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Sacramento Area HPDE Folks?


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I am very interested in learning more about HPDE and was hoping that I could find some Sacramento area locals that wouldn't mind discussing with me and possibly looking at their setups. I am located in Cameron Park, CA.


My taste in cars is pretty agnostic. I have owned 1968 LeMans (GTO Clone), 1972 Corvette Stingray, 1970 Mach 1, 1986 944 Turbo, 2001 Camaro SS SLP and I currently own a 2001 M5.


I am a decent mechanic.


For HPDE I am considering a 4th generation 2000 - 2004 Mustang GT, C5 2000 - 2004 Corvette or maybe a 350Z.


Mustang is probably at the top of the list as it is by far the cheapest entry, parts are super plentiful and cheap and they are easy to work on. Lots of beaters on CL but maybe a diamond in the rough here and there. I know that these are not necessarily the best choice due to handling and lots of cash can be spent in that area alone. But, if I get hooked and set it up right, maybe go on to CMC?


Corvette is another fairly cheap entry and parts are still pretty cheap. Also easy to work on. Benefit is that its suspension is way better to start with then the Mustang. But it is a big car. Not sure what class is next for this if I decide to graduate on.


350Z is completely unknown to me. I like the way they look and I do know that it will handle very well. I get a sense that, generally, parts are cheap enough. However, if the engine lets loose, it will be a learning experience as I have never been inside of one of those. Whereas with a 4.6 or LS engine are extremely plentiful and cheap if I just want swap out.


I don't want a Miata, 944 or BMW.



Anyway, that's sort of my intro. Would really like to hear from some locals if you are out there. Especially if you are running one of the cars I am looking considering.



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  • 4 months later...

If you’re in the Sacramento area the best thing to do is stop in a Kontrolle Engineering in Rancho Cordova. It is a division of Valley Motorwerks a company I started over 10 years ago. They have the most experience in the area buildings streetcars track cars race cars HPDE cars… For what it’s worth stay away from anything with a lot of horsepower in a straight axle. HPDE is about learning how to drive a car, it’s about car control. You’re better off spending your money on great suspension street tires and learn how to manage them.


I personally do a lot of consulting with people, contact me through the forum we’ll have a coffee and chat about cars. The worst thing to do is go out spend a bunch money and be unhappy at the track. Just like my buddy Steve Romine has always said you never increase the value of your car taking it to the race track…

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  • 4 months later...
  • 6 months later...

I know this is late in responding to the original poster, but for anyone else reading this, my advice for HPDE would be 1) to start slow and see if you like it and 2) find a car that will be fun to learn to drive at its limit vs thinking about absolute speed and 3) erring towards a car with cheap consumables (tires, brakes, clutch) is always a good thing.


For starting slow, the base setup is a helmet and a tow hook running with OEM belts (use tow hook that came with the car for one end.) Wear long sleeve cotton and comfortable shoes. That's all you need. Keep all the electronic aids on, at least for the first few days. From there, consider a tire pressure gauge and driving gloves. You may then go upgrade to a rollbar with a 5/6-point harness. That would also allow you to run a HANS. Some people also like getting driving shoes - I have some but never use them for HPDE.


Regarding a car, many cars are fun on the track and it's all about finding the limit of the car you're in and mastering it. Starting with an underpowered car is actually a good training tool, because you can't power out of subpar turns as easily. Getting something that a lot of other folks have is usually good too because you can share notes, which inevitably is indirect competition. I've seen everyone be really chill generally about sharing setup and parts experience. Also, consider your comfort level with the replacement cost of the car. Many insurance companies won't cover accidents at the track, so you have to be ready to eat the total cost of the car should that unfortunately happen.


Lastly, sign up for coaching before you start spending big on car mods. Mod the driver, not the car.


Did you end up getting a car?

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