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Nube - please advise

I'm guessing "racing" and "inexpensive" never belong in the same sentence unless you're going for the double negative, but... I'm just starting to look into legal racing, and I was wondering if you guys could advise me (or point me towards an established thread) on where a beginner with a not-so-deep wallet should start. I'd like to race in a stock to slightly modified class, and I really don't know what I need to decide past that. Do you recommend aiming for getting into PCA racing or is something else more appropriate for a beginner?

I've read time and again that in-car professional instruction is wise, but, again, I'm concerned about the cost. I'm not set on PCA, but I've read through the requirements for PCA racing. I'm gathering that I need to have a decent amount of experience/training before I can apply to the PCA Club Racing School.

If nothing else, I would greatly appreciate some direction toward a pertinent thread. Thank you all.

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Last edited by polizei; 06-13-2007 at 01:39 PM..
Old 06-13-2007, 01:36 PM
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Cheapest form of racing will be a "spec" series. It limits the amount you can do to a car. It should require everyone run at the same weight, with the same power,etc etc. SCCA offers a couple spec classes, NASA might as well.

Figure out your potential budget. Everything.. from car to buy (if not your 911).. motor repair costs (what happens when you blow a motor.. are you sidelined a few weeks or a season), regular maintenance (oil changes, valve adjustments), brake costs (rotors, pads, calipers), safety equipment, hotel rates, entrance fees, gas, insurance, sit down and realize this will cost serious money. Heck, if you have been doing any "DE" events, you can use that for a guide for some of these costs.

Then look at the rules for the group your want to run with. If its PCA, with your current 911, you will be in a very competitive class (east coast) and therefore a potentially "expensive" class to be a front runner. Car prep is everything. Hoosiers don't grow on trees

Talk to folks who run in the class you want to run in. They will offer advice to you as long as you aren't beating them . They can give you a very good picture of the $$ involved.

Porsches are expensive. imho, if you can't afford to "write the car off" the car is too expensive to be raced with.
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Old 06-13-2007, 02:31 PM
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Have you done a couple years of DE already and you are saying that you have the car control skills required to race, but you are looking for advice on what to race? If you are not already experienced and running in the advanced run groups and comfortable with open passin, then it's time to set your sights a bit lower than racing and simply start/continue DE.

I know of no car/series that is going to be less than $1k per weekend - if there are no mechanical issues. Will you have $1k per weekend and a contingincy of $5-10k for when bad things happen ('cause they will)?

It appears that a "stock" class 911 or 944 are the cheapest Porsche's to race. A spec Miata is probably a cheaper car to start in.
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Old 06-13-2007, 05:08 PM
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"Spec Miata" is the only right answer to this question in my *extremely* biased opinion!

Seriously, I still LOVE my Porsche and love driving it on the track, but I get 100% full racing satisfaction out of racing my little girly race car. If you want to do it on a budget, it won't cost you nearly $1k per weekend. If you want to be super competitive, then you'll spend more. You can buy a good, fully prepared, race ready, no frills car WITH TRAILER for $10-12k. Tires, pump gas, trailer and motel (you can usually camp at the track, too) and entry fee and you're in! Parts are REALLY REALLY cheap. You can usually buy an entire spare parts car for $500-700 if you're savvy. Blow an engine? Buy another one for $300 at a junk yard and your track buddies will help you change it out in an afternoon...

I wouldn't be racing if I only considered racing a Porsche (due to financial constraints) so trying something different was the best car decision I ever made.

Check out www.specmiata.com

Cheers,

Dean
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Old 06-13-2007, 08:35 PM
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To the OP--what do you mean by "racing"? It means different things to different people. Some people just want to push their car hard, and autoXing is good for that. Low risk, low expense, low impact.

Some people want to get out to the Big Track and drive the car hard. DE is a great way to do that. Risks are moderate, expense is significantly more than autoX, potentially high impact.

Some people need that wheel-to-wheel rush--"I am getting to that corner first!" Some form of club racing is usually the answer there, but the risks are higher and the expenses are greater than DE.

Spec Miata is a great way to go if you are in the "right" areas. In some parts of the country, the SM drivers seem to feel that because they can afford to throw their cars away every weekend, that means they must. This has led to the nicknames "Spec Pinata" and "Wreck Me Outta". Happily, it's not the case everywhere. Oh, and of course, you have to live with the stigmata of driving a "hairdresser's race car".

--DD
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Old 06-13-2007, 09:19 PM
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Thanks for all of your respnoses so far. Let me give you a run down to your questions:

No, I don't have ANY DE experience.

What do I mean by "racing"? I had the "get out to the Big Track and drive the car hard" in mind. The only real "racing" experience I've had is one lap on the Nurburgring. I wasn't driving competitively - just driving hard. I thoroughly enjoyed all 12 or so minutes of that, and I would like to experience something like that occassionally - not every week but maybe a few to several times in a season. In fact, that experience had a huge part in pushing me to live out my childhood dreams of buying a 911

As I'm gathering from your responses, I don't think I'm even close to being prepared experientially or financially to enter a competitive racing circuit. It sounds like a far-fetched, down-the-road possibility, but that's it.

Buying another car "Spec Miata" is not feasible at this point in my life. I know it's expensive and works against what I've been saying about cost, but I'm really wanting to stick with my Porsche. Perhaps autocross is the best place to start given my limited experience and financial wherewithal.

What do you guys think? Can you give me an idea of the beginner expenses that go into DE and autocross? Anybody have any specific suggestions for Southeast Pennsylvania?
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Last edited by polizei; 06-14-2007 at 06:45 AM..
Old 06-14-2007, 06:41 AM
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Ah! Dave, thanks for asking the question and thanks for the clarification, Andy.

An easy way to get started in autocross is to simply attend one! There is (or at least was, when I lived in Lancaster, PA) a very active autocross community thriving right around you. The Farm Show complex in Harrisburg is still one of the best autocross sites in the country. They also used to have autocrosses at a couple places near Philly - near Valley Forge and across the river in Camden. I imagine they don't use Fort Dix in NJ any more post 9-11, but that was another good one.

Check out this link and just email one or two people in the SCCA regions near you or do some google research - I bet they have websites with autocross schedules:

http://www.scca.com/Inside/index.asp?reference=nediv

All you need to do for your first autocross is show up with a technical sound and safe car with everything cleaned out of the interior. Most places will even have loaner helmets. That's IT! It is usually $30-40 bucks entry fee for the day.

Best of luck!

Dean
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Old 06-14-2007, 08:49 AM
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That's great Dean! Thanks for all the helpful information.

What type of cost would I be looking at to get into DE?
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Old 06-14-2007, 09:42 AM
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Getting started in DE is pretty cheap, but it can escalate REALLY quickly if you let it.

I'd start with your local PCA region. If they don't hold DE's, they will at least be able to point you to which regions do. Again, a little google research will pay off, here.

You'll probably need to bring your own helmet to DE events - and it'll have to be a recent (Snell 2000+) helmet. For DE, motorcycle helmets are probably fine, so you should be able to get one for $100-200. You might need to buy nomex gloves, too. You can get these for < $100 from many different race-gear websites.

You won't need a roll bar or harnesses or probably even a fire extinguisher to do DE with the PCA or most other groups, so your car should be fine as-is. Again, you'll want to make sure it is well maintained, you have a lot of brake pad and that the tires are in good shape. In your first couple of DE days, the car isn't likely to take a beating, but tires and brakes are consumables.

The entry fees for DE are much higher. I've seen the range from $200 for the weekend to $500 for one day, depending on the group and the track.

Don't be afraid to just go TRY either autocross or DE. They are well set up to help beginners - everyone was a beginner at some point.

Cheers,

Dean
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Old 06-14-2007, 10:02 AM
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Autocross is a great way to begin down the road. It will help teach you basic car control (braking, cornering, acceleration, sliding the car.. locking up the brakes etc) AX events cost about $40 give or take. Many clubs offer loaner helmets (mmm nothing like sharing an old sweaty helmet )

Next up would be a PCA DE event. 1) Make sure you are a PCA member. IF not, pay the $42 and join. 2) Find the local region and see what they have planned. Summer has lots of events. Some relatively close and others far away. Pick one that fits your schedule.

Costs? $200-400 for an event is my experience. Then figure fuel costs ($150?) Hotel if needed ($100?) Car preparation (??) - too many variable to list, but mostly dependant on your cars current condition and how much you can "do yourself" vs sending out to a shop

So.. sign up and have some fun!
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Old 06-14-2007, 01:40 PM
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More:

For autoX, your tires become a "wear item"; you will need to get used to replacing them much more often than you would with street driving.

On the Big Track, not only tires but also the "business end" of the brake system becomes wear items--you'll be replacing pads relatively often, and brake fluid all the time. (Because having the pedal go to the floor when you come screaming into a turn in top gear really sucks, take it from me!) Rotors may also become a relatively frequent replacement item.

And there is always the risk of an "off" damaging the car--maybe something as simple as mashing the front spoiler on a berm, or maybe something much more costly. Thankfully, those risks are pretty low and can be managed to an extent.

--DD
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Old 06-14-2007, 07:28 PM
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Andy,

Im in the same boat as you. I wanted to start on the track, but not damage my 996, or spend $40k on a race car.

I decided to book as many DE's as I could with my current car (996tt) and Have 2 track days in the next 2 weeks.

Ive decided to buy an old 944 track car (already has partial cage and suspension upgrades) and Ill beef up the safty equip and Ill have $5k in it.

After I get comfortable and meet the requirements, Ill go for the license and then either keep the same car, or upgrade to a 951 or even a 3.2 carrerra or something.

I did look into the miata thing, and even spec bmw's.... I just happened to come across a 944 before i found something else.

Dave
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Old 06-15-2007, 01:04 PM
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Come out a week from Wednesday. $165 for the whole day (it would've been $10 cheaper if you signed up 2 weeks in advance), and you'll be driving on the fastest average-speed track in North America. Click on the link in my signature to learn more. All you need is a helmet, a car, and a good attitude.
Old 06-15-2007, 07:47 PM
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Andy, I am currently doing DE's and have been for a few years. Its a slippery slope for sure but if your smart you can have alot of fun for not alot of money. For the last 2 years I have budgeted 5K per year to go towards DE's. I have done about 7-8 DE's in each year and have not busted my budget. (Until this year when I opted for much needed safety items) This includes tires, track days, hotel, food, parts for the car like pads, fluid and such, gas, and of course helmets and belts. I also include oil changes for every other event and major tune ups once a year. I dont know if that is cheap but it works for me an my family and I have a BLAST!
One of my co-workers told me one day that I must make to much money because I take my car to the track. I made him break out his golf bills, guess who spends more money on their sport.
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Old 06-15-2007, 08:49 PM
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Actually, loaner helmets are great. They're more comfortable than new ones because other guys spent hundreds of hours sweating in them.
Old 01-17-2020, 08:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by racer View Post
Autocross is a great way to begin down the road. It will help teach you basic car control (braking, cornering, acceleration, sliding the car.. locking up the brakes etc) AX events cost about $40 give or take. Many clubs offer loaner helmets (mmm nothing like sharing an old sweaty helmet )

Next up would be a PCA DE event. 1) Make sure you are a PCA member. IF not, pay the $42 and join. 2) Find the local region and see what they have planned. Summer has lots of events. Some relatively close and others far away. Pick one that fits your schedule.

Costs? $200-400 for an event is my experience. Then figure fuel costs ($150?) Hotel if needed ($100?) Car preparation (??) - too many variable to list, but mostly dependant on your cars current condition and how much you can "do yourself" vs sending out to a shop

So.. sign up and have some fun!
Also consider a track day insurance policy. You’re very likely not covered by your carrier for these types of events. It’s not terribly expensive and you can get discounts by paying for a few days at one time.

Autocross is good fun too and lower price of entry. Probably no need for insurance.
Old 01-17-2020, 09:48 AM
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Wow, a 13-year-old thread. I don't think that's a record yet, but it's a pretty good instance of Thread Necromancy!

--DD
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Old 01-17-2020, 12:30 PM
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I have been racing in the Champ Car endurance series for years. I would bet that in the “dollars/seat time” measurement, it wins. A perfectly decent car can be had for less than $10k (always cheaper to buy versus build). Races are all over the country. I’ve raced Road Atlanta, Sebring, Indy, NCM and Barber in the last 18 months. The racing formats vary but are generally a 7 or 8 hour race Saturday and another Sunday or a 14 hour race on Saturday.

The fields are mostly BMWs (we have an E36), Miatas, etc. Several Boxsters are showing up now and there are always a few 944s. The quality of driving is very good. Jack Baldwin and Pippa Mann raced at Barber this past November and Randy Pobst is a regular.
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Old 01-25-2020, 04:54 AM
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Dang!! I didn’t see how old the thread was! Sorry!

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