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Hadleigh007

Any advice when choosing a track car?

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Hi Guys,

Just wondered if anyone has advice on picking up a track car sub £2k, just looking for some cheap fun that doesn't need to be worked on too much, just easy servicing :)

Have car trailer so doesn't have to be road legal but does anyone have expereince as to what's good and what's not?

Thanks

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Depends on your goal, really.

You'll learn more about how to drive well on track in a lower-powered car, as preservation of speed becomes crucial.

In contrast, my M3 flattered any mistakes because it had plenty of power to make it up on the straights.

So, £7k, eh? Well, a race-prepared MX5 would give you a quickish car and £2k change, teach you everything you need to know, and be cheap to run. But you won't enjoy the drive there/back unless you trailer it.

Or, in contrast, a 328i with some mods should stand you at under £5k - 220bhp, good brakes and suspension and a decent attempt at lightening will make it fast and solid.

An RX8 wouldn't feature in my list unless you need it for road and track. If that's the case then maybe, but my preference would be £5k on a road car and £2k on a track car.

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As much I like BMW's the MX5 is a good option. Lighter and quicker than an E36 for the same money. I mean quicker through the corners. Weight is the enemy here so go with a light car that is simple.

Also don't discount cheap FWD affairs such as the Susuki Swtift, Skoda fabia.... Cheap unloved cars that are light and I have seen both equipped with 1.3 105hp engine (un modded) fly around RAF marham. The drivers had a hoot. It does not have to be fast fast to have fun.

However I obviously follow my own advise as when I go on the track I take an E28. Be sensible or get something you really like and try to make it reasonable.

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Company pay for my daily, so that leaves me to buy something for fun, Really enjoyed the day at Bedford spectating (you were there). so had a track day in an R8 and loved it. And as old age and injury sport is no good, fancy giving the track a go for fun. Don't claim to be a top driver, but i like to learn

Was scared off the RX8 (a friend had it) due to the Rotary egine and lack of torque.

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The Bedford day that it rained? I remember.

You don't *need* to spend £7k to get a decent track car, and to be honest I wouldn't until you've done it and decided you want to get stuck in.

Most cars will benefit from some sort of tuning to make them better on track - brakes, tyres, suspension are the usual first calls. Lighter cars tend to be cheaper to run. If you can get an Elise at £7k then that's a great starting point.

Otherwise I stand by the two best track car bases out there on a budget being a 328i or an MX5. From there on it's down to which one suits you better.

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Although I prefer rwd, dont discount the 205s and VW Golf GTis - they can be immense fun around a track still. Having hoofed my old Skyline around the track a few times and spent a fortune in rubber/brakes, my advice would be to get the lightest car you can as it will be a damn sight cheaper to keep going... and you will have just as much fun in the process.

Whilst I love BMs, I dont think they make particularly effective track cars unless you spend a lot of money modifying/lightening - they are fantastic road cars but inherantly porky so you are onto a loser straight away. Of course, if you want a car that you use for both track and road then they are a good balance.

[ducks and runs for cover]

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Thanks guys for the feedback so far, I've asked a similar question before and most feedback seems to be in favour of lighter more nimble cars. I've been browsing for a while and there seem to be plenty of cars like Clio's, Fiesta's, Escorts, 205's and Golf's. The Golf's are generally GTI's or VR6's and seem like good value, I'll have a look into the MX5's. What are people's thougths on the cars above?

Also are there certain things to look for like roll cages etc. or is that necessary for the novice? Is mileage important, how do you know if someone advertising a track car has looked after it or if they're selling it because it's knackered.

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I think a stripped golf gti would be a pretty decent proposition as a track car.

The guy who owns the hotel by the main entrance of the nurburgring has a stripped and caged mark 4 tdi golf for rental and for participating in races on the nordshleife. I've seen it on track a few times and never seen anything go past it.

If it weren't for my love of 5ers (and my 535 track slag) I'd probably get another e36 325 or 328 as a budget track car. There really is no real need to spend thousands on a track car if you just want a giggle, see my £400 track car thread for proof!

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Its horses for courses isn't it - my e28 is a laugh on track, respectably quick and still usable on the road (it took my 2 yr old and I to France this year) BUT i've reached the point where i want more power or i need to strip it - at which point it either costs me big money or becomes unfriendly for the road.

So what would i choose IF i sold the e28? it would have to be a track focused car and i think i would be looking at 205 GTis, poss MX5's or e36 M3's. Those i imagine i would enjoy out the box and have scope to improve, though the later might nor give VFM!

So its either a budget hero like Gordon's 535i, a purpose bit of kit like a race prepared MX5 or ... Oh i don't know :lol:

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looks like there's a lot of consistency with the MX5, would you look for a track prepared one, or find one from a little old lady and do any work to it yourself? Anyone know if the 1.6 or 1.8 is the better engine as bigger isn't always better, plus any reliability issues with one over the other?

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I think the advantage of the MX5 is that there is a race series for them and a race prepared car isn't too dear. Regardless of whether you it race or not you get a track ready car thats going to be light on wearing parts at a good price - what you won't get ist a big power rush on the straights but straights are boring!

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For a trackday car I'd be looking for a Eunos import 1.6 (pre-94 from memory) which has about 120bhp. Call that a grand.

Then, I'd bung on some Gaz coilovers (£450) and uprated brake pads (£50).

Finally, some Hankook rubber (£160) and then hit the tracks and enjoy!

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You should try doing some drifiting first then youll realise that going sideways is more fun than grip!

ive used all my drift cars as track cars in the past including:

Various 2.0 sierras

a 24v cosworth sierra

e34 535

and now my e39 540

all heavy and pretty standard with the cheapest of mods on them.

If your only doing track day fun times it doesnt need to be light or fast you have just as much fun in a diesel golf as you will in an M3. My advice is get the cheapest thing that ticks your boxes as you need to be prepared to crash if your doing ti right. And even in a slow car you will be pushing the big boys through the corner.

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...as you need to be prepared to crash if your doing ti right. And even in a slow car you will be pushing the big boys through the corner.

Sorry mate, but that means you're doing it wrong. If you're racing then fair enough, but if you crash on a trackday then you're doing it very wrong.

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...as you need to be prepared to crash if your doing ti right. And even in a slow car you will be pushing the big boys through the corner.

Sorry mate, but that means you're doing it wrong. If you're racing then fair enough, but if you crash on a trackday then you're doing it very wrong.

I disagree if your dont push it past the line then you will never know where that line is! Its maybe different for me as im coming from a drift background but i firmly believe you have to push past the line to learn where it is.

Also i didnt mean you should crash just you should be prepared to crash the car if not you will be scared of it!

Jeek

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one of my mates has a turbo'd 1.8 MX5, coilies etc etc for trackwork, bout 250hp. There aint much other than westies/caterhams that bother it. What a tool and from memory he only paid about 3500 for it?

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Oh, and another one which is quietly fantastic is an MR2 Turbo. Another mate (yes, I do have some) who often goes with mr MX5 turbo mentioned above has a 1991 Tubbie, bilstiens, polybushed, hayward/scott zorst and boost controller. Oh, and some slicks for track days. Shit to a blanket is a good analogy. Although much less forgiving than the MX5, especially on slicks - virtually no warning its going to go...

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I've always felt that if you want a track toy on a small budget, then you're best bet is something small and FWD - cheap to run/repair, simple to fix, scrap yards full of spares all over the country.

3 door hatch such as golf or ford fiesta. A 3dr 1.6 zetec fiesta that is totally stripped with some decent rubber and cheap suspension would come in under £1500, new discs and pads for the front come in a under £40 for mintex - ok, not a performance brand but just an example of how cheap bits for these cars are! (and you'll be getting through brakes regularly)

Having said all that, I much prefer RWD cars... and E36's go for peanuts these days

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I am going to chuck this out there for a laugh - Rover Metro GTi with a Rover K 1.8 engine. Its an easy install as its near identical to the original 1.4 engine and creates a real wee belter of a car. If you want more ommph and willing to do a bit more work a Rover 1.8 VVC engine will do nicely in there as well. You won't win styling points but you'll have a laugh. You see already converted track slags (rollcage and so on) come up from time to time.

However, if I had to get a cheap car for track day fun - MX5 every time. Simple, small light RWD car and open top so you can enjoy the experience even more. Enough power to have fun but not too much that you'll overcook it.

Someone else mentioned the MR2 - I recall reading an article in Practical Performance Car mag where they got a race driver to try a few people's cheap track cars and the mk2 MR2 was one of the top cars.

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