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frenchyd
frenchyd UltimaDork
9/20/21 9:09 a.m.

If you could do it safely and without getting a ticket do you think it would be fun to go as fast as you can?   
  Do you have a competitive streak? Maybe hidden because you aren't good at most stick and ball sports?  
 OK, you might be a wanna be racer.   
  Here's how to put that into reality.  First decide what you'd really like to drive.  Not something to settle on if nothing better comes along.  
Obviously it can't be the latest greatest most expensive car.   But something that you see the hidden potential in.  
To be a little practical  it's not going to be something everybody wants like a Ferrari,  Aston Martin or Bugatti.  
     Preferably something others overlook. the LBC ( Little British Car ) might be if you can be patient and wait for the right opportunity.  A LJC ( little Japanese Car)  LIC (Little Italian Car ) (Little German Car ) (Little Weird Car)  all might do. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
9/20/21 9:35 a.m.

Stay away from cars. Race karts.

Tyler H (Forum Supporter)
Tyler H (Forum Supporter) UberDork
9/20/21 9:41 a.m.

Karts, Dirt Ovals.  In the South, that's why everyone asks how much money you win when they find out you race.  

Dirt ovals are ubiquitous, there's tons of fans and competitors, usually separated by less than a 45 minute tow.

If you want to go W2W on a track, then the absolute cheapest way to compete are the budget endurance series out there.  Still a bunch of relatively rich dudes compared to any dirt track.

PS...LBCs don't exist in racing anymore, outside of SVRA/HSR etc. wink

L5wolvesf
L5wolvesf HalfDork
9/20/21 11:18 a.m.

All of my road racing was done on a tiny or almost no budget. I got others to pay for things - small local sponsors. 

The ITB Pinto was sponsored by a local 1 man suspension shop. I got alignments, a place to work on the car and a place to keep the car which also happened to face a major street. He got a billboard and free admission to SCCA races. I also helped him at the shop after my regular job. That was rather helpful when a spring compressor broke and the spring knocked him out. When I arrived he was out on the floor.

H-Prod Fiat was kinda similar with an local alignment shop plus a local body shop. I didn't do shop work for either. Those 2 got me a local pizza place. All of which got me local attention and a couple live on location interview deals which benefited the local sponsors.

For both I wrangled a deal with Mickey Thompson Tires.  

accordionfolder
accordionfolder SuperDork
9/20/21 12:05 p.m.

Just going autoX'ing in whatever you happen to have on hand right now? 

frenchyd
frenchyd UltimaDork
9/20/21 12:13 p.m.

In reply to L5wolvesf :

I got side income preparing and restoring cars. But I'm thinking about  those maybe without the skills or  moxie to find sponsors. 
    My approach is to buy a chassis first. 
 Since it's a race car ( or going to be ) worn, burned, or missing interior  should make it cheaper  and cheaper is better. Same with tires,  brakes, trim, bumpers, etc etc etc.  you're going to replace all that anyway.
     Parts left off don't weigh anything, this the won't hurt braking or accelerating. Won't fail or need adjusting/tuning. 
 So don't need the rare model with the special handling package.  ( street parts need too much help and money spent to make them competitive. To be continued •••• 

frenchyd
frenchyd UltimaDork
9/20/21 12:21 p.m.
accordionfolder said:

Just going autoX'ing in whatever you happen to have on hand right now? 

 That may satisfy some. But as far as racing goes it's like kissing your sister.  Just not exciting enough. 
  I don't doubt there is real skills to learn.   
 But it's not like the multi level chess game  wheel to wheel racing is.  Do you make your move now or later?  What affect will other cars play, can you drive off line to play for position, what effect will a draft have?  How can you block without blocking, What is the track history or competitors history.  Plus all the other potential variables. 
But I'm ahead of myself.  

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
9/20/21 12:22 p.m.

In reply to accordionfolder :

That's a good answer from my perspective. I did buy a miata for autocross, and replaced it with another, but that's because I was getting into my 60s and wanted to have a sports car while I still could enjoy it.

And no, it's not that comparable to wtw racing, but it's a lot cheaper and safer.

BMWGeoff
BMWGeoff Reader
9/20/21 12:26 p.m.

I'm working on a life goal of competing in a race before I hit 40. I got a complete, race ready (aside from a few expiring/wear items) car for CDN$6500 (a bit over $5k at the going exchange rate).

The required parts to convert from street to race would've cost more than that even if I did all my own labour. I love working on cars, but buying an already built car saves both time and money by a significant margin.

At the end of the day you need to decide: is your goal to build a race car or to race a race car?

Tom1200
Tom1200 SuperDork
9/20/21 12:27 p.m.

So I'm racing about as cheaply as it can be done:

Including the mods I did to the car for autocross (cooling system); the Formula  has $4,600 in it. this includes a new fuel cell and updating the belts. I did by a hoard of Rotax 494 engines for $1,500 but the car still has the engine it came within the car as well as the spare.

I have a $500 trailer to tow the car; the F500 is only 640lbs and the trailer weighs 800lbs so I could tow it with my Outback. 

Trailer and race car = $5,100

Race entries are $425 for two day events (race each day), fuel for the tow vehicle and the race car $150-200. If I ran take offs (used tires) my tire bill would be  $135 per event. I could camp in the Outback and food costs would be $30-$40 for two days. So basically $800 per weekend.  As for consumables my car came with a large pile of spares so for the moment those are $0.

Additionally I run Autocross with the car; those events cost me $100 (this includes amortized costs).

So if one did say 6 autocrosses on top of the two double race weekends they would get 4 road races and 6 autocrosses for $2,200.00 or  $183.33 per month. 

My current costs are higher since I tow with a 30 yr old camper van. Towing with that increases my fuel costs by $90-$150 per event. I also by new tires for the F500 which doubles the tire bill. If I bring a friend along I get a room. So I'm spending $1100-$1200 for race weekends. My actual Monthly cost is $250 per month to run the F500. I also run track days with the Datsun; as I'm instructing I only pay for fuel and tires ($230 per event) which is another $76.66 per month. My van running costs are $200 a year (including registration and tire costs) I'm spending roughly $350 per month to run both cars. Note after 34 years the Datsun only has 9K invested in it (that's $25 a month)

My Outback cost 17K, I've had it for 7 years, we've invested 7K in the van and so between the two I still have less money invested than most people do in their daily drivers.  I also bring lunch to work everyday.  If we include the purchase price of the van & the trailer in my monthly costs add another $50 per month. I try to keep cars at least 10 years. 

The only way I see someone could do this cheaper is if they ran a L0206 Kart or drove the race car to the track.

 

frenchyd
frenchyd UltimaDork
9/20/21 12:35 p.m.

In reply to Tom1200 : thanks 

You're exactly who I was thinking of when I started this thread.  
I raced even cheaper but only because others wanted me to prepare their cars and get them to the track. 
I started out with a long abandoned hulk of a car.  ($300 delivered)  bought parts and pieces when my wallet had cash. And got it to the track for less than $2000.  OK; that was 1976.  But that same car won races through 2002. 

accordionfolder
accordionfolder SuperDork
9/20/21 12:57 p.m.

In reply to Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) :

I took a 2000 vw Jetta on all-season autoX'ing a few weekends ago - I had a blast and learned some stuff. Hard to go wrong with that low of a barrier of entry. 

Tom1200
Tom1200 SuperDork
9/20/21 1:26 p.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

So back in 1990 I used to spend $200-250 on a single SCCA regional (I'd run Saturday only); that equates to $523 today or $950 per weekend. So my costs are really close to what I actually spend now.

In 1999 -2002 I was spending $600 a day on the D-sports racer for local events which is about $950 per day. The cost to run that car now would likely be $2200 per vintage race weekend. I can actually afford that these days but I'm just to cheap to actual do it.  

frenchyd
frenchyd UltimaDork
9/20/21 1:39 p.m.


As far as a daily driver, if you're willing to risk your Job and the commuting requirements of your family for the limp hand shake of an Autocross. You have a different set of priorities than I do.  
 I'm not trying to minimize  your efforts at auto crossing. I understand the effort some put into shaving those fractions of a second.
     I just see the intense joy wheel to wheel drivers get after dicing with their friends for the whole race.  A carefully executed pass or clever line taken on exiting a corner that puts the competitor a moment behind.   Shouts  and wide grins. Pats on the back, Joyous high fives. Both given  and received. 
Both Autocross and Wheel to wheel openly share preparation secrets along with tools and equipment.   
     Like every racer I know trailers are lent back and forth and even some Autocrossers arrive with their car on a trailer.   I made most of my own trailers. And ones used for races to Atlanta  ( From Minneapolis ) etc seldom had more than $150 dollars in them. ( the ability to scrounge and weld cannot be underestimated. 
  Tow vehicles varied from  S10 Blazers to 4 door sedans depending on what was around when I left.  Later I went to a medium duty truck with a camper on it, a ramp on the back and a trailer hooked to the ramp truck. Hauling 2 race cars to offset costs. 
     Schools cost varies as much as cars. Regional schools tend to be the least expensive, you'll learn from others how to race as long as you can remember what flags tell you what.  There are the usual discounts for being a corner worker and club official. 
    As far as entry fees?  Register early and there is a serious discount.  
      

Mr. Peabody
Mr. Peabody UltimaDork
9/20/21 1:45 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

Stay away from cars. Race karts.

Stay away from karts and race stock cars. I've had years where I've actually made money, and many weeks where the only cost has been fuel

Or, race motocross/hare scrambles/flat track. Bikes are relatively inexpensive and reliable, there are usually no annoying rules, and the entrance costs are minimal

Tom1200
Tom1200 SuperDork
9/20/21 1:55 p.m.
accordionfolder said:

In reply to frenchyd :

We get it. You don't like autoX. I do more road racing than autoX by a long shot - I'm not even big into it. That comment was directed at Floating Doc, not you. It sounds like you've never been autocrossing if you think you're risking your DD at an autoX.....

Most of the fast driver I'm aware of  - racing drivers - are scary fast at autoX. Tomo, Randy Pobst, and others. 

I do both road racing and autocrossing. I enjoy road racing for the reasons frenchyd mentioned. I also enjoy autocross because (in the F500 at least) it's the cheapest form of "competition" out there 

frenchyd
frenchyd UltimaDork
9/20/21 1:57 p.m.
Tom1200 said:

In reply to frenchyd :

So back in 1990 I used to spend $200-250 on a single SCCA regional (I'd run Saturday only); that equates to $523 today or $950 per weekend. So my costs are really close to what I actually spend now.

In 1999 -2002 I was spending $600 a day on the D-sports racer for local events which is about $950 per day. The cost to run that car now would likely be $2200 per vintage race weekend. I can actually afford that these days but I'm just to cheap to actual do it.  

The weekend entry for Elkhart  Lake was $575.   320 cars entered. Plus over a Hundred entered the Gathering on the Green car show. 
Blackhawk is usually cheaper. As are several  other events around here. 

accordionfolder
accordionfolder SuperDork
9/20/21 1:59 p.m.

In reply to Tom1200 :

Eh, I deleted the comment, not worth arguing with someone on the internet. I answered the question and should've left it at that. 

WonkoTheSane
WonkoTheSane UltraDork
9/20/21 2:02 p.m.
frenchyd said:

In reply to Tom1200 : thanks 

You're exactly who I was thinking of when I started this thread.  
I raced even cheaper but only because others wanted me to prepare their cars and get them to the track. 
I started out with a long abandoned hulk of a car.  ($300 delivered)  bought parts and pieces when my wallet had cash. And got it to the track for less than $2000.  OK; that was 1976.  But that same car won races through 2002. 

Just for the record, $2000 in 76 is 9,840 in 21 dollars.

Remember that the entry requirements are a lot higher nowadays, too.  Fire suits, hans, better cages (1.75x.095 is going for like $10 a foot right now!), Fire suppression, etc. Are all in addition to the football helmet and driving gloves you were using then :)

Just framing the discussion, as it's on the way to another internet argument about what's "cheap."

 

Pepe
Pepe New Reader
9/20/21 2:11 p.m.

One more vote for karting. Especially if you have a healthy spec series (say, Ignite) near you.

frenchyd
frenchyd UltimaDork
9/20/21 2:40 p.m.
WonkoTheSane said:
frenchyd said:

In reply to Tom1200 : thanks 

You're exactly who I was thinking of when I started this thread.  
I raced even cheaper but only because others wanted me to prepare their cars and get them to the track. 
I started out with a long abandoned hulk of a car.  ($300 delivered)  bought parts and pieces when my wallet had cash. And got it to the track for less than $2000.  OK; that was 1976.  But that same car won races through 2002. 

Just for the record, $2000 in 76 is 9,840 in 21 dollars.

Remember that the entry requirements are a lot higher nowadays, too.  Fire suits, hans, better cages (1.75x.095 is going for like $10 a foot right now!), Fire suppression, etc. Are all in addition to the football helmet and driving gloves you were using then :)

Just framing the discussion, as it's on the way to another internet argument about what's "cheap."

 

That's valid.  I think others should look forward as far as I do.  I mean if I buy a $300 safety item and get 10 years out of it it's $30 a year. 
  Accountants want it to be a $300 one time charge. 
    If I spend pocket change and build a race car using pocket change I don't feel the loss.  Sure I didn't buy a few drinks or go to a movie. But I choose to spend my money on my priority. 
   Accountants  want things budgeted and itemized. 
   As if somehow a few drinks and a movie gave me the same pleasure as diving inside a competitor in an out braking maneuver. 
        The fact that I can race on a school bus drivers income should  really be what's important.   
  Yet everyone has the right to determine priorities.  It's unfair for me to suggest otherwise. 

frenchyd
frenchyd UltimaDork
9/20/21 2:45 p.m.
Pepe said:

One more vote for karting. Especially if you have a healthy spec series (say, Ignite) near you.

I'm 73. And 265 pounds.   What class ya got for me?   Really you are absolutely right.  Karts  are the best cheapest form of racing.  If you think like the average young person and are sure you're immortal.  Weighing next to nothing helps too as does pushing a minimum amount of air because you're not some fat old Geezer. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
9/20/21 2:50 p.m.

Frenchy, you can race on a school bus driver's income now because you probably don't have a whole lot in the way of other debt and your car was built a long time ago :) You've been spending pocket change for a long time.

You also talk about the camaraderie of the paddock when one person pulls an awesome pass on another and everyone rejoices. But you left out the part where one person pulls a dodgy move and someone else ends up in the wall with a wrecked car. It's not so much high fiving then. Autocross (and other variations that are not W2W but which are certainly not weak handshakes, like stage rally) is car and driver versus clock, and generally that's a far more supportive paddock in my experience.

johndej
johndej Dork
9/20/21 2:57 p.m.
Tyler H (Forum Supporter)
Tyler H (Forum Supporter) UberDork
9/20/21 3:23 p.m.
frenchyd said:
accordionfolder said:

Just going autoX'ing in whatever you happen to have on hand right now? 

 That may satisfy some. But as far as racing goes it's like kissing your sister.  Just not exciting enough. 

I Googled 'kissing your sister' and got like a bajillion hits, though?

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