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krisko

What cars should I consider as weekend/hpde vehicle?

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krisko

I'm selling my M3 race car. A race car isn't practical for me right now but I'll need to get on the track now and again.

 

My budget is roughly $20,000 to $24,000. One obvious choice stands out...a 2001/2002 Z06. Others would be a used 2006 VW GTI at about $18,000 or maybe that new MazdaSpeed 3 which is new for about $24,000. I dig the Evo but am concerned about reliability.

 

Car would be used on mountain drives, a little weekend driving, and the track exclusively.

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farmboy

The Z06 is obviously a great car, it can get costly.

 

For obvious reason I would suggest that you take a look at a Miata. Very easy to set up for track time and weekend use. Easy to work on if needed and parts are reasonable and easy to locate. Well with in your budget and just a lot of fun. No it does not have the HP as Z06 or M3 but a natural track car. Easy to unbolt the hard top for some hair blowing wind or just use the soft top and arm restraints.

 

I have had a Z06 driver ride with me and was impressed to the point he started thinking about the Miata because the Z06 was just getting so expensive to be competative. A 318 driver rode also and was impressed at the stability of the Miata. Both had never ridden in a Miata to see how much fun the little car can be but are now impressed.

 

Come over to Roebling Road, September 30 and check out your choices.

 

Then when you get a Miata you can also run up to The Tail of The Dragon on the weekends and play!

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subachad

WRX... reliable, easy to work on, easy to get parts, good amount of power for the money. You could get a used one and have an inexpensive car or you could get a new 06 which has the 2.5 liter engine and the upgraded brakes stock. 4 piston front brakes

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rodder

+1 for the wrx. It's right smack in the middle of your price range and has HUGE aftermarket support and really responds well to mods.

 

and as was mentioned, it also has the distinction of being one of the few modern cars that seems to have been designed with taking it apart and working on it in mind. Reliability is also excellent. Consumer reports rated subaru #1 in reliability last year.

 

The only thing to watch out for is the 02-05 models have a notoriously weak tranny, but it seems like guys who don't do clutch dumps and power shift all day don't usually have any problems, even with upgraded turbos and other power enhancements.

 

Just FYI, my daily driver is an 02 wrx with almost 100K miles on it and I'm running a full exhaust with cobb tuning engine management and have not had a single issue with the car so far. It was supossed to make it to some HPDEs this year, but unfortunately I just couldn't find the time or money. (buying my first house and getting married next month).

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kbrew8991

how fast do you want to go? what do you want to do? (HPDE? TT? Wheel-to-Wheel?)

how big is your event-to-event budget?

 

those 2 things will decide what class of vehicle you're looking at and you need to figure that stuff out first

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IkeF

If I had to do it again, I think I'd go for either a miata or an E30/36 3 series...probably the miata though. I've got a long way to go as far as driving ability/experience goes, so it would be nice to have a car that's not much of an investment that I wouldn't be afraid to beat the crap out of. Currently, I'm driving a car that I spent about a year and a half preparing (some evenings and weekends) so I'm somewhat apprehensive to go balls to the wall in it, in the interest of not wadding it up. It's a blast to drive, but probably not a good starter car. If you've already got the experience (which I'm assuming you do since you're selling your racecar) then something a little more exotic (Z06) may be appropriate. One other car that I don't believe has been mentioned is the Porsche 928/944. Seems like that's a good platform that can be adapted to a number of different levels as far as ability goes.

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bbyevo

Don't be scared of the Evo. Properly taken care of, you will have no reliability problems, and stone stock it is an excellent performer on the track. Most of the reliability reputation comes from young kids, a lot of whom got the Evo as a first car and assume it can do everything they've seen it do in the movies without consequence. I've tracking, auto-xing, and drag racing mine for almost 3-1/2 years now with no problems.

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krisko

I think I'm likely to get a MazdaSpeed 3 pending successful test drive. It's got 264hp/280tq, weighs 3100lbs, and comes with a LSD. Not bad for under $23,000. I've come to the realization that I need 4 seats and I'm not gutsy enough to buy a used evo/sti.

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rodder

what's wrong with a new 2006 or 2007 wrx? Not the STi, just a base wrx. You can get a WRX "TR" for right around the same price as the mazda. If you plan on turning it into a race car the TR would be your best choice anyway, as it's a "stripper" model, with cheaper seats, no fog lights, etc. Still has the 2.5L turbo motor, 4 pot brakes, etc.

 

the two biggest downsides I see with the mazda are, it's FWD, and since it's a new car, there won't be much aftermarket support for it yet. If you're looking at the mazda you owe it to yourself to also make a trip over to the subaru dealer and take a new wrx for a drive.

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krisko

The new Subies are hideous looking...I'm not a big style guy but I equate anything from Subaru with the Pontiac Aztek.

 

I'm not going to turn this into a race car, hell it'll only see 3 or 4 weekends of track duty per year. It'll see less once I build my next race car. I really want something for spirited mountain driving that will be suitable as a daily driver.

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Jim P.

For the price range you are looking at you can usually find a nice used Factory Five Cobra - that way you'd have style, a potential racecar AND all of the parts you need are in stock at the local AutoZone or PepBoys!

 

Just my $.02

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Prod

+1 on a WRX. I come from a Subaru family, so I may be biased.

They're really great for daily drivers, and they perform well enough on the track. My brother had an 02 WRX, no issues with it. He's selling it now. I have an 05 Legacy GT, and I love it. The Legacy is a little more refined, but it's a bit heavier and doesn't handle as well as a WRX. You can pick up a used 05 Legacy for $18-20k. I haven't done any HPDEs witht he Legacy, but I've autocrossed it for more than a year now. It's a fun car, but not competitive (because of my reflash, I have to run against Camaros in ESP... SCCA classing rules suck which is why I'm going to race in NASA witht eh RX-7)

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kbrew8991

Camaro-Mustang Challenge is also another budget-minded class idea

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Steve S.

I have not seen this one thrown out there, but a used 350Z track model works great! However, I did see you need 4 seats. I would go with the EVO or the Miata. 2 completely different sets of skills used in driving them, but they are both fun cars at speed.

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AU N EGL

Corvette Z06. Only needs and oil and transmission coolers. Easy to install. Nothing like a big V8

 

But then again I am bias.

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crocair

My vote for a miata. Since there is so many out there. 3k-6k will get you a decent stock one. throw another 2k for suspension, rims, and tires and your just about good to go. 500 for a roll bar. Spend the rest of the 18-20k on a down payment on a house.

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StreetSpeed

I'm a bit biased but my vote is for the GTI. Quick, inexpensive, and suprisingly suited for the track. I've ran two Audi NEQ events this year at Watkins Glen and Mont Tremblant. EVERYONE is impressed with how fast the car if on the track. Mine has a couple grand worth of bolt ons and it's good for a [email protected] in the 1/4. SO, when you get to the straights, you're freaking out RS4s and S4s when you're keeping up with them, and after you on their bumper in the turns they know it's time to let you by. Of course this is in the yellow group (HPDE 2 I guess) so it's not like anyone REALLY knows what they're doing.

 

Here's a link of me passing a new RS4 at Mont Tremblant. With 425hp. And AWD. In the rain. I just think it's cool...

http://s68.photobucket.com/albums/i5/StreetSpeed_photos/?action=view&current=P1010171.flv

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Goldfish

Why not stay with BMW and get an E36 M3?

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subachad

If the Mazdaspeed 3 is anything as good as the Mazdaspeed protege then I say go for it. The Protege is great at willow springs even being mostly stock has no problem holding 120 in turn 8 and I can keep up with just about anything in HPDE3. The brakes are great and with only upgrading the fluid and the pads to ceramic, I have yet to experience brake fade, cornering is awsome, and reliability is great. The only issue has been a broken exhaust hanger from landing hard after getting too close to one of those red and white berm things at a Las Vegas track. Realize too, this is my wifes car and the tires are all season P-Zero Nero M&S which have a lot of squirm. The $21,500 sticker included a racing beat suspension and a callaway turbo kit, not bad for a $310 a month car. I especially like that there is no wrenching involved, just drive it. If anything did go wrong, it's still under factory warranty.

 

The MS3 is a few houndred pounds heavier though and has a higher roofline, but also has a LOT more power. Though I have not driven one, I think it would be a great track car. Those slower 40mph turns though are quite a handful as having that much torque along with a LSD will try and rip the steering wheel from your hands.

 

Chad

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NorrFam

Our originial poster may have moved on by now but I have to comment on the Mazda 3. The Mazda 3 Hatch is not the Mazda 3 sedan in its build. Speed 3 will be even more different. I have been running an 05 hatchback 3 at some Mazdadrivers HPDE events prior to joining NASA. Ran solidly with Miatas and non supercharged Minis, WRX AWD's. Mine was only one out there and sort of stuck out. Brakes on the 3 Hatch are beaten only by the RX8. From 110 on the straight at VIR to rounding turn 1 I could hold off to between the 2 and 3 markers. True threshold braking without ABS surprised me to no end. Car is totally stock, tires, no turbo, oh and automatic to boot (shiftable). And no problems. Will look at Speed 3 when can find one. Only 5K to be made and local dealer says might get one late November. The only thing I would wonder about was the torque issue. Stock engine with auto vs turbo and 3rd gear on the Speed 3 might be a world different. But I love the car and my wife wants it back. 20 bags of mulch at HD easy to do as well.

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edneff

I'm new to NASA and want to gain some experience, so I'm looking at the HPDE-- trouble is, what do I drive? My car is a stock Mazdaspeed MX5 Miata, and from my brief read of the regulations I can't do the HPDE unless it has a rollbar installed-- Is that correct?

 

If I decide to get a rollbar, what type is the least hassle to install and most un-intrusive in the passenger compartment?

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farmboy

Autopower and Hard Dog make roll bars for Miata's. Go to their web sites to decide which you prefer. Everyone has their preference but these are the two most use. The roll bars will work with your top when you need to raise it, just incase you wonder.

 

The roll bar is a good thing for everyday driving as well. You never know what may happen! That is the reason NASA requires all convertables to atleast have a roll bar.

 

One thing to keep in mind is the rule about your helmet must be below the heigth of the roll cage. Take a broom handle and lay it from the roll bar to the front window top and your helmet must be below the broom handle.

 

You have a great car for the road courses and you will learn a lot about yourself and your car in HPDE.

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Ultimate Altima

Hey Krisko, get yorself a 3.5l ALTIMA (SE-R, if you can) throw on some KSport coilovers and pads and tires, I don't Know what the car would cost, but the KSport's are only $900-1000 and are the best suspension for an Altima. P.S. be prepared to drift unless you run low air pressures in the rear or find a way to dial out some of the rear camber you'll be getting. Tein may be coming out with a Type Flex with EDFC, that would replace KSport at the top of the heap for a good Altima suspension.

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getfast

Aren't those Altimas pretty heavy, with FWD and open diffs and twist-beam-axle rear suspensions?

 

(Hopefully the Altima SE-R at least has a VLSD like the old Sentra SE-R's did.)

 

My vote is for the nicest 4dr E36 M3 you can find, but I'm biased

 

Jon

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Ultimate Altima

No, they do not have an lsd, but the lsd's from the Maxima and the Sentra SE-R will drop right in to either the 5 or 6 speeds. It is also ablast to drive and it's not all that heavy, maybe 3150-3200 w/o driver. Also, the mufflers are extra heavy to keep the rear end weighed down. A neighbor runs his without mufflers because of an enormous resinator. Drop some weight and get more power for free, Whooo Hooo!!!!!

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