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To race or not to race, that is the question

Last year I bought a 944 NA track car. The first step on a slippery slope.

I've done a bunch of track days, DE and tons of self study. My driving skills are improving very nicely now I'm thinking about racing. My car is pretty close to meeting SP1 rules in 944 Cup. The biggest expense would be trading the bolt in roll bar for a cage.

Looking for thoughts on the 944 Cup series, making the leap from track days to racing, Converting current car vs buying a current 944 Cup car.

Thanks in advance.
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Daily Driver - '78 911SC RoW, Track - '85.1 944
Wife's - '00 740iL (Sport),
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Son's - '85.1 944
Old 09-04-2018, 03:31 AM
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It's always cheaper to buy a car that somebody else poured a ton of money into ...
There's a nice 944 SP1 car on Rennlist from a well known builder for 7K,although it's an early car and i would recommend an 86+ model if you want to go racing, but then again it wouldn't take much to make it into an SP2 !

I did DE's for 7-8 years with my 911 before taking the jump to racing a 944 and i have no regrets !
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Phil

89 Coupe,Black,95 3.6 engine and the list goes on ...
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Old 09-04-2018, 12:23 PM
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Thanks Phil. If I make the leap, my rational side will want to go with a proven race car but that pesky, more emotional side that gets attached to vehicles and likes to point at the car and say "I built that!" will have to be tamed.

How varied are the skills of the drivers you race against? Would you recommend starting in SP1 or does it matter?
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Daily Driver - '78 911SC RoW, Track - '85.1 944
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Old 09-04-2018, 04:46 PM
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If you develop emotional attachments to cars that you build, it might prove better to buy a car instead. Because sometimes on the track stuff happens that you cannot avoid, and you have to be able to face walking away from a wadded-up piece of metal that used to be a car....

--DD
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Old 09-04-2018, 08:45 PM
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I raced my BMW e30 M3 for a couple of years with NASA. Prior to that I raced motorcycles, Karts, then got into DEs, instructing, etc...

It will be significantly cheaper from a time and money standpoint to buy a well sorted car....and then modify it to what you want.
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Old 09-05-2018, 04:05 AM
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Glenn,

I would go straight to SP2 as there are more things you can do to your car ... now as far as the people i race with , i guess it all comes down to your budget.
Most of the people i race with own their businesses, are engineers, dentists ... etc , and show up with sticker tires every race and have their track minions work on their car while they socialize, but then again it doesn't take the fun away as you just have to try even harder to compete.

I have a low budget car which i maintain myself and my girfriend is my crew chief/ mechanic helper and i still have a blast every race weekend !
The social aspect of racing is a big part of the fun and there's always somebody on track that you can have fun racing with as well as a helping hand if your car breaks down.

I would suggest taking one of the better race schools to get your licence as you will learn a lot in three days and it will give you a better understanding of what your goals may be !

PS: Now as far as the "i built that " goes, trust me, with a race car you will have many "i built / rebuilt that " moments
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Phil

89 Coupe,Black,95 3.6 engine and the list goes on ...
1983 944 SP2 race car PCA #96

Last edited by wildcat077; 09-05-2018 at 05:41 AM..
Old 09-05-2018, 05:36 AM
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Thank you gentlemen (no offense intended ).

So based on what has been shared here, and info I picked up other places, I've come away with this:
  1. Make the leap to racing.
  2. Never take a car to the track you aren't willing to leave at the track.
  3. Buy the best prepared SP2 class, I can afford.
  4. Go to a good racing school.
  5. Don't worry about competition.
  6. Meet people and have fun.

Is that about right?
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Daily Driver - '78 911SC RoW, Track - '85.1 944
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Son's - '85.1 944
Old 09-05-2018, 03:41 PM
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Have Fun
Be safe
along with the hardest part; finish the event
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Old 09-07-2018, 07:51 AM
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SP1&SP2 are great classes for a beginning racer. Cost is about as low as can be for racing( SP2 a little more due to more allowed mods and tires)

To me the thing I would be most concerned about with a 944 race car is the cage. A 944 can be difficult to climb out of if the cage is not built tight to the A&B pillars and the roof. If you want to have a containment seat egress can be almost impossible. Get a cage with NASCAR bars for sure. A good custom cage is not cheap.

In your area SP2 probably has more cars and competition.

Just go for it. Lots of track time at most races and always someone to race with even at the back of the grid.
Old 09-07-2018, 09:29 AM
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Next week is the last track day I will get in this season. (Due to time and money, of course) I'll start planning out a budget and see what that means for when I take the first big step. Next year will probably be focused on improving my skills with the car I have and taking some trips to observe a few 944 cup races. Based on videos of the 2017 races at Pitt Race, I've a good bit of improving, but I now know were I can find a good bit of time.

I am excited about the prospects the future brings.

Glenn
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Daily Driver - '78 911SC RoW, Track - '85.1 944
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Old 09-07-2018, 02:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaddyGlenn View Post
Thank you gentlemen (no offense intended ).

So based on what has been shared here, and info I picked up other places, I've come away with this:
  1. Make the leap to racing.
  2. Never take a car to the track you aren't willing to leave at the track.
  3. Buy the best prepared SP2 class, I can afford.
  4. Go to a good racing school.
  5. Don't worry about competition.
  6. Meet people and have fun.

Is that about right?
Mostly this ^^

Whichever class is the most active with the highest car count.. do that. SP1 or SP2 doesn't really matter that much, just build the car to the rule book, buy lots of tools, tires, and spares, and go racing. And yes, if you play this game long enough, stuff happens out there.

Now for a reality check. An active DE driver will spend about $10k/year on fees and consumables. An active 944 club racer will spend about $30k for same. A Spec 911 racer will spend about $50k/yr and a GT3 Cup driver will spend about $100k/yr. Make sure the bank account can support your new hobby or find a good sponsor. I hear Nike is looking...
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Old 09-12-2018, 01:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wildcat077 View Post
PS: Now as far as the "i built that " goes, trust me, with a race car you will have many "i built / rebuilt that " moments
^this is very true. I've come to the belief that there is no such thing as a "well sorted race car" or perhaps fairer to say no such thing as "turn key" They all have needs and all will require $$. Could be something as simple as making the car fit you as a driver, or could be that the transmission only had one more lap in it when you bought it. No such thing as cheap racing and the faster you get, the more expensive it is even when you stick with a "low cost" platform like the 944. When you get to the point of driving the wheels off it (and you will), you'll be chewing through tires and brakes at minimum. Race cars take a lot of abuse and need constant attention.

All that said, I don't think there is anything more fun than wheel to wheel racing. It will suck you in and the wormhole is deep...infinitely deep
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Old 09-12-2018, 06:06 PM
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Glenn,

It's a very slippery slope ... my car caught on fire twice , got rear ended once , had a head on with a car that spun out in front of me , needed a transmission rebuild and i blew up my engine last season !

Nevertheless it's still fun , when i consider a friend of mine who got together with another car in his 12 GT3 Cup last year at Mosport during the Enduro, he had over 30K in damage and it wasn't a big hit ...

Whatever happens during a race weekend , my trailer always has the coldest beer and we never run out of wine !!!
There's always the next race !
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Cheers
Phil

89 Coupe,Black,95 3.6 engine and the list goes on ...
1983 944 SP2 race car PCA #96
Old 09-13-2018, 09:02 AM
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Got a reminder last night at a SCCA Track Night in America. Saw a really nice Shelby Mustang GT500 get wadded up against the guard rail. Ended the night for everyone.

Never take a car to the track that you are not willing to leave at the track.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cajundaddy View Post
{snip}...
Now for a reality check. An active DE driver will spend about $10k/year on fees and consumables. An active 944 club racer will spend about $30k for same. A Spec 911 racer will spend about $50k/yr and a GT3 Cup driver will spend about $100k/yr. Make sure the bank account can support your new hobby or find a good sponsor. I hear Nike is looking...
Very good point. I will investigate more in detail to see how "active" I can afford to be. Is there any significant difference in the cost to compete from SP1 to SP2 to SP3, short of the initial cost of the car?

Is it really possible to get sponsorship at the 944 Cup level of competition? I am all for using other people's money but didn't think that was a viable option.
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Daily Driver - '78 911SC RoW, Track - '85.1 944
Wife's - '00 740iL (Sport),
Support vehicle - '00 Suburban 2500 4x4
Son's - '85.1 944

Last edited by DaddyGlenn; 09-13-2018 at 05:49 PM..
Old 09-13-2018, 05:05 PM
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Cost to run 944 is pretty much the same regardless of class. Tires, brakes, and fluids don't change much.

Sponsorship is definitely possible if you have driver cred and are shooting for a championship. The mid-pack guys have a tougher time but the front runners can get both local and National sponsorships with bonus bucks or free tires if they win.
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Old 09-14-2018, 09:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaddyGlenn View Post
Got a reminder last night at a SCCA Track Night in America. Saw a really nice Shelby Mustang GT500 get wadded up against the guard rail. Ended the night for everyone.

Never take a car to the track that you are not willing to leave at the track.



Very good point. I will investigate more in detail to see how "active" I can afford to be. Is there any significant difference in the cost to compete from SP1 to SP2 to SP3, short of the initial cost of the car?

Is it really possible to get sponsorship at the 944 Cup level of competition? I am all for using other people's money but didn't think that was a viable option.
If you go SP3 -- keep it non-turbo. The upkeep of the Turbo's are higher and many tasks are made more difficult due to turbo and exhaust getting in the way.
SP1 vs SP2 -- find out what is more prevalent in your area -- in Texas == there are virtually no SP2 or SP3 cars, they are mostly SP1.

SPB is also a reasonable platform, similar running costs, large fields and just about 2-3x higher entry cost.

Mike
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