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Apexdreamer45

Spec Racer Ford / Formula Ford ?

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Apexdreamer45

Hello, just wondering if there is a class / category that a Spec Racer Ford or Formula Ford fits into within NASA.  Or, is there some affiliation these cars strictly have with being run within the SCCA?  Being purpose built racecars from the get go, readily available at great prices, and loads of parts availability it seems they could fit in somewhere.  Where would that be?

It’s great to see the E3 class for the E36 chassis M3.  Is this class only for the M3 built between 1990 and 1999 or are other various models of the 325 allowed as well from this time period?  Financially it seems to get into this class is far over the $15,000 quote in the advertisement for this class.  Decent track worthy M3’s from this time period are selling for far over the $15,000.  Those in the $7,000 to $10,000 range have 150,000 miles and upwards of 270,000 for that price range.  I’m a huge BMW fan and wouldn’t mind developing a HPDE car and climb through the ranks if I could get into a cost effective M3 from this time period. Building a Spec E30 could exceed this as well although I’ve seen a few already built E30’s that would be a slight head start on the program of ever getting on the track.

As for Spec Miata I’m too tall at 6’3 to campaign one of these I feel, not sure if that’s physically feasible.

There sure is a lot that NASA has to offer, it’s just where is it that I want to start investing my money to get on the track and set some goals and hopefully progress with time and getting the honest track time to have a shot at progressing. 

Its that age old question......ahhhh where to begin?

Thanks ahead of time for any information that can be sent my way.....

 

 

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infamousjim

Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think open wheel cars are allowed with NASA. They don't necessarily play well with bodied cars, so they do okay in SCCA with run groups dedicated to open wheel stuff.

Where to begin is always a hard question... The E (enduro?) classes are basically one off for big enduros like Thunderhill.

In our region BMW's that race run in a few classes (GTS[2-4], ST[2-5], Spec e30, Spec46). If i was a BMW person I'd say starting with an e30 or non m3 e36 is the way to go... but so much depends on your own preference and budget. Really, in the beginning just showing up and getting seat time in anything is the most important. You'll figure out what you like, and see what other people are doing.

I always say Miatas can fit surprisingly large people with the allowed drop floor and cage main hoop built from the package tray... but at 6'3" you'd really be testing the limits of it. Honda Challenge also has some cool cars and good competition. 

 

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Apexdreamer45

Infamousjim, thanks for the reply, I appreciate it.  I figured their has to be reasons as to why these cars are not included anywhere as a possible class. I understand completely what you mean regarding the open wheel cars.

im coming from a background in road racing motorcycles.  I’m getting a little older now and the wife has made her point well known I should consider hanging up the 2 wheel stuff and look into what the car side of the sport can offer me.  She’s surprisingly supportive of this move as she understands I still have desires to participate in Motorsports at some  capacity.  I was actually supposed to make this transition 2 years ago after I did my first HPDE event at Watkins Glen in a rental.  However I smoothed over and pulled off another 2 seasons of track days on the bike until she  gave me the news in a more stern actually surly manner this season.

So here we go, let the research begin.  Thanks again Infamous Jim.

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Tansar_Motorsports

Jim is correct about formula ford.  No open wheel allowed in NASA.

Spec racer ford would be allowed.  Check out the ST1-4 rulebook and you will find it listed as an allowable non-production model.  Honestly though, with the way it is classed, I doubt it could be competitive.

As far as other classes go, it depends on your region as to which classes are popular or not.

A non-M e36 or e46 BMW could be built up relatively cheaply to be ST5/6 or GTS1/2 competitive.  Spec E30 is a great place to start, with affordable built cars available in most regions, and big classes in most regions.

If you are just getting started, then it's going to take you multiple years to get a competition license typically.  So I would just get a cheap sports car that you like, put some good tires and brake pads on it, and start doing HPDE.  Over the next couple of years, get a feel for what you want to race, and then eventually sell the sports car and buy a built racecar. 

Or, buy a spec e30 and use that to learn.  They won't depreciate at all typically, so in 2 years you can either start competing, or sell it for what you paid and get something different. 

Or, do whatever the heck you want.  Regardless, by going amateur racing, you may as well be pouring gasoline on cash and lighting it on fire..... :-)

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Apexdreamer45

Tansar, thank you for the informative reply.  I did some further digging online for non M BMW models that are 6 - 9 years old or more. There are some cars out there that could work actually for a decent and workable investment.  Just have to watch the mileage on some, just like any other model or potential donor car of any brand.

After some years or racing / track daying motorcycles I’m all too familiar with lighting the cash on fire at times just to participate. That just comes with the hobby or sport.  Sometimes it’s more worthwhile than other.

Where I’m going to run into a different investment that I’m not use to is the trailer and tow vehicle for actually hauling a full size car.  Motorcycles are a convenient racer to haul, transport, and store. I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.  I don’t believe in driving any track vehicle to the event and drive it home.  Anything can happen on the track and lead to a long weekend trying to make it home.  Seen it happen more than I care to admit.

Tansar, I see you are into 944’s, is that correct?  I’ve always been a 944 fan as well.

Thanks again for all the information guys!

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Tansar_Motorsports

I'm getting out of the 944 game, actually.

The spec 944 cars are a great value, but racing the higher hp versions in any of the other classes (I have a turbo) is difficult IMO.  More expensive to upgrade, more expensive to fix, need to be fixed more often, and at the end of the day, 944's are at a disadvantage to cars with more sophisticated suspension geometry and modern ABS systems.

And yeah, the truck/trailer is another slippery slope.  That's how we end up with guys driving $300k toter-home rigs with a spec miata in the back....

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Apexdreamer45

I can understand what your saying regarding your specific 944 situation.  Even a normally aspirated 944 is costly regarding parts and service unless you are capable of performing all your routine maintenance, preventative maintainable, and forbid it happens crash damage and painting.

I checked out the NASA classifieds and see there are some nice cars listed there, decent prices as well for an already purely track bred machine with most of the work and big expenses out of the way. I’m really liking the Istook prepared Audi TT.  I bet that lil car is a blast on the track properly set up.  By the way, some nice Honda Challenge set ups as well.

Getting a good laugh out of your $300,000 dollar Spec Miata hauler. I’ve seen that similar trick before myself.  Different strokes for different folks they say.....

Take care!

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infamousjim

On any given track weekend I seem to see a wildly disproportionate number of 944's dead or on fire on the side of the track, the rest disappear too quickly in the mirror of the typical 100hp miata 😛 

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