1 2
golfduke
golfduke Reader
9/9/14 8:21 a.m.

So I have no idea if this is a 'thing' or not, but I was put in contact with a Lemons team after inquiring about getting some seat time at an upcoming race through a friend. Basically, it's a no-pressure team with a car that already passes tech and has a pretty extensive Lemons history. Upon approaching the team captain/owner, he is offering the seat and the car for $xxx dollars. He takes care of transport, fuel, fees, etc. I basically show up, get my 75min per day and drive his car with a bunch of other people who are in the same boat- novice-to-intermediate drivers looking to get seat time and their feet wet in wheel-to-wheel road racing.

First things first, I COMPLETELY RESPECT the fact that these cars are not cheap to build up, cage, get past tech, and run throughout the weekend with tires, brakes, consumable parts, logistics, etc. Please do not get me wrong- my intention of this post is not to knock any potentially enterprising individual doing this.

My issue is more of a, I guess, prideful thing...? I mean I want to be a part of Lemons in a way of being able to take ownership of wrenching on a car, building it up, and being a part of a team. This, as great of an opportunity as it is honestly, feels a little to me like cheating. Is that wrong? I dunno. Maybe this is stream of conscious rambling, but I almost feel a little guilty with the 'I'll just show up and race' mantra.

Would you guys do it, assuming you don't know any of the team from Adam, aside from the odd youtube video? Again, it's not about the $$ thing, I 150% agree and accept charging for seat time in a track prepared car. I'm just torn on whether I should do it this way vs the other, more pure way- busting knuckles on a piece of E36 M3 for 9 months only to have it break in the first 20min of track time.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
9/9/14 8:25 a.m.

It's common to have pay-to-play drivers in LeMons (like many other, more expensive forms of racing), some teams just have more mechanics than drivers. Lots of people do it. I would. No shame in it.

monsterbronco
monsterbronco Reader
9/9/14 8:33 a.m.

I've done it, (in a questionably built car at a chump event).

I went in with the idea that all I wanted was to get some laps in at Road Atlanta and learn the track before I drag my car down there. From this view point I was successful but wouldn't necessarily say I enjoyed it as much as I could have. In my mind I was definitely missing part of the experience by not being involved with a group of friends and building the car.

In the end the I want to get on track in any way possible but this is all about having a good time.

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker MegaDork
9/9/14 8:47 a.m.

I see wrenching and racing as two completely different interests. In order for me to race - I HAVE to do my own wrenching as a cost control measure. Not an optional "fun" thing. When I go to the track I want a reliable, wrench free weekend if at all possible. I do not want to have to be dirty, rushing to suit up for a drive... or second-guessing if a thing is about to break. I want a competitive car. I want only to think about what it takes to be competing and winning. It's why I have my own car that I race, alone.

I have really enjoyed the few times I could afford to arrive and drive in the BMWCCA Endurance series or Chumpcar too though because the team was well prepared and had plenty of spares, fuel, etc. You show up and focus on results, pit strategy, etc. You help if there are problems but you don't go all-in to fix a car you have no vested interest in like changing a head gasket in the paddock when the race is already lost for you. If it blows up before your stint - you get some money back.

I wouldn't do it in Lemons though because it's kindof a E36 M3 show where asshattery is encouraged and driving levels are pretty low. If Lemons is your thing... build a POS and go tear it up.

wvumtnbkr
wvumtnbkr Dork
9/9/14 8:48 a.m.

Okay, I am the captain of a crapcan team.

We sometimes need rental drivers. I have rented with other teams as well.

I look at it as a good way to drive at tracks you wouldn't get a chance to otherwise. Also, if the E36 M3 hits the fan, you WILL be expected to get under the car and fix that oily mess. Don't think that just because you are an arrive and drive, you aren't going to be a full member of the team!

Finally, without people like you, that team may not be able to go to race. Money is sometimes more important that wrenching (especially with an established team / car).

Do the Arrive and Drive a few times and decide if you want to build a car. If you do, awesome. If not, keep doing the arrive adn drive. You will find a team that you "click" with.

Rob R.

icaneat50eggs
icaneat50eggs HalfDork
9/9/14 8:50 a.m.

To me this is like saying, congrats , you've won a date with your favorite supermodel. However, your only going to get to second base.

Is it as much fun as you could possibly have? No

Does it beat the heck out of sitting around bored? Hell yes

Is it likely to leave you wanting the ENTIRE experience? Most definitely.

Duke
Duke UltimaDork
9/9/14 8:53 a.m.

My nephew does has done that twice with a LeMons team. They actually have at least 2 cars - one that's the real, personal-pride vehicle, and one that they bring along for renters. If I decide to get my feet wet, that's absolutely how I plan to do it. I don't have time, energy, or space to field my own race car.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
9/9/14 8:53 a.m.
icaneat50eggs wrote: To me this is like saying, congrats , you've won a date with your favorite supermodel. However, your only going to get to second base.

To me this is more like saying congrats, you've won a date with your favorite supermodel, and she wants to get right down to business

Wrenching is more of a necessary evil to me.

And yeah you should be ready to help with wrenching and other things.

Edit: Wait that sounds awful. I don't mean dating is like wrenching. Dammit you started this analogy!

Klayfish
Klayfish SuperDork
9/9/14 9:02 a.m.
golfduke wrote: Is that wrong? Would you guys do it, assuming you don't know any of the team from Adam, aside from the odd youtube video?

The answer to question one is "Hell no". The answer to question two is "Hell yes".

I started my LeMons career as a wrench turning member of the team. Though when I say wrench turning, I mean that term loosely. When I started, my skills were pretty much changing oil. I worked at our team captains house whenever I could and learned as I went. Yes, that definitely gives you a sense of pride and ownership, but I was still super excited to drive. Fast forward 3 years and I've moved 800 miles away from team headquarters. So I'm now pretty much an arrive and drive. I absolutely miss being there to turn wrenches, and plan to fly home one weekend over the winter to help with our next build, but still look forward to racing as much as I used to. I plan to continue racing with them.

If it's an established team, then go for it!!! Arrive and drives are extremely common. Make yourself as useful to the team as you can. Not only is it the cool teamate thing to do, it'll also help you feel like a member of the team and give you a good feel what it's all about.

golfduke
golfduke Reader
9/9/14 9:13 a.m.

Well yeah, I have assets, like a steady hand, welder, generators, and a big ass camper with beds. I feel I'd be a valuable asset to the team. The captain, at least in my talks with him, agrees. I'm not afraid of getting down and dirty and fixing busted E36 M3- in fact that's part of why I feel a little, dirty?, just writing a check and showing up on Friday for tech.

Thanks for your insight though, I'm leaning more toward 'yes' than 'no' now. Especially considering the fact that building a car will take way more time than I have right now...

DaveEstey
DaveEstey UberDork
9/9/14 9:16 a.m.

Building is part of the fun/lols, but that doesn't mean the racing isn't fun too. Looking forward to seeing you at Halloween Hooptiefest

jimbbski
jimbbski HalfDork
9/9/14 9:33 a.m.

I got involved with Lemons racing by helping with a Lemons car build and then driving the car for free the first race with the team in lew of payment for services rendered. Having knowledge of the engine & trans they planned to use was the key. Due to a personal conflict with one team member I declined driving for them again under the conditions that were presented. That car now has a new owner and team members.

I also later helped with two other Lemons car builds but have not driven for either of them. I did and do accept payment for services provided to these teams since I have not driven their cars, although one team has offered a discounted seat at any race they run in as they always have one open seat per race. Since the team lost one member this summer when he moved away they now have two seats open per race.

Currently I assist in some way 4 different teams, some are simple jobs or mods, other times it's major engine work. I do go to the races to help the first team as a crew member. The next race I will most likely end up transporting the car to the race with my costs covered and a roof at night provided by them.

Personally I prefer to be fully involved in the car build and the decision making process in that build, including picking the car to be raced. On the other had for those that lack the skills to do a build, the time (Very important), the money (Figure up to $5000 team total.)or the space, them buying a seat is the way to go. I have met many Lemons team members through my attendance of these races since 2010 and other then an individual here or there everyone I've met has been a pleasure to be around.

dculberson
dculberson UberDork
9/9/14 9:37 a.m.

I've done both, started by building my own car then ended up driving for some friends that needed more people but were too far away for me to help build the car. At this point I've done 15 or so arrive and drives and it's been great fun. It's allowed me to experience vastly different levels of car prep, organization, and lots of different and great tracks. I wish I had started as an A&D and then built my car - that would have helped me get a lot of things right that I didn't get right at first.

It's no dirtier than eating a meal at a restaurant versus cooking a gourmet meal at home - sure it's less work but you're still getting to eat a good meal. ;-)

Giant Purple Snorklewacker wrote: I wouldn't do it in Lemons though because it's kindof a E36 M3 show where asshattery is encouraged and driving levels are pretty low. If Lemons is your thing... build a POS and go tear it up.

I think you're confused. There is very little to no asshattery on track in Lemons. Any asshattery is black flagged. If you mean the wearing costumes and doing silly stuff off track, sure, that happens but isn't required. But on track it's racing and it's as clean as wheel to wheel road racing can be with hundreds of drivers of wildly mixed experiences. There are some seriously good drivers in Lemons though.

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker MegaDork
9/9/14 9:44 a.m.
dculberson wrote:
Giant Purple Snorklewacker wrote: I wouldn't do it in Lemons though because it's kindof a E36 M3 show where asshattery is encouraged and driving levels are pretty low. If Lemons is your thing... build a POS and go tear it up.

I think you're confused. There is very little to no asshattery on track in Lemons. Any asshattery is black flagged. If you mean the wearing costumes and doing silly stuff off track, sure, that happens but isn't required. But on track it's racing and it's as clean as wheel to wheel road racing can be with hundreds of drivers of wildly mixed experiences. There are some seriously good drivers in Lemons though.

That is exactly what I mean. There are hundreds of terrible drivers for every guy that can really wheel. People driving around in boats, upside-down cars, lots of goofy themes... It is a circus by design and that is cool if you want that. I have lots of friends who do it for giggles. I wouldn't pay for that as quality track time is all I'm saying.

hobiercr
hobiercr Dork
9/9/14 10:02 a.m.

After building a car and going to a Lemons 24hr race only to spin a bearing 45 minutes in, rebuild the motor and go a Chump race 2 years later only to have the motor throw a rod 30 minutes in I would encourage you to do the arrive and drive.

I really wanted to get some seat time this year and when NSF had a seat in their Sebring at Sebring in July I jumped at the chance. Were we competitive? um not really. Did I get about 3 hours of seat time for WAY less than I spent on my first two outings? Oh hell yes. Now YMMV but I would consider anyone interested in Crapcan racing to do an arrive and drive, especially if you haven't been to a race before. You'll get a nice feel of the camaraderie and see how your team works compared to others. If you can bring stuff (camper, welder, etc.) you will find that people will take you up on your offer to help and they will most likely hand you a beer later.

dculberson
dculberson UberDork
9/9/14 10:14 a.m.
Giant Purple Snorklewacker wrote: That is exactly what I mean. There are hundreds of terrible drivers for every guy that can really wheel. People driving around in boats, upside-down cars, lots of goofy themes... It is a circus by design and that is cool if you want that. I have lots of friends who do it for giggles. I wouldn't pay for that as quality track time is all I'm saying.

Hey, the boat is fun to drive and it's always satisfying to finish in it ahead of some more "serious" racers in their E36s. ;-)

Klayfish
Klayfish SuperDork
9/9/14 10:16 a.m.
Giant Purple Snorklewacker wrote: That is exactly what I mean. There are hundreds of terrible drivers for every guy that can really wheel. People driving around in boats, upside-down cars, lots of goofy themes... It is a circus by design and that is cool if you want that. I have lots of friends who do it for giggles. I wouldn't pay for that as quality track time is all I'm saying.

I understand what you're trying to say, so I won't take any offense to it. But I don't agree. LeMons has some terrible drivers, and I'm somehow willing to bet Chump does too. As does pretty much every racing series on the planet. But the majority of LeMons drivers can handle their stuff. Yes, we do goofy themes....it's fun. I had a hand in building the boat and am one of its' drivers. It's not an overall race winning car/boat/truck, after all it's a '94 S-10 with a boat body. But it's a class C contender and the only reason it hasn't won yet is either our own mistake or unforseen mechanical disaster. It's got the speed to win its' class and always finished much higher in the overall order than you'd expect.

There are some goofy themed cars...the upside down Camaro, our Rolls Royce last year, that are butt slow. But most of the cars out there race hard and I'd certainly say it's quality track time. Do we do it for "giggles"? Well, sure. If you can't have fun at your hobby, I don't think I'd call it a hobby.

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker MegaDork
9/9/14 10:34 a.m.

In reply to Klayfish:

I don't mean any offense so I'm glad you aren't offended.

My point was that I am not interested in the circus. If I am paying real money for track time I want it to be good, quality track time in a serious, competitive racing environment. I want the intensity and I want to know the guy next to me has done this before when we go three wide thru corners at triple digit speeds.

Lemons is not that is all I was saying. I won't pay to arrive and drive against pirates and cowboys (maybe cowgirls though). Someday I might build/help a car with buddies and show up to goof off, however.

motomoron
motomoron SuperDork
9/9/14 10:38 a.m.
Giant Purple Snorklewacker wrote: I see wrenching and racing as two completely different interests. In order for me to race - I HAVE to do my own wrenching as a cost control measure. Not an optional "fun" thing. When I go to the track I want a reliable, wrench free weekend if at all possible. I do not want to have to be dirty, rushing to suit up for a drive... or second-guessing if a thing is about to break. I want a competitive car. I want only to think about what it takes to be competing and winning. It's why I have my own car that I race, alone. I have really enjoyed the few times I could afford to arrive and drive in the BMWCCA Endurance series or Chumpcar too though because the team was well prepared and had plenty of spares, fuel, etc. You show up and focus on results, pit strategy, etc. You help if there are problems but you don't go all-in to fix a car you have no vested interest in like changing a head gasket in the paddock when the race is already lost for you. If it blows up before your stint - you get some money back. I wouldn't do it in Lemons though because it's kindof a E36 M3 show where asshattery is encouraged and driving levels are pretty low. If Lemons is your thing... build a POS and go tear it up.

^That, a thousand times over^ I'm also O.C.D. (owner/crew/driver) and the fun starts as soon as I'm released from impound after the last race of the weekend. The objective of conventional car racing is TO WIN THE RACE while going as slowly and smoothly as possible. There's no other objective; beat everyone else, preserve the car, do it as easily as possible in the shortest possible time on track.

I've stated that I can race my car for an SCCA weekend cheaper than a share in a LeChump car to the disbelief of the LeChump crowd. "But how long do you get on track?" they ask. "a little less than an hour. It depends how good a lap I need to get on the pole for my group". "But we get 16 hours" they rebut.

Then I try to explain that 40 laps (at Summit Point 1'13"-1'15" pace) are more work than 16 hours of 1'30+" laps, and that while I'm physically driving an hour, I'm prepping the car and doing all the stuff attendant to it's operation for about 8 hours a day not including driving to the track. At the SCCA Majors race earlier this summer my group had formula Atlantics circulating within a second of the absolute track record. The level of trust is high to pas outside in Summit 3, 4 and 10. I've watched Lemons and I'm stunned at how contact is avoided through white-knuckle terror more than traffic management.

I'd consider Chump racing if I knew 3 other people local to me who take the process of racing as seriously as I do.

dculberson
dculberson UberDork
9/9/14 11:41 a.m.

motomoron, While I understand and agree that the intensity of a "serious" race can be much higher, there is really no cost comparison. You say you can do it cheaper - I've read your posts here and highly doubt it. I can get an all in weekend for $600 - $800, including food, fuel, camping pass, all consumables including tires and brakes, and 3-4 hour of track time. I doubt your weekends average $800 only counting consumables costs!

If it's a question of trusting your fellow drivers I suggest staying away from Chump. At least watch a few races in person first. They do not black flag as aggressively as Lemons and while the "seriousness" is higher the asshattery on track is much higher and there's a lot more contact and way more damage to cars over a weekend.

wbjones
wbjones UltimaDork
9/9/14 11:57 a.m.

what dculberson said …

contact is STRICTLY prohibited/policed/frowned on in Lemons …

not so much in chump … as a matter of fact it usually takes MAJOR contact to get any official notice at a chump race …

also chump has started to turn into a major arms race … sorta become a IT light (maybe not so light… a top tier chump car will run you every bit as much as a good IT car)

golfduke
golfduke Reader
9/9/14 12:04 p.m.

So $750 for a seat is reasonable-ish? All expenses except Lemons license, lodging, and food included.

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker MegaDork
9/9/14 12:13 p.m.
wbjones wrote: not so much in chump … as a matter of fact it usually takes MAJOR contact to get any official notice at a chump race … also chump has started to turn into a major arms race … sorta become a IT light (maybe not so light… a top tier chump car will run you every bit as much as a good IT car)

That is because they are TRYING to win. That is the difference. The actual results are a primary concern for entrant so they are pushing really hard. The general skill level is still a little on the scary side for real W2W competition IMO so def a seat rental for Chump in the NE but the ones I've been in weren't too bad with contact (more than just incidental stuff, anyway). Lots of early attrition but a large number of fast guys in the field too.

Klayfish
Klayfish SuperDork
9/9/14 12:19 p.m.
golfduke wrote: So $750 for a seat is reasonable-ish? All expenses except Lemons license, lodging, and food included.

Yes, it's smack in the ballpark.

GPS, So are you saying that people in LeMons AREN'T trying to win? No, not every last car on the track is contending for the win, but if you don't think guys (and gals) are going balls out to win, you need to get on track. Forget the funny paint jobs on the cars, focus on the racing intensity. I'd guess it's similar in Chump. Not every car on track is running blistering lap times and staying with the lead pack.

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker MegaDork
9/9/14 12:35 p.m.

In reply to Klayfish:

Note that I am not knocking Lemons AT ALL. It looks like fun. It is a nice doorway to entry in a sport where a lot of guys wouldn't have a chance to be a part of otherwise. It is only barely about racing though or they would get rid of the clown cars and party-fun rules. I'm not saying people aren't trying to win, just that they aren't likely to be trying so hard as to die trying unless they are berkeleying crazy.

You should come out and race with the SCCA, NASA, or BMW CCA where there are licensing qualifications raising the bar on the field, big contingency and championships on the line. If you can drop $1000 a weekend on Lemons you can race in a club racing series. Guys like Clay, Pobst and Poveledo routinely show up to race with us. Guys like motomoron are turning lap times in IRL territory with that bloody spaceship he drives... mistakes can easily be really costly, possibly even fatal so people take E36 M3 very, very seriously. You simply cannot compare that intensity level to a series where you can get a large metal pig welded to your car for doing too well.

Regardless... I wasn't knocking on Lemons. I was saying I wouldn't pay for a ride because it isn't the kind of track time I will pay for. I'd help some guys cobble a POS together and go play with it for a weekend if I had the time possibly (but more likely I'd go do AER's new run what you brung series). It's like... just my opinion, man.

1 2
Our Preferred Partners
LT0GreZcTVByVZIullV2PKjy1YURxeYUrr7m12oQKxMM6dAy4SwTzTbf5q4Vf6Mn