but you're also GRM. If you were less GRM and more of just a check writer, you or anyone could easily be over $10k in a Rio or Mazda2. 

But, for someone who is just a check writer, they'd choose something other than a Rio and buy their way to the front. 


java230 PowerDork
12/15/22 11:17 a.m.

I think its a great next evolution!

preach (dudeist priest)
preach (dudeist priest) SuperDork
12/15/22 11:56 a.m.

I'd consider a new thread too. "2022 Challenge Winner Goes to Gridlife" of something.

I cannot wait to watch!

nocones PowerDork
12/28/22 3:36 p.m.

Not much has happened.  I've been busy with Christmas.   The IAG oil pump and Oil pan arrived (they actually arrived before Christmas 3 days after I ordered).  These are some quality parts.  


My brother is a graphic designer and for Christmas he made me the coolest wall art ever. 

This is so Cool it's about 24×18.  I'm likely to see about getting this on a shirt.  

So yeah not much going on but the Miata is prepped for stripping and then I will get working on donor WRX hopefully in the next week.  

AWSX1686 (Forum Supporter)
AWSX1686 (Forum Supporter) UberDork
12/28/22 3:45 p.m.

In reply to nocones :

Stripping the Miata... parting it out to clear space?

nocones PowerDork
12/28/22 3:55 p.m.

In reply to AWSX1686 (Forum Supporter) :

Yep.  I want to keep the subframes and the drivetrain is going into the pile of things that may become the RXH8 endurance car.  

That reminds me I need to post the "Nearly Free Miata parts thread".  I just want to get my $200-250 scrap value out of what is left so I will gladly let someone else take parts or the whole thing.  

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
12/28/22 4:11 p.m.

In reply to nocones :

I'm in for an LMP360 shirt!

Stampie MegaDork
12/28/22 6:06 p.m.

In reply to nocones :

That Miata have a good 1.6 in it?  NM just noticed it's going into something else.

OHSCrifle UltraDork
12/28/22 7:10 p.m.
nocones said:

In reply to AWSX1686 (Forum Supporter) :

Yep.  I want to keep the subframes and the drivetrain is going into the pile of things that may become the RXH8 endurance car.  

That reminds me I need to post the "Nearly Free Miata parts thread".  I just want to get my $200-250 scrap value out of what is left so I will gladly let someone else take parts or the whole thing.  

I know Nocones don't neeeed no stinkin kit but I'm suddenly curious.. is the Miata drivetrain into an RX8 an actual thing? I would (still) find that combination completely awesome and something worth trying to copy (the idea pops back into my head every couple years it seems). Looking forward to the build thread for that too. 

And I'll be a contrarian and suggest the LMP EVO updates belong right here.  

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